As a software developer, I measure my work output in time worked. Using time as a productivity measurement has the added bonus that it can be easily compared to other time based metrics. The down side to using time as a measurement is that it only measures quantity. The quality of the work has to be measured through additional metrics.
I have written before on how I track my time 24/7 using a tool called Toggl. It is one of the keys to my personal productivity system. I use this consistent time data and boil it down to my three daily performance indicators:
Did I spend my time according to my values? Spending your time according to your values is a classic metric that is covered in almost every productivity system I've studied. This means you need to have values and review/revise them regularly. I keep mine in a Google document and have it printed and hung on my wall as well. This becomes a simple check that lets me stay on target for the big picture.
Did I use my time working on the things I said I would work on? When I prepare my daily plan, part of that is to compare the last daily plan with the way I actually spent my time. This "planned versus actual" review, and more importantly diving into the reasons they are off, lets me refine the process, improve my estimating abilities, and try to make better decisions the next time around.
Did I do a good day's work? I borrow the concept of a good day's work from Remote by Jason Fried. He described it as a way of knowing when to call it a day when you work from home and don't have the classic end of day routine to let you know it's time to go home. I try to use it that way as well, but for me it is also my basic gut check at the end of the day on whether or not I spent the day well, or deviated from the plan too much and for the wrong reasons.
That sums up my approach to measuring my productivity. I would love to hear how you measure yours.
I have a newsletter...
Many of my posts end up in Digital Ambit's monthly newsletter. It is the best way to keep up with what Dagny and I are doing in the business world. I appreciate your support and will only send you things we think are valuable.