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10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

You are what you think about. Can you create a better life by simply thinking about it? Of course not– that’s absurd. But if your mind is dominated by negative thoughts, it’s hard to get motivated to make positive changes that will improve your life. Please consider these 10 dangerous thoughts you should avoid.

1. “I guess this is as good as it gets.”

The second you become complacent, your progress in life will come to a screeching halt. No matter how good you are at something, you could always stand to improve in some aspect. Learn a new craft, hobby or language to keep your mind creative and fresh. Discover ways to increase the quality of your work or decrease the time it takes to complete tasks you’re already good at (then you’ll have more time for the important things that really make you happy!). Make sure personal growth isn’t just something you talk about–make it a daily event.

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2. “I’ll just do the easy stuff.”

That thing that you dread doing more than anything else? The odds are, THAT is the very thing you need to do. Do you think employers are interested in hiring people who are only capable of accomplishing simple tasks that anybody else on the planet could perform? Of course not. Whether it’s for the purpose of making yourself more marketable in the workforce, improving your body and health or whatever the case may be, you need to embrace the fact that you sometimes have to do things that you don’t enjoy. You know what I hate? Working on resumes, portfolios and sales pages. But even though I don’t particularly enjoy those things, I am very skilled at them because my success depends on it. Buckle down and do the thing you don’t want to do because like it or not, that’s probably the very thing you need to do.

3. “I don’t care about the details, tell me what to do!”

If you don’t understand why a particular task needs to be done, it is unlikely you’ll be able to pay it the proper attention it deserves. And if you don’t ask follow-up questions about things you don’t understand, your results will suffer.Take ownership of every project. Do you have any ideas to contribute that might make the end result better? Say so. No one is going to fuss at you for asking questions or offering suggestions that will improve the end result.

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4. “I’m not good enough.”

If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, smart enough, or (insert adjective of your choosing here) enough, your lack of confidence will reflect in your words, stature, and mannerisms. Why should someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Surround yourself with positive people who will motivate you. Read books, articles, and studies about what you’re passionate about until you can truthfully say you are an expert in your field. Stop looking for the reasons you can’t do something and find the reasons you can. People often say, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” but this statement is blatantly false. You are as strong as your strongest link.

5. “It will never work.”

Stop telling yourself you will fail because self-fulfilling prophecies almost always come true.

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6. “I’m a bad person.”

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter what wrong you feel you have done to a person, agonizing over a past event that cannot be undone will not make the situation better (and will make you feel a lot worse). Whether you ate something you know you shouldn’t have, said something hurtful that you wish you could take back or made a mistake on the job, don’t live in the past. If you apologized and explained yourself, then it is time to move on. Focus your energy to the future because that’s where progress happens. 

7. “What will they think about me?”

While you should do everything you can to make people around you comfortable, you shouldn’t sacrifice your genuine personality in order to please other people. Embrace your authentic self and share it with the world. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, that is their problem (and their loss). 

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8. “I’ll do it when the time is right.”

There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to do anything. If you keep waiting for the right time to move to a new town, talk to that cute bartender or begin a new fitness plan, you will never take action. Challenge yourself to burst out of your comfort zone. I know comfort makes you feel safe, but how fulfilling is it to spend your life thinking about doing things that you never actually do? Act now or regret it later.

9. “I wish I could look more like _____.”

Please understand that when you see scantily clad models in magazines, you are looking at doctored up images of people who most likely have put themselves through incredibly restrictive diets and/or excessive fitness routines in the weeks or months leading up to their photo-shoot. In other words, such a body would not be attainable for the average person. When you see articles like “The Hugh Jackman Workout,” you are seeing routines that were designed for a specific person (Hugh Jackman) with a specific body type and need. Even if you did the same workout as instructed, you could not reasonably expect to become as ripped as Hugh Jackman was in the latest Wolverine film. Accept your body as it is. Aim to improve your physique, but stop comparing it to other people with figures that are out-of-reach. 

10. “No one cares.”

Yes, they do. Even if you’re not on the best terms with your family, I can’t imagine that they don’t care about you. And even if you’ve lost touch with a lot of your friends, I bet they would be happy to hear your voice in a surprise phone-call. You have impacted more lives than you could begin to comprehend. Send an e-mail or write a letter to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in months or years. Call an aunt, uncle or cousin who made a positive impact on your development as a child. Join an online support community, message board or networking group of like-minded people who could become new friends. You are not alone– you are far from it. If you just moved to a new home, you might want to check out this article about how to make a bunch of friends in any new city.

The first step to a better life is to think better thoughts. 

I hope this list of dangerous thoughts was helpful. You can’t create a better life by the mere act of thinking about it, but it is a positive first step in the right direction. What are some positive thoughts that help you be happy and productive? Please share them in the comments!

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at 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

    Reference

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