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How To Measure and Greatly Improve Your Productivity

Why are so many of us struggling with productivity?

We set out positively when we start our working day and we’re determined that we’ll do a lot of things that will bring us a step closer to our goals, but when at the end of the day we look back at what we have actually accomplished, we realize that not much has been done, despite having enough time.

We’re not productive because we are not AWARE of our moments of being unproductive. Our minds get distracted by a cool video on YouTube, or an interesting article we read on Yahoo News, or a phone call or one of a myriad of other things.

And every time a minor distraction happens, we might even be aware for a split second that we’re not being productive, but we convince ourselves that,  ‘this won’t take long,’  and that we’ll be back to work in no time.

The problem with this is that these distractions add up during the day and eventually constitute more of our working time than actual productive work.

The reason why this keeps happening is because we don’t measure our productivity, and measurement is crucial if we want to control something:

‘Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you canít understand it, you can’t control it. If you canít control it, you canít improve it.’ –  Dr. H. James Harrington

So, how do we measure productivity?

Very simple: we measure the time we had available in each day and then we measure the time we were productive, the time when we were working on the projects that led us closer to our goals.

We can then divide our productive time by the total time available to calculate our productivity in percentage form.

For example, today I started work at 9:30 and I am finishing this article at around 11:30.

For this system to work, you need to be brutally honest. If I am, then in my two hours of available work, I spent around 40 minutes writing this post and about 20 minutes answering emails related to my business.

The other 60 minutes I spent time chatting with two friends on Skype, reading emails not related to my work , and reading internet marketing news not crucial to my business.

My productivity then was 60 minutes of work / 120 minutes of available time = 50%

When I do this again in the evening, I then realize that my daily productivity was maybe only 25%.

I have now measured my productivity and realized the painful truth: I spent only 25% of my available time working towards my goals and wasted the rest of my time doing unimportant things.

Life is short and I believe it’s crucial that we become aware of how much time we waste doing nothing important, because only that painful realization will drive our determination to make the best of our time while we’re here and make us more vigilant about our wasted time in general.

A productivity percentage of only 25% means that I could be progressing four times faster towards my goals than I am now.

Consciously being aware of the benefit of greater productivity and of our wasted time are then the necessary ‘carrot and stick’ that will drive us to success and fulfillment.

Tomaz blogs about unique home business ideas where he shares tips and advice on how achieve financial freedom with the power of the Internet.


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