Being able to get more done in a set period of time is one of the keys to success; whether you work for yourself, or you are trying to jump up the career ladder. Productivity experts have written countless books on techniques and methods for increasing productivity, so we have picked out some of the best ones to share with you.
The Pomodoro Technique
If your workday consists of a number of tasks that you need to deliver, the Pomodoro Technique can help you to power through them quicker. To summarize the technique, it encourages you to split up all of your work into 25-minute sections. Depending on the nature of the tasks at hand, you might need to adapt the time length but by timing yourself as you go through.
The Pomodoro Technique capitalises on the research that shows you remain more focused on completing a task within a certain time-space. You are able to resist distractions with better effect because you are constantly aware that you only have a certain amount of time left. You then have a five-minute break between each task for toilet breaks, grabbing a drink or a snack etc.
Learning how to relax
A very important part of being able to tackle your schedule is to have a good way of relaxing and taking your mind off work when you leave for the day. If the thought of the next working day occupies your mind as you try to sleep at night, you will not be able to work or even function to your full potential.
Try some relaxation techniques such as meditation or doing some exercise, whatever you find works best for you. Another approach is tarot readings that will enable you to reflect upon your current situation and plan for your future. There are career-focused tarot readers such as those found at The Circle, who can help by providing career advice and reviewing your pathway choices in greater detail, providing you with some reassurance that you are on the right track.
Have a structured plan with goals (GTD)
Setting targets and goals will give you something to aim for, rather than just working through tasks without any achievable milestones. Whether you have been inspired to step up your career by your manager, or you have seen a colleague receive a promotion, use this as motivation to develop a career development plan with achievable steps that you are working towards. Author David Allen shares his six areas of focus in his book, Getting Things Done, listed below.
- Current actions
- Current projects
- Areas of responsibility
- 1-2 year goals
- 3-5 year goals
- Life goals
This method is based around improving workflow by splitting your to-do list into upcoming work, work in progress and completed work. It centers around the following practices:
- Visualization of the workflow (some teams like to use boards, sticky notes etc)
- Limit the amount of work classified as WIP (Work In Progress) by splitting tasks into smaller parts
- Improve workflow by identifying and overcoming bottlenecks
- Develop explicit process guidelines (for team productivity)
- Use feedback loops to bring important issues to light quickly (for team productivity)
- Make changes that are collaborative (for team productivity)
Eat that Frog
This method sounds a bit strange but what Eat that Frog actually refers to is getting through the tasks that you are putting off as quickly as possible. By tackling the jobs that you dread doing first, you set yourself up for a more productive day, rather than trying to avoid doing the work or letting it distract you.
☕️ Develop a morning ritual!
🐸 Eat that frog!
📧 Don’t check email until you've completed your Most Important Task!
— Upwork (@Upwork) September 26, 2019
Although most of these methods seem relatively easy to achieve and adhere to, applying them properly and consistently is the only way to ensure that they work effectively. It might help to try different methods to work out which one is most suited to you, as not everyone works the same way. But, get into a pattern that suits you, and you’ll be on your way to personal and professional success!