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15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success

15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success

School teaches you many of the fundamental things you’ll need a basic grip on in order to be a genuine success during your life, including math, English, science, discipline, and socializing, to name a few. But not everything that’s worth knowing is chalked up on blackboards. At least, not yet.

Listed here are 15 essential life skills that determine your success yet aren’t part of a typical school curriculum, although they really ought to be.

1. Spotting a Scam

As a rule, schools don’t tend to teach children about how to spot the signs of a swindler, and getting fleeced at least once is currently the only way to learn about the incredible amount of scams that plague the world. Knowing a dodgy deal when you see one is something that comes in handy in today’s world, especially in a day and age in which so many are able to hide behind the shifting face of the internet. Teaching students to spot a scam can allow them to go a long way in life.

2. Negotiation

In most classrooms, there’s very little room for negotiation. Unless the teacher is having a particularly good day and decides to meet children halfway in terms of what the deadlines for that particular lesson might be, any attempt by a student to get a better deal for themselves is met by the teacher’s furrowed brow and an extended finger pointing towards the door. It’s a shame, really, since when you enter the big, bad world of adulthood, being able to negotiate is vital in order to help get you out of some seriously sticky situations. Negotiation strategies come particularly in handy in the world of business, and teaching children how to master this skill from a young age can end up having all kinds of benefits in later life.

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3. Self-defense

It’s never nice to think about, but that doesn’t stop the fact that there are depressingly high numbers of dangerous people out there in the world who one day might target you personally for a number of reasons. To stay safe, it’s important to learn the very basics of self-defense – both in terms of being able to protect yourself through the art of speech as well as physically, if it ever comes down to it. Self-defense is an integral part of life, and knowing how to shelter yourself from the evils of the world can boost your confidence, keep you happy, and allow you to live a highly successful life. 

4. Mental Health

Occasionally, schools will host workshops and activity days where various society health representatives will totter from classroom to classroom, but for the most part, the aspect of mental health is left entirely up to the school’s counsellor, if they have one. For the most part, today’s youth are largely kept in the dark about the specifics of mental health, with issues like depression being very poorly understood. Raging teenage hormones are not the same as somebody who’s dealing with depression, and high-quality mental health education is needed in every school in order to help everyone learn about the more troubling conditions of the mind.

5. Socialising & Networking

Managing your internet profile is about so much more than having a high number of “likes” on Facebook these days. It can be the difference between being offered a terrific job opportunity and facing an endless string of rejections. Keeping your appearance online professional and in check will make potential employers recognise your maturity as a person, and schools really ought to widely teach the art and discipline behind crafting your very own unique internet identity.

6. Emergencies & First Aid

Basic first aid ought to be taught at regular intervals in every school at every age. Science is consistently finding new ways to medically treat people, and some of the old breathing assistance techniques that you saw on television back when you were a kid are now considered archaic and even dangerous. Frequent, up-to-the-minute emergency reaction and first aid teaching in schools can go a long way to helping someone out if a serious situation occurs in the future.

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7. Household Repairs

As you get older, you’ll come to realise the absolute necessity of being able to perform basic household repairs. There are few worse feelings on earth than an appliance breaking down in your home and you standing ashen-faced with no idea how to fix it. A few basic tutorials in ordinary household maintenance could prove to be enormously expedient when it comes to moving into a first home.

8. Self-assessment

Taking a long, hard look at yourself and acknowledging what you’re truly good at, as well as what you are not so good at, is probably one of the most challenging aspects of life. Few people can truly do it. It takes practice, and being able to come to terms with what you need to improve on can make you a much better person in all aspects of your life.

9. Balance

School rightly encourages you to work hard at improving your academic performance, but what it doesn’t truly teach is the ability to balance your life so that you achieve high levels of gratification in every aspect – from having quiet family time, to working hard, to partaking in joyful evenings with your friends. Achieving a great sense of balance is paramount in order to live a happy, heathy life. Managing your time well will allow you to make sure the things that ought to come first do indeed come first, and not at the expense of anything else.

10. Cooking

There’s a reason why so many university students find themselves living on budget noodles for the entirety of their degree years. Money of course is a factor, but it’s also due to the fact that very few young adults have any real experience cooking by the time they move into college dorms. Serving up a mouth-watering meal isn’t just an art that can pave the way for success for an aspiring chef, either. Cooking is a skill that can impress friends, bosses, dates, and perhaps most importantly, keep you in good health. Cooking classes in schools do exist, of course, but putting a little emphasis on some tasty, healthy recipes could really help turn young children into terrific little cooks by the time they fly out of the nest. 

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11. Coping with Harsh Realities

Simply put: life isn’t fair. If you expect it to be, you’re going to be disappointed. Sometimes things will go your way, and on other occasions they won’t. It’s enough to make you want to claw your hair out, but by learning to cope with harsh realities, you’ll be able to live happily without succumbing to the pangs of stress that life can so cruelly impose upon you.

12. Money Isn’t Everything

It’s terrific to have a well-paying job, a big house, and a glossy car on your driveway. We know this because this is what school facilities drum into our heads from day one. It’s a simple equation: Working hard at school = Better grades = Better prospects = More money. But money isn’t happiness. On the contrary, cash can actually be toxic if handled in the wrong way and has the ability bring out the worst in people who are unable to separate it from joy. Wealth and happiness are two very different things, and schools ought to make a conscious effort to instil this in pupils’ heads before they depart from lower education.

13. Learning from Failure

Some teachers are absolutely exceptional at handling children who struggle to deal with even the simplest tasks. But learning from failure isn’t really what school is about. No, school is about doing enough so you don’t fail in the first place. A fine lesson in itself, but the fact is that at some point in their lives, everybody will fail.

But no failure is a catastrophe if you learn from it. Understanding what went wrong and why something didn’t turn out as planned can help you to curb your lifestyle so that it never happens again. It can and will turn you into a stronger, more successful person.

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14. Forgiveness

It can be tricky to say that you forgive somebody who has let you down. It’s even more difficult to actually mean it. Learning how to let the silly things go and move on with your life may be something that’s discussed in specific counselling sessions with people who have gotten themselves into extremely problematic situations, but otherwise, the act of forgiveness isn’t something that’s currently taught in schools across the world. It’s a process that requires patience and understanding. It puts you into someone else’s shoes, helps you to understand other people, and makes you a more successful person in life.

15. Expect the Unexpected

Perhaps it’s a little tough to teach this, but it’s a rule that everyone ought to live by in order to be a successful person. The world is an utterly unpredictable place. It’s a scary thought, but at the same time it’s also kind of wonderful, if you’re prepared for it. Putting yourself in the mindset that absolutely anything might be lying around the corner in wait can actively improve your personality and help you to deal with life when times get a little tough.

Featured photo credit: thecommentator.com via thecommentator.com

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Gareth Lloyd

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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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