How to improve your personal productivity in 2021 (part 2)

This week, I want to start by celebrating and appreciating everyone who did read through the first installment of this article last Monday, sending me mails and texts. Thank you for all those swelling words of encouragement of yours. I am very much elated, because what I am doing here is changing thousands of readers on a weekly basis.

Now, let us move to this week’s business, remember that I wrote last Monday that your workload and responsibilities will always continue to increase in the midst of the earth. No matter how much you get done, there will always be something new for you to get done. And the more you get done, the more responsibility will flow to you. And when you become highly productive and efficient, you will crunch through more work than anyone else around you. As a result, you will attract more work, and usually work that pays more and offers greater opportunity. But the workload will never decrease as long as you desire to keep improving your personal productivity.

Additionally, many people think that by learning and practicing time management techniques that they can find some “magic bullet” that will enable them to get caught up with all their tasks and responsibilities. I like to submit to you that it is a myth. The fact is that you will never get caught up. There will always be something more to do.

Here’s the rule: The only way that you can get control of your time and your life is to stop doing certain things. You cannot do more things. You can only discontinue activities of low value or no value. Also, successful people do fewer things than unsuccessful people, but they do the most important things and they do them well. They do them quickly and efficiently and on schedule.

The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto concluded in 1895 that society could be divided into two groups, the “vital few” and the “trivial many.” He found that, in every society, 20% of the people, the “vital few,” owned and controlled 80% of the wealth. While the other 20% of the wealth was dispersed among the remaining 80%, the “trivial many.”

Today, we apply the Pareto Principle to every aspect of work. It says that 20% of your activities will contribute 80% of your value. 20% of your customers will represent 80% of your sales. 20% of your products will contribute 80% of your profits. 20% of your people will produce 80% of the value of all your staff.

What this means is that, if you make a list of ten tasks that you have to accomplish in a day, two of those tasks will be worth more than the other eight together. Here is the worst part. Each of the ten items may require the same amount of time to accomplish, but in terms of real value and contribution, two of those items will be worth at least five times as much as any of the other items.

Most people divide their work time by the number of jobs they have to complete in a day. Top people, however, divide their work time by the value of the tasks they have to complete in a day. Hear this, each day, before you begin a task, ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of things that I could be doing, or is it in the bottom 80%?”

A priority is defined as something that is more important than something else. It comes first. It has greater value than another task.

A posteriority, on the other hand, is something that you do later, if at all. It is done after you have done everything else. In other words, to have enough time to concentrate on your priorities this year and beyond, you must set clear posteriorities in every area of your life. You must decide what you are not going to do, so that you can have enough time to complete those tasks that are vital to your business and your future. Never you forget this rule, “The very worst use of time is to do very well what need not be done at all.”

As I begin to coast home for this week, you need to understand that the starting point of excellent time management is to make a list of all the things you have to do. All top time managers work from a list, for every week, every day and every project. They think on paper! This will help you a great deal—in a context of increasing your personal productivity in 2021 and beyond.

When you write out everything you have to do on a list before you begin, your work appears more organized and takes on a different perspective. You can see it laid out in front of you. You gain greater clarity as to what is more important and what is less important. You feel a greater sense of personal control.

According to time management specialists, you will increase your productivity by 25% from the first day that you begin working from a list, on the condition that you are not doing so already. You will gain two extra hours of productive time, because you are working from a list, you will have a track to run on, all day long.

Like a person traveling across a strange country with an excellent map and a GPS system, you will always know exactly where you are by continually referring to your list. Lastly, when something new comes up, before you act on it, write it down on your list. Never do something that you have not written down, not even returning a telephone call! As you complete each task, tick it off. By the end of the day, you will have a written record of accomplishment in front of you. Till I come your way again next Monday, see you where productive leaders are found!


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