Learning Ways on How to Be Productive

Let me start this with a question, how can we be productive at work or even in school? Let me tell you, if you already know what to do, then delegate. This way, the work itself becomes more like a game. But, what if you have no one to delegate? Well, hire someone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who knows how but one who is eager to learn. It’s better to have somebody willing to learn than to hire someone who thinks he knows it all, even though he does not and then fail big time.

Productivity should surround around knowledge management. Get a structure in order wherein you can share knowledge with others and work as a consultant to them.

A common practice in working in teams is creating a matrix comprising of all the skills people have such as primary and secondary skills.  And then, assigning people to work on tasks utilizing their secondary skills while supervising the people working on a task requiring the supervisor’s primary skill. Now that should be easy. The topic here is knowing what to do in most case but not in absolutely all cases.

There are certain tasks that will involve further study or scrutiny. Break down the tasks according to those which you are struggling with and those which could be done by someone else. Then separate these tasks into roles and delegate them. Now even if you will have to do all the work by yourself in the end, doing this helps you to stay focused. You can still delegate work for yourself. The foundation of a well-defined ‘work package’ helps achieve a milestone easier than simply mixing up management and carrying out projects.

In my case, even if it takes longer, I still delegate more and more tasks out to people. I need to DEFINE what I actually want them to achieve, and that alone is already half of the workload. Even if the other person does his/her job sloppily and I have to do some corrections (or even do most of their work myself), I am still light-years ahead compared to doing everything myself without a plan. Having an employee helps insofar as much as you are forced to put what you want into words while being able to ‘weasel your way out’ than if you keep the tasks at hand undefined and unspoken.

Think of the concrete goal you need to achieve, like for instance, your attendance and participation in every lecture and exam. Learn to express your goals.  Focus on these goals. Know what you need to deliver. Evaluate whether you have been successful in attaining your goals or not. Determine if you have excellently brought your tasks and goals into completion. Set a definite time frame to complete your goals. Do not procrastinate.

If you have to take a certain curriculum, do so and then use it to learn other valuable skills. Get familiar with the internet like Github or any other repository.  Create an open source project, put your agent on the site and invite others to discuss ideas on ways to improve it. Remember to be open to everybody’s suggestion. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything being suggested, but it helps to have varied ideas. Ultimately, it altogether depends on the set goals.

What happens if you hit the deadline and your program does not perform well? Does that mean you freak out? Or do you do something to improve your next project? Perhaps, an even more important lesson is to know one’s own limitations.  Ask someone to coach you in the subjects you have insufficient knowledge of. Accepting one’s own limitation will help you achieve higher and better goals. This helps define one’s own character better. Like with sports, wherein you test out your limits; you’ll recognize how far you can go or can contribute.

You would probably agree with me when I say that the best job is doing what you love, but if you can’t have the job you love then learn to love the job you’ve been given.

In personality psychology, there is this dichotomy wherein you are good at one thing, but you long for another. For example, I am good at coming up with fresh ideas and relating these to people, but what I am really longing for is to work with businesses and systems. I like to combine everything into one. Usually, it’s best to partner with someone who covers the parts you long for. Find someone who deals with ideas and people, and then another who deals with details and management. Well, you are automatically drawn to a person who shows strengths in those qualities; simply because you can see that they need much less effort to do something that normally takes so much time and effort. Likewise, they are drawn to you, as you (ideally) show the opposite strengths. Again, that’s psychology, not philosophy.

When we came into this world we weren’t handed out with identical brains. By nature, some actions require either some more or much less energy. Some are more focused on the intimate, minute details while others are more focused on the broader scope of the whole picture. The actual grouping of people into those two concepts is more or less arbitrary. But see it as a form of division of labor with the goal of minimizing the required mental effort to accomplish a certain task.

So then, how can we be productive? Delegate tasks to people who are willing to learn. Be open to suggestions and don’t procrastinate. I tell you, you are on your way to being productive whether at work or in school.


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