Personal Productivity Secrets – Part One

I felt inspired to write this article because of my own battle to become more productive. I usually work alone and seldom collaborate with others. Consequently, my productivity (or lack of it) becomes glaringly obvious.

Realizing this fact, I began to search for tools and techniques to help me improve in the areas of time management, personal productivity, and goal-setting. That was twenty years ago.

Recently, the thought occurred to me that other solo-workers will eventually come to the same conclusion I came to years ago — “If I want to increase my output, I will need to find the techniques to help me”. This is the first article in a five-part series. Following these steps will dramatically boost your results and your own personal productivity.

Before we launch into an avalanche of personal productivity and time management tips — there is one important step for you to complete. You will need to do an assessment of your current time usage. The step requires absolute honesty on your part and no one needs to see your results.

Starting Monday morning, do the following:

1. Get a digital watch, a notepad and pen
2. Record the start and stop time of every activity you do throughout the day
3. At the end of day add up and total the results for each activity
4. On Friday total up the columns

You now have a snapshot of your time usage for the week. The purpose of the exercise is to get a baseline of what you do and exactly how long it takes to do it. From the data you collect you will discover exactly where every minute goes and how efficiently you use your time.

Knowing where you spending your time will provide you with a foundation. Using the information you’ll receive in the next article in this series will help you to build upon that foundation.

Being completely honest with yourself about exactly how long you spend doing things like checking email, searching Facebook and doing low-priority busywork is up to you. No one will care if you fudge your numbers but if you’re serious about improving your performance on the job or at home, then doing this step is immensely important. The result of the assessment is the starting point you’ll build on.

Make the commitment to track your time over the next week and we will look at your results.