We’ve all evaluated our productivity at one point or another. It’s important to make the most of every moment and being productive on a personal level contributes to making every day count. It’s time to move on from ineffective multitasking and poor planning. Let’s look at how to improve your personal productivity.
Table of Contents
- First off, what is personal productivity?
- Why is personal productivity important?
- How can my personal productivity be improved?
- How do I measure personal productivity?
- What are some of the benefits of productivity?
- What are the essential components of productivity?
- What are some different types of productivity?
- What are the characteristics of productivity?
- What are some personal productivity systems?
- What are a few personal productivity methods and techniques?
- How do I make something more efficient?
- What are some personal productivity tips?
- Taking Action to Get Things Done
First off, what is personal productivity?
Personal Productivity is really all about goals and tasks. It could be as simple as journaling each day or specific goals related to your career. It’s thinking about your aspirations and figuring out the most optimal environment for you to get things accomplished. In the end, set some personal goals for yourself and follow through. Take the necessary steps to achieve what you set out to do.
We all have a lot of tasks to accomplish daily, weekly, and even yearly. Personal productivity is how you go about getting those things done and how effectively you complete tasks. It can look different for everyone and personal productivity success can be different for everything as well.
Why is personal productivity important?
We are all looking for results in this life. Results at work, in our relationships, at home, and all aspects of life. Achieving your goals and getting results is directly correlated with personal productivity. The way you go about your day or any process will have a major impact on the results and your success. With high productivity, we are more in control of daily tasks and can free up more time to do the things we’ve always wanted to or have been putting aside.
Personal productivity can help reduce stress and is a healthier way of attacking each and every day. Think about it, if you’re spending a lot of time procrastinating and putting things off it will lead to a lot of negativity. Negativity and feeling worthless lead to stress which will completely impact how efficient you are in completing tasks and life.
How can my personal productivity be improved?
There are many ideas and techniques to help boost your own productivity. A major concept is to avoid multitasking. It might seem like it’s more efficient but, in the end, you are giving less of your brainpower to multiple things instead of all of your focus on one important project. Writing things down and taking small steps at first is also very important to improving. You have to build a base and a system that works for you. Set realistic goals you know you can achieve right off the bat. It goes a long way as you give yourself a boost of positivity as you get going.
A huge key is finding what works for you. There are plenty of ideas and concepts out there but each of us is different. To improve your own productivity you have to learn more about yourself and what gets you going. It’s not a plug-and-play situation. Understanding yourself and what you are looking to do is vital for improvement. Research, ask your friends, and see what others are doing but then find the best way to adjust their techniques to work for yourself.
How do I measure personal productivity?
Measuring your personal productivity comes down to holding yourself accountable. You identify your goals and tasks. Then you can break them down into smaller objectives and evaluate yourself after completing them. This gives you the ability to look at what you’ve accomplished in your day to day and show you how well you are sticking to your goals and plans. If you have trouble with your own accountability, don’t be afraid to discuss what you’re working on and doing with your friends. Give them updates and share your own progress to help keep yourself accountable and on task.
It can also be measured by keeping track of everything you have done and finished. Writing it all down is almost this tangible scorecard of your performance. You can see on paper what you’ve done and where you stack up compared to what you set out to do. If you’re a visual learner it’s a helpful way to see where you are at. It never hurts to write it down and look it over. It can give you a little perspective and help you understand how you got to where you are.
What are some of the benefits of productivity?
Being productive and on task has many benefits from reducing stress to creating more free time. When you are at your most productive you free up more time throughout your day. Finishing tasks and not putting anything off allows you to build up the extra time you use to waste going back to complete projects because you were multitasking or didn’t have a good plan of attack. Also, life is a lot less stressful when you are getting things done. You will see yourself making fewer mistakes because you will be developing an efficient system for accomplishing your goals. A reduction of stress means better mental health while meeting your daily demands whether personal or in your career.
What are the essential components of productivity?
There are a few concepts that are important building blocks for your productivity. First, the ability to strategically plan helps you trim down your goals or tasks to make them more manageable. We’ve already talked about the importance of setting realistic goals and it’s even more important to plan out how to reach them.
