The Only Thing You Need to Know About Feeling More Productive (Time Management)


Last week I wrote about how we overcomplicate the methodologies intended to increase our daily productivity. With all the advice offered, I suggested it’s as simple as maintaining the discipline to utilize the techniques that you find effective. After posting this article, someone wrote me with a valid concern – “What if,” she wrote, “I am being productive but I don’t feel productive?”

The act of productivity has an emotional perspective. Sure, it can be measured with quantitative analyses or merely counting the number of items you were able to check off your to-do list. However, there are harried, hardworking days that end with the general sense of having no idea what I accomplished.

Whenever this happens, it’s an unfulfilling sentiment that pushes me to question how I spent my time. In the end, I am being productive, just not on the things I’d prefer to be doing. The simple solution to avoid that unproductive feeling is to do a better job prioritizing.

If you read my aforementioned article, then you know I’m not going to tell you how to prioritize. There is no single method; it is based upon what works for you. Nonetheless, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Get something done each day that you consider meaningful.
  • If #1 seems cumbersome, re-prioritize.
  • Break down larger projects into bite-sized pieces so you can experience that sense of accomplishment more frequently. It’ll energize you to keep going.
  • Discipline, discipline, discipline. No other tips will help if you lack self-control.

While being productive is a priority, we need to feel like we’re achieving something. This does not happen by sheer willpower. It takes thought, planning, and a drive to see it through. If this doesn’t work, you may need to re-consider what makes you fulfilled.

David Kahn, PhD is an Organizational Psychologist focused on delivering business solutions that link culture and engagement with the business goals of the organization. Check out his latest book, "Case, Spandex, Briefcase: Leadership Lessons from Superheroes" and read more of his work on