One of the biggest personal productivity challenges is reaching a consensus on what it means to be productive. Everyone wants to have better performance and performance in their daily tasks, do more in less time, or be involved in several projects simultaneously without exhausting themselves in the attempt. Now, the question is, is that what personal productivity is all about?
Productivity is a term that has always been related to the concept of success; That is why it is not surprising that it adopts a different meaning for each person, depending on the intimate and personal perception of what success means. In this sense, it is common to see productivity as the Everest that everyone wants to climb, both business and personal.
A Definition of Personal Productivity For Consensus
To talk about productivity, we must first define what efficiency is. Efficiency is the ability to perform or fulfill a function properly, achieving the best relationship between the resources used and achievements—the fewer resources to accomplish the same objective, the greater the efficiency.
So, personal productivity is the consistent efficiency with which important tasks for a person can be completed. And so another important concept enters time. The saying goes well, “time is money,” and yes, without a doubt, time is the most precious asset of modern society, so making the most of it becomes the ultimate goal; for this reason, productivity becomes a key factor.
Achieving personal productivity is having an organization and planning system that allows the fulfillment of goals and expectations. To achieve this system, self-knowledge plays a fundamental role since it will enable us to understand individual skills and processes to find the way and the tools that help to maximize them.
The Reason Why Talking About Productivity Became So Important.
Productivity is a topic that seems to be fashionable, and it is talked about at the business, group and individual levels. It has become a fundamental element, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, when companies found it necessary to be agile and flexible to adapt to change.
However, it goes beyond a trend for companies to understand if people are more productive working remotely or from offices. Productivity is closely related to well-being. The satisfaction of crossing off every item on your to-do list for the day, or finishing a project early, creates a sense of happiness.
Personal Productivity And Mental Health
Although productivity is one of the key indicators for most companies, it is not as cold a concept as one might think. On the contrary, although it can be expressed in numbers, the truth is that very human and sensitive factors influence it.
People who perceive themselves as productive are also associated with wholeness, security, confidence, and balance. On the other hand, a person who begins to have problems with his productivity is a sign that something may be wrong with his mental health; It is proven that the more stressed a person is, the less productive they will be.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identified that every dollar that a company invests in the mental health of its employees becomes 4 dollars of improved health and increased productivity.
Mental health, as well as physical health, is a determining factor for productivity. That is to say, a person who has an ailment or discomfort will have lower performance because they will perform their functions in a limited way; the same will happen with a person who does not sleep well or who needs psychological attention.
Habits And Personal Productivity Go Hand In Hand.
There is no magic formula to achieve personal productivity. Still, a secret can be of great help: productivity is not achieved overnight, and rather, it is a matter of perseverance or, in other words, to form healthy habits.
Each habit is a piece of the gear of human behavior. Therefore, establishing conscious habits and being oriented to the achievements you want to achieve is a way to cultivate productivity.
Habits are something inherent to each person. However, acquiring new habits or leaving those that may be counterproductive is not easy. On the contrary, it is usually a real challenge, and there is the first barrier to reaching the top of the Everest of personal productivity.
How To Learn And Unlearn Habits to Achieve Goals
Habits are generated by repetition. Therefore, establishing routines is the best way to create patterns that last. Although it sounds easy, it is clear that it is not. Thus, self-knowledge comes into play again, to be aware of current habits, and identify which ones should be changed or acquired to promote personal productivity.
Other tips for acquiring habits are:
- Get rid of limiting thoughts, such as “I can’t” “I don’t have time,” among others.
- Break habits into small goals. For each purpose, establish an activator that, when you see it, generates action and a reward that generates satisfaction if you meet the goal.
- Connect with the greater purpose to maintain consistency.
- Focus on daily achievements and celebrate each victory.
- Do not give up and resume the plan if the objective is not achieved.
Habits To Increase Personal Productivity
To establish the habits that will allow you to increase personal productivity, the first thing is to visualize what a productive day would be like. This includes imagining what tasks or actions you would have that day, what feelings, emotions, and thoughts would be associated with that day, and what your work pattern should look like to achieve it. This exercise will allow you to determine the habits that work best to achieve that perfect productive day and adopt the ones that best fit the profile and personality of each person.
