Despite starting our workdays with all the best intentions, we often find it challenging to stay focussed on getting everything done.
Since work from home has become the new norm after the lockdown, it has become even more critical to use the extra time effectively. For the times when finishing tasks is vital with big deadlines looming, we bring you some tried and tested productivity improvement techniques from around the world. We also have personalised these productivity techniques for your benefit.
Go back to basics with the Pomodoro Productivity Technique
Established in the 1980s, the Pomodoro technique is one of the oldest and simplest productivity systems with millions of fans around the world. Much of its appeal lies in its simplicity, as it works by dividing your time into clear blocks.
How to apply it?
Start by making a to-do list, then pick the task you need to focus on most urgently. Calculate how many Pomodoro, i.e. sets of 25 minutes, you will need to complete it. Set the timer for 25 minutes, and work away until the timer sounds. Record the completed 'Pomodoro' with a tick mark on a piece of paper, take a 3-5 minute active recovery break, and repeat until you have finished the task. Once the task is over, take a 15-30 minutes recovery break. If you are interrupted during those 25-minute sessions, make a note of the interruption to deal with later, or if possible ignore it until the timer sounds. While your Pomodoros can be tracked with apps such as Focus Keeper, you can also log them in your diary.
Personalise the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is easy to adapt. You can adjust the duration of each Pomodoro set or increase the number of Pomodoros in a manner that suits both the task and your concentration levels. E.g. 30-45 minute sessions repeated three times before a big break. You could also set up a musical alarm if you find it less disruptive than a traditional alarm sound, and explore ways to make your breaks as refreshing as possible.
Try the Japanese productivity technique with the Kaizen Productivity Philosophy
In contrast to Pomodoro, the Kaizen technique is a philosophical approach than a practical one. Translating roughly as 'good change', it involves improving the way you think, organise, plan and approach tasks over time to create a slow but significant transformation.
How does it work?
Kaizen is based on several fundamental principles, such as standardising processes to make them easier to repeat, evaluating progress using data, comparing results against your goals, and innovating new ways to improve outcomes. Kaizen is a gradual process that helps you improve your productivity. To apply this process, you should start by reviewing your day and week. Find out where you have wasted your energy and time. And find solutions to these problem areas. The process also requires you to set daily, weekly and monthly goals for yourself so that you can evaluate how well you performed against them. Kaizen requires you to monitor the way you work, change your method and find solutions if they don't help you achieve your goals.
Personalise the Kaizen philosophy
As a philosophy rather than a strict technique, Kaizen is endlessly customisable! Apply the principles to your workday, and you will soon see how they can improve your productivity and well-being.
Take the stress out of tasks with the Getting Things Done (GTD) Productivity Technique
Initially outlined in David Allen's bestselling book, the 'Getting Things Done' method offers a straightforward, stress-free way of organise your work. If you are juggling lots of different responsibilities, projects and meetings, it's a brilliant way to layout and categorise all of your tasks into achievable actions with clear priorities, making that overwhelmed feeling a thing of the past.
How does it work?
The GTD technique is organised around five main principles: Capture (write down everything, from tasks to brilliant ideas); Clarify (break tasks down into achievable steps); Organise (assign categories, priorities and due dates); Reflect (look through your organised list to choose the next critical task), and Engage (choose an action, and get to work!). Want to know more about this technique, learn it directly from Arif Wakil – a trained GTD expert by clicking here
Personalise the Getting Things Done technique
There are endless blogs, webinars and the original book available to personalise the technique.
Become Indistractable With Nir Eyal's Framework
We live in an age of technology where distraction is aplenty. As our phones keep buzzing with constant notifications, it is easy to lose focus on what's essential and get distracted by easy-to-do things such as browsing the internet or our social media feeds. But surprisingly, according to Nir Eyal, who is a best-selling author on consumer psychology, healthful habits, consumer design and neuroscience - technology isn't the problem. It is our approach to technology that causes the problem. To understand our lack of focus, it is crucial to understand what motivates us to perform actions. As per neuroscience, the reason we do what we do is to avoid discomfort. And to quote him, "When we're feeling lonely, we check Facebook. When we're uncertain, we Google. When we're bored, we check the news, Reddit, Pinterest." To avoid the discomfort of doing actual work, we might even do something that is an offline activity like clearing our desk or arranging the bookshelf. And that is where we lose out on quality time and end up getting distracted. So to tackle these challenges, Eyal, developed the Indistractable Framework that enables us to focus and improve our productivity.
How does it work?
The Indistractable Framework consists of 4 steps:
1. Master Internal Triggers — move from reacting to distractions to acting proactively by controlling your attention
2. Make time for traction — set up actions that take you towards your intended results
3. Hack Back External Triggers — stop yielding to constant notifications, messages, newsfeeds and instead make them work for you
4. Perfect Distractions with Pacts — stick with decisions you've made by committing to them
Personalise the Indistractable Framework
What better way to personalise this technique than by learning about it in-depth from Nir Eyal himself? Watch this video and learn to build an Indistractable Framework and apply it to your life. Click here to watch
Watch your productivity soar as you apply these techniques to your life.