It seems like there is always a push to get more done in less time, or in other words to be more productive. Have you ever felt like you’re doing everything you can but somehow there’s just not the time for everything you need to do? Well, that’s where the productivity triangle comes into play.
Theresia Tanzil, in a Medium article, explored how the Productivity Triangle can help you get more done. Here at Orange Executive Tower, we believe in productivity so we’ve simplified the article into its main points below.
What is the Productivity Triangle?
The productivity triangle, in this case, is made up of the What, the Why, and the How. Understanding how these three things connect and intersect can greatly increase your productivity.
What do you want to produce?
Before you can get started, you need to know what you are trying to produce.
Are you producing a report? Fixing a bug? Painting a room? Creating an organizing system? Crafting a client relationship?
Wait, you can produce a relationship? Yes. Ultimately this thing you’re trying to produce is your goal.
Why are you producing it?
The next part of the triangle of productivity equation is knowing why you need to produce that thing. This is one of the biggest barriers to productivity. If you don’t know why you are trying to produce the thing, chances are you won’t have much motivation to produce it quickly.
Ask your employer or your client why this thing is being produced. Ask yourself why you are doing it. It can even be something simple like “I need to grow my business.”
How are you going to produce it?
Finally, you need to know how you are going to produce it. This is your plan. It may be the most important part. There are two levels of hows.
The Technical How
This is the actual technical knowledge that you need to be productive. You need to know the step by step plan of how you do something. An accountant needs to know what the step by step formula is for crafting an important report. A painter needs to know that first, you paint the sky before adding the mountains. Whatever your task is, you’ll be more productive if you know how to do it.
The Supporting How
This is the tactics, the tools, the strategy, the systems, the todo lists, the time tracking apps, etc. This is basically what your process is in getting stuff done. It’s important but different for everyone. Spending some time figuring out how things work for you will help you increase your productivity.
How do these connect?
It’s pretty easy to see how these three things are related but how do you find the connections that make your work more productive? Theresia Tanzil gives these 3 principles:
- The How depends heavily on the way you frame the What.
- For each What, we can revisit the Why to refine the What.
- One How can give birth to many more Whats.
Basically, if you are continually refining the answers to these three questions then you will be able to create smaller and smaller tasks until the plan of how you move forward is so complete and straightforward that it’s easy to move forward because you know exactly where you’re going and the next step feels very small and manageable.
If your task is to write a report but you have no idea how to even start writing it you can cut back on a lot of time spent stressing about how to write it and by asking yourself some simple questions.
- How can I narrow down my what and make it more specific?
- Why do I do this?
- How can I do that?
Theresia Tanzil gives this example:
“If you had “create a mobile app ” as the What, you’re going to have let’s say 1 million possible “Hows”.
If you had “create an Android mobile app” as a What, you’ll narrow down the Hows significantly. And the Why can challenge, inform, or further solidify the What ( “Why Android? Should it be native or hybrid?”)
If you had “create an Android mobile app that is able to record your voice and autotune it to some songs you share from the Spotify app ” as a What, it’s much more clearer now what components you need to create and what your options are.”
Things suddenly become a lot less paralyzing.
In conclusion, if you know the answers to these three basic questions, your productivity is going to increase by a lot.