8 Powerful Habits to Skyrocket Your Productivity

In past two years, I’ve read dozens of books and blogs on improve personal productivity. I tried everything from Fancy to-do apps, GTD and Pomodoro technique to inbox zero, Zen habits and automation. Out of these, a few habits really made a winning difference in increasing my productivity manifold. In this article, I am going to share with you how I started these habits, why they have stayed with me and how can you get started to skyrocket your productivity. [Read more…]

Crisis Vs. Creativity

Our work swings between crisis and creativity.

The thing about crisis is, if dealt frequently, it becomes a thought pattern and begins to hurt.  I call this pattern – ‘Crisis Mindset’. Those having crisis mindset breed crisis mentality and infect others with it. The types of conversations in crisis mindset are –

How do we do it fast? What do we do to fix this now? Why are people not performing?  

If you notice, there is always something urgent or immediate to deal with. The crisis mindset does not realize that it’s inside, not outside. In the past few years, I had the opportunity to work with many entrepreneurs. Some have surprisingly relaxed and productive life, while some keep struggling to get things in control.

I noticed that high performance entrepreneurs exhibit creative mindset. They don’t look for short term fixes.  Instead, they work like artisans. They shape every aspect of work and life using their ingenuity. When Steve Jobs started out to launch the legendary iPhone or 37signals created a wildly successful web app, creative mindset was in action. And it isn’t about the numbers or the fame, it’s about the work attitude that constantly focuses on creativity and bringing change that leaves a trail.

The conversations in a creative mindset are about making an impact, creating value, getting into the details and contributing to success of others. It’s still work, but of a different shade.

Creative mindset lives richer, meaningful existence. Crisis mindset leads to more crisis and fire fighting!

Which category do you belong to?

It’s easy to tell. Just ask yourself right now and the answer will come out. If you are somewhere in the middle, then you are not playing a bigger game.

Crisis mindset isn’t bad, it’s just unproductive. It is easy to deal with it if you are willing to climb up the ladder. Here is how you can transition from crisis to creativity.

The transition from Crisis to Creativity

Here are a few actions for you to get a head start:

  1. Crisply define your work before doing it
  2. Keep your mind clear, do not use your brain for remembering and reminding
  3. Think ahead about your work/life and chart out well-defined goals
  4. Align your day-today activities with your larger goals
  5. Develop the habit of deep practice and uninterrupted work

It takes conscious effort and practice to develop a creative mindset. In my upcoming course, I take this to a much deeper level. Once you practice it enough, crisis will start to fade from your life. The more you get into the creative mindset, the less and less you will see crisis happening. A new cycle of productivity and performance will begin.

How much percentage of creative mindset is involved in your work? Who are your favorite creative entrepreneurs?
Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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How to Achieve Remarkable Results Using the Power of Outcome Visioning

visualizing outcomes

visualizing outcomes

Outcome visioning is a powerful technique to produce remarkable results in your work and life. Unfortunately this idea is not grasped fully by most of us and benefits not reaped. In this article I will explain you what outcome focusing is and how you reap benefits by making use of it.

What happens when you decide to host a party at home? 

First you determine what kind of party it is. Is it a birthday party, or a family get together. This is your intention, the purpose.

Your purpose automatically triggers the natural planning process. You begin to think about what kind of food you will prepare, what kind of ambience you will create, convenient time when everyone can come, types of people you will invite etc. You probably did not think about these things consciously, but these are your principles.

Once you decide to fulfill your purpose, you might just begin to see a picture of how the party will be, the smell of the food, the people involved, the noise and laughter. You might even experience how it will sound, how it will look and the way it feels to be in the party, much earlier than the actual party. This is your outcome visioning

Outcome visioning is the art of building razor sharp clarity around your purpose and visualizing the end result by associating it with positive experiences.

Outcome focusing has three main elements:

  1. A purpose – The purpose is your intention, something you want to accomplish.
  2. The principles – Principles determine the boundaries and standards to fulfill your purpose. They are like guideposts to help you gain clarity around your purpose.
  3. The experience – What will it look like when your purpose is fulfilled? What picture does it create in your mind? What kind you experiences (seeing, hearing, feeling) can you associate when your purpose is fulfilled?

