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8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

It happens to all of us, whether we bring it on our selves or it just shows up. That pit in your stomach. The butterflies. The times when our palms start to sweat. I’m talking about when we are thinking about things we don’t want to do — the things that we know we should do in order to get to where we want to go. I know you know what I’m talking about and I guarantee you have at least one thing in your mind you are thinking about right now.

You might be thinking of that dream or big goal that you want to accomplish one day. The book you want to write. The business you want to start. The big audacious goal that scares the daylights out of you but keeps you dreaming because you know you can do it. The problem is that there are a lot of steps along the way that are uncomfortable. It can be as small as that email you don’t want to send or that person you don’t want to call, even though you know at the end of the day it will make you better and that much closer to your goal.

Here is a list of eight of those uncomfortable things, though the list could go on and on. Let’s be honest: we all procrastinate. How do you overcome procrastination? You make things easier to do.

It’s not rocket science. When you do uncomfortable things more often, they become more comfortable. Maybe after doing these things more often, you’ll lose that pit in your stomach the next time it’s your turn to show up.

1. Waking Up Early

We know we should do it and that it will make us feel great for the rest of the day. We feel energized and ready for the day the one time a month we finally do it. So, why do we not do this every day? I’ll tell you why I don’t: because my bed is so warm and comfy! When my alarm wakes me up early and I know I can either a) Get up and spend some time for myself before the day gets started, or b) Spend another hour or two getting some more Z’s, I’ll pick the snooze button almost every time.

We’ve all heard the interviews with the most successful people telling us about their early morning routines. How they read, work out, make a healthy and organic breakfast, and then still have time to journal all before work. It’s pretty hard to believe they’ve ever heard of a snooze button.

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One thing that I started recently to help me wake up a little earlier is the Five Minute Journal. It has been a great first step in waking up earlier than normal. The best part is, it’s only five minutes earlier than I would usually get up!

2. Public Speaking

Talk about a pit in your stomach! The only people you meet that love public speaking are public speakers! They do it all the time and likely get paid to do it. You can’t be successful without someone giving you a stage to tell your story. You can try to avoid it all you want, but it comes with the territory.

People striving for success (like you and me) want to know how successful people got to where they are. How do you think they tell their story to us?

Public speaking, like everything else on this list, is something we need to start doing to make it more comfortable. Whether it’s volunteering for a toast, starting a video blog, or chiming in when the speaker says “does anyone have any questions?”. That’s our turn to push through the discomfort!

3. Exercising

You might be saying “Hey, I exercise all the time and I’m still not successful.” Maybe you’re not, but you are one step ahead of most of us! For those of you, like me, who break a sweat twice a week every 30 days (aka 2 times a month), exercising isn’t on the list of top to-dos. Maybe you just can’t seem to find the time. It’s time to make the time.

I wish they would come out with a study that shows that getting that extra hour of sleep before work or the extra episode on Netflix before bed gives you more energy and is better for your body than exercising, but I still haven’t seen it. Instead, I keep seeing studies like this one from Harvard that reads “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills,” and just hoping they misplaced “exercise” when it should’ve said “doughnuts.” Still waiting on that study.

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4. Networking

You just received an email in your inbox that reads, “The local business professional networking group will be at the office from 5:00 to 5:30 today, please stay late to network with them.” This just makes you jump for joy, right? Not even close! You know you should, and you might meet an awesome connection to help you with your next goal or job, but your soft, warm couch is calling your name in a calming, late-night radio voice that you can’t resist.

I give the excuse of “I am terrible at small talk and I could care less about meaningless conversation.” It’s a valid excuse and my go-to every time. It doesn’t get me anymore connections and I never meet anyone exciting or new because of it. Let’s start small and start asking questions.

The people that are the most charismatic and outgoing ask the most questions. Have you ever noticed that? You don’t need to make small talk. Ask questions and let the other person talk. The truth is that the more people talk, the more they like you. Strange, but true.

5. Taking The Blame

This point does not read “taking the blame for someone else.” This is about admitting your own mistakes when you mess up. It’s so easy and comfortable to quickly make excuses for when you mess up. When a mistake is made and no one takes the blame, it’s hard to move forward and get it fixed because no one wants to fix someone else’s mistake if they won’t fess up.

This one is so simple, but it’s not our first reaction. Leaders take responsibility. When they or their team mess up, they take it on the cheek. The best part about this very uncomfortable action is that it helps everyone quickly move on. You can’t move forward unless you start to look in that direction. Take the blame and take the next step forward.

6. Continuously Learning

You know your dream and your goals. Are you reading the right books to reach those goals? Are you attending seminars and conferences in that genre?

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I was very guilty of this for a long time. I was reading books that I wanted to read, books that were comfortable. Of course, reading is a great hobby. If you are a reader, don’t stop. If you are not, start!

The uncomfortable part is reading books that you know will get you closer to your dream or goal, but are not on the top of your reading list. Don’t just read for joy, read to build your knowledge.

 7. Unplugging

If the leader of the smartphone revolution didn’t let his kids use his own inventions, there must be a benefit. There are more smartphones than humans on this planet now. We are even starting to wear these devices on our wrists because it’s too difficult to reach into our pockets to read texts! We are all guilty of the smartphone and other technologies ruling our lives.

If you want to be successful, do as the successful do. Who doesn’t want to have the success Steve Jobs had? He limited the time his kids spent with technology because he knew it would slow them down in the long run. As much as we like to think our iPhones keep us more connected and more efficient, they don’t. We could get a lot more done in a day if we weren’t checking out what our friends are eating, where they are in the world, or perfecting our next post to make them just as jealous.

You know exactly what I’m talking about — we are all guilty. Let’s get uncomfortable and start unplugging at the times we want to plug in the most!

8. Meeting Adversity On Purpose

Who is ready to face the most difficult and most uncomfortable thing they can think of and jump headfirst in? Adversity is more simply defined as “Difficulty.” I’m not talking about feeling good when you start off your day with a spilled latte. That stinks, but I’m talking about getting in over your head, taking on something that you know you can’t accomplish right away, but that you believe in yourself enough to try and make it happen.

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The great philosopher John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

There is a quick story in the Bible that I love about a man named Benaiah:

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day.

He went face to face with a lion and killed it. Not with a gun in perfect weather, but on a snowy day with some sort of ancient weapon— he faced a deadly predator and conquered it.

What gives you a pit in your stomach that you know will make you a better person, a better parent, a better boss, a better employee, or will help you reach your big audacious goals? If it’s uncomfortable, it’s probably something we know we should start doing.

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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

    Reference

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