Enhance your Personal Effectiveness Today

How do you rate your personal effectiveness? Wish you could do better? Here are some pointers to help you manage your life more efficiently.

Effectiveness has a lot to do with being organised and working to a structure, without being driven by it. Some people hate the idea of structure and think it lessens their individuality or that it will hamper their free will. It is possible to use structure positively and creatively to realise your chosen goals.

If it goes against your grain, consider this: you choose your goals, you choose how to accomplish them and you can choose when to break away from the structure you created to turn to a higher priority. There's a lot of freedom of choice involved, and a valuable degree of organisation and self discipline too.

Choosing clear, realistic goals

Think about what you want to achieve and ask yourself if your goal is realistic. If not, modify it or extend your time frame until you really feel that what you intend is possible to do. Identify potential problems in advance and make a note of any ideas you may have for overcoming them.

Personal effectiveness is about having an 'adult' perspective and asking pertinent questions without emotion like 'Is this realistic for me?' (not 'Will I ever manage this?') or 'What problems could arise?' (not 'What if things go wrong?'). This approach allows you to be more realistic and better equipped to succeed.

Creating a plan to work to

Thinking things through beforehand cuts out repetition and back-tracking later on, so saving you time. Male a list of what you need to do to reach your goal. Have an hourly, daily, weekly, or a monthly plan (as appropriate) to work to, building in time margins so you can catch up if some things take longer than expected.


Put your list of things to do in order of priority. It's usually good to tackle the most important things first but sometimes doing a number of less important jobs creates a much needed sense of space or progress. Don't be afraid to change your plan as priorities change, whilst keeping your goal in mind.

Sometimes it's a case of following an order of events to get you to where you want to be. Check regularly to see if any adjustments need to be made to your list to keep you on course.

Managing time

People who show a high level of personal effectiveness take charge of their time and do not let it run away with them - or indeed without them! Regularly refer to your plan. Check and see if you are on track or whether you need to speed up, do more, or revise your time frame.

Even the best estimates of how long a task will take can be wildly out. However, there is still value in having some sort of time frame because it helps you to focus. It's really important not to feel you've failed when something takes longer than anticipated.

If you build in extra-time margins at the beginning of planning, you can catch up without undue stress and without dipping into your own spare time - time for yourself - which should remain inviolate.

Making a 'To Do' list

Even if making lists is not your particular way to manage things, you might like to give it a try. The downside of relying on your memory is not only that you might forget something vital. It takes energy to hold lists constantly in your mind - energy that might be better used in getting tasks done.

By having a list of tasks on paper or in your computer you keep your mind free for better things. Inspiration and creativity are much more likely to come when your mind is uncluttered.

Balancing work and play

'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. This famous maxim is certainly true. Jack might also become stressed, over-tired or ill by not having his play. When you are behind, it can be tempting to use your leisure time for catching up. Try not to do this because you'll probably end up feeling exhausted and achieve very little.

Take an unscheduled break now and then if you need refreshing. Keep your life in balance by having regular rest and play time and you'll keep up your level of efficiency.

Learning from past mistakes

Dwelling on mistakes you made in the past can have a negative effect on personal effectiveness in the present, making you unconfident in your judgement and fearful of moving forward now.

The alternative is to learn from your mistakes and plough back the increased self knowledge into your current project.

Being true to yourself

Take time to sit quietly now and again to get in touch with your own needs and wishes. You need to check out if your goals, and what you are doing to achieve them, are consonant with what is right for you.

If your heart isn't in what you are doing it will be an uphill struggle. When you are being true to yourself there will be a harmony and a flow that you will recognise as your personal effectiveness.

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