Four Methods to Boost Your Productivity
If you’re anything like me, you find yourself always “doing.” Do you have a thousand things on your to-do list and a million unread emails fighting for your attention? Pretty overwhelming, isn’t it?
Tracking a seemingly never-ending to-do list is mentally exhausting. Having millions of tasks with urgent deadlines can overwhelm you to the point of procrastination. Trust me, I know. But don’t trade in your to-do list for a Netflix binge just yet. You can fight your urges to procrastinate and start being productive!
How does one start taking steps towards productivity? I’m glad you asked! I’ve got a few productivity systems that can help!
4 Main Productivity Systems
Getting Things Done (GTD)
David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” Methodology is the system that kickstarted the productivity movement and is the most used productivity system to date. GTD primarily focuses on time management. This system recommends creating large lists of tasks and breaking them down into smaller, easier to complete ones. Tasks can even be organized into lists (i.e. Personal, Business, Groceries, etc).
GTD gets you to focus on the tasks that can be done quickly and allows you to accomplish more each day. It is recommended to frequently review your lists to determine what to do next. The main idea of this system is that it is easier to chip away at larger projects one small chunk at a time. Another popular practice that can be used alongside the Getting Things Done system is the “Bullet Journal,” but we’ll talk more on that in a later post.
Don’t Break the Chain
Perhaps the simplest system on this list is the Don’t Break the Chain Method created by Jerry Seinfeld. This method is helpful for turning repetitive beneficial tasks that might be tough to keep up with into habits (i.e. working out, walking your dog, writing a blog post, etc).
Don’t Break the Chain is an incredibly easy system to begin. All you have to do is pick a task, grab a calendar and mark a big fat “X” on every day you complete the task. As you attempt to complete each daily task, you’ll soon have a streak (or chain) of accomplishments and by completing them everyday, your tasks will become second nature over time. This method is especially helpful for people who are visually motivated to build consistency, form habits, and gradually achieve their goals.
A helpful resource to use for the Don’t Break the Chain method is an iPhone app called “Productive.” Instead of using an analog calendar, the app allows you to input multiple tasks, schedule when you want them to be completed and shows your current streak. In addition, completing every task on your list results in a “perfect day.”
The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirilo is yet another time management system that can be used. This strategy is mainly used by people who are easily distracted. The way it works is you start by dividing your time into specific blocks. The most common example is to work for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break, and then repeat until the task is completed. Each 30 minute session is called a “pomodoro.” After you complete 4 pomodoros, you allow yourself to take a longer break, usually 15-30 minutes this time.
By structuring your time, you are allowing yourself to be more productive by focusing when you are supposed to. Focusing and getting work done can be so much easier when you know you’ve got a short break coming soon.
While you may not know it, you probably already use some variant of this productivity system. The Inbox Zero system is a mixture of methods designed to put you back in control of your inbox. It is aimed at keeping your inbox empty – or almost empty – at all times. This includes responding to unanswered emails, archiving or sorting emails into various categories, or simply deleting emails. Anything and everything you can do to get to Inbox Zero, do it.
How to Choose a Productivity System
A good productivity system is something you can use to figure out what needs to get done and when. It brings order to your chaos and lets you go from worrying about your tasks to actually completing them. Depending on the types of projects you work on or what you do, you might need different methods to make your job easier and to be more productive.
With so many options to choose from, you might find it difficult to choose which system to go with. Let me make this easy for you: Just pick one.
All of these productivity systems all have the same end goal: to get stuff done. Different systems will work for different people. What works for my productivity, might have adverse effects on yours. Ultimately, you need to keep your tasks and needs in mind. Not every productivity system will be a perfect fit.
Take your pick and decide in the next 30 seconds. Go with your gut instinct and then try it. Test out the system for at least 21 days (because it takes 21 days to form a new habit). If you find it doesn’t work, then try a new method. Lather, rinse, repeat until you find a perfect match.
Once you find a system that works, stick to it and keep grinding!
I hope you found this article helpful — if you’ve got any techniques of your own to share, please let me know by connecting with me online!