Personal Productivity: 10 Ways to Destroy “Alarmageddon”

My work had been going along productively. I’d finally begun to get traction on an important project when suddenly and without warning, it all came to its inevitable, crashing end. Within a period of just a few seconds, my phone started to bleep, my computer echoed in its own irritating way and urgently flashed a brilliant reminder on its screen. My iPad, in a fit of jealousy, awakened to all of the ruckus and began to ring out its own disturbing cries for my attention.

It was alarmageddon!

It caught me totally by surprise and I was woefully unprepared. I think I heard a muffled scream as my productivity came to its untimely death, lying there on the floor in a pool of ravaged hopes and dreams.

You’ve been there, right? Thought so.

This kind of thing is just crazy. I discovered recently that I’d given away control of my life to these hideous little taskmasters, these electronic demons of distraction. My soul was now owned by electronic bloopers and bleepers that have neither heart nor mercy.

I had to get my life back…but how? Like a repentant smoker in a cigar lounge, I was surrounded by the sweet smell of electronic intoxication. Everyone I know, every contact I have, had been dragged from the light of productivity to the the dark and sinister side of E.D. (No, not THAT kind of E.D! E.D. as in “Electronic Distraction”)

How to escape? How to regain my soul? These were the questions that haunted me. And when I finally forced all of the dinging demons into sleep mode, it came to me. Salvation was to be found in reclaiming my life.

Here are 10 ideas that may help you to regain yours.

  1. Turn off alarms on all devices but your phone, because its always with you. When your devices are synced, other reminders become redundant
  2. Turn off email message alarms on your phone
  3. Set your devices to check emails much less frequently, say, once every two or three hours – or longer
  4. Pull yourself away from your electronics for a while every day. Use your head and a pencil and paper to create something new; don’t just autonomically respond to every call for your attention
  5. Voicemail is a waste of time. On your voicemail recording, ask callers to leave voicemail only if it is an urgent and lengthy message. After all, you’ve got caller I.D., and they’ve got text and emails. They’ll learn eventually
  6. Feeling the call of social media? Unless your job demands it, don’t spend time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of the others until you’ve finished your broccoli
  7. Ask who’s in charge of your time. If it’s you, act like it. If not, you’ve just given away the control of YOUR time to the typing, tapping and random texts and messages of other people. If you can’t be the boss of the company, at least be the boss of you
  8. Leave your office. go somewhere else
  9. Prioritize the best use of your time: make it a habit to ask yourself if your current activity meets the criteria or not
  10. Finally and most important, implement one of the previous nine or figure out something that works for you. Unless you act, alarmageddon will seek you out and suck up your soul. While your eyes are open! Ack!

Your Personal Productivity Depends on the Time That You Can Manage

The vast majority of time management programs actually totally miss the point. They include the things that you should be doing to manage your time better and there is a lot of good information that you can learn from these programs that will help you. However, when people get back to work they almost always fail to achieve a great deal more productivity in the given time because of one fundamental reason that they haven’t learned.

The thing they haven’t learned is about time production. That means that they should be producing more time to achieve what they want to achieve. Think of it this way, you can’t manage your time unless you’ve got some time to manage. Start off by getting rid of all the time that you waste because this will give you some time to manage and then you can increase your productivity. This may sound very simple but I’ll bet that you’ve never seen it like this.

To avoid wasting time at meetings, create an agenda with a time allocation for each item. Send the agenda to each participant a week ahead of the meeting. Explain on the agenda that the objective is to get a solution or solutions.

Don’t answer the phone. You actually don’t have to answer the phone when it rings. If you have blocked out certain time for working on a task don’t let phone calls interrupt your momentum. Whilst you may feel that you always need to be available, the truth is that you are losing productivity by permitting continual interruptions.

Think about what happens when you answer the phone. Keep a log of every phone call you take and how much productive time you waste each day by answering the phone. Unless your job specifies that you are paid to answer the phone, don’t do it. Try turning off your phone for half your day so that you can complete your tasks without interruptions. If you can’t resist it and have to answer, ask your caller if you can call back when it suits you.

