(Guest writer: Andrew Cravenho)
The phrase “12-step-program” carries the connotation of addiction and it was purposely used in the title of this post. You see, in order to be consistently productive you must, in effect, become addicted to being productive. Believe it or not, developing an addiction (habit) can be more difficult to accomplish than overcoming one.
Before you embark on the path to productivity, you need to clean house, so to speak, by removing a few of the most common obstacles to productivity. While each of us is plagued with various disincentives to productivity, a few are common to the least productive among us.
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We are all guilty of procrastination, some to a greater degree than others. Tasks left undone are a distraction that interferes with being a productive individual. It diverts your focus from the task at hand to tasks that are not done. This lack of focus has a negative effect on productivity. Resolve unfinished tasks.
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Lack of sleep
A well-rested person is a more productive person. Get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each day. If you find you require 7 or 8 hours of sleep, make certain you get it. No one can focus on their work when they are tired and/or sleepy.
Poor organizational skills
Being organized is a prerequisite for productivity. If you are not organized, get organized. You can read this post on how to have an organized home office for some help.
Failing to recognize your most productive Hours
People are not machines but people do have internal clocks. Get in touch with me. Peak hours for energy, productivity, and focus vary from person to person. Learning when you are at your zenith will allow you to schedule your most arduous tasks during your personal peak performance times.
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The 12 Steps to Personal Productivity
All right then! If you have these housekeeping items under control, we are ready to share the following 12 tips which are guaranteed to enhance your personal productivity.
Develop a long-range plan, five, even ten years out. Having your plans committed to paper is a motivating force. When you are completing a task in the present, it helps to know that its completion is making your future goals attainable.
I am not a big fan of daily “to do” lists. These lists can become too long and, as a result, unrealistic. Then when these too numerous tasks are incomplete at the end of the day (and often new ones have added) a sense of failure creeps in and destroys your ambition. Choosing one or two critical tasks and completing them is a superior approach.
Prioritizing what you want to accomplish is essential to your productivity. This does not mean you need a list. Tackle the most challenging tasks during your peak productive time (as discussed earlier) and the less challenging tasks can be addressed off-peak.
Always be proactive. Nothing disrupts your productivity more than constantly dealing with crises. Be a planner, not a cop. Planners shape the future and cops react to crises. Proactive habits will minimize the development of crises and maximize your productivity.
I’m not suggesting that you be sloppy in your work, but I do encourage you to expand your paradigm of a job well done. If you are a perfectionist, you will never achieve the level of productivity that you aspire to. There are things you should just get done, there are things worth doing well and there are things worth doing exceptionally well. Perfectionists don’t know the difference – do you?
Productivity requires discipline. If you are undisciplined you will not accomplish what you start out to do. Train yourself to be disciplined. One way may be to reward yourself when you complete a task. Nothing big; maybe aÂ snack, a short walk, that new tie you’ve had your eye on, things like that.
Truly excellent time management is not just task-oriented, it is people-oriented as well. Make the most of your available time and energy by utilizing the talents of others. Having great people skills will make you more productive by enabling you to enlist the help of others. This is commonly known as delegating. If you think you can do it all, you are doomed to fail.
Have the courage to say no! For example, have you attended a meeting in the past week or two that was a complete waste of your time? Saying no to adventures in futility can recapture valuable time that enhances your productivity. Just say no!
Multi-tasking is fiction, get over it! Doing something well requires focus and single-tasking allows you to achieve that focus. More to the point, single-tasking allows you to maintain that focus because once a task is off your plate; your mind is clear and ready for the next one. Multi-taskers can’t truly focus!
Don’t quit until you are finished. If you are working on a task, work on it until it is completed, even though it may be taking longer than you anticipated.
Bring peer pressure to bear. Tell your wife, co-workers, friends what you intend to accomplish. This will provide you with an added incentive to see it through. Having others to hold you accountable is important.
Guard against feeling overwhelmed. Particularly daunting projects should be broken down into smaller components. Finish one small piece at a time. It is the same concept as the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.
We hear a great deal about income equality these days. It is the new buzzword of the current administration. While there may be issues with income equality, no one can deny that we all are blessed with time equality.
Everyone’s day has 24 hours and when it comes to that most precious resource, we have all been granted equal shares. How we use it is a matter of personal choice, much, in the same way, spending our earnings. I believe both should be spent wisely.
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(This guest post is written by Andrew Cravenho for Hongkiat.com. Andrew is the CEO of CBAC (cbacfunding.com), which offers invoice factoring for small businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and mid-sized businesses take control of their cash flow.)