Basic principles of productivity

What would be the first few things related to productivity that one should know?

First things first: what is productivity? It accounts for the growth of the general efficiency within an organization or company. When the efficiency of the organization goes up, the production capacity of the company is employed at a level that is maximum or close to the maximum at that respective level. In other words, the company utilizes all its resources in a way that is evidently competent to obtain the best possible results.

But I’m not a company, you’re saying right now, I’m a person – and given that you are reading this, it wouldn’t be much of a wild guess to suspect that you are looking for ways to step up your productivity level. Well, the fact is that some of the basic principles illustrated here apply just the same for individuals and within these lines we have drawn a parallel between two, at a first sight, different entities – a company and an individual.

In some respects, you are a company. You have a capital – of skills, talents, time, will, qualities and flaws – you have needs (among which, probably the most important one is that of MANAGEMENT), and you have objectives. You can be a profitable company, an on-the-edge company or a losing one. The difference lies in your management abilities, something we shall discuss below.

Just as a company can improve its business productivity by doing valuable research so that it becomes aware of its weak areas but also of the methods to strengthen them and to exploit its strongest assets, leading to the most suitable changes in its business approach and strategies, an individual can invest some time in studying how to better invest his or her time in order to maximize the results by finding out those things that do work and those that don’t in reaching the proposed objectives.

Analogously to a company, you can devise techniques and strategies to turn weak points and even threats and risks into real opportunities. Increasing profitability and constancy are two crucial aspects in any success story whether being that of an individual or of an organization.

So, what is productivity from this analogy here? It is the meeting point between clever strategy and persistent effort. At the core of being effective and using all your resources efficiently to reach your goals lies the S word – STRATEGY (or plan/system) and strategy is always linked with another term which tends to be neglected sometimes when we talk about business or personal management – that term is CREATIVITY. When you conceive a plan you are using your creativity. No strategy ever gets created without it! While being rather harder to identify and lay out than when relating it to arts, this concept of creativity is equally crucial if you want to become successful regardless of your field of activity. If you doubt this, you might want to check out and consider the number of business schools offering courses in creativity.

Let’s review briefly some basic principles anyone should consider when making the first step on the way to improve productivity – capital: acknowledging personal capital (skills, talent, time, needs etc), strategy/plan: building one (which itself needs a strategy), creativity: unveil it, engage it, increase it.

So, to end our analogy – while for a company, productivity is the essential factor that allows the it to be more cost effective and translates as the efficiency with which that company is able to turn resources into goods, in terms of personal productivity, you have achieved it at a high level the moment you complete the actions or tasks that bring you closer to reaching your goals in a way that feels totally balanced and offers you joy and purpose. Building this sort of foundation requires attention and patience but this is what success is made of. And it’s totally worth it.

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.