High Personal Productivity Will Bring You Happiness

If you just reflect for a moment on when you have been happiest at work you will probably recall a time when you were busy but also very productive. When we achieve things we feel better about ourselves and this flows through to other areas of productivity. There are a series of steps that you can take to increase your personal productivity and when this occurs you will feel much more relaxed and much happier.

You set long-range goals in both your personal and professional life. Then you work backwards and set shorter range objectives that are tied to your goals. Each objective has a specific target with a deadline and taken one at time they will lead you towards your goal. To do this you have to understand priorities so that you can put them into a logical order. You set goals and objectives, then you rank them in priority order and make a personal productivity plan based on them. Your personal productivity plan fits within your ideal day where you have blocked off certain times to fulfill key tasks.

Your ideal day is a purely personal productivity plan. You know from your own experience your own energy cycles. You know when you are most productive and you know when you’re least productive. If you take this into account when you are planning your day, you will do your high priority tasks during your time of peak productivity and do your low priority tasks when your productivity levels drop. This is a logical way to ensure that you have the energy resources to deal with what you’re doing at the time.

To achieve high levels of personal productivity, you need to start off with your long-range goals and objectives. Once you’ve done that, you will now be in a position to relate the day’s activities to those goals. Your priorities will be sorted out relatively simply. The more an activity contributes to your goal, a higher priority it receives. You can schedule your tasks according to priorities and also to your own energy cycle.

By writing all this down, you can use the plan to guide you through the crises, the interruptions and the unforeseen circumstances that occur every day in a dynamic workplace. Being able to see the plan is of the utmost importance because you can actually show other people and once they see what you have written down, they are aware of where your priorities lie. Without question, if you want to raise your personal productivity, make more effective use of your time and talent, become happier and more fulfilled, then you should make a daily plan in writing and stick to it.

How to Increase Your Personal Productivity

Sarah was envious of her colleague who manages to get off work on time every day. She seems to be able to accomplish all her projects on time. In addition to that, she has the time to offer help to the rest of her members on her team. Sarah, on the other hand has to take her work home in order to complete her project on time.

Her colleague, Betty always has a list to check off from before she leaves for the day. In addition, she has a separate list whereby she lists her task for the next day. She wondered if that small piece of paper laid the secret to her personal productivity. Sarah decided to find out from her colleague, Betty.

According to Betty, the small list which she wrote out the day before allows her to plan her day the next day. This is indeed one of her secrets to personal productivity and helps her to plan out her work the day before. She knows exactly what she needs to get done and accomplish for the day.

Besides that, these are the three additional personal productivity tips she has to share with her.

#1 Do a time audit

Time is a finite resource. In order to increase your personal productivity, you have to know how you are spending your time. A single table listing every activity you do and the time taken for each will reveal how you are spending your time. For instance, Betty discovered during the time audit that she was previously spending a lot of time surfing the Internet the minute she logged onto her email account at the beginning of the day. Thus, she decided to read work related email once she has completed her most vital task for the day instead of at the beginning of her work day.

#2 Set Goals

In order to make best use of your time, you have to set goals. The best way to manage your daily activities is to take your annual goals and break them into monthly, weekly and daily action steps to take.

You can better manage your time on a daily basis if you first begin the day by listing the tasks that need to be accomplished. By having a list of goals, you can also evaluate your progress on a daily basis.

#3 Monitor your progress

What gets measured improves. Once you have listed your tasks for the day, you have to evaluate your progress.

For a start, evaluate your progress on an hourly basis to ensure you have accomplished what you have set out to do in that hour. Once you are familiar with this process, you can evaluate your progress on a daily basis and subsequently on a weekly basis.

To continue to find new ways to increase your productivity at work, always take an hour a month to evaluate your activities and list down the things that can be delegated to free up your time. This one hour investment of your time also allows you to improve the process at work. You can further improve your personal productivity by using personal productivity tools.

The key to increasing your personal productivity lies in identifying your tie wasters, setting goals and evaluating your progress regularly.

Love Is Blind: Product Planning With Your Eyes Open

You’re sitting at your desk, and suddenly it hits you; a breathtakingly beautiful idea for a new product, that “one and only” offering to catapult your company into instant success. You know it will work. You know everyone will want to buy it. Even your family loves the idea. You invest a good deal of time and a substantial amount of money developing and introducing this product you love, but a year passes and not one unit sells.

