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Why Modern-day Firms Are Obsessed with Productivity

August 25, 2015

The third wave of industrialization — which started taking shape around 1990s — has fashioned a generation defined by machine intelligence, economic transformations and socio-cultural elevation. Today is the era of digital disruption and about redefining things as we’ve known it.

This is a movement being pioneered by a cohort of radical thinkers and design-tuned engineers who have successfully evolved from an “inventions” mindset to one that can aptly be described as a passionate focus towards “suitable innovation.” These digital revolutionaries are highly entrepreneurial and tend to inspire the same in their ‘people’. For them, it’s all about making every day count and nothing less than that will do.

Workwise, things change fast these days. Take technology, for instance. Or take the rise in 20-something millennial workforce for that matter. The more pressing the need to adapt to these social-technological developments, greater the need to build an agile work ecosystem with a capability to quickly adapt to the needs of the hour.

From Zepos to Warby Parker to Coca Cola, people across such enterprising firms are priming up to be more agile, accountable and entrepreneurial in all their actions. All they demand — productivite contributions.

Efficiency is largely an outcome of personal accountability for individual actions.

It is not so much an obsession with productivity as it is a desire to be mindful of one’s actions — individual or team’s. That’s the overarching sentiment behind chasing productivity in everything that these new age firms do today. And it is a good thing — after all — we as humans have a natural tendency to chase perfection — be it within ourselves or our surroundings. We are all trying to build a life/organization that stands for something and the need to improve is the first reaction to such an imposing lifestyle-altering undertaking.

Talking about lifestyle, every day we hear about how some productive people manage to get things done daily and how they lead a certain kind of a lifestyle that naturally brings out efficiency in whatever they do.

So how do they do it?

These people are architects of their life — personal and professional — and choose to spend a significant part of their daily lives trying to become better versions of themselves. This is only so that they can respond to circumstances better.

Productivity is a mindset. Not a set of tools.

Some overarching ideas to effectively boost productivity

While there are so many things being written about productivity apps and lifestyle amendments that lend themselves to efficiency, there are few all-encompassing ideas that bracket all of these.

Always start your day early

Ben Franklin was infamous for starting his day an hour early just so he could get his thinking cells worked up. And among all top CEOs and business leaders, this is an omnipresent tendency.

Imagine all the things you could get out the way if you take a little extra time away from your usual awake hours — get some yoga done, check a few extra emails and get those out of the way or make a really satisfying breakfast too, perhaps.

An early start to the day psychologically instills a sense of well-being, and feeling in control of things. This is always a great attitude to start your day with.

Imbibe the fact that delegation is a good idea

This is the difficult bit for those in managerial positions but delegation always subtly lends itself to making one productive at their roles. To let someone/ teach someone to learn to fish on their own has its pay-off, even if deferred in nature. But to spend time, trying to amend actions of those who need to take accountability for it themselves is not the best use of one’s own time. Also, it is not an inclusive attitude to always try and do things yourself and may foster negative emotions between you and your team members.

Discipline is imperative to productive actions

No matter how old-school this may sound, following a routine has its perks. Plan ahead — not just your personal chores but professional tasks too. Preferably adopt a system that lets you do this in an agile manner, with room for flexibility. The merits of leading a disciplined way of life far exceed the worldly verbatim that currently supports it. However, understand that resilience is the key when it comes to following a routine, for; discipline does not develop overnight.

Know when to unplug

Multitasking is more often than not stressful. It is said that trying to do two things at once is in fact doing two things badly. Allow your mind transition time when switching between activities and projects. It’s unwise to underestimate the power of a 5 minute break or an intentional vacation once in a while. Spare yourself the guilt trip for leaving behind some work. If you plan ahead, you avoid the critical activity syndrome and would give yourself room to revive and get back in the flow of things easily.

Harness personal accountability

Personal accountability is the key to work-life happiness. It is about a keen understanding of the fact that you are wholly responsible for your actions and their consequences. It is a mindset and an act of integrity to embrace accountability. Embrace responsibility for outcomes as expected from a task you’ve undertaken — no matter how big or small. When you feel invested in what you are doing it is much more likely for you to feel engaged with the grand project strategy. Some call this the “foundation for success” in professional and personal life, and a quality that always lends itself to the greater good.


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