Nowadays, we all are dealing with lack of concentration or we have difficulty in achieving a goal and even no motivation at all. Our workload could be overwhelming and there could be so many distractions and we are dealing with frustration because we can’t do thing like we wanted to. Moreover, people tend not to show this part and they seem like they have all the things sort out, and the feeling that everybody is handling it great it makes us more frustrated. In fact, we all are having productivity issues but some of us have a system, a method which helps in maintaining a balance.
Basically, you’ll have to set your own way of doing things in your personal life or on any other project. You don’t have to follow the rules of somebody else, you can try and if that works for you, that’s perfect. If not, you have to invest your own system. I’ve done some research and I’ve picked some of the most important and effective methods in increasing your productivity in a good way.
1. Eat the live frog (Do the worst thing first)
If you’ve never heard of Mark Twain’s quote “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” you’ll be kind of confused of the title. This expression means that, unfortunately, you have to start with that task you find it the worst and you don’t want to do it never because it sucks. Eating a frog can’t be a pleasant stuff, but at least, once you’ve ate it, you’ll know you’ve done that hard thing you don’t like to do it and nothing worse will happen the rest of the day. So, try to make a habit in starting the day with the worst task you have, do the hard one first, and after that all the others will feel very easy.
2. Don’t Break the Chain
This is the method Jerry Seinfeld uses in writing his new jokes and requires having a calendar and a maker. Start choosing your daily goals, like “cleaning a room”, “making a new recipe”, “workout for 30 minutes” or “take a course for 30 minutes” and try to do it regularly. When you do the task, at the end of the day, draw a large red “X” in the calendar box corresponding to that day. As you’ll do your task may times on your daily basis, your X chain will be longer and longer. As soon as you’ll see that, you’ll find it hard to skip a day and break the chain, is a psychology method. So, exclude that days you know you’ll never achieve your goals like weekends and start choosing a realistic goal to build a long chain every day !
3. The Pomodoro Technique
This method appeared in the 1990s and was introduced by Francesco Cirillo. He used a tomato-shaped timer which helped him keep track of his work in student years (this is where he got the idea of naming this technique as “Pomodoro”). When you have a large task or you are dealing with more than one task, you can break your work into short mini-works or intervals which are called “Pomodors”. You have to make short breaks between your tasks. This method is good for deadlines and helps you focus for short amount of times. It’s also good for improving your attention and concentration. Basically, you work using increments or in sprints. For example : you work for 30 minutes, after that you take a break for 10 minutes. Each “Pomodoro” represents that 30 minute period in which you work. This system is very useful for your discipline and productivity. You have to try it!
4. Getting Things Done (GTD)
Are you that type of person that puts off the work for the last minute? Are you having problems sleeping because your mind is busy thinking about the next appointments or meeting you have? You have panic attacks regarding your commitments ? You definitely have to use this technique to manage your life better. The “GTD” method involves using a brainstorm to write all the important tasks in your life. You have to categorize your tasks by your focus areas : current actions, current projects, your responsibilities, your 1-2 year goals, your 3-5 years goals and your life goals. When you order your task, you can start resolving them, starting with the ones that don’t take you much time. If you have a more complex task, you’ll need to break it in smaller projects. The GTD method can also be defined as having 5 steps :
- Capture : clear your mind of task and write them all down
- Clarify : make your tasks in achievable actions and get rid of the ones you can’t do,
- Organize : separate your task in categories and prioritize them
- Reflect : always review the work you have done
- Engage : don’t step out and try to work as hard as you and get things done
5. Zen to Done (ZTD)
This method was created by Leo Babauta and is good for people that tried the GTD method. This technique is about putting effort in doing things with less stress and in a simpler way. You have to choose 1 or 2 habits for about a month and then move to next one. It is recommended to have a notebook and to write when you need to do something. It’s the same as GTD, but you don’t have to do a large list, just a small one. Select 1-3 important tasks in daily or weekly basis. Set your mind to complete them before anything else. Don’t choose another things to do, keep your focus, be careful about any distraction. Don’t forget to review your long and short term plans in each week. ZTD is about focusing on habits, doing the essential task, GTD is about focusing on the system, creating a system with productivity. There are 10 habits in ZTD :
- Collect : capture your simple task in a notebook
- Process : process your daily tasks, mails, voicemails and separate them into : to do , to trash, to delegate, to do later
- Plan : set your weekly tasks and have maximum 3 tasks for day. It is recommended to make them in the morning
- Do : Eliminate any distraction and focus in doing the task in the estimated time
- Simple trusted system : keep the system simple, focus on the present, on what to do right now
- Organize : set your tasks where they have to be. Store them where they belong so you can keep a clear desk
- Review : review your goals every week, see your progress each week
- Simplify : remove everything but the basics projects and task. Take short time to do this daily or weekly
- Routine : the goal is to make a routine in it. Make it a morning or a evening routine
- Find your passion : When you love what you do, everything is better. You’ll love the tasks you’ll
do and make more of it. Always seek after what makes you passionate.
Short story long, you can choose any method you want, what you think it suits you, or even create your own technique. The important thing is to make sure you stay focused on what’s good for you, keep your productivity up, make sure you have a goal and work on achieving it. You can do it for sure, it’s all about the motivation you have in you! Good luck !