Working Smarter

productivemindset

We’re all looking for clever ways to work smarter and get more done, hoping the next new productivity app will be the one that helps us get things done faster and with less effort.

Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, when you think about it, some of the steps you can take to work smarter don’t involve apps at all.

Some of the most effective things you can do to increase your productivity are as simple as getting more sleep, drinking less booze, changing your diet and getting more exercise.

These are all things you can do. They don’t cost anything and you can safely do them at home. They do, however, require the application of an ingredient known to all successful people: self-discipline.

The big challenge with self-discipline is you can’t buy it and you can’t fake it. Trouble is though, you can’t be successful at anything without it.

The opposite of self-discipline is self-indulgence, and we’re all pretty good at that.

If you can’t exercise the self-control required to get your act together, so that you’re alert and focused before you turn up for work, what makes you think you’ll have what it takes to lift your game once you’re there?

In Everyday Productivity, I share the mindset that helped me deliver forty years of productive work in education, banking and government.

But, be warned. The ideas I share will only be of any use to you if you can apply self-discipline, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time reading information you’ll never use.

Everyday Productivity will be available through online book retailers in early 2017.


Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle Action Plan – part 3

outofbalancewheelRebalancing priorities

Write down the steps you intend to take to get your life into balance.

It’s not uncommon for people focused on productivity in the workplace to find, when they look at the way they are allocating their time, that their lives are out of balance. Usually the problem is too great a focus on work at the expense of other areas in their lives.

If you picture the aspects of your life as making up the components of a wheel, the aim is to get all things into alignment so that your wheel will turn smoothly. Interestingly, getting things into balance actually makes it easier to be more productive at work.

Relationships

Think about this as you consider how you’re going to rebalance things in your life.

Significant other

Write down the steps you intend to take to maintain or improve the quality of your relationship with your significant other.

If you’re at the point where ending the relationship is your best option, then research the steps you need to take to do that and seek appropriate legal advice, especially if you’re ending a long term relationship or there are children involved.

If you’re looking to attract a significant other into your life, remember to consider Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas.

Children

If applicable, write down the steps you intend to take to maintain or improve the quality of your relationship with your children.

Family responsibilities

Write down your plan of action for dealing with any family responsibilities that need to be balanced with working.


Now that you’ve drawn up your Lifestyle Action Plan make a commitment to act on it. Go to your calendar and set up a monthly review date, just like you would for any other project, and regularly review your progress and update your plan.


I hope you have enjoyed reading and working with of the content planned for the opening chapters of Everyday Productivity.

Subscribe to Everyday Business Skills to download a FREE copy of the Lifestyle Self-Audit and Lifestyle Action Plan worksheets from the Everyday Productivity Workbook, and be the first to know when Everyday Productivity is available for purchase.

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Lifestyle Action Plan – part 2

slide2Money 

Write down the steps you intend to take to get your cash flow under control. At the very least, draw up a budget and decide what you will be spending your money on before you spend it. This is the reverse of the cash flow exercise you did.

1-13

Spending 

If you live in a two income household, this step cannot be done alone. Before you start, discuss your money situation with your partner and work towards an agreed outcome. Once you have agreement, focus on reducing your discretionary spending to free up the cash required to reduce outstanding credit card debts.

When you have cleared your credit cards, start on a savings plan so that you’ll have the cash to pay for those discretionary items when you want to buy them.

Changing your eating habits might also help you save money, especially if you have been eating out a lot. Going home instead of going to those after work happy hours will also contribute some extra dollars to your bottom line.

Getting control of your cash flow requires self-discipline, and a preparedness to start over if you slip up. And, be realistic; allocate yourself or each partner an allowance to spend without having to account for it.

Income 

The other side of the money equation is income. Can you get a better paying job? Can you earn more in your current job by being more productive?

Is there a way you could earn some extra income on the side? If you have skills to share, consider offering a course on a site like Skillshare.com. The opportunities are out there.


Subscribe to Everyday Business Skills to download a FREE copy of the Lifestyle Self-Audit and Lifestyle Action Plan worksheets from the Everyday Productivity Workbook, and be the first to know when Everyday Productivity is available for purchase.

