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Knowledge Is Power: 6 Rules Successful People Live by to Teach Themselves Everything

Knowledge Is Power: 6 Rules Successful People Live by to Teach Themselves Everything

What if I told you that you can learn just about anything you are interested in, in a timely and cost-effective way? With so many time-constraints in our daily life, our education is being constantly halted. With the practice of self-education, your future is back in your hands.

Self-education will make you a fortune.

Self-education is extremely important for your future and it’s one of the most effective ways to increase your knowledge on whichever topic you may be interested in. Jim Rohn,[1] America’s Foremost Business Philosopher, once said: “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” The world is changing so rapidly, by having the self-education skill, you can learn almost anything you choose to and stay on the edge in the information age and avoid becoming obsolete.

If you are wondering what self-education means and how to put it in practice, you have come to the right place! Self-education means the self-guided learning process anyone can take in order to better improve their knowledge. The methods implied focus more on practical knowledge rather than theoretical one which, for most people, makes it easier to learn and later remember. Self-education also relies on the notion that, by educating yourself, you will get some sort of return such as a job promotion or an improvement in your earning ability.[2]

Learning new skills can double you chance of success.

Self-education lets you take control of your life by allowing you to improve any skills you need in order to reach your goals. You may even acquire a whole new set of skills. Apart from being a powerful tool to further help you educate yourself, self-education can also be an incredible way to learn something entirely new! A recent study conducted by Stack Overflow[3] found that 69.1% of software developers appear to be self-taught!

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Self-education can help you take the first step towards success. For example, if you are planing to change your job, consider educating yourself further on the particular industry you want to switch to. This newly acquired knowledge will increase your chance of adapting and quickly succeeding at your new job.

On the other hand, self-education can help you take that extra step on the road to success. Let’s say you are a salesman. By taking the time to educate yourself on new sales techniques, you are likely to later increase your sales and improve your closing rates.

Self-education isn’t easy. That’s why you need to prepare for it.

Self-education can be a liberating practice that helps you understand your learning styles and how to teach yourself effectively.

But as you may have noticed by now, self-education is no easy task. The practice of self-education presupposes that you follow a specific schedule and the right resources in order to teach yourself correct information in a time-effective manner.

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Now that you have a better understanding of the concept, the pros, and the cons of self-education, we will give you some useful tips on how to turn this concept into a useful reality.

1. Start with something you like

Whether you would like to progress in your career or get a new hobby, self-education can help you as long as you find a specific interest you would like to further educate yourself on. Having an interest is vitally important when it comes to learning. Some studies[4] found that “interest can help us think more clearly, understand more deeply, and remember more accurately.” If you are unsure of your interest, start by making a list of specific goals you would like to reach and then make a list of skills required in order to achieve your goals.

2. Find the right sources

More important than learning something is to learn something factual and proven. Make sure that your sources are reliable by reading some reviews about that specific website, book, YouTube channel. Speaking of YouTube, non-traditional sources such as YouTube or online podcasts can be hugely useful.

3. Grab a book

Reading[5] can help you become more successful. Nobody has all the answers but everybody can find a book or books to learn more about the topic and become an expert. When Elon Musk[6] was asked by people how he learned to build rockets, he simply said “I read books!” The ability and the willingness to learn is the most important asset anyone can have.

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“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman

4. Assign time for learning

Make sure that you are not making excuses when it comes to making time to learn. By giving yourself a certain amount of time to solely focus on self-education, and even establishing deadlines to finish specific topics, you are increasing your chances that your time-investment will quickly lead to big results.

5. Don’t forget to test yourself

Don’t be scared to put your knowledge to practice. Once you feel confident enough to try something new, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Practical education can be a powerful tool when it comes to helping you further cement your knowledge. The ultimate goal will always be to put theory into a practical and useful skill.

6. Commit to life-long learning

Never stop learning! With the widespread use of the internet, you can have access to extremely useful information anywhere. Use that to your advantage and to constantly update your knowledge and intermittently better yourself.

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Besides online learning, you can also continue your education from workshops, networking events and personal development seminars in your city or local area. There are so many unparalleled benefits[7] you can get from attending live events and seminars that you cannot simply get by reading books or searching on the internet. You might be able to access exclusive information which is not available anywhere else. You can ask the experts directly and receive personal advice and recommendations.

Your ability and commitment to lifelong learning is critical to your success. By dedicating yourself to learning and growing everyday, you can get ahead in every aspect of life and achieve the goals you set out for yourself. The dream life you always want to have might just be one book away, one seminar away or one skill away. Keep on learning and applying what you’ve learned and you will eventually get there.

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Liem Nguyen

Entrepreneur

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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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