Archives For Personal Development

We all want to use our time productively. But its not always easy, and as a result, we can often find our time dwindling and our productivity decreasing.

3 Simple Steps That Will Improve Your Productivity

I want to use my time well and I’m guessing you do too. Yet, if you’re similar to me, you’ll sometimes feel that you’re failing to use your time productively and often falling short.

Life’s demands can cause us to feel stretched beyond capacity, so if we want to achieve our goals and be most effective, giving thought to our use of time is even more important.

In view of this I want to share three steps I’ve been practising to increase my productivity from day to day. Hopefully you’ll find them useful too.

#1. For improved productivity review and prioritise your tasks

As well as at regular intervals throughout my day, I’m developing a habit of using 10-15mins each evening to review my daily productivity by asking questions like:

– What have I accomplished?
– What could I have done better?
– What did I do well?

But I don’t just review in the evening.

I also ask questions during the day aimed at encouraging me to consider how my actions are moving me towards what’s most important to me.

For example, I might ask, “How is writing this post meeting my goal of influencing positive life change?”

This kind of honest reflection has increased my productivity, and hasn’t been too laborious either. All that’s needed is a little uninterrupted time and some commitment.

#2. To improve your productivity start the night before

Having to think about routine tasks inhibits my productivity.

The impact of these tasks – for example, getting my exercise gear ready – can be lessened by giving myself a head start.

In leaving my exercise gear out, I achieve more because my mental focus is given to exercise, not on having to locate my shorts, Gymboss, or trainers.

To improve your productivity, try starting the night before. Put out your gym clothes. Tidy your work space. Cut and soak the vegetables if you’re expecting dinner guests the following afternoon.

Its a simple step to increasing your productivity, but it makes a huge difference.

#3. Improve your productivity by starting with your worst task first

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

By your worst task I mean what Brian Tracy describes as your ‘Frog’. Here’s a short video where he briefly explains the concept.

The idea is that we should complete the tasks we’re most likely to procrastinate on first, as they can often be the ones that add most value.

If you’re unsure of what your frogs are, here’s a hint — they’re the things you often least look forward to.

It could be making a cold call, initiating a difficult conversation, or meeting an important report deadline.

One of my frogs is doing a killer leg workout, but getting them done gives a sense of achievement which provides motivation for other tasks.

Quick recap…

Okay, I’ve shared three simple, yet practical step towards improving productivity that have been working for me.

As a reminder they are:

– I prioritise my to do list the night before and review progress
– I prepare for routine tasks in advance
– I start with the tasks I least look forward to

There are many ways to improve productivity, and what works best will be different for everybody.

The important thing is that you give thought to making the best use of your time in order to improve your productivity and effectiveness.

Over to you

How effective are you with your time and what could you do to increase your productivity? Share your tips in the comments below.

Every time we say ‘Yes’ to someone, we’re saying ‘No’ to something or someone else. This is why learning to set boundaries is important.

Boundaries-Why-You-Must-Learn-to-Say-‘No’

During a recent workshop, I was saddened when a lady revealed her inability to say ‘No’. She spoke of being someone who always gave in to the requests of others, even when at a cost to herself.

Now, just to be clear, I think sacrificial giving is good. But putting other people’s needs first doesn’t mean we should disregard or ignore our own.

But what was most unhealthy in this ladies case, was an admission to saying ‘Yes’ when she didn’t want to, wasn’t able to, or didn’t agree in principle, with what she was being asked to do.

Here was an example of the importance of learning to set boundaries. For this lady, not having boundaries, resulted in her not being true to herself – a struggle that many of us can face.

Boundaries protect you

Boundaries are the lines we set between ourselves and others. They protect us by helping others to understand what’s most important to us and how we want to be treated.

I work from home. So in addition to building a business, I invest energy into my marriage, family, and developing relationships in our local community.

Each requires energy, so it’s important that I learn to set boundaries and manage the opportunities and requests that come my way. But this isn’t always easy!

Why? Because when invited to be involved in a project or activity, I want to say ‘Yes’. And sadly, this hasn’t always been best for me or those I said ‘Yes’ to. On these occasions, good boundaries would’ve helped.

Now though, having experienced burnout, I’m more aware of the need for boundaries. So, here are four things I consider when setting mine that you too may find useful.

#1. Set boundaries to what’s important

Be clear on your values. By understanding what’s important to you, you’ll be able to make decisions based on what you want, rather than be guided by other people’s expectations.

#2. Set boundaries based on your self awareness

Be clear on who you are. And more importantly, on who you aren’t! Understanding yourself better equips you to make decisions based on what you can, cannot, or actually want to do. {tweet this}

#3. Set boundaries but be flexible

Rigidity can be as unhealthy as having no boundaries. We should keep open minded about the possibilities for growth and learning that new opportunities offer. Saying ‘No’ may prevent growth.

#4. Setting boundaries will result in some guilt

We can all feel guilty about saying ‘No’, so a sense of letting people down isn’t uncommon. Your boundaries will upset some and frustrate others, but sticking with them will be best for everyone in the end!

Considering your boundaries

Without boundaries the lines in our personal and professional relationships become blurred. And when blurred they become unhealthy and ineffective.

This is why it’s so important for us to consider where our boundaries should be. In setting and making them clear for ourselves and others, we protect our relationships and well-being.

Questions: How clear are you on your boundaries? What would others say is most important to you? Where might you need to make some changes?

During the course of life we’re always learning. But how we approach our learning makes all the difference to who we become.

4 Daily Questions That Will Boost Your Learning

The idea of lifelong learning has been batted around for over a decade.

It’s described as being the ongoing, ‘voluntary, and self motivated pursuit of knowledge’ for the purposes of furthering personal and professionally development.

My ongoing growth is important to me. I’ve no doubt that yours is too. Yet, despite this being true, lifelong learning is hard work. It requires effort and commitment.

To measure progress of my own learning and growth I find giving thought to the following four questions helpful. Have a look and try answering them for yourself.

I’d like to know what you think.

#1. What is my attitude to learning?

“The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning you go to school.” T. D. Jakes

Life is a journey of events. As T. D. Jakes put it so well, with each day comes an opportunity to learn new things.

With each interaction, success, and failure, we have the potential to learn valuable insights about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Our attitude to learning is important. And as such, we should approach each day with a sense of excitement and anticipation.

#2. Where am I committed to learning?

“You must feed your mind with reading material, thoughts, and ideas that open you to new possibilities.” Oprah Winfrey

Learning doesn’t happen by chance. And though we can learn through observation, interaction, and experience, we learn best when there’s a conscious effort to nourish ourselves.

As we nurture our minds and spirits, we become more receptive and open to new insights and possibilities.

#3. How am I applying what I’m learning?

“It isn’t enough to know what’s right, it’s applying the information and knowledge that you have.” Charles Stanley

The principle here is simple. Acquiring knowledge isn’t the essence of real learning. Real and effectual learning happens through application.

Growth comes not from what we understand in our heads, but by applying what we learn.

We’d all agree that it’s right to be patient with others. Yet its only through practice that we get better.

#4. Who am I sharing my learning with?

“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can possibly be.” Rita Pierson

I want my children to become their best. Any loving dad would. As a result I try to help them see the importance of their ongoing growth.

This encouragement isn’t reserved for academic or sporting achievement, but more importantly, for character.

Truth is, to become our best — in whatever context we find ourselves in — we need to maintain a childlike attitude in the way we approach our learning.

Questions: Which of the above questions do you most relate to? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Action: Schedule 15 minutes before the end of the week to answer these four questions for yourself.