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Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle Action Plan – part 1

slide2An action plan is a list of steps designed to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

The most important part of any action plan comes after you compile it. It will be no more than a piece of paper with words on it unless you actually take action on the things you list in the plan.

Use a piece of paper, a journal or the template available in the Everyday Productivity Workbook to draw up your Lifestyle Action Plan, using the findings from your Lifestyle Self-Audit.


Subscribe to Everyday Business Skills to download a FREE copy of the Lifestyle Self-Audit and Lifestyle Action Plan worksheets from the Everyday Productivity Workbook, and be the first to know when Everyday Productivity is available for purchase.

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Health and fitness

Write down the steps you intend to take to either maintain or improve your current level of health and fitness.

  • Exercise 

Be as realistic as possible. If you need to lose some weight, by all means set yourself a weight goal but don’t kid yourself you can do it in a few weeks. Go back and read some of those sites you found searching online for ‘body weight’ to help you work out a realistic time frame. If it’s a long time since you exercised regularly, start with walking for ten minutes a day instead of rushing off and joining the gym. We’re talking about establishing new habits. They take time.

  • Eating

If you don’t do the cooking in your household, discuss your plans with the cook. If you eat out or buy take away all the time, consider learning to cook or reverting to home cooked meals. Do some research online to get an understanding of what healthy eating looks like. Hint: fresh food figures in it a lot. If you have no idea when it comes to cooking, let me suggest a little book I wrote for guys living alone: Cooking 4 One. It’s about the basic processes. Cooking is not that difficult but, again, it’s a choice.

Looking after your brain chemistry

  • Alcohol
  • Recreational drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Medicines

If you want to be productive and to lead a healthy life, you’re not going to make it while you’re abusing your brain.

If you need to take action to address substance abuse, it will not be easy, and you will need to be honest enough with yourself to seek help.

  • Cigarettes 

If you want to give up smoking, type ‘smoking consciously’ into your search engine of choice for information on how you can quit.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books.  Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle self-audit part 3

slide2

Relationships:

Relationship with your significant other.

We all want to be loved but sometimes we mess up our relationships with the people we love the most. We get our priorities out of alignment. We take each other for granted and wake up to a different reality than the one we thought we were living.

How’s your relationship going with your significant other?

  • Are you spending quality time together?
  • Are you fighting or arguing?
  • Are you on good speaking terms or giving each other the silent treatment?
  • Are you being abused physically, emotionally or mentally? Are you the one doing the abusing?
  • If you’re away from home a lot, how are you keeping the flame alive?
  • Do you know what’s going on in your partner’s life?

They might be tough questions but it’s tough trying to be productive at work when you’re living with relationship stress.

What overall rating would you give the relationship with your current significant other:

  • Good
  • Bad, or
  • Indifferent?

Only you know the answer to that question but you need to be honest with yourself. It’s easy to delude yourself that things are better than they are.

If you identify issues, remember that there is plenty of professional help available if you want it. If it’s really bad, maybe you need to consider whether you want to stay in the relationship.

Relationships with your children.

  • How much time are you spending with your children?
  • Do you know what’s going on in their lives?

This is not an area you can afford to let slide. Don’t kid yourself that you’re doing it all for them if they never see you. They won’t thank you. They want your presence more than anything else you can provide.

Analysing your data.

Are there things you could work on with your partner to improve your relationship? Are there behaviours you need to change? Do you need to ask for help or can work it out with your partner? What about with your children?

Living AloneNo significant other.

If your relationship stress comes from not having a significant other in your life, take a look at your time log.

  • What’s your current focus?
  • Is there room in your life for a partner at the moment?
  • Do you want to make room?
  • What stories are you telling yourself about relationships?

Analysing your data.

If you’re blocking what you tell yourself you want, by not being available for a relationship to develop, consider making time in your life for a partner.

If you’re telling yourself that you’re not good enough or that you’ll never find someone to love you, it might be time to change your story.

If you want to do something about attracting someone into your life, I suggest you start by reading Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas.

Family responsibilities.

Do you have any specific family responsibilities that impact on your workplace productivity?

