How To Increase Personal Productivity

Church Consultants, pastors, church elders, business leaders, parents, and students. What do they all have in common? They’re all busy.

We’re all given 168 hours in a week, but how we use that time determines our effectiveness. And I think it’s safe to suggest that we all want to be more effective, at our jobs, and in our relationships. With that in mind, here are 3 ways to increase personal productivity.

  1. Know the why

Every task has (or should have) a reason to do it. But often we get busy in projects and assignment not knowing why we are doing them. Maybe they’re just habits. Repetitive routines that we seldom think about. Or maybe it’s a task given by your boss. You figure it must have some purpose, but you don’t know what it is.

It’s been said that those who know how will always have a job. But those who know why will always be their boss. Knowing why is key, and not knowing why is frustrating. Knowing why answers the question, what is the purpose or goal of this activity? Knowing the why gives you a reason to go to work every day. It’s the fuel that keeps you going when you’re tired and feel like quitting. Without knowing the why, you’ll get frustrated or quit. But knowing the why will keep you motivated.

  1. Create distraction free zones

Distraction free zones can be a physical place or a time of day or week where you eliminate all distractions from your work environment. This will produce a much more productive environment and can look like this.

Once a week, leave the office for an afternoon and work at a library, where no one will disturb you. This will give you 4-5 hours of uninterrupted time. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish without the common disruptions that accompany the normal work environment. Or block off two hours a day in your schedule where you don’t take any meetings or calls. Mark this time on your shared schedule “DND” (do not disturb). Barring an emergency, this will give you a few hours a day of uninterrupted time to focus on your work.

  1. Reduce multitasking

Many of us, including me, think we’re good at multitasking. We’re not. In fact, Psychology Today reports that “Humans do not multitask well…The human brain can only focus on one thing and one thing only at a time.” The term multitasking was originally used to describe the parallel processing abilities of computers. The argument was that high-capacity computers could accomplish several things at once.

But think about it. You can’t effectively watch TV and carry on a phone conversation. You can’t swim and crochet at the same time. Texting while driving is illegal. I can’t carefully watch my 5 month old grandson and write a blog post. (He’s napping now, so we’re ok.) We’re not made to do more than one important thing at a time.

Headversity, an organization that focuses on workplace mental health, suggests we need to create work environments that streamlines employee tasks and limits distractibility. They say, “One way to help regain focus on the task at hand is cultivating mindfulness in your workplace culture.”

So, know the why, eliminate distractions (for a set period of time), and be mindful by focusing on the task at hand. There are surly more ways to increase personal productivity, but if you start with these three, or even one, watch to see if your personal productivity increases. If I were a betting person, I’d bet it will.