“Productivity” is one of the hottest buzz words in today’s work environment. The word is plastered all over self-help books and is the topic of podcasts and motivational speeches alike. We all aim to be productive, but sometimes we aren’t sure how to get the best out of ourselves. So, I thought it would be fun to choose 9 quotes about productivity to serve as advice and inspiration when we get to a sticking point. Why not take advice from others who have already become uber successful?

Action over thought

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done” – Bruce Lee

This quote about productivity seems intuitive, but when you say it out loud it’s really powerful. So many of us ruminate over the same idea until we are blue in the face but never actually take the first step towards doing it. An idea person is only as good as their ability to follow through, whether that is on their own or by enlisting the help of others.

Time is valuable

“The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

It’s important to remember time is the only finite resource we have. You can’t make more of it, so spend it wisely. How do you do this? Automate and delegate where you can. Productivity is all about knowing what you have to do and knowing what can be done for you.

Quotes about productivity, Hardly

Commitment is key

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort” – Paul J. Meyer

If the pioneer of the self-improvement industry, Paul Meyer says it’s about consistently doing your best, strategy, and purposeful work then it must be true. The key to productivity is partially realizing that you have to consciously make an effort to improve your productivity. Like everything, practice makes perfect.

The less meetings the better

“The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings” – Thomas Sowell

We all know meetings can sometimes be where productivity goes to die. Collaboration or focused brainstorming can be hugely beneficial but meeting frequently to just talk about things that could have been communicated by email. At their best meetings bring coworkers together and help provide greater context to individual responsibilities. But at their worst, they are an interruption that keeps you from doing the real work.

Quotes about productivity, Hardly

Quality over quantity

“Never mistake motion for action” – Ernest Hemingway 

I am sure this famous author encountered a writer’s block or two that he had to overcome. Hemingway knew the difference between quantity and quality. Just because you look busy doesn’t mean you are making progress. This productivity quote is about efficiency. Remember, it is better to take breaks than waste time pseudo working.

Keep it simple silly

“Simplicity boils down to two steps: identify the essential, eliminate the rest” – Leo Babauta

Prioritization is crucial. We can’t do everything all of the time so it is important to move away from complexity and know how to make cuts. Productivity is best when it is used to get the best result in the shortest amount of time. If accomplishing something is not going to have a big impact, move it to the bottom of the list and don’t stress over getting it done. Instead use your brainpower where it counts.

Quotes about productivity, Hardly

Embrace mistakes

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is buy making mistakes and becoming superior” – Henry C. Link

This is one of the best quotes about productivity, because it rhymes. Just kidding. But for real, I love this quote because it reminds us that the antithesis of productivity  (and creativity) is perfectionism. The more we obsess over the details, the less we are able to accomplish. Being thorough is great, but it shouldn’t be crippling. Making room for mistakes might be the very thing that propels you forward.

Play to your strengths

“All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else” – Plato

This ancient Greek philosopher states that productivity is all about narrowing your focus and capitalizing on your talents. What we often leave out of the conversation about productivity is that we usually struggle the most when we are doing something we don’t like or aren’t good at. This is where the whole idea about following your passion comes from. You will be most productive when you do the things you naturally excelle at. That doesn’t mean quit your job and pursue your hobby full time. It means to figure out what you are best at and figure out all of the ways you can apply it to your current role. 

Quotes about productivity, Hardly

Rome wasn’t built in a day

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it – but all that had gone before” – James Clear

This is one of the best quotes about productivity from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. It highlights the fact that productivity takes slow and steady progress. It is about incremental success due to the development of micro habits and consistency. You might not feel like turning your phone on silent from 9am-12pm is working until after a month when you realize you were able to get through your morning emails twice as fast as you used to. The point is, improving your productivity in sustainable ways is how you plan the long game, so don’t sweat it if you don’t see instant improvement. 

We hope you enjoyed Hardly’s top 9 quotes about productivity. Let us know which quote is your favorite!

You may also like…

In 2018, Wrike conducted a survey where 68% in the US reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress on the job. Work can be stressful in a variety of ways but I find that communication overload (notifications, especially!) is the leading culprit. As much as I love that I can check my work email from my phone, I hate that I can get a work email on my phone at all hours of the day.