What at first seemed like an exciting, profitable new concept has become an extremely expensive, disappointing undertaking for your company. How could this have happened?

Quite simply, you were blinded by love and you fell for the wrong product. More than a mere business decision the product became a powerful new passion for you or your company’s product development team. The obsession for this new product was so strong that normally pragmatic business people ignored logic to pursue the glittering profits they felt it promised. It’s not an unusual problem. Actually, it happens to 80 percent of new products and it’s not exclusive to small businesses. Remember “new” Coke, McDonald’s McLean burger and the DeLorean?

What can your business do to avoid the “love at first sight” new product mistake? Here’s how to identify the proper, and profitable, product needed for your business expansion.

A Proper Product Planning Process

We have combined a number of existing new product development systems into the following practical process. We explain each step in the process below and follow each step with a critical assessment question. This system can help you design a new product offering for your company with less risk and more control.

In the process, make sure you create a cross-functional product development team that includes representatives from sales, engineering, operations, marketing, finance, executive, legal and other areas critical to new product success. Also, guard against any one member of the team dominating the discussions or decision-making process. All team members must honestly critique and support the project, or the new product’s chances of success are minimized.

Step 1: Search for a Concept

This is the fun part of product development! Generate concepts for new products from employee recommendations, an engineering or managerial “think tank,” customer suggestions and brainstorming by the product development team.

Critical Question: None. Just be as creative as possible within the parameters of your chosen market.

Step 2: Select the Best Concept

Examine all the ideas generated in Step 1 and reduce the number of new concepts to a manageable size. Rank each new product idea by a set of criteria customized to your company’s strategic objectives. Some examples of important criteria are:

o Production / Technology Capabilities. Competitive / Legal Environment

o Financing Issues

o Marketing Requirements

Critical Question: Is the product compatible with company resources and objectives?
If the answer is no, you must modify this idea or return to Step 1.

Step 3: Develop and Test the Product Idea

Turn the broad general product concepts into a specific product idea that will appeal to your target market. You must decide how this new product will benefit your customers. It is critical to obtain their direct input or reaction to the concept through market research such as surveys and focus groups.

Critical Question: Do your potential customers have positive reactions to your new product concept?
If not, you need to modify the product or return to Step 1. Be sure to objectively analyze your primary research to confirm your answer to this question.

Step 4: Look at the Business Potential

Perform a complete financial analysis of your new product’s potential. This analysis should be as detailed and realistic as possible. Product costs, profit margins, return on investment, cash flow issues and volume projections are financial considerations to closely examine.

Critical Question: Can we manufacture this product profitably with our company’s current resources?
If the answer here is no, you must abandon the product and start over. Do not attempt to juggle the numbers to reflect positive financial impact when the impact is really negative. Remember, love is blind – trust your numbers.

Step 5: Make the Product

After answering yes to all critical questions in the previous steps, now, and only now, you can begin the prototype construction. This phase of your product development requires a complete commitment of the budgeted resources and the entire company’s support in a variety of unexpected ways. This level of commitment could strain the nerves as well as the pocketbook, so be prepared.

Critical Question: Does the product work? Do we have the ability to manufacture and market this product profitably?
If no is the response to either question, you will need to prepare for added expenses as you hire outside assistance, modify the product or develop a more suitable offering.

Step 6: Test the Product

Roll up your sleeves and get going! Manufacture a small quantity of your new product and put it in a test market. Your company should use the same marketing, selling, pricing and distribution tactics it plans to use in larger markets. This is the time to check volume potential, marketing effectiveness and customer perceptions.

Critical Question: Do the test market results indicate satisfactory market potential and customer acceptance?
If you feel the results are unacceptable, abandon or redevelop the product.

Step 7: Commercialize the Product

If your answer to each of the critical questions has been a resounding YES, you are ready to roll your product into an introductory market. Go for it! Start selling!

Critical Question: Are sales results satisfactory?
A no answer here means that you may need to modify your commercialization program or abandon the project. If the product still appears to have potential, it may be time to refine marketing strategies. Objective external assistance may help you modify your marketing program.

Although the success rates for new products are low, using these steps may help your company increase the odds of success by identifying a new product with good profit potential before you invest significant company resources.

Critical question: How can you tell you are finally in love with the proper product? Count your profits, of course.