Hope is A Productivity Tool

In both children and adults, there can be a hard-to-deny link between a robust sense of hope and either work productivity or academic achievement.
Photo Credit: Tiago Gerken — Source: Unsplash.com

What makes hope a productivity tool?

I found the quotation in the image above on a quotes site.  I liked it, but I wanted to see it in context.  A bit of search located it for me in a Time Magazine article. The article was a review by Jeffery Kluger for a book called Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others, by Shane J. Lopez,Ph.D.  The book is a look at the psychology of hope and how it affects productivity, performance, achievement and success.  Whether in your business, career, education or relationships.

I’m glad I found it because that article and some of the articles on Lopez’ web site are excellent explanations of how hope can lead to better performance and productivity. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve ordered it as a result of reading the review by Jeffery Kluger and Lopez’ articles, as well as seeing some of Lopez’ videos.

For example, the Kluger review mentioned Lopez’ finding that “hope accounts for about 14% of work productivity and 12% of academic achievement.”  Naturally, I wanted to know more.  I found it in an article Lopez wrote that was published in the Huffington Post: “Why Hopeful Employees Are 14% More Productive.

In the article Lopez explains that various studies have shown that hopeful employees:

  1. Show up for work (have far less absenteeism)
  2. Are more engaged
  3. Are more creative
  4. Are more resilient in times of change or adversity
  5. Are happy

Acquiring your own hope tools for productivity.

I suggest you go read the Kluger review and the Huffington Post article. Be sure to visit Lopez’ site Hopemonger.com for more articles, videos and a self-test for hope.

Here’s a sample video of Lopez speaking on instilling hope in others.

Christmas Chaos Time Management

alarm clock in a Santa hatIt’s the holiday season. Do you wonder how anyone can manage the time to get everything together in an organized, sane fashion during days that seem crazily demanding?  Is there more pressure on you to perform, yet more interference with your ability to do so?  Does one obstacle after another keep popping up?

Every day, I’m reminded that when I talk about time management to folks, I have to be very careful about how I explain the need to plan, organize and follow up.  Because in talking about what you can do, you might get the impression that you’re expected to control a lot more than you can.

(Time management is a misnomer anyway. I continue to use it because most people think of the processes I’m talking about as time management. So forgive me if you know better than to think you can actually manage time.)

But, back to my point: one of the things I constantly say is that much of what happens in your plans, organization, scheduling and “time management” isn’t actually in your hands.

No matter how well you plan and prepare, you do not live in a vacuum.  Other people make mistakes, change their minds, change their processes or simply have no adequate response for situations they create for you.

I have a little story about something that just happened to me to illustrate.  It’s the kind of thing that happens in both workaday situations and in significant ones.  My situation was quite unremarkable.  You’ve undoubtedly had experiences like this too.  And the same sorts of things happen in more important issues.  So, let’s take this one we can laugh at as a minor frustration.

My experience was doing the “simple” task of sending out holiday cards.

Before the end of November, I designed my holiday greeting cards and went to Cardstore.com to get them printed as usual.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my cards printed the way I wanted them.  So, I redesigned them in accordance with their printing requirements.  Then I found that they no longer will ship them to me with the envelopes stamped and addressed.  (They will, however, still print, stamp and send them directly to your mailing list. But I insist on checking them out first.)

So, I went to my back up provider, Zazzle.com.

Zazzle won’t print the envelopes either, but they will print my card exactly as I want it.

The order arrived in plenty of time for me to get the envelopes addressed, stamped and sent.  But, they weren’t my cards.  Some mail room clerk had put someone else’s cards in my package.

Zazzle was very apologetic and sent out a new order right away.  Yikes, now I was behind time, and it took them just as long to replace the order as to get me the package in the first place.  So, it was the middle of December instead of the first week.

Next, I started to print mailing labels and found that because I don’t use them regularly, their “sticky” was all gone.  And it was Saturday in the middle of December.  Yeah, you can’t even get a place in the parking lot for an Office Depot or Office Max because of all the shoppers at all the other stores.  So, I opted to wait for early Monday morning to get new labels.  And yes, I thought about hand addressing everything, but figured that nothing was going out until Monday anyway.

So, there I was sending out cards on December 16 and hoping that they would arrive before the 25th.

I plan, I organize and I follow up.  I have both a routine for getting things done and back-up plans for when things go wrong.  But like everyone else, I have to rely on other people, other organizations, other systems.  I can’t control anyone but myself.  I can’t control time — only my actions.  And I can’t have all the information I need to make the exactly right decisions, but rather the best decisions I can make under any given circumstances.

This is the critical message I try to get through to folks when I talk about their responsibilities for managing their time, life and behavior.  You are responsible for your decisions and actions in large things and small.  And you are responsible for how you react to the results. And yes, other people do steal your time and interfere with your ability to complete other tasks while you are dealing with their mistakes.

But you are not responsible for what other people do.  Just for dealing with it as best you can.

Accept that. Then learn what you can from whatever went wrong and let it go.  The more important the issue is and the bigger the mistakes, the harder it may be to let it go.  Especially if you get the blame for the consequences of the other people’s mistakes. But you must let it go or you’ll become responsible for the consequences of hanging on to it.

Or you could transform it by leveraging it as an article for your blog. 😉

Increasing Productivity During the Holiday Season: Productivity Lottery for Christmas

Female Santa running with a gift sack

Female Santa running with a gift sackAlmost everyone is aware that during December — especially as Christmas grows nearer — most workplaces report more employee absences, more mistakes, and lower productivity.  It’s certainly predictable that people are going to be distracted, rushed, concerned about money and over-committed in social obligations at this time of year.

When I was working for a small organization — many years ago — the management had a unique way of increasing both attendance and productivity during the holiday season.

Unlike many organizations, not only did they not experience a “seasonal” decrease in employee attendance, performance and/or productivity, they actually got a slight boost, and they did it with one tradition they used every year.

They called the tradition “The Twelve Days of Christmas Lottery.”

For the twelve days before Christmas, there was a lottery every day.  Everyone put a card with his/her name on it into a cardboard box with a slot in the top.  Each day someone from management would reach in and pull out a card to identify that day’s winner.  No one wanted to miss the lottery, because you had to be there to win.  And once a name was pulled out, the card didn’t go back in, so you couldn’t win on another day.  And, obviously, you could only win once.

The winner of the lottery received three valuable things.

First, he got a substantial gift certificate to a local department store.

Second, his bio and achievements and anything else he wanted to include about himself were published in a daily Christmas Newsletter.  The newsletter was well-read because it contained seasonal tips, recommendations for shopping, and discounts the business had negotiated for its employees with other local businesses.  This meant, as you may imagine, that folks in other departments would know more about him, his skills and his achievements when opportunities for promotions and transfers to more desirable jobs came up.

Third, and to many the most important, the winner got a “1 Merit Point” he could use to boost his rating in the upcoming January performance review.  He could also use it as “extra credit” if he was a candidate for a promotion.

You see why everyone wanted to be there for the lottery?

Can you see a way to adapt this productivity tool for your organization?  Would it need to be scaled up or down?  Could you use something like Amazon gift cards instead of local ones? What could you add, subtract or modify?