Different productivity techniques work for different people. Here are some of the most effective ways to tick things off your to-do list and find some time in your busy schedule – which one works best for you?
Use an app
Using technology correctly can help you organise your busy schedule, both at work and in your personal life, to get things done.
Evernote has been around for a long time and continues to be a helpful tool that lets you keep track of everything on the go. It allows you to take notes and save webpages, images, and documents all in one place and keep it all in the cloud so you can access it anywhere, from any device. You can also collaborate with colleagues on projects in group notebooks and upload, and even search through, handwritten notes.
The Pomodoro Technique takes its name from the kitchen tomato timer (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato). It was developed by an Italian named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and involves using a timer to work in 25-minute intervals with five-minute breaks in between. You take a more extended break of 15-20 minutes every four hours. The idea is that, as human attention spans are short, the intervals break up your workload into manageable short bursts making you more productive.
Eat the frog
As you might imagine, this is not a literal suggestion! This productivity method involves doing your worst task first. The saying ‘eat the frog’ came from author Mark Twain, who reasoned that if you ‘eat the frog’ in the morning, you can go about the rest of your day knowing that the worst is behind you.
When applied to productivity, this theory implies that if you get your most challenging task out of the way first, the rest of your work will breeze by in no time.
Use your time wisely
Your energy levels and ability to concentrate change throughout the day. Most people have a natural energy cycle of about 90-120 minutes, depending on our brain wave frequencies (called our ultradian rhythm). Studies have shown that these cycles affect your ability to concentrate on your work.
You can take advantage of your natural energy cycle by identifying which times of day you work best and building breaks into your day instead of forcing yourself to concentrate during your energy dips. Your brain will have a chance to recharge, and you will return to work feeling ready to work at full capacity again.
Learn to prioritise
Sometimes it’s overwhelming when you have a seemingly endless to-do list and don’t know where to begin – it can even put you off starting anything! One productivity technique that can overcome this problem is writing a to-do list to help you order and prioritise your most urgent tasks and those that can wait.
Make a list for each day in the week, prioritising each job by the deadline. This will enable you to see your workload for what it is and feel a sense of achievement every time you tick something off, spurring you on for the next task.