Cracking the Code to Personal Productivity

In an effort to learn more about the factors that contribute to productivity, two MIT academics conducted a survey of nearly 20,000 respondents, asking them about a variety of habits. In a recent article published by the Harvard Business Review, the two researchers, Robert C. Pozen and Kevin Downey, examine and evaluate the results of their survey.

From among the multitude of survey results, three general patterns emerged:

  1. Working longer hours does not necessarily correlate with higher productivity.
  2. Results revealed a high correlation between a person’s age and/or seniority and their personal productivity.
  3. Male and female professionals scored nearly equally in overall productivity, but scores varied on particular habits.

After examining the survey results, the authors developed a number of recommendations for professionals seeking to increase their personal productivity. They recommend working to develop the following habits:

  • Set your top priorities, then use them to plan your work. Always have a definitive objective in mind.
  • Develop intentional strategies for dealing with the constant overload of tasks and information.
  • Be conscientious about respecting your colleagues’ time—keep meetings short, be responsive, and communicate clearly.

For more details, read the article in full at the Harvard Business Review.