The Productivity Gurus - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

Get an account to save ideas & make your own & organize them how you wish.

deepstash

Beta

The dark history of our obsession with productivity

The Productivity Gurus

  • Michael Porter exalted the leadership of productive management practices.
  • Bill Smith, an engineer at Motorola, introduced the Six Sigma Method in 1986. It is a disciplined, data-driven approach for eliminating defects in any process. According to Six Sigma, productivity is more than revenues and profits, because profits reflect the end result, while productivity reflects the increased efficiency as well as the effectiveness of business policies and processes.

61 SAVES


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The dark history of our obsession with productivity

The dark history of our obsession with productivity

https://www.fastcompany.com/90230330/how-our-obsession-with-productivity-evolved

fastcompany.com

7

Key Ideas

Productivity Obsession

As workers, we are obsessed with getting stuff done. It is then clear why there seems to be a bottomless well full of advice, hacks, tools, tricks, and secrets to help us pack more into the waking hours.

According to IBISWorld research, productivity software alone accounts for an $82 billion market.

Modern History of Productivity

  • Adam Smith wrote in 1776 that there are two kinds of labor: productive and unproductive. The productive one generally adds value to the materials which he works upon, of his own maintenance, and his master's profit. However, a man grows poor by maintaining a multitude of menial servants who add to the value of nothing.
  • Benjamin Franklin put forth his own "to-do" list in 1791, stating that one should start the day asking what good shall be done and end the day evaluating what was accomplished.

Abuse Masked as Productivity

In the late 18th and early 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution, machines moved production from handmade in the home to factories. A frenzy of producing more goods more quickly became a kind of national pastime.

Low-wage factory workers, many of whom were children, toiled in unsafe conditions for decades before labor unions put measures in place to protect workers from the excesses of the push for productivity.

The Day Planner

By 1850, day planners were proliferating. Productivity became inexorably linked to the virtue of working hard.

Etiquette manuals of the era suggested that the daily planner was a means for self-improvement.

The Birth of Consultants

  • Frederick Winslow Taylor, an industrial engineer and efficiency expert, would get himself a consulting gig with a company, observe the workers, and calculate how they could do their jobs faster.
  • Best known as the parents of Cheaper by the Dozen, Peers Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were mining productivity by dividing human action into 17 motions and then determining which was the most efficient and effective way to do any task.

The Productivity Gurus

  • Michael Porter exalted the leadership of productive management practices.
  • Bill Smith, an engineer at Motorola, introduced the Six Sigma Method in 1986. It is a disciplined, data-driven approach for eliminating defects in any process. According to Six Sigma, productivity is more than revenues and profits, because profits reflect the end result, while productivity reflects the increased efficiency as well as the effectiveness of business policies and processes.

Current state of productivity

In the frenzy to be more productive, we have become less so.

The procedures and methods in use are over a decade old. Until more robots and AI are incorporated to take over rote tasks, the downward trend will continue.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

A shift in measuring well-being
A shift in measuring well-being

People in societies such as ancient Greece, imperial China, Medieval Europe, and colonial America did not measure people's well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output.

Measuring well-being: people vs money

The turn toward financial statistics means that instead of considering how economic developments could meet our needs, it instead is to determine whether individuals are meeting the demand of the economy.

Until the 1850s, social measurement in 19th-century America was a collection of social indicators known as "moral statistics," which focused on the physical, social, spiritual, and mental conditions of the people. Human beings were at the center, not dollars and cents.

Measuring progress and prosperity

What led to the pricing of progress in the mid-19th century was capitalism.

Capitalism is not just the existence of markets. It is also capitalised investment, where elements of society and life - including natural resources, technological discoveries, works of art, urban spaces, educational institutions, and people - are changed or "capitalised" into income-generating assets that are valued by their ability to make money and yield future returns.

4 more ideas

The concept of Inbox Zero

'Inbox Zero' is a concept introduced by Merlin Mann, a way to handle your email by processing them to zero.

This is achieved by taking appropriate actions like filing, noting or replying, to ...

The Quest for Personal Productivity

The never-ending quest for personal productivity has spawned countless apps on the Smartphone App stores, and many bestseller books.

Personal Productivity has branched out in the field of dating, hotel stays, parenting and even eating.

Problems With 'Inbox Zero'

The people who implemented the 'Inbox Zero; method ended up getting more emails as they were replying to all their emails, with increased activity.

They also paradoxically started checking the inbox more often.

The anxiety levels increased by applying hyper-productivity.

2 more ideas

Measuring Employee Productivity
Measuring Employee Productivity

Fixing employee productivity in the industrial age, when most workers were handling machinery and it’s parts, was a tedious but doable process. The managers had to fix the people who were making mi...

The Old Productivity Formula

The basic productivity formula(productivity= output divided by input) worked well in the industrial age as the output and input were clearly defined and measurable.

Today’s leaders need innovative solutions to measure and improve productivity in a knowledge-based workplace, as the measurement of output and input is not what it was.

Quality And Quantity

While assigning value to the output of knowledge workers, we cannot simply measure the output like before.

Coders and doctors cannot be measured by the hour, as their output is not uniform or consistent every hour.

8 more ideas

Get a good night’s rest

The first key to productivity: getting enough sleep. 7-8 hours of sleep a night will improve into your work, from sharper decision making and problem-solving, to better coping with chan...

