• Subha

Is productivity working for you?



2020 redefined a lot of things in our personal and professional spheres: how we live, how we work, how we raise our families. It also defined what we call being productive. Before COVID-19 enforced working from home, we had a different personal standard to measure whether we have given our fair quota for the day and been productive. Unprecedented, stress-inducing daily challenges have since upended the definition of productivity as we knew it.


So, have we succeeded in being productive, or did we lose the plot in 2020?


We thought long and hard, introspected, researched, and analysed just what productivity meant for us in 2020.


Sometimes, all it takes to understand productivity is a new pair of glasses. We’re quite confident that you’ve done at least one of these things in the past year.


What did your productivity look like?

  1. You got out of bed every day with just one small task to look forward to. You maintained a focus on the task at hand while performing it, even if it were only ten minutes. Also, the nature of this goal need not have been strictly professional- personal goals are goals too.

  2. You knew when to “switch off” from digital interferences, or you were able to choose when you could be involved, and when you just needed to call a timeout.

  3. You filtered what news and messaging trickled through into your consciousness, saving you from unnecessary worry and unproductive distractions. Doomscrolling is here to stay, but we don’t have to be present for it.

  4. You took 10-minute breaks to recharge your brain cells, you slept on time, you looked after your family- you did one thing that was of utmost priority to you each day.

  5. You spent time and energy finding and nurturing the right network and community to sail you through professional and personal challenges.

  6. You created a designated workspace that fostered mindful focus, away from the general rough-and-tumble of home and family, a place you could physically leave at the end of the workday.

  7. You helped your significant other or family members similarly have their space and work on their output by providing backup.

  8. You collaborated with remote teams efficiently, keeping in mind their constraints and limitations, and looked for solutions together

  9. You were self-aware enough to detect burnout signs and learned to say “no” to extra work at such times. It would have been tough for sure, but that’s a skill worth taking into 2021.

  10. You set boundaries and time limits for instant messaging and other distractions, as well as set an “end” to the workday even if you were at home.

What did your productivity look like as part of a team?


From a human resources/business enterprise perspective, you have helped boost employee productivity if you have:

  1. Shifted to a less heavy-duty performance assessment model that kept it real and was easy for team leaders and managers to use.

  2. Pre-emptively identified productivity challenges and came up with solutions.

  3. Re-aligned metrics to reflect the most accurate picture in the changing work environment.

  4. Provided support through articles, solutions, and guidelines.

  5. Sought a holistic view of things by sourcing and incorporating employee feedback on the efficacy of various new practices.

  6. Redefined objectives and goals in keeping with the big picture.


Productivity can mean different things to different people. The input vs output equation belongs to the industrial era and is best left there. As the pandemic has shown, being there for ourselves and our people is a far more significant productivity measure.

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