If you want to achieve better results, don’t just get busy, become more productive.
Iconic American novelist Ernest Hemingway once quipped, “Never mistake motion for action.” Indeed, if you want to be more productive, don’t just get busy putting in more hours. Instead, take a look at how much you actually accomplish in a day, and try to improve your ability to focus on tasks through completion.
Whether you’re working on a website redesign, filing your income taxes or redecorating your home, by becoming more aware of your productivity and understanding your habits, you’ll find ways to enhance your process.
Our quiz helps you discover your productivity quotient.
B. Create a list, but often I don’t use it.
C. Just go with what’s in my head when completing tasks. I don’t write anything down.
B. Work for an hour without checking emails, but then I interrupt whatever I’m doing to check email.
C. Check and read emails as they come in, no matter what I’m doing. I’m obsessed with reading new emails. I don’t mind distractions.
B. Can locate it sometimes. Some items are organized, while others are not.
C. Have to give myself at least an hour or two—my information isn’t very organized.
B. Will finish it, although it may take me several weeks or months.
C. Don’t finish it because I’m often distracted by something else.
B. Might take a few minutes to work on the new task, but I’ll get back to what I was doing a bit later.
C. Will likely shift gears entirely and start working on the new task. Multitasking is how I work—I have a hard time sticking to just one thing.
B. Don’t pay attention to breaks. I keep going until I burn out.
C. Can’t concentrate for longer than 20–30 minutes at a time, so I’m always taking breaks to check Facebook or social media.
B. Am glad to be done, but worried that I wasn’t productive enough.
C. Feel burned out and frustrated—like I need a martini.
B. Read the day’s news or social media for at least 15 minutes first.
C. Usually just putter for an hour or more. I need wind-up time.
B. Start at the beginning and read every word from start to finish.
C. Stare at the wall for a while before I get started, and then start over a few times.
B. Procrastinate—I don’t worry about deadlines because I know I can get it done at the last minute, before it’s due.
C. Have a hard time meeting deadlines—everyone knows that about me.