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SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best by Laura Stack

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Chapter 25. Tweaking Time Wasters

SUPERCOMPETENT Hero Thinking:

I understand the difference between being busy and being productive: results.

SIMPLY COMPETENT Zero Thinking:

I've been working hard all day! What do you mean I wasn't productive?

What are you really assessing when you look at productivity? Simply put, you're looking at results. This is easier to measure in manufacturing: You just count whatever comes off the line. Business productivity is a little more difficult. Let's say that one person in an office works an 8-hour day and another person works a 12-hour day. Can the person working the 8-hour day be more productive than the 12-hour-a-day person? Yes, of course. It doesn't matter how many hours you sit there; you could have been checking your eBay listings, playing Minesweeper, or talking to your mom. Just because you were there doesn't mean you were producing or doing anything of value.

The 80/20 Principle

When we look at output, we're looking at results, profitability, value, worth, weight, or impact. Our inputs are all the things we can do. I'll use an easy example to explain this.

About a century ago, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 20 percent of the people in his country owned 80 percent of the wealth. He called this the "principle of the trivial many and the vital few" and later reformulated it as the easier-to-swallow "80/20 principle." Although it's a bit simplified, in most business situations, about 20 percent of your activities produce about 80 percent ...

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