Personal Productivity – Save Time, Avoid Frustration and Triple Your Resuslts

It seems everyone these days is craving more time in the day, to be more productive, and to get more done. We all want to get to the end of the day achieving what we set out to do.

There are several tools and strategies that can help you on your quest. Here are three personal favourites that consistently work to save time, effort and frustration.

Roboform

This cool tool is an absolute winner! RoboForm logs in to your commonly used websites, with the click of a button. If you get annoyed having to re-type your login details and password every time you want to access your online accounts, then this tool will save you heaps of time and remove a daily nuisance factor.

RoboForm remembers all your login usernames and passwords for you to access various online memberships, your personal bank accounts and any other websites which require password access.

Simply click the required site from your list, and Hey Presto, you’re in … no typing, just the click of a button. And you can set up a key password to protect your secure sites so your personal information is completely safe.

The best part is RoboForm is absolutely FREE to try for 30 days, and after you’ve tried it, you’ll be wishing you got it years ago.

QuickLaunch Taskbar

If you’re like most people, when you’re on your computer, you want access to your information FAST! Setting up your QuickLaunch taskbar makes it so easy for you to swap between windows and access other programs quickly and effortlessly.

The QuickLaunch taskbar shows icons of the programs you commonly access in the bottom taskbar of your screen. To open a program, or to switch between applications, you simply click the program icon you want. It saves you having to go back to your Desktop, or having to access the program through your Start window, both of which involve a few extra clicks.

Your QuickLaunch bar is part of your Windows package and can be easily set up. Simply right-click on your Start button, select Properties, then the Taskbar tab. Check the ‘Show QuickLaunch’ option.

To place icons onto your QuickLaunch, simply drag and drop the required program icons from your Desktop. You can show as many icons as you wish. To show more, click and drag the slider bar to where you want it:

You can then lock the taskbar in place by right-clicking in the background of the QuickLaunch area, then clicking the ‘Lock the Taskbar’ option.

And here’s a tip: Add your Windows Explorer icon to your QuickLaunch bar to easily access and open any file, folder or document. From your Start menu, go to ‘All Programs’, open ‘Accessories’, then right-click on ‘Windows Explorer’ and select the ‘Add to QuickLaunch’ option.

Impact /Ease grid:

Here’s a terrific technique which helps you plan and prioritise tasks. It’s easy and powerful! (And don’t be fooled by its simplicity).

When you’ve got a lot on your plate it can become overwhelming, and there are times when it’s difficult to know where to start. This tool helps you capture your pressing action items and then plan and schedule them quickly and easily.

Simply brain-dump all your tasks onto a list. List your tasks down the page and number them. Then rule two columns on the right-hand side and label them Impact and Ease.

Then, on a scale of 1-10 determine the Impact of each item on your list on your overall results and effectiveness. It’s easiest to decide your highest Impact item first and give it a 10, then decide your lowest Impact item and score it a 1. From there, scale each other item relatively, recording these scores in the Impact column.

Next determine the Ease with which you can accomplish each item. Score your easiest task a 10 and your hardest task a 1, then scale each other item relatively, recording your scores in the Ease column..

Next, create a graph labelled 1-10 along each axis. Label one axis ‘Impact’ and the other ‘Ease’. Create a grid (by ruling graph lines), and rule it into quadrants along the mid-point on each axis (5). Then plot your tasks (using the task number) onto the Impact/Ease grid at the relevant point.

Your High Priority Tasks are those that sit above the 7 point on each axis. Immediately start on these items: Create a plan to complete these, add to your schedule and begin NOW! These are the tasks that will make a real difference to your results, and the best part is, you can do them! You’ve already determined they are the most impactful, and relatively easy to boot. No excuses on these ones.

Next, schedule your Focus tasks. These are those that sit in the quadrant above 5 on both axes. You’ll need to schedule these around your High Priority tasks to make sure they’re done. These tasks are also important; you just need to get a little clever how you’re going to fit them in to your schedule.

For the tasks that are high Impact but low Ease (over 5 on Impact but less than 5 on Ease), you will need to plan a strategy as to how you can make these easier to accomplish. You may need to up-skill, get additional resources, or seek guidance, mentoring or advice from someone who’s done it before. In short, you’ll need to find a way to make these tasks easier to accomplish. When you do, these tasks will make an impact on your results.

You can then work out how whether you have enough time left over to do the tasks in the low Impact, high Ease quadrant. These are easy to do but don’t have a great impact on your effectiveness. It may be easy to just do them if you have the time, or delegate them if you feel they will add value to get done. Remember though, that these tasks should be left til after you’ve accomplished tasks in the high Impact quadrants.

The low Impact, low Ease tasks should be dumped. They will not add value to your results or your effectiveness.

Try these strategies to get efficiency gains in 3 areas, including how you manage your time going online, accessing your computer files and prioritising your tasks, and watch your productivity soar.