How to Double Your Personal Productivity in Just 30 Days – 1 – Preparing Your Attack

How often have you said to yourself, “If only I could get twice as much done as I do now!” The good news is, you can… as long as you have the right method and the motivation to change. In this 3-part series, I’m going to teach you a step-by-step method that will allow you to double your personal productivity in just 30 days. Actually, you could do it in a week, but I prefer to allow for the fact that most people aren’t very consistent at applying new information!

1. Scheduling the Time:

As I emphasized in Part-1, you want to schedule your High Value Tasks (HVTs) for times when your mental and physical energies are at their peak, usually first thing in the morning, although that varies from person to person.

Your next decision is how much time you want to set aside for a given task. In general it’s pretty hard to stay focused for more than one hour of solid working time, so dividing your working time into one hour chunks is a smart way to go. Then, even if the task you’re working on takes two hours to complete, you need to schedule at least a 10-15 minute “stretching break” in between your two one-hour chunks to ensure you’re at your best when you start the second round.

The next vexing question is when to STOP working. Do you quit when you say you’re going to quit, no matter where you’re at, or do you plow ahead until, come hell or high water, you’ve completed your entire tasks?

This is where many people get into trouble. The danger of plowing ahead is that you can end up just working and working longer and longer, until your whole day disintegrates into an undifferentiated mass of low-productivity work. And you DO NOT want that. On the other hand, completing a task has such a huge psychological payoff that you won’t want to stop if you’re close to the finish line. So how do you resolve this conflict? Just apply these guidelines:

1. When you’re scheduling a task, first determine how you’ll know when you’ve finished it! Since you may well be working on a sub-task – one component of a larger task – admit that to yourself and make sure you specify what determines completing the sub-task rather than the larger task.

2. Then determine how long the task will likely take. Then add at least 25% as a safety net – most of us consistently underestimate the time we need.

3. If the task can be completed within a one hour time chunk, then you work at it until it’s completed.

4. If the task is a longer task or a more “creative” one where it’s difficult to say how long it will take, then you stop working after your allotted time expires, no matter what.

2. Preparing Your Workspace:

Make sure your work area is clean and neat: a messy environment will compromise your productivity. Be sure to lay out any documents you’ll need in advance and make sure you have any electronic documents or web pages you’ll need open and ready before you begin. Otherwise, you may spend the first 10 minutes of your “working time” just digging up these items and becoming more and more frustrated.

Next, turn your phone’s ringer off and send all incoming calls to voice mail. If you’re in an office and have an assistant, make sure he or she knows you don’t want to be disturbed. If you’re working from home, negotiate with your family so they know to leave you alone as much as possible when you’re really working.

Also, close your email, your Twitter, your instant messaging and any other means of electronic communications you have. If you’re really serious about doubling your personal productivity, you MUST be willing to make your self 100% “available” to your work for defined periods of time, and that means making yourself 100% unavailable to the demands and interruptions of other people while you’re doing a blitz on your HVTs.

3. Before You Start:

Now that you’ve prepared your physical workspace, it’s time to spend a few minutes on your mental workspace. Going into a task fully motivated will significantly improve your productivity, a lesson every athlete knows all too well.

Find whatever inspires you in your work. It could be success stories in your industry, a book about personal effectiveness, time management or productivity, or simply the vision of what you are working towards. Then spend a few minutes reading or thinking about this until you feel “in the zone”. But don’t stop there…

Close your eyes and visualize yourself working on your task. Make sure you FEEL how easily you’ll complete it and the feeling of personal satisfaction that comes from that. Once you can feel all that, then you’re truly ready to begin.

And once you begin, have a timer or stop watch nearby so you can play “beat the clock” – a phenomenal method for keeping your relentlessly focused on the task at hand.

All these preparations – which most people simply skip over – are absolutely critical to doubling your productivity. Without them, no matter how well you’ve prioritized, your execution will be second rate and the time it will take you to complete a given task can easily increase by 3-400%. So resist the temptation to dive into your work without doing these preparatory steps first. At first these steps may seem tedious but once they’ve become a habit for you, you’ll understand how essential they really are.

Join us next time for the third and final installment of this 3-part series on how to double your personal productivity in just 30 days, when I’ll share with you the strategic secrets of flawless execution.

– Dr. Symeon Rodger

Tips for Increasing Your Personal Productivity in the Workplace

Today we are considering some tips for increasing personal productivity in the workplace. Productivity is a measure of your efficiency. It is the relationship between your output and your input of time and other resources. Every serious individual engaged in some form of employment, production, enterprise or activity desires to have higher output. You don’t need your boss or poor business results to compel you to improve your productivity. Every working person should do everything possible to increase his or her productivity. But how do you get this done? What are the critical things that come into focus to increase your personal productivity?

