How to Manage Time
and Energy to Boost Personal Productivity
By Pat Heydlauff
Are you stuck on the procrastination highway where productivity
slows to a crawl and stress uncontrollably speeds up? Why, because
you’d rather be doing something else, fear of failure or lack of
organization? Or are you procrastinating just because you do not
know how to manage your internal productivity clock, organize your
energy and focus your attention?
Current research shows an alarming increase in procrastination which
has quadrupled over the past 30 years to a whopping 95% of the
populations saying they procrastinate at least occasionally. And,
52% procrastinate regularly especially if they are students and 20%
of those are chronic procrastinators. The research also goes on to
say that most people procrastinate because of one of four reasons:
fear - of failure or success, perfectionism, low-self esteem and as
an excuse or the blame game.
Unfortunately, procrastination develops into a lifelong habit that
follows people right into the workplace and if not corrected
inhibits productivity, performance and self satisfaction. It
negatively impacts one’s performance in the workplace jeopardizing
one’s job, relationships and finances while limiting one’s ability
to stay focused and impairing productivity. In the workplace
procrastination translates into lost opportunities and time,
disorganization and indecision; and at home, lost respect, poor
family interpersonal relationships and dependability.
Personal Productivity Matrix:
Whether you are among the millions of people that sabotage their
future daily or not is less important than learning how to manage
your internal productivity clock and your surroundings to improve
your personal energy. The following steps are based on the Feng Shui
principles of creating balance and a supportive personal environment
which will enable you to be more focused and productive.
Manage Your Personal Time Clock:
One of the simplest ways to improve your productivity and eliminate
procrastination is to manage your internal productivity clock by
determining whether you are a morning person or a night owl. A
Spanish researcher found that early risers were more likely to be
logical and analytical, and likely to use concrete information as
sources of knowledge, whereas those that stayed up late were more
imaginative, creative and intuitive. It has also been determined
that morning people were most productive during the first half of
their work day while night people’s productivity did not kick in
until much later in the day.
Armed with this knowledge, to be most productive morning people
should do their most important tasks in the first several hours of
the day such as strategic thinking, writing proposals, contacting
important clients, business development, making important decisions
and scheduling meetings only for breakfast and lunch. They should
not schedule after work or dinner meetings when their peak energy
has been depleted for the day. The last part of their day should be
filled with less important tasks like updating their social media
sites, responding to email and phone calls, research, following up
with details for clients and any items that do not require high
energy and intense focus.
Night owls should do just the opposite. They should perform the
lighter less important tasks in the morning and really dig into the
substance of their tasks after lunch when their ability to focus and
be productive will be greatly improved. Night owls should schedule
their important meetings either late in the day or over dinner when
they will be at their best.
To avoid unproductive meetings in the workplace and to maximize the
focus of all employees, joint meetings should be scheduled from
11:00 am – 2:00 pm when the morning people are still very productive
and the night owls are gaining their productivity and creativity
Manage the Energy in Your Surroundings:
Focus and efficiency are keys to productivity. If your workplace
environment, whether at home or in a building miles away, is
unorganized with no clear workspace available procrastination will
become enemy number one instantly and your productivity will drop to
zero. The clutter and lack of organization will create great
discomfort and eventually overwhelm you until you cannot perform at
all – the ultimate procrastination.
Unclutter and organize so 80% of your workspace, desk and desktop
are always visible and available for you to begin work immediately.
Handle your paperwork, post-it notes and inbox only once – read it,
take the appropriate action then keep it and file it or toss it if
it is no longer needed. Not only will your focus and productivity
rise but your anxiety and frustration will dramatically decrease.
Focus Your Attention:
Focus, focus, focus! The more you can focus the more productive and
efficient you are and the less stressed and anxious you will be. To
maximize your productivity do the most important thing on your list
for the day first – not the easiest or quickest to perform but the
most important one. If you find it difficult to focus for longer
periods of time, take short breaks and get outside into the fresh
air for five minutes, take a short walk or drink a glass of water.
If the job is too big, break it up into sections you can easily
complete in shorter time spans and take a quick break. You will be
re-energized and ready to get back to work.
sure to turn off all electronic and communication devices while
trying to stay focused. They can quickly break your concentration
and it can take time to reconnect. Others may find that playing Feng
Shui or New Age type music will help them stay in a focused frame of
mind and concentrate more easily.
Occasionally while focusing on the work at hand, ask yourself, “Is
what I am doing getting me closer to my work objectives or what’s
best for meeting my personal business goals?” The answer to this
question will guide you as to whether you are focused enough and on
the right thing.
Set a schedule for your focused time so you accomplish exactly what
you set out to do. Do not let yourself get diverted to any other
project during that time period. You will be rewarded by your
accomplishment and the visible results of your improved
Procrastination is a huge problem if you let it control you. It is
also a huge problem in the workplace where productivity and
profitability rule. Shift your thinking about how to perform your
daily duties based on what time of the day you perform best and
watch your productivity and personal satisfaction speed up on your
personal highway to success.
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