Taking control of your time at work is essential, and choosing the right productivity method can make a great difference. Here are five productivity techniques to help you make the most of your workday:
The Pomodoro Technique:
It is a time management method which was developed by the entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo in the early 1990s, and it uses a timer to break down work into intervals which are called pomodoros, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used to track his work as a student at university. Working under blocks of time trains your mind to focus for short periods and improves your attention span and concentration.
Eating a live frog:
Mark Twain famously once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
The essence of this quote is that by completing your most undesirable tasks at the start of the day before anything else will in turn make everything else that you do that much more rewarding. This is not always the most difficult task, it should be the task with the most productive outcome. By regularly setting priorities and completing challenges quickly and effectively at the start of every single day you are sure to rise to the top.
Don’t break the chain:
Developed by the celebrated comic Jerry Seinfeld, the “don’t break the chain” technique came about when Mr. Seinfeld found himself struggling to write jokes. He would hang a calendar on the wall and every day he wrote a joke, funny or not, long or short, he would cross out the day on the calendar. After time he found himself creating a chain of X’s and the focus switched from writing jokes to not breaking the chain. This approach programs the body and mind to sit down and work productively on a daily basis. In addition, it motivates you to continue the string of Xs. This method is also a constant reminder that, in order to succeed, we must acknowledge our craft and respect the process.
Get things done:
The “get things done” philosophy of productivity was penned by David Allen and refers to 5 steps that apply order to chaos:
Capture – Collect the thoughts that interest you and write them down and record them.
Clarify – Does the information make sense? No? Remove it or file it. If it does make sense then act on it.
Organize – Order your work with categories and lists.
Reflect – Review your work to determine what to prioritize next.
Engage – Use your system and take it with confidence into every encounter.
The Action Method:
The Action Method was created by Scott Belsky with the premise that “everything is a project”. This method can be applied to both personal and professional goals, and it works by dividing projects into three components: action steps, references, and backburner items.
Action steps are specific, concrete tasks that move you along with small gains. These include tasks such as “pay the bills, send the memo, and post the blog,” etc.
References are any project handouts that you may refer back to, such as notes, sketches, meeting minutes and websites.
Backburner items can’t be completed just now but maybe actionable someday. This method allows the breakdown of projects with a biased towards action, while other components are organized enough to provide peace of mind while not getting in the way.
Productivity is the combination of intelligent planning and focused efforts, and by following these methods you can improve your organization while approaching tasks in a more positive and productive mental attitude.