Task-Centric vs. Outcome-Centric: A Different Perspective on Productivity.

Carl Pullein
5 min readDec 6, 2023

There’s a common misconception about being productive — that productivity is about completing a lot of tasks each day, and therefore, to become more productive, all you have to do is complete more tasks. Of course, this is not true.

Becoming more productive means doing work that matters so your measurable output increases. Completing two tasks that move a project or goal forward will produce far better long-term results than completing ten tasks that have no impact on any of your important projects or goals.

Stop picking the low-hanging fruit.

We have a natural tendency to go after the low-hanging fruit. To check off the easy tasks because doing so makes us feel good. We get that dopamine hit, which puts a smile on our faces and makes us want more. So we populate our to-do lists with even more easy, non-important tasks we can check off and get that dopamine hit. It becomes a vicious circle. We put more and more unimportant tasks on our to-do lists, hoping for more dopamine hits.

We tell ourselves we are completing essential tasks. After all, we must have a clean desk to focus better on our work and ensure we have enough staples in our top drawer just in case we run out while stapling important documents. Oh, and we should check our email just one more time in case something important has come in.

Begin the day with a simple plan.

We all have easy routine tasks and hard project work to complete each day. Difficulties begin when we are not clear about which work is essential. Prioritising our work is a big part of becoming more productive. This is why starting the day with a plan based on what current projects are important is vital. However, routine work can quickly take over the day if we are not careful.

Assign time each day/week for your routine admin work.

There are a couple of ways to ensure the less important routine work does not take over your day. One way is to assign one day each week for admin work. This could be Friday afternoon, for example. Fridays are notoriously difficult for focusing on important work because we are often…

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Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com