Improve Personal Productivity by Knowing Yourself Well

How do we improve personal productivity at work? Recall that personal productivity is an equation of Me, You and Situation? We want to work on the Me factor. Personal productivity starts from the individual’s awareness or as we term it Personal Awareness. Personal Awareness is based on how our mental model works. Your mental model setups mental boundaries, predict the outcome or process of work. Our personal awareness (surrounding the Me) can be characterized into four quadrants.

“I know what I can do” – The most preferred quadrant. Individuals of this quadrant know what they are doing. Know who, what, where, when and how they can do to achieve their objectives. Usually they are confident individuals that are able to predict the outcome.

“I know what I cannot do” – Usually paired together with individuals of “I know what I can do”; Individuals are conscious of their limit of their abilities. This is important as they can identify which type of work is suitable for them and which are above their abilities.

“I do not know what I can do” – Individuals fail to recognize their fullest potential. Their superiors may have identified their untapped potentials but always stumble with the unwillingness of the individual to unleash them. Usually these individuals are resistance to change.

“I do not know what I cannot do” – Ignorance is not a blessing here. Individuals that fall into this quadrant are usually ignorant and over-confident. They fail to see what they can’t perform and usually get themselves into trouble.

Personal productivity starts from understanding your personal awareness. In the four quadrants, by knowing where you are, you can estimate your effort in a task, the time frame committed, the boundaries you are working in, or even further improve personal productivity. Personal productivity is not merely the personal aspect but it can also be achieved at the situational aspect where for example, you are aware of how much effort is required in performing a certain task in a particular situation.

Of course, there is no one straight cut to a specific quadrant. There can be combinations of quadrant and they can deviate in different situations. Now look back the past events that happened at work. Which of the quadrants do you feel you best relate to in how you are aware of yourself and the situation? Were you able to identify that you were able to optimize personal productivity if you were being more aware of yourself or the situation? Have a thought about it! 😉

Apply the 80/20 Rule and Watch Your Personal Productivity Soar

Before we can apply the 80/20 rule, we need a clear picture of what it actually is and a basic idea of where it originated.

In the early 1900’s, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that twenty percent of the people in Italy owned eighty percent of the wealth. Over 30 years later, Dr. Joseph M. Juran, who worked in the field of Quality Management in the United States, recognized a similar occurrence, namely, that many things in life are unevenly distributed.

He referred to this trend as Pareto’s 80/20 Principle, which is otherwise known as the 80/20 rule. Basically this means that a small percentage (roughly 20%) of the overall activity yields a larger percentage (roughly 80%) of the result.

Applying the 80/20 rule to your personal productivity will help you to prioritize your work from most important to least important and then to budget your time accordingly. To make prioritizing your tasks a bit easier, estimate the amount of time you will need to complete each task. You will be more productive if you focus on completing the most important tasks first and if you finish time-sensitive projects before tackling other tasks.

One survey revealed that while people spend 60 hours a week in their offices, they do less than 20 hours of actual work. Applying the 80/20 rule, using the aforementioned suggestions, could send the average office-worker soaring to employee of the month in no time flat!

With your priorities set and a definite plan in place as to what work you need to complete and the time-frame you have to complete it, you are well on your way to improved personal productivity. Again, the 80/20 rule suggests that in a small amount time you can be very productive. Therefore, beware of becoming side-tracked by non-essential intruders like procrastination.

Keep in mind the old adage, “why put off tomorrow what you can do today!” Also, be mindful that in the course of a day, unexpected things do come up and require our time. However, this is usually the exception and not the rule. If you really want your productivity to soar, stay focused on the goal of completing your tasks on-time!

Now that you know where you want to be, it’s a good time to ask yourself where you are now in relation to reaching your goal. Are you already in the 20% of efficient, productive workers, are you in the 80% of not-so-productive workers, or are you somewhere in-between?

What does your annual or quarterly review reveal about your personal productivity? What do your peer reviews show? Regardless of your current standing, take an honest look at the work you’ve done lately. You may not need a full overhaul of your work habits but instead you may just need to fine-tune a few areas.

Don’t hesitate. Why not start today? Apply the 80/20 rule at work and even at home and just watch your personal productivity soar!

5 Ways to Boost Your Personal Productivity

For anyone with a lot of drive and ambition finding ways to improve upon their personal productivity would be of great value to them. In an age where we seem to be required to get more done and in less time the need to increase productivity is even greater. Our lives continue to roll out challenges that can only be met by stepping up our own personal performance. To continue to meet these challenges in a successful fashion therefore will require assistance that can only come from within. These improvements we seek would have to start with certain behavioral modifications.

Let’s look at 5 ways for increasing productivity in our busy lives by tapping into our own inner resources.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

In the pursuit of any chosen objectives always hang onto the mindset that you can and will complete or accomplish your goals successfully. This will help you maintain your drive and an upbeat attitude.

Don’t Procrastinate

Thinking about it is not doing it. Take the necessary actions you need to actually get the job done. The more you ponder an undertaking the more challenging in may become in your mind. This can easily lead to self doubt on your part making your efforts seem all the more difficult or even futile. Just do it!

View Yourself through the Eyes of Others

Your critics are often your best source of self-growth. It is good to have a healthy self esteem however this perception can sometimes hinder our progress in certain endeavors. The need to look outside ourselves and view how the world perceives us is a reality check that everyone needs to take from time to time.

Simply Walk the Walk

Let others brag about their ideas and accomplishments while you quietly go about establishing and achieving your goals. You’ll be more productive and admired this way.

Be Proactive

Don’t always follow the crowd if your instincts are telling you there is a better way to accomplish something. Taking the initiative and possessing the self confidence to ‘blaze a new trail’ is a great way to experience personal growth. In addition it is the only way to determine if your idea will work or not.

As you can see the means do exist for us to increase our personal productivity by calling upon certain inner strengths and disciplines. By slightly rearranging your thinking and attitude you can make significant gains in your own personal performance. Your ability to increase productivity will come from your willingness to exercise these inner strengths and adopt them as your new norm. By modifying your behavior and attitude following the suggestions we discussed above increasing productivity should not be very difficult for you. The inner peace that you will likely experience as a result should help keep you calm and rested to meet the challenges of the fast paced world in which we live.