Productivity isn’t just about doing more work in less time. There is always more work to be done, so how do you know when to stop? If you are thinking about working for yourself, that’s an important question to answer.

Many of us are “doing productivity” as a status symbol. We enjoy the feeling when people describe us as “productive.” But after a while of “doing” productivity, youalways feel as though you can no longer keep up. You eventually crash and burn out.

When we do productivity for the sake of what someone else thinks, we aren’t doing productivity on our terms. There is no joy in doing productivity in this way. It’s not sustainable.

We might be getting a lot done, but why?

The first rule of productivity has nothing to do with tools, apps, habits, routines, goals, rituals, plans, schedules, or time management techniques.

The first rule of personal productivity is understanding your values.

When you have a clear grasp of your values you will have a clear vision of the purpose behind your work. You will understand for the first time why you are being productive.

Productivity can be seen as working in alignment with your natural tendencies, needs, abilities, preferences and purpose.

Your values enable you to be productive on your terms.

Your values include:

  • The foundation of your personal productivity.
  • The constant that guides you through your chaotic work days.
  • The blueprint for your most effective work habits and routines.
  • A reminder of what makes you uniquely productive.
  • What makes personal productivity enjoyable and sustainable.
  • Your standards.
  • Your personal judgment of what is most important in life.

A promise to yourself to never forget who you truly are.