Productivity: Outputs (2)

The outcomes of our efforts towards productivity are value or waste.

God saw that the light was good.

Genesis 1:4 (NIV)

In a previous article we looked at the different output from our efforts towards productivity. Today, we ask whether our outputs are beneficial.

Beneficial vs Non-Beneficial Outcomes

People engage in a productive process because of the benefits that it delivers. For example, people manufacture clothes because people want to look good, stay warm and dry, and protect their modesty.

However, productive processes also produce non-beneficial consequences. They come in several varieties. An important step towards maximising productivity is to remove the disbenefits. And, the key to doing that is to look for them.

Opportunity Costs

All processes use time, materials, finances, and energy, and these could use elsewhere. If we intend to maximise the value that we generate, we need to make sure that we invest our limited resources in the processes that give the most benefit.

Review Your Values

Working out if we’re using our resources wisely begins with a review of our values, and to think about what’s really important to us.

This is an area in which we can easily fool ourselves. It is very easy to convince ourselves that we value things we don’t really care about.

Again, an effective way to overcome this is to look at how we actually spend our resources. Our behavior will reveal what we hide even from ourselves.

Review Your Spending

We don’t have to review all our resource usage all at once! It is often better to focus on the one area that concerns you most, and take action in that area. When you’re happy that you have made a significant improvement, move on to other areas.

For example:

  • At the end of each day, reflect on the way you’ve spent your time.
  • Check your bank statements every month, so you can review where you’re spending your money.
  • Track your energy levels throughout the day. What activities do you find most draining? What do you find invigorating?
  • Stock take. Go through your possessions and make a note of anything you could put to better use. Declutter as you go, removing anything that is no longer useful.
  • Use a calendar. At the end of each week, set aside a little time to look back at how effectively you managed your time.

Realign Your Values

Having discovered how we’re actually using your time, energy, materials and money, we do well to ask ourselves if we’re content with what we have discovered?

If not, it is time to make some adjustments.

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