How often have you heard that you should put in more effort or just work harder to be more productive? While both of those could help, you would eventually hit a roadblock. This is because improving abilities is better than just working harder. Think of it as putting more effort into your skillset versus just trying to power through your job.
How Abilities Affect Productivity
There’s a good reason targeted degree and certificate programs focus so much on the skills you’ll need to perform a particular job. Someone who’s trained in those skills is going to be more productive than someone with a general skillset. It’s also why many businesses hire directly from these programs or offer intense on-the-job training.
The better your abilities, the easier it is for you to perform a task. For example, I once had to fill in on a translation project, but I didn’t speak the language. Even though I was giving it my all, it still took hours to translate a longer document. Google Translate is nice, but it won’t give you flawless results.
Since then, I’ve started studying the language and have drastically reduced how long it takes me to translate documents when need be. As my ability has improved, so has my productivity. Plus, I feel more confident, leading to less procrastination.
A big part of why improving your abilities boosts productivity more than just working hard is it increases your confidence. If you ask experts, some will say success leads to confidence, while others will say confidence leads to success. Either way, confidence is part of being successful and more productive.
You could also say that confidence is what drives someone to take action. If you know how to do something and you’re good at it, you’re more likely to do it. The more insecure you are about your abilities, the less likely you are to do something, which is why so many people procrastinate. When you’re not confident that you can do something well, you put it off.
While it’s true that false confidence does help, real confidence that you can back up with action means even more. As you improve your abilities and skills, you feel far more confident that you can handle your tasks. More confidence means less procrastination, and you get more work done in far less time, boosting your confidence and happiness even more.
Adjusting Your Processes
The better you become at something, the easier it is to see new ways of doing it. When you first start trying to do a new task, you go with what seems to be the most obvious method. This doesn’t mean it’s the easiest or most productive. In fact, you could be taking three times longer than necessary. Unless you learn a different method, no amount of working harder is going to make you more productive at the task at that time.
Improving your abilities includes learning alternative ways of doing things. For example, I could try to pitch like a pro baseball pitcher. Odds are, the ball may make it to the plate, but it’s not going to be pretty. Or, I could let the pro teach me how to hold the ball, how and when to release, the best ways to stand, and all the other secrets. I may not. be as good as the pitcher, but I’d be much better than I was. As my ability improved, the approach I took to pitching the ball would change too. I’d put in less effort while getting better results.
It’s vital to focus on your abilities to learn the best ways to do something. You improve your processes. It’s the same as learning to be more productive. You read about new methods and tricks to improve yourself. As you apply them and see them working, you become more confident and continue growing your abilities to work smarter versus harder.
Focus on Improving Yourself
Never discount the power of putting in a little more effort or working harder. However, put a lot of that effort and hard work into improving yourself. Investing in your skills, abilities, and processes helps you achieve the results you want. Improve through classes, free and paid training, and simply identifying weak areas wher eyou could improve. If you’re looking for more ways to improve yourself, read on to learn resolutions that will hold you accountable.