Ideas in boosting productivity

The word “Productivity” means achieving optimum value output with limited resources. Time productivity means achieving optimum value output in a given time. To understand the term value output, first we need define output. Simply put, output is what we get by inputting different resources. Qualifying it as value output is not a rocket science. It means by attaining certain output, we have accomplished our purpose. Having said, it is clear that every kind of output does not necessarily lead to achieving our purpose. Simply put, it is possible that we attain output, but we may never attain the purpose. Evidence abounds! Such as, employees in an organization could spend hours at work and produce heaps of output but the organization might fail to make profit. Similarly, a student may have secured higher GPA, but he may not have developed subject understanding. Simply put, a person may not reach to his destination even after driving for hours, just because he never took the right directions.
Time is a constantly flowing resource; use it or leave it. We cannot save it for future usage, nor can we freeze it or rewind it. It will continue to flow at its own pace. We can either consume it, spend it, or let it go waste. If we analyze how we use time in a daily 24 hrs. cycle, we consume some part; spend some of it; and, some is wasted.
When we attain our targets or perform something measurable, it is when we say we have consumed the time. Sometimes, we do things that are not worthy enough but rather good to make use of time. It is when we say we have spent the time. Finally, at times we do not find motivation or energy to do anything – state of inertia – it is when we say we have wasted the time.
A workaholic is likely to use maximum of his time attaining something, that gives him a sense of being productive. A normal person would use his time doing some productive and some low worth tasks. Sometimes people burn out of their hectic routine or face some sort of disillusionment so then they stop doing anything, everything. It is when we surely waste time.
Enhancing Time Productivity
Several useful techniques were put forth by professionals. These include but not limited to the followings: Schedules; activity plans; doing task along urgency and importance orientation; etc. Here you will be introduced to a different set of principles, based on the inspirations from the Noble Quran.
a. Vision. In the noble Quran, Almighty has reminded us of the next life at several places and encouraged us to live our lives from the perspective of next life.
How many times, we walk through our routine work schedule blindfolded forgetting the very purpose of doing all that we do on daily basis. So, we begin to do things from a short-term perspective and ignore the strategic perspective. We lose sight of our purpose and think our objectives are the purpose. For example, in a particular environment managers might consider doing their job well by simply coming on time and staying till the end.
b. Focus on tasks that have greater value (utility). Note that fajir-calling has an additional word, which reminds us of this principle – indeed standing in prayers is better sleeping, at this time.
You may have a tight schedule for the day, which may include some important tasks with some space for urgent ones too. By looking at your schedule, you might realize that all your time is being spent responding to firefighting, attending operational contingencies, resolving problems, etc. Here you will manage your day by focusing on tasks from urgent and important orientation or sometimes even on ad-hoc basis. Consequently, you may perform a lot but of much lesser value then you could have, as you may realize that none of the tasks is strategic in its scope.
In organizations where hierarchy syndrome prevails, managers and even senior managers tend to focus on operational affairs, leaving no time to attend to strategic issues.
c. Zero-in on a task at hand. In Sura Jumma, Almighty categorically tells us to leave all other work including trade and go to attend Prayer Congregation, when the call is made.
Multi-tasking has become rather a norm of our time, encouraging everyone to attend to multiple tasks concurrently. What are the dark sides to it? As we try to complete many tasks at a time, it is humanly not possible to attend to details of each and every task. Multiple tasking encourages us to focus on completing all tasks in time but disable our focus from doing each task right hence the chances of effectiveness are much reduced. It is a fact that if quality performance is required then we must attend to details and keep our focus on the purpose.
d. Punctuality. In the noble Quran, Almighty has categorically told us to perform prayers at their designated times.
As they say, justice delayed is no justice. A task delayed, is a task never done. When we fail to do task at the right time, we fail to attain the optimum results. A customer not served today, is the customer lost. A problem not addressed now, becomes a bigger problem tomorrow. Last but not the least, an opportunity not taken now, is an opportunity lost.
e. Commitment. In the noble Quran, Almighty has categorically taught us to live by the promise when you make it.
Once we make a commitment, we must live by it. According to the Quality Management guidelines, always do what you say on committed time. Delaying commitments only make our future time management compromised, as more commitments would continue to pile up. Moreover, we unnecessarily harm our credibility.
f. Perseverance. In the noble Quran, Almighty said to us to encourage each other for Emaan and Sabar.
Many a times, tasks are difficult and challenging, yet perseverance is essential in attaining success. Losing tempo in such situations is a sign of losing optimism. Optimism is about maintaining robust faith (confidence) and hope (light at the end of a tunnel). Lack of perseverance often lead to a host of time wasters such as diversions, inertia, procrastination, etc.