Getting more work done in less time: The economics of increasing job productivity

October 6, 2020 3:04 PM

The need of the hour is to “Get more work done in less time”. But the burning question is, “how to do that?” This seemingly simple task put many brilliant scientists, economists, business aficionados, time management coaches, and thought leaders to find out the best possible ways.

Time management can bring great changes at personal and organizational levels.

By Harsh Agrawal

The wheels of development, both technological and otherwise, have been churning at its fullest strength for the last century. The result is in front of us – “the global business world having less time than ever to meet its ever-evolving goals.” Since everything in the business world is connected to the internet, from employees to employers, people across the hierarchies are demanded to work online. That’s where the main problem lies. Trust me when I say, despite being the solution provider for business problems, this same online platform is also the biggest distraction you face during your work.

The need of the hour is to “Get more work done in less time”. But the burning question is, “how to do that?” This seemingly simple task put many brilliant scientists, economists, business aficionados, time management coaches, and thought leaders to find out the best possible ways. Believe it or not, the solutions somehow had the same basic principles.

Just in the words of Thomas Edison, “Time is the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” Truly, we can’t afford to lose time. Even though our world forces us to work 24/7 in this digital age, are we making the best of our time?

We are lucky that the best minds around the world have got answers for us. I’ve tried my best to summarize the research and outcomes for your easy understanding. Eager to know these mantras? Let’s find those out for ourselves.

Spend Your Mornings with Exercise, Meditation, & Reading

Most of us mechanically move towards our smartphones or laptops the moment we wake up, and for what reasons? To simply check the social media, emails, and the buzz on the internet. As per the time management experts and my personal experience, this is a bad approach.

Economically speaking, every minute spent in a fruitless activity is bucketed as a loss. Mornings are proven to be high energy times, especially for solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. This is the best time to synchronize the mind, the body, and the soul. Adoption of exercise, reading, thoughtful writing, and meditating into the morning regimen can bring absolute wonders. You can even use a “5-minutes journal” to plan out your day, writing positive thoughts, or something that can motivate you to walk the extra mile. I can recall the proverb – ‘well begun is half done’ – which befits this situation perfectly. With a bright, energized, and focused mind you can achieve your work targets in half the time.

Employ Time Management Techniques like Pomodoro, Time Blocking, or Other Analytical Method

Time management can bring great changes at personal and organizational levels. For large enterprises, they have a complete department dedicated to support, motivate, train, and track employees for their effective time management and enhanced productivity. For freelancers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and individuals, time management techniques like Pomodoro, Time Blocking, Pareto analysis, Eisenhower Method, POSEC method can create marvels.

For one, a technique like Pomodoro can help you get more work done in less time. This technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s is quite simple, where you break down your work into equal intervals (25 minutes to 35 minutes) and practice to finish your work in that time duration. Regular practice can help you increase your speed and efficiency. If you are having dynamic work requirements, you can try Pareto analysis to break your work into the 80-20 ratio as the principle describes and finish the prioritized work in time. These techniques are the best economic tools that can help you increase your financial productivity.

Practice More and Enhance Your Productivity

Well, it’s time for the old proverb to be polished again – “practice makes a man perfect.” For all the freelancer bloggers and solopreneurs out there, it’s time to embrace the charm of laborious work. The more you write, read, and learn, the better your work delivery will be. Quality and quantity both matter in today’s competitive world. The only way to get ahead in this race is by increasing your speed & accuracy through practice. Also, you can use distraction-free writing tools, and work on editing and proof-reading post completion of the job. So next time, you got a shorter deadline for your blog, practice, and train yourself first.

We’ve taken an example of just blogging here. This same principle can be applied across the business world. You shouldn’t be amazed to learn the fact that most of the seasoned corporate trainers also urge employees and trainees to focus on practice.

Keep the surroundings clean – both Physical and Mental

Time to look at the bigger picture. Yes, we’ve talked about starting the day with exercise, reading, and meditation to keep our mind uncluttered and energy high. We shouldn’t forget this throughout the day. Surround yourself with positivity at both at mental and physical level. Keep positive thoughts in mind, stay motivated, eat healthy food, and relax well. Also, set up a serene workspace by using a good spacious table, comfortable chair, bright and vibrant colors around. Tranquility and positivity at workplace keep your mood light and helps you overcome stress.

Well, I am sure you must have figured out why large enterprises and companies invest so much in creating attractive, serene, and comfortable workspaces for their employees. Consider it good news for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs that they can design their workspace themselves.

Rework your to-do list before Day-End

A day well spent and projects accomplished means you have capitalized all your resources to full potential. Whether you are working online or offline, you must end your day by updating your to-do list. This can give you clear directions on how you have invested your day and how you must plan the next day to be even more productive. This modern digital world has brought along many applications and digital tools to maintain to-do lists and calendars. You can use any of those or stay old school with a classy Rolodex. Voila! Could it get any better? I’d say, “Pick your favorite flavored tea and set your chair right next to some beautiful plants in your garden. Because you’ve earned it.”

(The author is Founder, ShoutMeLoud. Views expressed are personal.)

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