In order to be successful, we must first learn how to be productive.
Have you ever wondered how you could increase your personal productivity? I know I have. In fact, I’ve made increasing my personal productivity an ongoing goal of mine.
Actually, once I started reaping the benefits of personal productivity, there was really no going back.
Or maybe you simply wish that you could accomplish so much more throughout the day? Or perhaps you’ve felt as if you’ve been busy all day and haven’t actually accomplished ANYTHING?
If so, you’re not alone. And fortunately, you CAN improve your productivity and get rid of unproductive busyness – and it’s a lot easier than you think. Here’s how…
Tips and strategies on how to increase personal productivity
There are several techniques that you can use to increase your productivity. However your dedication to these strategies will all come down to how much you value and appreciate your time.
For most persons, increasing their personal productivity will take significant effort and dedication.
However, these tools should not be considered inflexible mandates, but rather flexible guides on how to boost your personal productivity.
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Personal Productivity guideline:
1.Increase Personal Productivity by setting clear goals
Let’s face it, trying to figure out where things are and what to do next leads to so much frustration and loss of your valuable time.
As such, to get started on increasing your personal productivity, work on developing a system that works for you.
Firstly, make sure you have a plan for each day, week, month or year. Your tasks should be connected to your goals and to your vision.
So, get your calendar and start filling it out. Self-discipline is essential to your success. Use this link to discover 6 essential ways to build self-discipline.
Investing the time to discover the best strategies to substantially increase your personal productivity may be your greatest Return-On-Investment.
“Simplicity boils down to two steps: identify the essential, eliminate the rest.” – Leo Babauta
2.Boost your productivity by getting organized
Organizing your time and space will minimize distractions and substantially boost your personal productivity. Thus, work on ensuring that your designated workspace is as clean and organized as possible.
Physical decluttering includes putting things away, finding a specific place for everything, and keeping your desk and environment as clear as possible.
Also, make sure that you are estimating the time for task completion accurately to ensure that you don’t need to keep getting reorganized.
3.Always have a To-Do List
Having a ‘To-Do’ list has been proven to be beneficial. In fact, not having to worry about remembering unfinished tasks frees up the brain.
Essentially, it eliminates the cognitive burden which will otherwise usually persist until the task is fulfilled. Additionally, crossing off the items on your ‘To-Do’ list will increase your motivation to move on to the next task.
However, don’t only focus on what you have left to do but also on all you’ve done.
There are lots of free and paid to-do apps available. However, whether it’s electronic or the good ole pen and paper, create your list and prioritize your goals.
Itemize larger more complex tasks into simpler ones to help you overcome the overwhelm of sizeable projects.
These simpler tasks will have shorter deadlines and help to keep you inspired. This will also help you to realize just how much you’re accomplishing.
4.Prioritize to boost your personal productivity
Many persons may be prone to putting off more challenging tasks and only prioritizing the easier ones until they really don’t have much of a choice.
As such, I’d recommend that you start separating your tasks based on urgency and importance. You should also consider using a timer if possible.
Concentrate on activities that make the biggest impact. Get started even if you don’t feel motivated. Learn to master the art of focus.
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”– Stephen R. Covey.
Prioritize challenging activities for when you’re most alert and receptive. You should also consider implementing the ‘two-minute rule.’
Essentially, for activities that require 2 minutes or less, you can just complete them and get them out of the way.
It’ll be must faster to complete these ASAP then to schedule for another time. However, don’t let this be an excuse to delay more challenging tasks.
As such, if you choose to implement the ‘two-minute rule’ I’d suggest that this be done at a specific time or if these short tasks are related to the current activity that you’ve prioritized.
5.Eliminate unnecessary activities to become more productive
If you’d like to take your personal productivity a bit further, I’d recommend making a ‘Not-to-do’ list. And, if an activity doesn’t make you happier, wealthier or healthier you should consider adding it this list instead.
The productivity matrix in the photo above will be very helpful with this. Basically, once you separate your activities based on importance and urgency.
The activities that are not urgent nor important will be excellent candidates for your not-to-do list. Additionally, negative, unproductive behaviors and patterns should be added here as well.
Often, less really is more. Your focus and energy levels will thank you.
Undoubtedly, we keep getting more and more distracting stimuli. As such, beware of the amount of time you spend on social media, tv, unnecessary meetings, excessive socializing and unnecessary emailing etc.
However, once you realize how important personal productivity these distractions tend to become much less enticing.
6.Saying no is essential for improved personal productivity
Learn to say no to tasks that are not aligned to your goals, particularly those that will rob you of the time you need to dedicate to your career and personal development.
Saying “yes’ all the time may likely cause you to overcommit. Inevitably, the quality of your work will be affected. It may also prevent you from taking on more meaningful activities (Schrager & Sadowski, 2016).
Saying ‘no’ will provide more opportunities to not ignore the other important aspects of your life. Be guided by your goals.
