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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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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

    2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

    Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

    Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

    Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

    Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

    Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

    By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

    The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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    1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

    Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

    Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

    Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

    When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

    The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

    Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

    To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

    Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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    We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

    It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

    After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

    Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

    Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

    To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

    Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

    Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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    When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

    Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

    We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

    When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

    Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

    2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

    If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

    The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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    To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

    With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

    So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

    • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
    • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
    • Say no to all else.
    • Say no again.
    • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
    • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
    • Meditate.
    • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
    • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
    • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
    • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
    • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
    • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

    Final Thoughts

    These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

    Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

    More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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