For example:

  • If you have young children, do you look after them when they’re sick or on school holidays?
  • Do you have a partner with a chronic illness or other health issues?
  • Do you have a role in caring for elderly parents?

Analysing your data.

The point in identifying your responsibilities is to consider whether you have a plan in place to deal with things like medical emergencies or carer responsibilities, or not. For example; do you share the responsibilities with your partner? Or your siblings? Have you looked at working from home as a viable option when you can’t make it into to work?


Now that you’ve completed a Lifestyle Self-Audit, it’s time to consider an action plan to address the issues you identified.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books.  Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle self-audit part 2

slide2Money matters

I assume you know how much you earn each month; but do you know how much you’re spending?

No, I’m not going to ask you to keep a spending log but I am suggesting that you invest the time required to get a firm understanding of your current cash flow situation. However, if you find that you can’t account for a significant amount of your spending, then you might want to keep a spending log for a week or more to see where those missing dollars, pounds or euros are going.

This is an exercise that is best completed using a spreadsheet but it can be done on a sheet of paper with the aid of a calculator.

What you need to complete this exercise is a copy of the accounts that you pay and your bank account statements, and I recommend that you do it for a complete financial or calendar year.

  • If you are an employee, use your net income; that is, the amount you actually receive from your employer – that’s the amount you’re trying to live on.
  • If you’re self-employed, use your gross income. Taxes and levies are expenses you need to allow for each month. Even if you only pay them quarterly or annually, you need to have the cash to do that at the time. You also need to account for your business expenses as well as your personal expenses, and know the difference between the two if you want to avoid disputes with the tax authorities.

Draw up a table with months across the top and a list of income and expenses down the left hand side.

moneymatters

Group your personal expenses into two categories: essential and discretionary.

Essential expenses are the things required for survival; like food, water, housing, electricity and clothing.

Discretionary expenses are not related to survival. They’re expenses you have a choice about, things like going to the movies, eating out, a new pair of shoes, cigarettes and life insurance.

Some of your expenses will be regular in the sense that you need to pay them every month or quarter. For example, expenses like rent or mortgage payments are usually both fixed in amount and regular in frequency of payment. Food and utility payments, on the other hand, may be regular in frequency of payment but variable in amount. Items like car expenses may vary both in frequency and amount.

How many credit cards are there in your household? Remember to include any loan and credit card repayments you are required to make as expenses.

To keep things simple, I suggest you create an expense called ‘petty cash’ as a catch all for the money you spend on low value items like coffee and lunch during the month. The important point is to get it as accurate as you can without stressing over every dollar, pound or euro.

Analysing your data

When you have filled in the table, total your expenses for each month. Then, for each month, subtract your total expense amount from your monthly income, and record the result in a separate row labelled cash flow. If you used a spreadsheet, you might want to graph that result. It’s also valuable to compare the total of your annual expenses with your total income for the year.

  • If your annual expenses equal your annual income, you need to do something.
  • If your expenses exceed your income  – you definitely need to do something.

Hint: If you have credit cards and you can’t clear the debt in a particular month, you spent more that month than you earned. If you have rolling credit card debt, which you never seem to be able to pay off, you’re spending more than you earn.

In the final analysis, if you need to do something, there are only two things you can do: earn more income or spend less money. If spending less is your only viable option, you need to draw up a plan – also known as a budget – and apply self-discipline.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books.  Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle self-audit part 1

slide2This is the part where you review aspects of your lifestyle to become aware of what you’re doing, or not doing, that may be causing you stress and reducing your effectiveness in the workplace.

By the way, there are no right or wrong answers. What we’re doing is looking at information so that you can make informed choices. Nobody is perfect at any of this stuff but the more aware you are of what you’re doing, the better placed you’ll be to make those informed choices that may not only improve your productivity but your lifestyle outcomes as well.

Health and fitness

Weight

Write down your vital statistics: age; height; weight; waist measurement. Enter ‘body weight’ into your search engine of choice and use one of the online calculators to determine your ideal weight, and then do some research to see what that means for you.

Record the results of your research. Remember, this document is classified: For Your Eyes Only.

