Three Keys for Increasing Your Personal Productivity

What do the President of the US, the Queen of England, you, and the bum on the corner all have in common? Each has exactly 24 hours in a day – that’s 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds exactly – no more and no less. What distinguishes each is not how much time they have, but how they use what they have. Let’s look at 3 keys for increasing your personal productivity and shifting the way you use time.

Start with a list

The great unwashed masses use their time reactively. Their day is largely spent reacting to others around them and to the circumstances that they find themselves in. Too much time spent in catch-up mode and too little time spent planning. Minutes spent in planning can save hours in execution.

Lists are essential for effective time management. You must put your list on paper (or computer). Keeping your list in your head is a sure way to increase your stress level and limit your productivity. You’ve got to get that list out of your head and onto something that you can look at. Some people hate lists and they come up with all kinds of lame excuses about why lists don’t work for them. That’s fine. Peak productivity is a choice. If it were easy, everyone would be highly accomplished. Peak performers always use lists.

Don’t worry if your list is too long. At least when you look at it you can deal with a lengthy list appropriately. Until it is committed to paper or computer, it is stuck in your head and your subconscious is stressing about the possibility of forgetting to do something important and how to get everything done. Getting your list out of your head actually reduces your stress.

Prioritize your list

Chances are your list is scary long. This is where setting priorities comes in. You want to organize your list around the highest priority items and do those first. By focusing on the high-priority items on your list, anything that is undone will always be less essential than what was done.

It is important to distinguish between the things on your list that are truly important and the things which may be urgent but aren’t really important at all. One technique for sorting things out is to ask yourself if you were to look at today’s list from a point in time 6 months into the future, which items would you be glad that you accomplished and which ones wouldn’t matter as much. Tackle the highest priority items first and work your way down in the order of relative importance. If there is more on your list than you can accomplish in one day, the stuff that is undone at the end of the day is of lesser importance than what was done.

Schedule

Some hours in your day are more valuable than others. Your most valuable hours are the hours where you are mentally freshest and have high energy. Becoming consciously aware of when you are at your peak energy and alertness is essential for achieving your personal peak performance. Once you identify your most valuable hours, reserve that time for knocking out the highest priority items on your list. Protect this time from all unnecessary intrusions and interruptions. Save all the routine tasks like responding to email, returning phone calls, meetings, etc. for the other hours in your work day.

The way you manage your time will determine your accomplishment. Effective time management is about utilizing your time proactively – taking the few minutes that are necessary in order to create your to-do list, prioritize it, and use your most valuable hours for your highest priority items.

Strategies to Reduce Your Procrastination and Boost Your Personal Productivity

One of the greatest drains on your personal productivity is the habit of procrastination. This is where we look at a task which has to be completed and decide to put it off until a later time or even date. When that time or date comes round, we then are tempted to put it off yet again. Normally speaking, as time goes by the job becomes harder and harder. If it is a problem with people that you have put off because it is outside your comfort zone or could be very difficult, it is guaranteed that the situation, if left unfixed, will deteriorate. This means when you do eventually get round to dealing with the problem, it may be an impossibility.

The first strategy to adopt and nourish is the strategy of setting priorities for your tasks. Number one on your list should be the most important. Never try and write down all your priorities on one sheet of paper. Write the top five priorities in big letters on one piece of paper. All other tasks should be noted and put in order of merit. Plan your work on a weekly basis and do a daily review. The best time to do your daily review is to make it the last task on the preceding day. This means when you start work the following day, your priorities are set there on the desk in front of you. This simple strategy will enhance your personal productivity.

The next strategy to adopt is to give yourself a self check at regular intervals. Ask yourself, “Is what I am doing now or about to do, going to advance me to my goal?” This alone will contribute to your personal productivity. It will also give you the reassurance that you are doing the right things.

The next strategy to make your own is when you discover that your priorities are also the priorities of your boss. When you realize this, remember that your procrastination will surface because you want to seek approval from your boss instead of taking complete responsibility yourself. It’s very easy to mentally put off tasks because you need to speak to your boss. If the task is one of your priorities, treat it like that, take ownership and do it.

If you adopt and practice these three strategies you will find that your sense of urgency will increase and your level of personal productivity will rise and give you a considerable amount of satisfaction as you complete tasks that you would have normally put off until tomorrow, next week, next month or forever.

Charging Up Your Personal Productivity

Have you ever wondered that there are so many things to do but yet so little time to use? Have you always been busy at work? Have you always been saying, “I’m busy”, “not now…” or “I do not have enough time!” At the end of the day, you feel there is no sense of achievement from a long day at work and you have no clue about it. Have you always envy the performance and time management of your co-workers? (Or you simply don’t care). Do you want to power up your personal productivity and improve your time management like your co-workers?

We’re going to introduce you a power concept that will make you efficient and productive at work. It’s called the 24-hour pay check. It’s the base principle in getting self-disciplined for time management (good time management requires self-disciplined). Everyday, you are given a pay check of 24-hours. No more, no less. However, this “free” pay check can only be utilized in a day. Like a one-day voucher at the shopping mall. You cannot ask for more (time) in the check nor can you deposit and reuse it for another day. You have to use it in that day only.

timeIn a normal weekday, you spend 7 hours sleeping. 3 hours traveling to and from the office. You work average a day of 8 ½ hours with lunch breaks included. Now how much time do we have left? That’s an estimated 5 ½ hours left in the pay check. With the remaining 5 ½ hours left, you need to have breakfast, buy groceries, shower, dinner and washing the dishes. Say that takes another 3 hours. You’ve got 2 ½ hours left. These 2 ½ hours will be your only leisure and self-improvement time. Not forgetting if you have kids, part of the remaining hours will be used attending to their needs… And all this CANNOT be brought forward to the next day!

Now you can see that time is a precious commodity and we should treasure every expense of it. Using this powerful concept, we can identify what are the time wasters and what are the things to do to be productive. The time spent at the workplace is an average of 8 ½ hours. 1 hour is used for lunch break. ½ hour is used for tea break. Another ½ hours maybe spent at the water cooler on gossips and rumors. Back at your desk, you enter into procrastination mode for another ½ hours in and out throughout the day. You received an average 6 phone calls of 5 minutes interval every day and this sums up to another ½ hour being used.

How much time is left from the 8 ½ hours? We’ve left with 5 ½ hours… yes, we’re not finished yet. You have to handle fire-fighting tasks such as co-workers’ enquiries/requests and attend to emails. That will be another 1 ½ hours. You spent time chatting on the instant messenger for another 1 hour throughout the day. This includes time to respond to your buddy and time wasted flipping your tasks and the instant messenger. Finally, with all the things going on in the workplace, you give yourself another ½ hour of personal breaks throughout the day. Let’s not also forget that there are people who spend time reading newspaper or looking at stock prices at work…

Now how much time do we have left? Only 3 hours is left for you to do actual productive work. Can you see how much time is really effective used if you were operating daily like this? If you can optimize the time, wouldn’t you be able to achieve more things in a day? Now re-look your daily schedule in the workplace. Does it resemble anything like that? If it does, our advice is you need to rethink of the important things in life (and office) for yourself. Of course, “important things” can mean differently with people. But if you stumbled upon here seeking for time management solution, you will know deep in your heart the definition of “important things”.