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8 Rules Successful People Live By to Make Their Time Well Spent

8 Rules Successful People Live By to Make Their Time Well Spent

Always short on time and behind on tasks? Is your productivity getting affected since there are only 24 hours in a day? Then what you need are effective time management skills perfected by the biggies of the corporate and celebrity world. For these are the people who manage to do so much more, in the same amount of time as everybody else.

One View Successful People Commonly Share — Time Is the Most Valuable Commodity

Successful people know that time is as essential and valuable a commodity as is money – so they use it wisely and well. Time that is wasted can never come back – each minute should be utilized wisely for that makes all the difference in you having an excellently productive day or not.[1]

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Time management is essential if you want to finish the day’s work and chores in an orderly manner, not have any guilt over “wastage” and even have enough free time left over to spend with family, friends or even with yourself.

8 Time Management Rules That Successful People Follow

Maintain a Time Log

When you embark on a fitness of weight loss regime, nutritionists and dieticians often advise that you keep a food and workout log – to note down all that you ate in a day, the quantity of what you ate and even the fitness regime for that day. Similarly, successful businesspersons often advise that you start a time management program by maintaining a time log – this will tell you how you used your time and where all are you wasting it – it may make you feel a bit like a slacker, but it will ultimately help you give your work day proper direction and help you answer that nagging question “where is my time going?”[2]

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Get Some Workout in the Morning

Richard Branson, the super famous, filthy rich celebrity-cum-corporate honcho gets up at 5 am to work out and claims that his morning fitness regime helps him have a super-productive day. And he’s not wrong – working out in the morning keeps you mentally sharp and physically active through the day – and you also get the feel good of the exercise high since the endorphins aka happy hormones flood your system and also are on a high since you did something positive for yourself early in the morning! [3]

Decide on a Must-Do List

Entrepreneur and CNBC’s The Profit star Marcus Lemonis has another great tip to offer his audience – he makes a must-do list every morning – though he calls it his knockout list. And he of course has card in his basement closet specially made for this, and after he has done his five things of the day that simply cannot be put off, if he has the time, he does more. And the card of the day is turned into a paper plane once the tasks are all done… So the gist for you remains the same, though you don’t need custom-made cards – a simply notebook, planner or even diary would suffice, and you don’t have to make paper planes out if it either – do your own quirk instead. [4]

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Do Difficult Tasks in the Morning

There are things – call them tasks, call them chores or call them bores – that we all tend to groan and moan about and put off till the very last minute. These are the tasks that you should tackle the first thing in the morning itself when you are fresh, sharp and not jaded by what the day has brought you. Do what you find boring and uninterested first, the rest of the day is likely to be much more interesting and fun for you to go through – if you keep putting off those tasks they are likely to take up a lot of time when you finally get around to doing them. Morning is the time your willpower is at your highest – so a good time to tackle what would normally take you a lot of dithering to finish.[5]

Make Work Interesting

Jack Groetzinger, co-founder and CEO of SeatGeek makes his tasks fun by gamifying them. He has written a software that calculates how much time it takes him to do something – say writing an e-mail and maintains a daily log of the same. Each day, he tries to break his own record by doing the same thing faster, even if it’s just by a few seconds. And while not all of us are tech-inclined enough to do the same, there are not plenty of apps available that literally map your time, and help you finish your work faster – by using regular reminders, or even screen alarms.[6]

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Concentrate on Core Competencies

What you don’t know well, will take you time to do. We are all are great at a few things, but not-so-great or inclined at others. Make sure that when it comes to time management skills, you tackle the work that falls within your core competencies the most, instead of doing stuff that you first have to learn, err or that is simply not up your alley. This is not to say that you shouldn’t learn something new or try something that you haven’t before, but keep that restricted to your free or leisure time. Bill Smith, founder and CEO of Shipt says that as much as he’d like to do everything by himself, he’s much rather delegate stuff to competent employees so that he is free to do what he is best at – oversee and direct.[7]

Use Your Free Time, Plan Your Breaks

Arianna Huffington, author and entrepreneur takes breaks during the day, especially for meals and believes that taking “pauses” boosts productivity and decreases stress. Similarly, Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and entrepreneur tries to maximize him time – if he’s travelling, he doesn’t snooze away his time. Instead he’ll do his e-mails… So when you get free time, use that to your advantage instead of whiling it away. And your breaks need to be planned as well – you can use a bit of free time to plan ahead and take some deliberate breaks to refresh yourself at work as well.[8]

Plan a Good Weekend

Nick Huzar, the founder and CEO of OfferUp, prioritizes some alone time on Sundays to refocus himself and his work. His breaks are planned and used to plan his week ahead. On the flip side, planning a good weekend also works and will help you stave off that I-have-wasted-my-free-time depressing feeling. Plan three to five anchor events that give you the positive feeling that the weekend was spent well, instead that a weekend merely happened. Go for a run, or a weekend trip, or a movie or even a family picnic. Spend your free time constructively instead of being just a boring homebody.[9]

So basically, learn from the experts as to how they manage to accomplish a lot more than others, in the same amount of time. The day is the same 24 hours for everyone – but time management makes all the difference in what all you are able to do in it… [10]

Reference

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Rima Pundir

Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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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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