The 5W+1H productivity formula is a small shorthand that permits us to evaluate a given task or action from a productivity point of view. This scheme consists of a number of questions whose answer would provide us with all the necessary information and data for research or for evaluation of an action.

The 5W+1H Productivity Formula

What Is The 5W+1H Productivity Formula About?

The 5W+1H productivity formula is analogous to the original 5W+1H formula, referred to the information gathering and covers disciplines as the journalism, research, investigation, etc. Using this formula, we can have a solid reference matrix for evaluating and answering (with a degree of certainty!), questions related to the productivity.

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Why we should concern with defining more accurate the productivity, you would ask? Because in order to be better in one thing is to define an objective, goal, task, etc. in measurable terms. It is to develop SMART goals and monitor their implementation.

For instance, the 5W+1H scheme can help us in answering questions such as:

  • When is productivity productive?
  • Why, even though I’m working 12 hours a day, I can not meet the required results?
  • How to manage more efficiently my time?
  • What is my production to procrastination ratio?
  • How to achieve personal startups?
  • How much, really is my productive/creative time?
  • How can achieve more goals, working less?
  • How to plan new startups?
  • How gain more time for creative/quality discussions, relations, etc?
  • What should I do, in order to have a balance in my personal and professional life?
  • How to develop better habits for an efficient and productive day?
  • How to develop a new skill in an efficient way?

All these questions (and much more) can be answered for the productivity (and for other disciplines as business, blogging, leadership, personal development, social media, etc.) if you follow the 5W+1H productivity formula.

The 5W+1H Productivity Formula

The 5W+1H Productivity Formula can be implemented in any sector, subject or issue involving a task, activity, etc. In this mode, is neutral in its implementation and does not depend on any particular field, principle, discipline or other conditions.

Its implementation is based on a simple algorithm, which prescribes the answering of a set of some basic questions. In that context, for any given activity or task you can start your analysis with 6 basic questions.

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The formula takes its name from the initials of the adverb of the 5 first questions (5W) and the initial letter of the last question (H) thus the name 5W+1H formula. These questions are:

  • Who can do it?
  • What can be done?
  • When can it be completed?
  • Where can be implemented?
  • Why have we to implement it?
  • How are we going to measure it or monitor it?

Providing an answer to these question, you are able to define more precisely the activity or task and prescribes all its basic “components” (who, how, when, where, etc.)

The 5W+1H Productivity Formula: A Case Study

Case Summary

We try to define better the operation “project budgeting” we usually use in budgeting our projects. The activity related to the budgeting of every project assumed by the company.


  1. Define and optimize the project budgeting
  2. Measure the success of the activity in each project
  3. Evaluate the new scheme used

5W+1H Productivity Formula Implementation

  • Who can do it? Project budgeting is the responsibility of the Project Manager in cooperation with the HR and Financial department of the company.
  • What can be done? We should budget each project based on:
    • Our published/prize lists or established fees for similar projects
    • The ROI (Return on Investment) for our company
    • The available Resources
    • The cost of our services/products
    • The cost and quality of our services
    • Our margins of operations
    • The good business practices
    • Other?
    • <…>
  • When can it be completed? The budget should be drafted before the inauguration of a project along with an ROI sheet, on the proposal phase, before the official contract signed in, and should be verified just before the official assumption of the project.
  • Where can be implemented? The project budgeting should be implemented within the company and communicated towards all involved parties.
  • Why have we to implement it? Without a proper budget for the project, we risk of economic failure and inadequacy in delivering the agreed outputs of the project.
  • How we going measure it or monitor it? We going to measure the project budgeting procedure on the basis of:
    • Budget efficiency
    • Positive ROI
    • Gross Profits for the company
    • other indexes[?]


The above, case, should demonstrate the effectiveness of the formula in the definition and evaluation of given activities and tasks. I believe that its application can provide various value-added results for personal and business activities, providing:

  • A better definition of any given task or activity
  • Improved accountability and tractability
  • Detailed specification for the implementation of an activity
  • More exact implementation duration and timetables
  • Better resource management
  • Enhance clarification of the tasks and activities involved
  • Better communication due to a better understanding of the parameters involved.
  • Better measurements of the procedures involved
  • solid base for the establishment of S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • Better defined objectives and quality outputs and results

Based on the 5W+1H Productivity Formula, a person or an organization can make better results, in shorter times and with better management of the available resources. What do you think?

Action Points: Do you find useful the 5W+1H Productivity Formula? Can use the 5W+1H Productivity Formula in your work? Try to implement the 5W+1H Productivity Formula for a week in your projects to see the results!