 Using Outcome focussing at Work

Let us assume you receive a request from a client to deliver a proposal. Your intention is to deliver the proposal. This is your purpose.

The principles around your purpose could be the timeline to deliver, level of detailing needed, topics covered, target audience (who will ultimately read it and take decision) and budgetary constraints. Each of these factors determines how your proposal will look like when it is ready.

Did you notice something? As soon as you determine the principles clearly, you could easily picture what it’s going to look like when it is finished. You could visualize how nicely the proposal structured and the satisfaction you will get after completing it. You could visualize how it would be appreciated by client and even see the positive emotions on their face.

In the above example, we associated the following experiences with your purpose of creating proposal:

  1. Satisfaction you will get
  2. The Appreciation may receive from client
  3. Positive emotions on client’s face

Now the magic begins here. As you begin working on the proposal, the quality of your actions will be substantially high, consistent to the outcome you have envisioned.

That’s outcome visioning in action! Does it raise standard of your work? Does it induce higher predictability around quality of your deliverable? To answer this question, imagine for a moment that you did not think of these things consciously and just began writing the proposal. What outcome could you see? Better or worst?

Once you get used to outcome visioning, you can produce remarkable results in your work and life. Begin with a smaller/easier project and keep practicing until it becomes your second nature.

Once you do, let me know about your experiences!

A Culture of Productivity

Our world is getting more and more complex, and there is no looking back. In these turbulent times, a new demand has risen. A culture that people want but are they are unaware of. A culture of productivity.  Here are ten essential elements of the culture of productivity:

  1. Defining work is also work – The master key to getting productive in 21st century is defining what the work is. Your personal effectiveness is directly proportional to the level of clarity and definition around your work.
  2. Keeping nothing in head  – Mind is like a container. If you keep it empty – often, it will instantly start creating. The secret to great work is a clear mind.
  3. Speaking wisely – If two words are sufficient, the third one is not needed. The more you use your words diligently, the more power they will carry.
  4. Focussing – Gone are the days of hard work and smart work. It’s time to get into focused work. Dedicate a fixed time focussing on one thing. Turn-off all external distractions, shut the internet, cellphone and get yourself engaged deeply.
  5. Single tasking – Stop doing two things at once. Acknowledge that you have too many things and take high quality single action choices instead of ineffective multiple choices.
  6. Editing your commitments – Make difficult choices to live easier life. It may also mean giving up things dear to you because there are other things dearer.
  7. Becoming mindful about making commitments – Think twice, thrice,…before adding a new commitment to your psyche. Are you prepared for the long haul? While it takes a few seconds to make a commitment, it may take countless hours to fulfill one and even a large amount of your attention to re-negotiate it.
  8. Consuming technology diligently – Technology can make you super efficient and save a lot of time. At the same time, technology can be damaging to your mental, physical, emotional and social world. Learn when not to use technology. Find when you can remain without it and practice it often. You will love being with yourself and with your loved ones, without technology in between.
  9. Reflecting upon experiences – Self development can come from Self. Anything you read or listen can impact you if it turns into a Self-belief. Consciously reflecting upon your behaviors, patterns and urges allows you to shape-up your self-beliefs and help you improvise.
  10. Living purposefully – What’s your purpose? What can you stand for? What’s the purpose of your day? What’s the purpose of your week? Goals follow purpose and actions fulfills them. Have purpose beyond your survival instinct. Can you take the road less travelled?

These are simple principles yet not so common. Can you embrace them? Why not get started and give it a try?

Top 10 Productivity Killers

Are you struggling to get things done everyday and still remain busy? Surprisingly, the reason for this busyness is not just about the work itself. It’s also about a large number of internal and external factors that kill our productivity.

