Advertising
Advertising

10 Things Babies Teach Us About Productivity

10 Things Babies Teach Us About Productivity

Babies are adorable. Their big baby eyes and toothless grins can melt the stoniest of hearts. They are also highly efficient and can teach us a number of things about being productive. Follow the 10 productivity lessons below and the next time someone says you’re acting like a baby you can proudly say, “Thank you.”

1. They Sleep Like a…Well, Baby.

Sleep Like a Baby to Be Productive

    Babies, especially newborns, sleep like they are getting paid to do it. Although it may not appear to be the case, they sleep on average 10-18 hours a day, albeit in chunks and pieces. All this sleep helps babies grow and develop a healthy immune system. It also helps them remain alert and have happy moods. When they don’t get enough sleep they can become cranky, irritable, and are difficult to soothe or please.

    Sound familiar? We adults get the same way. Lack of sleep makes us grouchy, susceptible to illness, and negatively affects – among other things – our memory, reaction time, and alertness, things very important to our productivity level. We may not need 18 hours, but to be at our most productive, we do need to make getting enough sleep a priority, just like babies do.

    2. They Roll Over After Months of Practice.

    Baby Rolling Over

      Achieving this huge milestone doesn’t just happen overnight. It comes with months of practice and persistence. It starts with the lifting of the head, then the head and shoulders, followed by using the arms for mini push ups. The movements progress to include back arches, rocking, kicking and swimming motions. All of this builds muscles which months later, at the right time, culminate in the first successful roll over. When we practice and persist, regardless of what it is, we too build muscles and strengths that we are not even aware of.

      Advertising

      Our new skill becomes automatic, seemingly happening without much thought or effort on our part. It just is. We rarely notice the progression, but if we take an extended break we immediately recognize the decline when we return. People who are most productive know the importance that practice and repetition play in accomplishing goals. Babies practice for months on end with no complaints. Our overall productivity could benefit from imitating their behavior.

      3. They Flourish When They Have a Routine.

      Baby Routine

        Weary parents can’t wait until their cute bundle of non-stop activity is on a regular sleeping, feeding and playing schedule. Turns out, babies love it too and are much happier. We grownups could learn a thing or two – or three – about the value of routine in our lives. For babies, a regular schedule decreases instances of being overtired, over hungry, or overwhelmed.

        The same is true for us, as we are more productive when our minds and bodies are adequately nourished. We are alert and can focus with a degree of sharpness impossible when basic needs aren’t met. Routine makes babies feel safe and secure which allows them to confidently explore their environment and achieve milestones. It should come as no surprise that the same is true for adults. As English novelist Anthony Trollope once said, “A small daily task, if it be daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules,” The simple act of doing, if done routinely, is one definition of productivity that will inevitably lead to results.

        4. They Let You Know When They are Done.

        Baby Pout

          Every parent has witnessed it. Their little one is over tired, over stimulated, or not digging new arms holding him, new hands pinching his cheeks, or the face to face cooing from visiting strangers, I mean family. Put a fork in the baby, he is done. You never knew babies had such lung capacity and when this happens, everything stops until calm is restored.

          Advertising

          Moral of the story? Everyone has their limits. People who are productive understand this and know when to stop pushing. Simply taking a short break, stepping away, taking a walk, listening to music, engaging in conversation, anything that clears your head can replenish the creativity well and provide you with insights which were previously elusive.

          5. They Grab Your Hair (Earrings, Glasses, Tie) and Won’t Let Go.

          Baby Wearing GLasses

            The “if they see it, they will grab it,” stage of baby development is awesome, isn’t it? Who knew that babies had such strength? When they get ahold of your hair, they don’t just tug, they yank. Ouch! And the best part is, it seems as if nothing will distract them from their current object of affection. They are extremely focused.

            If only it were as easy for adults. We should learn to be like babies in this regard. There are a million things going on around them, but they are only interested in one. If we were this way consistently we would be so much more productive and might actually cross everything off of our to-do lists once in a while.

            6. They Smile and Laugh without Reservation.

            Smiling Baby

              If you’ve ever seen a baby smile or heard that sweet baby laugh, you know that it’s like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. It is soul warming, heart expanding, and tangible proof that the baby is feeling happy. And you want to see and hear it again. And again. Which is why we do silly things and make goofy faces for hours on end.

