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How Productive Are You?
by Kevin Eikenberry

I don't know anyone who doesn't want to be more productive. We buy time management books, go to courses, try new software, read blogs dedicated to productivity and search for the best system to help us get more done in the time we have.

Of course increasing productivity makes sense because, even if we don't always act like it, we only have a limited amount of time with a huge variety of things we would like to do with this limited resource.

This article isn't about a system or some super-special techniques.

Nothing you are going to read below is going to surprise you, and yet most of us don't do these things well, or do them so inconsistently that they lose their value. They aren't sexy, don't have a related website, and they won't cost you anything except a decision and some discipline.

The good news is they're so effective that once you develop the discipline you will have productivity gains for the rest of your life.

The Productivity Enhancers

Here are the four choices you can make to extend and enhance your productivity in any and every area of your life.

• Believing in Yourself and Your Success. While this is certainly true at the highest level - your self esteem is an important component of your success - in this case I am thinking about something more pragmatic. Have you ever had a situation where the task becomes so daunting that you aren't sure how you will ever figure it out or know if you can get it all done at all? When you are this unclear, your focus naturally moves to these negative thoughts and your confusion, frustration and overwhelm gets in the way of getting anything done; let alone large amounts of high quality work. Thankfully, the other three enhancers can help solve this one!

• Creating a Clear Purpose. As with belief, there is a big picture component to clarity of purpose. When you are clear on your life's purpose everything in your life will get better, but for now we are talking about clarity on the current situation. Do you clearly understand the problem you are facing? Do you clearly know the goal you are trying to achieve? When you get more clear, you get more focused, and as you get more focused you can get more of the right things done.

• Maintaining a Refreshed State. Have you ever noticed that stress can negatively impact your productivity? Have you ever noticed how much more effective you are after a good night's sleep or a healthy meal? In every one of these cases lies a key to greater productivity. To be more productive you must take better care of yourself. Get ample rest, eat better and exercise. All of these things will help you reduce your stress and remain refreshed and ready to tackle the work in front of you.

• Investing in Quiet Time. There are a number of forms and functions for your quiet time. You can reflect; you can pray or meditate; you can plan. Perhaps most of all, when you create quiet space in your life you can think. Thinking is something we do far too little of! When you give yourself time, space and permission to think about the things you're working on, you will generate new ideas, approaches and connections. In addition, thinking time helps you stay more refreshed and alert as well.

The Paradox

As you read these four ideas you may be thinking - these things don't give me more time - they take time.

This is so true.

Just as you must invest money to earn a return, you must also invest in yourself and your process in order to glean the best possible results. As counter-intuitive as it might sound, when you begin to invest in these activities, the resulting performance improvements will be incredible.

The Ultimate Benefits

These ideas can be applied, thinking of greater productivity in any area of life, but the best news of all is that when we decide and discipline ourselves to develop these habits, the benefits accrue in every area of our life - not just the area we were focused on when we started!

Potential Pointer: The greatest productivity improvements come from within and are a commitment to being more successful. That commitment starts with investing time in yourself, even when you think you are "too busy" to do those things.

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (, a learning consulting company. To receive a free Special Report on leadership that includes resources, ideas, and advice go to or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.


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