Tag Archives: productivity

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productivity fact

Productivity Fact or Perfection Myth, Which Is It?

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Productivity is important for every workplace. The idea is that efficiency drives profit. Are your daily habits driven by the productivity fact or the perfection myth?

What is the difference and where are you spending, or wasting your time?

Perfection Myth

People spend a lot of time and money on perfection.

There are hours spent on perfecting the product. It happens with goods and it happens with services.

There are hours and hours of fine tuning and making it just right. Hours are spent on the meetings, the waiting for decisions, and on rejected work.

In extreme cases, work is produced that is never used. It is only discarded, no longer needed, or locked in the closet being viewed as too risky for release.

We do it with our written communication to the CEO, the board of directors, or for the project proposal.

We may spend 80 percent of our time proofing, rewriting, and tweaking. In the end, much of that 80 percent of time was wasted because the initial 20 percent of time fulfilled 80 percent or more of the requirement.

All of this lends credibility to the idea that perfection is a myth. Perfection means more time wasted, less time producing.

Productivity Fact

What about the productivity fact?

Kittens and puppies are picked every day not because they are perfect, but because people aren’t judging for perfection.

Your best friend probably isn’t perfect. Your favorite book isn’t perfect. The car you drive, nope, probably not perfect.

Your house may be clean, or the lawn may be cut, but neither are probably perfect.

The work that we do, the product we produce or service we deliver, is probably good enough long before it is perfect. Sometimes everything beyond good enough, is productivity wasted. Time spent that we’ll never recover.

Perfect is often a self-developed illusion. One that we can’t live up to, and one that wastes our time.

Productivity fact is much more important than the perfection myth.

Do great work, but keep moving. The clock is always ticking.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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more time

More Time, Is That What Everyone Needs?

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Time crunch, needed it yesterday, or we missed the deadline. Have you ever felt like you needed more time? What about productivity or efficiency, do you have those boxes checked?

More Time

Many people believe that they need more time. It is a reason that many executives cite as causing a gap between what is, and what could be. Is time really the problem or is it more about managing behaviors?

It is important to immediately address one common fallacy. Multi-tasking is not a time saver, it can in fact, be a time-waster. Sure, we may walk and chew gum at the same time, but when it comes to brain power or concentration forget it.

Many workplace professionals waste so much time with distraction, they could easily take an extra vacation or two each year. What are some of the biggest time wasters?

  • Distractions
  • Interruptions
  • Poor planning
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination

You may have been expecting to see things like phone calls, email, or meetings. These items can be a distraction, an interruption, or fall under several other categories. Why aren’t they at the top of the list?

Imagine the importance of your job if you received no calls, no email, and never had a meeting? It is hard to imagine much value in your job if there is no cause for action. The bigger catalyst then becomes about your planning and management habits.

Leadership Efficiency

What about the executive? The President or CEO, that is hyper-engaged in the business? Are they productive?

Some of the biggest time wasters for the executive (supervisor, manager, director, et al) are poor delegation skills, a lack of trust in employees, and perfectionism. The root causes? It all falls back to established habits.

Many workplace professionals feel that there just isn’t enough time.

Maybe, there just isn’t enough focus.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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measure productivity

How To Measure Productivity Through Metrics

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Overwhelmed, too busy, and unsure of exactly how to save yourself? Join the crowd. People everywhere are concerned about improving personal efficiency. How you measure productivity is a good place to start.

Metrics

Most measurement begins with metrics. In our digital world personal productivity often includes metrics centered around email processing. Ask someone how busy they are and chances are good that their inbox will enter the conversation.

Doing whatever pops up and identifying that you are busy may be a fact. However, you shouldn’t confuse the fact that you are busy with productivity.

I had to process over one hundred new email messages.

My boss sent me six new to-do’s in the last half-hour.

I didn’t have time to answer your message, I had to process three days of backlogged email.

When helping businesses form strategy I often suggest that many individuals and businesses can get caught up in “firefighting.” This is a tactical approach to solving problems which can slowly erode strategy.

Metrics, such as the number of email messages processed may be valid, but don’t make the mistake of confusing metrics and measurements with productivity.

Keeping Busy

Proving that we have a lot of motion and that we are busy should never become a metric.

The digital relationship builder can amass new social media friends, connections, views, clicks, likes, and shares but that doesn’t necessary mean that they’ve built a single new relationship. The numbers are there. Is the relationship?

We can make metrics improve which will cause busy work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve created progress or value.

