I often read - and write - about productivity, but what am I actually thinking of when the word "productivity" comes up? How should I measure how productive I'm being?

My current method is really simple: I count my hours billed. As long as I'm doing enough work, I class my day as productive.

There are a whole bunch of problems with this approach:

  1. It prioritizes work over everything else.
  2. Some days are filled with fixing bugs across a number of different projects. This adds up to more billed time, so I earn more than if I'd concentrated on a single project.
  3. It doesn't take organizational work into account.
  4. It feels like I'm trying to extract as much money out of myself as possible. If I have the choice between working through the evening or relaxing, I'll often pick work because it's the "productive" thing to do.

So it's not ideal. What else could I use?

Count the number of TODO items checked completed
This one sounds good, but it has issues. It's easy to prioritize small, less-important tasks to bump up the numbers.
This comes from extreme programming and involves counting how many story points have been completed during a sprint. This would probably involve me summing the estimated time of tasks completed during a week, and then graphing them as the year goes on.
Some kind of points system
I did this before using The Printable CEO. It helped at the time, but it still has the habit of skewing things depending on how points are assigned. I also spent a little too much time on tweaking how everything was set up.
Some kind of calculated score
This would be something that takes priority, size, and earliness (or lateness) of completion into account. I have a feeling I'd end up spending too much time tweaking the calculation.

Out of all of these I prefer the velocity calculation. But it's still missing a key part: what about my goals?

What I really want to be checking is "am I doing enough to move me closer to each goal". I don't have to work on every goal every day, but I also don't want long periods where I'm ignoring them.

I think I'll end up going with a mix of velocity, regular check-ins, and some magic ingredient that I haven't quite figured out yet. None of them have the external reward that comes from completing billed work, so maybe I need to start with some kind of reward system.