Second, remaining focused on one project at a time is essential. We’ve addressed the harms of multitasking and it’s something that can completely ruin your focus causing you to switch between tasks ineffectively. People have been fooled into believing their brain is capable of doing many things at once. Your brain is a very powerful tool but it loses its ability to be effective the more you throw at it.
Third, it’s all about consistency. You will not be very productive if you don’t stick with it and find the right working pace for you. Most people do not accomplish their goals or tasks simply because they don’t stick with them and see it through. As mentioned before, we are all different. This also means the amount of time it takes us to complete goals and tasks will also be different. Just find the right consistent pace that will help guide you into accomplishing what you set out to do.
What are some different types of productivity?
Personal productivity comes in different styles. There are basically four types that can be identified which are the prioritizer, the planner, the arranger, and the visualizer.
The prioritizer is someone who is logical and analytical. They are an efficient worker and make quick decisive decisions. Their strengths are figuring out how important tasks are and solving problems. This productivity type can have some downfalls such as putting value into speed instead of excellent work as well as focusing too much on the details of a project. They don’t waste time with unimportant conversations and get right to the point by asking important questions. What are the facts and what are we trying to accomplish?
The planner is very detail-oriented and organized. They excel at being consistent, keeping data organized, and creating very thorough plans. A planner can tend to value the overall process over the final result. They can also be a little too focused on the plan as they don’t want to deviate from it which creates a lack of spontaneity. Planners’ questions put the focus on how do we get this done? How will we complete the tasks and what steps will we be taking?
The arranger is expressive and collaborative. A real team player who is effective at communicating and aware of how the rest of a team around them is doing. They can value people over the project as well as lose focus on what the end result of the project or goal can be. It’s all about being talkative and focusing on people.
The visualizer is intuitive and a big-picture thinker. They come to a project or goal with an open mind which helps lead to a lot of innovation and creative ways to solve problems. A visualizer can sometimes be too impulsive or lack the ability to plan ahead due to their best work being done creatively at the moment.
What are the characteristics of productivity?
The most highly personal productive people usually have similar traits. First off, they know what’s important and plan out their day accordingly. This allows them to be on track faster and get going. Knowing where your priorities lie has a big impact on how you structure the completion of your tasks and goals.
The best people at personal productivity are organized, disciplined, and willing to learn. As you continue to strive towards your goals, it’s important to keep improving your overall process and plans. While reaching your goals helps to create the best version of yourself, fine-tuning the process of how you get there is just as important. Being willing to work at it is so important and crucial to helping yourself grow on an individual level.
Highly productive people also know themselves. Your personal productivity hangs on how well you know what you’re capable of and what you can manage. This intuition will give you the correct mindset to being very productive on a personal level. Knowing yourself also goes a long way in keeping yourself from comparing your goals and tasks to others. You are accomplishing these things for yourself and it doesn’t matter the pace or how you go about it. The key is to go about it your way and in a healthy fashion.
What are some personal productivity systems?
You don’t have to do it alone. There are several types of personal productivity software that can help you along the way. Here are a few examples.
Trello is a personal productivity workspace with templates to help you build your own system that can help you in different areas of your life. The system allows you to set up boards, lists, and cards with specific details or information about tasks.
Evernote brings together your tasks, notes, and schedule to help you stay organized all day long. The system lets you set up tasks and reminders as well as receive notifications to keep you focused and on track. It’s an easy and convenient way to view and manage all of your tasks.
What are a few personal productivity methods and techniques?
There’s no shortage of techniques and methods to help ensure you are improving your productivity. Here are some different ideas on how to improve your daily routine.
Kanban is a method in which you focus on To Do, Doing, and Done. It’s pretty simple. You create a visual layout and divide tasks into three separate categories. This allows you to understand where you are at with each project or goal so you can focus on what to do next.
A similar concept is the Must, Should, and Want. This method allows you to divide up what you need to do against what types of tasks and goals can wait. You write down your tasks and then go through them again to figure out what category they fall into. Anything that is non-negotiable needs to be handled first.
