“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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