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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 March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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