Start practicing and learn to overcome the guilt of saying no. If you’ll really struggling to say no at least say “you’ll check your calendar” until you muster up the nerve.
7.Find opportunities to maximize your effort/time
Maybe you’re travelling or doing tasks, find ways to maximize the time by simultaneously working on building relationships or listening to some music or podcast to boost your personal or professional life.
In number 10, I discuss the disadvantages of multitasking. So please note that this strategy is advisable for tasks that are less mentally taxing.
For instance, consider reading when you’re waiting for an appointment or food. Additionally, find ways to reuse/maximize the work you’ve already done.
“Minimalism is a tool to eliminate life’s excess, focus on the essentials and find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom.” – Melissa Camara Wilkins
8.Being a perfectionist may affect your personal productivity
Perfectionism can cause you to constantly keep adding, editing, and updating your work.
Unfortunately, this practice may lead to procrastination since you’ll often end up putting off submitting projects until the deadline. Consequently, you’ll have less time for other activities.
Although setting high standards for yourself is definitely not a bad thing, you need to start realizing when you are simply setting the bar too high and are having unrealistic expectations.
Know that always preventing errors is unattainable. Personally, this is something that I need to constantly keep reminding myself of.
9.Delegate and outsource to boost personal productivity
Know that you will need to walk away from some activities for you to be able to really focus on the ones that only you can or should do.
You need to realize that other persons are capable and often will be happy to participate and start trusting them to get the job done. Thus, consider delegating the activities that are urgent but not important.
10.Stop multitasking to increase your personal productivity
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking can be counterproductive. As such, try to focus on one activity at a time until it’s completion and avoid doing multiple activities at the same time.
This doesn’t mean that you should never multitask. However, when it comes to challenging activities that require a lot of concentration and persistence, you’d be much better off sticking to just one job.
Switching activities make it so much harder to actually get anything completed.
This included simultaneously doing other activities that are also important but not urgent.
Admittedly, music does improve mood and creativity. However, in many instances, music can be distracting and may make it harder to absorb and retain information.
Of course, a lot depends on the type of activity and the genre of music but that’s definitely something you should keep in mind.
If you know that you’re going to break out in a song or dance party during the middle of the project, it’s best to leave the music for another time. Know yourself and your weaknesses.
11.Take care of your health to increase personal productivity
Exercising, sleeping and eating healthy will improve your physical and mental capacity. A healthier body is definitely a healthier mind. It’s hard to concentrate when you’ll tired and stress.
Tasks become more tedious and may take twice as long to complete. Taking care of your health will substantially increase your attitude and personal productivity.
For more information on how to boost your health and well-being and enhance your personal productivity be sure to visit these related posts:
Physical self-care activities to practice daily.
Spiritual tips for self-care to boost your health.
Psychological ideas for self-care to transform your life.
12.Relax to boost your personal productivity
To be more productive, it’s essential that you get rid of negative feelings. Never underestimate the power of a cleared mind.
This will help your thoughts to be more organized and you’ll be able to work at your full potential.
When you’re refreshed, your productivity soars. As such, make sure that you take regular breaks and prioritize relaxation. Your creativity will flourish once you find ways to overcome confusion and anxiety.
“Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is rest.” – Mark Black
13.Minimize distractions to improve personal productivity
To increase your personal productivity, work on minimizing interruptions, especially for the activities that require lots of concentration. Firstly, try to reserve specific blocks of time for these activities only.
Further, make others aware of your commitment and your need to avoid distractions. Remember that interruptions can be internal as well.
So try to keep you mind as focused as possible on the task at hand. This reinforces the value to taking time to recharge and having a ‘to-do’ list.
Minimizing interruptions may also include working at times when you’re less distracted.
For instance, starting your day earlier, when less persons are awake. Sometimes, simply turning things off goes a long way.
Make a list of the things you’d like to stay away from completely. Schedule the others for a specific time interval.
Maybe towards the end of the day, when your energy and concentration levels are usually decreased.
14.Don’t be monotonous to boost personal productivity
Completing similar activities in blocks may be beneficial. However, sticking to one type of activity for an extended period may affect your concentration and you’d probably end up feeling uninspired or downright bored.
As such, when you’re setting your schedule try to implement blocks of similar tasks but include different types of activities throughout the day.
15.Have a dedicated work space to increase personal productivity
Having a dedicated work-space, especially for tasks that are more challenging and mentally demanding, will put you in the mood to work.
This will encourage consistency, speed and help you stick to your routine.
However, it’s also important not to make yourself too comfortable.
For instance, standing while doing some jobs will usually lead to faster completion.
This certainly doesn’t mean that you should stand all day. But it’s definitely something to think of implementing when possible.
Understand your work habits and focus on the little things that increase your personal productivity.
“Productivity is never an accident, it is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” – Paul J Meyer
16.Get the right tools or skills to boost personal productivity
There are several tools and resources that can significantly increase your productivity.
Even though some of these may be an additionally financial requirement, they will likely be well worth the investment.
