For the past few years I've had a productivity tag to organize/centralize all of the thinking and writing I've been doing on topics related to how we work. User experience stuff and technology, work-flow management and design, "life hacks," stuff about the processes of writing, and so forth.

The truth is that the "productivity" blogging niche is pretty big. LifeHacker, 43Folders, and many other smaller blogs seem to address these issues with a greater attention to detail than I am able to muster. Also while I think it's interesting, and useful to deliberate on these issues, there's little--if any--intrinsic interest in this kind of thing. Outside of the human factors engineering aspects, which I think I'm probably the only one who geeks out on that stuff.

My other issue with doing "productivity" blogging, is that I don't really feel like we need to be any more productive. This article about the relationship between productivity and standards of living, has weighed on my mind a lot in the past couple of months. The challenge shouldn't be how we can be "more productive," because we're already pretty damn productive, but rather how can we be more effective at accomplishing the things that we want to do.

This is a problem that writers or "wanna be writers" seem to have most often. After a certain point the issue isn't that we don't have time (a problem that can be solved with priorities and being more productive in our other tasks), or skill based (writing is tough, but it's also a learning process and after a while one starts to get it) but rather how to use the time that we have to write effectively on the projects that are important to us. I suspect other types of creative folk experience this in different ways.

Where as productivity seems to focus around the conversion from raw time to whatever the output is, I think effectivity is more about how enviroment, stress management, sleep management, and project planning combine and interact to make it easier for creative types to "do their work." A lot of the lifehacks that are popular these days, focus on how to get more functionality out of your computer, or how to multi-task more efficently, or organize your todo lists better. And so forth.

In contrast, I think "Effectivness-based lifehacks," would revolve around how to manage your sleep more effectively, or how to order your routine so that you have enough "down time" to recharge so that you can be effective durring your "up time."

I'm not proposing anything new that I don't think happens already, but I think there's a big distinction between these approaches to personal organization and workflow, and I'm throwing my hat in the pile behind a focus on effective rather than productive behaviors.

So there.