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The productivity ceiling

Saturday, July 29, 2006

If you spend a lot of time reading about productivity and efficiency methods, tips, and hacks, you may start to get the feeling that your productivity is an infinitely expandable thing. While it's true you can always shave off a few seconds here and there, the fact is that you do have a productivity ceiling, and once you start bumping up against this ceiling, saving seconds becomes counterproductive. You need some kind of leverage to either raise the ceiling or get back to where you have some room above your head.

How do you raise the ceiling? In an organization, the answer is easy - you add more people. Think about it. Each additional person in your organization adds around forty hours per week to your overall productivity. Now that's some hack!

I suppose the same could apply to personal life as well: hire a maid, a gardener, etc. Outsource whatever you can. Even then, there is a point where the projects you undertake will have you hitting your upper limit of productivity. All you can do at that point is renegotiate time frames and even eliminate some of your projects and responsibilities.

I hope this doesn't put a damper on anyone's spirit. I just think it's worth keeping in mind that even the most formidable arsenal of productivity tricks can't save you from hitting natural limits.

Posted by murt at 4:18 PM


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