Productivity


You need a strategy to accomplish your goals.

There is a step by step approach that will bring you to the achievements that you are haeding for:

1. Make a contract with yourself.

It’s OK to think: I’ll do this and that. It’s much better to write your goal on paper and define it clearly. Date this paper and sign it. Then place it where you can see it several times every day. … and keep your contract!
2. Identify specific rewards for positive action.

In this contract you can also enter the rewards you’ll give yourself for achieving certain landmarks on the way towards that goal. Treat yourself to things you really like when you manage to accomplish a specific step!
3. Establish certain penalties for procrastination.

This might work for some, for others it’s not practical. If you are sure that you will also use this intrument when you don’t go ahead and miss a landmark, then enter that into your contract as well. If you know that you will anyhow ignore the penalties, then just leave this part out. No use of stipulating something just for the paper…
4. Break your goals down into small steps.

OK, these small steps really are the key to your success! A large chunk might be just too much to get started at all. So break your plan into smaller mini-goals (the landmarks I refer to above) and make the steps manageable. Then it’s a lot easier to tackel one first step.
5. Schedule a time segment for each activity.

Try to estimate how long it will take to achieve each of these smaller steps and wrtie down, by when you want to reach the intermediate goals.
6. ACTION!

So, now you have a great plan and it looks all nicely organized. This is going to be useful only if you now take action. Do what you planned and enjoy the feeling of having reached each intermediate goal! You’ll see that by following this simple step by step system, you’ll actually enjoy doing what’s needed and the triumph of actually reaching a goal in the predetermined timespan is a feeling that you’ll start to love!

Have fun reaching your goals!

This positive energy and how to cultivate the right attitude is describen in ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. It’s a great audio book that you can listen to on the go. This book will change the way you look at your life and how you’ll be setting goals and achieving the results you want!

Listen to a sample of ‘The Secret’ audio book here

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Has that happend to you already: You try to complete the most urgent and important activities, but somehow keep on pushing them back, until you have to rush and nearly don’t manage to do them anymore. You are often completing these tasks at the last moment.

Some people actually need this pressure to do things, or at least they think they need need it, because it’s a great excuse to let things drag until the last moment….

If you have read ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne or intend to read or listen to it, then you know that this is not the best way to manage your life and reaching your goals.

There is a much better way to handle urgent tasks, and even if you think you need this pressure, try it the other way at least once, you’ll see how much easier the task gets if you’re not letting time pass by and then have to rush:

Schedule a block of prime time to work on an important activity that is due in the future. Begin at least two weeks before the time you think you’d need to complete the task. By leaving some spare time, you’ll be able to polish and review the task at least once before it’s due.

Just remember: the 80 / 20 rule applies! By having now enough time to review what you’ve done, you can possibly improve on it. But once you’ve reached the 80%, the effort you’ll put into it will not yield the same productivity anymore. so don’t overdo it!

Having a project ready on Wednesday when it’s due for the next Monday is great and will make you feel a lot better too!

Here’s a great book that will help you getting thinds done with ease:

Step by step, Neil Fiore, Ph.D. reveals in his audiobook ‘The Now Habit’ numerous tested strategies for ridding your life of procrastination:

  • Use the symptoms of procrastination to trigger the cure
  • Overcome the perfectionism and fear of failure that lie behind procrastination
  • Benefit from making positive statements about work instead of sabotaging yourself with negative statements
  • Make your worry work for you
  • Use the Unschedule time-management techniques
  • Accomplish more in less time through efficient “flow state” work styles
  • Assist the procrastinators in your life in overcoming their problems

Often perfection and precision are confounded. That can lead to a major problem: People who want to have everything perfect often suffer from perfection paralysis. If you are trying to be perfect, your productivity suffers. You need to be able to tolerate imperfections.

It’s OK to be precise, and in some instances it’s important, like in goal setting. But precision does not mean perfection! You should think this over once and for all and then decide for yourself that:

  • You are not perfect and never will be.
  • Everything you do is and will be somehow imperfect.

Perfection Paralysis can be stopping you from doing anything, even in cases when doing something would be much much better:

  • If it is worth doing, it’s worth doing whichever way you can.
  • Nobody prevents you to later make a correction, just don’t overdo the correction stuff.
  • It will never be absolutely perfect!
  • Use the 80 / 20 rule!

The 80 / 20 rule says: Everything can be accomplished. It’s just a question of productivity: with about 20% of your effort (input) you get about 80% of the final result (output). Every percentage point higher, say 81% of the final result, will take a disproportionate effort. For the 81% output you might have to add 3% more input, for the next point to 82% it might be an additional 5% etc. The input to achieve a higher output increases disproportionally to the result that you get.

Let’s say you have to prepare exactly 10 kgs of apples, and you should try and get these 10 kgs right. But if it’s 9 kgs 990 grams or 10 kgs 010 grams of apples does not make a big difference. People who suffer from prefectionitis will juggle apples until the scales show exactly 10 kgs 000 grams.

Now let’s look at a merchant who knows that his customer will not wait the few minutes it would take him until he has found the last few apples to make exactly 10 kgs. He will toss apples into the bowl until the scales show 10 kgs plus something, might be 10, 50, even 100 grams over. It’s OK, because it’s precise as far as the customer is concerned, he asked and will pay for 10 kgs. He applies the 80 / 20 rule and does not overdo the perfection part, but he is precise with his measurement and has minimum 10 kgs on the scales!

Apply that to your life and the everyday tasks. Don’t be sloppy, just don’t try to be perfect. You, I, and everybody else, never will be! Giving yourself and your life the freedom of not being perfect and to tolerate mistakes and imperfections will save you from a lot of hardship and you will gain time to do things you like and want.

Concentration is the key element to productivity. Manage to concentrate on whatever you do right now, and you get it done faster, better and it’s easier.

Experiments have shown, that we are able to fully concentrate for approximately 15 minutes at the time, then the mind needs a short break. People who train hard, can increase this span to much longer times, but full, 100% concentration can not be upheld indefinitely. Chess players know how difficult it can be to concentrate for long time spans. We seem to reach a saturation point after which the brain overloads and refuses to focus on a single goal or task.

The trick therefore is to work in phases of high concentration and then do something else that releases the pressure on the system and lets you breathe for a few minutes and then work with a spell of concentration again.

The very same problem of upholding the concentration applies to listening. We tend to listen to others for a short time and then our thoughts wander off….. Misundertandings are the results. If you want to increase your listening skills, concentration is key.

In her audiobook ‘Listening: The Forgotten Skill’ Madelyn Burley-Allen shows you how to acquire active, productive listening skills and put them to work for you – professionally, socially, and personally. With her time-tested techniques, you’ll learn how to:

  • Eliminate distractions and improve your concentration on what is being said.
  • Locate key words, phrases, and ideas while listening
  • Cut through your own listening biases
  • Interpret body language clues
  • Ask constructive, non-threatening questions that elicit real information
  • Get others to listen to you
  • Master a whole range of listening skills that you can use on the job and in your personal life

Sure Listening is only one area where concentration is VERY important. Just ask yourself how often you are drifting off in your thoughts whilst talking with others and whilst you really should be listening. Maybe you should make an effort too?