Productivity - What is it and why is it important even if you are a one-man operation.

The simplest explanation is that it is a ratio to measure how well an organization,individual,industry or country converts input resources such as labor, materials, machines,etc.

It can also be said that it can be measured by how much value a worker produces per hour.

The knowledge and skills base to make improvements to reduce work content, or time taken, can be found in many different and available guides for improvement and these can readily be found on the Internet.

A good place to start is to take your annual salary, multiply it by 5 and use this as your starting target incentive for production improvement efforts.

If you can improve your earnings or profit by a measure of 5 simply by channeling productivity improvements, it obviously is a worthwhile effort.

David Allen’s popular productivity book and the system on which it’s based can help turn ‘stuff’ into actions that support valuable outcomes.

His first model is the workflow process, which is used to gain control over all the tasks, etc that you need or want to get done.

This is broken down into five phases.


He suggests to start by off-loading what needs to get done from your head and then to capture everything that should be tracked, remembered or take action on and put it into what Allen calls a "bucket".

In other words to store it in a physical location such as an email inbox, or a tape recorder, notebook, PDA, or whatever.

His idea is to get everything out of your head and into some kind of collection device, to be ready for processing.

He states emphatically that all buckets should be emptied (processed) at least once per week.


When it comes to processing the "bucket", as he calls it, a strict workflow is followed:

· Start at the top.
· Deal with one item at a time.
· Never put anything back into 'in'.
· If an item requires action
· Do it (if it takes less than two minutes), OR
· Delegate it, OR
· Defer it.
· If there is an item that does not require any action:
· File it for reference, OR
· Throw it away, OR
· Incubate it for possible action later.
His rule is if it takes under two minutes to do something, it should be done immediately.


Allen describes a suggested set of lists to track items awaiting attention:

· Next actions — For every item requiring attention, decide what is the next action that can be physically taken on that item.

· Projects — Every open loop in one's life or work which requires more than one physical action to achieve becomes a project.

· Waiting for — If an action has been delegated and is waiting for some external event before it can be moved forward.

· Someday/Maybe — Things to be done at some point, but not right now.


Allen suggests the creation of a "tickler file" to jog your memory each week with the outstanding tasks and projects.


Allen's thoughts are that if you can make it simple, easy, and fun to take the necessary actions you scheduled then you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate.

For more on Allen’s thoughts and system, simply go to Amazon and you can pick up a paperback copy of his book Getting Things Done for about $10.

Why is productivity important to your Customer?

It’s essential for employers and self employed individuals to be aware of the aspects to maintain a stable and reliable productivity to satisfy their clients/customers.

A good example of this is Toyota’s CustomerOne solution. Toyota Canada has created a new kind of retail company that is integrated by sharing knowledge of its customers' needs and experiences among all stakeholders, including every Toyota dealer in Canada.

Do you make offers based on what customers have bought before?

By the way, this relationship started on the web site and in my experience, you can extend the LifeCycle by switching customers to another channel.

But you don’t want to force it; let it play out the way the customer wants.

Please note “Months Since Last Contact” means the customer showing interest / taking action and contacting you in some way say by a purchase or a click. It is not the fact that you have “contacted” them by blasting out e-mails.

Behavioral analysis is about customer behavior, not yours.

This approach tends to preserve margin on the customer while driving new activity and sets up the customer to become re-engaged on a longer-term basis.

Does customer service record the reason for each call? In conjunction with customer service, study the reasons people call and think about how to reduce the need for those callers to call.

For your information, most customer-centric companies have a meeting on this topic every week.

It directly affects the value of the customer and customer retention, not to mention word-of-mouth. In a recent survey less than 30% said increasing customer LifeTime Value is a top marketing objective.

Maintaining high productivity is the life of successful business all around the world.

No matter how much money you invest in your business - without productivity implementation strategies your business will not progress and will eventually collapse.

It is only the best practiced business with continuous performance that can bring quality productivity to the forefront.

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So how is your productivity? Here's some programs you should have