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.

Tips for Increasing Your Personal Productivity in the Workplace

Today we are considering some tips for increasing personal productivity in the workplace. Productivity is a measure of your efficiency. It is the relationship between your output and your input of time and other resources. Every serious individual engaged in some form of employment, production, enterprise or activity desires to have higher output. You don’t need your boss or poor business results to compel you to improve your productivity. Every working person should do everything possible to increase his or her productivity. But how do you get this done? What are the critical things that come into focus to increase your personal productivity?

  • Time management is paramount in increasing productivity. You should value your time and use appropriate time management tools. Avoid distractions as much as you can. Identify your most productive hours where your energy levels are high, and do the most important work during such times. Diminishing returns tend to set in at some point. Use your downtime productively by identifying good time-fillers. These are activities that are not part of routine but make use of extra time you have. You may for example use such time for reorganization and learning.
  • You need to distinguish between important and urgent things. Not every urgent thing is important. In fact, when you manage around important things, you tend to have less urgency. This is due to the fact that you will have already taken care of the things that may surface as urgent.
  • Make use of the power of focus. You don’t have to, rather choose to. A focused employee can be very productive through the power of choice. You can manage your time and output through self-management. Don’t you think so?
  • Inculcate the habit of discipline and control. You should eliminate bad habits that waste time. Such habits include unnecessary internet surfing, misuse or excessive use of social networks, misuse of phones, outright laziness etc. Delegate as much as you can. Learn how to manage information overload. Is there any senior employee in today’s working world not facing this challenge?
  • Planning in advance and being organized also help boost your productivity. If you are proactive in your approach you tend to be more efficient. The reactive and crisis approach to issues in the workplace breeds inefficiency.
  • Schedule your priorities by putting first things first. Your failure in this aspect can always earn for you rebukes. If you have ever worked with people who never get this right then you know what I’m meaning, don’t you?
  • What about your workstation? Does it enable you to be more productive? The physical organization and arrangement of your workstation affects your productivity. Additionally, the availability of vital resources such as equipment, reference material, appropriate technology etc can increase your productivity. Haven’t you interfaced with people who always blame the tools? If you don’t have the right tools then start by addressing that problem.
  • If you are action oriented you can increase your productivity. You should avoid deferring issues. It is said that procrastination is opportunity’s assassin. Why not develop your personal execution culture and deploy it always while working?
  • Now, people you work with can also determine your productivity. Build excellent relationships and learn how to deal with people. This boosts your morale and improves your productivity. A word of caution however – avoid toxic people and time wasters. Be assertive and you will eliminate the negative elements. If you fear people you cannot improve your productivity, can you?
  • You can also improve your productivity through balanced living. You should address aspects of health and attitude. Balanced living can awaken the high productivity giant within you. Take care of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. You should learn to re-energize through approaches such as relaxation and stress management. These approaches also help avoid job burnout.

Now, if you are not yet making use of all the above tactics then you need to start right away. Don’t you think so? You don’t need to wait any longer.

Do’s and Don’t in Product Designing

In the beginning of the project it was good because the design was clear to all. However, the new design was changed twice which confuses the design team and made them weary of continuing the project. The marketing team pre-printed some brochures though they are worried of the outcome. The sales team found out that they lost commissions, they passed the blame to the design team. When the people in management knew this they gnashed their teeth and in anger rained down memorandums in the company for the reason that their budget is running over.

Sounds familiar right? You might think that functionality is the main purpose of a product but the design of the product also plays a vital role. Although the process in design does not always run well and there are major things that needs to be fixed. The things below are the Deadly Sins of Product Design which you must avoid in order to keep your design beautiful and in line with its purpose:

Tunnel-Vision: Keeping up with a need while creating another one

A good concept in design certainly solves a problem and meets a need. It seems so easy to make a design but the important thing is you have to make one which will not create another problem. An example could be a pair of hedge clippers. Putting a safety lock into the cutters will solve any potential problem. However the user of the scissors should avoid the lock to slip into its original position which locks the scissors so he needs to hold it in a certain way which might not be too comfortable for the user. Be watchful on the design since it greatly affects the purpose of the product.

Glitter: Nice design but costly and impossible to make

Any person that loves designing products wants to have that brainstorming environment where spontaneity and art abound. Making new concepts of design is fun and not a boring one. You can have fun in design making but you need to stick with your goal and that is to make a good design. Generally, product companies go to design firms for the design of their products, however these design firms do not have technical expertise. In the end of it you will find that the beautiful designs that you have made are impossible to produce or they are very costly to make. Thus, it is important to know your budget and resources and use them wisely.

Imperceptiveness: The failure to produce a design that meets the user need.

The user should be comfortable of the design of the product. See ergonomics as well as human factors and study on how your product will be used by the users. Learn to know the requirements of the user. Ask the users to know what are their thoughts of the product. You need to study how will the user go with the product and note the efficiency of the product with each use. The method is good specially when you are planning to redesign a product or make a competitive product in the market. Good designs are those that have good aesthetics which users admire but actually they do not know about its efficiency. If the product will be more on design then it will result in the frustration of the user and the product will be short lived. Make your designs simple so that you can make the functionality of your product at its fullest.

Safety: A mixture of ideas for users safety

You will find many kinds of great ideas on the market but if you want to outshine those ideas you have to be unique. Stun the consumers with your great stuff that you made for them. Prior to making a new design for your product, analyze first the competition in the market. Make your research and know the likes and dislikes of the users who use that particular product and find ways on how you can make the product better. Add some features from other industries and create some ideas to make your product more appealing. See what are the trends in the industry right now and know how you can incorporate your ideas to come up with the next-big-thing. Show the consumers on how well your product is over the competition in the market.

Transience: Designing for today and for the future

If you get the current condition then its fine to make a design for the present. But come to think of the products that changed the world since they were not only made for the present but also for the future such as cell phones, coffee makers, computers, etc. If you want to make a good design then you need have to see the future. Do not be contented with your present good, look for ways on how you can improve your user-product interaction. Think 5 years from now and figure out what would it be. What could be the changes in the user requirements during that time? Where else can be your product be used? Can your product be used for a new purpose? Is there new technology available for your new design?

Egomania: Designing only for the sake of the design

The problem with search for ways to make our design good is that we want to make it look cool and fix those points but really not solving the problem. You need to meet the need first before going to the design. You will have the design as you continue to develop your product. You might find great designs as the one that equates to the success of the product but true success of the product means the product meets or exceeds the user requirements.

Distraction: Fixing the wrong problem

Designing a material needs time to come up with a unique art. However, you need to have control from your fluidity. Usually as the design of the product evolves, there are things that are discovered and things are fixed. This is the most useful part in the process of creation-but you have to use this well. You need to focus your attention always to the original design scope. Do not let your design affect the functionality of your product else you will not end with your product. Return to roots of it and ask yourself why the design is needed for the product. Let’s take for example the new air actuated corkscrew. What the designers have discovered was the problem is not the design of the corkscrew but how to get the cork from the bottle. Rather than making a new cork screw the designers just made the air pump corkscrew to solve the issue. By that example, we can learn that the wise thing to do is to be simple in our designs.