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50 Simple Ways To Stay Productive

50 Simple Ways To Stay Productive
Keep It Simple

Productivity is one thing that we all strive to be excellent at. Although we all have different ways of being productive, sometimes the simplest things can make us more productive than ever.

Here are 50 simple ways (that we often overlook) to stay on top of our productivity game. I have found these ways to be helpful and hopefully it will help you out as well in one way or the other,

50. Stay focused on what you are doing.

49. Utilize and divide your time for each task in hand.

48. Analyze the outcome of your effort and decide accordingly how much time you need to spend.

47. Take a break.

46. Spend time with your loved ones and refresh your mind.

45. Share ideas with others and soak their criticism.

44. Keep your home office out of sight from your bedroom.

43. Invest in comfortable workspace furniture.

42. Meditate and relax your mind.

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41. Are you a day person or night? Plan accordingly so you can get the maximum output from yourself.

40. Work slow but steady.

39. Ask for help when needed.

38. De-clutter your workspace.

37. Back up your data.

36. Keep a wrist massager next to the computer.

35. Check your email not more than twice a day.

34. Exercise.

33. Use the morning air or evening breeze to cool off your mind.

32. Set goals not a goal and work accordingly.

31. Have everything you need ready for whatever you are working on.

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30. Have stationeries like pen, paper ready. Although you might be using the computer you never know when you are going to need them.

29. Shut the room door to block distraction.

28. Set limits for yourself.

27. Plan a to do list for each day and follow.

26. Read books on subjects that interests you to refresh your mind.

25. Walk, do not try to run with your project.

24. Stay informed on current news. Sometimes these can be a great source of information on something you are working on.

23. Instead of thinking why your life is so hard, think how you can change it for better.

22. Find others that might share similar interest to work with you.

21. Do something else every 30 to 40 minutes to refresh your mind and body.

20. Take a nice warm bath, it’s amazing what it can do to you.

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19. Use a table lamp instead of overhead lighting to keep you focused on one thing.

18. Do not take phone calls unless it is related to your productivity for that particular project.

17. Divide your time between family and projects.

16. Give more time to family and get more peace of mind.

15. Keep it cool.

14. Don’t panic, it won’t happen overnight.

13. Find what others have done in related fields and learn.

12. Ask yourself questions, lot of them.

11. Let everybody at home know you will be working between so and so time.

10. Do not stress.

9. Love what you are doing.

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8. Be Passionate about what you are doing.

7. Give yourself credit for what you do.

6. Look in the mirror and compliment yourself, just say “God, you are good looking !”

5. Build confidence in yourself.

4. Keep a positive attitude.

3. Forget about what others are doing, you do it your way.

2. Productivity lies within you. Know yourself first.

1. Read > Learn > Ask and Apply! Stay productive.

There it is! Simple productivity tips for you that I have found useful for myself. Feel free to add more to this list and share some of your ways on staying productive through your comments.

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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