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How Making Good Use of The Time After Work Can Fast-Track Your Career Success

How Making Good Use of The Time After Work Can Fast-Track Your Career Success

Do you want to get ahead in life?

If yes, then you must dedicate some of your spare time to improving yourself.

For example, average workers come home at the end of each day to purely relax and enjoy themselves. High achievers, on the other hand, take a regular part of their spare time for learning new skills, developing existing ones, and finding ways to make their daily work more efficient.

Which of the above are you?

If you aim at achieving outstanding performance at work – then please read on.

Successful People Go for Exponential Growth While the Majority Settle for Natural Growth

Have you ever considered that work time should be solely for working? For instance, an actor does not rely on their time on stage to practice their art. They do this between performances.

It should be the same for you. Let your work time be the period when you focus on productivity and output. (In other words, do the job that you’re being paid for!) And let your spare time be the period when you work on improving your knowledge and skills.

People who habitually devote some of their spare time to learning, are the ones most likely to be successful in life.

However, this doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. It’s much more likely to follow the pattern of exponential growth, which looks like this:

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    The above graph shows the world’s population growth since 10,000 BC to 2,000 AD. As you can see, growth was in tiny increments for thousands of years, but began to rapidly spike about 1,000 AD.

    This is exponential growth in action. Small increases that eventually snowball into massive gains.

    For those people who think hard work is just about putting in the hours, and rely on others to give them directions, growth is much different. Take a look at the below chart:

      This shows the varying income inequality in the U.S. As it clearly demonstrates, changes took place relatively slowly.

      This can be described as natural growth and natural decline. Workers who make little effort to improve, may find themselves becoming less successful after several months or years due to these natural fluctuations.

      Conversely, workers making good use of their spare time will put themselves firmly on the exponential chart – and in time, their fortunes are likely to soar.

      You Just Need to Spend One Hour Every Day to Make the Difference

      It can be tough to make an effort after a hard day’s work.

      You’re probably tired or even exhausted. You may also have… cleaning to do, pets to feed, children to play with, friends to call, and partners to please. (I could go on!)

      What could be easier and more satisfying than slumping down on your couch and turning the TV on?

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      It’s tempting, for sure.

      However, I have a suggestion for you: Commit to spending one hour each evening on your personal development.

      This will still leave you plenty of time for relaxation and entertainment, but it’ll also put you on the fast track to success!

      By breaking down your self-improvement time into one-hour chunks per day, you’ll find it much easier than trying to study for five hours on a weekend (for example). You’ll also have the benefit of building a regular routine that you can easily stick to.

      If You Want to Use Your Spare Time to Boost Your Success – Here’s What to Do

      What you do after work can determine your future. So, please use the time wisely.

      Here’s my top recommendations:

      Read books on diverse topics

      While reading in general is a great hobby, why not take it a stage further and make it part of your career development?

      You can do this in a couple of ways.

      Firstly, read books that are specific to your line of work. For example, if you work in IT, then you could spend an hour reading a book on the latest software trends. This extra knowledge will immediately put you ahead of most of your colleagues.

      The other thing to do, is to choose books from a wide range of topics. (Be sure to include subjects/genres that you wouldn’t normally choose.) If you do this, you’ll stretch your thinking, and you’ll also be able to supercharge your creativity by enabling you to connect different ideas that you’ve read about.

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      Boost specific skills that are currently holding you back at work

      If you’re like most people, then you probably don’t enjoy public speaking. You may even go out of your way to avoid it! However, if your job involves communicating ideas, then it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll be asked to present them to an audience.

      The key to defeating your fear of public speaking is preparation.

      Imagine spending an hour per night developing your presentation skills. You could watch videos of great speakers, take an online presentation course, and practice speaking in front of a mirror.

      With time, you’ll magnify your skills – and your confidence.

      Build your connections

      Your future career prospects are likely to depend on who you know.

      Few people like to admit this, but it’s the truth.

      So, turn over some of your spare time to growing your professional connections. You can do this through social media sites such as Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

      Just be sure that you’re connecting to the right people. This usually means folks who share your interests and line of work. For instance, if you’re a trainee accountant, link up with qualified accountants and other finance professionals.

      Connections can become mentors – or even lead to career opportunities for you.

      Work on personal projects

      Let me tell you how I got started as a freelance writer.

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      I had the idea to set up a website that would feature the latest innovations in green technology. To be honest, it was supposed to be just a hobby. I created the site on WordPress, and then began writing regular articles for the site. I did all this in addition to my full-time job.

      However, I found that I loved writing and sharing stories. And before long, I decided to apply for paid writing work. It took me a while to secure my first contract, but since then my writing career has taken off.

      You could do something similar.

      Take a hobby or personal project (e.g., playing a musical instrument or researching your family tree), and see whether you can turn it into a profitable sideline – or potential new career. Even if you don’t make money from your hobby, you’ll still be able to take soft skills such as patience and enthusiasm and transfer them over to your day job.

      Look for ways to do things more efficiently

      I’ve saved this one until last, because I think it’s the most important.

      Wherever you work, and whatever your job, there’s bound to be ways to improve the way work is performed.

      Let’s say that you work as a receptionist at your local gym. One of your duties is to help people to sign up for new memberships. You’ve noticed that this takes about 15 minutes on average, but can also take much longer.

      You’re too busy at work to find ways to streamline the signing up process, but at home you want to give it a go.

      The first night (and hour) you make a list of ways that the signing up process could be improved. The next night you prioritize the list into which ways will be most effective at quickening and simplifying the process. On the third night, you develop ways to implement the changes.

      Imagine taking your suggestions to your boss. Even if they decide not to go ahead with the changes, they are sure to be impressed with your initiative.

      If you want to begin practicing the five suggestions above, you’ll need excellent time management. The secret is to turn your actions into habits. Once you’ve done that, spending an hour each day in personal development will be as natural as spending an hour watching your favorite soap opera!

      If you’re eager to join the ranks of the highly successful, then be sure to make great use of your spare time.

      More by this author

      Craig J Todd

      UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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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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