There is no way that you can complete your tasks on time and be productive if you are constantly interrupted by drop-in visitors. Make a sign up that says don’t disturb and put it on the handle of your door which should be closed. This will deter all but the most determined interrupters. If you get somebody that can’t take a hint, schedule a time that suits you.

If you adopt these strategies you will start to regain some time. When you’re done that, you can manage the time that you’ve saved.

Seven Steps to Increased Personal Productivity

Your ability to increase personal effectiveness emanates from you. We are inundated with the “tools of technology.” From our computers, to GPS, PDA’s, iPods, Kindles, and the ubiquitous cell phone. You would think the person with the most “equipment” would have the edge, be MOST effective. It is my observation that often the individual with the 39 cent yellow pad is the most effective. Why?

It is not about the “tools”, it is what you do with them. Here is a checklist of several elements that influence effectiveness.

1. Self-Responsibility: The choices, actions and responses you make determine your outcomes. Here is a poem that has influenced me for the past 30 years: The Man In The Glass (author unknown)

2. Accountability: Webster says “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility.” Often I hear “the blame game”, people dodging or failing to accept responsibility, this is a non-productive waste of time. Step-up, take charge and make things happen. Think of these ten words that insure success, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
3. Awareness: Do what you say you’re going to do. This fundamental strategy will place you at the head of the pack. How do you feel when others fail to follow through on what they said they were going to do? Don’t make promises you can’t keep; it dilutes your effectiveness.
4. Desire: Is it your goal to be more effective? You must own the goal and link effectiveness to results, i.e., clearer communication, retention of employees, shorter sales meetings, and increased revenue.
5. Knowledge: There are many “how to” books on time management, one of my favorites is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Here is a summary: http://www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/. This will help you with the “what to” and “why to” of being more effective.

6. Develop Habits: We are creatures of habit, it is not easy to change or “break” habits. To be more effective you must create new habits that will lead to positive behavioral changes. Begin by seeing the outcomes you desire. What actions must you take to get there?
7. Practice: When you identify the actions you must take to reach your goals, begin the journey. Practice by doing the things that will create your success. It you want to do webinars to develop your target market, start by finding out what must be done to do a webinar. Then take the steps to make it happen. Effectiveness is DOING not trying.

Personal Productivity Or Emotional Intelligence?

To be productive, one has to create a state of mind that allows them to meet, conquer and transcend the challenges of life. One has to live from a vision and purpose rather than being reactive to circumstances, events and other people. Why should a Company invest training dollars in a program designed to increase emotional competencies for their staff?

Psychologists understand that the traditional IQ test does not measure all of the factors of an effective, successful, happily productive person. “Book learning” is not the only, and perhaps not the most important, measure of intelligence.

Many of the factors psychologists found to be important in making people successful in their business and personal lives are included in the terms emotional intelligence or emotional competence. The more aware we are of our own emotions, the more control we have over them. The more we empathize with the emotions of others, the more emotionally intelligent we become.

It certainly seems that it emotional intelligence is an important aspect of many business roles. But, business people have one dominant question: how does it affect the bottom line? Can putting employees in touch with their emotions actually make them more productive?

Emotional intelligence is not some new age, touchy-feely concept. Over two hundred studies, done in various countries, agree that emotional competence accounts for two-thirds to four-fifths of the difference between top performing and average performing employees.

When L’Oreal used emotional intelligence as a selection criterion for hiring sales representatives, they discovered that emotionally intelligent people outsold their colleagues by $91,370 a year, on the average.

The United States Air Force saved three million dollars by using emotional intelligence screening to select recruiters. The General Accounting Office reported an annual savings of $300,000 per year on a $10,000 investment in screening.

Emotional competencies can be learned it is not fixed at birth, it can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us. With a good training program, a Company can maximize the potential of the employees it already has, from the top to the bottom of the organizational chart.

For any business that would like to see increases in productivity and efficiency; more effective sales people; more creative teams and more responsive management, it is vital to invest in a good emotional intelligence training program.