‘Productivity’ has been a popular buzzword in the professional sphere for several years now. Every businessperson has their own definition of what makes the perfect worker. From 4am starts to intermittent fasting, these one-size-fits all ideas forget the crucial part of task organising – the individual. We are unique, with jobs and lives to balance, limiting yourself to routines designed for someone else can prove difficult.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The following productivity techniques are all customisable, so take whatever elements you find useful, or even mix things up and create your own!
Side note: the below techniques are popularised by certain people, but the point of the article is to take only what you find useful!
Getting Things Done
Getting Things Done (or GTD) is a technique developed by David Allen from his book of the same name. GTD works by breaking large tasks down into smaller, more manageable ‘chunks’, and tracking task completion. Over time, this creates a system for capturing all tasks and commitments and assigning priorities, then acting on them.
A more basic version of this is the Don’t Break The Chain method, attributed to comedian Jerry Seinfeld. This method involves taking a calendar and drawing a cross in each day you complete the habit you are trying to develop. In theory, the growing satisfaction that comes with building the habit ‘chain’ develops into motivation to avoid breaking it. When you are driven to keep completing tasks, productivity naturally increases!
Eat The Frog
My personal favourite technique (and not just because of the name) is Eat The Frog. Developed from a Mark Twain quote, Eat The Frog suggests choosing your biggest task, and doing it first thing. By achieving the most difficult thing on your to-do list, you feel accomplished, and the rest of the day seems far more manageable.
Time Blocking involves breaking your day into chunks of time and dedicating each block to a specific task or activity. It allows you to build breaks and ‘busywork’ like emails into your schedule, you stop unimportant tasks absorbing your day, focusing on more impactful tasks.
Did you know that workers operate with nearly 20% less of their cognitive capacity when dealing with constant distractions and task switching? To give some context, this is about the same impact as pulling an all-nighter before work.
While it may sound similar to Time Blocking, Day Theming takes the idea of task-batching and pushes it further to dedicating days to various groups or ‘themes’.
By limiting the number of tasks available per day, you can limit distractions, minimising the likelihood of losing track of time. The groups will depend on the person, but can include: administrative tasks, meetings, creative work and so on.
Please note that this technique is not going to work for everyone, if your role includes customer interactions for example, you can’t ignore all sales calls because they arrived on a marketing day. Even then, trying to group your weekly meetings into the same day can free up large amounts of time in the rest of the week.
There are a huge variety of organisational techniques to help you manage your workload, and the best one for you is simply the one that works! We are all unique individuals, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.
Ready for your next steps? Here at Basegreen, we are driven by helping our students grow and raise through the ranks. Courses focusing on professional development can be a fantastic place to start, reach out to hear more!