Personal productivity Vs. Process productivity: What’s wasting your time?

09 August 2021


Or to put it more simply: man vs. machine. What is causing your team to lose time and not hit the goals and objectives of the business?

In its broadest terms, you can separate productivity into two areas; personal productivity or process productivity.

Personal productivity

Personal productivity refers to the types of issues that stop an individual from maximising their own time in the business. There are a lot of different things that could cause your personal productivity to dip, such as a lack of engagement in the task or business, workplace distractions, a poor work-life balance or generally being disorganised.

These factors can have a huge impact on an individual’s productivity, and therefore have a knock-on impact on the rest of the business.

Fortunately, there are plenty of support materials to coach and encourage your team to improve their personal productivity. Practising mindfulness, adopting a clean inbox policy or practising a productivity approach such as Pomodoro (I’m using that technique to help me write this blog) have all been proven to improve an individual’s productivity.

Of course, there’s no one size fits all approach to improving someone’s productivity. For example, what works for a sales professional may not work for an accountant. It’s important that we understand the role and therefore the support that a person needs.

Process productivity

If we define personal productivity as the way an individual takes control of their own time and outputs, process productivity is about providing the right tools to enable you and your time to perform.

Identifying the barriers to the flow of information through your business is the start of your journey to increasing process productivity.

Typical process productivity challenges could mean you are entering the same information into separate systems, that there is a breakdown in communications between departments, or that there’s a bottleneck within your business where orders may get ‘stuck’.

These are all symptoms of inefficient processes. What’s more, these productivity challenges don’t impact one colleague, they can put your entire business at risk.

Whether your goals are to grow your business or simply stop working 80-hour weeks, improving your process productivity will help realise your business’ potential.

Improving your productivity

To ensure your business is as productive as it can be, you need to have strategies to monitor and improve both the personal productivity and process productivity.

By identifying performance indicators for both a business function and each individual within that function, you’ll soon be able to diagnose whether the problem lies with the process, or whether the individual may require additional support.