This editorial is about the idea of being highly productive more than how to actually accomplish it. Most of us tend to do the work put in front of us in the way that we know how to do it, certainly not the worst approach. The problem is that unless challenged – say by working way too many hours – most of us don’t look beyond that. Of course when we’re working too many hours, the part of our brain that lets us figure out better ways of doing things isn’t effective.
One way to become more productive is just working faster/more streamlined – think of the class time/motion study. I think that is the most common, and worth doing. The second way is to envision a different way to solve it. That might be technology, might be outsourcing or hiring an intern (which doesn’t directly increase productivity, but changes the cost of producing it), and sometimes it means that we stop doing it (the TPS report).
At the end of the day it’s a mindset. Adopt it and over time you’ll benefit, as will your employers. But like networking, it’s a leap of faith, there are no guarantees that an employer will adopt your ideas or even appreciate you having them.