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9 Productive Things To Do Instead of Complaining

9 Productive Things To Do Instead of Complaining

Are you guilty of a little negativity from time to time?

Do you relish in gossip or take comfort in complaining?

They say our thoughts create our own reality, that our mind is more powerful than we could ever imagine. If this is the case, negative thoughts and complaining won’t get us far in life. Complaining about the actions of others, and the misfortune in our own life is futile. Why not do something more productive with your time instead of complaining?

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If you are in the habit of complaining and thinking negatively, it may be necessary to break the habit. The easiest way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new positive habit. Here are a few suggestions of productive positive habits to replace your habit of complaining.

1. Practice gratitude.

The act of giving thanks has become a well respected means for creating a happier life. Scientists have found that the habit of gratitude can reduce the symptoms of depression, increase well being and make for an all around happier person. So start by creating a gratitude list: write down all the things you are grateful for and add to it daily. You will find that it is difficult to feel sad or sorry for yourself when you are feeling grateful.

2. Praise others.

Time to bring out the compliments. Just like the act of gratitude, making someone else happy by giving them praise and recognition will make you happier. Why not make someone else feel good and spread the joy around? Acknowledge all good deeds and recognize when someone has done a good job both in work and at home. Why not thank your husband or wife for the meal they prepared or for the good job they did cleaning the kitchen. We all love praise and recognition for our efforts.

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3. Focus on success.

The self fulfilling prophecy claims that our lives will turn out just as we imagine. If we believe we will be successful, we will be. If we think poverty is our future, it probably will be. This is the reason people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to remain part of a disadvantaged group. They are primed to stay in the same circumstances. If you want to create a successful future then stop complaining about your life and start focusing on success.

4. Let go.

Holding on to past regrets and hurts are of no benefit to our present life. Let go of things that are beyond your control and act on the things that you can control.

“Living in the past is living with regret, living in the future is living with anxiety, living in the present is living in peace.”
—Lao Tzu

5. Take responsibility.

Complainers are usually the people who play victim. Are you a victim of your circumstance or are you in control of your own destiny? Rather than complain about your life, why not take steps to change it? Your future life is in your control; it’s up to you to take action.

6. Take action.

Very often, the people who sit around complaining are the people who don’t take action. If you want to change your situation you have to take action. Start small; ten minutes a day can help you to make progress in working towards making your life happier and more successful.

7. Make a plan.

If you are not happy with the way things are and you have decided to take responsibility for changing it, you may welcome a plan to make things happen. It can be difficult to get started, so by writing everything down, you will have more clarity and focus. Use your calendar to schedule time and you will be in a much strong position from the start.

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8. Exercise.

Creating the habit of exercise is a great way to shift from negative to positive. Exercise is good for you in so many ways, and it also acts as a catalyst for change. If you can bring exercise into your day, you will see how everything in your life will change for the better.

9. Happiness.

And lastly, don’t forget to focus on happiness. Happiness is within your grasp and it starts with a decision. Decide to be happy now. As Lao Tzu also said, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” Don’t sit around waiting for your life to change; go out and change it. If something makes you unhappier, don’t sit around complaining—do something about it. Focus on all the good in your life and do the things that make you happy now. There are plenty of ways to be happier and more productive instead of complaining

Featured photo credit: A Howling Monkey by Bob Holt via flickr.com

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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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