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10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

What are you willing to do in order to reach success? It is common among people these days to be average and not stand out too much. But those who are successful do not fall under this category.

In order to stay on top of your game and reach the level of success you want, you need to follow a certain set of self-induced rules. Success is not something that happens by accident; if you want it bad enough, you will get it. Learn the habits that successful people have given up in order to reach their own success.

1. They don’t work in their comfort zone.

What is your comfort zone? Your comfort zone is defined as “A psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety.” When you get outside of your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that you should strive for a constant state of anxiety and stress. It simply means that, in order to grow, you should try new things and expand your horizons.

The reason we are comfortable in our comfort zone is because we are not taking risks when we are in this state. When we live in our comfort zones, we are living life like hamsters on a wheel, going around and around in a constant cycle, but going nowhere in our lives.

Famous motivational speaker, Les Brown, said it best with, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

2. They don’t do without first learning.

Learning is what we do best. The greatest thing about learning is the benefit that we receive in all aspects of our lives. Successful people strive to continue learning new things and expanding on things that they already know.

If we stop learning, then the only thing we can do is settle with what we already know; if we settle for that, then there is no way to expand our minds. Expansion is essential on the path to success. Since our minds require learning for expansion, we must never stop seeking new knowledge.

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Imagine what would have happened if Bill Gates stopped learning and growing. The internet would be much more primitive than it is today. But because he followed his dreams and continued growing, he founded one of the biggest companies in the world and it is still flourishing and growing today.

3. They don’t fear asking for advice.

Richard Branson, a famous entrepreneur, stated, “When you need to make hard decisions, being able to discuss your ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders who have solved similar problems can make all the difference.”

Asking for advice is not always easy. We think that we have the same opportunity as everyone else and sometimes feel insecure and dependent, so we decide not to ask for advice, and try to figure it out ourselves. But this could be greatly limiting us from reaching our full potential, because the advice we might be seeking could be something that somebody knows very well.

4. They don’t get lost in the small details.

When life gives us seemingly endless opportunities, it is very easy to get lost in the small details. The small details are very easy for us to become focused on, thus causing us to miss out on the overall vision, also known as the “big picture”.

Focusing too much on the smaller details constricts your ability to see how everything ties together. Much of our lives hinge upon the connections that we make with others and with ourselves. If we get lost in the small detail, it is like having missing pieces to a puzzle. How are we supposed to solve that?

Imagine what would have happened if Henry Ford only saw the small details. When building the company that Ford is today, he knew that he must do something different if his company was to succeed. After many people told him it couldn’t be done, his company continued improving upon the smaller details until they got it right.

Henry Ford didn’t focus too much on the small details, which were the hundreds of times he failed; he saw the overall goal and knew that it could be accomplished. It required seeing the bigger picture to make it happen.

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5. They don’t multitask.

Multitasking is typically viewed as a skill that only certain people possess. But truth be told, nobody actually has the ability to multitask. Multitasking is known to actually decrease productivity. Those who are successful focus on one specific task and do that task to the best of their ability without interruption.

When you multitask, you limit your ability to fully focus on one specific task at a time. Successful people utilize the talents and abilities that they have by focusing it on one task and one task only.

Emma Watson said, “I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking..” This demonstrates how destructive multitasking is highlighting the fact that when we multitask, we are greatly limiting ourselves.

6. They don’t lie to themselves.

Lying to yourself is one of the easiest things for you to do. It is much more difficult to accept the problems that we have without make excuses for them. Successful people understand that we will encounter problems, both internally and externally.

But it is important to accept the problems that reside in our lives, rather than not dealing with them and lying to ourselves about them.

As Steve Maraboli said, “Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”

7. They don’t procrastinate in asking for feedback.

Feedback is important, because it gives you a different perspective on your current situation. Sometimes you are not able to see the answer that is right in front of you. But when someone gives you feedback, it allows you to see something from the perspective of someone else.

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If you procrastinate asking someone for feedback, you are missing out on time that could be put towards accomplishing your dreams. The longer you wait, the harder it is to utilize advice that others can give you.

“I think It’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you´re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better,” entrepreneur Elon Musk once said.

8. They don’t follow, they lead.

You have probably heard the phrase “lead, follow or get out of the way.” There are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. The ones who are successful are the ones who are leading the pack.

Successful people are not successful because they got there by chance. They did not follow somebody to the finish line. They paved their own path in life to get where they needed to be.

Just as the great Robert Frost stated, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

9. They don’t let the past dictate their future.

The past is something that we will never change, nor should we want to change it; because without it, we would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn. Therefore, we would wind up making the same mistakes over and over again until we learned the lesson that life is trying to teach us.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour. His humble background did not prevent him from thinking bigger though. With a net worth of $3.8 billion dollars, he now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

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10. They don’t hang around negative people.

Negative people are very destructive to be around when it comes to achieving success, because there are so many situations that life throws at us and causes us to get down on ourselves or our situation. But some people like to focus on this aspect of life the majority of the time.

When you are around negative people enough, you start to see things negatively and you begin to lose sight of your dream. Success is more about mindset than anything, and if you always have a negative mindset, life will reward you with negative outcomes to deal with.

Joel Olsteen once said, “You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” So if you wish you be successful, don’t focus on the negativity that others bring.

To be successful requires focus and determination. It seems that every successful person follows similar patterns. Therefore, it’s easy to see why they are where they are. They knew what they had to do in order to achieve their dreams and they didn’t let anyone or anything stop them from getting there.

You have the power in yourself to become one of those successful people you admire and look up to.

Featured photo credit: http://media4.s-nbcnews.com via media4.s-nbcnews.com

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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

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