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The Engineer’s Formula for Productivity at Work

And no, multitasking is not synonymous with productivity!

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It is every engineer’s struggle to become productive at work. More often than not, there are only few accomplishments delivered in a day, feeling like the 8-hour work is short. This is why others are forced to go on an overtime – no thanks to the daily work quota – due to bad time management in the regular work hours.

But there’s a way to turn this around. Engineers should only be able to learn the formula for productivity, which is

Efficiency + Effectiveness + Work System = Productivity

for them to have control over their work. To understand this formula further, each component needs to be dissected so that engineers can accomplish work and tasks twice, or even thrice, the usual, thus becoming productive more than ever.


Source: NAU

In engineering, efficiency (mechanical) means the effectiveness of a machine in transforming the energy and power that is input to the device into an output force and movement. Its definition in layman’s term is not too far: it is simply the ratio of work done to time spent; in other words, the ability to do things quickly.

Many will argue that efficiency is just the same with productivity, but I beg to disagree: getting things done in a short amount of time doesn’t equal to be productive. Which is why there are two other components in the productivity formula for an engineer to be really considered as productive.


Source: UCT

When an engineer is effective, it only means that he getting the right things done, which makes him or her and the company closer to the intended goals. To achieve effectiveness, one has to set a clear goal first, which many engineers fail to do.

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The secret for an engineer to become effective is to accomplish the most important things at work first. You should be busy on things that matter. Doing tasks that do not have worth in your job is not considered effective.

Work system

Source: Getty

Your efficiency and effectiveness cannot be considered productivity unless you have a work system to go with it. This only means doing them consistently or knowing how to pace the tasks.

Multitasking is not synonymous with productivity! The habit of doing all at once fails the criteria of all three components in the formula, so quit thinking that way.

Source: Engineering and Leadership

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