Jason Fried

July 20, 2023

Effective > Productive

So much talk about hacking productivity these days. There’s an endless stream of methodologies and tools promising to make you more productive. But more productive at what?

Productivity is for machines, not for people. There’s nothing meaningful about packing some number of work units into some amount of time or squeezing more into less.

Machines can work 24/7; humans can’t.

When people focus on productivity, they end up focusing on being busy. Filling every moment with something to do. And there’s always more to do!

We don’t believe in busyness at Basecamp. We believe in effectiveness. How little can we do? How much can we cut out? Instead of adding to-dos, we add to-don’ts.

Being productive is about occupying your time—filling your schedule to the brim and getting as much as you can. Being effective is about finding more of your time unoccupied and open for other things besides work. Time for leisure, time for family and friends. Or time for doing absolutely nothing.

Yes, it’s perfectly okay to have nothing to do. Or, better yet, nothing worth doing. If you’ve only got three hours of work to do on a given day, then stop. Don’t fill your day with five more just to stay busy or feel productive. Not doing something that isn’t worth doing is a wonderful way to spend your time.

via It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work


About Jason Fried

Hey! I'm Jason, the Co-Founder and CEO at 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. Subscribe below to follow my thinking on business, design, product development, and whatever else is on my mind. Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading.