One of the key elements of productivity is observation; this was proven back in the nineteen twenties when an illumination study decided to test the relationship between light intensity and employee productivity. The results were as expected, when the lighting was increased Productivity increased. In the control experiment they dropped the lighting levels to see what effect this had on productivity. The results were not as expected. They found that Productivity continued to increase even when the lighting was reduced. The reason for this was that productivity is directly related to observation. Employees will perform at their best whilst being monitored. This is why KPI and performance reviews have become very essential for overall employee performance, not only do people like recognition for their hard work but they also perform best whilst being observed and supervised.
This observation is also essential for Personal Productivity, everybody complains about not having enough time to do all that they need to do. If we could eliminate all the time wasting activities and non value adding activities perhaps we could get everything we need to do done, so how do we do this. By recording all that we do each day in the form of a time sheet we can then assess it apply the Pareto Principal (the 80 - 20 rule) and focus our time on the important tasks.
Time sheets give us a great view of what is being done because the first step in self improvement is always awareness, awareness of what we are currently doing be it right or wrong.
Once we get a picture of what we are currently spending our time on we should ascertain which tasks are the important and focus our time and attention on those tasks.
If you look after a team, electronic time sheets can be very beneficial to make sure that everyone is performing the way they should be, it is a good way to identify inefficiencies or training requirements. You can also monitor web or email usage and it can be even used for project billing and tracking.
The underlying reality is that employee and personal performance increases substantially when the subject is being observed.