Improving Productivity

The term productivity for industries mean what we give divided by what we get i.e rate of output divided by rate of input. As working class, we all get paid salary at the end of the month. In order to earn particular sum as  salary, we are expected to produce certain number of items or accomplish a set of things in a month. As a management consultant, with all honesty, I can vouch that organization struggle to improve people’s productivity.

Even as a country, we disappointingly rank 71 on global competitiveness. A colleague of mine, while working together on an assignment asked the team “If we had earned our dinner for the day”. This question precisely captures what one should aim to accomplish in a working day. While organizations try numerous methods to improve productivity, below are some simple tips to focus better at work and accomplish the planned activities.

Sleep

Studies show that sleeping time that is multiple of 90 mins results in a fresh day. This is a deviation from the traditional belief of 8 hrs, but there are reasons to support. Sleep happens in 4 stage namely: Sleep – Deep sleep – Dream – recovery. We go through all the four stages in a 90 min window. Rising in middle of any of these stages has different effects. Deja vu is one example to cite.

Eating

Avoid eating rich food late in the night. Why is this important? The digestion capacity of the body slows down as we grow older. This means fatty food take longer to digest unless we supplement with some artificial fibers/ husk. The harder the food is to digest, the more it enervates the body during the night. This could potentially deprive you of a good sleep and delay the production for fluids required for charging your brain.

I have also come across gluttons who feast on pizzas late in the night and claim to feel good in the morning. The point is you need to understand your body before an indulgence. In case you have no choice, have to eat heavy, better eat early. 7 pm would be good time to have heavy food. Give yourself at-least 4 hours prior to hitting bed.

Drinking

Avoid alcohol during week days. This is easier said than done. But if you still have to, drink something that’s light on alcohol. Beer is light on alcohol. It has two variants lager and stronger. Lager has 5% alcohol and strong has 8%. Better choose a lager to a strong.

Also, consuming 500ml of water on empty stomach in the mornings is considered to have an invigorating effect on the body.

Seeing

It is very important to see good things to trigger the correct thoughts in your mind. Before, you dip yourself into the dailies or news channels, please take 3-4 minutes out to see some greenery in the morning. It has a relaxing effect on the eyes.

Breathing

Once you have emptied you stomach in the morning, take 5-8 mins just to breath. Sit at a place and allow your body and mind to relax by thinking about some good thing that happened. While doing this, breathe normal. One could imagine a flame in their heart and try focusing on it. Trust me, this helps. It improves the visualizing power of the mind. Initially, the mind gets clogged by copious unwanted thoughts but over a period of time, the mind starts relaxing.

Planning

It’s very simple! Take 5 mins in the morning before you glue to the inbox, to plan the day. Write down the set of things that you need to do to earn your dinner. Leave aside everything else, they are a waste of time. Some people convert this into a 2×2 matrix with urgent, not urgent on one axis and important, not important on the other. Planning can be done in multiple ways based on ones convenience.

Once during the lunch, check back on this list to see the progress and plan the rest of your day as per the status.

There are myriad HBR posts advocating this method to be effective tool for monitoring productivity. The intellectuals would not have propounded this method if there was no merit in it.

Work hard, eat better and enjoy life. As Mrs. Gump says ” Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you get”. There is nothing sweeter than an accomplished day at work.

 

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