How to Increase Personal Productivity

As a business owner, it’s impossible not to get overwhelmed or stressed out from time-to-time. Business and family obligations can consume a lot of time. Information overload and technology can be equally distracting. The secret to surviving in today’s fast paced world starts with personal organization.

Get and Stay Organized

  • Eliminate clutter. A clean and pleasant workspace can help you think clearer, maintain productivity and reduce stress. Have a place to store information you need to work on later and file cabinets for important documents you need to retain. If you spend a lot of time looking for stuff you need in order to do the task at hand, then it’s time to de-clutter.
  • Treat time like a budget. You only have so much time in any given day. You likely use a calendar to schedule personal and business appointments. But what about the other tasks or projects you need to complete? Allocate or block off time on your calendar to work on these as well. The simple act of prioritizing your day will give you a sense of purpose and direction – a key to getting more done.
  • Keep a master to-do list. Ideas and tasks that need your attention arise throughout the day. If you don’t write them down, they are often forgotten. Capture tasks, big and small, in one place with due dates as appropriate. It’s the best way to insure deadlines are met and important tasks are completed. Use the list to schedule the most important tasks first on your calendar.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule 15 minutes at the end of each day to clean up your desk/office and plan your next day.

While organization is certainly a key to productivity, here are a few additional tips to help you get more done:

  1. Stop multi-tasking. You may think that multi-tasking saves you time, but the opposite is true. It tends to cost you both time and quality. To learn more, check out the article, The Myth of Multi-Tasking by Christine Rosen, TheNewAtlantis.com.
  2. Be realistic. Tasks often take longer than we expect. When blocking off time, be realistic in terms of what you can control and accomplish in a certain amount of time.
  3. Kill perfection. Trying to do every task perfectly wastes precious time. Not all tasks are created equal. Give your A+ level of effort to really important projects. Settle for less than perfect on others.
  4. Add accountability. While most business owners are self-motivated and driven, managing a business and yourself may cause you at times to lose sight of your goals or get off track. An easy way to fix this is having someone to remind you of your plans and tasks.
  5. Enjoy some ME time. No matter how busy you are, take some time each day to do something you enjoy. A small break to read, grab lunch, or take a walk will increase productivity. It allows you to recharge your mind and body – so you can get back to the work you need to do with renewed energy.

Personal organization requires discipline. Changing behaviors to create a habit takes some time. But the sooner you start, the quicker you get there.