Last week, I asked, “What would make 2018 more productive for you? Please email me the first thing that comes to your mind.” Before I summarize the responses, a big thank you to the 800+ people who sent me personalized responses. Someone pointed out that asking the question itself already helped because it motivated her to review her plans and targets.

My question had been intentionally open, and as such, I received feedback on productivity ideas pertaining to both personal and professional life. In some ways, answers were all over the place, including numerous answers that I had no idea were somehow related to productivity. That said, as themes emerged, at times, I could sense some respondents have their productivity initiatives under control with others struggling. I’ll touch on the main themes below.

First off, to the classic definition of productivity. A lot of respondents mentioned they wanted more time:

My first thought was more time – but then I quickly realized that is the wrong answer - as it is not possible - and productivity is “return on time” not time itself

Well, there is no “wrong answer” and, as many indicated in their responses they were half joking about wanting more time in the day and/or week. The biggest time sucker judging by the lashing out by respondents appear to be social media enabled smart phones:

Great question and my answer is cutting back on my "time saving" devices, especially my phone. I'm dealing with teenagers spending too much time on their devices as well so I'm leading by example. I've found my productivity is up when I'm not checking it constantly and things are better in our family when we are unplugged.

Warmer weather and cutting off social media.

I already took the Facebook app off my phone. I'm hoping it helps me use my free time (including my 45-min commute) for reading books and magazines and listening to high-quality podcasts.

Everyone putting their phones down!

My main thought is more quiet time without interruptions, not any gadget.