Personal Productivity Tips – 2 Fool-Proof Strategies For Increasing Personal Productivity

Have you ever spent an entire day in front of the computer with no real work to show for it? We all get bad days, and they always seem to manifest themselves in different ways. For some, it’s a completely lack of drive to do work, and for others it’s the motivation to get work done but no real ability to focus on it.

On the other hand, we’ve all experienced moments of optimum productivity and huge work output. These two strategies are designed to help you keep your work hours in the second category, and use the first as a way to plan work, minimize wasted time and enjoy your life.

Personal Productivity Tip #1: Work to your strengths.

In personal development and self improvement, there are two different schools of thought. The first suggests that we become completely aware of our deficiencies and problems, and work towards improving them and making them strengths.

The second suggests that we need to be aware of these problems, but even more aware of our strengths. From there, we can work on making our strengths huge and minimizing the amount of interference that our problems can cause.

In productivity, you need to play your strengths first. Focus on the times of day that you can excel in, and shape your workload around them.

It’s always best to assign the most valuable and difficult work to your peak hours, and use your downtime to work on less significant projects.

Personal Productivity Tip #2: Measure work in output, not input.

It’s easy to spend 50 hours a week on work that simply isn’t important. It’s also very easy to spend hour after hour in front of a computer screen achieving absolutely nothing.

Increasing personal productivity isn’t about increasing input, it’s about increasing output. Measure your work by what comes out of your time, not how much time goes into each project that you work on.

Boost Your Personal Productivity

Productivity, in any aspect, always starts at the personal level. No matter how small or big your goal may be, the first thing that you need to tweak in order to get timely yet effective results is your personal productivity. When you intend and plan from within and set yourself upon a task, there are more chances that you will get it accomplished on time. Setting personal goals and a time frame makes you proactive and productive in your approach, therefore it is very important that you learn HOW to set goals, WHEN to set them and WHAT to do in order to get them!

Creative visualization and positive imagination are keys to make you feel motivated from within and also enhance your personal productivity to a great extent. Nobody knows you better than yourself, and you can use this knowledge to assess your strengths and weaknesses in a better light and push yourself in the right direction. Once you have a thorough know-how of your positive aspects, you can use them to greater effect and achieve success by largely basing your tasks on them.

For example, if you think you have inborn leadership qualities, you can enhance and use them in order to lead a group project. By increasing your own productivity for this matter, you can achieve better opportunities for your whole group. Thus, if you look at this with a big picture perspective, increasing your personal productivity actually increases productivity on a larger scale as well, and makes the path to success shorter, surer and more achievable!

Time management is an essential part and principle of accomplishing your goals. Often, we know what we have to do and how to do it, but we still cannot complete the task at hand on time. This not only hampers our progress, but also makes us feel de-motivated and defeated. Increasing personal productivity is also dependent on effective time management and channeling your resources, interests and capabilities in the RIGHT direction at the RIGHT time. Time management comes with a proper attitude, proper planning and, of course, proper execution. Therefore, always choose the right time and prioritize your duties and responsibilities at home and at the workplace. Doing so will ensure that you perform to your full potential and do not end up feeling stressed out or frustrated.

While failures and mistakes can make you feel de-motivated and resigned at times, do not let them lower your productivity ratio. Instead, use defeat as a tool to sharpen your skills and make yourself more focused and targeted in your approach. The right kind of mindset and a positive thinking and attitude can work wonders not only in deciding your productivity, but also in shaping your life goals.

Once you learn how to manage success and failure with the right kind of attitude, there can be no boundaries to your achievements! Therefore, start thinking, planning and working on increasing your personal productivity today and be surprised and satisfied with the results that you get!

Secrets to Personal Productivity

To achieve optimal personal productivity, one must be aware of himself, the situation as well as the other party. Who are the other party? They can be your co-workers, bosses, director, vendor, etc. in a workplace context. We can also describe personal productivity as an awareness of three things: Me, You and Situation. This is not something special and it had been mentioned in Sun Tzu’s Art of War quote:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

In our modern day context, we are not trying to win a war. We know “war” is too costly (it’s all in the news). The fundamental objective is to achieve personal productivity through understanding ourselves, the other party and the situation. Understanding ourselves involves awareness of our choices of actions, responses, our thinking, self-discipline and exertion of self-control. Strengthening the “me” is our core principle of understanding oneself. Understanding the other party involves awareness of their thoughts, anticipated responses within the given situation. We cannot change the perspective of another person, working styles, life’s need or nor a situation, but what we can do is to prepare our state of mind and body to adapt and handle various situations when they arise. Through this, we can “position” ourselves and influence any decisions and outcome. It goes the same when you enter the wrong “position”, the results are negative consequences.

