Defining Personal Productivity

For me, personal productivity means the ability to deliver results when needed, may it be something to your boss or for yourself. Furthermore, the results should be achieved without too much negative stress. How often have you achieved this? Most of us have been truly productive quite seldom. I think that this is something that can be developed, by learning a specific set of six crucial skills. I’ll run them down for you below.

Learning is important for personal productivity. Just think about all the new stuff and things we need to learn, only to keep functioning. If nothing else, the user interface of Facebook has suddenly changed, and you have to learn that all again. Ways to learn more easily include faster reading, using mind maps, and for the more advanced also mnemonics (the art of memory tricks).

Organization skills are also very important, as we are constantly overflowed with new things, papers, and information. Some things we should keep and store, others we should immediately get rid of, or they will just increase the amount of clutter lying around. Personal organization methods can really come handy at such situations. Just think what it means to your productivity,when you manage to find that receipt from 2 months ago within 30 seconds of the situation when you need them.

I see time management as a sub skill to personal productivity. With time management, we refer to the art of keeping your calendar in order, and managing task and email. Good time management also means minimizing the time used for procrastination.

In order to get results, we also have to keep fit mentally. Stress will wear you down, if you are not careful. Luckily there exists practices like mediation, but doing sports and meting friends will do as well. The point is, however, this: even in the most hectic work situations, keep calm. With a stable mind, everything is easier, which leads to increased productivity.

One interesting area is creativity. Our work today if filled with problems, and basically we all get paid for solving them. Can you imagine that there actually exists dozens of small tools to help you on that area? Having creativity handy when you need it, will help you finish that presentation your boss is waiting for, making you both happy. Your boss gets his fast delivery, and you can go home earlier.

Last but not least we have decision making. We all know people who cannot make even the smallest decision, they simply don’t have the guts to do it. What do I say again? There exists tools to help you.

Putting in some effort and studying even little in the areas above will help your personal productivity.

5 Ways to Boost Personal Productivity

Are you always looking for a way to stay sharp, gain an edge and boost your personal productivity? If so you are in the good company of a large percentage of the rest of the population of the planet earth. With so much to do and the list seemingly growing every day we are all looking to increase our personal performance if for nothing more than to just make it to tomorrow.

Increasing productivity starts with getting the most out of what skill sets you already have. With that said here are 5 ways to find the productivity improvement you are looking for by ‘fine tuning’ what you already have.

Start Early

The saying ‘early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ is something many of us are familiar with and it holds much truth. Starting your day early gives you the opportunity to take advantage of your energy level while at it highest. Both the mind and body tend to wear down throughout the course of a day so it only makes sense to be sure to get the most out of both while they are at their optimal levels.

Develop a Fitness a Routine

Along the lines of increasing personal performance a fit body will possess more stamina and ‘staying’ power allowing you to stay ‘sharper for a longer period of time. It is also a well known fact that exercise supplies more oxygen to the brain allowing it to function more effectively. So here is what you get for exercising, sharper brains on a more fit body, what more could you ask for?

Also adopting a regular exercise routine will help you fall asleep quicker at night so that you can wake up early the next morning

‘List Out’ Your Day

Developing a daily list of priorities will help you maintain your focus on completing those tasks you judge as important. Generally just simply listing out your ‘day in advance’ will automatically help you prioritize the tasks on your list. As your ‘to do’ list is being developed you can make any necessary adjustments as to scheduling or changes in your priorities. This is a great way of ‘scheduling goals’ on a daily basis!

Strengthen Your Strengths

Any strength you may have can almost ALWAYS be improved upon! One of the best ways of increasing productivity is to simply get better at what you are already good at. Besides if you are good at something you usually also enjoy doing it therefore you will not mind spending more time on it to make improvements.

Work on Your Weaknesses

To get better we sometimes need to venture outside our ‘comfort zone’ which means taking on something we are not good at. By dedicating just a small amount of time each day to work on some of our weaknesses we will begin to see improvements in these areas over a short period of time. After a while we will get better and more comfortable with these ‘former weaknesses’ which will make it even easier to spend more time working on them.

If you are driven it is only natural and quite commendable to want to boost your current personal productivity. With an ever growing list of demands, finding ways to increase our personal performance is the best way to tackle these new challenges. Developing new talents and skills is one way to find the productivity improvement necessary to meet these challenges. Another more practical approach to increasing productivity however and possibly even easier is to further develop the skill sets we already have. The 5 ways to do this as discussed above focuses more on ways to strengthen or better utilize any current assets we have. In this way we can build upon that which we already know thereby making us better at that which we already do.

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.