Little improvements build up over time.
One percent doesn’t seem like much. It’s one penny out of a dollar; one dollar out of $100. But if you decided you were going to be 1% better (more productive, more efficient, more dedicated, more of a team player) today than you were yesterday, and one percent better tomorrow than you were today… those small, incremental changes add up to huge impacts over time.
1% per day = 3700% in one year.
Let’s imagine your effort today was worth one dollar. Put forth 1% more effort tomorrow, and tomorrow is worth $1.01. The next day is $1.02. In 30 days, though, your effort is not worth $1.30… it’s worth $1.35. Your results are growing faster than $0.01 per day. In 90 days, your daily effort is now worth $2.70. In six months, you’re at about $7.30.
By just doing 1% better each day, in one year your daily effort is worth “$60.” And when you add that all up ($1 + $1.01+ $1.02… and so on, all the way up to $60), your 365 days of effort amount to more than $3,700, compared to the $365 you’d have if you’d kept just putting forth $1 worth of effort per day. At the end of one year, you’re putting forth 60 times the effort you were on day one. Your total effort at the end of the year is more than 10 of you could have accomplished if you hadn’t put forth the extra 1%.
Do you think that sort of improvement might get you noticed at work? If your annual review came up and you could show that you were 60 times more productive or efficient or collaborative than you were on day one… not only would that reflect well on you, but your supervisor would probably want to know how you did it.
Gamify your Improvement
Of course you won’t feel like putting in the extra effort every day. And when you’re stuck in the day-to-day grind, doing 1% better today than you did yesterday won’t feel like much of an accomplishment. So do the same things games do to keep you motivated to keep going: rack your steps, have a reward system, and remember to look back at how far you’ve come.
- Use a calendar (either a physical one or an app) and choose a symbol to represent that you’ve put in your extra 1% each day.
- Have a reward you give yourself when you give that extra 1% every day for a week. And a bigger rewards for a month of daily 1%’s.
- Make a note of what that actually means. [ “%!” and “I moved 101 boxes versus 100 yesterday.” (or) “It took me 99 minutes to do “X” versus 100 minutes yesterday.”]
- Schedule weekly or monthly check-ins where you look at your progress. [today I sold 60 units, versus the 1 unit I sold each day of my first two weeks… that’s more than four times my sales in the first two weeks combined, in a single day!].