Tag Archives: productivity hacks

What managers can do to boost employee productivity

Chapter 4: What managers can do to boost employee productivity

Improving employee productivity is like an overdue file that keeps making its presence felt at the manager’s desk. No matter how hard they try, there is always a clause or a page that remains incomplete.

Managers across every domain face similar problems when it comes to increasing employee productivity. There are reports that say employee productivity has grown by .3% a year over five years, from 2011 to 2016. The slim growth reveals that something needs to be done right by the firms and of course managers to get better at employee productivity.

There are a lot of tricks in the book but rummaging through them can be pretty time consuming and at times futile. To make every manager’s life easier and make every firm prosper, here are four practical ways to live by if you want to be a better leader at work and inspire your employees every day at the office:

Incentives: ‘one’ for ‘all’, not ‘all’ for ‘one’

One of the best ways to encourage employees to be more efficient is actually to give them a reason to do so. Recognizing your people for a job done well will not only make them feel appreciated, but also encourage them to continue increasing their productivity.

But there’s a natural tendency for management to focus most heavily on senior-level economic incentives. While this is understandable, it’s best not to neglect substantive incentives for lower-level employees.  

While some may argue that it can be a costly affair, experts say that a carefully structured program with clearly defined revenue and/or earnings targets can work like a charm, both for an employee and manager.

Say it when you mean it and mean it when you say it OR Communicate Richly

Meaningful feedback is a foundational management skill that can have a significant impact on an employee’s productivity. Undeniably, feedback should not always be positive rather it should be encouraging. Managers and employees communicating effectively about the problems and improvements will create a holistic environment to work.

So, providing constructive feedback on a regular basis, be it encouragement for a job well done or advice on a presentation gone awry, will make a massive difference to the productivity of a firm.

Value. Support. Recognize. (VSR)

Three words that can’t be stressed enough. It’s essential that every manager understands and abides by these words in their tenure.

A manager’s support in times of need won’t be forgotten. In fact, it builds employee goodwill and loyalty. A situation where an employee is valued and recognised for their work can have a positive impact on them as compared to the contrary situation.

That’s not saying that unwarranted praises will do the trick. Recognition at the right time (say for getting a client onboard) is often a more powerful motivator than money. Value your employees, support them during rough times and recognise their hard work and achievements.

Make yourself a priority

Yes, you read that right. The best investment you will ever make as a manager is in yourself. In fact, this is a move that will put the aforementioned points into action.  

Get enough sleep, use your time wisely and always surround yourself with people who share your values and push you to achieve. By doing things that will make you a better leader or a person will let you have more time to tend to the needs of your employees.

So, to say that increasing productivity of a firm is just in the hands of a few individuals is incorrect. It’s an amalgamation of effort by everyone who is a part of the firm.

To know more about increasing the productivity of your firm, check out the previous chapters and get an insight on how highly productive and engaged employees can change the course of a company’s success.

4 home productivity hacks by celebrities like Richard Branson

Chapter 3: 4 home productivity hacks by celebrities like Richard Branson

In our last productivity chapter, we elaborated on hacks that can make your productivity at work go from a dull zero to an exhilarating 100. While there is still an ample amount of advice available on the internet for work, very few focus on the homefront.

Most of us associate productivity with things we do at work and fail to understand that productivity at work is directly proportional to productivity at home. The way we start our day or actions that we take back home, augment our productivity and allow us to make most of our day.

Keeping this in mind, we did some hard work for you and dove into daily lives of successful people to understand what keeps them going. Here are four actionable takeaways that you can start immediately to make a difference in your daily life.

Have a morning ritual
How many of you snooze the alarm until you have no choice but to quickly shower, race out the door, and grab some (unhealthy) breakfast on the way to work? We see a lot of heads nodding.

A productive day undoubtedly starts with a productive morning. Having the first 30-60 minutes of your day to yourself is a highly effective yet most understated productivity hack. These first few minutes of the day not only give you a great head start but also allow you to invest in your body and mind.

In fact, a lot of millionaires of our generation have their own version of morning rituals. Where Richard Branson (Founder of the Virgin Group) swims around his island and play tennis before sitting down for a healthy breakfast, Jack Dorsey (Co-founder of Twitter & Square) wakes up at 5.30 to meditate, followed by a 6-mile jog, Indra Nooyi, on the other hand, wakes up as early as 4am and reaches office no later than 7am.

So the first step to being productive at home begins with finding your version of ‘morning time’ and sticking to it.

To-do list to the rescue
The way you structure your day can either hurt or help your productivity. When you know exactly what you need to do and get done, you can then hit the ground running the first thing when you start your day.

You save time without having to think or organise your day because you already know what to do. But unfortunately, most people get to office at the very last minute and then spend their time thinking what to do. And that’s where a ‘to-do list’ comes into the picture.

