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Published on September 18, 2018

10 Most Productive Countries And What You Can Learn From Them

10 Most Productive Countries And What You Can Learn From Them

The satisfaction and benefit experienced when you’re productive gives you confidence and induces a desire to achieve more.

Productivity has several definitions; we shall define in relation to economies:

Productivity measures output per unit of input, considering factors such as capital, labor, land or any other resource in the production process. It calculates Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a ratio to hours worked.

In this article, we’ll look into the 10 most productive countries and lessons we can learn from them.

How to determine the most productive countries?

The citizens who have the ability to produce a significant amount of results, make their countries productive. The measure of their output is the determining factor.

Economies use Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over hours worked to evaluate productivity. The total value of everything produced by every citizen and corporation located within the boundaries of any a country is the GDP.

This is evident in a recent report by two credible sources, Expert Market[1] and data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)[2]:

10 most productive countries

Based on these facts, here are 10 most productive countries captured from these reports:

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    Lessons learned from the most productive countries

    Whenever productive countries and individuals find something that works well, they learn from it.

    Learn the reason it worked. Develop systems and processes around it. Apply the lessons learned and repeat the process over again until the desired outcome is achieved.

    With that said, here are a few lessons from the most productive countries you can begin to implement. After a period of time, you’ll notice some change.

    1. Cultivate a culture of life work balance

    When you cultivate a culture of life-work balance you become a more fulfilled and productive individual.

    Life happens. Eventualities and uncertainties happen. You may lose your job, an ability or even your business.

    If your life revolved only around your work, you never took the time to cultivate a work-life balance, or develop other interests and relationships outside your work; the adjustment would be difficult to cope with.

    The beauty of life is never too late to start.

    Be deliberate and intentional and cultivate a life outside your work or business. Take up a hobby, spend quality time with those you love and treasure.

    Go back to school and learn a new skill that is exciting. Be a continuous lifelong learner. Schedule a holiday every year.

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    Do something exciting that you love that is not related to your work.

    For those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Luxembourg is a fantastic location for start-up businesses looking to invest in foreign markets. The favorable political and commercial environment is good for new product and service development.

    Luxembourg was ranked 7th by the Global Talent Competitiveness Index in 2017(GTCI). The report measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent.[3] It’s an ideal location for career expats to build an international career. Professionals with specialist knowledge are offered attractive compensation packages.

    Consider relocating to Luxembourg and learn some great business and family life lesson you can implement back in your home country.

    2. Shorter working hours are more productive

    Long working hours don’t necessarily equate to high productivity. Countries like Japan and Mexico have long working hours and the results in productivity don’t match the input.

    Sweden is friendly to a work-life balance culture and occasionally carries out several audits to enhance the productivity of its workforce:

    In one particular experiment, one employee who worked at a nursing home for eight hours always felt fatigued and drained with no time to spend with his children when he got home. His work hours were reduced to a six-hour workday with the same pay.

    The results were evident immediately. He was happy at work, energized and more productive. In the first year of implementing this new system, significant changes had occurred.

    The audit revealed the improved overall health of workers, increased productivity and absenteeism was minimal.

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    Other benefits that these topmost productive countries working shorter hours experience are:

    • Creative talent retention: Workers stay longer with these companies. Not willing to trade their new found freedom.
    • More time to rest and sleep early. Waking up refreshed and restored. Ready to tackle the day creatively and efficiently.
    • Employees feel valued. Employees can spend time with their loved ones and have time to do what they enjoy.

    3. Focus on and fully engage in your present task.

    People who’ve mastered the skill of “Focused Engagement and Disengagement” are more productive and fulfilled.

    Be focused and fully engaged at the workplace and fully disengaged on work-related issues when you leave the work premises; this is a conscious decision of the will you’ll implement and practice until it becomes a reflex action.

    This will be a win-win situation because your employer will have your full and focused attention at the workplace, resulting in more output and higher revenue for your organization and country at large. The satisfaction you’ll get from the feeling of accomplishing a task is very energizing.

    In Iceland, the workers maximized and efficiently utilized the short working hours to raise the productivity levels. They were engaged and focused on the task at hand. This is what made Iceland jump 10 positions higher.

    Perhaps this explains why German ranked only the 11th in spite of having the shortest working week. The difference was while they worked short hours, they were present but distracted and not fully engaged.

    4. Maintain a happy and positive outlook towards your life and work

    Majority of people seek and pursue happiness. Norwegians topped the global list of happiness according to the 2017 world happiness report.

    Largely this was influenced by the life work balance that Norwegians have embraced. Coupled with factors such as generosity, good governance, honesty and caring which contribute to a happy country.

    Deal with excitement drainers by maintaining a happy and positive outlook towards your life and work. Yes, your working hours and environment may not be what your desire at the moment.

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    You have no motivation to wake up tomorrow and go to work? But you know what? At least you have something to wake up to which the majority of people wish they had the opportunities you despise.

    For a moment, take the focus off yourself and your problems. Start to acknowledge the good things in your life, be a kind and caring soul. Then like the Norwegians, you too can start experiencing happiness.

    5. Flexible work schedules

    Countries like Luxembourg, Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries have adopted flexible work schedules.[4]

    Employees have an agreed work schedule about when they report and leave work. For example, an employee can schedule to come in a few hours early and leave early, or come in later in the morning and leave a few hours after 5 pm.

    Other options include working from home. This is based on mutual trust. Knowing the employee will actually be engaged in productive work while at home.

    Some more benefits of flexible work hours are:

    • A working mother with very young children can schedule convenient times to be home with their children.
    • An increase of more women workers in the workforce.
    • Parents can pick and drop off their children to school without interrupting their work schedule. No excuses for missing your child’s special event at school.
    • Ideal for employees who have gone back to school to study.

    The bottom line

    Cultivating a culture of life-work balance, shorter working hours, be focused and engaged with your present task, change your attitude and have flexible work schedules are some ways the most productive countries are adapting to enhance productivity.

    With Luxembourg topping the list as the most productive country for two consecutive years, we can learn a few lessons from this small and vibrant country.

    Having emerged top 10, the Scandinavian countries work model has proven to be efficient. Countries can now confidently adopt a culture of fewer working hours with extended breaks, allowing their workers to leave work early and prepare for the next working day.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Sylvia Muikia

    Writer and blogger specializes in productivity.

    10 Most Productive Countries And What You Can Learn From Them

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    Published on April 16, 2019

    How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

    How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

    When was the last time you did something for yourself?

    Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

    Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

    However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

    And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

    So how can you make that happen?

    Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

    Listen to Yourself

    The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

    This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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    What is your purpose?

    Have you ever thought about this question?

    Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

    In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

    Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

    All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

    If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

    But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

    For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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    If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

    How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

    Seek Out Continuous Education

    Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

    It’s Super Practical

    Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

    You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

    When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

    Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

    You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

    You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

    You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

    Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

    With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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    In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

    Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

    People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

    We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

    “Knowledge is choice.”

    Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

    Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

    Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

    Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

    Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

    Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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    When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

    Habits Make Your Time a Priority

    How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

    It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

    This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

    Your Well Being Comes First

    We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

    If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

    The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

    Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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