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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How To Think Effectively: 12 Powerful Techniques

How To Think Effectively: 12 Powerful Techniques

Effective thinking is something that can be practiced and developed over time. Everything begins and ends with the brain-heart connection. How you think either connects or disconnects the two.

Here are 12 ways to think effectively that you never thought could be so easy.

1. Identify and Reverse Negative Core Beliefs

“I’m not good enough.” “I don’t deserve this.” We’re all influenced by our past experiences and when we attach negative labels to them, we subconsciously bring them into our present reality.

Think effectively by reversing the negative into a positive and letting that play repeatedly in your thoughts.

2. Powerful Words Trigger Powerful Thinking

“I’m going to try this.” Where’s the power in this statement? Reword it. “I’m going to master this technique and gain customers.”

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Use powerful words that set you up for success in your thinking. Merely ‘trying’ something isn’t motivating. ‘Mastering’ something is very motivating. Think effectively—and powerfully. Powerful thinking promotes powerful action.

3. When It All Comes Down to It, You Are What You Think

So if you think you’re a failure, you don’t deserve success or happiness, or you’re not good enough, your subconscious mind is going to steer you in the direction of what you’re thinking.

To think effectively, you have to think in ways that steer you toward success.

4. When Failure or Crisis Ensues, Always Think, “What Is the Lesson Here?”

Remember, everything begins and ends with the brain-heart connection. Find a valuable lesson that you can profit or benefit from in every traumatic event. That way, when you look back on the situation, you view it as a learning experience, not a traumatic, negative event. Try to find happiness in everything.

5. When You Stop a Project to Think About It, Make Sure You Start It Again

So many great ideas are abandoned because of hesitance or procrastination. When you find yourself at a standstill in the middle of a project and you’re hesitating, go back to point #1. Find the belief that’s stalling you, reverse it, add some power words and dive right back in.

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6. Thinking Too Much Promotes Stagnation

So think like this: Thought…Idea…Vision…Action. Take your thoughts and form an idea. Really visualize the entire idea coming to fruition in your mind. Now, take the steps to make that idea happen.

7. You Can’t Want Something and Have It at the Same Time

A very valuable money coach taught me this concept and when I realized it, I became unstuck. When you’re so busy wanting something, all of your thought processes encompass that desire, that longing. You find yourself saying something like, “I have no idea how, but I have to have that.”

Instead, go to point #6. Take that want, turn it into an idea, envision it clearly and take action to get there. Changing your focus to the status of ‘having’ psychologically triggers the mind to take the necessary steps to get it, instead of remaining in a state of envy.

8. Use Psychological Triggers to Keep Your Brain and Your Heart on the Same Wavelength

For example, in your heart, you know you need to set up a budget. But your brain is saying, “It’s useless, you’ll always be broke.” Don’t give in…reverse your brain’s thought.

Think about how much less stress you’ll have when you know exactly how much you have to spend and where to spend it. This aligns your brain and your heart and motivates you to set up a budget and stick to it. The psychological trigger is less stress.

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9. Before Becoming Hurt or Offended by a Friend’s Actions or Words, Look at Their Heart

Generally, by looking at someone’s heart, you gain a deeper understanding as to their reaction. The result is that it brings forgiveness much more easily and saves your energy for creativity instead of anger and resentment.

10. Check Your Motives

Before you speak or act, make sure what you’re thinking is your opinion and not your friend’s/boss’s/partner’s etc. When you’re thinking, make sure they’re your true, unbiased thoughts and that you’re not seeking approval or being influenced by others.

11. Don’t Bury Icky Thoughts

When you catch yourself pushing an uncomfortable thought or feeling away…don’t. Even if it has a negative emotion attached to it. Let it come all the way up to the surface. Sit in it for a few minutes and truly feel the emotion. Feel it, face it…and let it go.

Don’t suppress icky feelings, because they always rear their ugly head in moments of stress and cause you to act and do things that you’ll regret later.

12. Focus on Right Now…This Very Moment

Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Just right now. It’s all you have…it’s all that matters.

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This way, your actions in the present moment aren’t as likely to be dictated by past experiences. This is the most powerful tool to help you to think effectively.

Learn How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying.

The Bottom Line

By practicing these simple techniques every single day, you will master effective thinking and soon see improvements in your work, your creativity and your relationships. Remember, it’s all about aligning the brain and the heart so they don’t contradict each other.

More Tips to Boost Your Brain Power

Featured photo credit: JessicaGale via mrg.bz

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Lynn Silva

Lynn Silva helps solo and entrepreneurs develop mental skills for business.

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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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