Image

Take a look at your profile in the mirror the next time you’re naked. What’s your honest assessment:

  • Trim, Taut and Terrific,
  • Fat, Flabby and Floppy, or
  • Somewhere in between?

Need some help deciding? Would you post that image on Facebook?

So, what’s the verdict on your body weight:

  • Underweight
  • Within acceptable range, or
  • Overweight?

And, what’s the verdict on your body image:

  • Terrific,
  • Could use some work, or
  • Could use a lot of work?

Analysing your data

Do you need to lose some weight? Do you need to get fit?

There are only two real options for addressing weight issues: changing your diet and exercise.

If you’re within the acceptable range for your age, keep doing what you’re doing. But, if you’re in one of the other categories, consider making some changes to your diet and exercise regime. You might want to consult with a physician before embarking on any exercise if you’ve been a couch potato for a while, but most of us can start simply by increasing the amount of walking we do every day.

1 (7)Food and other things you swallow 

Keep a log of what you put into your mouth for a week. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? But be warned, you’ll probably find this more of a challenge than keeping a time log, because of the greater temptation to cheat. You need to resist that and record everything you eat, drink or put into your mouth, including all those things that you know aren’t good for you.

Get yourself a small note book and carry it with you for the week. Write down everything you put into your mouth.

Analysing your data

Food

  • How much of what you eat is fresh food? By fresh food, let’s agree we mean stuff that doesn’t come in a packet, bottle, tin or plastic container.
  • How much of what you eat is processed food? That’s the stuff that does not meet our definition for fresh food.

Now, here’s the kicker that goes with that one. What’s actually in that processed food you’re eating? Ever read the labels? Some of those ingredients with the fancy scientific names are there to stop the food deteriorating. Some are there simply for their taste adding features. Several of those ingredients are commonly known as sugars, which are suspected of contributing to both the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics sweeping the parts of the world consuming the western diet. Type ’sugar in food’ into your search engine of choice to read both sides of the sugar argument, and think about how much sugar you’re probably consuming without realising it.

If you’re overweight, you’ll need to make some changes to your diet if you want to lose weight and feel more energetic. The weight loss mantra used to be: eat less, walk more. If you take a look at what they’re saying these days, it’s not so much about eating less but eating consciously or being more aware of what you’re actually putting into your body.

If you need to make changes to your diet, don’t go on a diet. You’ll be better off if you make some informed choices about what you eat, and decide to make a lifestyle change to eating healthier food, and not a short term effort to lose weight.

Brain chemistry

  • How much alcohol are you consuming daily? Weekly?
  • What other substances are you putting into your system that mess with your brain chemistry?
  • Are you still smoking, despite all the health warnings?

If you’re consuming substances like alcohol and drugs that mess with your brain chemistry, there really are only two viable options if you want to increase your productivity: abstinence and moderation.

If you’re taking recreational drugs or dabbling in narcotics, you might want to ask yourself why, and spend some time with your answer or excuse.

There are other ways of coping with stress that don’t mess with your brain chemistry. One way is meditation. Another is running. You don’t have to poison yourself. You have choices.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books.  Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Lifestyle impacts on productivity

slide2

By lifestyle, I mean how you’re living your life. In this chapter we’re focusing on what you do when you’re not at work. One of the reasons I chose to start with lifestyle is that it’s something you can address without drawing attention to yourself at work. It’s also an easy way to show you that you can do something about your behaviours – once you become aware of them and their potential consequences beyond your front door.

Sleep deprivation

If you’re still wondering what influence your lifestyle choices could possibly have on your productivity, type ‘sleep deprivation’ into your search engine of choice and hit ‘enter’.

Here’s a list of some of the effects of sleep deprivation* you’ll find that relate directly to work performance.

  • Reduced alertness
  • Shortened attention span
  • Slower than normal reaction time
  • Poor judgement
  • Reduced awareness of the environment and situation
  • Reduced decision-making skills
  • Poor memory
  • Reduced concentration
  • Increased likelihood of mentally ‘stalling’ or fixating on one thought
  • Increased likelihood of moodiness and bad temper
  • Reduced work efficiency
  • Loss of motivation
  • Errors of omission – making a mistake by forgetting to do something
  • Errors of commission – making a mistake by doing something, but choosing the wrong option
  • Micro-sleep – brief periods of involuntary sleeping that range from a few seconds to a few minutes in duration.

