Productivity is a buzzword that is all too often thrown around in a business context. A company, a department, or even an entire group should constantly increase its productivity, it is said. But, on a small scale, this also applies to the individual employee.
If you become more productive in everyday life, this has a positive effect in many areas. But it is not that easy to increase productivity effectively. We’ll show you what productivity actually means and which methods you can use to increase your productivity.
The essentials in brief:
- Productivity tells you how efficiently you do a job. The best way to increase productivity is through optimal use of time and resources.
- Increase your productivity by saying goodbye to negative habits and gradually replacing them with positive ones.
- You can also increase your productivity with good self-organization. Organize and visualize your day-to-day work and your tasks.
- The Pareto principle also helps you to increase productivity. Complete tasks in less time instead of wanting to perfect everything.
What high productivity means for everyday life.
Put simply; productivity expresses the ratio of the work result to the effort. You can increase productivity either through more performance with the same effort or less effort with the same performance. In terms of the workforce, time is often the most crucial component in considering the effort.
A clear example: You enter 120 customer addresses in an hour in an Excel table. So your productivity is 2 addresses per minute. The next day you can create 150 addresses in the same time (2.5 addresses per minute). You only have half an hour the next day, but you can still manage 75 addresses (also 2.5 addresses per minute). In both cases, you were able to increase your productivity.
If you want to increase your work productivity – be it in the company, as a self-employed person, or in the private sector – it is necessary to minimize the time spent per work result. The best way to do this is to make the most of your working hours.
Interruptions, distractions, and lack of concentration make almost every work step longer. Therefore, only those who organize themselves well, avoid distractions and reduce unnecessary effort can increase their productivity. In the best-case scenario, this leads to promotions, salary increases, or at least the goodwill of superiors and customers.
Increase productivity through positive habits
Humans are creatures of habits. Habits have their advantages and create security and stability. However, they can also slow us down in everyday life. For example, the constant checking of emails and messages on the smartphone eats up a lot of time and is an additional distraction. In addition, internalized rituals are difficult to get rid of.
If you want to increase your productivity, you have to declare war on your time-consuming habits.
It’s best to start by gradually changing little habits. For example, turn off your cell phone when you start work. Create conscious breaks. Take healthy snacks with you instead of going to the cafeteria. Over time, these changes become habits with positive effects. You save time, are more concentrated and can do more in your job.
An interesting study by Edison Research in 2021 revealed that the pandemic may have inadvertently shortened people’s attention spans. The prevalent use of phones, which exposes people to short-form content, may have been a factor in unwittingly impairing focus not just at work but also in many important areas of life.
If you want to take back control and increase your productivity, one effective way to recalibrate your brain is to engage in activities that require active engagement, like writing. No one can write without being fully present. The act of writing requires a coordination of the physical and mental. Not only will you have to organize your thoughts into coherent sentences, but you also have to actively pay attention to the words you are writing—whether they are spelled right, grammatically correct, or the right ones to express what you really think and feel.
So make writing a habit, and make it an enjoyable one, so the activity becomes a reward in itself. Schedule a time to write during the day, and clear your desk of unnecessary distractions. Get a beautiful journal to write on, and maybe even spoil yourself and invest in a Cross Classic Century pen to make the ritual extra special. You will be surprised by the many benefits you can get out of this one simple but effective habit.
Increase work productivity with self-organization
The more organized your everyday life, the more likely your productivity will increase. When you know what needs to be done, when and with what urgency, you can focus, forget nothing, and set the right priorities. The following advice should be followed for optimal self-organization:
- Use a calendar and keep it up to date.
- Use a to-do list (e.g., an app)
- Set priorities in writing and stick to them
- Organize the next day.
To self-organization includes self-management and the recognition of the so-called time thieves, so distractions from the core business. Whether you are being monitored or not, which employee monitoring software your employer is using or not.
These are detrimental to any attempt to increase productivity. Knowingly identify such distractions through introspection and documentation. You will be amazed at how many hours of work you will lose as a result.
Concentrate on only one task at a time. Don’t do anything else until this task is done. This is especially difficult with unpleasant tasks. But the rewarding feeling of having made it is all the nicer.
Increase productivity with the Pareto principle
Almost everyone who wants to increase their work productivity has heard of the Pareto principle. This means that 80 percent of the income can be achieved with only 20 percent of the effort. The remaining 20 percent income costs the remaining 80 percent effort and is therefore inefficient and not very productive. For tasks with a sufficient return of 80 percent, the Pareto principle is the best way to increase productivity.
Many bosses tend to demand perfection and top performance. However, this often makes little economic sense.
A chef who can prepare 80 good dishes in 8 hours is worth more in most restaurants than a chef who can prepare 20 perfect dishes in 8 hours. So the effort is disproportionate to the benefit – especially if the guest hardly tastes the difference and does not pay more than the average good meal.
Of course, there are areas where you shouldn’t apply the Pareto principle. If a task requires precision and perfection, you should always give 100 percent to achieve 100 percent in the medical field.
Seven more tips to improve your productivity
Increasing productivity is a process that can be tedious, and the effects of which are slow to feel. It is therefore important to tackle many small sub-steps and not to overwhelm yourself. Therefore, it is best to start with the following tips, and you will soon notice the first successes:
- Optimize Your Sleep – There is no greater productivity booster than a good sleep. Find your optimal sleep duration, time to fall asleep, and time to get up.
- Do you exercise – Regular exercise is another essential criterion in order to increase productivity. Just a little morning exercise can make all the difference.
- Talk to the right people – self-optimization is an endeavor that many are skeptical of. Find people who share your attitude.
- Document your successes – everyone has unfinished business on their to-do list. But much more important and motivating is a list of things you have already done.
- Give yourself breaks – increasing productivity is a marathon, not a sprint. Take breaks, go for a walk, or take a day off. That works wonders.
- Listen to motivations – acoustic impressions are psychologically very important for motivation. The right music or an inspiring podcast will get you in the work mood.
- Take it easy – you can only increase your productivity with sufficient mental regeneration. Make a conscious decision to call it a day and really switch off.
In a nutshell: increase productivity.
Increasing your own productivity is a lengthy process, but one that pays off in the long term. The most important measures include self-organization, changing habits, and getting work done without the time-consuming tendency towards perfectionism.