3 Modes of Productivity

blog Jul 27, 2021

Everyone seems to be obsessed with “productivity hacks” these days.  In one of my previous podcast episodes, I talked about why I hate the word hack. That doesn’t resonate well with me. I believe what everyone needs is a long-term solution for productivity, not a hack.

What does productivity really mean?

What do you think of when you hear the word productivity?  Chances are, you immediately picture someone that is “in action.”  Someone actively doing something.  But, I have good news.  There are actually three different modes of productivity. 

Let’s break these modes down here:

  1. Active Productivity (aka Accomplishing). We all have various forms of active productivity.  Depending upon what your life looks like, productivity looks very different from one person to the other. There is no wrong way to do active productivity, but there are better ways to get tasks done when you’re actually mapping the right activities to your energy levels. I shared tips on that in a previous podcast, Can You Really Do More in Less Time?
  2. Restorative Productivity (aka Sleeping). Hear me out.  Sleeping is a huge part of productivity.  Restorative mode is not quiet time or resting.  It is actually sleeping.  There is a ton of science behind what sleep does for our body and brain. I take my sleep very seriously.  It pains me when I hear people bragging about how much they work and how little sleep they are getting. When you don’t sleep enough, it is the equivalent of having to push your car because you are out of gas.  It takes a toll on your mind and body.  And, the quality of work you produce is never as good as it could be. 
  3. Passive Productivity (aka Receiving). This is my secret weapon.  It is the mode many people skip. Passive productivity are those pockets of time where you’re not in task oriented, active productivity mode but you are doing activities that allow thoughts, ideas, and information to flow in.  You are open to receiving ideas.  For me, passive productivity includes running or walking, quiet time in the car, reading, taking a bath, etc.  My brain is not in active output mode.  When you are constantly in output mode, there is no space for new thoughts to come in.

When was the last time you can honestly say that you were in active productivity mode and you had a great idea?

Think back to the most recent time you had one of those “a-ha” moments or great ideas. What were you doing?  Chances are, it was a passive productivity moment.  Just yesterday I finally solved a problem that was bugging me while I was simply enjoying a quiet cup of coffee on the back porch.  I wasn’t even thinking about the problem but the solution just hit me. 

If you are constantly going back and forth between active and restorative productivity then you never have the opportunity to reflect, think, and process. I want you to take some time this week and really notice how you move through your day and make sure that every single day you have pockets of time where you are in passive productivity mode. 

I hope you have a fantastic week. For more tips on all the things, time management, organization, and productivity check out more blogs or podcast episodes! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Megan Sumrell. 

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