  • Time management is paramount in increasing productivity. You should value your time and use appropriate time management tools. Avoid distractions as much as you can. Identify your most productive hours where your energy levels are high, and do the most important work during such times. Diminishing returns tend to set in at some point. Use your downtime productively by identifying good time-fillers. These are activities that are not part of routine but make use of extra time you have. You may for example use such time for reorganization and learning.
  • You need to distinguish between important and urgent things. Not every urgent thing is important. In fact, when you manage around important things, you tend to have less urgency. This is due to the fact that you will have already taken care of the things that may surface as urgent.
  • Make use of the power of focus. You don’t have to, rather choose to. A focused employee can be very productive through the power of choice. You can manage your time and output through self-management. Don’t you think so?
  • Inculcate the habit of discipline and control. You should eliminate bad habits that waste time. Such habits include unnecessary internet surfing, misuse or excessive use of social networks, misuse of phones, outright laziness etc. Delegate as much as you can. Learn how to manage information overload. Is there any senior employee in today’s working world not facing this challenge?
  • Planning in advance and being organized also help boost your productivity. If you are proactive in your approach you tend to be more efficient. The reactive and crisis approach to issues in the workplace breeds inefficiency.
  • Schedule your priorities by putting first things first. Your failure in this aspect can always earn for you rebukes. If you have ever worked with people who never get this right then you know what I’m meaning, don’t you?
  • What about your workstation? Does it enable you to be more productive? The physical organization and arrangement of your workstation affects your productivity. Additionally, the availability of vital resources such as equipment, reference material, appropriate technology etc can increase your productivity. Haven’t you interfaced with people who always blame the tools? If you don’t have the right tools then start by addressing that problem.
  • If you are action oriented you can increase your productivity. You should avoid deferring issues. It is said that procrastination is opportunity’s assassin. Why not develop your personal execution culture and deploy it always while working?
  • Now, people you work with can also determine your productivity. Build excellent relationships and learn how to deal with people. This boosts your morale and improves your productivity. A word of caution however – avoid toxic people and time wasters. Be assertive and you will eliminate the negative elements. If you fear people you cannot improve your productivity, can you?
  • You can also improve your productivity through balanced living. You should address aspects of health and attitude. Balanced living can awaken the high productivity giant within you. Take care of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. You should learn to re-energize through approaches such as relaxation and stress management. These approaches also help avoid job burnout.

Now, if you are not yet making use of all the above tactics then you need to start right away. Don’t you think so? You don’t need to wait any longer.

Choosing a Niche Product to Dropship

Time and time again I recommend that you choose a niche product to dropship from your website or sell on eBay. But how do you choose your niche? The following are brainstorming tips to help you come up with a niche product that can be sold online.

First: Check Your Purchases. Many prospective online entrepreneurs try to think of really out-there products like unicycles or bamboo knitting needles so they can enter a market that isn’t too saturated. This is a good idea in some respects, but one of the most important factors when choosing a product is to choose something that people actually buy online. One way to brainstorm this type of product is to think what you yourself buy online.

In the past month, I’ve bought three second-hand novels written by Mildred Walker, a pair of studded motorcycle boots, a Hebrew-printed t-shirt, tickets to a murder mystery play, a pair of Cubs swim trunks, and a calligraphy set. Not surprisingly, almost all of my purchases represent niche markets. Why is that? Because with the exception of a few broad categories like electronics, most items bought online are niche products. This is because common, general products can easily be purchased at physical locations close to your home. You go online to find unusual items that can’t be bought at the mall.

Second: Check Logistics. Let’s assume that I want to dropship my products, not purchase them wholesale. This means that some of the products I purchased last month are out of the running for my niche inspiration. Used books aren’t generally dropshipped, and neither are theater tickets. Shoes and clothing are usually sold wholesale, but in this case the items that I bought might still be appropriate since they weren’t common apparel and accessories. The studded motorcycle boots might be a good candidate for a dropship niche product for a few reasons: first, they are a product that’s not easily found in local stores. I bought those boots online because after searching the three malls in my area I couldn’t find anything quirky enough to satisfy my Sarah Connor Chronicles obsession.

The studded motorcycle boots are a good pick for another reason: they’re a theme product that I could easily build a whole product line around. With the boots as my central product, I could have a goth/punk/emo website, a motorcycle apparel site, or a studded leather accessories site. Finally, while I might not be able to find this product through a dropship supplier, they are expensive enough that I could possibly use a wholesaler to dropship them. Let’s say my wholesale supplier has a $100 order minimum: if a single pair of studded boots costs $125, I can likely have single pairs shipped directly to my customers even though the supplier is ostensibly a wholesaler.

Stay tune for more tips on choosing a niche to dropship products.