Measuring Productivity…Not!

I was sitting down to write a post on productivity. I have a list of books I want to eventually do reviews on. One on the list is Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. This is a biography, not a nonfiction productivity book.

I got to thinking. Is it productive to read biographies or even fiction books for that matter? Part of me thinks not. I struggle to see the direct correlation such reading has to productivity.

However, just because I can’t measure, or find it hard to measure, the productivity of certain activities, this does not make them unproductive. Creativity is a product of such reading, which is not easily measured. Many activities, including reading fiction and biographies, can be very productive.

Just this week, I received a short but very encouraging text from a friend. I’m grateful that he didn’t attempt to measure the productivity of sending such a message. If he had, he probably would not have sent it. It was not “productive” to him. However, it boosted my energy level for the day and helped confirm some decisions that are in the works in my life.

Rest is another example. We tend towards getting less and less sleep, but this is not a productive endeavor. Studies show a lack of sleep can be debilitating to one’s productivity.

Bottom line, there are things we do for which it is difficult or impossible to measure the productivity of. A healthy dose of certain activities can be worth your time anyways. Make sure to make time for these.

What are some activities you prioritize in your life, even though they may not be immediately deemed “productive?” Please share in the comments section or on social media.

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  1. Trevor

    I’ve had the same feelings about fiction, that it isn’t productive or doesn’t help me improve any.

    There was a time when I only read fiction and I loved it. I began college as an English major because I loved reading and writing so much. Over the years I’ve moved more and more into nonfiction. I certainly think reading biographies is productive because you can always pick up something someone did right or wrong and you learn from it.

    I know you so I know you probably already saw Hyatt’s post on why leaders are readers. This part inspired me to try my hand at fiction again.

    “Stories give us an opportunity to walk in other people’s shoes and see the world through their experiences and with their motivations—this is especially true for novels, biographies, and memoirs. When asked about the reading that helps her lead her business, one CEO said the insights about human nature in fiction and poetry has made all the difference in understanding and relating to her people.”


    May 5, 2015
    • adamsuter

      I agree. It is hard to do it sometimes, but I know it is important. Actually, I’m behind on my Michael Hyatt reading. I hadn’t seen that. Thanks Trevor!

      May 5, 2015