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Increased Productivity creates Time you have it?
7/7/2007 3:22:09 AM

How can you make the best use of your energy to increase productivity each day? Here are five actions that can increase productivity and leave energy to spare. They will also help you to achieve more balance between your work and personal life.

The key to increased productivity is to focus on managing actions and energy rather than time. I am going to refer to time as energy because using time always involves energy expenditure. Investing your energy wisely will provide you with additional energy in return.

1. Manage actions and priorities.

Time management is action-management. Think of time as physical and mental energy that you expend through actions. The feeling of "no time" can arise from too many priorities or unclear priorities. Neglected self-care can also leave one feeling unable to complete necessary tasks. Begin your day knowing exactly what you intend to do. Outlining the day on paper each morning is a great action-management technique.

What must you do before you can use your time-energy more efficiently?

2. Keep skills sharpened.

Keeping your skills sharpened will result in more productivity. A client complained that he did not have time to complete his college reading assignments. I soon learned that it took this student 10 minutes to read something that his 15-year old sister could read in 3 minutes! His problem was not time; it was the need to improve reading skills.

"I don't have time," is a common phrase that we've all used without giving it much thought. But what does it really mean? Time excuses signal (1) other priorities, (2) the need for action management, (3) the need for organization, (4) the need for physical or mental energy, or (5) the need to sharpen a skill.

Sharp skills allow completion of more actions with less effort. Sharpen fundamental skills frequently. Take courses that will keep you up to date with the latest information in your career. Routine skill sharpening in all aspects of life is a wise energy-management choice. Personal skills and career skills will often overlap, affecting productivity in both these areas.

What skills could you sharpen that would create more time-energy and productivity?

3. Focus purposefully.

Feelings of time scarcity crop up when thoughts or actions do not pertain to the purpose at hand. Actions that are off purpose do not support one's values or goals. Up goes stress; down goes productivity. Purposeful focus allows a sense of urgency without creating negative stress.

Create daily reminders to check your focus and action-priorities. Many reminder services are available without cost. Establish firm boundaries to prevent energy-consuming distractions. Be assertive to maintain those boundaries.

What distractions could you remove that would help to maintain a purposeful focus?

4. Stay flexible and ask for help.

Urgency is not inflexibility. Flexible plans allow for interruptions, schedule changes, and unforeseen events that you cannot control.

Flexibility also allows you to accept help from others. Attempting to do everything alone can create an energy imbalance in both your personal life and career. Act on your strengths and ask for qualified help with those things you cannot handle alone.

What thoughts or attitudes can you change to become more flexible, balanced, and productive?

5. Act decisively.

Act decisively on the commitments you make to your goals. All the pieces are rarely in place when starting something new. There will always be more to learn. Over-analysis and waiting for the perfect moment can obstruct a successful launch. Fears of either success or failure can hold you back.

Acknowledge fears and look past them to see the rewards of your actions. Move through fear by the power of faith in your purpose. Build momentum and keep learning as you move forward.

What could you accomplish if you made the commitment to begin today?

An Exercise to Increase Productivity

Begin by writing each productivity tip on a sheet of paper. Under each one, write down ways you have used this or a similar idea in the past. What were the results, and what would you do differently this time?

Keep these questions in mind also: "What shows up when I manage my actions appropriately? Where do I waste the most time-energy, and why? What is the payoff when I waste energy and perceive a lack of time? What has robbed me of productive energy in the past?"

Increase Productivity

Next, you will be thinking of five ways you can become more productive. Write your best answer to the question at the end of each productivity tip. Then write down a way you could apply each of the five actions to your current situation.

Keep these questions in mind also: "When I become as productive as I would like to be, what will be my reward? How could I increase my level of self-care to increase my productivity? What things need less attention and more attention in my life at this time?"

The five actions in this article will require ongoing effort. The way you answer these questions will change over time. However, you will find the results worthwhile. Begin taking action now, and you will increase productivity with extra time-energy to spare


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