How Planning Will Improve Your Personal Productivity

Have a look at the way you work. Do you arrive at your desk with only a vague idea of what you are going to be doing for the rest of the day? On the other hand, do you arrive at your desk with a neat list of 47 things that you must do today because they are number one priority? The third option, is to arrive at your desk, drink your coffee and wait for the phone to ring to tell you about the first crisis of the day.

If this describes you, then you have a problem. It is extremely likely that you will go home at the end of the day tired and unfulfilled. The first description involved no planning. If this is you, then you are setting yourself up for a hard day and an unproductive day. In this situation you will be reactive, not pro-active. In a reactive situation is very hard to be productive because you are at the mercy of other people. Their lack of planning becomes your crisis.

The second situation where you have a neat list of 47 things to do, is totally unrealistic. You won’t finish them all during the day but you will add to them. Even if you put them into priorities, sooner or later the lowest on your priority list will become the highest.

The third situation is the worst. Think about it. It phone didn’t ring, you wouldn’t do anything. This is the ultimate in passive working. At the end of each day you go home exhausted and wondering what you achieved. In reality, you put out a lot of fires. It is amazing, because the people who are good at putting out fires-get lots of them to put out. This means that anyone who has a crisis will call up and ask for help. You are employed to be active and to contribute. Being passive and not planning is giving your employer a bad deal.

How about you try this. Sit at your desk and make a list of the five most important things to do that day. Start off with the hardest and progress through. If, at the end of the day you have not finished your five most important tasks, carry over what is left for the following day and let that be the basis of your list for that day. Alternatively, do your planning at the end of the working day so you come in the following day knowing exactly what you are going to do. This will get you off to a flying start.

Personal productivity is a pro-active activity not a passive one. You will get more fulfillment, more pleasure and be less tired the more productive you are. If you are not planning to be productive, you won’t be.

Time Logging to Increase Your Personal Productivity

Has it ever occurred to you when you look back on your day or week with a feeling that you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted? Your time is your most precious asset, especially when establishing your career or business. Proper use of your time can help you do more and even earn more. An intelligent approach to increase your personal productivity is by time logging.

Time logging is a good way to better manage your time since you know how you are currently spending your time. When keeping a detailed time log, record the time each time you start or finish any activity all throughout the day. You can simply use a stopwatch to record the intervals for every activity, doing this during your working hours or the entire day. Then, sort the time into categories and determine how much time was being spent for each type of activity.

For instance, note how much time you eat, surf the Internet, read the newspaper, spend in the bathroom, etc. If you want to be more detailed, consider doing this step for a week. Depending on your activities and your consistency, you can be surprised at how many log entries you can make for a day. Moreover, you may even be surprised to find that you are only spending a small portion of your working time on what should be considered as actual work.

Studies show that an average office worker spends only about 1.5 hours of actual work in a day, with the rest of the time spent engaging in non-work tasks. In fact, s/he does not eve begin doing actual work until at 11am and starts to wind down at about 3pm.

Your time log should help you analyze your results and make changes, when necessary.

The next step is to measure your personal efficiency ratio. This can be computed by recording the time spent on “actual work” divided by the total time spent “at work.” However, you should keep in mind that while it is important to get as much of the job done as possible, it would also be foolish to work longer than you should. You may want to consider cutting back on the total hours to boost efficiency.

If you try to discipline yourself by doing something that does not really motivate you, chances are that you are most likely to fail. Trying harder can, in fact, actually de-motivate and drive your efficiency ratio even lower. For instance, if your time log indicates a low efficiency ratio, try limiting your total working time per day and see the result.

This is because when the brain recognizes that working time is limited, it sends you a signal to get working. Usually, you will find a way to get the job done and be more efficient with time constraints compared to having the luxury of time. Then, you can gradually increase your total hours at work while keeping peak efficiency.

