White collar workers punch in at 8 o’clock and punch out at 5. In between they have a routine set of responsibilities, most of which revolve around managing people who are responsible for tasks.
Blue collar workers are also punching the clock but spend their days producing very tangible results that directly correlate to the amount of time they put in.
This new thinking creative class falls somewhere in the middle. Oftentimes they still produce something, like the blue collar folks. And they also spend time managing people like white collar workers. But, the majority of their time is spent on thought.
Designers deliver you a beautiful poster that required 3 hours of work in Photoshop but only after 3 hours of thinking about colors and fonts, brainstorming ideas, and doing some research for inspiration. Consultants spend a great deal of time thinking about what is effective for their industry before they ever step foot into an evaluation to consult for a client. Writers spend a great deal of time thinking about ideas, doing research, and having conversations about their next book before they ever write a word.
In this new thinking class of work, the time invested doesn’t directly correlate to the amount of “product” at the end of the day. Nor is the time spent an accurate indicator of energy spent. An hour spent brainstorming ideas for a new sermon series is not equivalent in terms of energy to an hour spent approving expense reports and returning some simple emails.
The dilemma becomes: how do you measure the “productivity” of your time if you’re judging it simply on the number of hours you log in any given day? How do you measure thinking? And how do you justify feeling exhausted after time spent thinking even though you haven’t produced anything tangible from it?
If you consider yourself part of this new in between group of workers, how do you measure the productivity of your day?