Just like a morning ritual, it is also a productivity hack that contributes to many people’s successes, including Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX) and Nathan Blecharczyk (billionaire, and co-founder of Airbnb). In fact, some successful people go an extra mile and give each day a job or theme. This means that they devote certain days of their work to different types of work. For example, on Mondays they would focus on meetings, Tuesdays for product development, Wednesdays for marketing and so-on.

Simply put, start your day with an agenda and a plan ahead because people who fail to plan for their day, eventually become a part of other people’s plan.

Accomplish something beyond work
A healthy work-life balance is not only about succeeding at work or earning a certain digit figure. It’s about having a sense of accomplishment, both at work and home. Make room for things that can fit into your overall vision for work and life.

It could be as simple as reading a book you’ve always wanted to, watching a long DIY video, being more involved in your kids football, dance or drama practices or doing something long-planned as learning a guitar or any new language.

All you have to do and decide is that ‘one thing’ that always takes a back seat and you will definitely see a change.

Make it home for dinner (Always!)
There is always more to be done, more that should be done, and more that can be done. But work shouldn’t stop you from spending time with your family, and most importantly yourself.

And making it home in time for dinner is a productivity hack that makes you realize that there will always be more to do at work, you just need to decide when to take a hard stop intentionally. Just remember that spending time with your family and taking time at night to rest and recharge is always a wise decision.

Bonus Tip
By now, we’re guessing that our tips are being put to action. So, try and keep things as simple as possible. If you are writing down your to-do list, focus on things you intend to finish in maximum 32 hours, starting a workout regime- start with 30 minutes a day, making room for things you always wanted to do- take baby steps and start with something simple. The idea is to find your inner peace, both at work and home.

improve your productivity at work

Chapter 2: 5 hacks that will improve your productivity at work

Last week we demystified the real definition of productivity for you all. This week, let’s see how you can put it to use at work.

‘Productivity at work’ feels like that colleague who has big plans, is always busy and super-organised. Yet, at the end of the day, he is the one with unfinished work, a truck-load of stress and a million cups of coffee and papers strewn all over his desk.

The problem here lies in perception and interpretation of productivity. We perceive productivity as a task done fast and interpret it as a task that requires hard work.

In reality, productivity is about tackling a task smartly and completing it effectively.

Long story short, here are five no-fuss hacks to help you jump on the productivity boat and make your work life better.

Proactive trumps reactive, any day
Every firm prides on being process oriented, but the reality is that there are going to be days (every day) where the process goes out (of) the window. And you’re left scurrying around trying to make up for the lost work and time. Such situations require premonition.

Anticipating the next day’s work night before and coming up with a plan will be beneficial. Constant phone and con-calls, emails and brainstorming sessions will always come in your way, just don’t let them dictate how you’ll spend your day.

Pro-productivity tip: Plan your day and stick to it as closely as possible.

Give up perfection for determination
We all run after perfection, which in most cases is an illusion. Perfecting a task requires time, practice, patience and a lot of hard work. But, at times, in spite of all the efforts, perfection is still not guaranteed.

No one is saying to drop the effort, just don’t get hung up on attempting to perfect a task. The idea is to complete the job to the best of your ability and move it off your plate. Simply put, it’s about progress, commitment and effort. You can always come back to the task after completing other important work.

Pro-productivity tip: Be determined to ‘perfect’ the task to the best of your ability. Then, move on.

The “two-minute rule”
First coined by entrepreneur Steve Olenski, the “two-minute rule” suggests completing a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, on an immediate basis. This will help you make most of your time at work.

Olenski believes that a task which can be completed immediately takes less time as compared to doing it later. This tactic has made Olenski one of the most influential content strategists online.

Pro-productivity tip: Sending an email, finishing touches on a presentation or replying to text in most cases will take 2 minutes. Get done with it now!

Taking a break is not a sin
If you believe that your brain can be in work mode 24/7, then you’re either kidding or just blessed. Every task at work requires you to give your 100%, right?

Then, working on something that is draining all your energy should be stopped immediately.

Instead of relentlessly working on one thing, take a break when you feel your mind cannot take even an iota of information. A break will leave you refreshed and ready to take the task head on.

Pro-productivity tip: If you’re being judged for listening to your own body, you’re working for the wrong people.

Find the best (Read Smart) way to do your work!
Just like one shoe cannot fit all; one strategy cannot solve all the tasks at hand. Whenever a process or work makes you frustrated, question yourself- What’s the best way to do this. The best approach might not be the fastest, but it will be the easiest.

Also, make changes that will speed up your routine/process. In such a case, the trick will be your own and something that you can do best; no one can do better right?

Pro-productivity tip: Don’t work harder, work smarter.