Procurement Skills – 4 Keys to Increasing Your Personal Productivity

Your personal productivity is the key to demonstrating why your organisation should continue to invest in you. You can think of your personal productivity as the value you add divided by the time over which you add it. The more value you can create in a given time period, the greater your productivity. There are four essential keys that you can use to unlock further personal productivity in your procurement activity.

1. Reach. This is a measure of the number of people who receive the value you add; the greater the number of people who are impacted, the greater your productivity. You need to identify the recipients of the value you create and make sure that they understand who has generated it and also that they appreciate it. Show them how your value helps them to achieve their goals and objectives.

2. Recency. This refers to the time that has passed since you last created value. Value created last year has much less impact than value created yesterday and so shows less productivity. Ask yourself whether the value you create is quickly consumed and forgotten by the recipient or whether it is something they continue to use. For example, if the value you added was to give someone some procurement advice about a contract six months ago, in all probability they will have forgotten by now. If the value is quickly consumed you need to assess what further value you can add for this group of people.

3. Core. This is what is at the heart of the value you add. For example, the core of the value you add when managing suppliers could be to reduce risk to your organisation or it could be to deliver innovation from the supply market. This core is of much greater value than one which eases the administrative burden for others when raising a purchase order. Write a succinct statement of what the core of your value is for each group of people you impact and relate it to their goals and objectives or even your corporate objectives.

4. Quantity. The greater the number of times you have created value, the greater your personal productivity. For example, if you create just one sourcing strategy a year you will be less productive than if you create six of them.

Conceptually, your personal productivity is the result of multiplying together the outputs from these four keys and dividing by the time period it took to achieve them. Although there is no mathematical basis for this, it does give you a subjective feel for whether or not you are increasing your personal productivity and also a means of explaining to others why it has increased.

The Advantages of Having Personal Productivity Software

Personal productivity software is an application that no business should be without. This is because of the simple fact that this piece of software makes a great contribution when it comes to ensuring productivity in the workplace. But if you are not too convinced about the importance of purchasing personal productivity software just yet, well, this is actually normal. A lot of business men do become wary when presented with the notion of purchasing such software because computer software is a bit pricey in the market right now. However, when presented with the many benefits businesses enjoy with these software applications, the activity of convincing businessmen becomes very, very easy to do.

So, why exactly do you need personal productivity software in running your business? First of all, this piece of software can give any type and size business the professional touch it needs. The software comes with applications and programs that make it very easy for you to produce professional looking letterheads, marketing reports, brochures, mailing campaigns, and the like. Even the simple act of developing professional looking paychecks is easily done with the use of such software as well. And this is just one of the minor benefits that come with such software!

When you get the basic package, you actually get a word processor, a spreadsheet application, presentation software, and the like. For a more cost-efficient option, you could consider getting one of those suites that contain a number of these tools. This way, you are sure to get more value for your money. Some examples of these suites include Microsoft Office, Sun Staroffice 8, Microsoft Works, or Corel WordPerfect Office. An interesting fact about Microsoft Works is that it actually comes free with personal computers. Aside from these suites, you can also choose to get supplementary software packages that can make your whole life easier.

One of the popular software packages includes QuickBooks. This choice is popular because it is known to be very efficient in handling and managing inventory and business finances, such as payroll and benefits packages. Now, with all these abilities, you have to be sure to allot a hefty budget for your suite of tool and the additional applications and programs you would be getting. The typical price for suites and the individual applications range from a hundred to five hundred dollars. So, if your PC is meant for more than just doing the regular email and the basics on word processing, then you should consider this option thoroughly.

You may also be worried about the hidden and recurring fees that might come with having personal productivity software installed in your system. Yes, they do come with long term costs, but these are just minimal when you compare them to the benefits you would come to enjoy with the software. An upgrade would occasionally be needed, especially after a few years or so with your own application suite. Plus, your business should be growing in a few years, right? Thus, it would make much sense to avail of this upgrade, to foster improvement for your company in the business setting. Do not worry too much about upgrade expenses because they would definitely be lower than that of the original purchase.

Manage Your Personal Productivity

There is a huge advantage in improving your personal productivity. It doesn’t matter whether you are an employee or you own your own business. The benefits of improving your ability to produce more in the same amount of time are considerable.

The most efficient way to deal with a task is to dump it. Look at the task objectively and ask yourself the question, is it necessary. If it’s not get rid of it off your “to do” list.

The best way to eliminate procrastination is to deal with your most difficult tasks first thing in the morning. This means that you can move on easily to the more enjoyable tasks and your day will be productive.

Work out the times of the day when you are naturally most productive. Allocate your critical tasks for those times. The rest of the working day should be utilized for non-critical tasks. For example, at the end of the working day I am normally brain-dead, so mindless jobs such as photocopying, filing answering e-mails fill in that time.

