• How do you do your best work?

Personal productivity (and its link to organizational success as well as overall balance, fulfillment, and —  dare I say — happiness in one’s life and work) is a huge interest of mine, so I very much enjoyed the wisdom collected in this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival on The Work Behind the Work, described by host Nancy Schwartz as “the methods and tools you use to stay focused, productive and happy on the job (or the barrier that keeps you from getting there).” In fact, I managed to be quite unproductive productive for a considerable chunk of time while reading all of the entries. (Learning is productive, after all!)

Here are a few additional tips and questions that I have shared with clients (and asked myself) over the years. 

Successful change processes start with an understanding of the need for change, and a feeling of urgency. Ask yourself:

  • What is motivating me to be more conscious about how I plan, manage, and spend my time?

  • Why is it important? Why is it important now?

  • What will be the benefits (to myself and others) if I do make changes to the way I plan, manage, and spend my time?

Every individual is different. What works for one person will not necessarily work as well for another.  Ask yourself:

  • When am I most productive?  What time of day?  

  • Where am I most productive? Is there an alternate location where concentration and focus are easier to maintain?

  • How am I most productive? Working in silence, with music, with a water bottle nearby, sitting on a balance ball, walking on a treadmill?  

  • What resources have been most helpful to date in my quest to be more productive?  Handwritten lists, online organizing tools, task-tracking apps, particular habits or routines, regular encouragement and support from others? Why are these a good fit for me?

  • In a typical day, what are my top 3 internal and top 3 external sources of distraction?  What has helped me address or resist these in the past?  

  • When I procrastinate, why? What do my “procrastinated tasks” have in common?  

  • What triggers distraction and procrastination for me — what are the “cues” most likely to send me off-track at any given time?  What could I do instead, when faced with those cues?  (Or what could I do to remove those cues from the equation?)

I’d love to hear from others — what do you do (or ask yourself) when you want to enhance your personal productivity?  What successes have you celebrated?

Categories: Commentary

Tags: workplace


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