Introduction to Productivity

Introduction to Productivity

By the end of this lesson, you are expected to:
– understand what productivity means
– focus on the most important points to improve your productivity
– get an insight into successful people’s daily routine

Do you remember that we mentioned a few productivity techniques in the first week of the Entrepreneurship module, saying that we would discuss those techniques more in detail later? Well, the time has come!

This week we are going to teach you some techniques to be very effective at work and get more done than most people around you, which is one of the most effective ways to boost your career.

With The Lean MBA, you’ve taken a big step towards leading by knowledge. This week offers you a way to develop skills to show leadership by effectiveness at work.


Productivity is the measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs. Productivity is computed by dividing average output per period by the total costs incurred or resources (capital, energy, material, personnel) consumed in that period.

The good news (for lazy people)

Productivity is more about doing the things that have the greatest output and impact, rather than figuring out how you can allocate the maximum amount of time to work in a week.

The bad news (the hard truth…)

When you analyze highly successful people such as leaders of big companies, you quickly come to the conclusion that there is no real productivity hack. People like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Elon Musk work simply constantly, somewhere between 70 and 100 hours a week !

That means that they work on weekends and that there is little room for anything else than work in their life, meaning that they don’t enjoy  aspects of life that many people value. But they DO enjoy working.

Armed with a strong idea and work ethic and determined to be the best, it pays off: Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates for example are among the wealthiest people in the world, and beyond that, each of them controls a technology that has the capacity to change society in irreversible ways (Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 but remains powerful at Microsoft as he still serves as “technology adviser” of the CEO, currently Satya Nadella).

If working smart is probably not enough, the combination of working smart AND working hard is extremely powerful.

That’s the reason why we will be teaching you a few ways to work smarter.

Definition Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the “law of the vital few”, or the “principle of factor sparsity”) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.


The concept comes from the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896, as published in his first paper, “Cours d’économie politique”.

Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; Pareto developed the principle by observing that about 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas… Pareto developed both concepts in the context of the distribution of income and wealth among the population.

This principle can be applied to success and time management. The principle states that you should focus on the 20% of tasks that will yield 80% of your results, prioritizing your schedule around the few things you do which will yield the highest performance.
Conversely you can use this idea to become aware of the 80% of your efforts that yield only 20% of your accomplishments, and judicially trim the excess fat. When you stop thinking of all activities as equal, and begin giving proportionately more time to the ones that impact your success, the results will be life-changing.
The most well-know productivity “trick” is to have a sound daily routine, such as:

#1 Think positively
#2 Eat healthy
#3 Exercise
#4 Worry less
#5 Work hard
#6 Sleep well
#7 Review your goals and plan the next day

If you’re able to follow a proper routine and practice it religiously, you’re productivity is bound to increase.

The funny thing about this “grandma’s list of productivity tips” is that it is probably the thing that has the greatest effects on productivity, but very few people have such a routine.

#1 Elon Musk: Master Your Email

When Elon Musk isn’t revolutionizing e-commerce, building electric cars, or trying to make self-landing reusable rockets, there’s one sure-fire place you can find the Tesla and SpaceX CEO: on email.

“I do a lot of email—very good at email. That’s my core competency.”joked Musk at a 2013 conference.

“But what I find is I’m able to be with [my kids] and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time … If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to get my job done.”

Elon Musk admits that he works seven days a week and a total of 80-100 hours a week. Yes, being able to create multiple successful companies like Elon Musk DOES require hard work.
#2 Jack Dorsey (Square CEO and Twitter chairman)

One thing Jack Dorsey does is to “theme” his days, devoting a different day each week to different types of work.

Mondays are for management, Tuesdays are focused on product, Wednesdays are for marketing and communication, and so on.

“It sets a good cadence for the rest of the company,” he said, and helps him stay focused on broad topics rather than getting too distracted.

#3 Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos starts with his goals and works backwards.

“There are no extra points in business for growing headcount. The goal is not to grow headcount; the goal is to serve readers, and then you work backward from there”.

(Optional) How 10 CEOs Work Smarter
Washington Post article:

Also available in the further readings section.

Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp