Time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders says three questions can go a long way in determining if you are productive enough at work. And by “productive enough,” she means, Are you meeting the requirements of your job when operating at your personal peak performance?
“You could do more, but you don’t have to do more to meet expectations,” Saunders writes in Harvard Business Review.
The first question is: Are you meeting expectations?
If the answer is yes, that’s great. If it’s no, however, she says ask yourself question No. 2: Are these expectations your own, and not required by others?
“Having high expectations of yourself can be a positive quality,” Saunders writes. “But if you find yourself getting extremely stressed or working longer hours than you would prefer in order to meet expectations that aren’t significant to anyone else, your positive quality may have turned negative.”
Finally, question No. 3 is, Am I owning my time management and using productivity resources?
“If you’re not utilizing any tools — even paper ones — that can help you stay organized, you’re very likely missing out and wasting time,” she writes.
Time management has to do with being proactive in allocating your time and effort—clarifying priorities, planning your time, setting boundaries, and being focused when you are working. The tools to help include things like written to-do lists and an email filtering system.
“If you can confidently answer yes to the above, then within your current skill set, I would say you’re likely productive enough — you are doing the best you can within the circumstances,” she writes. “If you answer no to one or more of the above, then you’re likely not productive enough, meaning you are not producing the most you can within the circumstances.”