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12 Ways to Quickly Become Unproductive

12 Ways to Quickly Become Unproductive

You probably already tried everything you can to become more productive. Some things worked and some did not. Now it is time to try to be completely unproductive. It’s much simpler than you think! What are the guaranteed 12 ways to quickly become unproductive?

1. Keep everything in your head

Your brain counts the tasks like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, lots. If you don’t store information outside of your head in any visual form, you will quickly get lost. I once talked to a highly stressed person who stated she had “a lot to do”. When we wrote down this “a lot”, it turned out that she could perform most of the tasks within one evening! It is a great surprise to many when they write down their tasks, events, meetings and thoughts on a sheet of paper.

2. Keep everything equally important

Avoiding prioritization is a great handy hint for being completely unproductive. With every phone call, email, talk, task within multiple projects, or meeting request, you simply task switch and completely lose focus because you can’t decide. When you are aware of your priorities you can immediately postpone some things for later. And you really should!

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3. Use distractions

Another great way to become unproductive is to open Twitter, a few Facebook and Google+ tabs, your email account, put your phone in front of you, use Outlook desktop alert – any blinking thing you can think of and any other way of distracting you that is possible. You need several minutes to focus completely on your task, get into the “flow” and be really efficient, and this way you will be distracted every few seconds and you will never reach that state.

4. Get rid of emotions

Fun and emotions are what keep you engaged in an activity much longer than you think. You have greater energy, passion, and think more creatively. If you get rid of emotions from your activities, you simply have a boring list of tasks to accomplish. Just look what fun can bring to your life:

5. Use only one brain hemisphere

There is some great art coming out of the Mercedes Benz “Left Brain – Right Brain” advertising campaign, which (according to researchers) isn’t completely relevant, but shows a great truth: if you don’t use colors, sounds and everything is flat and black and white, it’s like you are using only half of your brain. If you don’t want to be unproductive, turn on colors in your email inbox, calendar and task list. Make it fun!

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6. Never say “no”

This is great way to become unproductive when used together with previous hints. With every email and request coming from your boss, colleagues and family, you simply say “yes” and take it on. This way you never know your limits, your task list is ever growing, you become unreliable, and put yourself into a victim mindset. The most surprising moment for many people is when they say “no” and it doesn’t break the relationship (as it shouldn’t!), in many cases they also find they become perceived as more reliable. Assertiveness is hard, but it is key.

7. Focus on your weaknesses

You know what is different about the people that excel from the rest? The greatest people focus on their strengths and they build on top of them. That gives them energy to fight their weaknesses. You simply can’t do the opposite. Think about Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods – they would get better and better at things they were already great at! If you want to be unproductive, focus on your weaknesses all the time, it will drain all your energy, put you in a bad mood and take your eyes away from your vision for your life.

8. Do everything yourself

So, you are the smartest person on the whole planet and you shouldn’t delegate anything because you do things best. Another great way to be completely unproductive! You can be really effective in doing some things, but not all. When you do things alone, you are losing the spirit of teamwork, great ideas, and different perspectives.

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9. Make things complex

Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Another great way to become unproductive is to make things more and more complex. Then build complex processes around those complex activities. Then spend hours trying to explain all that to others and handle misunderstandings. Beauty lies in simplicity. Think for a moment about the “I have a dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was so simple and powerful that it touched people’s hearts and spurred thousands of them to act.

10. Get rid of vision

Living and working without any vision is a great way to be completely unproductive. Vision is a fuel for your mind and body. Martin Luther King’s speech mentioned above put so much passion in people that many of them were willing to die fighting for this vision. Vision brings order to your activities, refreshes your emotions, reminds you about the real goals. Without it you can be just one more effective task executor.

11. Stop doing retrospectives

Experience without reflection on that experience is just data. A great way to be unproductive is to make the same errors over and over again. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” And Bill Gates said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” The most effective people do not rely purely on luck or coincidence. Every day and every week they reflect on past experiences and take conscious decisions to get closer to reaching their goals.

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12. Try multitasking

The final and the quickest way to be unproductive is to try to do two things at the same time. Some people say, “Multitasking is a great way to screw up multiple things at the same time,” and it is very true. We need to multitask in the same way as our old CPUs used to do it – a single CPU with single core was able to run a multitasking operating system, which performed very smoothly by just switching the tasks in the right way.  

Become unproductive summary

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    Piotr Nabielec

    Author, CEO, Consultant

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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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