Time Management Strategies For Increasing Personal Productivity

If you could increase your personal productivity by say 20%, what difference would that make to the work you get completed and the success you achieve? With the right strategies and actions it will probably make a huge difference. There are many ways to increase your productivity and the right time management strategies are essential to this process. Being more productive can also leave you feeling more fulfilled rather than feeling dissatisfied when you haven’t completed anywhere near enough each day.

I encourage you to take improving your productivity just one step at a time and continually building on it. Here’s two strategies that can help you with your own productivity.

Prioritizing.

One of the best ways to being more productive is the use of prioritizing. This allows you to see clearly what needs to be focused on rather than just stabbing around in the dark with many different actions that anyway may not lead to the results you desire. Before you carry out any tasks, just take a small amount of time to determine your priorities. These priorities are the tasks that are in alignment with your goals. At a high level you need to prioritize which projects to work on, within these projects prioritize the individual tasks. Then prioritize our daily task list so that the important stuff gets done.

Become more efficient.

Efficiency it about getting tasks done well as quickly as possible. There is often a more efficient way of doing something if we only stop for a very short while to think about and see what that could be. I therefore encourage you to look at your tasks and ask yourself, “what would enable me to get this done quicker?”. It may be that you need to invest in some new tools or equipment, or speak with a colleague and find out how they are able to complete the same tasks quicker than you.

Increasing your personal productivity and making the most of time management strategies helps you to achieve your goals and feel great about yourself.

How to Increase Personal Productivity

As a business owner, it’s impossible not to get overwhelmed or stressed out from time-to-time. Business and family obligations can consume a lot of time. Information overload and technology can be equally distracting. The secret to surviving in today’s fast paced world starts with personal organization.

Get and Stay Organized

  • Eliminate clutter. A clean and pleasant workspace can help you think clearer, maintain productivity and reduce stress. Have a place to store information you need to work on later and file cabinets for important documents you need to retain. If you spend a lot of time looking for stuff you need in order to do the task at hand, then it’s time to de-clutter.
  • Treat time like a budget. You only have so much time in any given day. You likely use a calendar to schedule personal and business appointments. But what about the other tasks or projects you need to complete? Allocate or block off time on your calendar to work on these as well. The simple act of prioritizing your day will give you a sense of purpose and direction – a key to getting more done.
  • Keep a master to-do list. Ideas and tasks that need your attention arise throughout the day. If you don’t write them down, they are often forgotten. Capture tasks, big and small, in one place with due dates as appropriate. It’s the best way to insure deadlines are met and important tasks are completed. Use the list to schedule the most important tasks first on your calendar.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule 15 minutes at the end of each day to clean up your desk/office and plan your next day.

While organization is certainly a key to productivity, here are a few additional tips to help you get more done:

  1. Stop multi-tasking. You may think that multi-tasking saves you time, but the opposite is true. It tends to cost you both time and quality. To learn more, check out the article, The Myth of Multi-Tasking by Christine Rosen, TheNewAtlantis.com.
  2. Be realistic. Tasks often take longer than we expect. When blocking off time, be realistic in terms of what you can control and accomplish in a certain amount of time.
  3. Kill perfection. Trying to do every task perfectly wastes precious time. Not all tasks are created equal. Give your A+ level of effort to really important projects. Settle for less than perfect on others.
  4. Add accountability. While most business owners are self-motivated and driven, managing a business and yourself may cause you at times to lose sight of your goals or get off track. An easy way to fix this is having someone to remind you of your plans and tasks.
  5. Enjoy some ME time. No matter how busy you are, take some time each day to do something you enjoy. A small break to read, grab lunch, or take a walk will increase productivity. It allows you to recharge your mind and body – so you can get back to the work you need to do with renewed energy.

Personal organization requires discipline. Changing behaviors to create a habit takes some time. But the sooner you start, the quicker you get there.

Enhance Your Marketing Through Personal Products Promotion

If you are in sales, great customer service and product knowledge are the basic foundation to your success. These skills will undoubtedly increase your production and earnings over time, but growing your business by word of mouth advertising and through past customers referrals will take time. Adding marketing and promotional products to promote your business will be an effective compliment to expand your business faster.

If you are in the financial or real estate business, after you have completed a transaction and your customer is happy with your service, they may tell their friends and family for a few weeks. Unfortunately, after a few weeks the referrals will likely stop unless you maintain contact with them. A strong marketing and promotional campaign is a vital key to keeping up with your competition. Promotional campaigns use products that have your name, logo, and contact information on them to help you grow your business and develop recognition in your marketplace. When calling on your lead sources make your sales calls more effective and lasting by offering them useful products that will promote your services. Typical promotional products such as: pens, cups, flash lights, tape measures, and stress balls are all useful items in the real estate and financial industries. If you add a promotional campaign to your marketing endeavors, you should be able to lengthen the time your past customers and lead sources promote you and your business, thereby retaining a higher percentage of your past customers.

Promotional items will also assist you in introducing a new services or products that you may want to offer. These new products and services may help you specialize and become more profitable. Becoming an expert in rehabilitation loans, first time home buyer down payment assistance loans, or zero down payment mortgage products and promoting your expertise through marketing and promotional products campaigns will decrease the time needed to capture new business and profits. You can create a marketing promotional campaign to maintain contact with past customers, reach out to new customers at events, or more effectively promote yourself through your sphere of influence. Creating an effective promotional marketing campaign will help you and your contacts spread the news of what you can offer. Promotional items should fit your business needs and can be used as closing gifts, informational pieces, generalized marketing, and employee retention and motivation.

