5 awesome productivity techniques you didn’t know exist

Written by Saadia Iqbal ·  3 min read >

Have you ever met a productive person? If you closely examine their routine, you will figure out they follow a system to get things done. It is true, you cannot be productive unless you have a technique, a system or a process to follow. It is not just enough to adopt a few productivity tips from here and there and expect a change in your life. You need a system instead. I am sharing with you 5 awesome productivity techniques that can get your life on track. Even if you start with one of them, you will experience a big change in your work and personal life.

1. Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a technique developed by David Allen. He talks about it in his book ‘Things Done.’
I think the name of this technique explains it all. You have to put all the tasks on paper and get them done. It puts you in control of your life. Once you have outlined all the tasks, you have to organize them into 6 categories i.e.:

  • Current actions
  • Current projects
  • Areas of responsibility
  • 1 to 2-year goals
  • 3 to 5-year goals
  • Life goals

The technique frees your minds from the pending tasks. When you write everything down in the form of a list, you quickly move from one task to another without getting distracted. It not just helps you organize your tasks but also carry them out.

2. The Pomodoro Method

It was invented by Francesco Cirillo based on the idea of getting things done in pre-determined blocks of time. You simply have to break up each task into a 25-minute segment. Between each segment, you are supposed to take a 5-minute break. After 4 segments, you take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

In the culinary world, Pomodoro is a word used for tomato sauce. Hence why you will see many people associating Pomodoro with a tomato. So, you start the time and set it for 25 minutes. When you are working in these 25 minutes, your focus should be on the work without stopping. When the timer goes off, you need to stop the work and take a short break. This is a perfect way of staying focused and recharge yourself at the same time.

3. Don’t Break the Chain

Familiar with Jerry Seinfeld from The Seinfeld Show? He created his own creative system for maintaining discipline and completing more tasks. It is called ‘Don’t Break the Chain.’
He started the new year with a big calendar. He made a big red ‘X’ on each day he successfully accomplished a goal. That’s about it. To follow this method, all you need:

  • A big calendar
  • A red magic marker to mark an ‘X’ on each day you accomplished something
  • A list of tasks that you want to accomplish

Once you start this, in just a few days, you a chain will develop. Have you heard of the phrase ‘inch by inch, anything is a cinch?’ It perfectly explains this method. Once you get started on this, your daily actions will eventually become habits. Don’t skip because a skip of one day will make it easier for you to skip the next day too. Just don’t break the chain and you will accomplish so much. Even if it is something as little as exercising, use ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ method to achieve your weight loss goals.

4. Eat that Frog Technique

The name sounds funny but this technique is a great step forward towards boosting productivity. According to the technique, if you have to eat a live frog each day, you should do it first thing in the morning so that you don’t have to deal with anything worse than this the rest of the day. Don’t worry, it’s just an analogy. What it really means is to do the Most Important Task (MIT) of the day first thing in the morning. Once you are done with that, the rest of the day will become easy. This technique was introduced by Brian Tracy and he mentions it in his book ‘Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’. So basically, the frog that you have to eat is the most important task.

5. Zen to Done

Zen to Done is another great technique to improve productivity. It targets the overall work approach instead of focusing on individual projects. It is all about improving your habits and doing tasks. It is based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done and some other productivity-boosting techniques. It encourages 10 habits to stay focus and organized. They are:

Habit 1: Collect (Write everything down starting from tasks, ideas, projects to anything that comes in your head)
Habit 2: Process (Make quick decisions)
Habit 3: Plan (Plan your days and weeks)
Habit 4: Do one thing at a time
Habit 5: Simple, trusted system (Create a simple list. Concentrate on doing tasks instead of creating a system)
Habit 6: Everything in its place (Put things where they belong)
Habit 7: Weekly review (Review the progress that you have made in accomplishing your goals)
Habit 8: Simplify (Simplify your commitments)
Habit 9: Routines (Set up a routine and follow it)
Habit 10: Find your passion

Zen to Done helps you develop habits to keep your tasks and projects organized. In short, it helps you keep doing the things that you need to without getting distracted.

So which technique to choose?

Can’t decide which technique to start with? Let me help. The main purpose of following these techniques is to get stuff done. So, just make a decision in the next 60 seconds and pick one method. Try it for at least 30 days. If you see improvements in your productivity, stick to that method but if not, try another one. Once you settle into any of these techniques, you can customize and make your own one too. Every individual has unique needs and so the solution they need must be unique too. Once you successfully come up with a customized technique, do share it others.

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