Drink some coffee at work

Caffeine has a range of positive impacts beyond keeping you awake: from increased alertness and reaction time to improved learning, memory, and even mood. 

And coffee isn’t just effective on a chemical level: scheduling coffee breaks so that the entire team took it at the same time increased productivity.

Take regular break

Taking breaks during the workday is important for workers to replace workplace “resources” - energy, motivation, and concentration

These resources are limited and they need “charging” by doing activities that require less effort or use different resources than normal work or are just something the worker enjoys.

2 more ideas

Problems with the Work Ethic
  • For centuries, the promise of America has been built on the work ethic, with everyone aspiring to have a job that pays them.
  • Work Ethic as it is has not provided any social, moral or s...
The Unfulfilled Promise of Work

What working a decent job means is slowing losing ground, as we are not deriving meaning from our work.

Having a job means getting paid for our talents, but it may not be the case for many. Work ethic is supposed to provide us a good life, but in reality, the opposite is happening.

Following The Orders

Most workers rely on the whims and fancies of the so-called 'Job Creators', a class of people who own a business and can employ staff. Job creators hold power on the worker's time, behavior and conditions of employment.

These employers also monitor and sanction what workers post on social media, what they eat or drink, how frequently and for how long are they going to the bathroom, and what are their political leanings.

3 more ideas

We Are On Our Own
We Are On Our Own

In his self-help book "Smarter, Faster, Better", Charles Duhigg observes that we are now masters of our own time.

The onus to manage our time, attention, focus and priorities is ...

Divided Attention

There are an endless number of distractions, attention sapping ‘urgent’ tasks and other requests for action (like an email) that sap our limited energy and willpower, filling our days with stress and unnecessary procedural work.

Old Management Fads

... like the SMART(Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals, which are taught in every management class, are themselves part of the problem, distracting us from any actual productivity towards the realization of the said goal.

Another example is ‘Stretch Goals’ which are so audacious that they start to demotivate and decrease confidence.

Staff morale affects productivity

Training, culture fit, autonomy—and even free coffee—are key elements of how your people approach each workday and collaboration overall.

Improve employee engagement
  1. Recruit people who align with your company’s culture.
  2. Clearly define new employees’ roles and responsibilities and provide appropriate training.
  3. Encourage autonomy.
  4. Optimize the workplace.
  5. Celebrate the small wins.
  6. Let employees work remotely.
  7. Offer great perks.
  8. Consistently measure employee activity and productivity.
To promote autonomy in the workplace:
  • Explain why the work your employees are doing is essential
  • Give your team opportunities to share ideas and make decisions.
  • Build trust among your employees
  • Hold them accountable.
  • Delegate effectively
  • Provide frequent feedback
  • Allow your employees to share their strengths and talents
  • Give them the tools and resources needed to succeed
  • Use mistakes as a learning opportunity

one more idea

Early times

Before the Industrial revolution, everyone worked out of their home and sold their goods from there. With the Industrial Revolution came the need for automation and factories, and employ...

From factories to cubicles to WiFi

Just after WW2, there was a rise in corporate headquarters and larger office spaces and cubicles. During this time, the 8-hour workday was established.

Then came the advancements in computers and technology that lead to remote workers of today. The internet and public WiFi allowed employees to do everything they would in their cubicle, but outside the office. They can also work all hours of the day.

Remote work is common

4.3 million people currently work from home in the United States at least half of the time, and this figure has grown by 150% in the last 13 years.  

Remote workers tend to have higher engagement rates and higher productivity levels. Once they switch to remote work, they rarely want to become office bound again.

2 more ideas

Learning from others

  • Success leaves clues. That's why we can learn from the habits and methods of successful individuals. 
  • Failure does, too. So we can learn from past mistakes.&n...
Productivity tools to consider: 🗒
  • Create a schedule for your day and stick to it!
  • Chunk: Group like tasks together into blocks of time, then focus on those specifics. 
  • RPM: Short for Results-oriented/Purpose-driven/Massive Action Plan: a system to uncover what you want and then reap the rewards. 
  • Harness the power of habit and productivity will become second nature. 
Productivity defined

Being busy and always moving through tasks is not the same as being productive.

Productivity is getting the results you aim for with less time and effort. When you are productive, you won't be chasing deadlines or running behind schedule to get done. You'll probably be ahead of schedule.

3 more ideas

Household Chores: The Old Way
Household Chores: The Old Way

Logic dictates that whoever is good at a particular household chore is to do the same, for maximum efficiency. This is known as Division Of Labour in simple economics.

If household...

Game Theory In Household Chores

A fair and equal division of labour using a method in game theory called ‘I Divide, You Choose’ creates a level playing field while making the person who is not adept at a certain task strive hard to level up the required skill sets.

Example: When dividing a piece of pastry between two kids, if one kid is told to divide the treat in half and the other is provided with an opportunity to choose which half is whose, then the first kid will ensure that the division is fair and equal.

The "We're In This Together Now" Discussion

Instead of an ‘us vs them' attitude while dividing housework, a thorough discussion followed by a fair and equal distribution of work is the way forward.

Good, honest communication about which chores are draining one partner and what can be tweaked to be less annoying for them is the key. Unpleasant chores can be done together as a team, with each partner dividing a load of work between the two, making it easier for both of them.