Productivity Is Personal! When it comes to your own Productivity, the smartest thing you can do is to learn what works best for you. Personal development author Gill Hasson helps you to discover how to manage your time and get things done with less stress and more efficiency. Being productive involves finding your own rhythm and getting things done in a way that works best for you; according to your circumstances, your skills and abilities and the time, energy and resources you have. Productivity helps you to identify what might currently be getting in the way of you being more productive. It has plenty of ideas and suggestions, tips and techniques to help you get organised and be more productive. * Develop a personal Productivity mindset * Identify your optimum times of day * Plan your time purposefully * Manage difficulties and setbacks Rather than work harder, work smarter. This book shows you how!
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1 What's Stopping You?
A Productive Mindset
Letting Go Of What's Not Important
2 Know Yourself
Identify Your Qualities And Strengths
Know Your Learning Style
3 Get Organized
Productivity Is Personal
Identify Your Options
Write It Down
Plan And Prioritize
Urgent And Important
Optimize Your Time
4 Manage The Difficulties And Setbacks
Get A Kickstart
Act ‘As If’
Make It Even Easier
‘If … Then …’
Make A Decision
Persistence, Self‐Discipline, and Willpower
Make It Enjoyable
Plan For Difficulties, Delays, And Setbacks
5 Deal With Other People
Deal With ‘Decision Leeches’
Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
6 Look After Yourself
About The Author
End User License Agreement
Table of Contents
This edition first published 2019.
© 2019 Gill Hasson
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom
For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at www.wiley.com.
Gill Hasson has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this Work.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging‐in‐Publication Data
Names: Hasson, Gill, author.
Title: Productivity : get motivated, get organised, and get things done / Gill Hasson.
Description: Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom : John Wiley & Sons, 2019. | Includes index. |
Identifiers: LCCN 2019007046 (print) | LCCN 2019007968 (ebook) | ISBN 9780857088017 (Adobe PDF) | ISBN 9780857088055 (ePub) | ISBN 9780857087843 (pbk.)
Subjects: LCSH: Time management. | Motivation (Psychology)
Classification: LCC BF637.T5 (ebook) | LCC BF637.T5 H37 2019 (print) | DDC 650.1—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019007046
Cover Design: Wiley
Cover Image: © Ani_Ka/Getty Images
Harry, My clever boy.
Being productive means making things happen and getting things done.
What being productive doesn't mean, though, is squeezing every minute out of every hour of every day to become some sort of productivity machine. Being productive doesn't mean working harder – it means working smarter; getting things done effectively and efficiently.
Do you want to get more done? Do you want to be able to fit more in? Or would you like to achieve more by doing less? Either way, what's stopping you? What's stopping you getting things done efficiently and effectively?
Perhaps you're doing too much. Perhaps you rush round in a state of panic; you've got too much to do and too much to think about. You can't think clearly; your head is full of what you're doing, what you haven't done, and what you've yet to do. You're certainly doing a lot, but you're not doing it efficiently.
On the other hand, it could be that you're not doing enough. You have things you want to get done but you get stuck; you find it difficult to get started, to keep going and get things finished. You don't feel like you ever get much done.
It doesn't have to be like this!
Chapter 1 starts by encouraging you to think about what your reasons might be; why you might be finding it difficult to be productive and get things done. Whatever it is that's getting in the way of you being more productive, it can be overcome. Chapter 1 explains how the way you think – your attitude and approach – makes all the difference. You need a productivity mindset: persistence, determination, and a positive, open mind; a willingness to be adaptable and flexible.
But as well as a productive mindset, it's important to recognize that what you don't do helps determine what you can do. Chapter 1 also encourages you to identify commitments and chores that may be cluttering up your time and preventing you from getting on with the things you really want to do.
You might, though, feel that you should be able to fit it all in – other people seem to manage, don't they? Well of course, there's always someone else you know or hear about who seems to be getting so much done – who's able to fit more into their days than you ever thought possible.
But that's their life, not yours.
If you look more closely, you'll find that productive people have set things up to succeed according to their skills, strengths, and abilities; their resources, interests, commitments, and obligations. And rather than working harder, they're working smarter.
You can do the same.
Chapter 2 explains the importance of identifying and drawing on your own skills, strengths, and abilities to help you to be productive; to get things done effectively and efficiently. Then, once you've looked at what's getting in the way and identified the attributes you already have that can help you be more productive, you can start getting yourself more organized. Chapter 3 tells you how.
You'll need to be clear about what it is that you want to get done – what areas and aspects of your life you want to be more productive in. Then, once you have a realistic idea about what, how much, and by when you want to get things done, the next thing to do is to plan how and when you'll do it.