*Source: Better Health Victoria

Living in separate boxes

separateboxes

We tend to divide our work and home lives into separate boxes and ignore the impacts each has on the other. You’re no doubt familiar with stories about workaholics, people who destroy their family lives by spending too much time at work. Those stories actually illustrate the interconnectedness of the different parts of your life, so it’s really not all that surprising, when you think about it, that your home life can impact your work life, and, therefore, your productivity. And, it’s not just your sleeping pattern. It’s all those things, like the following, that can cause you stress.

Relationships

If things are going well in your relationship with your significant other, chances are you’re feeling good about going to work and the state of your relationship is not distracting you from the task at hand. If, on the other hand, you’re experiencing some relationship issues, you’ll probably be finding it difficult to concentrate on the job. You may even be having some trouble sleeping, and we’ve already seen what that can do. This is one aspect of your life you can do something about if it’s causing you stress and impacting on your productivity. You might only need to talk to your partner. You might need to make some behavioural changes or get help to sort out your issues. You may need to end the relationship. Point is, you can either do something about it or simply hope it will go away. The choice is yours.

Money

image

Most money problems are self-inflicted. Sure, there will be times when something comes out of left field that you weren’t expecting but, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know that your money problems are the result of spending more than you earn. Take a look at your credit cards. They exist to allow you to do just that.

If you’re worrying about how you’re going to pay this month’s bills when you’re supposed to be working, you will not be as productive as you could be. The good news is money problems are fixable, if you’re prepared to exercise some self-control when it comes to spending. But, again, the choice is yours to make.

Health and fitness

Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, especially when it comes to how you look after your body. You eat fast food. You settle for being a couch potato. You mess with your brain chemistry by drinking too much alcohol or using so called recreational drugs and narcotics, or overusing medical opiates. You reduce your lung capacity by smoking cigarettes or weed, despite all the health warnings on the packet. If you’re a ‘party animal’, you might want to go back and read that list of effects of sleep deprivation, and ask yourself why they do blood tests and impose sleep restrictions on pilots and people operating machinery in underground mines. You might only be operating a computer but you’ll face the same problems.

When you think about it, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that if you’re overweight, unfit, and mess with your brain chemistry and lung capacity, you probably won’t be at your best when you turn up for work.

But there’s more to wellbeing than physical fitness and healthy eating habits. There’s also how you look after yourself from a mental or spiritual perspective. If you want to operate optimally in the workplace, you need to give yourself some downtime and have some fun. You’re not going to be productive if you’re running on empty most of the time. Fortunately, there are ways of addressing these issues but they all require one thing: self-discipline.

Family responsibilities

The extent of your family responsibilities changes with time. If you have young children they get sick, they have trouble sleeping, and they’re involved in all sorts of things. If you have elderly parents you may end up with carer responsibilities. Point is, if you have family responsibilities there will be times when they impact on your work commitments. If they’re regular and ongoing, it’s probably a good idea to discuss them with your employer and plan around them. There is no point in trying to hide them. That’s a stress you don’t need. Sometimes you have family emergencies and you either can’t go in or you need to leave work early. You need a plan for how you’re going to handle those emergencies that includes how you’re going to meet any critical deadlines.

If your employer is unsympathetic to supporting you meet your family responsibilities, it may be time to find a new job or to seek help from your wider family or the community. Sometimes people only need to be asked.


The next step is to conduct a self-audit of your lifestyle choices. A self-audit can help you become aware of behaviours that may be impacting on your productivity – if you’re honest with yourself. Your findings will either confirm that you have no issues or that you have a few things to attend to in your own time that may help you increase your productivity.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing a series of Everyday Productivity posts, and providing you with an opportunity to download a free copy of the workbook to complete the exercises designed to help you get the most out of the content. Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

3 secret ingredients of productivity

Before we examine the factors that impact on your productivity in detail, let’s take a moment to think about what it means to be productive in the workplace.

