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12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

Creating positive work habits will consistently help you to boost your creativity. The following habits have been used to boost productivity and lift morale in the workplace for many, many years. They have stood the test of time, because they hold value and people continue to build their career using them as their foundation.

Arrive Early

Arrive early and be ready to start your day as soon as it is your time to check in. Arriving early eliminates the rush and allows you to start your day on your own terms, without worrying about whether or not you will be late or that you won’t be able to meet your deadlines. When you arrive early, you can start getting your tasks organized and start your day with a smile.

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Always Be Prepared

Always be prepared. Make a list of things you need to do when you first arrive at work in the morning. Know what supplies you will need and gather them together the night before so that all you have to do is come to work, clock in, and begin your day.

You can’t make up for lost time. You can only do better in the future. 
– Ashley Ormon

Work As A Team

Working as a team makes the day go by faster and it also allows you to get to know your co-workers. Working with one another makes it easy for everyone to meet their respective deadlines. While everyone will have projects that are their sole responsibility, you can always lend a hand to others when your work is complete.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
– Michael Jordan

Communicate Effectively

Communicate effectively so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure every member of the team understands what is going on, when deadlines are and who is responsible for each individual task. Communication is the life blood of an organization and if it is not used effectively, things will not work as smoothly as they should.

Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice and then communicate consistently in those terms.
– Simon Mainwaring

Accuracy Matters

Always check your work for accuracy. This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and math problems. Anything that is in printed form should be double and triple checked for accuracy. Making sure all of your information is accurate is a sign of professionalism and pride in your work.

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Watch every detail that affects the accuracy of your work.
– Arthur C. Nielsen

Consistently Meet Deadlines

When you have deadlines to meet, make sure all of the work is finished, fact-checked for accuracy, and put together in a professional manner. Try to turn in the project prior to the deadline. Waiting until the deadline is upon you makes the project look rushed. Always strive to be early.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
– Abraham Lincoln

Be Organized

Organization is extremely important. If something happens and you are not available, being organized allows you to guide someone through your office to find exactly what is needed without wasting a lot of time hunting through a jumbled mess of papers.

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.
– A. A. Milne

Arrive Clean and Well Groomed

People who take pride in their appearance will also take pride in their work ethic. Always arrive clean and well groomed and with the attitude that you are ready to take charge of the day. The better you look, the better you feel and the more likely you are to produce over and above what is expected of you.

Our existence and our environment enclosed entities of divinity.
– Lailah Gifty Akita

Be Efficient

Efficiency is key when you are trying to be productive. Prepare a schedule. Take into consideration what tasks are on the schedule for the day and make sure you have enough time to devote to each one. Being efficient will help you stay ahead of the game and make sure you have taken care of all of the tasks on your daily list.

Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage. 
– Jawaharlal Nehru

Take the Initiative

Take the initiative. Do what needs to be done and strive to be the very best at everything you attempt.

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Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.
― Cathy Hopkins

Pick a Day of Rest

While Sunday is an ideal day of rest, it’s advisable to log in to your computer briefly on Sunday to assess your Monday game plan, and you will feel more relaxed and sleep soundly on Sunday night.

I look my best when I’m totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.
– Rosamund Pike

Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic

Harboring unrealistic expectations prepares you for failure. Take one step at a time and pursue your goal diligently, but gradually. Instead of lofty, idealistic goals, keep goals that are real and attainable.

Often you need to take some risk, but it must be a realistic risk, you can’t take a crazy risk.
– Sergei Bubka

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Beth Worthy

CFO at GMR Transcription Services, Inc

12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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