Personal Productivity – How to Boost it For Success

Productivity, the key to business and personal success.

Let’s talk about productivity, what it is, why it’s important and how to achieve it. What do I mean by “productivity, the key to business and personal success”? What I mean is that productivity, in this sense, is about results. It’s about creating actual, real world, tangible, measurable results. It’s not about just doing a bunch of work and pretending like you’re getting a lot done or trying to look like you’re getting it done. It’s about actually getting results in the real world. I’m going to teach you a technique here for really maximizing your productivity. It’s a simple technique. Anyone can do it. You can do it starting immediately. I think you’ll see that it’ll dramatically increase your productivity.

The first distinction I want to draw is the distinction between activity and results. You’ll hear me talk a lot about this. You hear other experts talk a lot about it. It’s very easy to confuse activity with results – to get confused and think that a bunch of work equals a bunch of results. This is particularly a problem with people that you have working on your team because people that are used to working in the job environment, they’re just used to doing their job and getting a paycheck. In fact, in employee and job type roles, results are often the enemy.

I heard a great story about a mailman that went to work at the post office, and he was new. The guy that had his route before him worked on it for like 30 years. This guy came in, went through the whole route, and got done halfway through the day and came back and said, “I’m done,” and the other postal workers said, “Figure out how to take longer to do that because you’re making us look bad, and if you don’t, we’re going to make your life hell.” He said, “Oh, I understand.” These postal workers were used to just having a job where they get paid for time and not for results. They didn’t want to have that threatened because they were taking their time doing personal things and so forth.

Sometimes the job mentality can really corrupt results. So, how do you get around this?

The technique I want to share with you right now for maximizing results is very simple. It’s deceptively simple, but I think if you start using it, you’ll see it’s amazing. The idea is to start measuring productivity visually. Here’s what I mean: Let’s say that you want to lose some weight. Well, we don’t really know how much we weigh. We can’t really see it, and if we get on the scale every day, sometimes we weigh a couple of pounds more, sometimes we weight a couple of pounds less, depending on what we ate or we drank or the time of day or whether we have our clothes on or we just took a shower or whatever. It’s kind of hard to see. We can’t really get a feedback system that informs us.

On the other hand, you can take a simple spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel or like a Google spreadsheet, which you can get for free online with Google apps and weigh yourself everyday. Then, you put the weight in the box, click on the little charting button, and you create a visual chart. What happens is you see it going up and down. You see the variation. And this is in any process you measure. You see the direction it’s going. Is it going up? Is it flat? Is it going down? You can actually see it very clearly. The visual feedback does its own work. It builds its own awareness. It creates direction all by itself.

I use this technique, not only with a lot of different projects that I’m working on, but also all through my business. In fact, we measure dozens and hundreds of different variables and numbers and processes on visual charts, so that we all know what’s going on. If you look at a column of numbers, there’s no way to chart it in your mind. You can kind of figure it out, but when you see a chart, a graph with the actual progress, and you can see it’s going up, it’s going down. You can see any exceptions. The whole thing speaks very loudly. I think that this idea, what they call the visual display of quantitative information – in other words, the charting of numbers – is one of the biggest innovations that we’ve ever had as a SPECIES.

So, do you want to dramatically increase your productivity? Take the top three things that you’re working on, and figure out how to put them on a chart. Let’s say it’s a project you’re working on. Put down how many hours per day you are investing in the project – uninterrupted and not distracted…totally focused. Put it in the box every day. Do you want to track your sales, and make them go up? Put in the sales that you’re making every day for yourself or for your business, and chart it. You will watch it go up. Things that are measured improve.

There’s a great quote that my friend Joe Polish says a lot: “Processes that are measured improve, and processes that are measured and reported improve exponentially.” So if you really, really want to get a lot of juice out of this, start measuring your process and then start reporting it to someone else. You will see everything happens inside of you to make your process improve and to start getting a lot more results and to dramatically increase your productivity.

