How I Measure My Day to Stop “Inaction or Too Much Action”

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Those days when everything feels like a slog, when our goals seem to drift further away, and when idleness starts to feel like the new normal.

It’s a slippery slope.

Before you know it, days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and you’re stuck in a rut.

Time, that precious commodity, slips through your fingers, never to be reclaimed.

It’s easy to get blindsided by temporary setbacks and frustrations.

You might catch yourself thinking,

  • “Why am I not making progress towards my goal?”
  • “When will I ever shed these stubborn pounds?”
  • “Does anyone even appreciate my work?”

It’s enough to make anyone feel fed up, enough to make you want to take a little break.

But beware, that ‘little break’ can quickly turn into a whole month gone.

Unmasking the Illusion of Motion in Productivity

I’ve been there too. Not too long ago, I had one of those days.

I was busy—oh,  so busy—juggling a multitude of tasks all day long.

But when the day ended, I had nothing to show for it.

How could that be?

The answer hit me like a bolt of lightning.

I had been confusing motion with action.

As Benjamin Franklin wisely said,

Never confuse motion with action.

You see, I was doing lots of things, giving myself the illusion of a productive day.

But the harsh truth?

None of those activities were taking me closer to my goals.

Sure, by the end of my 100-day challenge, I had managed to get at least one thing done each day.

But let’s be honest, after nearly 100 days, shouldn’t my bar be set higher than just feeling smug about finishing one task? 

Rating Your Day: A Unique Self-Assessment Productivity Strategy

So, let’s dive into the world of self-assessment productivity, where we’ll learn how to distinguish between mere motion and meaningful action and how to turn our ‘busy’ days into truly productive ones.

Let’s embark on this journey of productivity self-assessment together and see how it can transform our days, our goals, and our lives.

Unleashing the Power of Self-Assessment in Productivity

So, I had an idea:

What if I rated my day?

I decided to put this to the test and rate my performance over the next five days.

This self-assessment productivity exercise gave me a chance to observe my activities throughout the day.

And boy, was it an eye-opener!

I realised I had been squandering precious time on unproductive tasks.

Here’s how my 5-day rating went:

Day 1: I scored a 4*.

Not bad, right?

But let’s be honest, I was on my best behaviour, knowing I’d be assessing myself at the end of the day.

I was deliberate with my time, spending it consciously and wisely, like a kid eagerly waiting for rewards for her good behaviour.

Day 2: I plummeted to a 1*.

I slipped back into my old habits, becoming complacent with my day.

Day 3: I managed a 3*.

After the previous day’s disappointment, I resolved to do better and saw a slight improvement.

Day 4: I hit rock bottom again with a 1*.

Day 5: I bounced back with a 4*.

My days were a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

What I needed was consistency.

Looking at my 5-day rating, I realised it was a miniature reflection of how I spend a month, a year, or even my entire life.

And frankly, I didn’t like the picture it painted.

So how did I measure and rate my day?

I asked myself a simple question: “If I hired someone to do the same work as I did, would I be happy to pay her $20 per hour for 8 hours a day?”

It’s not always easy to judge your work objectively, but this thought experiment worked wonders.

After all, money has a strange way of bringing clarity!

When I felt my work quality was good enough to pay someone else to do it, I’d give myself a 5-star rating.

But if I thought, “No way am I paying for this!”, then it was a 1-star day.

I realised I had two such wasteful days out of five!

This brutal and honest assessment of my day measured how effectively and efficiently I spent my time.

Because, let’s face it, time is money.

And in the world of self-assessment productivity, every second counts.

Applying the Self-Assessment Productivity Strategy to Your Life

So, how can you apply this self-assessment productivity strategy to your own life?

If you’re self-employed or working from home, like me, you could use the same approach.

At the end of the day, ask yourself: Would you be happy to pay someone else for the work you’ve done?

This isn’t about the number of hours you’ve worked; it’s about the quality of the work you’ve produced.

Imagine you’re paying someone who spends their day uploading cat photos, binge-watching YouTube celebrities, scrolling through news feeds, or emailing friends.

Not exactly money well spent, right? 

Now, if you’re investing your spare time in side hustles or building your own business, think about the work you’re doing.

The research, the time, the effort.

Would you be satisfied paying someone else for that level of work? 

The Pitfalls of Inaction and Overactivity in Productivity

When it comes to time management, you might find that you’re either not taking enough action or taking too much.

Both scenarios can be problematic.

Strategies for Avoiding Inaction in Productivity

If you’re not taking enough action, you’re not giving your all to achieve your goals.

Maybe you’re not even trying.

To avoid this inaction, revisit your goals and remind yourself why they’re important to you.

Examine your belief system.

Are you holding onto the false belief that you can’t achieve your goals?

If so, it’s time to work on your mindset and fill it with positivity.

Look for inspiration in people who have achieved what you want to achieve.

Then, take the next step towards your goals.

Just one step, and then another.

Keep moving forward.

Tactics to Prevent Overactivity in Productivity

On the flip side, you might be taking too much action.

You’re bouncing from one task to another, feeling like you’ve accomplished a lot.

But when you look back, you realise you’ve just been hopping around without making any real progress towards your goals.

Your day is a whirlwind of distractions.

I’ve been there.

To avoid this overactivity, start by recognising your distractions.

Emails, phone calls, social media, people, even food – these can all pull your attention away from what’s important.

Learn to apply the 80/20 rule to prioritise your tasks.

Be mindful of Parkinson’s Law – are you allocating too much time to certain tasks?

Visualise your ideal life.

Feel it.

Remind yourself why you want that life so badly.

Keep this vision at the forefront of your mind as you power through your most important task of the day.

Then take a break.

Refresh yourself.

And start again with the next important task.

Final Thoughts on Enhancing Productivity with Self-Assessment

If you’re not making progress with your goals, try this self-assessment productivity strategy.

Spend the next five days observing how you spend your time and rating each day.

Ask yourself:

  • Would you be happy to pay someone else for the work you’ve done today?
  • Should you keep them on or let them go?

Write down the pros and cons of each day.

The things you did well and the things you didn’t.

Summarise your five days.

Remember, this is a snapshot of how you spend your life.

If you’re happy with what you see, keep doing what you’re doing.

If not, it’s time to let go of your old self and hire a new one.

It’s time to start making real progress towards your goals.

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