Anyone else roll their eyes when you’re trying to go to sleep and that notification ding goes off?

Technology has made employees more accessible than ever before. It used to be that if you are not at the office, you aren’t working. Today, work is accessible from anywhere/anytime, and there is barely any separation between professional life and personal life. One of the biggest hurdles to work-life balance is creating mental distance.

In fact, there is one specific aspect of working in the digital age that prevents me from ever truly checking out… You know what I’m talking about… A ring, beep, or chime will have me rushing like a speed racer because I feel obligated to respond in a matter of seconds.  Sometimes I even wake up paranoid that I’ve missed an email or a Slack notification. So what is the answer? Here are 5 tips to help you keep your cool when the level of communication becomes overwhelming.

Tip #1: Set Your Notification Preferences

Notification, Hardly

In 2017, an RSNA study on smartphone addiction found that notifications can create an imbalance in your brain, higher levels of anxiety, and cause a pattern called ‘switch cost’: when an interruption, such as a notification, distracts our attention from a task we were working on to view the notification. You take more time to complete the original task, which leads to repetitive behavior, time lost, and inefficiency.

Most apps automatically want you to be more engaged, so they provide notifications for everything. When I joined Hardly, notifications were blowing up my phone all night and during meetings at my other job. I was getting notified for everything! It wasn’t until later I discovered there was a way to only be alerted if a task was assigned to me specifically. When I made that small change, it was like a cold drink of water on a scorching hot day: relief! I was no longer bombarded with flashing lights during the night! If I did hear a ding, I knew it was important and worth my time to stop what I was doing and have a look.

Prevent notifications from interrupting deep work or killing your happy hour vibes. Take the time to adjust your alerts. It makes all the difference for your own mental and emotional wellbeing.

Tip #2: Set Expectations Appropriately

Notification, Hardly

Why do we feel so pressed to keep checking our email and messaging platforms? The key here is to set communication expectations. If your boss, coworkers, and clients know that you will get back to them within a reasonable time frame, they won’t expect an immediate response. Remember, unless you work in the ER, whatever they need is rarely urgent. Most coworkers understand that you do not work 24/7— you need to sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom. However, if you set a precedent of responding immediately every time, they will be disappointed when you do not. Instead, inform others that you will respond to emails within 24-48 hours, and if they have a time-sensitive request they can call your phone directly.

Tip #3: Turn off Social Media Notifications

Notification, Hardly

There are enough pings during the workday; you don’t need to attract even more by having your personal notifications blowing up too! Turning off your social media notifications will help you stay focused on work and allow you to prioritize communication with colleagues rather than feeling like you have to attend to friends too. At first, you might have some FOMO. Eventually, you’ll love the peace and lack of social media harassment. 

Tip #4: Limit Your Communication Channels

Notification, Hardly

Every day there are new platforms to manage workflow. Companies get excited about trying them out to increase productivity, streamline project management, and stay abreast of new technological advancements; however, if they are only adding new forms of communication without getting rid of others, it can feel like your inbox is under attack.  It is up to you and your team to figure out which communication platforms to narrow down to and what triggers a notification. In addition, don’t forget that phone calls still exist. Oftentimes, it is the email back and forth that becomes overwhelming, which can be avoided by talking on the phone. Just because we are in a digital world, doesn’t mean we can resort to an old-fashion phone call.

Tip #5: Shutdown the Computer and Self-Isolate

Notification, Hardly

Last but not least, the antidote to communication overload is communication detox. Set aside certain times when you are going to completely unplug— no notifications! It is so important to cut off all communication, even if it is only for an hour or two a day. Set up an automatic email response: “I am gone for the day” and turn your phone on silent. With practice, it will feel liberating and you will be able to be truly present away from work.  

Or, download the Hardly app!

If you can’t avoid the communication craziness, at least tone it down! Our app helps you customize the notifications you want to receive and when. And it’s easy to set up!

Want to learn more about the people behind the app? Check out our team.

You may also like…

About

Hardly is a career development platform that helps early stage professionals answer the big career questions and encourages them to reach their goals.