So there’s one great idea for increasing your productivity. Put it to work right now. Start visually charting and watch your productivity skyrocket.

Great Book on Personal Productivity – A Must Read to Start Your New Year on the Right Foot

I just finished reading a great book on increasing personal productivity entitled, “The Productivity Epiphany: Leading Edge Ideas on Time Management, Self-Management, and Communication”, by Vincent Harris. This book is loaded with wisdom. It can be called a ‘life manual’.

I am a psychologist and author and I have been counseling and coaching individuals for over 25 years. I’m always on the lookout for a book that is easy and enjoyable to read that will also make a big difference in the readers life.

“The Productivity Epiphany” is one of the rare books that fits this criteria.

I am all for books written with two page chapters like this book is. It is so much easier for me to actually read every page of a book when it is written this way.

Vince Harris filled the book with entertaining stories that provided many personal epiphanies for me.

The book was reviewed by Dr. Joe Vitale, who appeared in the movie ‘The Secret’, who said, “This book is bursting with insights that will allow you to be more productive and get more enjoyment out of life. Vince Harris shares the wisdom that is the result of hundreds of coaching sessions with his clients over the last decade-and much, much more. This book belongs in your personal development library! “

If you are looking for rock solid ideas on time management, persuasion and influence, peak performance and communication, you’ll find it all in The Productivity Epiphany.

While Harris is best known for his captivating presentations and workshops on body language and communication, he quietly works “behind the scenes” consulting for high level executives, athletes, and men and women simply wanting a competitive edge in life. “The Productivity Epiphany” is full of the insights that Harris has used so successfully with both his clients and himself over the last decade. Vince’s book was published by Beckworth Publications and is now available on Amazon.com or can be accessed through his website at http://www.vinceharris.com

One reviewer put it like this, “He’s motivated, he’s smart and persuasive, and he’s a darn nice guy. I also think he’s about to emerge in the national spotlight soon. Vincent Harris has been a performance coach and mentor to CEO’s, athletes, and people who wanted more out of life. His new book, “The Productivity Epiphany”, will stimulate some of those “ah ha” moments of clarity we all pursue.” ~ Brion Sausser

Here are a few of the 59 chapter titles that make this book a ‘must read’:
o Saying Hello Without Saying a Word
o Melting Resistance with Stories
o What If Everyone Were Naked?
o The Painfully Happy Way of Getting Things Done

I promise that this is one book that you’ll enjoy reading and re-reading.

Efficiency and effectiveness equals productivity.

Efficiency can be described as doing as much as can be done in the time available with a minimum of effort. It goes without saying that if you work efficiently you will have the capacity to get more done. But this is not enough to maximise your personal productivity. You could be very efficient at getting things done, but if you then spend the rest of your time doing nothing of value, then you have missed a huge opportunity to be more productive. Even worse it is possible to be efficient at getting the wrong things done!

The other factor is effectiveness (or efficacy): that is doing the right things, doing them right and doing them at the right time. So here are five ways to boost your productivity.

1. Identity:

How do you do the right things? This starts with defining your values and purpose in life or in work and with it the vision of what your life, your environment or your work will look like in some future state produced by being on purpose. This is followed by setting goals and working towards them. The big things you decide to do must be consistent with your identity, your values, beliefs and purpose or you’re unlikely to truly commit to them.

2. Learning:

How do you do the right things right? This is about learning, training, practising activities until you can do them well. The link here to efficiency is an obvious one, in that if you do things right then you shouldn’t have to redo it, saving time and money. So what do you need to learn to be able to do what you need to do to be on purpose and work towards your vision?

3. Planning:

Finally, how do you do the right things, right, at the right time? Prioritising, planning, and time management are part of this. You need to be clear about your priorities and about what needs to be done first. Your plan needs to accommodate these priorities and put them in order (a great way to do this is with post-it notes). Your plan also needs a time-frame. Admittedly, the time-frame for achieving your vision may be imprecise, but better to set one and adjust as the plan proceeds than to have no completion date in mind. Milestones in the plan will have much more precise timelines.

