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Best productivity and time management improving methods

Time management is everything. Be it working efficiently towards a deadline. Planning and organizing how you will run a project. Or even just making sure you don’t procrastinate and waste your time. Many describe time management as the crucial point when describing reasons for their success. Keywords here are consistency and productivity

Have a look with us at which methods work best and might work best for you too!

Your own personal tendencies

Self-reflection is very important in business and self-development. And it’s just as important to your time-management and productivity management. You should pick one of the methods we mention that will align best with your natural tendencies. As self-improvement is eventually the goal and it needs to be do-able from the start. You should not wander away from your natural tendencies too much. As this might interfere with your ability to be productive. It is best to pick a method that is an extension of your character and which fits your way of working probably the most. 

  1. Pomodoro technique

One of our personal favorites and especially of our CEO. The pomodoro technique was developed by Franceso Cirillo in the 1980’s. The name pomodoro (tomato in Italian) was conceived because he used a tomato shaped kitchen timer to time his work time. One ‘pomodoro’ als Cirillo describes it is a time period of 30 minutes. Of which the user works 25 minutes exclusively on one task and then systematically takes a 5 minute break. So 30 minutes is divided into 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest. He also recommends a longer 15-30 minute break after four pomodoros. Mr. Cirillo concluded after experimenting with different people and groups that the ‘ideal pomodoro’ would be between 20 – 35 minutes long. 

We advise you to check out which time frame works best for you. 

Maybe a bit shorter (20 min) works best? Or maybe a bit longer (35 minutes)? Or just maybe something in between? Every person is different. So find out through experimentation what works best for you, only then will you find the ideal improvement to your personal work flow. 

Don’t worry you won’t need to buy a tomato shaped timer! There are plenty of apps that have this function in your phone’s appstore. 

  1. Getting things done (GTD)

The getting things done-method has been created by American productivity consultant David Allen. It is rather a simple but effective principle that we recommend you to try to see if it works for you. 

You note down all of the tasks that you need to finish. You then divide them into relatively small tasks and the big ones. And you immediately start and finish the small ones first. Then it is of importance to divide the biggest tasks into smaller ones and start on those ones right away. If you have a handful of tasks this technique is effective.

But it is mainly meant for individuals who have hundreds or several tasks to do. This method is meant to avoid information overload, indecisiveness and the so-called ‘brain freeze’ that people get when there are many tasks ahead waiting on them. So you can imagine how this could clearly benefit you and lead you on a good track getting the smaller things out of the way first. Then when the big ones are left you feel more motivated because the smaller ones are already out of the way and you’re halfway already. Also the bigger tasks usually become easier and more clear when divided into segments. 

  1. The not-to-do list method

This one is specifically on our list for people with self-reflection and self-discipline issues. And people who have a lot of tasks to do in general of course. 

It is intended as a weekly or monthly analysis of your day to day activities. Thoroughly analyze your activities and realize which ones are a waste of time. And avoid them in the future. No, we really mean it. Go out of your way to avoid them. 

Also take a critical look at what tasks you did that you weren’t supposed to do in the first place. This means that you’ve probably said ‘Yes’ when you should’ve said ‘No’. Work on this too and avoid it as much as you can. It most of the time has a detrimental effect on the tasks that you are responsible for. So remove these from your to-do list. (Because they belong on the not-to-do list, you get it?)

And finally remove the tasks that don’t truly add value and that drain your energy. With all of the above being on your not to do list: It is time to make a proper to do list.

So basically making a not-to-do list is a method of beating your bad habits and activities. And filtering it down to what is truly most important for your productivity and achievements. 

  1. The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande is an American writer and surgeon who developed the checklist manifesto-method. He has written a book about the method appropriately called ‘The Checklist Manifesto. This method is intended for individuals who are faced with many complex tasks on a regular basis.

What the method entails is that for every workday you need to make a checklist that you need to absolutely abide by. You need to divide the biggest tasks you have into smaller ones and consequently work them off until the big tasks get done one by one. We emphasize that you do it in the exact order that you wrote it down because it eliminates the decision making time between tasks.

If you’d take the time to actually make a list then you would have already decided when sometimes needs to be done. Trusting in that you’ve made the list while thinking critically. you are creating a structure you can stick to and that makes sense. When having many tasks one tends to get entangled into thinking of approaches in between tasks. Or gets distracted with other tasks.

But eventually keeping to a critical list for every workday or any amount of serious tasks increases your efficiency. It also makes it harder to get lost in the big scheme of things. For individuals with relatively few tasks this approach is not very necessary. Making a well planned critical list can take some time when done right. 

  1. Task batching method

What task batching basically entails is to place the tasks that need to be done into specific batches. These batches are divided into importance or time needed to complete them depending what is prioritized at the moment by you. 

It is easier said than done. And what is strongly discouraged with this method is switching between the context of your work. Because how often does it happen that we are interrupted or switch screens to check something else out? Often. 

And what is common is the fact that people always tend to multitask. Thinking that it is a positive thing and that it increases productivity. In the long run you will notice higher productivity if you exclusively spend your time on doing one specific task.

This method is also meant for people who procrastinate a lot and helps to get you started to give you the forward push to get working on your important tasks. 

Focus fact

Try to keep your email intake at a minimum during the hours you need to be most productive. We advise the OHIO-method which stands for Only Handle It Once. Which entails that you touch the email you are answering only ones. Don’t waste time reviewing the mail over and over again. The 1-minute threshold is also of value here, if your response would take less than a minute then do it immediately.

Liked these productivity managing methods? Keep an eye on our blog page for part 2 here: https://www.fitnest.eu/standing-desk-blog/

It is of utmost importance to be fuelled correctly for optimal productivity so have a look at our blog on great snacks and power foods here: https://www.fitnest.eu/power-foods-and-snacks-at-the-office/

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