Advertising
Advertising

Productivity Hacks: 8 Things That Are Hurting Your Productivity

Productivity Hacks: 8 Things That Are Hurting Your Productivity

Take Action - Improve Productivity

    Not feeling productive enough?

    Yeah, this can happen to the best of us. Our life gets tangled into so much clutter that eventually getting out of it seems like an impossible task.

    Advertising

    Take some hard steps today. Waiting for things to improve, especially when you know that waiting is certainly not going to help, is only going to make things slower for you. To make your life more productive, take strong decisions and do not overlook minor issues. While big problems need bigger fixes, small ones can just go unnoticed and continue to hamper your productivity.

    1. Dump Someone Today

    Let’s start with the big point first. Our productivity gets hurt the most from things that are either very minor or often is overlooked, or they are due to someone else’s fault. Here are a few ways to deal with each one.

    1. Kids in your home – While this one is a bit too deep (and surely I could come up with an entire article dedicated to this point alone) here in this article I am going to just point out one tip for all those that are working from home: Get out and go somewhere else! This might sound odd to many, but if you are serious about your productivity then it is better to just find a rented space and stay there during your work hours. Handling kids in your home office is just not possible, many have tried it and failed. Trust me on this.
    2. Older parents – Again, a point that will never get many votes, but this is a very important one. An example of this is Jennifer Gresham, who fired her father — and that was her best career move ever.

    Let’s come back to some of the minor points that affect our productivity in more than ways we can handle. Fixing them is easy — the problem is that we start dealing with it and take it for granted.

    Advertising

    2. Kill That Noise

    Certain noise is part of our lives. It can be anything — perhaps your computer fan, or the computer table whose repair you kept postponing. Small noises can be very distracting, and in the long term they can hamper your productivity. Here’s how you can combat that:

    • Shout out to your neighbors. If your neighbor’s kid is bothering you with yelling or their pet keeps barking all day long, consider some serious action against them. Don’t let other people bother you.
    • Install a noise reduction mechanism. Some noise you can deal with, others you just have to live with. If the traffic outside is your concern and it can’t be helped, try fighting it off with some noise reduction methods.
    • Switch off that TV in the next room. A low-sound television or music player being enjoyed in the next room can still steal some of your valuable concentration. If the program is not important enough, try switching it off. Better still, try lowering the sound further and closing the door to make sure that it does not entertain you.
    • Get a peaceful computer.  Don’t we all want a Mac? So get it.

    3. Pet Management

    Barking dogs are never my cup of tea. But if your pet is important to you, then it is time to learn some lessons on pet management. Get “offline” help from your local pet expert. There are many things that you do not know about pets, and perhaps that is the reason why your beloved pet is not really happy with you.

    4. Snacks

    This is an excellent choice when it comes to watching TV, films or sports — but when it comes to getting some work done, snacks are just another distraction. The simple reason is that entertainment and work are totally different things and thus a different kind of concentration is required to get the work done.

    Advertising

    5. Overall Health

    Poor health can be a big reason for your productivity drop. Have you put on some extra weight? Is your lack of exercise a reason why you might be having stomach and gastric problems? Without getting into some real health tips here — just make sure to exercise a bit, get enough green vegetables in your daily food intake, and increase your water consumption for a bit of health improvement.

    • Lack of sleep. 8 hours a day of sleep is important to keep your spirits high. While that extra hour of late night work might sound like a good idea when running late on a deadline, the quality of work will surely take a beating — if not instantly, in the long haul. Do yourself a favor: don’t mess around with your sleeping routine. Fix it…while you still can.
    • Is something bothering you? If that is the case, then get that fixed first. In case you can’t fix it, stop thinking about it. And that’s that. Here is a small mantra that you should follow.

    Stop thinking about things beyond your control and you will be fine.

    6. Your Workplace Setup

    Yaro Starak has a standing setup at his workplace. That is, he does all his computer related work standing. The point is — feel free to do that which improves your productivity.

    Advertising

    7. Quit Your Addictions

    While tea and coffee can sometimes help in increasing your productivity, I doubt very much that alcohol or smoking will.

    8. Time Management

    Is your workload killing your productivity? Setting up a timetable properly will help you to improve your overall productivity. Start doing all the creative work at the start of the day. If the extra hour of late night work is really important, allocate email checking and other “junk” work for that time period. (Note: If this article was not written in the early hours of the day, it would have surely lacked in its flavor.)

    Fixing minor issues can sometimes play a big role in enhancing your overall productivity and allow your creativity to flow like never before.

    Flickr Image Source

    More by this author

    11 Ways Brexit Has Affected Online Shopping Internet Experience 14 Brilliant Hacks to Improve Your Internet Experience Parenting Hacks: 12 Essential Tips for Parents of School-Age Children 31 Simple Ways to Maximize Efficiency in Your Home Office Multi-Tasking Your Morning – 15 Steps to Boost Productivity Before You Start Your Day

    Trending in Productivity

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

    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