Being productive is more than just being busy. You’ve no doubt had days when you were busy all day but, at the end of the day, felt as if you hadn’t actually achieved anything. I know I have.

Work is something we do with intent. It has a purpose. It’s not just a way of passing the time. You generally don’t get paid for that.

Being productive at work or in your own business is about getting things done that you want to get done for a specific reason, and I don’t mean so you’ll get paid. That’s a by-product of being productive.

Contrary to what many people think, business is about service. It’s about producing goods and providing services that others need or want. If you’re being productive, then what you are doing is contributing to either the production or delivery of those goods and services. When you’re not being productive, then, basically, you’re not contributing.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re interested in contributing by being productive in your chosen field, and that you want to be as productive as possible. After all, we live in a society that rewards people for being productive, and there’s nothing wrong with being paid for making a contribution.

As I mentioned in the overview, there are a lot of factors that can either help or hinder your efforts to be productive. There are three other things though, what we might call the three secret ingredients, that are more important than all of those factors: awareness, purpose and action.

3 secret ingredients

Awareness

You can’t do anything about things of which you are not aware. You can probably recall a time when someone at school stuck a sign on another student’s back as an April Fool’s joke. It was a laugh for everyone – except for the poor person totally unaware of the sign. You don’t want to be that person in the workplace.

The focus of this book is on helping you bring things into awareness, so that you can (1) assess their impact on your productivity, and ( 2) do something about them.

Purpose

It’s important to be aware of the purpose of your work. If you don’t know what it is that you are working to achieve everyday you’re not likely to be very productive.

Before reading on, take some time to identify the purpose of your work. This might take a moment or it may require a little research. You may need to review your vision or think about articulating one for your business, or you may need to read your duty statement or job description.

I’ll come back to purpose in the chapters on attitude and knowledge, but I suggest you stop and answer the appropriate question below before reading the next chapter.

  • If you’re an employee; what is it that you’re being paid to do each day?
  • If you’re self employed; why do you get up and go to work every day?

Action

There is no point in knowing all there is to know about being productive if you don’t take action, and not just any action. If you want to be productive you need to take action aligned with your purpose.


This is a draft of material that will eventually appear in Everyday Productivity, the next title in my Everyday Business Skills books. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing a series of Everyday Productivity posts, and providing you with an opportunity to download a free copy of the workbook to complete the exercises designed to help you get the most out of the content. Please feel free to offer feedback in the comments.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Productivity – an overview

Productivity in the workplace is a measure of your effectiveness – with a focus on both the quality and quantity of the work you do.

Your personal productivity is influenced by a range of factors:

  • Lifestyle
  • Attitude
  • Work Environment
  • Habits
  • Tools
  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Community

productivity

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is about how you’re living your life. Your lifestyle choices impact your productivity in the workplace. The secret is becoming aware of how what you’re doing when you’re not at work is influencing your productivity at work.

Attitude

Attitude or mindset is about how you approach things mentally. If you hate your job, you’re going to find it difficult to be more productive. If you’re set in your ways and not open to change, you’re going to struggle with doing things differently, which is often a key ingredient for increasing productivity.

Work Environment

If you work in an environment that does not encourage change or innovation, you’re likely to meet resistance whenever you try something different. Sometimes you have to take a risk and lead from where you are, even if you aren’t in charge. And, more importantly, when you are.

Habits

Your daily habits either facilitate or impede your productivity. You need to bring your habits into awareness and to assess their value. Some of them may have to go. You may need to develop some new ones.

Tools

There are plenty of productivity tools or apps available on the open market – but what’s available in your workplace? If you’re self-employed you get to experiment and choose. If you’re an employee you’ll need to master what’s available.

Skills

What are the skills required to do your job? Do you have them? Can you learn them? Are you prepared to invest in your own education?

Knowledge

What do you know about your job or your role in the workplace? And, just as important, what don’t you know about it? What knowledge do you need to have to be more effective? Are you prepared to get that knowledge?

Community

Who are the people around you? Are they supportive of your desire to increase your productivity? Does your productivity depend upon the actions of others?


If you want to increase your productivity, you’ll need to address each of these factors.


Peter Mulraney has forty years experience working in schools, banking, and government. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.