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8 Questions Powerful People Ask Themselves Every Day

8 Questions Powerful People Ask Themselves Every Day

Life is full of questions. What will I wear today? What will I have for lunch? Whether it’s the small questions we face on a daily basis, or the larger, life-changing ones, they cannot be avoided.

Powerful and successful people ask themselves certain questions every day in order to meet their goals. These people understand that nothing in life is constant, and to make it to the top they have to regularly re-assess their lives and tactics. It is only through asking questions, like the ones listed below, every day that they are able to reflect on how far they have gone, who they have become, and what they want to achieve. And if their actions don’t line up with their goals? They make the necessary adjustments so they will be successful.

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Take the time every day to ask yourself these 8 questions, and you can achieve the success you are looking for.

1. What do I want to accomplish today?

Most of us wake up in the morning and go through the day without any focus or objective for that particular day. It’s the “wake up, survive, go back to bed” kind of lifestyle. Their main motivation for the day is just to run through their daily routines, avoiding much thinking and simply getting through the day. Half of their brain wishes to still be asleep.

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Successful people differ greatly from these people. They value their mornings, and they use them to set the mood and motivation for that day. They wake up in the morning, reassess themselves, look into their lives, remind themselves what their main focus is and set their objectives for that day. They focus on the things they want to achieve before the sun sets. That’s why they see great improvements ultimately.

2. How much time should each task take me?

Time management strategies are paramount in the road to success and, unfortunately, many of us are poor at this basic skill. We all have got 24 hours each day, no more no less for anyone. The difference between successful people and those who are not is as a result of what we do with the 24 hours and how we spread that time out over all daily tasks. Winners identify the priorities in their life or businesses and allocate them earlier and more time.

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3. Are my actions with my end goals in mind?

Actions indeed speak louder than words. Things you do are what determine if you will achieve the goals you have set. Successful people will stop once in a while and ask themselves if the things they are doing are aimed at meeting their bigger picture. In fact, they will put everything else away except the things that will help them achieve their goals.

4. What bad habits can I avoid?

Let us agree on one thing: everyone has his or her bad habits. Habits make us who we are. We know these habits are not pleasant, but because they make us feel good, we end up continually doing them. Powerful people, however, understand that bad habits are exactly that–bad, and they should be avoided. They will keep reminding themselves that they have these habits and regularly ask which of those, if not all, can they avoid long enough so they are no longer habits.

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5. What mistakes should I learn from?

We all make mistakes. They are part of our lives, a part of our learning experience. The biggest problem is repeating the same mistakes again and again, and expecting different results. Powerful people will learn from not only their mistakes, but the mistakes of others. They will keep reminding themselves of these mistakes and the lessons they learnt from them. They never make assumptions.

6. Am I still on the right track?

Evaluation is important in our lives. Sometimes we get so entrenched in so many things that are happening in our lives that we lose sight of the road we are following. If we do not evaluate ourselves, we might find ourselves far from the road we ought to be. To be successful, we should keep re-evaluating ourselves and asking if we still are on the right track and if we are heading in the right direction.

7. What sacrifices am I willing to make in pursuit of excellence?

Success is all about sacrifices and not so much about finding happiness. On our journey to success, we will be faced with decisions we need to make. Most of these decisions will put us in situations that we will be forced to choose one of two, or more, options. Most people will choose the easy option. Successful and powerful people understand that to move on to the next level, they have to forget something. These are the sacrifices that they have to make and they make the right decision.

8. What risks will I take to achieve my goal?

Life is all about taking calculated risks. Powerful people will tell you the risks they have taken to reach the position where they are at now. They will evaluate the opportunities in taking those risks and weigh them against what they could lose. Depending on which outweighs the other, they are able to make a calculated decision. That’s what makes them successful.

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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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