Measure Productivity

Often the most confusing part about strategy is understanding the difference between tactics and goals. Seldom is there a need to make executing a tactic a goal. That is more about motivation rather than strategy.

There is a related concept to measuring productivity. Many people believe being busy is a measurement of accomplishment, thus being better at being busy means improved productivity. It could, but often it is just busier.

Do you really want to measure productivity? You can start by measuring the value of the outputs from all of the work that you do.

Keep in mind that metric improvement may be a fact, but did you create any real value?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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meeting cancelled

Meeting Cancelled, What Will You Do?

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In workplaces everywhere, there are a lot of meetings. Meetings for strategy, meetings for follow-up, meetings intended to improve communication, and so many more. Imagine if your meeting cancelled, what would happen?

In bad or difficult weather conditions, schools and businesses shut down. For some that is a good time, for others not so much.

Lost Forever

For the restaurant it often means revenue lost since people will still eat that day but not at their restaurant. It is a loss they won’t get back the next day because people won’t eat twice as much. It is gone, forever.

Similar situations exist internally in our organizations. Sometimes the meeting feels needed, and other times it is taken for granted, much of the time participants feel redundancy and wasted time.

If your meeting was cancelled today, or postponed until the next day what would happen? What would happen to revenue, production goals, or new client acquisitions? Does the sales funnel get a dent or a bulge?

When the meeting is cancelled certainly some will rejoice. Their excitement may come from a reduction in stress, a temporary reprieve from workload, or not having to listen to redundant chatter.

Meeting Cancelled

What would you do if the meeting were cancelled?

Would you take the time to do something constructive? What if you started early on your next task did that one thing that you’ve been procrastinating about, or helped someone else with a project that has fallen behind?

Imagine if you jumped in and started selling, invited people to participate, and encouraged productivity for time gained, not time lost.

Then the real magic starts. What if all of the activity gained, new opportunities explored, and bottom line results were better than what came before?

Would you suggest the meeting is rescheduled?

More Is Better?

When we work from the mindset of more is always better we may discover a hidden gem. Abundance often has two sides, gain and loss.

Perhaps the meeting wasn’t necessary after all. Maybe you should cancel more.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Balance productivity

How to Balance Productivity and Worry

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Getting organized, understanding what needs accomplished, and making the best use of our time is important for every professional. Do you worry about obstacles, roadblocks, and asteroids? How do you balance productivity and worry?

Worth Worry?

We can worry about many things. Worry if our car can make the trip, if it will start in sub-zero temperatures, or if the air conditioning system will still function properly next season.

We may worry about paying for taxes, the age of the windows in our home or the roof over our head.

Career driven people may worry if they are on track, how the Company is doing, and will they get the promotion or do they need to find a new job.

People can worry chronically, about their life, their health, or how they’ll cover their MasterCard bill.

Worry can be disabling. Worry is stress, discomfort, anxiety, and more. It can turn to physical problems including illness or even death.

Does worry have any value? Worrying about tire pressure or wearing a seat belt has value. It makes us safer. So does wearing a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle. Being conscious of debt to income ratio and the cost of food and housing also has some value.

Does thinking about risk and labeling it worry have any value? Will it make you more productive? Can it make you less productive?

Balance Productivity and Worry

What you accomplish in one hour today is worth a lot to you. How much you worry during an hour probably not so much.

Worrying and risk assessment has value when it causes us to alter our behaviors or habits into more productive outcomes. Consider a safer commute to work, with a seat belt, appropriate speed, and no texting. Mindful management of debt and paying the mortgage instead of taking a luxurious trip also has some value.

When you want to be both productive and successful you’ll have to decide how you want to spend your time and energy. Will you balance productivity and worry? Worry will destroy your energy, but productivity expands it.

Avoid the distractions that keep you from your best work.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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productivity questions

5 Productivity Questions Everyone Should Ask

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It seems common in many workplaces. Groups of 5, 10, or 35 people have work to do, often a lot of work to do. One common criticism is that the workload isn’t evenly distributed and pay grades do not align with output or responsibility. Certainly, those may be issues, but have you asked any productivity questions?

It is sometimes funny how time changes things. What was once critically important is sometimes quickly replaced or the originating reason is completely forgotten.

Pick a workplace, any workplace that has been around for 5, 10, or more years. You might find things that were once a good idea that people simply stopped doing.

