How To Achieve Personal Effectiveness: The Ultimate Guide

Today you’re going to learn how to achieve personal effectiveness.

Every year, the number of things we have to do grows, and there is no more time. So what can we do to not be preoccupied with work at the expense of our personal lives and to be able to do everything at work on time? The answer is to use tools that will improve our efficiency and productivity. 

Multitasking is a thing of the past. We are not able to perform several activities simultaneously, or at least well. As shown by functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, our brains do not have complete divisibility of attention.

From this study, it is clear that in areas where intense thought processes are taking place, blood flows faster to supply them with oxygen and glucose. In contrast, when the subject performed two activities that required concentration, different areas of the brain stole blood from each other. 

As a result, none of them were well nourished. Our brain, in order to cope with the task, switches rapidly from one area to another, which at the same time is associated with a decrease in its efficiency and, as a result, with a greater number of mistakes we make.

So there is no need to delude ourselves that we are able at the same time to write a report and negotiate with the plumber about the cost of repairing the tap. This is not a step to increase our effectiveness.

Instead, it is a step towards making the right choices and making hundreds of micro-decisions every day about what we want to spend the next half hour on and what we don’t. Add to that flexibility, because if circumstances change, you have to react quickly and change the decision you made.

However, these are not the only rules of effectiveness that work like the law of gravity: no matter whether we believe in them or not, they have an impact on us. 

How To Achieve Personal Effectiveness:

1. Everything in its place

It’s about taking care of our space so that we always know what we have where. This applies to both business and personal documents. Let’s keep sorting and throwing away what we no longer need.

This advice may seem obvious, but we don’t always file and throw away papers or emails consecutively, and looking for different documents later takes a lot of time. 

2. Doing things in advance 

Parkinson’s Law says that we will perform a given activity for as long as we have planned it. If we plan two hours for it, it will take us that long, although it could be finished earlier.

Besides, the fewer tasks we have in front of us and less time pressure, the slower we act. Therefore, in moments when there is more slack, it is worth doing things in reserve. This will relieve us when the deadlines start again.

SEE ALSO: Self-Compassion: Be a Friend To Yourself

3. A new version of the Eisenhower matrix 

This is one of the most famous tools helpful in task selection. It was created by Dwight Eisenhower, an American general and president of the USA for two terms. He divided tasks into four groups.

  • important and urgent, meaning they require immediate action.
  • important and not urgent, here we deal with planning, looking for solutions, building relationships, 
  • unimportant and urgent, such as sudden phone calls or bills to pay or other people’s priorities, 
  • unimportant and non-urgent, the so-called time-eaters. 

The Matrix (1), although created in the 1960s, is still relevant, provided we adapt it to today’s reality. Most of us have already eliminated non-urgent and unimportant things.

Now we only have the important and urgent, and only some of them are the most important and urgent. And these require special treatment, such as dealing with them first and concentrating the most. 

Besides, it is necessary to divide tasks into those that must be done perfectly and others less precisely. This “less precisely” often turns out to be the key to increasing our efficiency.

For example, often when preparing a presentation, slides with simple graphics that don’t need to be chiseled will suffice. But one in ten presentations requires every slide to be refined in detail. And we know exactly which of those ten needs to be perfect and which ones just need to be done at 90, 80, or 70 percent. 

4. No more procrastination.

Procrastination is one of the enemies of efficiency. If we tend to push back deadlines, it’s worth considering why we do it. It’s probably because we can, because we don’t feel the consequences of doing so.

This usually continues until the issue becomes urgent and important, or even the most urgent and important. Postponement also comes from fear of failure. If you find yourself frequently procrastinating on tasks, answer these questions: 

What difficult or complex tasks do I put off indefinitely? What are the consequences for me while I’m procrastinating (i.e., right now)? What consequences might this have in the future?

5. Personal matters are just as important 

If we don’t put our personal lives on an equal footing with our professional lives, then we are not managing ourselves, but others are managing us. It is worth changing this.

And while mobilizing ourselves to act, we should think not only about the consequences, or what will happen if we don’t do it, but also about the benefits that we can achieve. Such a perspective will increase the importance of private matters in particular. 

SEE ALSO: How To Improve Your Mental Health And Wellbeing: 18 Ways

6. The value system supports our decisions.

It’s worth noting that decisions made in this way may not have much to do with productivity, but they do with our needs. For example, if one’s overriding value is time for oneself and fishing, then an afternoon at the river will be time spent effectively, not wasted.

So it is important that we know our values. When they are clear to us, it is easier to make the right decisions, even under time pressure and stress. Consider: 

What are your overarching values? Do you live them every day?

7. Stress, relationships, and communication skills affect our effectiveness.

Because how do we work efficiently when we are nervous or our black thoughts distract us? How to finish a project or get a moment for ourselves when we can’t delegate tasks at work or at home? How to cooperate synergistically when it is difficult to reach an agreement?

These are obvious obstacles on the way to the goal. That is why learning effectiveness should be complemented with the issues of delegation and assertiveness.

We need these skills. If our minds, emotions, relationships, and well-being are in harmony, we act in the most optimal way. 

iQ stands for the mind responsible for our productivity, effective decisions, and use of time.

eQ stands for emotions, including eustress (2), which is the optimal level of mobilization, that pinch of adrenaline that propels us to action. Each of us has a different level of stress, so it’s worth looking at yourself while you’re working to find out your optimum. At the opposite extreme is distress, which is destructive, long-term stress that is harmful to health. 

sQ, on the other hand, is relationships. If they are synergistic, everyone involved gets better results, and collaboration becomes more profitable. Such good relationships defy the rules of mathematics because one plus one is not three, but four or five.

pQ stands for “well-being,” or effective management of one’s energy and health, as well as finances. 

To increase efficiency, we should take care of these four elements simultaneously. It goes down when, for example, our health fails or we don’t manage our emotions. 

8. Beware of traps! 

One of the biggest is being overloaded with information, tasks, and expectations.

For example, incoming text messages distract us and reduce our effectiveness by up to 25%. Therefore, if we need to concentrate, it is necessary to turn off notifications such as emails, phone calls, etc., in order to focus as much as possible on what we are doing. 

Another trap is perfectionism, so it is worth considering how much time we waste on things we do better than required. In addition, when we act in haste and stress due to an excess of tasks, we often first deal with many “quick,” not necessarily important matters, which gives the feeling that we have already done a lot. This trap is also worth paying attention to. 

Thank you for reading this article about how to achieve personal effectiveness and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here