Work means different things to everyone, and understanding whether you have a job, a career or a calling represents the first step in assessing your productivity needs. In a piece for Harvard Business Review, Bill Barnett discusses Amy Wrzesniewski's research on employees' various attitudes toward work. Here are my recommendations for how workers with each attitude can become more efficient.
Those with a "job" mindset are in it for the cash, not the fame. They want to collect their paycheck and leave their work at home. These individuals must get their work done as effectively as possible. It isn't inherently bad to have a detached attitude; in fact, it can sometimes help you make better decisions since emotions aren't involved.
Those with a "career" mindset are in it for the cash and the fame. They're looking to excel and advance, and some can get bored or frustrated if they're doing the same tasks without hope of advancement.
My recommendation for career-minded folks is the same as for job-minded folks, but I'd also add regular, proactive check-ins with supervisors to stay on their radar and make sure their goals for you mesh well with your performance and priorities.
Those with a "calling" mindset are in it to help others. They're motivated from within out of a sense of personal duty rather than a desire to make piles of money; as a result, they tend to be far happier at work.
While these folks would certainly benefit from the productivity tips above, I'd also emphasize mental feng shui, restorative downtime, exercise and meditation for this group to ensure they stave off stress and burnout.
Which camp do you fall in?