10 Ways To Help OTHERS Be More Productive

Image courtesy of dino16

Being productive yourself is certainly a good thing, but having those around you get things done can be equally helpful in your pursuits.  Not only that, but helping others reach their goals is just the right thing to do.  So here are 10 tips to help you be a positive influence on the lives you come in contact with.

1: Only mention tasks when they can be accomplished.

If you tell someone, “Don’t forget you still need to do _____.” at a time when the task cannot be accomplished, you will just be reminding them of something that needs to get done, but can’t.  But if you say the same thing at a time when it CAN, you can then follow it by some encouragement to go ahead and get it out of the way.  Now they’re left with incentive to accomplish the task and move on.

2: Start their task for them.

The fact is, starting a task is usually the hardest part.  By beginning the process of whatever needs to get done and then tactfully handing it over to the other person, you can help them build some momentum.  This usually works best when you also have other tasks to do yourself.  This way, when you hand it over, you can get to work on what YOU need to do.  This will help the other person feel less like you are just dumping work on them and then ‘going off to play’.

Now this could be border line obnoxious if done in the wrong way or at the wrong time.  But when executed properly it can be a great way to encourage results.  The key is to be subtle about it and make a smooth transition when passing it off to the other party.

3: Give them praise when they get things done.

We all love to be praised.  We want to know we are doing a good job.  This not only makes us feel good, but it encourages more positive results in the future.  (We should be doing this anyway with no strings attached as I am not a fan of manipulation. It just also happens to work well with productivity.)

4: Pull your own weight.

None of this will be affective if you are not getting your own things done.  There’s nothing worse than a hypocritical ‘preacher’.  If you want the other party to accomplish their goals and hope to positively affect them in this area, LEAD BY EXAMPLE!


There’s a fine line between encouraging someone to do something and nagging them because they won’t do it.  Treat the other person with respect if you ever want them to listen to your words.

6: Pick your battles.

Sometimes it’s better to just let it go.  Nobodies perfect and none of us ‘get everything done’, all the time.  Make sure the tasks you are dealing with are those worth the potential friction.

7: Help them simplify.

We all know that clutter and over complication can make every task seem like an uphill battle.  Look for areas like these in the life of the person in question and find ways to help them ‘remedy’ the situation.  Maybe the first task you should work with them on is that of simplifying?

8: Give them incentives.

Lack of motivation is usually the culprit to an unproductive day.  Help the other person see the benefits of accomplishing their goals so they will have some drive to work with.  Be creative as you help paint a picture in their heads of the positive results that will follow a finished task.

9: Ask them to help YOU stay on task.

Sometimes the most motivating activity you can partake in is that of helping another person accomplish their goals.  Ask for help and let that person benefit from this positive experience.

10: Let them fail and don’t help them pick up the pieces.

In the end, we are only responsible for our OWN productivity.  We should never try to control another human being or make them become something they’re not.  It is life experience that is the greatest teacher.  Failure can work wonders for an individuals’ maturity.

The learning experience that comes from fixing the messes we’ve made in life are essential for our growth.  So make sure you’re not getting in the way of this natural process by being overprotective and always softening the blows.


  1. Dendo says

    I’d go a little further than Avani-Mehta…….I have learnt over the years that you must trust people to do what they do. Maybe its being Australian, but most Aussies will not react well to the above tips and whole approach to task managing others needs to be handled very carefully. At the end of the day, you have to trust that once agreed, the task will be done. If not, then you have to evaluate a strategy to make things work – trying to task manage people who do not report to you is the ultimate business skill.

  2. says

    I just changed things up here. I get what you guys are saying would love to hear what you think about some new questions raised in the “Editor’s Note” above. I think it’s worth discussing.

  3. says

    Um….I don’t have an issue with your suggestions. I think each one can be appropriate depending on the situation. The Lion and I have used each of those with each other. The key is respect and trust. And once the person has taken over the task themselves, you simply trust them to do it in their own way, at their own pace. I didn’t feel that any of your suggestions were about manipulation, control, or dictorship. They are simply methods of helping out and getting the ball rolling.

    Urban Panther´s last blog post..Theme Fiction Friday – Awake

  4. says

    Disagreements are a good way to push your intellect or ignorance to the next level.

    Anyways, what I liked about the post is the last point. Let people screw up and feel the pain, its healthy :)
    I hated all the major screw ups in my life and they were very costly, but looking back I am glad I went through them. It built character.

  5. says

    Couple of things:
    Personally, I think your suggestions work well inside of a family under a roof.

    Secondly, I read and comment on a number of blogs where people will go off into arguments in the comments. They engage in their own discussions and debates. The blogger does not always get involved. But sometimes they will but they don’t have to. I think these disagreements are great and challenge us …how fun is it to just go out there and agree with every blogger you read.

    I am not really sure how I would handle it on my blog – I think strategies would change depending on how many subscribers we have and how new/old our blog is (the composite value of the blog so far). But in general, as bloggers I think we should be comfortable with disagreements (as in real life). And as both bloggers and commentors, if we disagree with the material and do not turn any arguments into personal battles, I think it is a very healthy thing.

    Maya´s last blog post..Born Into Poverty : Blog Action Day 2008

  6. says

    Eric, I think it’s a great post. As I read it, I read from a parent’s point of view. I am forever trying to give my kids motivation and I follow a lot of what you said. I need to get better at the No Nagging part – but what do they expect, I am a mom, it’s my job. lol


  7. says

    @Avani-Mehta: I agree that we should give people their own space.

    @Dendo: I think this all depends on how you approach the situation. Manipulation or a task master mentality is never the answer.

    @Sean: Thanks for the kind words. You always something encouraging to say. :-)

    @Urban Panther: “The key is respect and trust.”

    Without that, the rest goes out the window.

    @Atiff: I can certainly say with confidence that it was my failings that have taught the most valuable life lessons. Good point!

    @Maya: “Personally, I think your suggestions work well inside of a family under a roof. ”

    This was actually the perspective I was coming from when I wrote this. I should have mentioned this in the post. So I definitely agree with what you’re saying.

    “But in general, as bloggers I think we should be comfortable with disagreements (as in real life).”

    This is a great point, Maya! I’m such a people pleaser that I sometimes over react to criticism or confrontation. But as you said, this can bring out great interaction in the comments section.

    @Sean: Well said.

    @Jennifer: Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    I can certainly see this playing out in the parent child arena. And you’re right…Nagging just doesn’t work with anybody; especially kids.

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