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10 Effective Ways To Super Boost Your Productivity

10 Effective Ways To Super Boost Your Productivity

One of the best feelings certainly comes from accomplishing what you set out to do. Doesn’t it just feel so darn good to get things done and achieve more? Of course it does — it is inherent in us. The problem, however, is that we really aren’t as productive as we actually could be; most of us are way off, in fact.

The world is changing each day. Being more productive is not an option anymore, but a prerequisite to getting ahead in this competitive world, and even being happy. Here are 10 effective ways that you can super boost your productivity now.

1. Challenge your own excuses.

Did you know that around 40% of your daily actions are on automatic? You do not make a conscious decision with everything you do, because most of your actions are habit.

This definitely serves you in many ways; imagine if you had to learn how to brush your teeth again every day! Other times it doesn’t serve you, though, especially when if you come up with unwarranted excuses and hold onto limiting beliefs that stop you from being as productive as you could be.

Typical phrases that you might find yourself saying without much thought are…

• I am just too busy to…
• I have never been organized or productive, I never will be…
• He/she is the reason why I can’t…
• I want to do so much, I just can’t…

It is only when you start to challenge your own excuses and limiting beliefs that you will find out how much truth or fact there really is to it. Start questioning your excuses and limiting beliefs and get more done now.

2. Use apps and technology.

You have never had so many different tools and apps available to help you leverage your time. Are you taking advantage of this? If you want to be more productive, there has never been an easier time to tap into the free resources out there.

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There are apps that will help to organize and synchronize your information, prioritize your to do’s and give you targeted focus. There are also music apps to help you concentrate more easily and those that automate your do-lists into a planned schedule.

Whatever your needs, there is sure to be an app for you. You will be amazed by how much technology, considering it is used correctly, can boost your productivity and support you in getting more done. Read more on the top apps here.

3. Change your limiting habits.

Everyone has a few bad habits when it comes to being as productive as they could be. What are your limiting habits? Do you have a habit of jumping from one task to the next? Do you fail to plan and prioritize your daily work?

If you can identify just one habit that, if you changed, would have the biggest positive effect, what would it be?

Work on this first. Start by improving just one limiting habit at a time. You don’t need to try to change everything at once, but at least start somewhere. It doesn’t make sense to only focus on developing skills and ignore the limiting habits which will undoubtedly continue to undermine your results.

4. Communicate more effectively.

Surveys certainly reveal some shocking statistics from time to time. Hundreds and thousands of money is wasted on poor communication and unproductive staff each year. Instructions not carried out properly and time wasted due to miscommunication all add up and undermine productivity.

Communication is key to being productive. Read more about how you can enhance your productivity by communicating effectively.

Perhaps you are a great communicator, but I guarantee you there are a few tips and techniques you could learn to get more done by communicating more effectively.

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5. Set weekly or daily objectives.

The easiest and most effective way to get more done is to set weekly goals or daily objectives. This targeted direction boosts your productivity because your actions are more closely aligned with what you want to achieve and you immediately become more productive.

Start with the end in mind. What do you want to have achieved by the end of the month or week? Set yourself a target.

Break the target down into action steps that you need to take to achieve this. For example, let’s say your goal is to get 5 new clients by the end of the month. What action do you need to take?

For example,

• Gather information on the potential customer
• Make X number of phone calls (depending on your conversion rate)
• Follow up on potential leads
• Close the deal

Each of these steps need to be included in your schedule and planned for.
Be crystal clear on where you are going and what you need to do to get there.

6. Let go of ‘the right time’.

Have you ever waited for the right time to take action on something? How did that work out for you? Often the right time never comes. Don’t wait for the right moment; bring the right moment to you. There is usually some action you can take now or something you can do instead of waiting around for something that might never come.

If this sounds like you, dig a little deeper. Are you really waiting for the right time or is it just an excuse to hide your procrastination?

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If you are waiting for the right opportunity to come your way before you do anything, you might be waiting for the rest of your life.

7. Make use of every opportunity you can.

Do you travel to work by car or by public transport? Add up how much time you spending traveling every week and ask yourself if it possible to make this time more productive.

Let’s say for example, that you need to read some paperwork, taking advantage to do this while traveling by tube is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Alternatively, if you are driving and you enjoy audio, you can listen to an audio book or an audio of something personally or work related.

Opportunities to leverage your time aren’t always plainly obvious, you need to make an effort to identify them. Get creative and ask yourself how you can best use this time. Brainstorm a few ideas and choose the best one.

8. Use your energy levels accordingly.

Your energy levels rise and drop throughout the day and everyone’s is different. You might find that you have a lot of energy in the morning and towards the afternoon you lose a lot of energy, or vice versa.

Plan to do tasks when you have the most energy. So for example, let’s say you have the most energy in the morning. Use this time then do the tasks that require the most concentration from you.

Later, when you know that you start to lose energy, use this time to reply to emails or make phone calls, etc.

You will be more productive because your energy will be aligned with the effort you need to make, so naturally you do more.

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9. Always batch when you can.

Batching is all about doing similar tasks together as opposed to doing them separately. Plan to do all your “out of the office” errands on the same day. Group your meetings and plan time to reply to emails or make your phone calls throughout the day.

Batching saves you from wasting time jumping from one task to the other, losing focus and concentration. It also minimizes the amount of distractions you have as an added bonus.

Take a moment to think about all the tasks and activities that you can group together to be more productive and take action now.

10. Mind Map your way to clarity.

Last, but definitely not least, is to use mind-mapping to support you. One of the biggest productivity hindrances is often just taking the first step, or taking the wrong first step and having to start over.

Using a mind map when you feel blocked can definitely boost your productivity and give you targeted direction moving forward.

Always start with the end in mind — take the final outcome or result you are looking for and work backwards. As you use categories and subcategories when you mind map, you can organize and therefore manage your ideas much better. Having everything laid out visually in front of you helps to keep you focused and it streamlines your thought processes.

If you have ever felt hesitant to start something because you simply lacked the clarity you needed or you felt that your thoughts are all over the place – this is the best thing you can do to move forward productively.

At the end of the day, being more productive is about choice. What do you choose? More, or less?

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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