Perhaps you will find the opposite too, things that were once good ideas but no longer apply and people are still doing them. Yes, it’s true, chances are good you’ll find some of these.

Every job, every task, every part of building, creating, designing, documenting, storing, and filing, is it necessary? Does it have relevance now?

Productivity Questions

Here are five questions to ask about what you’ll work on today:

  1. What is this used for?
  2. Who will use it?
  3. When does it get used?
  4. Is it the right design?
  5. Does it make a difference?

Just because it is a tradition, just because it once had value, is it still necessary? What has changed and is it important now?

Meetings, Marketing, and More

You can ask yourself about the meetings you’ll attend this week. Who is in the meeting, are the right people attending? Who is absent from the meeting and how does their absence affect the outcome?

Have you thought about the marketing materials, their timeliness, the message, the brand promise, and the mailing list? Are all of those things up to date, still relevant, and accurate?

Why do we do what we do every day and more importantly how does it contribute to the bottom line?

Productivity matters, and so does the workload distribution. Start with understanding what really makes a difference for the group and the organization. Ask questions, revisit choices often.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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help a perfectionist

How to Help a Perfectionist

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Many people might quickly agree that the drive to do things right is a good quality to have. Can it go too far? How do you help a perfectionist?

Many psychological studies have found that perfectionism correlates with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. Interesting stuff, but for the most part I’ll leave that to the professionals in that field.

Perfectionist at Work

Perfectionism is an interesting part of our workplace. While it is almost always important to strive for exceptional quality we are also challenged with time, efficiency, and meeting the demands of the bottom line.

Perhaps the hardest part for the perfectionist is letting go. At least that might be the presenting problem. The real problem though might be overcoming fear.

Here are three common problems for workplace professionals and perfectionism:

  • Productivity. Time management is often out of balance for the perfectionist. They spend so much time perfecting the work that they lose track of the delicate balance of exceptional quality and speed.
  • New Projects. Often there is a reluctance to start new projects. Not only does the perfectionist feel a loss of control over the work, but they are extremely fearful that the outcomes might not be good enough.
  • Delegation. When they recognize how hard they have to work to produce the quality they feel is required, they might feel certain others won’t measure up.

Help a Perfectionist

Helping a perfectionist has its challenges. Getting them to let go is important but it is not the act of letting go that has to be overcome. It might be quelling their fears about negative outcomes.

Try illustrating these points:

  • Sometimes there is value to releasing work for additional feedback. This is most helpful before spending hours on something that might be rejected, or worse no longer needed. Think draft.
  • Professional growth often doesn’t come from just from their individual contribution but more from replication and team efforts. Others can learn to do the work. Teach them.
  • Encourage them to consider that perfect is more about creating exceptional results in minimal time. Therefore, mastering the balance of quality and time is the true perfection. Release more work.

Sometimes the best way to help a perfectionist in the workplace is to give them something different to focus on.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Productivity Habits – The Tools, Addictions, and Information Overload

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Many people believe that they must find ways to accomplish more in the same amount of time. Some blame too much information and too many distractions. Could it all be related to productivity habits?

productivity habits appreciative strategies

Tools

When you stop to think about all of the tools available today in the office arsenal it seems counterintuitive to believe that we have any productivity concerns.

Of course the expectations might be different today. Stamping out word representations in a clay tablet certainly would be time consuming, so would chiseling a hieroglyph in a rock. Clearly we’ve improved.

The Microsoft Office Suite alone is probably responsible for a lot more productivity. It also might be responsible for more data, some of it fresh, some of it borrowed and duplicated. Do we really have a productivity issue? Do we suffer from information overload or is it more about being distracted?

There is a pretty good chance that our habits are involved. Some suggest it might be addictions.

Addictions

Can you put down your smart phone during a meal?

Do you check your messages and alerts as soon as you open your eyes in the morning? Do you feel a sense of panic when you are without your phone? If yes, you might have an addiction.

Information is powerful, and the quest for the latest news, the most recent information, the gossip, the drama, and the presidential tweet. It all might be an addiction, or just really bad habits.

Productivity Habits

As a professional business consultant and coach I would suggest that change is within you. If you are hungry for a change, you’ll be more likely to stick with a plan or appropriately pivot to something better. Your habits will have a lot to do with your success.

Habits, procrastination, and decisions all impact your productivity. It might not be so much about information overload blocking progress. It probably isn’t a lack of quality tools, or the speed of your download.

Being addicted to distractions might be a problem.

