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

Your Personal Products Are Dangerous – Find Out Why (And What to Do)

If you’re a canny shopper then read on, because you might find some of the following information extremely useful.

That’s because canny shoppers are slowly beginning to realise that you have to be very careful when you choose your personal products in the supermarket or elsewhere. Unfortunately many of the personal products that so many of us consume every single day can be dangerous.

Yes, unfortunately it’s true. These products, including soaps, shampoos, deodorants, skin care products, cosmetics and much more can contain chemical ingredients which are, in many cases, known to be dangerous to our health and even to cause cancer.

Whilst this is not new there is a gradual ground swell of organisations and people who are attempting to publicise the fact that many brands of product should be avoided.

Unfortunately the problem stems from the fact that regulation in many countries is inadequate to force the companies that manufacture many of these products to use only known safe ingredients.

In many cases there is little or no official supervision of any of the ingredients which are used in personal products, and for this reason many of the ingredients used in our personal products are industrial chemicals which are known to cause health problems for people.

Whole organisations are dedicated to publicising this issue. Two such organisations are the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which seeks to alert people to the risks involved in using many brands of cosmetics and other personal products, and the Cosmetic Safety Database which gives people a place to go to search both ingredients found in many products as well as the products themselves to find out the perceived level of risk in using the product or the ingredient.

I’ll give you one quick example. Many products include some form of fragrance. After all it doesn’t like to smell good? However unfortunately many fragrances are simply a combination of chemicals, many of which are known to be risky to your health.

These chemicals are rarely if ever listed, all you will ever see on the label is some generic terms such as “fragrance”. No one knows what chemicals make up the fragrance.

So if you’re a canny shopper it will pay you to do some research online to find out more about how to find safe cosmetics, safe skin care products and other safe products when you’re buying for yourself and your family. There are high quality and safe products available, but they’re not the big brand names.

Spend some time online, research and learn as much as you can, starting with the organisations that are listed above, and you can be an educated and canny consumer who knows what to buy and what to avoid when you’re looking to stock your bathroom cabinet.

5 Secrets to Improve Your Personal Productivity

Improving your personal productivity will help you to enjoy your work and your personal life.

Most of us are not happy with where we are at with our personal performance and productivity with regards to our business and personal life. We tend to fix the challenges we face with band-aid solutions and unfortunately the same challenges will come back to us time and time again. What I learned from Eban Pagan is that you need to understand what is happening within you physically, emotionally and mentally to improve your personal productivity by developing effective habits.

People are always trying to improve their efficiency and productivity. You tend to do this by replacing the unproductive habits with more productive ones. You may read a book, listen to audios and try to adopt the great habits that the experts give. This is what exactly we need to do, all the time replacing the ineffective habits with more productive ones.

Most of the people start developing a new habit but soon go back to the same old habits. This is because they did not pay attention to what is actually going on within them. Eban Pagan refers to this as the inner game of productivity.

These are the five secrets to improve your personal productivity:

  1. Clearing off your mental desk – Just like when your desk is cluttered you cannot work efficiently, when your mind is cluttered your productivity will be low.
  2. Close all your open loops -You will have things that are incomplete in your life and business. Write them down and complete them or let them go. Couple of basic examples: model you start to build never completed and lying around, haven’t done your filing for weeks and papers are lying around.
  3. Getting out of the Grey Zone -Grey zone is where we mix up all the things that we have to do. With or without realizing most of us live in the grey zone most of the time. A good example for this is we are thinking about what need to be done with our family while at work and thinking about work while with family. Ultimately you are robbing both and you will be running at 50% of your efficiency.
  4. Diagnose the things in your life that rob most of your energy -Do a bit of “self diagnosis” to find out the 20% of the things that robs 80% of your energy. Put a plan in place to get them out of your life.
  5. Habit Gravity and escape velocity This is the natural process that is happening within our mind when we try to adopt a new habit. It takes about 30 days to develop a new habit and once you do that the momentum starts to build and the new habit will become a part of you. You can break the 30 days to 3 sets of 10 days. The first 10 days will be the hardest and you will be resisting the new habit, giving yourself many excuses. Eban names this part of developing a habit as you are “Defying Gravity”. Once you pass this 10 days you will be still resisting the change but not to the extent of the initial 10 days, but you still have to consciously work on your new habit. Once you passed 20days doing the thing everyday it will start to integrate to your life. By the 30th day this will be a part of your life that you will do anyway without even realizing. This is a general pattern, but the disclaimer is for some people and for certain habits this can take longer than this time period.

When you understand what’s happening within you physically, emotionally and mentally it will be a lot easier to get rid of the things that rob you of your energy . Then without relying on temporary solutions you will be able to develop lifelong habits to improve your personal productivity.

Personal Productivity Tips – A Super-Optimized Personal Productivity System

In a digital world, productivity is our number one priority. With today’s internet professionals no longer being plagued by inefficient hourly work and set office hours, the burden of working hard is now entirely on us.

As such, we’re presented with two opportunities.

The first is to work at the slow and steady office pace and see our net pay massively decrease. The second is to work at the maximum possible speed, use selective productivity tricks and work-style changes, and earn an income that’s proportionally greater than it ever was before.

The only way to achieve this ideal work goal is to invest some time in a personal productivity system.

Your system doesn’t have to be ultra-optimized or scientifically backed, it just has to be something that works well for you.

Whether that means shaving a couple of hours off your daily work period and making up for it with an increase in work intensity or spending more time each day on learning and research doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you see some big benefits from it. Craft your personal productivity system around your goals, not around the desired results of other people. If you want to devote some time each day to reading, shape your work around times that allow you to read when you want to.

It’s important to remember that productivity isn’t about minimizing the time that you spend on your work. Great productivity is about creating a work system that allows you to live the life that you want. That’s what a personal productivity system is all about.

Create your system to work around what you love doing, maximize the output of what’s most important to you, and allow you to balance your workload and your lifestyle to the degree that you need.

Don’t ever think that you need a personal productivity system built for someone else. Just build it for yourself.