Confession: Productivity does not come naturally to me. In fact, it’s a daily struggle. However, I have discovered that by using certain techniques and methods, I have been able to get through my to-do list in a far more efficient manner. Here’s what I do to ensure that I’m on top of my to-do list.
Check your calendar the previous night
This isn’t to say that I get started on work the previous night [nope-itty nope, please don’t do that] but I do check my calendar the previous night to get an idea of how things will be the next day. Some days are unpredictable, but most days aren’t. Looking at my calendar in advance informs me of the mindset that I have to be in for the next day – so if it’s going to be a stressful day with a lot of deliverables/meetings, I know how prepared I have to be, if I have to make any additional arrangements etc. Basically, this makes sure that I have as few surprises as possible during the day, that I don’t flounder from meeting to meeting and that I’m in the right frame of mind to tackle the day. The mindset is what does the job for me on most days, so something as simple as checking my calendar in advance and knowing what kind of day it’s going to be ensures that I stay on track!
Atomize Your To-Do List
To atomize your to-do list is to break your to-do list down into the smallest possible tasks. While this means that your to-do list will be longer, you will notice that your tasks become specific and more importantly, easier to tick off! And the faster you tick items, the more motivated you’ll be to work through your list. Also, it’s always better to have 20 tiny tasks that can be ticked off, versus three things that you stare at all day. So do try breaking your to-do list down into as many small items as possible!
The Pomodoro Method
This is something I’ve followed for a very long time. The pomodoro [which means ‘tomato’ in italian], is essentially a productivity technique where you do focused work for 25 minutes, take a five minute break and then do three more 25 minute work/5 minute break cycles, after which you get a half an hour break. What this does – for me at least – is that incentivises productivity with breaks. I get through my work because I know a break is right around the corner. I’ve always found success in the pomodoro method, because of how simple it is. There are apps for this, chrome extensions or you can even just use a good old phone timer. Using the pomodoro method, I’ve found, has also resulted in me concentrating better for longer periods of time.
So these are the productivity hacks that I use. Our community has some great tips too! Here are a few of our favourites.
“Clean to be more productive. To cook a dish clear the kitchen bench top. To do office work clear desk or bed or sofa. I start a 10 min playlist of songs for cleaning up and by the time it’s over the place is set”
“My hack is I make my environment a little more fun to do an otherwise mundane activity for e.g when I have to fold / organize clothes I turn on some nice peppy music. And keep something that I can look forward to /a treat after that particular activity is done like I’ll have my cup of vanilla chai latte after I’m done things like that get me motivated and ready to accomplish a task.”
“Eat the live frog! I complete most challenging task first thing in the day!”
“I also try to keep the most intricate task or something that involves a lot of cerebral input to be done at a particular time of the day when I know I am most productive. In my case it’s post 1 PM. I am not a morning person so I am most efficient between between 1 and 3 PM”