How do you measure productivity?

Most of us are struggling to deal with all the information we have to work with for our jobs and lives.  We live high-bandwidth lifestyles.  So how can we be more productive?


The Information Work Productivity Council (IWPC) [] is an independent group of companies and academics that have joined together to study the issue of information work productivity. The goal of the Council is to build a model that measures productivity in today’s information-centric business environment.


How the average user spends their time at work

Recently, the IWPC conducted a user survey - IWPC Personal Information and Knowledge Management Report - and found some interesting data on how the average user spends his/her time at work.  According to the study, the average user:


  • Spends 3 hours and 14 minutes a day using technologies to process work-related information—just over 40% of an 8-hour work day
  • Devotes 1.58 hours/day to e-mail (49% of the information processing time, and 20% of an 8 hour day
  • Spends 47 minutes, or 24% of IP time on telephone and voice mail
  • Receives 44 e-mails daily (a few people received as many as 500 a day)
  • Sends 17 e-mails daily and has more than 3 e-mail accounts
  • Receives 18 calls, places 15 calls, and gets 7.6 voice mail messages
  • Participates in 2.75 conference calls a week (if any)


I'm sure mileage varies depending on what you do for a living.  I personally spend a LOT of time doing e-mail, managing files, taking notes, writing reports, and synthesizing information (RSS, browsing, etc.)


There are huge opportunities for companies to help workers be more productive personally, in teams, and in the context of the organization in which they work.  This is the driving force behind the Microsoft Office System.  Many products under this new brand were released in October 2003. The internal code name for this wave of integrated products was IWave - as in a wave of Information Worker productivity applications.


In the next few posts, I'll detail how I'm saving hours every week with new Office applications and other tools, and include some examples of team and organization productivity that we have realized internally at Microsoft and at some of our large customers.


Please feel free to let me know about any apps or tools that you use to get more done in less time; I'd love to hear what's working for you!