Simple Ways to Increase Your Productivity


What could you do with a few extra hours every week?

People who win in business tend to be those who are most productive. The idea is simple: if you’re willing to invest up front in personal development, education, and technology, that translates to being able to do more in less time later. Not everyone needs access to industry-specific software and tools in order to see a significant productivity boost, of course. Here are a few tips you can apply to your work, and many of them won’t require buying anything.

increasing productivity

Remember the Pareto Principle

It’s a staple of personal development experts, and for good reason. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, states that 80% of the value you get from a given task comes from just 20% of the effort you put into it.

Look at the amount of time you spend working, and identify which 20% of it is generating 80% of the results. Then, focus your energy on that critical 20% and don't worry too much about the much-less-useful 80%. In fact, you may find you can get rid of much of the remaining 80% entirely, saving you a ton of time.

Use The Right Communications Tool For The Job

Technology can be wonderful, if you use it right or it can be a nightmare if you let technology use you. While you shouldn't get hypnotized by bells and whistles, make a point of using the available communications tools to the best of their ability.

Here is what I mean: While immediate communication is great, sometimes clear communication is more important. If the project or issue is complex, reach for video conferencing tools that let you see and hear the other person at the same time.

Being able to see their reactions won’t just allow you to communicate better, it will also help keep the message from getting ”lost in translation” (This alone is often crucial when working with someone overseas.) The simple act of opening up GoToMeeting or Skype instead of typing an email can save you hours, days, or even months of problems later.

Using the tailored tools

It is well known that tools (applications) that are made especially for your niche will improve your work. For example, in the real estate business, some agents use professional real estate softwares to keep track of their leads, customers, and deals. While it costs money up front, the agent has the ability to complete tasks in minutes that used to take hours. In the long run, this means closing more deals, making more sales, and, most importantly, earning more money.

Take An Excel and PowerPoint

Training Course Nearly everyone uses Excel and PowerPoint in their jobs at one point or another, yet few people know how to use it efficiently. Becoming an Excel and PowerPoint guru will save you from spending hours figuring out how to do one task or another. Even better, it will impress both the people you support and those you report to in your firm. 

How useful would it be if you could instantly pull up the estimated ROI for a given project, or reliably calculate the lead time needed to ensure the customer receives their shipment in time after figuring in transit times and production schedules? Of course, Excel is also a powerful tool for converting raw data to intuitively understandable charts for your presentations done in PowerPoint. A good education in Excel and PowerPoint is almost a sure-fire way to make day to day life easier at work.

Photo courtesy of Pick The Brain

Alex Chester

I'm an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. I'm interested in topics related to market research, project management and business improvement.