One of the keys to being successful is being able to manage your time wisely.
With so many different distractions around to take your attention away from the critical work, employing some effective productivity techniques will help you to stay focused.
These are the top productivity and prioritisation techniques for you to try:
The Pomodoro Technique has been around since the 1980s and it is based around breaking tasks down into intervals, usually of 25 minutes, although some people adapt to suit their task types. The idea is that you set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on getting the task completed in the set interval. After the 25-minute interval, you then take a short break, usually of 5 minutes. After the break, the timer is set for another 25 minutes. Having the timer and the set amount of work to complete in that time helps to keep people focused and to ignore the tempting distractions.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix enables people to organise their tasks into an order of priority. It was devised by American President Eisenhower himself who as you can imagine had a lot to do, all seemly important, often world-changing, in a very short period of time. Sometimes referred to as the Urgent-Important Matrix, the matrix is made up of four quadrants shown below:
Do – Urgent and important
|Plan – Not urgent but important|
Delegate – urgent but important
|Eliminate – not urgent and not important|
People go through their To Do list and categorise each task depending on whether they are important and urgent, allocating each task into the matrix and then they handle them in the way indicated by the matrix i.e. DO, PLAN, DELEGATE, ELIMINATE. This will help you to get those really important tasks ticked off early and put the ones that are not urgent or important but might be distracting you, to the bottom of the pile, or completely get rid of them!
Eat That Frog
Despite its rather strange name, the Eat That Frog is a very effective way of getting tasks out of the way. The method essentially means that if you had to eat a frog every day, the best time to do it is to do it first. Otherwise, you will spend the day worrying about eating the frog. In terms of productivity, the frog is that piece of work that you are not looking forward, maybe you have been putting it off for a while.
It might be calling a particularly difficult customer, or just doing a piece of work that you find really boring. Whatever that task is, get it done as soon as you start work so that it isn’t hanging over you all day, playing at the back of your mind. Once you have eaten that frog, you will find you get through the rest of your work quicker than if you left it until last.
Getting Things Done
This time management method is all about planning and setting goals. It is based around five main steps:
Capture – Recording what has your attention
Clarify – Decide what action to take with it
Organize – Set a reminder in the appropriate place
Reflect – Regularly review and reflect
Engage – Do the actions with confidence and clarity
The GTD method includes putting daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals into place so that you can focus on working towards your goals, one task at a time.
Many people use list manager apps and tools to help them to work with the GTD method. Apps like Trello, Todoist and Wunderlist all have features that will help people to successfully implement the Getting Things Done approach.
Using technology to boost your productivity
Not a technique as such but technology can also play in a big role in improving productivity. There are apps that will assist with the above techniques or there’s software that can help get things done. Our conveyancing software, Matter Centre, uses automation to remove a lot of repetitive tasks conveyancers do day-in-day-out.
It also allows you to create custom workflows, automatically generating and assigning tasks so they don’t have to spend time thinking about what to do next. Most industries will have their own specialist solution tailored to their specific challenges. Xero have an app for submitting expenses for example, you simple take a photo then and there rather than having to remember to submit them at the end of the month to your accountant.
There is no secret formula to boosting productivity. Techniques and technology can help but we all experiences ups and downs, some technique work well for some tasks and not others. You need to experiment, assess the outcomes and reassess what you are doing regularly to find out what works well for you.