Kanban Methodology For Personal Productivity
Kanban means sign or card in Japanese, and it is widely used in Project Management, as it is a visual symbol that helps trigger an action. It is ideal for planning and personal productivity. It consists of organizing tasks on a board with three columns, and the first will be “To do,” the second “In progress,” and the third “Completed.” This allows you to have a complete view of the day’s responsibilities and how they are being completed.
I don’t Believe In Multitasking.
Focusing on one task at a time is a great way to be more efficient and achieve goals faster. Multitasking can trigger unfinished tasks or even duplication of processes because projects are not carried out optimally.
Prioritize To Win
Organizing tasks in order of priority helps to focus on what is truly important and daily plan activities to have better control of functions. One way to prioritize is to separate them into categories, according to the MoSCoW method, for example:
- I must have it: these tasks are essential, and those with the highest priority, therefore, should not be postponed.
- It should have it: they are in the second place of importance, and it is important to carry them out once the previous ones are finished.
- It could have: they are done whenever possible because doing them doesn’t affect other tasks.
- I would like to have it: they are those tasks that you would like to carry out but can be put aside if you do not have enough time.
Personal Productivity is Going From More To Less.
The most complex tasks are the ones that tend to be postponed the most. To increase personal productivity, you have to reverse the formula. It is advisable to use the first hours of the working day to do the heaviest tasks, and those least enjoyed. This method allows you to take advantage of the moment of the greatest concentration of the day since the mind is more rested. Otherwise, they will take more time than desired.
Moments of Maximum Concentration
Distractions are great enemies of personal productivity, and having moments of maximum concentration is the main barrier for most people. One trick to achieve this is to set time intervals where no interruptions are allowed. The recommended time is 25 to 30 minutes. During this period, cell phone notifications, email, social networks, and other applications that are not necessary for the development of activities should be suspended. If necessary, you can have a private or closed space, which allows you to distance yourself from the environment during those minutes.
Identify The Moments of Maximum Productivity.
The UK Economic Research Council study found that the average British worker was only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes each working day. Throughout the day, productivity and concentration vary. The most energetic time of day is in the morning for many people, and for others, it is at night. Identifying at what time of the day you have the peaks of concentration and energy will help increase productivity.
This also applies to the days of the week; some people may feel more impetus at the beginning of the week, others in the middle and others at the end; identifying those days allows you to plan the week’s tasks more efficiently. Likewise, some energy boosters can help you achieve greater personal productivity, such as exercising first thing in the morning, having a healthy snack, doing 5 minutes of meditation or stretching.
Constant meetings, excessive workload, involvement in multiple projects or unrealistic deadlines are all elements that can harm productivity. Therefore, it is important to establish clear limits when a request or assignment is against personal productivity. It is unnecessary to be fully available for all meetings or accept additional responsibilities that may affect the main tasks.
How To Measure Personal Productivity
To know if a strategy is giving results, it is necessary to establish indicators that allow constant monitoring and determine improvement. To measure personal productivity, it is important to understand the current state and verify the goal to be achieved; clear and personalized metrics can be created.
Personal productivity is understood as the amount of value created divided by the number of hours worked to achieve that value. Although this seems simple at first glance, other questions arise, such as quantifying value, especially when there are no tangible deliverables. In this sense, it is necessary to establish other indicators that make it easier to quantify productivity. Some of them can be:
- The number of productive hours per day or week: productive hours are defined as maximum concentration to perform a task without interruptions or distractions.
- The number of assignments completed in a certain period.
Productivity Is a Path of Personal Improvement.
The achievement of objectives requires discipline, dedication, perseverance and, without a doubt, healthy habits that lead to personal productivity. Being productive is a constant exercise of self-awareness to make the most of one’s resources and skills. As a result, people not only get the satisfaction of seeing their goals fulfilled, they also achieve personal growth that brings them closer to their best version.
Motivation also plays a fundamental role in improving personal productivity. Doing tasks that connect with a purpose will require less effort and, therefore, be completed more productively. Some tools can fulfill the double function, help motivation and productivity. An example of this is personal planners and agendas, which fit very well with any personality due to their wide variety of designs.
Personal productivity also speaks of the emotional intelligence with which challenges are assumed. Working changes from the inside out are the best way to take responsibility for individual and group achievements and influence other people. Assuming self-leadership leads to conscious character development.