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Time Management vs Personal Productivity – What’s the difference?

These two are quite often used as synonyms, even I sometimes catch myself doing it. But there’s a fundamental difference. Productivity is the outcome whereas time management is one of the tools to achieve said outcome. There are a variety of other tools you need to achieve productivity.

Here’s an overview:

Productivity is often used in an industrial context and people imagine time and motion studies when I talk about what I do (I leave those the industrial experts). That’s why I always talk about Personal Productivity. This means how you use your time, how much time you have to refresh and recharge and spend on the things in life that make life worth living – family, friends, fun – while still getting all the important things at work done, too. It’s important to have this balance to avoid burnout. Especially this past year (2020) has shown us how we can overdo it, if the lines between home life and work life get blurred and we don’t get to switch off from work at all.

Time management is probably the most technical part of your personal productivity. It’s all the tools and techniques you can use to make the most of your time. It also includes planning, prioritising, and task management and whether you use the “Eisenhower Matrix”, the “Pomodoro Technique”, “Time Blocking”, or all three.

In addition to time management, there are your mindset (what you feel is important, your values and beliefs, etc.), your environment (how productive is the place you work at) and your habits (what you do and how you behave without thinking). Goal setting also plays a major part in your personal productivity.

So where do I start?

All of these elements are important and shouldn’t be ignored. This does not mean you have to work on all of them at once. I would actively discourage you to do so, you will get overwhelmed. Working on any one of these elements will improve your personal productivity.

I take my clients through most of these elements during my 12-week Coaching Programme, depending on their situation and their needs.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment. Alternatively, connect with me on LinkedIn where I regularly share useful content around all these topics.


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