How to objectively measure your productivity?

I’m trying to see if various foods and sleep routines have an effect on my productivity during and after work. But it seems extremely difficult to objectively measure productivity. For example, if you’re a developer, you can’t use lines of code written (uncorrelated with productivity), time spent, or # of pomodoros done (can work for 30 minutes unfocused or focused and it’ll still be 30 minutes).

It gets even more difficult if you try to measure your productivity for non work-related tasks that you do after work; I have a laundry list of tasks that I want to do in my personal life. But I can’t measure my productivity by # of tasks done since they all differ in size. My best guess right now is to give an estimate for the size of each task and measure total size of all tasks done divided by time devoted to all the tasks, but even then if you spend less time after work one day compared to another, then that could impact your results since your productivity likely decreases as you spend more time working.

Any ideas?

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Great question! Lynette Bye recently tried to answer that question for herself:

I’m really interested to hear if Lynette’s experiment is helpful for you and what you and others come up with to answer this question!


tl;dr on Lynette’s experiment: she gave different weights to words drafted, words outlined, words edited, and words proofed, and gave each day a score. The more hours she worked during a day, the higher the total daily score was, but the lower the hourly score was.

Right on lines of code - lines of code are of course an expense and should be thought of as “lines spent.”

As far as focus - one approach would be to measure the number of times you check your phone or look at an unrelated webpage, or turn to any other distraction. Or the total time spent doing that. Presumably if you’re not websurfing or checking your phone, you’re being productive, right?

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