Manage Your Personal Productivity

There is a huge advantage in improving your personal productivity. It doesn’t matter whether you are an employee or you own your own business. The benefits of improving your ability to produce more in the same amount of time are considerable.

The most efficient way to deal with a task is to dump it. Look at the task objectively and ask yourself the question, is it necessary. If it’s not get rid of it off your “to do” list.

The best way to eliminate procrastination is to deal with your most difficult tasks first thing in the morning. This means that you can move on easily to the more enjoyable tasks and your day will be productive.

Work out the times of the day when you are naturally most productive. Allocate your critical tasks for those times. The rest of the working day should be utilized for non-critical tasks. For example, at the end of the working day I am normally brain-dead, so mindless jobs such as photocopying, filing answering e-mails fill in that time.

Without clear goals it is very easy to fall victim to distractions. Make sure that your overriding goals are visible at your workstation or in your office. Remember to have a reality check every now and again during the day. Ask yourself if what you are doing is contributing to your overall goals.

As part of my personal productivity system, I have included 15 minutes a day for thinking. During this 15 minutes each day, I turn off my phones, make sure I’m not going to get any interruptions, put my hands behind my head and think. This thinking time is used for strategic planning and problem solving. It requires a certain amount of discipline to take time out to think because of the temptations of socializing, coffee and other distractions. Some of my best thinking has occurred during this 15 minute break when I have been really creative.

There has been ample research to show that if you change from one task to another, your productivity takes a huge hit. So whenever you start a task don’t stop. Keep on going until it is completed. If you stop and start something else your productivity will take a dive. If another job needs doing, make a note of it and deal with it when you’ve finished the job in hand.

There will be times when you need complete concentration to carry out a task. Once you’ve identified it, allocate a block of time, turn off your phones, ban all interruptions and get on with it.

Remember the old saying, there is only one way to eat an elephant and that is one slice at a time.  Break down your complex projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. With each of these tasks, identified the target you must reach before you can stop working. Use your target as a milestone so that you can reward yourself with a cup of tea or coffee or even a slice of pizza.

I’ve found that the best way to boost my productivity is to break my work down to 55 minute blocks. At the end of the block, I will get up, stretch, walk around and think for five minutes. This energizes me to return to my task.

With a little bit of thought and self-discipline it’s possible to improve your personal productivity. After all, anything that makes your job easier and less stressful is worth investing some time and effort.