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3 Steps to Become a Lean, Mean, Productive Machine

3 Steps to Become a Lean, Mean, Productive Machine

Why does every day seem more stressful than the last?

You’ve busted your butt working mind-numbing hours, yet it feels like you accomplished nothing. At the end of the day, the same question always pop up. Where did all my time go?

In the morning, you start off fresh and ready to conquer the world. But when the evening creeps in, you barely touched your to-do list. You ask yourself, is it normal to always feel overwhelmed? When does it end? You think it’s impossible to catch up, but it’s not. You just need some help. Here’s three steps that will surprise you to achieve more:

Step #1- Use Facebook

Yes, you read it right. I’m telling you to use the second most distracted website, but for good reason. Here’s why:

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A study was conducted by the Academy of Management to find out which control groups were the most productive. In those groups, the most productive were the participants that used Facebook for 10 minutes. They found the Facebook group was 16 percent more productive than the group that wasn’t allowed to use the Internet. And nearly 40 percent more productive than the group that was allowed no breaks.

Have you ever wondered why we gravitate towards Facebook? We are inherently social creatures, regardless if we’re introverts or extroverts. By being social, we are happier, less stressful, and have the sense of belonging. When you need a break, use Facebook to catch up with an old friend or find out the latest scoop. The productivity problem that we encounter with social media is we don’t know when to stop browsing. How can we, when there’s picture of a cute cat jump-kicking a dog. And the attractive headline displaying “Cat Norris” doesn’t help either.

This is how you can stop. Set a timer for 10 minutes when you open Facebook. This next step is very important. After the timer,  do not click on that cat meme. Close Facebook.

Step # 2- Use Your Limited Resources Wisely

We are fully aware that time is a finite resource. We are only given 24 hours in a day. So best thing to do is make a detailed plan to maximize our time. And create goals to accomplish that day. This is how top elites operate. Sounds good right.

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But there’s this one itzy bitzy problem. We have another finite resource. It’s called energy. That’s why a lot of productivity articles suggest taking breaks, sleeping eight hours, and eating well. It’s to increase our energy. Lets face it. We are most productive when we have a lot of energy and motivation.

Some CEOs intentionally block their schedule when they have a lot of energy. And typically it’s during the morning.  Top performers like LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner have implemented this approach. If you want high achievement and big results, you need big and high energy. Knowing how to get it and keep it, well that’s the tricky part.

Here are some ways you can jumpstart your energy:

  • Listen to music- It’s activates dopamine, reduces stress, and lightens your mood.
  • Make your environment filled with energy- Put a picture of your family in your desk area. Have your favorite quote in view. Maybe use the cat meme (that you didn’t click on) as your desktop screensaver. Put your goals right on your wall to remember why you’re working hard.
  • Change your physiology- Motion creates emotion. When we find ourselves frustrated, knock out some pushups. Force a smile for five minutes straight, or take a short walk. You’ll be surprised how changing your physiology quickly charges your energy levels.

Step #3- Burn Your To-list

The problem with to-do list is we treat every task equally. Productivity is not about being efficient, it’s about being effective. To be effective, you need to figure out your most important task. Successful people are successful because they focus on the most important task and say no to everything else.

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That’s why you need to burn your to-do list and create a success list. A list that consist of one item. That item is the most important task of the day. The task that if you completed today will have the biggest impact on your work.

Yes we need to pay the bills, do the laundry, and everything else to maintain our lives. But if we don’t focus on the most important task, everything else will feel like a waste.

Having the Most Productive Day Ever

Instead of going home frustrated. You went home feeling uplifted and accomplished. Because you focused on what matters most rather than crossing off some list.

You will be the type of person who goes to work with a big goofy smile while everyone looks like they came out of a funeral parlor. Maybe someone at work wants to slap that smile. Nonetheless, you earned that smile. Because you learned to connect with others through Facebook. And you learned to increase your energy. Possibly, higher energy than a six-year old eating a bag full of halloween candy. Okay… Maybe not.

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But you will be happier, better, and more productive.

Featured photo credit: KaboomPics via kaboompics.com

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

Effective vs Efficient

Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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  • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
  • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
  • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

Efficiency in Success and Productivity

Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

Bottom Line

Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

  • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
  • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
  • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

More on How to Improve Productivity

Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
[2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
[3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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