Next, we have Eating the Frog. This method is about doing the worst things first. You create a schedule and decided where you should start with your goals. AT the beginning of the day, you do the tougher tasks before moving forward to easier ones. It’s perfect for anyone who misses deadlines because they didn’t work on their important goals or tasks first.
The SMART method is a more detailed list of your goals and where they fall. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Timely. Looking at your list of goals and taking the time to figure out where they fall goes a long way to make accomplishing your goals more practical. It’s a good way to strategize and plan your tasks as you move forward.
Time Blocking can be efficient as you divide your day into several different time blocks. With each one, you focus on a specific task or category of tasks. You do not deviate from those tasks until the block is complete. It’s a great way to help visualize exactly what the day is going to look like.
The Weekly Review is all about reflection. At the end of a week, you sit down, think, and reflect. You look back at everything you did in the week prior. Evaluate your productivity, your attitude, what worked, what didn’t, and more. This will help you better understand the decisions you made and how your tasks were or weren’t completed. It also gives you a chance to come up with some ways to improve areas where you fell short.
Single Tasking is the process of eliminating distractions and focusing on one task at a time. Use quick focus sessions to get more done. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and close all those extra tabs you have open in your browser. Lock in on one thing and get it done.
The Eisenhower Matrix uses an X-Y axis to show the difference between your important tasks and your distractions. Plot out your tasks on a big piece of paper with the X-axis showing how urgent the task is while the Y-Axis shows how important the task is. Four quadrants are formed and it shows you exactly what your priorities should be.
The To-Done-List and the To-Don’t List is for if you find yourself wasting your time on what you haven’t accomplished. Switch it up and look at what you have accomplished. Keep track of what you are getting done for a day or two and you’ll be surprised. We tend to let the negativity of not finishing something go to our heads. don’t be afraid to remember and even celebrate all that you are finishing on a daily basis.
Get Things Done or GTD is a way to organize all of those to-do lists and priorities. The system focuses on helping you capture everything you need and clarify what you should be doing. Organize your action items and put them into categories for the most efficient way of getting tasks done.
Biological Prime Time centers on learning about how your energy levels shift throughout the day. Take a period of time and document how you feel throughout the day and your energy level. Assign a grade to the different times of day to understand your natural energy. After your research, plan your day accordingly. You now know when your energy levels are at your best and can structure tasks around this schedule. It’s also a good tool for knowing when to not mess with your natural energy level such as drinking a coffee.
The Checklist Manifesto is as simple as it sounds. Make yourself a checklist of what you want to do and get to work. You can create a detailed checklist that even breaks each task into what you need to do within it and everything in between. The checklist is a good way of eliminating the decision-making process because it’s right in front of you. It frees up your mind to get down to business because there is no figuring out what’s next. Your list guides you right to the end.
There are an endless amount of methods and techniques so we hope you can find something that works for you. Take a look at your personality and the type of person you are to help you better understand what method is going to be a hit.
How do I make something more efficient?
When trying to complete a task there are a couple of different things that help with the efficiency. First, set deadlines for yourself. Know how long a certain task should take and plan to finish it by a certain time. it will help keep you on track. You can also break down a task into smaller tasks. Breaking it up makes it seem much more manageable.
We all forget about taking breaks. When we set out to accomplish something the easy thing to do is go until we are done. This is the main reason many people burn out. Remember to take quick and scheduled breaks. You will be doing yourself a favor and remain fresh as you complete tasks throughout the day. It helps manage stress.
As you get better at completing your tasks you will find shortcuts that are repeatable for several different tasks. It’s helpful to have those in your back pocket as you try to cut down on time. This will allow you to make fewer decisions because you already have a quick process that you know has worked before and it can be easily implemented.
We want everything to be perfect and smooth but we all know that isn’t reality. You have to plan for when things go wrong. It’s important to plan out ahead, have a backup plan, and don’t pack your schedule to the max. You need a little wiggle room for when things can and will go wrong. The extra freedom will help you remain composed and keep stress to a minimum.
What are some personal productivity tips?
There are many ways to help with your personal productivity that are easy to implement and go a long way. Here are a few.