Most of all, you just might have to get out of your own way.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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millennials more productive

Are Millennials More Productive?

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Recently I wrote about the subject of information overload which sparked online and offline conversations about various workforce generations and productivity. Are the more recent generations such as the millennials and generation Z more productive?

Let’s start by considering a few key points. The first is that what separates the generations is not so much about age, but it is about differing values and beliefs. The second point is that the most recent generations have been taught differently and perhaps learn differently, and the third is that when compared with the earlier generations much of the millennial population and all of the generation Z population have predominantly known information access at their fingertips on a computer or cellular phone.

My belief is that when you consider productivity you have to ask yourself, “Productive at what?” Most people will likely connect productivity with the ability to accomplish one or more tasks in a timely manner. The person who can do this with little or no error in the shortest time is the most productive.

If we agree on that, then the question still remains, productive at what?

If we were to generalize about skills in the workplace one argument could include the idea that those who have been in the workforce longer will have more skill, but those representing the more recent generations may bring additional knowledge of the subject matter. When it comes to entitlements in the workplace traditionals and baby boomers believe that they are entitled because they have more experience and the millennials and generation Z people believe that they are entitled because they have more knowledge.

Does this have anything to do with being more productive? Likely, yes, it does.

Consider baking a cake, learning to play a musical instrument, or building a bookcase, if we have two human subjects both with about the same amount of resources, knowledge, and experience who will be more productive?

It seems to me that the best answer is the person who will use their resources the most efficiently and effectively to learn the skill, apply the skill, and then be able to repeat the process becoming more productive as they build more skill. I must confess that from my experiences, with all things being equal, the millennial generation would most likely (I’m generalizing of course) be more productive.

I believe a millennial who has developed a reasonable level of problem solving skills will most likely locate the resources for learning (consult an expert, watch a video, find documentation online) faster and more efficiently as compared to the baby boomer. They will think about it differently because their espoused values and core beliefs are likely different. To help illustrate this point, a baby boomer might seek to find a book or ask a friend and the millennial or  generation Z person is already watching a video.

Are millennials more productive in today’s workplace? I believe it depends on many factors and most of the factors would not be equivalent across the generations. The earlier generations might have some advantage with life experiences that the most recent generations have not had, but it is reasonable that a person from any generation can be highly productive with the proper resources and training.

– DEG

Are you interested to learn more about the generations? 

I wrote this book to help. 

forgotten respect

Buy on Amazon

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

This article was originally posted on October 26, 2016, last updated on November 10, 2018.


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Managing Perfection

Managing Perfection: A Millennial Trait?

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Does the pursuit of perfection affect the most recent workforce generations more than the earlier traditional or boomer population? Traditionals, boomers, and some of the generation X population may quickly shout out, “No!” However, some experts are seeing things differently. Do you have trouble managing perfection?

The Problem

There is a belief by some that our society has become too focused on extrinsic goals such as the attainment of money, an image of wealth, and physical appearance. This may make millennials and generation 9/11 (Gen Z, iGen), according to some researchers, at a much higher risk for developing ambition addiction, which may then lead to anxiety and depression. While perfectionism is often associated with having an unattainable or an unrealistic goal, it can also lead to feelings of unhappiness and create a lack of job satisfaction. Business and human resources professionals may quickly see this as a linkage to employee absenteeism and turnover.

Solutions

At least two quick thoughts enter my mind. The first is that employees in all job roles must have up-to-date and well understood job descriptions. In addition, they must be provided with prompt and constructive feedback on performance, and their goals should be clear, realistic, and attainable.

solutions appreciative strategies

The second thought is to suggest that perfect and productivity are not synonymous with a job well done. During seminars I often remind groups that in many professional skill settings many job tasks can be accomplished quickly, while making the output perfect takes the most time.

Managing Perfection

Imagine writing a one page letter to the president of your company. You have two measurements of productivity, one being, to accomplish the task, the other representing the time it takes. You can probably draft the letter very quickly, accomplishing 80% of the task while only taking about 20% of the time. While fine tuning or enhancing the letter to perfection is only 20% of the task, but it takes 80% of the time. In some cases, but not all, draft may be an acceptable approach for achieving both progress and productivity while also avoiding the harmful effects of striving for perfection.

Perfection millennial

It seems to me that if societal trends have us focused more on extrinsic accomplishments; perfectionism may be something all generations need to rethink.

What about you, are you a perfectionist?

– DEG

Millennials generations forgotten respect

Buy Now on Amazon

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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