The term “Productivity” describes the relationship between input and output. Many people think that productivity is a complex business or economic idea, but it is actually very simple.
PRODUCTIVITY = OUTPUT/INPUT
If you have to work excessively hard (put in a lot of input) to produce very little that is useful (produce little output), then your productivity is low. If little input produces large benefits, then your productivity is high. This could relate to chopping wood, baking bread, writing songs or cleaning your house. It could also relate to repairing a mobile phone or building a power station.
The important thing is that the job itself has to be done well and without excessive work. It is not productive to bake a lot of bad bread or write bad songs. A necessary job, done well and without excessive time, effort or cost is a sign of high productivity.
PRODUCTIVITY IS A REASON FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RICH AND POOR
Productivity is important because it makes the difference between rich and poor countries, rich and poor towns and between rich and poor people. This is not a new development, but has been the case throughout human history.
To put it in a practical example: Hunters and fishers prosper where there are many animals to hunt. A day’s hunting then becomes more productive. The right weapons and experience make things even more productive. Similarly, farmers are more productive when the soil is fertile, the weather is good and the right tools are available. If the right conditions are in place, it takes less effort to feed a family or a town.
To take it even further, factories are more productive when they have the right materials, the right machines, enough power, water and skilled people. A country is more productive when it has developed these activities. The country is not only more productive, it is also richer. It has more money in total and more money per person than a non-productive country. This is what counts. Money has to be earned before it is spent.
HOW CAN PRODUCTIVITY BE IMPROVED?
Improving productivity requires consistent and persistent effort, but it can always be done. Small improvements count for a lot over time. Bright ideas, new techniques and new technology can always enable things to be done a little smarter and with less time, effort and cost.
This is not enough though. These improvements need to be organised so that gains in one area are not lost elsewhere. People need to work together so that each person becomes more productive and not just the keen, clever or hardworking ones. People need to have the knowledge, skills and experience to succeed. This requires education, organisation and, in modern societies, management.
This too is not enough though. Most of all it requires open, creative minds and the will to make changes in order to make improvements. Individuals, families, villages, towns, cities and countries that work in this way prosper over time. Those that don’t, won’t prosper and be left behind when others advance in productivity.
PRODUCTIVITY CAN BE ACHIEVED, WHEREVER YOU ARE, BUT IT REQUIRES WORK!
This may sound daunting but it shouldn’t be. Productivity improvement is always hard work but it can always be achieved.
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Right for Education (R:Ed) will be publishing more content like this to tell you how these improvements can be made in real life and based upon real experience of our sponsor Cannizaro. If there is a particular topic you would like covered please let us know.