Is productivity really about the amount of tasks we complete or is about the quality of our work? ?

As I was watching the video assigned for our blog post this week, I will admit that I had various “tabs” open in my mind and I kept thinking about my “to-do list”. Ever since I entered the workforce, it was ingrained in me that multi-tasking was one of the most desirable traits an employee could hold. Multi-tasking has always been mentioned as a desirable quality in all my revised versions of my CV and I never saw it as a negative factor that could possibly affect my productivity. As James Hamblin started mentioning how he could not remember the last time he did something without trying to do something else, I was getting up to empty the dishwasher. As I listened to the remainder of the video, I started considering how present I am when I undertake different tasks throughout the day and if in actuality I am being as “productive” as I think I am.


Being productive has almost become a norm nowadays. It feels like once we accomplish what we set ourselves to achieve, we quickly have more goals that we want to attain. For every task I can cross off my to-do list, I am adding another three tasks to take its place. I constantly feel like I am not being as productive as I could be, and I am always looking for ways to accomplish more. When I am teaching, I feel like we do not stop at all during the day and at times the need to be productive is overwhelming. Just the other day at school, I was teaching a lesson, circulating making sure everyone understood and stayed on task, sharpening students’ pencils, helping students with their backpacks, and getting band-aids all at once. At times, it feels like there is so much pressure put on us to be productive. Referring back to my classmates’ presentation this week about productivity suites and presentation tools, I was surprised by the numerous applications and programs at our disposal to increase our productivity levels at work. It was very interesting to see how all of us in the class use so many of these productivity suites and presentation tools to increase our productivity levels at school. While reading “Online Presentation Tools”, I started to reflect on the amount of time that goes into preparation and training when teachers incorporate productivity suites and presentation tools into their teaching. There always seem to be new applications that are being released or a previous program that has been updated. Having a variety of tools to choose from to help us be more productive at school and staying up to date with these tools is just part of teaching. Nevertheless, do we consider the amount of personal time we are asking teachers to use for training and preparing materials? Time is a coveted luxury in the teaching profession, and we are never given extra time to complete additional tasks such as training and preparation. Teachers are expected to go the extra mile because we care for our students and we are expected to complete many of the tasks we do not have time for during our work hours, during our free time. It is great that we have so many options available to us to incorporate into our teaching to help us engage our students and help us be more efficient. However, I feel we need to be given time at work to learn how to use these tools and prepare materials to use with our students, and stop setting unreasonable expectations for teachers to do all this extra work outside of work hours.


The internet is a versatile instrument when it comes to teaching. We can use it for research purposes and to gather information. We can use the internet to help us communicate more efficiently with others. If used properly, we can use the internet to enhance our student’s learning and engage them in their learning. The internet can help us accomplish so many different things and if used aptly in our teaching, it can help us be more efficient in our job. Nonetheless, the internet can easily distract us and our students if we are not using it properly and we have not been taught how to be productive when working online. I mentioned this last week in my blog post and I feel it is fitting to mention it again that whatever tool we choose to incorporate into our teaching has to have a purpose and should be done in a meaningful way. I know when I want to be present at work or at home, I put my phone away. If I am teaching or at home with my family, my phone is out of sight, so I do not get distracted. If I am out for coffee with friends, that phone stays in my purse and I do my best not to look at it. I put my phone away when I want to be engaged and present in the moment. Nonetheless, it is a great tool to use when I am looking for a quick answer and it is super convenient when all I have to do is type in a question into google to get an answer within seconds. When we consider the idea of distractions, I do believe anything can be a distraction if you choose it to be a distraction. If I choose to use my computer to complete my homework then it helps with my productivity. But, if I choose to use that same computer and surf the web instead of finishing my homework then it has become a distraction. I believe the internet can be an incredibly productive tool as well as provide many opportunities for distractions – it really depends on how we choose to use this tool.


There are most certainly techniques we can try to help us stay focused when trying to complete tasks and up our productivity levels. I find having a “reward system” for completing tasks helps me stay focussed on completing the task at hand (something little like watching a show, grabbing a coffee, etc.). I find taking some movement breaks when I reach my burn-out point is crucial to help me stay motivated to complete a task – I like taking puppers for a walk when I need a break because it makes us both happy ?. I also like having a designated workspace at home where I can do homework or finish schoolwork. I find that being organized helps me be more efficient and having a dedicated workspace at home makes me want to do homework. I also, put my phone away when I am trying to do homework and put the ringer on silent until I finish. Moreover, as James Hamblin mentioned, it is important to focus on doing one task properly and being focussed on that sole task. When we start trying to multi-task, it sometimes becomes counteractive to our productivity and we end up being less productive. I feel that when we are completing menial tasks, it is possible to multitask. However, when we are working on finishing more demanding tasks, we are probably best to eliminate unnecessary distractions and focus on completing one task at a time to ensure it is done properly. More importantly, I feel that when we look at the concept of productivity we need to understand that the quality of our work should take precedence over the amount of work we produce.



  • Brian

    You make a good point about the need for breaks for teachers at school to get the necessary things completed. I was reflecting on my own practice of not providing my students as much ‘break’ time as they may possibly need. For many of my students, being expected to write for an entire class is not reasonable, whereas for others, they can plug away. We work hard to provide a structure for our students to be successful, but are we able to do that for every student?

  • Gunpreesh .

    Wonderful thoughts Valeska, The internet has many distractions that can prevent work from getting done, but it can be used in a positive manner as well. The internet is a wonderful resource but has negative outcomes when taken advantage of. Taking away privileges can help students realize that the internet is exactly that, a resource. I believe that Internet contains a wealth of knowledge and can be a great source for information gathering and research. Also, the world is getting more and more digitized and students need to know how to function in this digital era.

  • Gilles Dauphinais

    Your comment on “breaks” for teachers and students was on par. I witnessed some grade 5 write a CAT 4 standardized test this past week. One section was a timed 60 minutes. Most students lacked the stamina to work uninterrupted for this period of time. Maybe it is time to consider implementing breaks into these standardized tests.

  • Shristy

    Hello Valeska,

    “Being productive has almost become a norm nowadays.” Indeed productivity is a vital part of our day to day life and we are constantly trying to complete one task or the other.
    I also think that breaks are very important and I just can’t function without taking them. I have observed that sometimes we consider using our phone as a part of a break but I think in spite of using our phones we should just think of something more relaxing.
    Thank you for such an amazing post.

  • Shivali .

    Great post valeska
    The Internet is a great source of information and it helps us to get knowledge from various resources and makes our life easy we can get any information with the help of the internet. but on the other side, it is a distraction also and using too many tabs for some important work always distracts from the work. I agree with you that doing important tasks is very important we put all things from us that are distracting such as phones. according to me the phone is the biggest distraction and doing important work it is very important to put the phone away.

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