A common definition of productivity is:
Productivity = Effectiveness + Efficiency
In other words, by working on the right things (things that are important, urgent or that will advance you towards your goals) and by working on things the right way (with speed and efficiency) you can be more productive.
With this in mind, one of the ways I try to increase my effectiveness and efficiency is by “multiplying outcomes”.
Don’t want to read this post, listen to the podcast instead:
I literally just made up this phrase but what I mean is when you do some work, you can multiply the benefits of that work by making the outputs go further.
The idea here is that you’ve already done some work and this is now a “sunk” cost. In economics, this is a cost that you can’t get back. So, how can you get more bang for your buck by extending the output of that work?“Multiply your outcomes”, double your productivity and get more bang for your buck!Click To Tweet
Let me give you an example…
Every week I write a blog post (like the one you’re reading right now). And I spend about 60-90 minutes writing and uploading that post. By spending an extra 20 minutes recording a podcast, I can essentially double my output for a fraction of the time. That’s because the majority of the upfront work has been done (writing the post). Recording a podcast only requires me to turn on a microphone and read the post. It’s a small amount of extra work for a large amount of additional output.
Here’s another example…
A large amount of my week is spent on calls with clients. If I spend an hour on a call, I can record that session and send the replay to the client. This takes no extra time for me (literally hitting a record button) but means the client can now go back, replay our conversation and get more value than they would otherwise get with just a one-off call. This is one of those, “may as well” things you can do that requires no additional cost (time) but increases your effectiveness.
One more example…
Over the last few weeks, when I’ve received a really good question from a reader, I’ll record a video response to share on YouTube. So instead of sending my reply to just that one person, other people can benefit as well.
Here are some other ideas about how you can “multiply outcomes”:
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks on your commute or at the gym.
- Once you’ve read a book (or as you read), highlight or summarise the key takeaways.
- If you’re cooking a meal, double the ingredients and freeze the leftovers for another night or lunch tomorrow. You could do this every day one week and you don’t have to cook a single dinner the following week (as long as you don’t mind eating the same meals two weeks in a row).
- Whenever you need to call your bank, insurer or other providers, make the call from the car while you’re driving or when you’re on a walk. Chances are you’re going to be put on hold so you may as well do this kind of mindless work when you're busy with something else (as long as it’s not going to distract you).
- If you put loads of time into planning a project, turn this into a template so you can be more efficient the next time you need to start a similar project.
- When you write a really good email, can you save this to a tool like TextExpander to use again later?
- Simple things are great as well! Need to take a tea break at work? Make a cup for someone else. They’ll love you for it!
- If you’re a freelancer or coach, how can you transfer the work you do for one client to another? For example, if you’re a personal trainer, can you use the same fitness plan with multiple clients who have similar goals?
To apply this to your own life or work, start by thinking about where a lot of your time is currently being spent. Then ask yourself if there's anything you can do to get more out of the work you're already doing. This might mean getting a little creative. But it's pretty rewarding when you find ways of multiplying your outcomes.
Chances are you’re already doing this kind of outcome multiplication anyway. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to extend your work and increase the outcomes. Let me know in the comments below!