If, in your efforts to save an hour or two and do a task faster, you’ve dreamed of something like this at least once — take our advice. We know for sure: the magic of personal efficiency management is available to everyone.
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How to Improve Personal Effectiveness and What It Is in General
You’ve probably come across Steve Jobs’ quote “You don’t work 12 hours, you work with your head.” “Working with your head” is the ability to achieve goals using a minimum of resources, time and effort. That’s what personal effectiveness or productivity is all about.
Let’s face it, just wanting to become a productivity guru isn’t enough. To improve personal efficiency, you’ll have to work on yourself and your habits — nothing will change overnight. But if you find the perfect combo of useful techniques, you’ll eventually learn how to achieve great results with minimal effort. You can start with something from our selection.
Methods for Improving Personal Effectiveness
SMART Goal Method
Sometimes, when thinking about their own productivity, a person starts setting goals for themselves mindlessly. Finish a work report, learn to drive, hit the jackpot at the Money Train 2 slot, find the love of your life — all in 24 hours. No time? That’s it, you’re not effective. This approach is doomed to failure.
Set goals correctly, so it’s easier to cope even with complex and voluminous tasks. The technique of setting “smart” SMART goals can help. According to this method, any goal or task should be:
- S — specific.
- M — measurable.
- A — achievable.
- R — relevant.
- T — time-bound.
Kanban Boards for Organizing Tasks
Kanban boards are a visual way to visualize tasks, especially if there are many of them and all of them are in different stages of execution. To organize kanban boards you can use a regular magnetic board, stickers or a special application.
We divide all tasks on the board into three groups:
- To do. This is where the queue of incoming tasks will be. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to search for a new task in multiple places. They are all here, humbly waiting for their time.
- ]In Progress. These are the tasks you’re working on right now. Don’t grab more than three tasks at once, even if you consider yourself a master of multitasking. Limit yourself to the to-do’s for the day.
- Done. This is where you’ll find a list of things you’ve already done, and it’s the perfect base from which to analyze your productivity.
When you move tasks around the kanban board, you realize your real workload, highlight problem areas, and get a basis for developing personal effectiveness.
Now you have clear goals and a visual list of tasks, but where to start? The Eisenhower Matrix will help you prioritize. Rank each task by two criteria — importance and urgency — and sort them into boxes.
It’s better to perform tasks in this order:
- “Important and Urgent.” The most burning and necessary — do it as soon as possible.
- “Important but not urgent.” Don’t put it off, but don’t rush to do it right away. Schedule the task with a strict deadline.
- “Urgent but not important.” Such tasks should ideally be delegated rather than done yourself.
- “Not urgent or important.” First, ask yourself: “Am I sure I need this?”. If yes, put the task on your “Someday” list and do it as you have the time and desire. If not, cross it off with a clear conscience.
Once you have things squared away, it will be easier to plan your day.
The Pomodoro Method
It happens that the task is simple, but it takes a lot of time to complete it. This can be the case if you’re easily distracted by social media, cute kitten videos, conversations with coworkers, or other external stimuli. In this case, it’s worth developing the skill of concentration. This is where the Pomodoro method comes in handy.
The essence of the method is to work in concentrated pieces for 25 minutes, the so-called “tomatoes,” and then take breaks for 5 minutes. During this time, you can also look at social networks, but as soon as the alarm clock rings and a new “tomato” begins, all unimportant things should move to the background. After 4 “tomatoes” you will be rewarded with a break for 15-20 minutes.
The method is good that you can customize it for yourself, for example, put 3 “tomatoes” in 20 minutes, and between them 10 minutes of break. You can mark the “tomatoes” with a timer on your phone, or use a timer.