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12 Productivity Blogs Smart People Read

12 Productivity Blogs Smart People Read

Smart is smart. That’s obvious. But how exactly do you become smart? And how do you turn yourself into a productivity ninja? Generally, smart people are productive. Question – how do you become smart and productive? There are many ways, but one of the best is education. Teach yourself techniques and strategies to become bright and productive. Well, if you want to be cleverer than what you are now, you need to start by not spending too much. One of the best ways to do this is to read websites. Numerous sites offer free content to reach your goals of turning yourself into someone wiser and more intelligent. Numerous sites offer free content to reach your goals of turning yourself into someone wiser and more intelligent.

In this post, we’ll cover 12 smart productivity blogs you should be reading. I love these blogs. I have invested time reading them, and I don’t have any regrets. They’ve helped me learn more about personal finance, productivity, setting goals, forming good habits, GTD, time management, and other invaluable subjects.

Steve Pavlina

Steve_Pavlina_10

    Steve Pavlina’s blog is recommended by many personal development freaks like me. If there’s what we call a well-rounded personality, his is a well-rounded blog. He writes about productivity, relationships, money, career, health, personal development, habits, and spirituality. What strikes me the most about Steve’s style is he writes about the lessons and tips based from his own experiences, and to me, that is powerful.

    Lifehack.org

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    Lifehack_10

      One of the biggest productivity blogs and one of the smartest. Lifehack covers Lifestyle, communication, money, productivity, tech, and work. Those are the major topics, but it has more under each of those topics. One of the dominant characteristics of the site’s posts is their being shareable-centric. Writer contributors love the fact that the audience share what they think is valuable and doable. Personally I’ve benefited from Lifehack’s ability to capture the fancy of its readers and its capability to motivate them to share content. I have to point out, though, that if the audience doesn’t find the content excellent, they won’t share it online. Like you need telling!

      Lifehacker

      Lifehacker-30

        The owners summarize Lifehacker like this: Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done. I’m pretty sure you got the point! It’s where you can find any kind of tips, and tricks, and downloads that can help you do whatever you want to do. The website’s team categorized topics this way: Downloads (or more specifically, Windows Downloads, Mac Downloads, iOS Downloads, and Android Downloads), Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, How To, DIY, and more.

        Dumb Little Man

        DLM

          In the words of the owner, Jay White, “the site is about productivity, exceeding goals, automation, and, well, finding a simpler way for everything.” Categories include happiness, success, money, how to, life hacks, health. You will surely enjoy reading more about the site. Start with the Dumb little Man’s about page. And just one look at the homepage, you’ll see that DLM has a well-balanced group of niches. For me, because I’m a tech-challenged blogger, I find the how-tos covering technology helpful. Go, check, if you haven’t yet. You’ll not waste your time.

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          Get Rich Slowly

          Get Rich Slowly

            If you want to learn how to manage your personal finances well your site is Get Rich Slowly. The site is named a best blog by Time magazine and most inspiring money blog by Money magazine. It’s devoted to sensible personal finance. Topics covered are Bank Reviews, The Basics, Money Hacks, Investing, Being Frugal, Enterpreneurship, Savings, Budgeting, Cars, Retirement, and Debt. There are more, but you’ll have to jump over to the site to appreciate it better.

            Zen habits

            ZenHabits_10

              If you are looking for a blog that can teach you to develop simple habits to change your life for the better, I recommend Leo Babauta’s famous blog, Zen Habits. Time Magazine voted it as one of the Best Blogs of 2010. That’s a good reason for you to check his blog. What I like about this blog is that it uses a simple way to explain ways to acquire habits that can result to you becoming a more productive person and generally a better individual.

              Wise Bread Personal Finance Forum

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              Wise Bread

                The about page of a site sort of sets the initial mood of the reader during the first visit. Checking Wise Bread’s about page you’ll read this: Wise Bread is a community of bloggers here to help you live large on a small budget. Despite what you may have heard, you don’t have to sacrifice your financial independence to enjoy life. Upon reading this short introduction, I was convinced and encouraged to patronize the blog. The site got me on “Living large on a small budget.” Who wouldn’t desire that? Topics covered are Credit cards, Personal finance, Frugal living, Career, Life hacks, Best deals, (and believe or not, they even feature other Personal Finance blogs).

                LifeDev

                LiveDev_10

                  The first time I visited this wonderful blog, I was caught unaware I was being drawn in closer and closer to check everything about it,immediately. Not only because it’s part of my research, but because it has something I can’t ignore: honesty. What’s more, it’s sincere in helping people in the business of creating and finishing projects no matter how big or small they are.

                  Productivity501

                  Productivity501

                    Productivity501 is a blog focused on serving tips and tricks to help you increase your personal productivity. Since it genuinely wants to do that, originality is it’s priority, so it’s generally slower than other sites with postings; it concentrates on original content only. The blog does its best to come up with one original post every week. However, the blog’s focus is on featuring something that will surely benefit the audience. One thing that distinguishes it from other productivity websites is that it has its own Youtube Channel featuring tips and tricks. The blog also frequently include tech tips on their featured posts. This way, tech challenged guys like me can have a field day every time they visit Productivity501.

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                    The Daily Saint

                    TheDailySaint

                      Focused on helping professionals to organize and improve time management so they can get more things done and create a greater impact. It’s also set to help them experience more satisfaction, and to transform their organization for the better. This blog separates itself from the rest by catering to organizations too, instead of limiting itself to helping only individuals. An added feature is the topic, leadership. Many productivity blogs cover leadership but The Daily Saint incorporates it into its main fiber.

                      Ian’s Messy Desk

                      IansMessyDesk

                        Looking for a blog that’s focused on time management and personal development has never been easier. Just click the name of the blog above and you’ll get in, pronto. Once inside, you’ll know you’ll never have a messy desk again. Well, that is if you follow the tips offered there. Right on its About Page, you’re assured you’ll not only get self-help tips but also be a beneficiary of teaching, coaching, sharing, and mentoring. So, if you feel you’re stuck somewhere you’re not comfortable in, or you need a little push to left you up where you’re at, feel free to navigate to IMD. It’s a smart move. Take it from your friend, Anthony (me).

                        Open Loops

                        OpenLoops

                          Among the sites here, this one has a different angle. It’s from an educator’s viewpoint. Bert Webb, the owner, has spent about 19 years of his life in academia enabling him to come up with wise advice regarding time management, productivity, and self development. Drop by the site and you’ll see such topics as developing writing skills, effective communication, powerful presentations, improving resumes, and so much more. It’s quite different from the rest of the productivity blogs because subjects are discussed with the wisdom of a teacher. I and my friends who are productivity experts highly recommend these blogs.

                          Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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                          Anthony Dejolde

                          TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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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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