Of course, when it comes to productivity and time management, there's nothing new about setting goals, planning, prioritizing, scheduling tasks, and having routines. But what is new is the approach described in this book to doing these things; to planning, prioritizing, etc.
Throughout this book, the emphasis is on the fact that productivity is personal: it involves finding your own rhythm and getting things done in a way that works best for you; according to your circumstances, your skills and abilities, and the time, energy and resources you have.
You might, for example, be someone who needs to tackle difficult tasks and irritating chores head on. On the other hand, you might prefer to ease into your day. Chapter 3 encourages you to be aware of when might be the optimum time of day for you to be productive.
You'll need to remain flexible and open to changing how you do things, because no matter how organized you are – how well you plan your time and your tasks – and how efficiently and effectively you do them, challenges and setbacks happen. You then have to let go of your plans. And plan again.
Having begun to look at why you might be struggling to be more productive in Chapter 1, Chapter 4 looks at what to do about those difficulties. One of the most common challenges is just getting started on things. For many of us, it's easy to keep putting things off. But the guilt and anxiety that you feel while procrastinating are often worse than the effort and energy you have to put into whatever it is that you're putting off doing!
The thing is, waiting until you really feel like doing something is a sure‐fire way for things not to get done. In fact, it's normal not to feel like doing something in the beginning. So, what to do? Chapter 4 has a number of methods – ideas and suggestions – to help you overcome procrastination. It also has some suggestions to help make it easier to keep going; to persist when you come up against difficulties and challenges with whatever it is you're trying to get done.
There will always be setbacks, delays, and hold ups. When there are setbacks and difficulties, you need to refocus your attention on what you can do that could move things forward for you. If you really want to achieve something, there's usually a way. And most likely, there's more than one way.
Whether it's a major delay or a minor hold up, you'll need to know when to let go of what you can't control and look at what you can control. When you do that, you take a step towards getting back on track.
When things aren't going as well as you'd planned, one thing that can make a positive difference is to get help from others. In fact, trying to do everything yourself is not the best use of your time, skills, or energy; struggling for hours or days before finally getting help can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. And then you can't do anything properly. Other people are often more willing to help than you might think. But if you don't ask, the answer is already no!
And yet, although other people can be of help, when it comes to being productive they can also be a hindrance. Chapter 5 explains how you can manage other people's interruptions; their demands and requests. In fact, learning to be more assertive – saying ‘no’ to other people's requests or tasks if you're too busy, if it is not that important, if someone else can handle it, or if it can be done later – is a key skill if you want to be more productive.
So is a balanced lifestyle. If you're going to give your best to being productive and getting things done, you need to aim for a balanced amount of work and rest in your life. Chapter 6 has some suggestions for how you can do this.
And finally, what, you might ask, qualifies me to write a book about being productive?
I don't make lists or have daily plans. I'm a morning person, I can't think straight after 6 p.m. I can't work in the evenings; I finish working by 6.30 p.m., cook dinner and watch TV most evenings. I don't have one place of work; sometimes I work from the kitchen table, other times I work sitting on the bed or on the sofa. And in the summer, when it's sunny, I'm squinting at my laptop screen in the garden.
I can't concentrate for more than an hour at a time. I'm easily distracted. (It's always been so. When I was nine years old, my teacher Miss Tibbles wrote in my school report that I was ‘easily distracted by fun loving evils from across the room.’)
My only routine is to write every day. It doesn't matter if it's only half an hour a day or six hours a day: unless I'm on holiday, I write every day.
I fit my work around my social life; meeting friends for lunch, days out, trail walking with my friend Gilly, holidays and weekends away with friends and family. I have yet to cancel a social engagement because I'm too busy. But by any measure, that hasn't stopped me from being productive, happy, and successful. As well as my social life, the voluntary work that I do and teaching a couple of times a week, I write an average of three books a year.
How come? I've worked out what works for me. If you want to be more productive, you need to do just that. This book will help!
No doubt you're aware that by being more productive you'll improve yourself or your situation in some way; you'll be wealthier or wiser, happier, healthier, or less stressed. But whatever aspect of your life you're hoping to improve, one thing that's for sure is that being more productive means you'll be doing things effectively and efficiently; you won't be wasting time, effort, resources, or money. You'll feel more on top of things and more in control of your life.
But if you already know that being productive will improve your situation, what's stopping you? What's stopping you getting things done efficiently and effectively? There are a number of reasons why you might be struggling.
Which of these situations is familiar to you?
I'm not always clear about what, exactly, I want to achieve.
I'm not always clear about what does and doesn't need doing.
I often have too much to do and don't know where to start or what to do next.
For any one task or number of tasks, I don't plan out what I'm going to do. I just jump in.
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