Those of you who’ve been reading this blog or met me in person know I’m a perfectionist, a Geek’s geek, and have a need for speed in everything I do.

Honest: it’s not just the cappuccino levels in my body causing this crazy behavior; there’s meaning in the madness 🙂

I remember reading a sign in a machine shop which read:

“Pick any 2 of the following: Fast. Perfect. Cheap.”

My preference is for perfect and fast. I’m not eager to sacrifice quality for speed, and this choice can be clearly seen in the productivity tools I choose to purchase and create in business and in life.

I’ve recently been pondering on the “Why?” in my quest for maximizing my productivity. It’s been a good exercise in getting to the root of my motivations and a great reminder of what matters most. Below are some thoughts on why productivity tools matter so much to me.

Reason #1: Time.

Time is a non-renewable resource. No matter how much we try we can’t jam more hours into our day or more days into our week. We’re all in the same boat of having to fit our increasingly busy lives into the same 24 hours. So why wouldn’t we want to find ways to be more productive?

Reason #2: Profitability.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Time is money.” Althought I don’t agree wholeheartedly with this notion, I believe a business will have a competitive advantage (read: profitability advantage) if they can increase their productivity.

Whether in the service, sales or product industry, businesses strive to streamline every fiber of their being for this very reason. For example, if Business “A” produces 50 widgets a day which can be sold for $5/each and Business “B” produces 100 widgets a day with the same selling price and resources, which business would you choose to invest in?

It’s easy to see why businesses invest so much money in the fastest and smartest people and tools when profitability matters.

Reason #3: Enjoyment.

Sometimes tools make the mundane more fun and that’s enough reason to justify a tool/toy/software purchase.

Not surprisingly, I’m a fan of David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) productivity ideas. One piece of advice that initially sounded strange to me was in the purchase of a labeler to label your folders. His theory was having a neatly organized folder system made you more likely to use it and stay organized.

Reluctantly, I bought a labeler and labeled all my files. Surprisingly I found his advice works! I find it faster to file and find documents in a system that is clearly and professionally labeled versus trying to decifer my horrible handwriting and perhaps not filing it in the first place … which is where I was before adopting the labeler.

Of course it’s tough to quantify the “enjoyment factor,” so be reasonable and realistic with the effort you use to research and money you invest in your tools. $20 for a labeler wasn’t too much of a stretch. $4000 for a slightly faster computer …. more-so.

Reason #4: Freedom.

We’re finite beings and have limited resources of time, money, energy and passion. More time, money and less anxiety in your life gives you choices to pour yourself into projects and people that matter most.

Whether it’s chasing after a new business idea, investing time in your family and friends, or giving back to the world at large, having the freedom to release your energy on things of your heart is a wonderful way to live with purpose.

Cool, but what now?

Before finding productivity tools that matter, find out what truly matters to you. There’s no use in chasing after more time, money and happiness if you haven’t clearly thought-out your passions in life and what you’ll do with yourself when you aren’t tied down to today’s todo list.

Here’s 3 simple steps to get you started:

1. Write down 3 lists of goals: (a) personal, (b) family and (c) business.

2. Prioritize the above all in one mega-list.

3. Share the top 3 with the closest person to you.

For those of you who have business or life-partners, it might be eye-opening to do this on your own and then come together to share your thoughts with each other.

Productivity and You.

I hope this sheds some light on my seeming obsession with productivity. Honest: it’s not as unhealthy as it looks 🙂 … but a means to an end of creating the freedom to pursue what matters most to me ….

Would love to hear your thoughts. Agree? Disagree? If there’s enough interest, I’ll be starting a Productivity category for this blog where I’ll share my productivity tools, tips and techniques in photography and beyond. Would love to hear from those who attended yesterday’s productivity webinar too.

Whoever you are, hit me up in the comments to weigh in. Feedback good and bad is truly appreciated 🙂

Thanks for reading friend.