Advertising
Advertising

9 Guaranteed Ways To Give Yourself Good Ideas

9 Guaranteed Ways To Give Yourself Good Ideas

Good ideas are hard to come by. They seem to strike us at completely random, inopportune times when there is nothing we can do about them.

I call it ‘Shower Syndrome,’ because that’s where my ideas usually surface; when there is nowhere I can write them down, and there’s ample time to forget whilst I’m drying off. But what if there was a way you could guarantee yourself a good idea? Places you could go, things you could do, to put yourself in a place where you can generate ideas, and be ready to take action on them?

I think there is.

And after years of trying to generate ideas, I’ve managed to narrow it down to nine sure-fire ways to give yourself an idea. Whether it becomes good or not, is up to you.

1. Disconnect

Your subconscious spends all day solving problems and generating ideas. It’s constantly running and doing the work your conscious mind just can’t cope with. But whilst we’re inundated with the day-to-day problems, the subconscious ideas can’t make it through to our conscious mind.

In order to allow them freedom, we need to disconnect from the real world. How you do this though, is unique to you: do whatever you find most relaxing. Whether it’s sunbathing, walking the dog, cooking pasta or listening to Beethoven, allocate yourself some time, and focus solely on it.

Advertising

You’ll find the minute you disconnect, the ideas come flooding in.

2. Go for a Long Walk

This is your quickest fix for a good idea. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a notepad in your bag.

Walking is proven to help you de-stress, unwind and connect with nature. All things that allow our subconscious minds to wander into the realm of rational thought. You can either give yourself the time to step away from the problem and forget about it completely. Or take the time to think and mull it over.

Either way, putting yourself in a calming environment and stepping away from the hustle and bustle will let the ideas flow. Just don’t forget to use the notepad to keep track.

3. Pore Over the Problem

Tackle the problem directly. Make coming up with a good idea your sole purpose of your day, week or month. Create an ‘Idea Dump’ so you can keep track of everything you’ve thought about and keep going until something feels right.

Having one idea (even a bad one) can start a domino effect, which keeps your ideas coming until you end up at the right one.

Advertising

4. Overwork Your Brain

Want to see what you can really do? Give your brain too much to do. Working beyond the problem gives your brain the power to overcompensate and you’ll find yourself with an idea in no time. For example, if you had to come up with ideas for an article, you’d give yourself the task of coming up with ideas for five articles.

Try it on something simple; you’ll be amazed at the ideas you come up with.

5. Go Against Your Grain

You know that one group of people you just can’t stand? Everything they say makes your blood boil. Everything they stand for is completely the opposite of what you believe in?

We all have one.

Delve into their stuff. Read their articles, watch the videos, follow the Twitter feeds – whatever channels you can best access it on.

Let it boil your blood. Let it make you angry, upset or borderline manic about it all. And watch your ideas come flooding in.

Advertising

Seeing the point of view of someone who doesn’t follow the same path as you can give you the spark of insight that your idea needs to come to the fore.

6. Read

You’re probably thinking, Well, duh!, at this subheading. But it’s a source of ideas that is incredibly neglected.

Reading is like a data key full of files of ideas you are yet to explore. All it takes is one word in the middle of a sentence to send your mind racing in search of ideas.

It doesn’t even have to be related to your subject, it can be anything: fiction, nonfiction, articles or blog posts. I once even had a business idea reading a cereal box.

Reading not only guarantees you an idea, chances are it’s going to be a good one.

7. Have a Shower

I called it Shower Syndrome at the beginning of the article and it’s proven to work. Showering allows you to completely disconnect, doing a repetitive task.

Advertising

Repetitive tasks allow your mind to wander and your subconscious to flow freely. Some psychologists refer to this as being in an “open” state, where ideas and thoughts begin to flow openly by being lost either in a problem or a mindless task.

Personally, I find the shower not only repetitive, but extremely relaxing. It makes for a great place to think. Thankfully, AquaNotes make it a lot easier for your ideas to not wash down the drain!

8. Forget About It

Have you ever found what you were looking for moments after you gave up looking? The lost remote, that missing button or the memo that should have been on your desk?

The same thing happens with your ideas.

Forgetting about the problem gives your mind the time to think it over whilst you’re doing something else. Given a little bit of time, the idea will strike you right in the face when you least expect it.

9. Solve Somebody Else’s Problem

Helping someone solve one of their problems can lead you straight to the idea for the solution to yours. It could be good karma for helping someone out, or maybe just talking to another person can provide you with the magic elixir for an idea.

Help somebody break down a problem and piece it back together. Brainstorm their conundrum, and you’ll suddenly find yourself having great ideas all of your own.

Featured photo credit: Diego Dalmaso via flickr.com

More by this author

The 5 Best Websites To Make Money Online 20 Signs Your Personal Trainer Sucks 3 Reasons It Doesn’t Matter If You’re Doing It Right These 10 Excuses You Make Are Really Fears In Disguise 5 Lessons Rick Rubin Can Teach Us About Leadership

Trending in Productivity

1 We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why? 2 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 3 How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 4 14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress 5 11 Things You Can Do to Increase Employee Productivity

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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:

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    More Productivity Tips

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next