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Personal Productivity System

As you are seriously analyzing your personal productivity system and thinking about time management, you will soon discover that it’s not time that needs to be managed—it’s your own behavior!

An effective personal productivity system is really about working smart so that you can become both more efficient and more effective. It means that you :

  1. first set goals and prioritize your tasks so that you know what’s really important for you to accomplish, 
  2. then apply basic time management techniques to your work  (link your article)so that you handle the tasks you have in the most appropriate and efficient manner.

The sense of confidence you gain in effectively managing your work will result in stress reduction as well. 

This article will help you take a closer look at your personal productivity system. You will become more conscious of the choices you make and more aware of personal habits that may interfere with your efficiency

Often, programs in time and stress management don’t result in the changes you would like to see because you are looking for a few simple techniques to solve your problems. Not only is time management a matter of doing the right things, but it is also a new mental attitude—an attitude of “doing” rather than “not doing,” and a positive attitude toward change in general.

Real change in your personal productivity system is not just a matter of technique; it focuses on the way you think about yourself, your colleagues, and your work.

As you consider this perspective, it is important to distinguish between five different types of events: 

  1. Events you think you cannot control, and you can’t
  2. Events you think you cannot control, but you can
  3. Events you think you can control, but you can’t
  4. Events you think you can control, but you don’t
  5. Events you think you can control, and you can

Keep in mind, however, that a good personal productivity system does not necessarily mean doing more things faster. It means doing the “right” things the “right” way.

Put differently, this means that you continually check to ensure that your behavior is consistent with your personal values and that you approach your tasks wisely.

Personal Tendencies Affecting Your Productivity System

As you give more thought to how you spend your time, you will realize that even the time of day affects what you are able to accomplish.

So, let’s answer some simple questions:

  • Are you one of those people who simply can’t smile and say hello with any sincerity until at least ten o’clock—or after at least three cups of coffee?
  • Do you fade right before lunch? 
  • Are you a morning person, full of enthusiasm and ready to go as soon as the alarm rings? 

Keep track of your energy level and see what times of day tend to be most productive for you. This will be helpful information as you work to manage your daily activities. Your personal preferences and style also influence your behavior and the time management challenges you are likely to confront. To begin, it may be helpful to think about your personal style in terms of three simple tendencies: Perfectionist, Impulsive,  Procrastinating. 

Although you will likely recall recent instances when you have demonstrated each, try to determine what is most typical of your behavior on the job. If you find it difficult to make a forced-choice, don’t worry. You may demonstrate behaviors typical of each tendency. For our purposes, however, it is important to focus on one category at a time so that you can become familiar with its time management implications. (Then you can move on to another category if you want to!) Keeping these tendencies in mind as you move through this program will help you to identify your key time robbers.

Keeping track of your productive time

As you give more thought to how you spend your time, you will realize that even the time of day affects what you are able to accomplish.

  • Are you one of those people who simply can’t smile and say hello with any sincerity until at least ten o’clock—or after at least three cups of coffee?
  • Do you fade right before lunch?
  • Or are you a morning person, full of enthusiasm and ready to go as soon as the alarm rings?

Keep track of your energy level and see what times of day tend to be most productive for you. This will be helpful information as you work to manage your daily activities.

What is your personal time style?

Your personal preferences and style also influence your behavior and will reflect in your personal productivity system .

To begin, it may be helpful to think about your personal style in terms of three simple tendencies—perfectionist, impulsive, and procrastinator.

Although you will likely recall recent instances when you have demonstrated each, try to determine what is most typical of your behavior on the job. If you find it difficult to make a forced-choice, don’t worry.

You may demonstrate behaviors typical of each tendency. For our purposes, however, it is important to focus on one category at a time so that you can become familiar with its time management implications. (Then you can move on to another category if you want to!) Keeping these tendencies in mind as you move through this program will help you to identify your key time robbers.

The tendency to be a perfectionist

  • Do you tend to be reactive, wanting to get things taken care of as soon as possible?
  • Do you often jump the gun and act before you have all of the information you need to make the best decision?
  • Do you feel impatient with others, and anxious about leaving things unfinished?
  • Are you someone who puts the letter into the mailbox, and then remembers that it still needs a stamp?

The tendency to be impulsive

  • Do you tend to be reactive, wanting to get things taken care of as soon as possible?
  • Do you often jump the gun and act before you have all of the information you need to make the best decision?
  • Do you feel impatient with others, and anxious about leaving things unfinished? Are you someone who puts the letter into the mailbox, and then remembers that it still needs a stamp?

The tendency to procrastinate

  • Do you tend to wait until the last minute to tackle difficult tasks, particularly if they are ambiguous or complicated?
  • Do you find yourself always rushing around at the very last minute, trying to pull things together and afraid that one of the pieces will inevitably be missing?

The tendency to procrastinate, to deliberately leave unpleasant tasks until the last minute, is widespread. Consequently, a significant amount of advice has been accumulated on how to overcome this habit. Some of these hints are listed below.

Steps to beat procrastination: 

  1. Subdivide large, difficult tasks into more manageable chunks.
  2. Start with an easy or enjoyable piece to get going.
  3. Get someone to work with you if appropriate.
  4. Make a commitment to someone else—make it difficult to “back down” once you’ve made up your mind to do something.
  5. Get prepared for the task by having all of the necessary information readily available.
  6. Choose a time to begin when you are rested and energetic.
  7. Minimize distractions.

Open-ended Choices, an important part of your personal productivity system

In addition to assessing your personal style, it is also helpful to ask yourself questions that will help clarify your values.

Without a sense of what is really important to you, it will be difficult for you to set meaningful priorities in reaching your time management objectives.

The goals you do set, if inconsistent with your personal values, will be difficult to attain and you will feel little real satisfaction when you do achieve them.

There are a number of simple activities that will help you clarify what is really important to you. The main question to ask yourself is,

“Are my daily actions consistent with my stated values?”

In other words, do your behaviors contribute to achieving the things that are important to you?

For example, you may believe that you value your health. Yet, when you examine your daily behaviors, you may discover that your meals are nutritionally poor, that you seldom exercise, and that you spend most of your time sitting at your desk.

Similarly, you may believe that you value creativity, but you may discover that at work you are so concerned with your manager’s judgment that you always end up taking the more conservative, safe route.

If you need a guide to help you with this, take some time to read the book ____ and apply the principles in it. Is an eye-opener and can help you understand your real priorities better. Or if you are interested more in the work-related priorities, read——

One last thing I want to add. There is no magic article that can display a list with TO DO things so you can have a happy, productive life. Life is more complicated than this.

Understanding yourself, your personal productivity system,your behavior, what triggers it, takes time and a lot of “self-research”.

Read some good management books, article, guides , books about productivity, let the knowledge sink in, and start applying what you learned. One step at a time.

Hope that my article inspired you  to look deeper into yourself and your daily behaviors and made you want to know more, read more, and try new things.