We all want to do well, to be creative, and to get a lot done during the day. But it is inevitable that we sometimes will end our day, looking back on what we have accomplished, and really wonder about our overall productivity. An important question that we should be asking ourselves, if we keep in mind that being productive can look vastly different, minute to minute, throughout the day.

You can’t go wrong setting pen to paper, or fingers to keys. Yes, we must spend time everyday writing. It is understood in the job. And, as it turns out, an important part of being a writer is to write consistently.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend all your time pounding away at the keyboard, or sketching out innovative ideas, or responding to emails. The way we accomplish our work can take many forms. Taking time throughout the day is also important. Five minutes to relax can be incredibly constructive.

I spend a lot of time thinking about routines and habits. Focusing on those moments throughout the day makes me more creative, not necessarily more productive. I absolutely want to make progress, no question, but I also want to improve. The goal must be to write better, not necessarily more. We can’t make progress by putting more work in front of ourselves.

In that way productivity becomes a trap, as it would have us focus on quantity over quality. It ignores learning or reflection in its traditional understanding as you can’t point to either as ‘done.’ But progress is productive, growth is constructive, and moving forward is the goal.

Your goal is not to do more, it’s to do better.

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