There are several productivity methods out there but for the purpose of this question, I am going to be sharing 5 of the most powerful ones you really need:
1. The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique basically consist of using a timer to break work intervals of 25 minutes and then taking short breaks after each interval. The intervals are known as ”Pomodoro” aptly named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by Francesco Cirillo when he was a university student. There are six basic steps in the original technique and they include- 1. Selecting the task to be carried out. 2. Set the Pomodoro timer (25 minutes). 3. Carry out the task. 4. End task when the timer goes off and put a check on a piece of paper. 5. If you have fewer than four check marks, take a short break of 3 -5 minutes and then go to step 2 above and, 6. After four Pomodoros, take longer breaks of 15-30 minutes, reset your check mark count to zero, then go to step 1 above. Often times, the reason we do not complete tasks is lack of focus. The goal of the Pomodoro technique is to reduce internal and external distractions on focus and flow. I have personally used this technique and it gives what it promises.
2. The GTD Methodology
Another life hack for improving productivity is an invention by David Allen, the author of getting things done. Yes, GTD means getting things done. GTD is a system for getting organized and staying productive. It involves organizing your ”To Dos”, priorities and schedules in such a way that it makes it all manageable. You also get to schedule time to accomplish each task when using the GTD Methodology. The greatest advantage GTD has is that it helps you see what you ”have your plate” and choose which one you want to.
3. Don’t break the chain: Seinfeld productivity secret
This productivity hack is premised on self-motivation from achieving your own ”set goals” and leverages on the human nature. What does this mean? It means selecting a task to do, doing it and then spending time doing that particular task same time, every day. A good example is exercising. I recently started walking simply to adopt a healthy lifestyle and also to lose some weight. I begin the walk every day by 6:40 pm. Like clockwork. It is a chain. I try not to break it. With the ”Don’t Break The Chain” Productivity method, you use a calendar where you mark your wins every day. Those marks on the calendar becomes your ”motivation” to do more!
I just love the Japanese when it comes to productivity! They are the creators of Kaizen and Kanban. Kanban means signboard or billboard. It is a lean method used in improving work across human systems. The idea is to create a visual board (kanban) that visualises the flow of work. It helps you focus on what to do right now (think priorities and urgent tasks), what next to do as well as what has been completed. These are usually arranged in categories.
5. The Action method
In a way, I have been practicing this Action Method without knowing about it. The action method to improve your productivity is simply taking down ”action steps” that you need to carry out after a brainstorming session or meeting with your teammates. This productivity method is a software developed by Behance. Any time, you go for a meeting, take down action items you need to carry out and then do them one by one, crossing each completed task off. That way, you don’t get ”thrown” during your follow up meeting.