Time logging is a great way to ensure peak productivity without necessarily increasing your work hours. It only takes little effort and time to do it, but it can produce long term benefits.

Improve Your Personal Productivity by Careful Goal Setting

Setting goals is one of the most important activities that you can possibly do to raise your personal productivity. By having a predetermined end result you will find that your day-to-day activities will be much more focused. Once you’ve got a goal, you can instantly assess whether or not your current activities will contribute towards the achievement of it.

For example your goal may be to improve the productivity of your section by 13% in the next five months; acquiring five new customers every two months; being promoted to the next level before the end of the year or finishing another two papers in the next six months.

There are certain attributes that are contained within effective goals.

The goal must be demanding. This is the most important quality of the goal because it motivates us to do our very best. You’ll be surprised that when you set a demanding goal how easy it is to exceed it. It’s sometimes very easy to set lower goals.

The goal must be achievable. On the other hand, don’t make your goals unrealistically high because this will only lead to disappointment and frustration. This may cause you to give up. Goals that clearly cannot be reached, will destroy your morale and with it, your motivation.

The goal must be specific and able to be measured. If you have a vague goal you will never know when, or even if, you have achieved it. A goal such as, “To read more” is of little value. It is not a measurable goal because it doesn’t state how much you are going to read and what you were going to read. If you state your goal in the form of, “I am going to read the daily paper every day before going to work” it is much more specific and it is easy to measure. When you have a specific goal you have something to aim at and an easy way to know if you have succeeded.

The goal must have a deadline. The goal without a deadline does not provide the motivation to take it seriously. The deadline is an important function in goal setting. It provides a sense of urgency as well as a way of tracking progress. A deadline also puts the goal in context with the rest of your activities. These elements greatly increase the chance of the goal being achieved.

The goal must be written down. If you don’t write down the goal, you are not utilizing the well-known fact that we remember things that we write and say rather than the things we think. All serious goal setters write down their goals, tell other people about them and keep them visible so they can see them frequently.

The Rising Popularity of Personalized Products

Personalized products are now more popular than ever before. Personalized t-shirts, kitchenware, hats, golf clubs, food- you name it and it’s likely been personalized. The trend is not new, however- the desire to own something unique and true to the person has been a part of our society since the advent of modern-day advertising. What we are starting to see now is something new, exciting, and yes, very, very personal.

These days, consumers are looking to personalize nearly everything they buy. In 2005, Proctor and Gamble created a revolutionary new line of customized beauty products known as ‘Reflect,’ which introduced over 10,000 different shades of lip gloss, lipstick, eyeliner and cover-up. The promotional website that was set up immediately drew more than one million visitors to their website. Possibly with the realization that production of the product would not meet the demand, the idea was scrapped. Though personalized make-up didn’t make the market, a new trend towards personalized products have hit the mainstream, while marketers and production designers are brainstorming new ways to make even the most mundane and everyday products… well, personal.

The trend towards the personalized comes from consumers who are more interested in purchasing products that are ‘non-traditional.’ People are looking for new ways to express their individuality and uniqueness, and thanks to the state-of-the-art digital printing press, products are now being made with personalized text, borders, graphics and photos. Personalized products were once thought was largely impossible or difficult and expensive to produce has now been transformed into a ‘do-anything’ motto by marketers and vendors to get the products out there and available.

The types of personalized products that are available is a list that appears to endless, all the while expanding to heights that even product marketers have not seen or predicted. Consumers can now buy personalized chocolates, floor mats/rugs, holiday decorations, luggage, photo albums and flip-flops. There is also a trending market for personalized children’s books, where the youngster, thanks to digital technology, can now become the main character in their favorite story or nursery rhyme.

The goal of the average consumer who shops for and purchases personalized products is to get across a message, either for the sake of themselves or for the benefit of a gift recipient. With a growing population and a shrinking market for what was once considered stylish, the trend towards personalization will grow as consumers continue to seek out the authentic, the unoriginal and the peculiar.