Since the earliest days of humans trying to turn their input into more or improved output or let’s say labor into revenue and income to improve their living conditions, they think about how to improve their productivity. As well-known economist Paul Krugman stated:
Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.Paul Krugman, The Age of Diminishing Expectations (1994)
So, to put it into a narrower context: Businesses that focus on improving the productivity of their employees will strive. But of course, today challenges to bring productivity to new levels are different to those challenges businesses faced 20 to 40 years ago.
Enabling employees is key
Nowadays it’s important for companies to enable their employees to focus on their productivity in a digital environment. Therefore we tried to figure out 5 key factors that will help you to improve your productivity in a 21st century setting.
1. Set daily goals
“Step by step” is always a good reminder of how to approach big chunks of work. Therefore setting up goals on a daily basis can help you to achieve the bigger goals faster and with more control about the small parts of the project or task that you want to work on.
And to identify your goals it’s always a good idea to look at the project from different perspectives and set up a checklist that leads the path to the final result.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”Tony Robbins, Business Strategist
2. Get rid of the hardest tasks first
But breaking down your bigger goals into smaller ones isn’t the only factor that will help you to improve your productivity. You also need to tackle the hardest tasks because they usually set up a barrier in your head that leads to procrastination and doesn’t serve any productivity goal of yours.
That’s why you have to strike those hard task first and you need to strike them hard. Because when you can cross them off your to-do-list the remaining parts seem like a walk in the park and you can get them done much more easily.
3. Feel the rhythm and create a routine
Humans tend to love rhythms. Therefore, it’s very helpful for us to get things done and increase our productivity levels when we know which task or category of tasks lays ahead of us. It makes planning easier and helps us to keep the focus on similar things for a longer time, resulting in a better output.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, has a very fixed routine planned throughout his complete week. He describes it as follows:
“On Monday, I focus on management — we have our directional meeting at Square and our opcom [operations committee] meeting at Twitter. I do my management one-on-ones that day. Tuesday is focused on product. Wednesday is marketing and communication and growth. Thursday is focused on developers and partnerships and Friday is the company and culture and recruiting. Saturday I take off. I hike. Sunday is reflection, feedback, and strategy.”Jack Dorsey, CEO Twitter and Square
4. Automate manual tasks.
Manual tasks will most likely never completely vanish from any field of work. You have to set up marketing campaigns, you have to write the code for your software and you have certainly to make the decision who to invite to a job interview or who not.
But it’s the repetitive work that often kills your productivity. Transferring your Excel files to the accounting department or scheduling a report about your working hours. Those are tasks that you can easily automate. Our time tracking tool timeghost will help you with this. We are creating the software to make those tasks and time tracking by itself as convenient and intuitive as it gets.
Besides that, we offer a Zapier and a Microsoft Power Automate connector which will help you to integrate a lot of different services.
5. Take a personal productivity audit every week
As a last factor for this list, we want to encourage you to take look at your own performance.
1. Did I achieve what I wanted to achieve?
2. Did I personally need to be there for everything I attended?
3. Could I have achieved the same in a shorter timeframe?
This will help you to keep a track on yourself and to review the working hours you spent working on different projects throughout your week.
We hope this collection of factors to improve your productivity will help you and since we know there are a ton more factors that might be helpful, we will continue this article series at another time.
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