              Advertising

              Turns out that smiling and laughing is great for folks of all ages. It helps us manage stress, builds the immune system, makes us appear more likable and trustworthy, and assists us in seeing the bigger picture. In essence, the acts of smiling and laughing, both positive behaviors, can have an equally positive impact on productivity levels. So go ahead and let a good belly laugh loose.

              7. They Make a Stink and Move On.

              Prouctive Babies Make a Stink

                Gotta go, gotta go, right? Babies do just that. Without hesitation, without fear, without embarrassment, without wondering if the time is right, and not worrying about who is around. It’s simply a part of life. They poop. It stinks. We change them. All is good in the world. It’s brilliant, really. If only we adults could be so unfettered, we’d get so much more done. There will be many times in our lives when we poop out. We’ll make mistakes, choose the wrong strategy, or just totally miss the mark. How we handle these challenges determines how long these misfires will stink.

                Will we get stuck or will we move on? Do we keep working on it because we’ve already invested a lot of time and effort, or can we be confident in temporary defeat and try a different path? Do we engage in negative self-talk which is sure to sabotage future efforts, or do we recognize it as a learning experience which will bring us closer to success? The truth is, poop happens. When it does, productive people clean up and move on.

                8. They Immediately Let You Know What They Want.

                Baby Crying

                  Wet diaper? There’s a cry for that. Empty tummy? There’s a cry for that too. Upset tummy? Tired? Need Burping? There’s a…well you get the picture. When babies want or need something, they let you know. It may sound like “just” a cry to others, but mom and dad quickly come to know the nuances and respond accordingly. Here’s the thing. They let you know immediately. They don’t (as much as we would love it) wait until they are sure that the time is convenient. They don’t wonder if it’s okay to let us know. They just do.

                  Advertising

                  Now, no one is suggesting we turn into rude, thoughtless creatures who only think of ourselves, but there’s a productivity lesson in there for us non-babies. You have to let others know what you want. Productive people take the initiative. Even when it is scary, they take action because they know the only way to achieve results is to take chances and move forward.

                  9. They Don’t Rush Things.

                  Baby Crawling

                    When it’s time to roll over, they do. When it’s time to sit up, they sit up. When it’s time to crawl, they do. Babies don’t skip over the milestones, nor do they achieve them by happenstance. Sure they may get frustrated when their current level of mobility keeps their goal just out of reach. However, not one yet has figured out how to magically skip a stage to get to the next, so they continue on, persistent in their practice, absorbed in the journey.

                    People who are productive have similar characteristics. They don’t waste time trying to find short cuts or use tricks to get to the desired end. To reach the ultimate goal, they break things down into many, sometimes mini, goals along the way, enabling them to enjoy the journey, and not pine for the destination.

                    10. They are Happy with Simple Pleasures.

                    Mom and Baby Playing

                      Ah, the life of a baby. Feed me, burp me, change me, hug me, play with me, love me and protect me and I’m happy. I don’t need the fancy diapers. While I’m tiny, I don’t need a big flavor variety. Your breast milk – or formula – will do. I don’t need an assortment of the fluffiest blankets in every color to be wrapped in. Your arms are perfect. I don’t need a collection of the latest electronic learning gadgets. The sound of your voice talking to me, playing with me and showing me things is helping me learn. I don’t need frills to be happy. Nor do we adults. Having more means more distractions greater opportunity for discontent.

                      You know, “Let me just check one more e-mail, Facebook post, tweet, Instagram, and take one more phone call, and then I can work on this project.” By the time you’ve done all of that, an hour has passed and/or you’re too fatigued to work on what you intended. Or, “If I just had this _____________ (fill in the blank with a consumer gadget), I could get a lot more done. Sometimes, in order to be productive, we have to pare down and scale back. Turn it all off, get quiet and get going. Hugs are always welcome, though. What other productivity lessons can be learned from observing babies?

                      More by this author

                      4 Household Hacks To Save You A Lot Of Money 10 Time And Money Saving Tips For Weddings That I Wish I Knew Earlier 20 Fun Date Ideas For Couples Without Spending Much 10 Things Babies Teach Us About Productivity 51 Clothing Hacks To Save You Money

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 4 Effective Ways To Collaborate With Your Team 2 Why Your Habits Hinder You From Reaching Your Goals 3 We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why? 4 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 5 How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      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:

                      Advertising

                      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.

                      Advertising

                      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.

                      Advertising

                      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.

                        Advertising

                        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.

                        More Productivity Tips

                        Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next