10 Strategies for Increasing Personal Productivity

The Problem

In a competitive marketplace, it’s imperative that you stay ahead of the competition.  Doing so means optimizing your personal productivity.  This means staying focused on the activities that produce the results you want.

The Solution

Here are 10 strategies for increasing your personal productivity.

  1. Review your goals regularly to make sure your work is personally satisfying.
  2. Focus on results, not activity.  It’s not how hard you work, but what you accomplish that counts.
  3. Remember the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of your activities produce 80 percent of your results, while the remaining 80 percent of your activities produces only 20 percent of your results. Make sure you know which activities are which.
  4. Know when your job’s “prime time” is. Those are periods of the day or week that are most productive and provide the best results.  Scheduling your activities during such “prime times” will bring maximum results in the shortest time.
  5. Most people also have their own personal prime times. Those are periods of time they find themselves personally most productive. Whenever possible, try to align your schedule to take advantage of your prime personal times, by tackling those activities that are most difficult when you are to be at your best.
  6. Track your results and review your progress. Know how you’re spending your time. This will help you find ways to make your job more interesting, break-up the routine and take advantage of new challenges.
  7. Stay focused by filtering out the irrelevant. Do this by defining the precise objective of the activity at hand. Periodically ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time right now?” Using this question as a tool will help you stay on track.
  8. After prioritizing your activities, get started. The hardest part of writing a letter is the first line. The toughest part of cold calling is picking up the receiver. So tackle your “A” priorities now.
  9. Do it right the first time. Many people don’t have time to adhere to this principle. However, they always seem to find time to do the task over.
  10. Mentally plan the day before it begins by visualizing what you need to accomplish for the entire day. Research from a wide variety of organizations determined that this practice is one of the most distinguishable characteristics among high performance people. The techniques used may vary from formulating a “to do list” just before going to bed, to planning the day while showering. But, high performers develop the specific discipline of mentally starting the day before the activities actually begin.

Are You a Procrastinator?

Probably the single greatest inhibitor for mastering time is procrastination. It’s a habit that can handicap the best salesperson. Unless you protect yourself against it, procrastination can slowly infiltrate your work habits and undermine your productivity.
The Solution
Use the following 10 techniques to avoid procrastination:
1. Make a prioritized “To Do List” everyday.
2. Do your most important activity first, by having that “A” action item in front of you to start the day.
3. Block out and fully utilize your prime times (i.e., prime time for you and prime time for your customers).
4. Commit yourself to deadlines.
5. Anticipate interruptions.
6. Don’t commit major efforts to minor tasks. Avoid dragging a task out any longer than it’s worth.
7. Complete a task once you start it. If necessary, “tie yourself to a chair” until the project is done.
8. Don’t put off getting started on a large project because it seems overwhelming. Break up the project into smaller, more “do-able” tasks.
9. Keep your long-term goals in mind while working on your short-term tasks.
10. When your attention shifts to something other than the task at hand, you have fallen prey to preoccupation. Preoccupation is a quiet, yet powerful contributor to procrastination. So remember, when you work—actually work. When you play—play. Whatever you plan to do—do it—then move on to something else.
Review the list of techniques and select the one or two that can make the biggest difference in your life. Then, do it!!!