Creating an all-encompassing marketing system should utilize all aspects of personal promotion to reach your lead sources, these include: seminars, product knowledge, outstanding customers service, consistent contact, and retention systems to maximize your efforts. Developing a total marketing plan will enhanced your overall image as an expert and increases the likelihood that they will recommend their connections to you.

How to Manage Time and Energy to Boost Personal Productivity

Are you stuck on the procrastination highway where productivity slows to a crawl and stress uncontrollably speeds up? Why, because you’d rather be doing something else, fear of failure or lack of organization? Or are you procrastinating just because you do not know how to manage your internal productivity clock, organize your energy and focus your attention?

Current research shows an alarming increase in procrastination which has quadrupled over the past 30 years to a whopping 95% of the populations saying they procrastinate at least occasionally. And, 52% procrastinate regularly especially if they are students and 20% of those are chronic procrastinators. The research also goes on to say that most people procrastinate because of one of four reasons: fear – of failure or success, perfectionism, low-self esteem and as an excuse or the blame game.

Unfortunately, procrastination develops into a lifelong habit that follows people right into the workplace and if not corrected inhibits productivity, performance and self satisfaction. It negatively impacts one’s performance in the workplace jeopardizing one’s job, relationships and finances while limiting one’s ability to stay focused and impairing productivity. In the workplace procrastination translates into lost opportunities and time, disorganization and indecision; and at home, lost respect, poor family interpersonal relationships and dependability.

Personal Productivity Matrix

Whether you are among the millions of people that sabotage their future daily or not is less important than learning how to manage your internal productivity clock and your surroundings to improve your personal energy. The following steps are based on the Feng Shui principles of creating balance and a supportive personal environment which will enable you to be more focused and productive.

Manage Your Personal Time Clock

One of the simplest ways to improve your productivity and eliminate procrastination is to manage your internal productivity clock by determining whether you are a morning person or a night owl. A Spanish researcher found that early risers were more likely to be logical and analytical, and likely to use concrete information as sources of knowledge, whereas those that stayed up late were more imaginative, creative and intuitive. It has also been determined that morning people were most productive during the first half of their work day while night people’s productivity did not kick in until much later in the day.

Armed with this knowledge, to be most productive morning people should do their most important tasks in the first several hours of the day such as strategic thinking, writing proposals, contacting important clients, business development, making important decisions and scheduling meetings only for breakfast and lunch. They should not schedule after work or dinner meetings when their peak energy has been depleted for the day. The last part of their day should be filled with less important tasks like updating their social media sites, responding to email and phone calls, research, following up with details for clients and any items that do not require high energy and intense focus.

Night owls should do just the opposite. They should perform the lighter less important tasks in the morning and really dig into the substance of their tasks after lunch when their ability to focus and be productive will be greatly improved. Night owls should schedule their important meetings either late in the day or over dinner when they will be at their best.

To avoid unproductive meetings in the workplace and to maximize the focus of all employees, joint meetings should be scheduled from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm when the morning people are still very productive and the night owls are gaining their productivity and creativity strength.

Manage the Energy in Your Surroundings

Focus and efficiency are keys to productivity. If your workplace environment, whether at home or in a building miles away, is unorganized with no clear workspace available procrastination will become enemy number one instantly and your productivity will drop to zero. The clutter and lack of organization will create great discomfort and eventually overwhelm you until you cannot perform at all – the ultimate procrastination.

Unclutter and organize so 80% of your workspace, desk and desktop are always visible and available for you to begin work immediately. Handle your paperwork, post-it notes and inbox only once – read it, take the appropriate action then keep it and file it or toss it if it is no longer needed. Not only will your focus and productivity rise but your anxiety and frustration will dramatically decrease.

Focus Your Attention

Focus, focus, focus! The more you can focus the more productive and efficient you are and the less stressed and anxious you will be. To maximize your productivity do the most important thing on your list for the day first – not the easiest or quickest to perform but the most important one. If you find it difficult to focus for longer periods of time, take short breaks and get outside into the fresh air for five minutes, take a short walk or drink a glass of water. If the job is too big, break it up into sections you can easily complete in shorter time spans and take a quick break. You will be re-energized and ready to get back to work.

Be sure to turn off all electronic and communication devices while trying to stay focused. They can quickly break your concentration and it can take time to reconnect. Others may find that playing Feng Shui or New Age type music will help them stay in a focused frame of mind and concentrate more easily. Occasionally while focusing on the work at hand, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing getting me closer to my work objectives or what’s best for meeting my personal business goals?” The answer to this question will guide you as to whether you are focused enough and on the right thing.

Set a schedule for your focused time so you accomplish exactly what you set out to do. Do not let yourself get diverted to any other project during that time period. You will be rewarded by your accomplishment and the visible results of your improved productivity.

Procrastination is a huge problem if you let it control you. It is also a huge problem in the workplace where productivity and profitability rule. Shift your thinking about how to perform your daily duties based on what time of the day you perform best and watch your productivity and personal satisfaction speed up on your personal highway to success.

© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2010