Speed, velocity, tasks, and priorities

The difference between speed and velocity is a great parallel for the distinction between activity and productivity. Speed, like activity, concerns itself with movement. Velocity and productivity, on the other hand, care both about movement and direction. Velocity is moving toward an objective – speed isn’t.

Thanks Shane, from The Farnam Street Blog, for the visual

An easy trick to identify whether we’re moving at speed or at velocity is to ask if we’re task focused or priority focused. A task focus entails working our way down a task list (this can be an actual task list or take its more popular form – an email inbox). These task lists are never ending as it is easy for others to add to it. There is also never a lack of urgent things to be done and being task focused means walking out at the end of day feeling dissatisfied despite having been busy throughout.

A priority list, on the other hand, defines the 1-3 most important things you’d like to get done by the end of the day. This flows from a top 1-3 priority list for the week and contains the most important things you’d like to get done for the week to be successful.

Convert speed to velocity. It is only a worthwhile hustle if it counts toward something that moves the needle.