Without clear goals it is very easy to fall victim to distractions. Make sure that your overriding goals are visible at your workstation or in your office. Remember to have a reality check every now and again during the day. Ask yourself if what you are doing is contributing to your overall goals.

As part of my personal productivity system, I have included 15 minutes a day for thinking. During this 15 minutes each day, I turn off my phones, make sure I’m not going to get any interruptions, put my hands behind my head and think. This thinking time is used for strategic planning and problem solving. It requires a certain amount of discipline to take time out to think because of the temptations of socializing, coffee and other distractions. Some of my best thinking has occurred during this 15 minute break when I have been really creative.

There has been ample research to show that if you change from one task to another, your productivity takes a huge hit. So whenever you start a task don’t stop. Keep on going until it is completed. If you stop and start something else your productivity will take a dive. If another job needs doing, make a note of it and deal with it when you’ve finished the job in hand.

There will be times when you need complete concentration to carry out a task. Once you’ve identified it, allocate a block of time, turn off your phones, ban all interruptions and get on with it.

Remember the old saying, there is only one way to eat an elephant and that is one slice at a time.  Break down your complex projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. With each of these tasks, identified the target you must reach before you can stop working. Use your target as a milestone so that you can reward yourself with a cup of tea or coffee or even a slice of pizza.

I’ve found that the best way to boost my productivity is to break my work down to 55 minute blocks. At the end of the block, I will get up, stretch, walk around and think for five minutes. This energizes me to return to my task.

With a little bit of thought and self-discipline it’s possible to improve your personal productivity. After all, anything that makes your job easier and less stressful is worth investing some time and effort.

Two Quick Ways to Kick-Start Your Personal Productivity

You’re not alone if you think you should be getting a lot more done in a day, considering all the time you put in. Continuous low productivity degrades your morale and builds stress. Besides running the risk of losing your job, you compromise your immune system and increase the probability of stress-related health problems. You also escalate the chances of making mistakes or having a work related accident.

You may not know that the way your brain is wired to work, think, learn and communicate has an impact on your personal productivity. Practical neuroscience provides the understanding and actionable tools to improve your current situation.

Practical Neuroscience Principles of Personal Productivity

You engage with what you’re most attracted to. This includes subject matter and the value received from engaging with the subject. When you don’t like certain tasks at work, there’s a natural resistance and push-back, making it difficult to engage with them. This is the genesis of productivity problems.

You always get more done in less time, with fewer mistakes, when you’re interested in the subject and your brain wiring is aligned with the activity. Conversely, you avoid things that don’t interest you or tasks with requirements misaligned with your brain strengths. Resistance to doing what you naturally don’t want to do decreases engagement and productivity. This builds stress, anxiety and guilt. It can lead to loss of health, peace-of-mind and your job.

Two Quick Ways to Kick-Start Your Personal Productivity

1. Establish value or give yourself a reward

If you’re in a job you intensely dislike, what are its most positive aspects? Examples may be a paycheck, medical coverage and two weeks paid vacation. Concentrate on your most positive thoughts during the workday to help you focus and engage with work activities; then, when you get home, start imagining and working toward a new and better job.

Establish rewards for accomplishing one to two hour “chunks” of work, having identified recognizable progress milestones. Rewards may be short breaks to take a walk, enjoy a snack, look at a travel magazine, write in your journal or look at family photos. Your “mini-rewards” should always involve getting away from your direct workspace, even if it’s for 10 minutes or less. On a macro basis, look forward to the end of each day and imagine doing something nice for yourself and your loved ones. You will be happier and find yourself getting more done.

2. Create the optimum physical environment for the activity

Your brain performs best when the physical environment is aligned with the sensory and cognitive components of the task. For hands-on (Kinesthetic) activities, provide for physical comfort and freedom of movement. Be sure to have all your tools and equipment within easy reach. Visual tasks are best completed in organized and attractive environments, where your eyes can focus on your work. Attentive listening (Auditory) requires a quiet and interruption free environment. Sequential tasks, calling for accuracy and focus, are best accomplished in bright light and cooler temperature. Global work, involving imagination and creative problem solving, requires dim light, warmer temperatures and comfortable furniture.

Keep a positive mental attitude, remember to breathe deeply and drink water throughout the day to oxygenate. Take frequent breaks to refresh and reenergize. These simple methods alone will raise your personal productivity and improve the quality of your work life.

In summary, you have more control over your personal productivity and the quality of your work life than you may imagine. No matter how bad your current work situation is, you can take immediate steps to improve it. Practical neuroscience and knowing how your brain is wired are your pathways to a better and more prosperous life with less stress.