4. Discipline:

Another aspect of doing things at the right time is discipline. Self-discipline is defined as doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done even if you don’t feel like doing it.

5. Accountability:

You can help yourself to become more disciplined if someone holds you accountable. This could be a coach, a mentor, a confidant or a mastermind group. Your probability of successfully achieving your goals increases from around 40% if you do nothing more than have the idea to 76% if you ask someone you respect to hold you accountable to achieve the goal.

In summary, to be productive you need to be efficient. Then you also need to do the right things (aligned with your values, purpose and vision for the future), do them right (have the aptitude, skills and knowledge or ability to rely on others who do) and do them at the right time (planning, discipline and accountability).

Time Management Self Assessment Techniques For Boosting Personal Productivity

Time management self assessment techniques are absolutely essential to boost your personal productivity, as a person’s efficiency is directly related to his/her capability of using the available time in the most efficient manner. Many people spend their time in a host of activities, but end up in achieving non productive activities, because they are simply not concentrating on the right things and at the tight time. To streamline your daily life, you may need to find some good time management self assessment techniques that will help you to overcome the shortage of time and also to assist you in reaching your goals quicker.

Time management self assessment techniques are absolutely essential to boost your personal productivity, as a person’s efficiency is directly related to his/her capability of using the available time in the most efficient manner. Many people spend their time in a host of activities, but end up in achieving non productive activities, because they are simply not concentrating on the right things and at the tight time. To streamline your daily life, you may need to find some good time management self assessment techniques that will help you to overcome the shortage of time and also to assist you in reaching your goals quicker.

There are many types of time management self assessment methods that will help you in knowing more about your respect for utilizing the available time. To know whether you’re suffering from perennial shortage of time and to assess how best you can use your available time, you may need to take a test, to get very important clues and answers. Here is a basic primer to know, if you need a self assessment test or not. Do this self-assessment, if you’re experiencing the following:

* You have decided to pursue some work, but have not really thought, how you’re going to fit that particular work into your current busy schedule,

* You always wait until the very last minute and then start working in a rush, to get the work done in a hurry. Or you may like to work with deadline challenges!

* You’re currently in dark about the importance of time and its impacts on your personal and professional life.

The time management self assessment involves four important things, and when you work with these important things, you can rest assured that you’ll learn more.

1. Creating a time management self assessment questionnaire and later answering the questions with honest answers, seems to be the first obvious step in this process. This self assessment questionnaire may include sections like

* Identifying what exactly wastes your time: There are many things and ways that can waste your productive time, like losing things, unnecessary chatting, repeated interruptions in the work, telephonic conversations, putting off things, real time crises, junk paperwork, distractions and an excessive urge for perfection. Once you identify what exactly causes you losing your precious time, then it is possible to weed those factors off from your daily schedules.

Here are some questions that can be included in your questionnaire:

* What proportion or percentage of my tasks and items were planned?

* Was there any well defined schedule for my day?

* Did planned tasks and assignments take much longer than what was expected?

* Did I spend my precious time on low value jobs?

* Were there any interruptions to my work?

* What was the most productive phase of my day?

* Did I act as, if I was very busy?

* Did I have control over my time?

* How effective was me, for the day? On a grading scale, was my day OK?

Once you have prepared this questionnaire, you’ll need to honestly answer them with out any delay. Time management self assessment will be practical and feasible only, if you’re honest to yourself and to your self conscience. Write down answers to all the questions with out leaving or omitting anything.

Once you understand your drawbacks and weaknesses, now is the time to study and understand the basic fundamentals of time management. There are several great books and articles on time management techniques. Apart from these general resources, you can also choose to attend time management seminars and workshops. The biggest advantage of attending such seminars and workshops is that you can again create a time management self assessment list by, either listening to great speeches in person or though CD’s.

This is a continuing process and it will never end. You can always improvise your time management techniques, as and when you hone your management techniques and skills. There are always plenty of opportunities and chances for further improvisation in your time management skills.