As such, when possible, consider switching or adapting to faster, more efficient equipment.
Use technology to your advantage. Also, continue pursuing the skills you’ll need to improve your efficiency.
Study and surround yourself like-minded, successful people to keep you motivated.
Subconsciously you’ll start modelling that productive behavior.
17. The rise of AI
In this digital age, artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing productivity.
Of course there are ethical considerations, but there’s no denying the power of AI. So, you might as well embrace AI and use it to supercharge your workflow and achieve more in less time.
Consider using AI for automating those repetitive tasks, enhancing communication and improving decision-marking.
Here are some activities that can be enhanced by AI tools: Virtual Assistance, Smart email management, project management and collaboration, intelligent scheduling, personalized news and content curation, workflow automation, language translation, data analysis, intelligent notetaking and voice recognition and dictation.
30-step personal productivity challenge
Here’s my 30-step personal productivity challenge for you. I can guarantee that you’ll reap some amazing benefits if you stick to the challenge.
- Wake up and start your activities earlier.
- Define all your goals.
- Create your to-do list.
- Break larger tasks into smaller ones.
- Create your not to do list.
- Organize your tasks based on priority.
- Set your deadlines and stick to them.
- Spend the first two hours when you’re alert on your most challenging/ unpleasant activity.
- Delete unnecessary subscriptions.
- set a designated time for nonurgent phone calls and emails.
- Mute the notifications once you get started on other priorities.
- Find some activities to delegate or delete.
- Avoid multitasking.
- Stick to tasks until their completion.
- Get enough rest and schedule breaks.
- Get some exercise and fresh air.
- Start saying no to new activities that are not aligned to you goals or vision.
- Declutter/Create a workspace.
- Start timing yourself and consciously try to do your tasks faster.
- Research other tips/resources to be more efficient at your specific craft.
- Schedule blocks for similar activities.
- Complete tasks that take very little time all at once.
- Make others aware of your commitment to personal productivity and that may mean you’re not always immediately available.
- Give yourself a timeline to make decisions.
- Get a specific goal for each day, even the weekends.
- Reward yourself for meeting deadlines.
- Document your achievement.
- Stop being a perfectionist by acknowledging and challenging your inner critic.
- Get a plan for your dead-time.
- Make a realistic personal professional development plan and visualize your success.
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How does being a perfectionist affect my personal productivity?
Perfectionists often have high standards for themselves and their work. As a result, they can be very detail-oriented and work hard to ensure that everything is just right.
While this attention to detail can be beneficial in some situations, it can also lead to problems.
For instance, perfectionists may spend so much time focusing on small details that they fail to see the big picture.
This can make them less productive overall, as they can get bogged down in the details and fail to make progress on the task at hand.
Additionally, perfectionists may have difficulty finishing tasks because they are never quite satisfied with the results.
They may keep making changes or trying to improve upon their work, even when it is no longer necessary.
This constant striving for perfection can lead to frustration and decreased productivity. Read more reasons why being a perfectionist is bad.
Final words on how to improve personal productivity
You now know everything you need to know about personal productivity. And if you follow all the steps outlined above, then you will get amazing results.
I’ve been actively implementing these steps myself and can attest to the numerous rewards,
If you’re wishing and hoping to be more productive, it’s time to make the decision to commit to improving your personal productivity.
However, these tips are not meant to be burdensome so don’t be too hard on yourself. Start by figuring out what’s desirable and achievable.
Then, work on creating the optimal resources and environment to get you there.
Even if the progress is minor, keep learning, refining, and adapting. Are you convinced that investing in your personal productivity is worth it? What’s holding you back?
What productivity tips do you find most useful? Let me know in the comments below.
Why do I procrastinate?
Are you one of those persons that have convinced yourself that procrastination is good because you work better under pressure?
I’ll admit, the adrenaline rush will likely make you work much faster. And it’s certainly a skill to be able to concentrate and perform well, without numerous errors, when you have very limited time.
But, is it really worth it, especially if you’re deliberately putting yourself in such situations time and time again?
After all, like many things that adrenaline rush also has it’s downsides. And so does procrastination. Procrastination is
Some of the other common reasons for procrastinating include:
(1) Feeling stressed
(2) Lack of passion or excitement for the activity
(3) Other activities are more enticing
(4) Lack of confidence in your output.
Since immediate rewards are often more valued than future ones, breaking your tasks into smaller ones and finding immediate consequences for your actions will help you avoid procrastination.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
How to build self-discipline?
Self-discipline is the engine that will propel you to achieve your goals. Discover 6 essential ways to build self-discipline and start living a more fulfilled, successful life. Read more
Schrager, S., & Sadowski, E. (2016). Getting More Done: Strategies to Increase Scholarly Productivity. Journal of graduate medical education, 8(1), 10–13. https://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-D-15-00165
Vardhman, R., (2021) 21 Remarkable Productivity Statistic,
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