Are you in a slump? Maybe you’re motivated at the start of the day, only to end up wondering where all the drive has gone in the end? Don’t worry; we know exactly how you feel. We gotchu.
In this article, we’re going to discuss ways that you can jumpstart your productivity. From stopping your procrastination to avoiding distractions, we’re sure you can find one that works for you in this list of seven productivity techniques.
What’re you waiting for? Let’s go!
For achieving goal clarity.
You’re all prepped to tackle the day as you sit in your workstation and boot up your PC for some work. But wait — what were you supposed to do again?
Oh well. You decide to open YouTube (or Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, etc.). It’ll come to you eventually. Five minutes later and you glance at the time: an hour has passed by. Where has the morning gone?
And what were you supposed to do again?
This scenario is all too common, especially in a WFH system where nobody is nudging you to get to work. Without clear goals for the day, it’s all too easy to be pulled into different, more enticing, yet less productive directions — and then there goes your drive.
Scheduling works by predetermining the work that needs to be accomplished for the day. Without the confusion of figuring out which of your many tasks need to be done, your lazy brain can’t talk you out of doing the hard work.
Scientists call the act of scheduling “implementation intention” and have found that it helps people achieve their goals better and stick to exercises better.
And it’s easy to do too. All you have to do is sit down, decide when to do what, and follow it religiously. Your schedule could either be a weekly thing or a to-the-minute affair; what’s important is that you now know exactly what needs to be done, when.
For a steady workflow.
If you know how to do your own laundry (which you really should), then the concept of batching should already be familiar to you. You don’t start the laundry every time you have a single dirty shirt. Instead, you accumulate laundry throughout the week (or month, we won’t judge) and do it all in one go.
This is the same principle when batch producing your work; you lump similar tasks together and then tackle them simultaneously. This way, you won’t waste time and energy repeating the process’s various tasks.
For example, if you’re an office worker, you can batch all of your admin work at the start of the day. This means all the phone calls, emails, correspondence, etc., can be tackled at the beginning of your shift instead of being scattered throughout your workday, which can distract you from accomplishing more important tasks.
3. Pomodoro Technique
For achieving intense focus.
The Pomodoro technique is a deep concentration technique designed in the 1980s by then-student Francesco Cirillo. According to his book, the name came from a 10-minute kitchen timer, which he found was an effective study tool because of its relatively short intervals.
Similar to work batching, this technique is another way of treating time. When working, most of us are easily distracted by little things, whether they be social media notifications or the looming presence of another task that needs to be done.
The Pomodoro technique allows you to concentrate on one task at a time by giving you relatively short concentration times and plenty of small breaks. This will enable you to refresh your mind and avoid mental fatigue, thus keeping you in tip-top condition for longer.
Its strength lies in its simplicity. A Pomodoro is one 25 to 30-minute period where you remove all distractions and focus on the work at hand. After this period, tick off one Pomodoro and take a 5-minute break to refresh your mind. Do this repeatedly until you reach 4 Pomodoros, after which you then take a much-deserved 15 to 30-minute break.
4. Don’t Break the Chain
For repetitive tasks.
Ever heard the phrase “I want what people who exercise at 5 AM every day have.”? It implies that people who do this difficult thing daily (wake up at the crack of dawn AND exercise) have something that the rest of the population do not.
Well, in a sense, they do. But it’s not something magical or even that much of a secret. What they have are habits. They’re just used to it, plain and simple.
The psychology behind habit formation is well-studied, and you can find many books that deal with the topic. However, the short of it is that; if you do something right often enough, that something becomes a habit.
This is what this technique is all about.
The methodology behind this effective technique is simple: get a calendar of some sort and then get something to write with. Each day that you accomplish something you want to stick, mark the calendar. Don’t skip a day. Don’t break the chain. Eventually, you won’t want to break the chain — and then boom, you have a habit that you’ll do every day.
This can be applied to anything you want to do every day, whether it’s studying, exercising, or working on your passion project.No matter what, accomplish something daily, no matter how small, and over time the chain will be its own motivation.
5. If-Then Planning
For getting started.
Do you feel like you never have enough time to do something that needs to be done? We bet you do.
Thismethodmethod is a more advanced, more specific version of scheduling that focuses on attaching your action to solid cues and is a technique backed by scientific literature.
An if-then schedule is good for people who feel claustrophobic with minute-to-minute itineraries because it doesn’t force you into rigid timeframes. Instead, it focuses on cues for action.
For example, do you want to start reading every day? Try this if-then plan:
If I drink coffee, then I open a book to read.
Maybe you need to tell yourself to start exercising? Try telling yourself, “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then I’m going to head to the gym.” Simple right? The results might just be the one for you.
More than that, you can use this with the don’t break the chain technique to further boost your habit-forming strategies.
6. The 1-3-5 Method
For task prioritization.
While convenient and easy to start, the good old sticky note to-do list is not nearly enough when dealing with the complex day-to-day workload of the average working Pinoy. All a to-do list does is tell you what stuff needs to be done without telling you how to do them or the perfect order of tasks.
The 1-3-5 method is a better way of creating your to-do list. Essentially, it’s a prioritized to-do list. You list down:
- 1 important task.
- 3 medium tasks, and
- 5 small tasks.
This method works because of two reasons.
First, it limits the number of tasks that you need to accomplish each day. After all, we only have a limited amount of time and energy to work; it’s impossible to achieve all of your to-dos in one day, so you have to prioritize the most important ones.
Second, it lets you allocate your energy more effectively. Having not just a list of tasks but also an order by which to do them enables you to allocate your most energetic hours, presumably the beginning of your workday, to the most important one. This helps you avoid procrastination and gives you a clear goal to hit.
7. Habit Tracking Journal
For mindfulness and reflection.
Habit tracking is exactly as it sounds like; tracking the things you do over a stretch of time. The most common way to do this is through a habit journal, which you can make to be as artistic as you want.
Several studies have found that journaling itself presents psychological benefits. For nurses in the US, a journaling class has improved their compassion satisfaction, stress handling, burnout, and trauma fatigue rates. It has also been shown to relieve stress and improve mental health.
If you like to write or reflect, habit tracking through journaling can be an effective way to examine the more qualitative aspects of your productivity habits.
More than that, it’s also simple to do. All you need is a dedicated journaling notebook and pen (or a journaling app), some dedicated time, and you’re set.
When journaling, pay specific attention to your reflections, emotions, and reactions about your productivity. This can help you immensely figure out why you do certain things, which habits can work for you, and how to solve bad habits that hinder your productivity.
Productivity Techniques and You
From self-help books and productivity apps to one-in-one coaching that promises to change your life if you just fork over the money, entire industries have formed around the idea of selling ‘productivity.’
But really, they are all saying the same thing: discover the way you work, and pick a strategy that will help you enhance it.
In that respect, this list of productivity techniques can help the latter part: we’ve shown you tried and tested strategies that people have been using to become more productive. How it fits into your life and whether or not you make it work is up to you.
Do you have a favorite productivity technique? Do you think these will help you?
Let us know in the comments!