How does it have any relation with improving personal productivity? Chances of us knowing the other party (or person) and situation dynamics is limited. But we have awareness and control of ourselves. Having being able to control what we can, we then anticipate and influence what is out of our control. Understanding oneself is one part of the equation to personal productivity. To further enhance personal productivity, it is necessary to complete the other half of the equation: understanding and reacting appropriately to other’s behavior in different situations. Sun Tzu’s Art of War quotes have been widely used in the business world. In our context, we bring it a level down to for the purpose of enhancing personal productivity at work.

Throughout the journey of finding productivity (is it work or life) with us, you will find that we begin working on one’s personal awareness and self-control (Me factor). Following through to understanding of the other party (You factor) and handling of situation dynamics (Situation factor). You will find what’s written here able to address your needs, if you have trouble finding personal productivity at work or having a grumpy boss always concerned with your performance. Simple as the concept is, we believed that what we are sharing here will be helpful in your search of personal productivity at work.

How to Double Your Personal Productivity in Just 30 Days – 1 – Preparing Your Attack

How often have you said to yourself, “If only I could get twice as much done as I do now!” The good news is, you can… as long as you have the right method and the motivation to change. In this 3-part series, I’m going to teach you a step-by-step method that will allow you to double your personal productivity in just 30 days. Actually, you could do it in a week, but I prefer to allow for the fact that most people aren’t very consistent at applying new information!

1. Scheduling the Time:

As I emphasized in Part-1, you want to schedule your High Value Tasks (HVTs) for times when your mental and physical energies are at their peak, usually first thing in the morning, although that varies from person to person.

Your next decision is how much time you want to set aside for a given task. In general it’s pretty hard to stay focused for more than one hour of solid working time, so dividing your working time into one hour chunks is a smart way to go. Then, even if the task you’re working on takes two hours to complete, you need to schedule at least a 10-15 minute “stretching break” in between your two one-hour chunks to ensure you’re at your best when you start the second round.

The next vexing question is when to STOP working. Do you quit when you say you’re going to quit, no matter where you’re at, or do you plow ahead until, come hell or high water, you’ve completed your entire tasks?

This is where many people get into trouble. The danger of plowing ahead is that you can end up just working and working longer and longer, until your whole day disintegrates into an undifferentiated mass of low-productivity work. And you DO NOT want that. On the other hand, completing a task has such a huge psychological payoff that you won’t want to stop if you’re close to the finish line. So how do you resolve this conflict? Just apply these guidelines:

1. When you’re scheduling a task, first determine how you’ll know when you’ve finished it! Since you may well be working on a sub-task – one component of a larger task – admit that to yourself and make sure you specify what determines completing the sub-task rather than the larger task.

2. Then determine how long the task will likely take. Then add at least 25% as a safety net – most of us consistently underestimate the time we need.

3. If the task can be completed within a one hour time chunk, then you work at it until it’s completed.

4. If the task is a longer task or a more “creative” one where it’s difficult to say how long it will take, then you stop working after your allotted time expires, no matter what.

2. Preparing Your Workspace:

Make sure your work area is clean and neat: a messy environment will compromise your productivity. Be sure to lay out any documents you’ll need in advance and make sure you have any electronic documents or web pages you’ll need open and ready before you begin. Otherwise, you may spend the first 10 minutes of your “working time” just digging up these items and becoming more and more frustrated.

Next, turn your phone’s ringer off and send all incoming calls to voice mail. If you’re in an office and have an assistant, make sure he or she knows you don’t want to be disturbed. If you’re working from home, negotiate with your family so they know to leave you alone as much as possible when you’re really working.

Also, close your email, your Twitter, your instant messaging and any other means of electronic communications you have. If you’re really serious about doubling your personal productivity, you MUST be willing to make your self 100% “available” to your work for defined periods of time, and that means making yourself 100% unavailable to the demands and interruptions of other people while you’re doing a blitz on your HVTs.

3. Before You Start:

Now that you’ve prepared your physical workspace, it’s time to spend a few minutes on your mental workspace. Going into a task fully motivated will significantly improve your productivity, a lesson every athlete knows all too well.

Find whatever inspires you in your work. It could be success stories in your industry, a book about personal effectiveness, time management or productivity, or simply the vision of what you are working towards. Then spend a few minutes reading or thinking about this until you feel “in the zone”. But don’t stop there…

Close your eyes and visualize yourself working on your task. Make sure you FEEL how easily you’ll complete it and the feeling of personal satisfaction that comes from that. Once you can feel all that, then you’re truly ready to begin.

And once you begin, have a timer or stop watch nearby so you can play “beat the clock” – a phenomenal method for keeping your relentlessly focused on the task at hand.

All these preparations – which most people simply skip over – are absolutely critical to doubling your productivity. Without them, no matter how well you’ve prioritized, your execution will be second rate and the time it will take you to complete a given task can easily increase by 3-400%. So resist the temptation to dive into your work without doing these preparatory steps first. At first these steps may seem tedious but once they’ve become a habit for you, you’ll understand how essential they really are.

Join us next time for the third and final installment of this 3-part series on how to double your personal productivity in just 30 days, when I’ll share with you the strategic secrets of flawless execution.

– Dr. Symeon Rodger