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10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive

10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive

We cannot be productive all the time, and it’s completely normal to experience a lack of focus during some periods of the day or week. However, if this happens all the time, and you need to be at your most productive at a given time – e.g. during work hours – there are certainly steps you can take to improve your ability to concentrate. If you often find yourself sitting in your office and gazing off into the distance, you need to go through these 10 points and work on boosting your focus.

1. Get your endorphins pumping

If you’re unsatisfied and in a generally bad mood, you are far more likely to stress out over the little things. Facing the challenges at work and the constant stress we experience can be best handled if your mind and body are in a good shape. The key to doing this is by simply giving your body a nice challenging workout. So, before you go to work do some quick body-weight exercises, go jogging or even ride a bike around your neighborhood in order to get those endorphins pumping. Exercising will keep you healthy, and you won’t suffer from headaches and backaches anymore, which will make you virtually stress resistant.

2. Dress more comfortably

The temperature in the office is a sore spot for many, particularly during winter months where you throw on several layers to keep yourself warm and end up sweating and fidgeting uncomfortably in an overheated office. You might also find yourself in an icy cold office wearing nothing but a light shirt.

The office temperature usually depends on that one person who complains the most, and the rest freeze or sweat uncontrollably. You might think those temperature changes don’t affect your productivity that much, but such constant annoyances really kill your concentration.

There is only one solution that we were all taught since we were children, but somehow neglected it. Being rebellious obviously doesn’t always pay off, so just wear layered clothes and you’ll be able to adapt to any situation. You can certainly look fabulous and chic by layering different clothes. There are tons of great fashion tricks for putting together a lovely layered outfit for the colder months, so you don’t have worry too much about it.

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Dress for success by layering your clothes, and you won’t sweat or freeze in your office ever again, which will certainly make you more productive.

3. Just stand up and walk around

We tend to just sit all day at the office, staring at a screen. Many people don’t even stand up till 5 pm. You might think they’re more productive, as you don’t hear them at all and they look really busy, but if you are one of these people, you know that this assumption is completely wrong. You simply cannot maintain a high level of productivity for long hours with no breaks, and people like programmers know what it feels like to drop into that zombie-like state, where you’re not completely focused, but can keep on doing simple repetitive tasks at a certain pace.

If you feel that your focus is not so sharp, and your breaks are usually winding up on Facebook or YouTube, know that this is not really a winning strategy.

After one or two hours of working, stand up to make some coffee, talk to your coworkers and just walk around the office. This will allow you to regain your focus and boost your productivity. When you start talking about irrelevant topics and you stretch your legs, you will get back to your desk insanely focused and ready to finish your tasks.

4. Shush your inner voice

Working on any demanding project is stressful, as you can begin to doubt your ability to meet deadlines or meet all the demands. However, being in constant fear and stressing about it will only make you extremely unproductive. We all have that inner critical voice that tells us we will fail and that our strategies are ridiculous. If you can learn to silence that negative side of yours, and think positively or realistically for a change, you’ll perform the task more easily and with supreme confidence. Being productive is not only about turning off your notifications or eating healthier, but also about clearing your head and knowing your goals.

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If your thoughts are negative and chaotic, you cannot expect to be productive and capable of doing anything effective.

5. Set a timer

Whenever you want to take a break, or even log in to your social networks, you need to always set a timer, and limit your time. When scrolling your News Feed, or taking a break, we can accidently waste too much time on trivial things. It is good for our productivity levels to take a break and do something fun, but if you spend too much on social networks or listening to your favorite music, you can get tired and lose your focus.

Set a timer, and take 10 minutes to do something fun, and then get back to work. You will definitely become hyper-focused, as you will be happy and eager to work again.

6. Have a cup of green tea

Stopping everything you do to take a 2 minute break and drink a cup of green tea might sound a bit counterproductive at first, but those two minutes will help you get back on track and boost your productivity by clearing your mind for a moment. In fact, you might want to stop drinking coffee and replace it with tea. If you don’t believe that drinking coffee will change something, then try it for a month and see how you feel.

Green tea contains theanine, which helps you sharpen your focus and boost concentration. Theanine, which as an amino acid promotes relaxation, but combined with caffeine, it makes you more productive.

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7. Don’t multitask

Nowadays, multitasking is a special skill that makes you seem like a successful and hardworking employee. But, is it really so? If you are doing many things at once, there is a huge possibility that something will be neglected. Also, can you put enough effort into every task you are doing simultaneously? Of course not. It is much better to focus on one thing, and then the other.

However, in order to be able to finish everything on time without multitasking, you need to know which task requires more effort and more of your time, so you can prioritize correctly.

8. Don’t make every task your priority

Every project and task you are doing is important, but there are certainly smaller and not so important tasks that don’t require too much time and effort, but you still end up spending too much time on them. You need to know your priorities if you want to finish your job on time and stay productive throughout the day.

Organize your tasks in a manner that won’t exhaust you and make unproductive. Put the smaller tasks in between, and don’t waste too much time on them. When you sort out the tasks according to their importance, priority and difficulty, you will be then capable of accomplishing everything, while staying productive.

9. Ask for help

If you are at work, and you simply cannot concentrate or you just find some task too difficult, ask for help. If you waste your time on trying to solve a problem, you get tired and you won’t be able to do anything else later. Therefore, ask for help, and get it done faster.

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Don’t think that asking for help will make you less of an expert, but on the contrary, it will make you a professional, who knows that asking for help and coming up with solution together is much better than being stuck on one problem for quite a while.

10. Get to work earlier

If you come to work a little bit earlier, you’ll have plenty of time to get settled, shake off the morning drowsiness and start working with a fresh mind. Have a cup of coffee, rest from your ride to work and prepare yourself for the upcoming challenges. If you immediately sit and start working, you won’t be all that productive because you won’t have any time to prepare your mind.

These are the ten most important ways of becoming insanely productive, and most importantly, they are very simple and quick solutions. Try it out, and see if they work for you.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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