Here are top ten productivity killers to watch out for:

  1. Surfing endlessly: The seductive nature of internet allowing people to click from one hyperlink to another is the biggest consumer of time and attention. The quest to find useful information on internet often lands up feeding our curiosity. Here is a handy solution for it.
  2. Checking e-mails often: Checking e-mails multiple times a day can suck away a lot of attention and productivity. Unless you are in a customer support type role, habit of checking e-mail frequently might easily turn into an obsessive compulsive behavior. Here is a solution to this problem.
  3. Meetings: Having too many meetings or long meetings can be very toxic and detrimental to getting anything worthwhile done. Try to keep meetings to minimum, shorten meeting times and do a lot of background work before meetings to save time and energy.
  4. Frequent distractions: Constantly ringing cellphones, messages in im’s and frequent interruptions from co-workers are most common types of distractions. These distractions can be avoided by getting a pair of headphone and putting them on (even if you are not listening to music), taking your instant messenger to invisible mode and turning off all alerts on you cellphone.
  5. Social networking sites: Apart from ‘shares’ and ‘likes’, games played on social networks have added a new dimension to amount of productive time lost. When you are spending time on social networks or playing games, someone else is making money at the cost of your time and energy.
  6. Disorganization: For many people, frequent source of procrastination comes from not being organized. An immediate impact of disorganization can be seen in the mental horsepower being lost in dealing with the uncertainties, surprises and urgencies.
  7. Lack of clarity and definition: In knowledge work, a big part of work is to define the work itself. If you don’t think and develop enough clarity on what needs to be done, it usually consumes much more time and effort than needed. A big productivity killer.
  8. Unrealistic expectations: This is an extension of previous point but deserves it’s own place. Since there is a lack of clarity about the tasks and activities at hand, we tend to make unrealistic commitments to ourselves and others. When the expectations are not met, they turn into failures resulting in unproductive behaviors.
  9. Multi-tasking: When you try to do everything, you end up accomplishing nothing. Multi-tasking is the surest recipe to not getting anything worthwhile done.
  10. Too many things on mind: Many people overly utilize their mind to remember and process everything at the same time. Usually there is a inverse relationship between how much is on your mind and how much it gets done.

Unless you do something about each of these productivity killers, they can become a way of life and pave the way towards chronic stress and never ending busyness.

Want to get rid of these productivity killers? Find out more .


How to improve productivity at workplace

Due to constantly rising number of distractions, Personal Productivity has become a major challenge at workplace. According to a recent study, an average person at work spends 2.1 hours in distractions everyday. Moreover, an he/she is interrupted every 11 minutes and it takes around 25 minutes to re-focus. Another major reason for lack of productivity is multi-tasking.

Here are a few simple practices you can follow to dramatically improve your productivity at workplace:

1. Set  your priorities realistically – Assess your time and available resources guided by outcomes to set your priorities. This should be done on the previous day. Before taking a task on high priority, ask yourself these questions –  Is this task going to be useful towards making progress in the most important goals? Can this task be deferred for a task which is more important? Can I delegate it to someone else?

2. Treat first 3 hours like gold mine – First 3  hours of your day are most critical. Try to pump out as much as you can in the first 3 hrs. Get your top priority task done in this time. If possible, turn-off your cell phone and internet so that you can give your 100%.

3. Check your e-mails only twice a day – If the nature of your work does not involve a “customer support” like role then don’t try to be one. Check your e-mail twice a day, once at the beginning and second at the end of the day.

4. Work after allocating time to the task – This is lesser known but real secret to great productivity. Before you start a task, tell yourself  the time you will take to finish it. For example, I told myself to write this blog post in less than 60 minutes. As soon as your brain has a constraint of time, it starts processing the “most useful” information faster. It is in full action. Try doing this and you will love the results.

5. Stop multi-tasking – Multi-tasking is the biggest curse of our times. The moment you start doing two tasks, you spread yourself into half for each of them and none of them gets it’s due.

6. Review work done or not done during the day – At the end of the day, review the tasks done or not done during the day. Re-prioritize your tasks and choose the top 3-5 tasks you will get done next day.

Once you start following these practices, you will notice a remarkable increase in your productivity and a sense of self satisfaction.

What Productivity tricks do you follow at workplace?


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