The quest to become more productive remains a major focus in the business world. A recent publication by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a decrease in labor productivity in the Nonfarm business sector by 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. This decrease in productivity resulted from an increase in output by 5.3 percent, driven by a 10.7 percent increase in hours worked. This was the largest quarterly decline in the measure since the second quarter of 1981. In the business world, decreased productivity can lead to a decrease in profitability, so this trend is concerning.
Why is Productivity Important in Consulting?
In consulting, decreased productivity can also have a negative impact. From a client perspective, it can shrink the pool of leads and viable contracts. If clients are significantly impacted financially, it can introduce a barrier to securing consulting services. With fewer potential clients, the market becomes more competitive and requires even more effort and resources to stand out and attract your ideal client. On a more personal level, deceased productivity can prevent you from growing and expanding your services. It can limit the time, resources, and energy you have available to take on new clients, establish a new offering, market effectively, and so much more. Productivity definitely has a huge impact, and increasing productivity is often one of the key ways to grow a thriving business or develop a highly successful career over time.
Productivity is All About Mindset
Being more productive is often expressed in simple terms as getting more done in less time. We spend tons of time exploring tips, hacks, and tricks to help us do this, but despite the desire and some insight into tactics or strategies that may help, many continue to have difficulty in this area. Part of the reason why this is the case is that the real solution lies far beyond what can be easily summarized in a tweet or even a blog post, for that matter. The solution lies in having a productive mindset.
I know what you are thinking… What do I mean by a “productive mindset”?
A productive mindset is a way of thinking that supports the accomplishment of goals and high-priority tasks. It is a determination to get the absolute most out of the time that we have been given. This mindset involves a deeper understanding of how vision, confidence, clarity, and focus impact your ability to get things done. To effectively tackle challenging tasks and reach significant goals, you must leverage each of these characteristics properly.
What Does it Take to Develop a Productive Mindset?
Have you ever tried to travel to a new destination, and you have a vague idea of where it may be but no map or GPS to guide you? Even if you finally arrive at your destination, it will take you longer than necessary and likely leave you frustrated and emotionally drained from the journey. This is what happens when you approach productivity without a vision.
Establishing a productivity mindset begins with creating your vision. The vision of what you desire to accomplish or achieve acts as a guide or framework for HOW you will achieve it. Your vision is your roadmap.
One of the easiest ways to stop productivity in its tracks is to lack confidence in your abilities. A lack of confidence can negatively impact your desire for increased productivity. This can be a surprising fact. Most people do not recognize the impact that confidence has on your ability to accomplish more in their lives. But it is the belief in your knowledge and abilities that allow you to move purposefully to accomplish your goals. Without this confidence, insecurity and uncertainty will drain your time and energy.
How does this happen?
It happens subtly through second-guessing, excessive preparation, ongoing revision, procrastination, and outright avoidance. These subconscious thoughts and actions interfere with your response and movement. It stalls you and prevents you from moving forward. The belief that you can accomplish a task is what increases the efficiency and efficacy of your actions.
Clarity and Focus
Once you establish your vision and the confidence to pursue this vision actively, you must set your sight on what you want to accomplish and develop clarity surrounding this goal. Doing so helps you combat distractions and deterrents that will inherently appear. When things seem foggy and unclear, it is easy to shift your focus to things that may pop up from time to time. The shift in your attention prevents you from focusing on your initial goal, and before you know it, it can completely throw you off track.
Productivity that helps you actually accomplish more requires you to work efficiently. Efficiency is a partner of productivity. It is a similar concept that involves achieving your best output in a given amount of time. Clarity and focus will improve efficiency which, in turn, boosts productivity.
If this all sounds like an impossible task, don’t worry. It’s not.
You Can Learn How to be More Productive.
Understanding what it means to have a productive mindset is the first step to increasing productivity, but it doesn’t stop there. Productivity is not solely a mindset game. It requires action. This is where many of the productivity techniques and strategies come into play. The proper mindset will help you establish the habits and systems to support your most productive work.