Personal Productivity – How to Boost it For Success

Productivity, the key to business and personal success.

Let’s talk about productivity, what it is, why it’s important and how to achieve it. What do I mean by “productivity, the key to business and personal success”? What I mean is that productivity, in this sense, is about results. It’s about creating actual, real world, tangible, measurable results. It’s not about just doing a bunch of work and pretending like you’re getting a lot done or trying to look like you’re getting it done. It’s about actually getting results in the real world. I’m going to teach you a technique here for really maximizing your productivity. It’s a simple technique. Anyone can do it. You can do it starting immediately. I think you’ll see that it’ll dramatically increase your productivity.

The first distinction I want to draw is the distinction between activity and results. You’ll hear me talk a lot about this. You hear other experts talk a lot about it. It’s very easy to confuse activity with results – to get confused and think that a bunch of work equals a bunch of results. This is particularly a problem with people that you have working on your team because people that are used to working in the job environment, they’re just used to doing their job and getting a paycheck. In fact, in employee and job type roles, results are often the enemy.

I heard a great story about a mailman that went to work at the post office, and he was new. The guy that had his route before him worked on it for like 30 years. This guy came in, went through the whole route, and got done halfway through the day and came back and said, “I’m done,” and the other postal workers said, “Figure out how to take longer to do that because you’re making us look bad, and if you don’t, we’re going to make your life hell.” He said, “Oh, I understand.” These postal workers were used to just having a job where they get paid for time and not for results. They didn’t want to have that threatened because they were taking their time doing personal things and so forth.

Sometimes the job mentality can really corrupt results. So, how do you get around this?

The technique I want to share with you right now for maximizing results is very simple. It’s deceptively simple, but I think if you start using it, you’ll see it’s amazing. The idea is to start measuring productivity visually. Here’s what I mean: Let’s say that you want to lose some weight. Well, we don’t really know how much we weigh. We can’t really see it, and if we get on the scale every day, sometimes we weigh a couple of pounds more, sometimes we weight a couple of pounds less, depending on what we ate or we drank or the time of day or whether we have our clothes on or we just took a shower or whatever. It’s kind of hard to see. We can’t really get a feedback system that informs us.

On the other hand, you can take a simple spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel or like a Google spreadsheet, which you can get for free online with Google apps and weigh yourself everyday. Then, you put the weight in the box, click on the little charting button, and you create a visual chart. What happens is you see it going up and down. You see the variation. And this is in any process you measure. You see the direction it’s going. Is it going up? Is it flat? Is it going down? You can actually see it very clearly. The visual feedback does its own work. It builds its own awareness. It creates direction all by itself.

I use this technique, not only with a lot of different projects that I’m working on, but also all through my business. In fact, we measure dozens and hundreds of different variables and numbers and processes on visual charts, so that we all know what’s going on. If you look at a column of numbers, there’s no way to chart it in your mind. You can kind of figure it out, but when you see a chart, a graph with the actual progress, and you can see it’s going up, it’s going down. You can see any exceptions. The whole thing speaks very loudly. I think that this idea, what they call the visual display of quantitative information – in other words, the charting of numbers – is one of the biggest innovations that we’ve ever had as a SPECIES.

So, do you want to dramatically increase your productivity? Take the top three things that you’re working on, and figure out how to put them on a chart. Let’s say it’s a project you’re working on. Put down how many hours per day you are investing in the project – uninterrupted and not distracted…totally focused. Put it in the box every day. Do you want to track your sales, and make them go up? Put in the sales that you’re making every day for yourself or for your business, and chart it. You will watch it go up. Things that are measured improve.

There’s a great quote that my friend Joe Polish says a lot: “Processes that are measured improve, and processes that are measured and reported improve exponentially.” So if you really, really want to get a lot of juice out of this, start measuring your process and then start reporting it to someone else. You will see everything happens inside of you to make your process improve and to start getting a lot more results and to dramatically increase your productivity.

So there’s one great idea for increasing your productivity. Put it to work right now. Start visually charting and watch your productivity skyrocket.