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10 Learning Habits That Make Einstein the Smartest Person in the World

10 Learning Habits That Make Einstein the Smartest Person in the World

Contrary to popular belief, Albert Einstein was a great student and a brilliant individual from the day he was born. There have been rumors that he was a poor student, especially in math, but this has been corrected as of late. While the untrue rumor may have inspired many people to keep going, despite poor grades, just because it was untrue doesn’t mean you can’t still learn something from the brilliant man. But genius does not mean super-human, and Einstein himself had to figure out his own learning style. The following 10 learning habits of Einstein may give you and I some inspiration of how to make our learning more effective.

10 Einstein-Inspired Learning Habits That Are Worth Adopting

Constantly Question Everything

When you’re taught something, don’t write it down, accept it as fact and regurgitate it out the same way later. Instead, do as Einstein did and really delve into it. If you don’t ask questions, are you really learning?

Allow your thoughts to wander

Einstein knew he did some of his best thinking while day-dreaming and letting his thoughts drift. When you feel stuck, especially when writing a paper or drafting a proposal, allow yourself to lose focus and let your mind go somewhere else.[1]

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Have well-rounded interests

Einstein played the violin, kept a pretty fascinating social life, and studied nonstop. For some of you, this may seem overwhelming, but remember it’s important to be versatile when it comes to your interests and hobbies. You learn so much just by being interested in a multitude of things. It’s also a great way to give yourself a break from one subject when it starts to overwhelm you; having the ability to go back and forth can help inspire you when you feel stuck.

Figure out how you learn best

Einstein actually had friends take notes for him in class while he was out reading about physics and math. While you shouldn’t expect permission to skip class in order to do something else, it’s still a unique concept: Once you understand how you retain information best, you can adjust your habits and perhaps even your school schedule to best fit your needs.

Surround yourself with brilliant, educated people

Like everything in life, it’s easiest to be inspired to do something when you surround yourself with people who are especially good at that thing. When it comes to education and learning, do as Einstein did and surround yourself with mentors, teachers, and generally inspiring people. And if you feel that your personal life is lacking educated people like that, pick up some books on a smart individual and study their writing and research.

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Find your learning faith

Einstein was practically religious about discipline and question-asking. He decided that when you applied these things to education, you could learn more about phenomena. This greatly impacted his opinion on actual religion, but it’s a great concept for general studies, too.

Think for yourself

In today’s world, we get so caught up in other peoples’ opinions. We think everything we do, right down to the coffee we drink, is important and should be documented so other people can see it. We then base our self-worth on how popular the image of our coffee is! Do you think Einstein would be compulsively checking his social media platforms? No way. Don’t get caught up in what other people think or say. For Einstein, he was very suspicious of educational authority and constantly questioned the things he was being taught. Don’t make arguing with your professors a habit, but do develop a habit of thinking for yourself and in the real world, not the filtered, social media one. When you have a true interest in what you are learning, the education becomes second-nature.

Don’t give in to drama

Einstein was never concerned with, well, any of the events going on around him! If they weren’t directly interesting to him, he pretty much left them alone. As a disclaimer, I’m not recommending you become a hermit and only leave your house if it serves you in a selfish way, but I am saying to follow Einstein’s example and not get caught up in the drama that can so often surround you.

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Never doubt your intuition

Einstein said, “The only real valuable thing is intuition,”[2] and he’s right. While we are all familiar with how paranoid that little voice in our head can be, for the most part, he/she always has our best interest at heart. Follow your instincts and don’t be so hard on yourself. When it comes to learning, you know what you need to do to succeed. There’s a legendary story about Einstein and his father. Supposedly, when he was just five years old, Einstein was given a compass by his father. Einstein was so fascinated by the science of the thing that he instantly became addicted to knowledge.

Be open to failure and take initiative

When it comes to learning, you have to be open to, and expecting, failure. It would be detrimental to assume everything in life will turn out perfectly. Your success in education is no different. Yes, sometimes you are going to fail and fail miserably, but it will make all the times you succeed greatly that much more rewarding. The possibility of failure shouldn’t keep you from taking initiative and making your own decisions. Einstein found his learning building blocks through academics, but he relied on his own decision-making when it came to reading and studying.

You can be brilliant when you learn in the right way

Don’t ever let yourself forget that you are a brilliant individual. Regardless of your grades or how frustrating attaining knowledge can be, the most important things in life cannot be learned. Learning and education are so incredibly important and a wonderful gift to have, but I will leave you with the words Einstein looked at every day on a sign that hung in his office:

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“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

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Heather Poole

Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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