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Personal Productivity Planning

Under-promise and over-deliver...


Before you agree to take on a new commitment, reflect on how much work will be involved, your existing commitments, and your skills. Managers and other colleagues have a nasty habit of overloading you with work. You may feel obliged to take on new challenges, but always think carefully before doing so. This is where the idea of personal productivity planning comes in.

Other people may not worry about overloading you and they don't have the full picture of your commitments. Only you have the full picture of your commitments and you have a particular need not to be overloaded. So you have to do take responsibility for making sure you will be able to deliver new things that you agree to.

There is no point in showing willing by taking on a new work commitment if it means failing to achieve targets or failing in any of your other work commitments. Nor should you take on extra work at the risk of having to give up social activities or having to work all hours and at weekends — but that is your decision.

Despite what we see on television — overworking does not benefit the individual and it does not benefit the company, because people become stressed and ineffective. An organisation that depends upon imposing such stresses on its staff isn’t really that effective.

Of course, you might be working in an inefficient organisation and you just have to buckle down make the best use of your time. But even here, if you are aware of the consequences of the additional workload, you will be in a better position to negotiate about new demands or existing demands. You may be able to reschedule target dates, obtain support for some of these tasks, obtain additional resources, or amend the targets that you had previously agreed to.

Keep a record of your personal commitments. If work commitments are recorded on a timeline, then new work commitments can be quickly judged against these. There may come a time when no more can be taken on. A graphical record can be used to demonstrate existing commitments to a team leader to justify turning the work down or fitting it in at a later date.

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