Personal Productivity Tips – 3 Ways to Improve Personal Productivity

For today’s busy professionals, productivity is everything. With deadlines looming, product launches coming at us left and right, and a never-ending list of work to complete, it’s absolutely essential to get that work done at the right pace, with the right mindset and to the right level of quality.

There are hundreds of methods out there to improve personal productivity, but all too often they involve sacrificing work quality or lifestyle to achieve. These three tips are completely different.

They’re not about churning out bad work at breakneck speed, they’re about maximizing work speed and quality.

Personal Productivity Tip #1: Use mini to-do lists to boost output.

Sometimes you need affirmation and confirmation that you’re getting work done. By writing simple to-do lists for yourself, you can give yourself a visual confirmation of the amount of work that you’ve achieved, and clearly lay out what you still need to complete.

Try it for yourself — simply make a short list of items on a piece of paper and tick them off as you complete each milestone. Try to keep each list under five items, for too many will cause you to procrastinate and put off work.

Personal Productivity Tip #2: Work at your peak hours.

Sometimes we just don’t feel like working. For some people, there’s a daily cycle of activity, work quality, and personal motivation.

Instead of trying to change these behaviors, it’s often best to work with them. Find your peak working hours and work within them to maximize your productivity and output.

Personal Productivity Tip #3: Don’t use too many tools.

There are hundreds of tools out there that promise to increase personal productivity, but very few of them really do.

Sure, you may speed up some aspects of your work, but more often than not you end up investing too much time in the tool to see any benefit.

Pick and choose your productivity aids carefully, and don’t invest too much of yourself in the assistance of productivity tools.

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.

The Definition of Productivity

People commonly understand productivity as a variety of things in a variety of fields. In a business that has closest relations to it, productivity is understood in various ways according to which aspect is studied. (According to the newest report, there are about twenty business-related definitions of productivity!)

The Concepts of Productivity

Most of the concepts have a relation to productivity between input and output to the systems studied. Productivity contains variables as well as other inter-relations within the group to which it belong(machinery systems, factory, office etc).

Also it is considered as the stimulus-response model in which inputs cause outputs. Generally, for the purposes of simplicity, we can understand it as the output divided by the input. But there is still something confusing on the point of this view.

In most fields, productivity is understood as “clearly the relationship between the resources which come to an organization system for a specified time period and the outputs which are generated with the resources generated for the same time period”.

The Variables of Productivity

In factories, for instance, productivity measures which are related to input factors (capital, labor, etc) are insufficient and at times could be misleading.

Input factors may not be studied while being isolated by themselves. Generally productivity improvement in a field is at the expense of the others. In addition, labor as a factor of input may be present in all stages. Moreover, management resources (another necessary factor of input) is not considered in these measures.

But the remaining of these concepts consider productivity as the relationship of input and output related to a system of production. This means that there are organizations working as physical systems with many variables as well as other inter-relations within.

The Objectives of Productivity

Experts Vrat and Sardina said that the people who will carry out measurements of productivity must have three objectives.

Firstly, potential improvements should be identified. Secondly, decisions should be made for reallocating resources. And lastly, it must present how the pre-set goals were determined.

Financial and Performance Productivity

There are some differences between two factors. Based the number of outputs produced, we can calculate performance productivity.

For instance: Company A produces 200 product units in a week, and the next week they are able to reach 220 units. That means the performance productivity has increased by 10%.

In comparison to performance productivity, financial productivity can be grouped by the value of output. Suppose Company X produces 200 product units in the one week as well as the next. And the selling price have raised from 1.00 dollar to 1.10 dollars per unit. Financial productivity has increased by 10%, however there is no increase in performance productivity.

This is sometimes misleading, too. In case the company sells products in 220 item at 1.10 dollars each, and the next week the price has fallen by 9.1%, the sale is still 220 dollars.

From a standpoint of finance, there is not any change even if there are some changes of performance point. (They produce extra 20 items)

So What the Definition of Productivity is?

Until now, managers are not able to determine what the measurements, improvements and definition of productivity. They also cannot define the measurement, improvement, concepts of performance as well.