Improve Personal Productivity by Knowing Yourself Well

How do we improve personal productivity at work? Recall that personal productivity is an equation of Me, You and Situation? We want to work on the Me factor. Personal productivity starts from the individual’s awareness or as we term it Personal Awareness. Personal Awareness is based on how our mental model works. Your mental model setups mental boundaries, predict the outcome or process of work. Our personal awareness (surrounding the Me) can be characterized into four quadrants.

“I know what I can do” – The most preferred quadrant. Individuals of this quadrant know what they are doing. Know who, what, where, when and how they can do to achieve their objectives. Usually they are confident individuals that are able to predict the outcome.

“I know what I cannot do” – Usually paired together with individuals of “I know what I can do”; Individuals are conscious of their limit of their abilities. This is important as they can identify which type of work is suitable for them and which are above their abilities.

“I do not know what I can do” – Individuals fail to recognize their fullest potential. Their superiors may have identified their untapped potentials but always stumble with the unwillingness of the individual to unleash them. Usually these individuals are resistance to change.

“I do not know what I cannot do” – Ignorance is not a blessing here. Individuals that fall into this quadrant are usually ignorant and over-confident. They fail to see what they can’t perform and usually get themselves into trouble.

Personal productivity starts from understanding your personal awareness. In the four quadrants, by knowing where you are, you can estimate your effort in a task, the time frame committed, the boundaries you are working in, or even further improve personal productivity. Personal productivity is not merely the personal aspect but it can also be achieved at the situational aspect where for example, you are aware of how much effort is required in performing a certain task in a particular situation.

Of course, there is no one straight cut to a specific quadrant. There can be combinations of quadrant and they can deviate in different situations. Now look back the past events that happened at work. Which of the quadrants do you feel you best relate to in how you are aware of yourself and the situation? Were you able to identify that you were able to optimize personal productivity if you were being more aware of yourself or the situation? Have a thought about it! 😉

Apply the 80/20 Rule and Watch Your Personal Productivity Soar

Before we can apply the 80/20 rule, we need a clear picture of what it actually is and a basic idea of where it originated.

In the early 1900’s, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that twenty percent of the people in Italy owned eighty percent of the wealth. Over 30 years later, Dr. Joseph M. Juran, who worked in the field of Quality Management in the United States, recognized a similar occurrence, namely, that many things in life are unevenly distributed.

He referred to this trend as Pareto’s 80/20 Principle, which is otherwise known as the 80/20 rule. Basically this means that a small percentage (roughly 20%) of the overall activity yields a larger percentage (roughly 80%) of the result.

Applying the 80/20 rule to your personal productivity will help you to prioritize your work from most important to least important and then to budget your time accordingly. To make prioritizing your tasks a bit easier, estimate the amount of time you will need to complete each task. You will be more productive if you focus on completing the most important tasks first and if you finish time-sensitive projects before tackling other tasks.

One survey revealed that while people spend 60 hours a week in their offices, they do less than 20 hours of actual work. Applying the 80/20 rule, using the aforementioned suggestions, could send the average office-worker soaring to employee of the month in no time flat!

With your priorities set and a definite plan in place as to what work you need to complete and the time-frame you have to complete it, you are well on your way to improved personal productivity. Again, the 80/20 rule suggests that in a small amount time you can be very productive. Therefore, beware of becoming side-tracked by non-essential intruders like procrastination.

Keep in mind the old adage, “why put off tomorrow what you can do today!” Also, be mindful that in the course of a day, unexpected things do come up and require our time. However, this is usually the exception and not the rule. If you really want your productivity to soar, stay focused on the goal of completing your tasks on-time!

Now that you know where you want to be, it’s a good time to ask yourself where you are now in relation to reaching your goal. Are you already in the 20% of efficient, productive workers, are you in the 80% of not-so-productive workers, or are you somewhere in-between?

What does your annual or quarterly review reveal about your personal productivity? What do your peer reviews show? Regardless of your current standing, take an honest look at the work you’ve done lately. You may not need a full overhaul of your work habits but instead you may just need to fine-tune a few areas.

Don’t hesitate. Why not start today? Apply the 80/20 rule at work and even at home and just watch your personal productivity soar!

Choosing a Niche Product to Dropship

Time and time again I recommend that you choose a niche product to dropship from your website or sell on eBay. But how do you choose your niche? The following are brainstorming tips to help you come up with a niche product that can be sold online.

First: Check Your Purchases. Many prospective online entrepreneurs try to think of really out-there products like unicycles or bamboo knitting needles so they can enter a market that isn’t too saturated. This is a good idea in some respects, but one of the most important factors when choosing a product is to choose something that people actually buy online. One way to brainstorm this type of product is to think what you yourself buy online.

In the past month, I’ve bought three second-hand novels written by Mildred Walker, a pair of studded motorcycle boots, a Hebrew-printed t-shirt, tickets to a murder mystery play, a pair of Cubs swim trunks, and a calligraphy set. Not surprisingly, almost all of my purchases represent niche markets. Why is that? Because with the exception of a few broad categories like electronics, most items bought online are niche products. This is because common, general products can easily be purchased at physical locations close to your home. You go online to find unusual items that can’t be bought at the mall.

Second: Check Logistics. Let’s assume that I want to dropship my products, not purchase them wholesale. This means that some of the products I purchased last month are out of the running for my niche inspiration. Used books aren’t generally dropshipped, and neither are theater tickets. Shoes and clothing are usually sold wholesale, but in this case the items that I bought might still be appropriate since they weren’t common apparel and accessories. The studded motorcycle boots might be a good candidate for a dropship niche product for a few reasons: first, they are a product that’s not easily found in local stores. I bought those boots online because after searching the three malls in my area I couldn’t find anything quirky enough to satisfy my Sarah Connor Chronicles obsession.

The studded motorcycle boots are a good pick for another reason: they’re a theme product that I could easily build a whole product line around. With the boots as my central product, I could have a goth/punk/emo website, a motorcycle apparel site, or a studded leather accessories site. Finally, while I might not be able to find this product through a dropship supplier, they are expensive enough that I could possibly use a wholesaler to dropship them. Let’s say my wholesale supplier has a $100 order minimum: if a single pair of studded boots costs $125, I can likely have single pairs shipped directly to my customers even though the supplier is ostensibly a wholesaler.

Stay tune for more tips on choosing a niche to dropship products.