Forget productivity — embrace effectiveness

David Andrew Wiebe
4 min readJul 21, 2018

Productivity is much simpler than it may appear, though a lot of people seem to make a fuss about it. Today, it has essentially become synonymous with squeezing as much as you can out of yourself until you burn out.

Getting lots done is easy to do if you’re willing to get up early, stay up late and shut out distractions. Trust me, you’ll get plenty done.

But if you keep doing that for long enough, your productivity will suffer. You’ll be too tired to think straight, and if you’re engaged in creative work, you’ll end up working at a much slower pace than normal because of exhaustion.

And, if you keep going in the face of that, you’ll probably end up getting sick and you’ll need to spend time recovering from the damage you’ve done to your body.

Bye, bye, productivity.

It’s much smarter to do your work sustainably and consistently. If you take this approach, you might not outwork them, but you will outlive them.

It used to be that productive people ruled the world. I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore.

Show me someone who’s highly productive and I will show you a good employee. Show me someone who’s highly effective and I will show you a good entrepreneur.

What’s the difference?

Productivity often doesn’t account for priorities. If every task is treated as equal, inevitably we end up putting off some of the most important work we need to do.

How do you know what work is most important? It usually falls under the category of “not urgent but important” work.

A business is a system that generates money. So, if you’re trying to figure out whether to create content to build an audience or create a product to generate sales, I would argue the higher priority would be creating the product.

Now, I understand that both approaches work. You can build an audience first and sell to them later or you can sell first and build an audience later. Neither approach can be discounted entirely.

But it would suck to build an audience only to find they won’t buy from you. It would suck to be holding onto an idea for years and when you finally launch it, no one shows…

David Andrew Wiebe

Award-winning composer, best-selling author, podcaster, musician coach. See what I’m up to now: