How productive do you rate yourself? Do you think there is place for improvement?
Robert C. Pozen & Kevin Downey from MIT conducted an international survey with nearly 20.000 people on what makes someone productive. The three main themes are the following:
- The number of hours worked has less impact on productivity than the quality of work, hence working longer hours doesn’t mean higher productivity. Interestingly, US came in 4th in productivity after Europe, Asia and Australia, while the working hours there are often higher than in the above continents.
- Age has a strong correlation with productivity, thanks to one’s experience accumulated throughout the years.
- There wasn’t any significant difference between the overall scores of genders, while men and women showed some different traits. In particular, women are more likely to plan meetings well and give timely responses to important queries, while men scored higher in filtering out unimportant messages and getting quickly to the final result.
When looking at the most productive results, the researchers highlighted that the most productive candidates scored high in the following areas: ‘overcoming procrastination, getting to the final product, and focusing on daily accomplishments’.
For those interested in improving their productivity, they suggest the following areas to look at:
- Prioritise, outline objectives, and then start taking action.
- Develop ways on how to tackle information overload, including the planned free-time for unplanned events.
- Communication: be clear on your and your colleagues objectives to be able to provide clear and timely directions.
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