Improving Productivity
productivity bar chart

Improving productivity means getting more out while putting less in; more work with less effort in less time.

We all know we're supposed to 'work smarter not harder' but we're just so busy working that we don't have the time to stop and do the thinking required to put this cliché into practice.

To improve productivity we need:

  • an environment that enhances - not hinders - productivity
  • to be able to find the resources we need quickly
  • the best 'tools' for the job, or better use of the tools we already have
  • better time management.

Tidy Doesn't Equal Productive

Being tidy doesn't necessarily mean that you're organised, and being organised doesn't necessarily mean that you're productive.

A neat and tidy environment may simply be one where everything is 'in its place' or simply out of sight, but those places may be inappropriate. The person who can find what they need when they need and uses it to do what they need to do most when they most need to do it is the person who's the most productive.

We can be overwhelmed by the volume of work we have to do and the lack of time available in which to do it; being unable to find what we need to be able to do that work can be extremely frustrating.

If a deadline is looming, it can also create a great deal of stress. If you can find what you need when you need it, you can eliminate some of the stress.

Tools Of The Trade

If we don't have the best resources for the job then we need to make better use of those that we do have. It may be that you already have good resources but fail to make effective use of them; technology is an example of this.

The fact that we use only a small percentage of the functionality of software programs is not important. What is important is that we miss the opportunities to apply what they can do to make what we need to do easier and quicker. A common excuse is that we don't have the time to learn how to use the technology to save us time.

If we're aware of what software programs can do, we can work out which features could benefit us most, learn how to use them and then apply them.

Tomorrow Never Comes

Time is a resource that we complain we don't have enough of, yet we all have the same amount. Whether you spend it wisely or fritter it away, once it's gone you've missed your chance. Tomorrow may never come but deadlines have an uncanny knack of materialising.

Effective time management involves prioritising, planning and flexibility. To be productive we need to prioritise our activities, plan the use of our time accordingly, and keep some flexibility to allow for the unexpected.


See Also Quotable Quotes

Tomorrow may never come but deadlines have an uncanny knack of materialising.

- Michaela Thomas, Aequilibra

You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

- Jon Kabat-Zinne

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

- Albert Einstein