Characterisitics of a personal productivity mindset

Most people want to be as productive as they can be. They try to do as much as they can in the time they have available. People try various different strategies to get more done. It’s not just individual people who want to increase productivity; businesses are desperate to do so too. There is an entire industry built up around time management and productivity with apps, productivity tools etc. The entire industry is worth billions but before you can use apps and tools to improve your productivity, you need to have the right mindset – a personal productivity mindset.

As a coach within this industry, I accept that there are many great productivity tools. But, I also know that unless you can draw/write your productivity system with pen and paper first; there is not a lot that these tools can really do for you. You must know what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to achieve it. Like all great things, a highly productive lifestyle begins in the mind. When you have an effective personal productivity mindset, you can then ensure that your most productive time is spent on your most important work, each and every day. This repetition is what excellence is all about. When you do the right things, to the best of your ability, on a daily basis, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

The personal productivity mindset infographic

So, before you go spending a fortune on productivity tools, you must first spend time developing a powerful personal productivity mindset which will allow you to understand what you are trying to achieve and the best way to go about it.

The following infographic will introduce you to 7 essential characteristics of a personal productivity mindset.

Bonus: You can download the infographic here

characteristics of a personal productivity mindset infographic

Bonus: You can download the infographic here

Key points from the personal productivity mindset infographic

The following are the key points from the personal productivity mindset infographic:

1.You have a clear vision

Productivity requires you to make the right decisions at the right time; to ensure that you are always doing the most important thing you could be doing, at that moment in time. To put it more simply, you always want to choose the best option from your tasks.

In order to determine which task is the best option, you need to know what you are trying to achieve. It is not enough to have some vague idea; you need to be very clear and specific. You know what the end result looks like because you have a crystal clear vision for your work and for your life. When you know what the end result looks like; it is easy to work backwards and determine what you need to be doing now.

That’s how you chase down any goal; you begin with the end in mind and plan it all out from there. That is why the architect creates plans for the building long before the foundation is ever poured.

Once you know what you are trying to achieve, choosing the right task is a simple two-step process. You just need two questions:

  • What is the end goal?
  • What is the most important action I can take, right now, with the time and resources available to me, to bring me closer to that goal?

A clear vision is a foundation stone of a personal productivity mindset.

2. You are never hurried

When it comes to productivity; there is only one reason to hurry – you are lacking organisational skills. With a personal productivity mindset, you know the importance of having your own organisational system. You know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. Just as importantly; you know what does not need to be done and; what may need to be done but does not need to be done by you.

You understand that your time is precious and, rather than fill up your time with tasks which do not add a lot of value; you focus your time on getting your most important work done. You know that it is ok to do less because you are doing more of the stuff which really matters.

3. You are active; not busy

When I first entered the working world, I admired the busy people. They were getting more work done as they rushed from one task to another. They never seemed to take a break. Everybody was always looking for them and their workspace was always a hive of activity.

Eventually, I learned the truth – busyness is not a good thing. These people were always rushing from one task to another; struggling to get any of those tasks finished. People weren’t looking for them; they were chasing them, trying to get work completed. The reason that their workspace was always a hive of activity was that if you wanted to get them to do something; you had to pin them down at their desk and get them to do it there and then.

Being constantly busy is not a sign of productivity. It is a sign of poor planning and poor organisational skills. When you are properly organised and you plan your work properly; you focus only on what is important. You rarely have to rush or hurry because you keep on top your work and commitments. When you have a personal productivity mindset; you’re not busy; you’re measured and in control.

Being busy does not mean you are being productive.

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4. You are living your purpose

Most people perform a wide range of activities, hoping that they will somehow stumble upon the things which make them really happy. A personal productivity mindset requires you to do the opposite i.e. find your purpose first and then spend your time on activities which allow you to live your purpose.

Whether you are religious or not doesn’t matter; you weren’t put on this Earth just to kill time. You were put here to make a contribution and to help to make the world a little bit better than it was when you arrived.

The greatest sense of passion, motivation and commitment comes when you are inspired by your purpose and, when you are taking actions which help you to live your purpose.

5. You are living in the present

Remember that vision which I said is a foundation stone of the personal productivity mindset; well as wonderful as it is; you will never bring it to fruition if you only ever think about it. It is great to have plans for the future but plans are meant to be put into action.

You can’t live that vision today but you can take action to help bring it closer. Remember those two questions from earlier:

  • What is the end goal?
  • What is the most important action I can take, right now, with the time and resources available to me, to bring me closer to that goal?

Once you have identified that most important action, you need to live in the present and take that action. The vision reminds you of where you are trying to get to and how wonderful it is going to be when you get there but the only way you are going to get there is to live in the present, keep taking the most important actions you can take and keep taking steps closer to the end goal.

6. You are self-centered

There are those in this world who would argue that you should never put yourself first. They think that is selfish and mean. They also think that being self-centered is a bad thing. They pretend to be martyrs and argue that you should be selfless. Of course, they are usually saying these things to draw attention to themselves which is as selfish as it gets.

When I was growing up it really was considered as a bad thing to love yourself and be self-centered. But if you don’t love yourself, why should anyone else? If you don’t look after your own needs; nobody else it going to. After all; you are not a kid anymore.

Self-centered is neither selfish nor selfless. You put yourself at the center of your life and you understand that if you are to be able to help others, you need to help yourself first. Just like with the emergency announcement, on the airplane where they advise you to put your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others. There is an obvious reason for this, by putting your own mask on first, you ensure that you are strong enough to help others.

When you have a personal productivity mindset, you understand that a strong you is in fact a powerful you and; when you are powerful, you are better able to help others. This is done by making sure that your own needs are met; by being self-centered.

You must make sure that you are strong before you are strong enough to help others.

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7. You are focused

You don’t believe in all of this multi-tasking nonsense. The personal productivity mindset understands that it is far more productive to focus completely on one task at a time, your most important task, and finish that task before moving on to the next one.

Results are achieved one step at a time by completing one task at a time. You understand how important it is to stay focused.

If you are feel that you do not have the mindset required to succeed, you need to check out Mindset Transformation.


Productivity is about making the right decisions and taking the right actions. At the end of the day, you need to take action. However, like all great things, productivity starts in the mind; with a personal productivity mindset. It is this personal productivity mindset which allows you to understand what you are trying to achieve and the best way to set about achieving it. It allows you to focus on what is important and eliminate those things which do not add value to your life or work. Get your mindset right and you will soon see your productivity reach new heights.