Productivity is a measure of output over time. All other things being equal, the more you produce per hour, the more productive you are. There are lots of ways to increase productivity, but I believe all increases in productivity fall into one of these five stages.
The First Stage: This is the simplest, get better at the task you have to do. Work harder and develop your skills.
The Second Stage: Find people who are cheaper than you to do tasks for you. People working together should be able to get more done, faster.
The Third Stage: Invest in tools that can boost the team’s output. For example, buying a digger for a team that previously dug trenches with shovels would significantly increase their output.
The Fourth Stage: Invent in new technology. Creating new technological innovations is how considerable leaps in productivity occur. Often these leaps enable huge savings or massive increases in customer value creation.
The Fifth Stage: This is a step that most of us never reach: At this stage, you need to figure out better things to work on. At this point, you can’t achieve more by working harder, smarter or finding more people. You can no longer react to demands. Now you must go your own way.
The fifth step is where the real productivity improvements occur. Saying no to somebody else’s demands and finding another way to achieve the goal. This is what separates great organisations from good ones, extraordinary people from frustrated ones.