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5 Unexpected Places to Boost Productivity

5 Unexpected Places to Boost Productivity

The environment of a typical office or a quiet library may sometimes lessen your productivity as the unchanging views fail to stimulate your senses and keep your brain running. If you are the kind that dislikes absolute silence or minimal noise when working, these unexpected places to work may boost your productivity level!

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    1. Coffee shops

    Research has shown that an adequate amount of ambient noise stimulates your senses and keeps you alert. Where else better to find some chatter and clatter to boost your creative juices? Working in the coffee shop also guarantees something else: unlimited supplies of caffeine! Caffeine wakes you up by fooling adenosine receptors and speeds transmitting activities up in your nerve cells.If you do decide to try this place out, make sure that your work computer is facing the coffee shop customers so you will be less likely to procrastinate or go to inappropriate sites because people are secretly watching you ;) If your workplace requires you to be in the office, try this website and/or phone app that provides you with sounds from coffee shops around the world. Want to work at a cafe in Paris? No problem, it’s just a button away.

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      2. Cafeterias

      Similar to coffee shops, company cafeteria or food courts provide consistent noise and the smell of food. The aroma of food makes you look forward to your next break and should motivate you to complete your work. The act of eating likewise keeps your brain alert and produces dopamine. But make sure only to snack and stay around 60% full so that each bite is rewarding and invigorating. Snacking every 90 minutes should keep your brain balanced enough to focus on the work at hand.

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        3. Empty university classrooms  

        Whether or not you’re an university student, we have all been a student at some point in our lives. And when you’re in a classroom, your brain is primed to stay focused because you have been conditioned to concentrate in class. In comparison to your bedroom, where your brain is primed to relax, sleep and have fun, the environment of the classroom triggers your memory to stay alert (unless you never listened in class) and work. If you do decide to try working in an empty university classroom, be sure to bring a studious friend. Once you see that your friend or coworker is working hard, you would feel guilty for procrastinate and be more competitive. Ever heard of environmental context-dependent memory? Research has shown that environmental context influences the way we encode information. If you study in the same place you first learned the material, your chances of recalling the information are significantly increased. Use environmental cues to your advantage so you spend less time doing more work!

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        Archadeck 2013 Photography

          4. Outdoors

          Fresh air, sunlight, cool breeze. Talk about getting your vitamin Ds the natural way. A healthy body is crucial to being productive. If you have a porch, use it to maximize your productivity! On a cool day, the crisp air is good for waking your brain up. If your work station is indoors and poorly ventilated, the build up of carbon dioxide will cause your brain to be less active, hence, less productive. Try to bring some work to a park nearby or an unsheltered town square where you are exposed to the sun. Fresh air will vitalize your brain and the warm sunlight will bring a smile to your face :)

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            5. The shower 

            Many people experience their “Aha!” moments when they’re in the shower. Why is that? The hot water helps with circulation and improves blood flow to your brain, giving it more oxygen and nourishment to break down your work block. If you aren’t motivated to work or feeling bored, a good shower will not only open up your pores, but also give your brain a boost of energy. Keep a waterproof white board and markers in the washroom so you will never lose those wonderful ideas again!

            Featured photo credit: http://imgkid.com/productive-worker.shtml via willoch.no

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            Last Updated on September 30, 2020

            Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

            Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

            When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

            Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

            Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

            Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

            Effective vs Efficient

            Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

            A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

            Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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            The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

            Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

            When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

            Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

            Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

            The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

            If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

            When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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            • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
            • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
            • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

            Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

            Efficiency in Success and Productivity

            Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

            When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

            Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

            The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

            If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

            Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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            The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

            Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

            Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

            If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

            It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

            Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

            Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

            Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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            By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

            It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

            Bottom Line

            Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

            • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
            • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
            • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

            And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

            More on How to Improve Productivity

            Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
            [2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
            [3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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