There is an article entitled Food Boom in the May 2007 issue of Scientific American which I found interesting. It talks about the tremendous increase in U.S. agricultural productivity in recent decades.
“Over the period 1948 to 2004, total farm production went up by 166 percent. But… productivity per person improved so much that only one quarter as many hands were needed in 2004 as in 1948.”
166 percent increase in total productivity with only one quarter as many hands! Now that’s a productivity boom!
Reading this article, I was thinking, isn’t it possible to achieve such a boom in our personal productivity as well? That would mean producing significant increase in output within a fraction of the original time required.
I believe we can do that, and reading the story about the food boom, I learned two essential steps we need to do to achieve it:
- Becoming technology savvy
How did the U.S. agricultural industry achieve such a boom? Here is one factor:
“Several developments drove these changes, beginning with the replacement of the remaining horses by tractors immediately after World War II and with the expanding use of fertilizers and pesticides. Later came the adoption of hybrid seeds, genetic engineering of plants and improved livestock breeding.”
Applied to personal productivity, these can be summarized to one phrase: becoming technology savvy. Only by becoming technology savvy can you take advantage of the newest available tools and technologies to improve your productivity. Those who can quickly recognize and adopt new tools and technologies will have tremendous advantage over their competitors. No wonder Steve Pavlina wrote that one of the most important things a blogger need is becoming web savvy (which is a kind of technology savvy). Becoming technology savvy, of course, is important for all other areas as well.
- Learning new concepts and ideas continuously
There is still another factor that drove the U.S. agricultural boom:
“A key element was the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s extension service. Operating through land-grant universities and other organizations, it educated farmers on biotechnology, pest management and conservation.”
Education is key. What I mean is not your formal education, but your willingness and ability to continuously learn and apply new ideas and concepts. While becoming technology savvy talks about having the right tools, being a learner talks about having the right mindset. Having the right mindset allows you to break limiting beliefs and see new opportunities to improve your productivity.
We should do these two things in balance. Some people are familiar with new technologies, but do not quite follow emerging ideas and concepts. Yet another people closely follow emerging ideas and concepts, but are not familiar with new technologies. You need to recognize which of them you lack more, and then put more effort into it.
Armed with the right tools and mindset, productivity boom is within your reach.