Truly productive people find the right balance between the results and the process

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Results or process — one of these mindsets is the reason you’ve come this far.

You are either motivated by the outcome you expect every day, week or month, or by the process that gets you the outcome.

The important question is— which mindset succeeds over time?

The results is simply the final score — who won the game, what are the sales numbers, how much money did business make, etc.

People who are motivated by the results are more interested in the outcome, regardless of the productivity methods used to achieve it. They are not too bothered by the process — they become much more focused on action “flowing” towards the result. Results-oriented people focus on the big picture. They think of work as huge projects to be completed.

“If you think in results, the way to get the result is not that important. What matters is the result itself. This means that your way to get things done stays very flexible. If approach one did not work, doesn’t matter much! The approach was not important, the result is,” writes Myrko Thum.

If you look forward to celebrating your big goals, it pays to create sub-goals, mini “projects” that can help you get to the bigger one.

Example, results-oriented writers struggle to write articles, and books if they don’t enjoy the process. Your work can suffer if you too focused on becoming a successful writer without an appreciation for the process. Long-term success for writers may involve a lot of writing.

Process, on the other hand, is the repeatable approach to solving a problem or getting the results you want. It’s how you get to the finish line.

If you are motivated by the process, you pay more attention to the systems, principles and methods for getting the results. People who swear by the process believe the results will take care of itself if you process right.

What does the task mean? What will happen on the way to the finish line? Those are some of the questions process-oriented people ask themselves.

They believe that if they are not comfortable with the details, they might not give their very best, and the results will suffer.

People who are process-oriented are better able to do their work independently by following a specifically designed process that works for them. As long as they are reminded of the big picture every now and then, they have very little need for supervision.

If you are concerned about being more efficient every day and spend more time researching and implementing productivity techniques to get things done, you are probably a process-oriented person.

For long-term success, find a perfect personal balance

To get more things done, or success in your chosen career, maintain an open mind, and try these approaches, measure your results, and do more of what makes you come alive.

Art Markman, PhD, a professor of Psychology and author of Smart Thinking, explains, “Successful writers don’t just start writing when they have a certain story or book to work on. They write regularly. Often, the most innovative people are expert generalists who are constantly seeking opportunities to learn new things. Those habits are actually a productivity strategy in disguise.”

If your writing process is a drag — a difficult slog to get from point A to B, focus on topics that not just educate your audience, but helps you learn in the process of research and writing. Don’t place too much emphasis on seeing it published, but enjoy the small victories of putting together ideas, making progress and learning something new. This approach works better for me.

In the end, a process-based approach is not necessarily better than a results-oriented mindset. Finding the right balance is important to your long-term success. If you are too process-driven, you are in danger of losing momentum at some point at the expense of the final results.

In as much as focus on results encourages initiative and dynamism, if you are too results-driven, you are in danger of poor implementation. You can easily miss a new and better approach that can make work faster if you get too attached to the big picture.

Outcome alone as the measure of success isn’t enough — you need a solid process behind it. As you strive to get more things done, pay attention to how, not just what, you are doing. You are likely to end up with better results.

You can use both mindsets — results-oriented and process-oriented to your benefit. They don’t oppose each other — they enhance each other.

Harold V Melcher once wrote: “Live each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.”

Experiment and do more of what works for you and gets you closer to the big picture faster. Your approach to work is specific to you. Many productivity hacks won’t work for you because, over the long term — one size doesn’t fit all.

This article first appeared on Medium.