Watching Netflix all day can actually be productive

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Laura Mae Martin is Google’s in-house productivity expert and just offered some of the most useful productivity advice I’ve ever heard.

Instead of defining productivity in terms of how much we get done, she says, we should define it as doing what we intended.

“If you spent a day watching Netflix. . . that’s a productive day–if you had intended to watch Netflix,” she said.

If you’re tired and need to take some time to re-charge and do something effortless, that’s a good use of your time. But her point isn’t about respecting our need for rest so much as redefining productivity in terms of intent.

If you intend to do legal work but binge-watch Netflix instead, you’re just procrastinating. That’s also true if you intend to do legal work but you bug out of the office to do some networking, because that’s not what you intended either.

“The secret is “knowing what you want to do, intending to do it, and doing what you wanted to do,” she explained.

When we define productivity in terms of doing what we intend, we become more aware of what we put on our plate, and what we don’t. We think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

Which means we’re more likely to do what’s important, not just what’s next on the list.

At the end of the day, when you look at what you accomplished, ask yourself if you did what you intended. If you did, great. You had a productive day.

If you didn’t, you’ll be more mindful of what you put on your plate tomorrow.

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