Efficiency and effectiveness equals productivity.

Efficiency can be described as doing as much as can be done in the time available with a minimum of effort. It goes without saying that if you work efficiently you will have the capacity to get more done. But this is not enough to maximise your personal productivity. You could be very efficient at getting things done, but if you then spend the rest of your time doing nothing of value, then you have missed a huge opportunity to be more productive. Even worse it is possible to be efficient at getting the wrong things done!

The other factor is effectiveness (or efficacy): that is doing the right things, doing them right and doing them at the right time. So here are five ways to boost your productivity.

1. Identity:

How do you do the right things? This starts with defining your values and purpose in life or in work and with it the vision of what your life, your environment or your work will look like in some future state produced by being on purpose. This is followed by setting goals and working towards them. The big things you decide to do must be consistent with your identity, your values, beliefs and purpose or you’re unlikely to truly commit to them.

2. Learning:

How do you do the right things right? This is about learning, training, practising activities until you can do them well. The link here to efficiency is an obvious one, in that if you do things right then you shouldn’t have to redo it, saving time and money. So what do you need to learn to be able to do what you need to do to be on purpose and work towards your vision?

3. Planning:

Finally, how do you do the right things, right, at the right time? Prioritising, planning, and time management are part of this. You need to be clear about your priorities and about what needs to be done first. Your plan needs to accommodate these priorities and put them in order (a great way to do this is with post-it notes). Your plan also needs a time-frame. Admittedly, the time-frame for achieving your vision may be imprecise, but better to set one and adjust as the plan proceeds than to have no completion date in mind. Milestones in the plan will have much more precise timelines.

4. Discipline:

Another aspect of doing things at the right time is discipline. Self-discipline is defined as doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done even if you don’t feel like doing it.

5. Accountability:

You can help yourself to become more disciplined if someone holds you accountable. This could be a coach, a mentor, a confidant or a mastermind group. Your probability of successfully achieving your goals increases from around 40% if you do nothing more than have the idea to 76% if you ask someone you respect to hold you accountable to achieve the goal.

In summary, to be productive you need to be efficient. Then you also need to do the right things (aligned with your values, purpose and vision for the future), do them right (have the aptitude, skills and knowledge or ability to rely on others who do) and do them at the right time (planning, discipline and accountability).