STRENGTHENING YOUR PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY

Personal Productivity

Productivity has many definitions. How you choose to define it will be based on your point of view. It can be thought of as a measure of efficiency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right things). For you to understand just how productivity can impact on your life, you first have to understand a little about what personal productivity is and how its improvement can enhance your development.

The European Productivity Agency defines productivity as ‘A state of mind… an attitude that seeks continuous improvement of what exists. It is a conviction that one can do better today than yesterday and that tomorrow will be better than today’.

Strengthening your personal productivity enables you to fully utilise some of your positive characteristics and/or improve the negative traits you may have. By doing this you can accomplish many tasks more efficiently. A high level of personal productivity is the result of a combination of planning, organisation and hard work. There are many benefits to being proactive about completing a task. Such things can be achieved by ensuring that stress levels are reduced as a result of reduced procrastination, the improvement of personal and work habits such as time management, increased motivation, focus and dedication and setting personal timelines for task completion. You can actually try implementing the following as tips to improving your personal productivity.

Determine how much time you have available-

One of the most valuable resources that you have is time. Once you determine how much of it you have, you are then able to figure out how many tasks you can realistically complete in that set period.

In doing this, you will become better able to manage your time efficiently and this is considered a very important skill, whether it is in your studies, in your career or just within your personal life.

List what tasks you would like to accomplish during this time and prioritise them!-

Having established goals and making a list of them, enables you to see what you will be dedicating your time towards. You should then be able to prioritise the tasks on the list – decide which goals are most important, which deadlines that need to be met and which will take the least time to complete. Having better time management skills therefore improves how well you will be able to effectively manage your time for the tasks which you have organised. Setting a specific time to complete each task also allows you to know how much you can get done in any given day.

Focus and then split the tasks listed into smaller, more manageable tasks-

Setting priorities enhances focus and enables you to see the big picture clearly. Once you have set your target, you can then determine how you should go about accomplishing your goals. This can easily be done by breaking up your major tasks into smaller bits that would be easier to manage and would therefore allow you to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Creating a to-do list also gives you an advantage because it helps you to physically track your accomplishments. This can also provide you with the additional determination needed to stick to your path and reduce procrastination.

Start working quickly-

After creating your personal to-do list of your smaller, more manageable tasks, you should immediately start working on your first assignment. Completing the first one and then starting on the next, always marking off each task completed on your to-do list, and finally monitoring your time allows you to sustain the momentum needed to achieve your goal. It tells you how far off your schedule you are and also gives you time to rethink you strategy if you have fallen behind. It can also help you to identify the time of day that you get the most of your work done, i.e. your peak times.

Stay motivated and dedicated, keep a positive attitude!-

Being able to manage your time well and strategizing causes you to stay on your course and helps to fuel your motivation. We all experience a good feeling from knowing that we have extra time to spare or that we have successfully completed all of our tasks within the time which we have set aside to do them. This thereby inspires you to aim higher and to do better which in itself bodes well for productivity.

Being productive should be the aim of every individual, regardless of age or station. By maximising our resources, we can be significant contributors to our schools, businesses and society as a whole.

The Link between Soft Skills, Customer Satisfaction and Productivity

soft-skills

Most people link productivity with businesses, especially when assessing how well employees are performing, however, there are many different facets that can be looked at in relation to productivity.

To the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council, national productivity is a whole made up of all of the interrelated aspects of productivity which can be found within a society. Productivity in the workplace is highly important, as it is through productive companies that competitive nations are born. In essence, in understanding the relationship between the two you can see why it is essential that everyone within the nation’s workforce plays their part in raising national productivity.

 But as a worker, how does one go about raising productivity? There are actually many ways that this can be done. From improving on time managements skills, to focusing on quality of products and services, the list is endless. However, one of the easiest set of practices that one can implement as an employee to help raise productivity is to simply improve on customer satisfaction.  

Customer satisfaction is a must for any business that wants to be successful, simply because it guarantees customer loyalty and from a business standpoint a loyal customer is reliable investor.  Companies that are able to retain reliable investors are on the road to doing well.  In time, as the company’s profit increases, workers will be privy to the benefits of the company’s growth.

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds once stated,’ If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you are doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours’.  Judging by the international success of McDonalds, one has to believe that he knew what he was talking about.

So how can an employee deliver customer satisfaction to their customers?  Well, there are four basic factors that every employee should embody to help them do so. These traits are:

  • Skills
  • Courtesy
  • Efficiency
  • Pride

Skills-

Every employee should be skilled in their area of work. Skills determine an employee’s role within a company and help them carry out their set tasks well.   Employees should take advantage of any training opportunities that are available to them. If there are none available, employees should be made comfortable enough within their working environment to suggest to their employers that training would be an asset in addressing customer satisfaction within the establishment. Individuals should also read up on their chosen vocation as it could aid in improving their work performance.

