When faced with task after task at work or school, our minds tend to go blank from overworking and we fall into the deadly loop of procrastination. It makes us lazy, cripples our decision-making skills, and just simply makes us feel unmotivated. It’s not too late to shake free from the clutches of laziness! Now that the school year is here, here are productivity techniques we can all benefit from. Remember, intentions don’t count, just do it!
1. Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo
The Pomodoro Technique developed by Francesco Cirillo allows you to focus on your work or any task at hand by breaking it into short, sustained bursts. The Pomodoro Technique works by setting your timer to 25 minutes, during this time, you have to focus on your work and avoid any distractions. After that you’re allowed a 5 minute break thus completing one “pomodoro.” When you’ve completed 4 pomodoros, you can have a 30-minute break to recharge yourself.
It is the easiest productivity technique you’ll encounter, all you need to have is a timer, sheer willpower, and discipline. This technique works because it allows you to allot right amounts of time for work and for break. That is, if you don’t get lured by the social media apps pinging on your phone.
2. Getting Things Done by David Allen
GTD is a book and a method by David Allen which works like this: collect or write down all your to-dos and tasks, clarify and break down your to-dos into actionable steps and arrange them in hierarchal order, add the details such as due dates, review your list and decide what to do next or first, and then work! GTD focuses on getting all of the to-dos out of your head and putting them on paper so your brain isn’t cluttered.
It sounds confusing but really if you’re a pen-and-paper kind of person, just write everything you need to do, arrange it according to importance, and work your way from top to bottom. If you work better with visuals, put them in sticky notes, that way you can remove the notes and feel productive after you’ve done them.
If you’re interested in knowing more, read a free copy of Getting Things Done here.
3. The Flowtime Technique
If you find you’re too intimidated by the timer in the Pomodoro technique, why not do things in reverse? The Flowtime Technique gives you more freedom to do your tasks by timing the minutes you spend working and the minutes you spend on a break.
Once you start on one specific task, record the time you started and record the time you stopped. Stop your timer when you need a break and start it again after your break. This way, in the long run, you can see how long you’ve worked, your most productive times, and the correlation between the lengths of breaks to work time.
Here’s a handy Cheat Sheet from Medium.
4. Personal Kanban
Much like the Getting Things Done method, Personal Kanban requires you to list all your to-dos or put them in different sticky notes. You can then arrange these notes in a Kanban board separated by three columns: “Backlog,” “Doing,” and “Done.” This allows you to see your progress and where you’re at at-a-glance, a perfect method for people who are more visual. If you want to know the importance of each task, you can also color code them, red Post-It for urgent, yellow for low priority, etc.