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Technology Isn’t Required For Productivity

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In the modern, technology-powered workplace, it may seem like being more productive is mostly a matter of the latest gizmo. However, a short video proves that there are some ingenious employees in the most impoverished places in the world.

This clip comes from a post on the Daily Markets Blog. Take a look:

As the video progresses, you probably find yourself wondering over and over again if the man is going to try to carry one more brick. Yet as his burden increases, he only seems more confident. What lessons can we learn from this worker?

  • Transport is expensive. We can assume he must be lugging this load a long way. Likewise, we expend a great deal of time waiting for emails to be returned or for assignments to be processed. If we do a better job “packing” those messages with concise, clear material  in the first place, we can reduce the back and forth required.
  • Specialization is powerful. The worker doesn’t pick up his own bricks off the pile, even when his hands are empty. He’s focused on carrying bricks, not on handing them off. We should be reminded to embrace our own expertise.
  • Failure is part of the process. Did you catch the dropped brick? This screw up did not deter the worker. Likewise, we should expect to make mistakes and be ready to move forward.

© Flickr userVictor1558

Regardless of the technology you have in place, productivity can still be achieved. We want to find ways to maximize our technology, but not completely rely on it for our jobs to work. An NPR article touched on the productivity pros and cons businesses are faced with today. Technology can allow us to better monitor our work days, but that isn’t always the best situation. Rather, it’s important to look at the big picture.

The advance of tablets and Web-based computing makes it possible for more people to work remotely, but that also makes interoffice coordination a greater challenge.

Tim Bajarin is a technology analyst who says companies — from IBM and HP to smaller startups — are grappling with how to make the workplace more effective.

“The tools to make them successful in their productivity is the No. 1 IT project in any company,” Bajarin says.

But Teresa Amabile, a Harvard Business School professor, says this kind of punitive approach — constantly pointing out what you’re doing wrong — is counterproductive. Her research shows that documenting progress on work, no matter how minor, is by far the most effective tool.

“That absolutely dwarfed every other positive thing that happened to people,” she says.

Amabile likes a service offered by a startup called iDonethis. It prompts users to write down what they accomplished at the end of the day. She says this helps users stay focused on their biggest, most important goals.

“And that good inner work life fuels their energy, their motivation and their emotions to make progress the next day,” Amabile says.

Just staying motivated, she says, is still the best way to get work done.

Motivation, as we’ve covered many times on this blog, usually is the strongest when it’s coming from within. There are a million ways to try to motivate someone, and we certainly don’t want to do anything that can hurt motivation, but when someone’s motivation is completely self-starting, then they’re going to be the most successful. People aren’t motivated by the next technological way to document productivity. Rather they’re motivated by striving towards a goal through an effective workflow. That’s where satisfaction, and ultimately productivity, come from.

Great workflow is impressive, regardless of the economic conditions or the type of work. To help your organization run with similar efficiency and satisfaction, give our buisness improvement consultants a call today.

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