Personal ProductivityYour alarm goes off at 8 am on a Saturday morning.  You are up and at ’em bright and early on the weekend because you know there are a ton of things you have to do.  There are letters to be mailed, haircuts to be had, and cars to be washed. You jump out of bed and head straight for the kitchen to fuel up properly.  While you are waiting for your coffee to brew, you sit down in front of the television and your favorite movie comes on.  The next time you look at the clock it is 3 pm.  You have strategically managed to watch: your favorite movie, the three shows your DVR’ed during the week, and half a basketball game. Whoops!

We have all been there before — with thoughts of a thousand things to do only to be distracted by something a little less productive.  Maintaining personal productivity is hard work. Luckily, we have some helpful tips and tricks to help you stay productive in your personal life whether it is at work, school, or at home. There are four core components when looking to focus on personal productivity; they are to: get organized, focus, address your needs, and execute and tweak your performance.  So put away that remote and set down your laptop, and let’s get started!

Get Organized

When working on personal productivity, or any other project or commitment that needs your time, never underestimate the importance of being organized.  Implementing organization into your life will give you structure and clarity.  Here are some ways to help get yourself organized:

  1. Create a List:  Remember in Elementary school when your teacher would list everything out on the board that you needed to do for the day?  Well, we are going to revisit that tactic.  Making a to-do list will help you get a layout of what you need to achieve throughout the day.  However, it is important to remember to be specific in your lists.  Go as far as to write the time that you need to finish something, or what time you want to begin a task.  Additionally, have your tasks be very specific.  Instead of saying “vacuum”, write something such as, “vacuum bedrooms and living rooms before lunch at 1pm.”  This will help keep you more accountable.  The best thing about to-do lists is that once you complete a task, cross it off!  Once you have crossed everything off there will be a definite feeling of achievement.
  2. Have a Plan:  You have probably heard people say from time to time that to be successful at anything you need to have a plan (and maybe even a backup plan) in case something does not work out.  You plan can detail your day or go as far as to take up a week.  Plans include a detailed schedule of your above to-do list, which incorporate how long you will spend working on something, when you are going to take breaks, and any minor parts of your tasks, such as driving to certain locations.  Remember that if your plan does not go as expected, it is not the end of the world.  Simply adjust parts of your plan to modify your schedule and keep going!
  3. Prioritize:  Say you have ten things that you need to get done before dinner at 7 and it is currently 3 pm.  Take a look at all of those things and decide which are the most important.  Number your tasks starting with the most important and complete those first.  For instance, if some of your tasks are “looking for new bed sheets online” and “finishing grading papers” — it should be obvious that you should finish grading before you start browsing the internet.  If you try to do everything fast, something will likely suffer, or you might make a mistake.
  4. Goals:  While you are working on completing your tasks, have some goals in mind.  If you are cleaning the living room, determine what type of cleaning you are going to do.  Are you going to just vacuum, or will you also dust the furniture, spray the tables, and polish the lamps and decor?  Know that you are capable of more than you think you are.  Make your goals reachable, but also set them high.


Now that you have your to-do list and plan out in front of you, get at it, and remember to stay on track.  We know this can be hard with all the little gadgets, laptops, iPhones, iPads, and tablets that people have these days.  Because of this, we suggest that you:

  1. Remove distractions:  In today’s world, stimulation seems to be everything (put down that Redbull!) and we understand that you have to feel like you are “plugged in” to everything at all times.  When you need to get something done, however, this can be a problem.  Put away anything that can cause you to become distracted.  This is not punishment; you are only helping yourself be more efficient!  Turn off your phone (or put it away), close your e-mail, tell your housemates not to interrupt you, and keep the phone or radio off.
  2. One at a time:  When you have a to-do list, it might be easy to want to try to do everything at once, or switch from one task to another.  Unfortunately, trying to multi-task could just end up complicating things for you.  Keep things as simple as you can, even if they are not, and focus on one thing at a time.
  3. Don’t get messy:  Even if you have a ton to do, do not let your personal space turn into a pig-sty.  This is especially important if you are trying to be productive at home.  Keep your room, house, and workspace clean and tidy.  Having a mess, accumulating dust, and having things thrown all over the place can just add confusion and distraction.

Take Care of #1

Even if nothing on your to-do list involves doing things directly for yourself, you need to remember to address you personal needs and take care of yourself as well.  After all, you are the one who has to perform adequately and generate results.  Therefore, at the end of the day, you should be your #1 priority regardless of all your other commitments.  We might sound like Moms, but remember to:

  1. Get enough sleep:  Being tired and drowsy all day will reduce productivity.  And, let’s face it, you will just feel horrible.
  2. Get you with your alarm:  Do not press the snooze button fifteen times.
  3. Eat Healthy:  You are what you eat!  If you eat junk, you will end up feeling like junk, and you are more likely to produce ineffective and low-quality results.
  4. Break:  Although you have a white fuzzy tail, you are not the energizer bunny.  If you plan to be doing computer tasks all day, look away from your screen every 30 minutes.  No matter what you are doing, get up, stretch, and take some deep breaths to keep your blood flowing.  It is also helpful to keep some healthy snacks on hand as well, preferably something with protein and carbohydrates.

Results and Observations

Your first run in addressing your personal productivity might not turn out as planned, and it may require some tweaking.  No matter!  This just gives you the opportunity to:

  1. Identify any problems you might have had, such as being distracted.  Do not be afraid to address your shortcomings.
  2. Develop a performance measuring technique to measure your personal productivity every week.
  3. Get feedback from mentors, counselors, or anyone who you feel is your cheerleader!
  4. Keep at it!  Personal productivity is not mastered overnight.  Persistence and perseverance is key!

Start Checking Off Your To-Do List!

With these vital steps to achieving and maintaining personal productivity, we have no doubt that you will be on your way to reach any goal that you set your sights on, no matter how big or small.  Remember that if you ever veer off track, Udemy has some excellent productivity and organizational courses taught by industry professionals!  Let’s make it a productive day!

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