 Courtesy-

Courtesy should not just be saved for the work place; it should be an outward expression of politeness that people use daily in their lives. It should always be sincere and heartfelt, even at work. Saying ‘Thank You’ and smiling are a couple of ways that employees can treat customers in a courteous manner, but there are also other ways in which this can be done.

They include:

Putting the Customer First

The customer, regardless of who they are, should always come first.  Therefore, any work carried out must always be acceptable to the customer. In doing so, the customer is always made happy. In addition, by making the customer happy, the employee also feels a sense of achievement.

Finding Out What They Want

Not all customers will be the same. Whilst many may know exactly what they want and be able to express this, there will be those who are a little less sure. For customers who do not say what they want, a good employee would observe their behaviour and consider their feelings and try to figure out their actual needs.

Putting Ourselves in the Shoes of the Customer

We all would like to be treated in a certain way and this is something that all employees should keep in mind when serving a customer. Whilst interacting with customers, employees should consider what kind of product or service that they would like to receive if they were the client. Then they should make sure that what is delivered to the customer is of the same high standard.

Establishing a Rapport with Customers

Employees should always try to remember their clientele.  Not just their faces but also their likes, their dislikes and their preferences. In doing so, a personal touch is added to the service.   

Not Practicing Preferential Treatment

All customers should be treated the same. From those who spend a lot within the establishment to those who spend a little.  From friends of the family, to complete strangers. Each customer contributes to the survival of the company.  With this in mind, all customers should be treated with the same courtesies.

Being Flexible and Adopting a Problem-Solving Approach

When solving any issues that come up with customers it is always best to adopt a problem solving approach. It is unwise to stick too rigidly to rules and refuse to be a little flexible to customers. Remember, through discussions, it is possible to come up with solutions to customers’ problems.

 Efficiency

Everyone has their own deadlines to meet. An employee stalling and taking unwarranted time on a project can put everyone else off schedule. Thus everyone should always strive to produce their output on time.  In doing so progress is not hampered, including that of your customers

In being efficient and delivering the product in a timely matter, each employee must also make sure that they hand over the final product to the customer with zero defects. Even the smallest error can spoil a company’s image.

 Pride

All employees have the right to be proud of the work that they carry out. Thus, employees should always carry out their work well. Not simply because it is what is expected of them but also because they enjoy doing what they do and take some pride in it. Taking ownership of work in this way makes an individual strive to improve their skills and knowledge. In so doing, there is the constant motivation to improve, be more efficient and practise courtesy without thought and effort on a daily basis.

The Distinction Between Productivity and Production

As the issues of productivity begin to take centre stage in Saint Lucia, it is important to note the difference between productivity and production.  Making this distinction is critical for businesses as it is quite possible that production/output may increase without a corresponding increase in the levels of productivity.

Production is defined as “the process of using resources/inputs to add value to a product or service, so as to meet the needs of the customer” (Business Studies Online).  In the production process, input/resources include land, labour, capital and enterprise.  During production, value added is applied to raw materials resulting in a good or service or the output of the firm/organisation. 

On the other hand, productivity is the ratio between the output (good or service) produced and the inputs used in producing that output.  It therefore, measures how efficiently the production inputs such as labour (workers/employees), capital, land, etc. are utilised in an economy or a firm to produce a given level of output.

Although the two concepts are related, it is important to note the difference.  During the production process, the firm is concerned about the combination of inputs, prices of those inputs as well as the prices of the goods and services to be produced.  Once the firm has settled on its output/input combination, then it is important to measure the efficiency of that combination. 

 It is important to note that an increase in production may not necessarily lead to an increase in productivity and vice versa.  During the production process, productivity growth occurs in the following manner:

  • An increase in output while the levels of input (labour, land, capital) used remain the same (unchanged);
  •  Output is increasing at a greater rate than the levels of input.

Conversely, productivity would decline if:

  • Output is increasing at a lower rate than the levels of input; even if output increase, productivity would have fallen;
  • Output is falling while increasing the levels of inputs.

Therefore, productivity refers to an efficient utilization of resources. It relates to the entire functioning of an organisation or economy. It details how working effort, money and materials are converted into products and services that can be sold at a competitive price on a competitive market.

Productivity is regarded as one of the key drivers to economic growth and sustainability.  It is placed very high on the agendas of Governments and international agencies and it is important that an accurate interpretation of the term is understood by all. Furthermore, it is through this understanding that productivity levels can be measured and interpreted correctly.

Thus, when differentiating between the two terms, one should remember that productivity is the ratio of output to input in relation to production. It is also a measure of the efficiency of production.  High levels of productivity leads to an increase in a country’s economic well-being.