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

Using Personalized Products to Market Your Business

In today’s marketplace business owners of every size are looking for unique ways to market themselves. What makes this such a hard undertaking is the fact that finding something unique, affordable and brandable for your business is hard to find. A smart business person would ask, why spend all the money on marketing if you can’t tailor make it for your business. I totally agree and want to give you some guidance in how to use personalized products to market your business. There are two different categories that can be used in this style of marketing. A business owner can personalized a product for the customer or using the product to personalize the business.

All businesses need a customer base to be successful. In the best of times this can be difficult to achieve and maintain. During this economic downturn smart business owners start looking outside of what they already have set up in their marketing campaigns. Thinking outside of the box and looking at other alternatives for their marketing plans.

If a business deals with product a great idea would be to bring personalized items to their customers. This would benefit your customers with products and gifts that are unique and highly sought after.

When looking for marketing or promotion items a company looks for products that are unique enough to capture a potential customer’s interest while still being affordable enough to make the marketing campaign affordable. Having the business name on the product is important and if being able to add what the company represents on the promotional item is an option, its one that will often be opt in too. This branding is something that businesses work hard on and if done successfully will show returns that make a business owner happy. Personalized items bring that branding to your company giving the customer all the information you want them to have plus putting a unique product in front of them with an affordable price tag.

Bringing personalized product to your business arena will benefit you with your customers but also can be used in the office to increase productivity with your staff as well. If you run contests or drives in your office and need a unique product as a reward the benefits of personalized products are the same for staff as for a customer. They can be customized and made for the individual. You can also brand it with the company name, colors, logos and other ways. The same item can also be used but appear to be custom made for each employee. Price point is also an appeal; personalized products are high quality items made special by information for individuals making having a higher expensive perception that what is actually paid.

Personal Productivity – 3 Tips For Personal Productivity Improvement

Need to boost your work output and minimize the amount of time you spend head down in your papers? Every professional wants to improve their productivity, and while thousands invest in tools and strategies that have the potential to help them, few actually see any substantial gains from them.

These three tips are designed to work on the opposite principles of most productivity theories. They don’t force you to adopt behavior that makes you uncomfortable, they encourage you to work to your strengths.

Invest in these tips and you’ll see your productivity increase without the needless expense of your work comfort.

Personal Productivity Guide #1: Ignore external advice or information.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Here I am giving you advice, and you’re supposed to ignore it. However, it all makes sense.

When you’re working, there are hundreds of distractions out there waiting to take away your time.

Allocate yourself time to work and ignore any external information or advice. In the digital age, we’re surrounded by information, and the real key to personal productivity improvement is the ability to distance ourselves from that information.

Personal Productivity Guide #2: Create ‘standards’ for your day.

Need to work four hours per afternoon? Allot that time on your daily schedule, but don’t stop there. Mark down when you’re going to eat dinner, when you’re going to brush your teeth, and the exact time that you’re going to get out of bed.

By forcing yourself to stick to a rigorous schedule in other parts of your life, you’ll find it much easier to focus on work in its allotted time slot.

Personal Productivity Guide #3: Audit your weekly output.

At the end of the day, ask yourself a simple question: “What have I achieved today?” Don’t just stop with the question though, take stock of what you’ve achieved and write it down.

Keep a spreadsheet and make sure that your work output is constantly on the up-and-up. By monitoring your output, you can set simple targets for the coming days, weeks and months of work.

Secrets to Personal Productivity

To achieve optimal personal productivity, one must be aware of himself, the situation as well as the other party. Who are the other party? They can be your co-workers, bosses, director, vendor, etc. in a workplace context. We can also describe personal productivity as an awareness of three things: Me, You and Situation. This is not something special and it had been mentioned in Sun Tzu’s Art of War quote:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

In our modern day context, we are not trying to win a war. We know “war” is too costly (it’s all in the news). The fundamental objective is to achieve personal productivity through understanding ourselves, the other party and the situation. Understanding ourselves involves awareness of our choices of actions, responses, our thinking, self-discipline and exertion of self-control. Strengthening the “me” is our core principle of understanding oneself. Understanding the other party involves awareness of their thoughts, anticipated responses within the given situation. We cannot change the perspective of another person, working styles, life’s need or nor a situation, but what we can do is to prepare our state of mind and body to adapt and handle various situations when they arise. Through this, we can “position” ourselves and influence any decisions and outcome. It goes the same when you enter the wrong “position”, the results are negative consequences.

How does it have any relation with improving personal productivity? Chances of us knowing the other party (or person) and situation dynamics is limited. But we have awareness and control of ourselves. Having being able to control what we can, we then anticipate and influence what is out of our control. Understanding oneself is one part of the equation to personal productivity. To further enhance personal productivity, it is necessary to complete the other half of the equation: understanding and reacting appropriately to other’s behavior in different situations. Sun Tzu’s Art of War quotes have been widely used in the business world. In our context, we bring it a level down to for the purpose of enhancing personal productivity at work.

Throughout the journey of finding productivity (is it work or life) with us, you will find that we begin working on one’s personal awareness and self-control (Me factor). Following through to understanding of the other party (You factor) and handling of situation dynamics (Situation factor). You will find what’s written here able to address your needs, if you have trouble finding personal productivity at work or having a grumpy boss always concerned with your performance. Simple as the concept is, we believed that what we are sharing here will be helpful in your search of personal productivity at work.