Creating your own personal productivity system (i)

I have written a lot about some of my favourite tools and principles of personal productivity. I hope they have been as helpful to you as they have been to me when I began my journey towards making conscious decisions about how I spend my time. This month, I would like to write about how to bring all of those things together to create a personal productivity system that works for you. If you don’t have a personal productivity system (PPS) yet, you can use the posts I will be making in November as a template to build one for yourself. If you already have a PPS, I believe you can still find something in here that will be useful to you.

Before you create your own PPS, you need to understand the difference between a task, an event and a process.

A man running across a set of gears
Keep the gears running smoothly

A task is a single unit of activity that you have to do. It is something you can get done in a few minutes to two hours of focused work. It is something you have to do yourself and cannot delegate to someone else. For example, uploading this blog post to AmirWrites is a task.

A clipboard
How many tasks do you have to do today?

An event is a scheduled activity that you have to be present for. The classic example of an event is a meeting. Depending on an event, you may or not have a task to do (Think about the responsibilities of an MC and the Special guest of Honour at a fundraiser).

An event ribbon
Events might involve ribbon cutting

Finally, a process is a set of related tasks that contribute towards the completion of a project. You are unlikely to be the only person working on a project. Your team members will play different roles on any given project. This means, you may have to wait for input from others before you can continue a process.

Three gears in a process flow
Everyone has a role to play here

Let me provide a simple example of how tasks, events and processes come together. If you are invited to attend a meeting with your team on Thursday next week, that is an event. Suppose you are the designated secretary at that meeting, you now have a task. You are responsible for taking down the minutes of the meeting and emailing them to everyone who attended afterwards. This is something you could do in a few hours. During the meeting, if it was decided to replace the old system where different offices submitted forms for all petty expenses with an online system where office managers will fill online forms into a database instead, you have a project and if you are chosen to be part of the project team, you would have to work with a team following a process.

Is there a point to knowing all this? Quite a lot because what you do with each of them determines how effective your PPS is. Next week’s post will be about how to handle a task, an event and a process. If you are not already following this blog, be sure to hit the follow button so you don’t miss any exciting posts.

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