Eliminate all of the distractions. This is a crucial step in a world in which there are an endless amount of distractions. There’s an infinite amount of content on television and the internet to get you sucked into a rabbit hole for hours on end. Take a deep breath and find a quiet place to work. Get the distractions out of the room and focus on your essential tasks.
As important as it is to stick with our goals and tasks, we all need to recognize when we need to step away. This is extremely common if you are completing goals by using technology. You can get so wrapped up in using your computer it can be unhealthy. It’s crucial to know when you should step away from a certain task that is either frustrating or taking longer than it should. Maybe switch it up and get something else that might be a little easier done first before returning with fresh eyes.
Don’t worry if you fail, just keep going. We are all going to fall down at some point. Failing is a part of life. It’s easy to quit but you need to keep going. Every road to success has plenty of stops for failure but it’s okay. You set out to accomplish a task and you can do it.
Writing things down is a great way to stay organized and know what tasks you’ve already completed. It’s important to keep yourself on track and aware of what you’re doing and have done. Bulleted lists are simply to create and can be a major factor in helping you start to knock tasks and goals off of your list.
The morning is a crucial time and sets the entire tone for the rest of your day. Tackle those important tasks right in the morning and set yourself up for a successful day. As the day moves along, you might start to create some inner resistance to your tasks. This is exactly why you don’t want to put off an important task until the end of the day. You are far less likely to complete the task and give it 100 percent of your attention.
We’ve touched on it before, but make sure to start small. Break up your tasks and projects if you have to. No one said you have to complete these massive tasks quickly and right away. Focusing on smaller tasks can help keep your stress level down and build a positive mindset as you start to accomplish more and more of your goals.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Personal productivity doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. You can reach out to friends and family for guidance. See what ideas and methods work for others and find a way to implement them. If you are struggling with getting a task started, talk with someone who is working on something similar or has done it before. There is no point in stressing over how you can’t do something when there is a lot of help readily available for you.
Make sure you set realistic and achievable goals. Missing the mark or not completing a task can be a heartbreaker. We have discussed how you are going to fail and that’s okay. What we don’t want is for your goals and tasks to be so difficult that all you happen to be doing is failing. Set realistic goals with deadlines you know you can reach. These two concepts will help you efficiently work to finish what you set out to accomplish.
When you accomplish your tasks don’t forget to reward yourself. It’s easy for us to forget because if we are doing things alone we don’t think to pat ourselves on the back. Giving yourself a reward is something for you to work towards. It doesn’t have to be anything major but you deserve recognition for getting things done even if it’s coming from yourself. Rewards will help you not only build positivity but also give you time to reflect on how much you are accomplishing.
Don’t forget to eat and fuel yourself. A healthy diet is important for completing tasks and goals. You need food that is going to fuel you and not something for a quick burst of energy. If you want to be as productive as possible you need to be in the right mindset. Eating junk and high-sugar foods will lead to a complete crash when you are working on tasks for longer periods of time.
Know how to guard your time and use it wisely. We’ve all had the day that was completely lost because we dove into something and spent too many hours in it. We didn’t have the foresight to know structuring our time is vital to getting things done. Use a calendar or time-tracking tool if you have to as you understand there is a limited amount of time each day. Make sure you don’t get lost and cost yourself valuable minutes.
Taking Action to Get Things Done
At the end of the day, taking action is what helps you accomplish your tasks. All you need to do is begin. Many people spend days or weeks procrastinating and not taking any steps. Even starting with something simple like a list is a step in the right direction. It’s an action. Also, if you start taking any action you are more likely to continue down that path. Your personal productivity will take a major hit without action. It sounds obvious but so many people don’t get anything done because of a failure to take one simple step.
We’ve gone over several methods, techniques, and tips to help with your personal productivity as you go about your life. It’s important to take advantage of different resources and set realistic goals so you can complete more each day. Take some time to figure out what system works best for you and implement it so you can get the most out of each day. Being productive will free up time and give your more opportunities to do what you want to. No more drifting from task to task or idea to idea. Give yourself the best chance to be productive and accomplish what you set out to do. Research has shown writing down goals and tasks makes you more likely to complete them. Setting up a plan is a great way to get yourself started and turn your personal productivity around. It starts with taking one simple step and taking action to improve yourself.