Technological efficiency won't help if you have poor personal productivity. Here's how to improve it.
I'm going to share with you my own secrets of personal productivity.
No, I'm not going to tell you to hire more employees or adopt new technology. Sure, those things can make your office more productive, but the subject here is personal productivity ... those most personal of work habits that keep you focused on tasks that maximize the return on your personal time.
To ramp up your personal productivity, familiarize yourself with five concepts. Some will sound like old directives we've all heard before, but put them all together into one integrated system and I believe you'll have a new way of working.
This means you don't put sticky notes on your desk or computer monitor (unless they're very short-term reminders to get the tasks written onto your one list), don't scatter files all over your desk as reminders to work on what's in those files, and don't use your e-mail inbox as a second list. Write everything down in one place.
Where should that be? Preferably, it will near in proximity to your e-mail. The reason is that so many of our tasks first enter our consciousness in the form of an e-mail or other electronic communication. Your office manager IMs you to say, "Don't forget to call Mr. BigShot before leaving the office today." Or a business partner who's on the road e-mails to say, "Don't forget to prepare XYZ for our Friday morning meeting."
The proximity of e-mails to your list is best accomplished by using one software program, usually a client relationship management program like Junxure or ProTracker (or off-the-shelf programs like ACT! or Goldmine), to receive/send e-mail and to keep your list. When you receive an e-mail that gives rise to a task, it's simply easier to cut and paste or drag and drop the task onto your to-do list if the two programs work in tandem.