3 Simple Methods To Be More Productive Every Day

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 Looking forward to learning about productivity reading articles and books from experts, I’ve tested several methods to be more productive, and something is very clear to me: no plan is perfect.

That’s why, even though here I’ll share my favorite methods with you, my recommendation is that you pick the one you like the most, adjusting some other things in your way to work, and even, merging many techniques together.

1. Pomodoro Technique

This was the first method that I tested, because of the effect the word ‘’Pomodoro’’ (tomato in Italian) had on me, it caught my attention – It made me think of recipes with tomatoes, which I adore.

The creator of this technique was the Italian Francesco Cirillo. He called it that way because he used a tomato-shaped kitchen clock to track time.

The Pomodoro Technique looks forward to boosting productivity by dividing the time dedicated to work in blocks of 25 minutes, called Pomodoros. These intervals are separated by an obligatory break of 5 minutes.

The key of this technique is to focus on only one task without interruptions, while the time of each block is filled.

How to apply the Pomodoro technique

You just have to follow these 5 steps written by its creator.

  1. Choose one task you’d like to get done.
  2. Set a timer to 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a checkmark on paper.
  4. Take a short 5-minute break (this marks the completion of one “Pomodoro”).
  5. Every four Pomodoros take a longer 20-minute break.

You can also implement this technique leaning on different available apps, in Android, iOs, web or desktop.

These are some options:  

Even if it could be a little hard to focus on just one task during 25 minutes, it’s worth the try. The quality of your job and your brain will be enormously benefited.

2. The SuperFocus Method

SuperFocus was developed by Mark Foster. This method is about managing the time much better, using a notebook, dedicating time to each task.

This method is great to have a better balance between our easy and challenging tasks, and our urgent and non-urgent tasks.

At the same time, SuperFocus assures you that little by little; all the tasks will be made.

How to apply SuperFocus

SuperFocus

To begin, you must use a notebook and trace in each page a line in the center, separating it into two columns. Each one of them will have a different use:

Column 1 or Left Column.

In this column you will write every task you should do, except the urgent ones.

Column 1 or Left Column.

In this column you will write every task you should do, except the urgent ones.

The first step will be to write all the tasks on the left column, except the urgent ones, using all the pages you need.

The same way, the urgent tasks will be written in the right column. After finishing a task, urgent or not, it will be crossed out, to indicate that it was done.  

The tasks will be chosen by its urgency, and after these are done, you’ll be able to choose any other among the non-urgent ones. If the task is not completed, it will be crossed out too, but it will be written in the second column of the next page, in order to be part of the next urgent tasks. This way, SuperFocus assures that the task will be done.

If you don’t have a notebook to test this method, you can use a whiteboard or use apps like Todoist or Wunderlist.

SuperFocus is straightforward and practical, but it can become a little exhausting if you always apply it. In my experience, I recommend you to use it, especially when you need to finish many tasks in short time. But if you are as workaholic like me, you won’t have any problem using it daily.  

Last, but not least, I recommend you read the rules written by its author clicking here.

3. Do the hardest thing first.

This method is pretty simple and is also associated with successful people in every aspect.

There’s a trick to determine what thing represents the hardest part: You just should look at what things are the most difficult to do and identify which task is the most uncomfortable and what thing we’d like to leave to last.

When in doubt, the most important to-do is typically the one that makes you the most uncomfortable, often including a chance of rejection, pain, or failure.” — Tim Ferriss.

Many of you will wonder which are the advantages of starting the day doing what you least want to do. Here you have some:

  • Doing the hardest thing first, will make the rest of the tasks easier to do, and with a renewed mood
  • It helps your ego. You will feel more secure about yourself.
  • You will forge your will strength.
  • You will complete more tasks.
  • You will be more productive.

To know more about how and why to do the hardest thing first, I recommend you read the book Eat That Frog! from Brian Tracy. There you’ll also find extra pieces of advice about productivity that help you complete a better and more efficient routine.

BONUS: Two tools to be more productive

I don’t want to end this article without sharing with you two more tools, as a complement of the three methods I just mentioned.

These tools are to solve two chronic problems: The multiple tabs in the browser and the email.

Bonus!

OneTab

The multiple tabs are standard when we surf the internet, and we find interesting things.

Having many tabs opened in the browser, could be counterproductive to our productivity and focus on the important tasks. That’s because they become in distraction and weight. That’s why I recommend the use of the OneTab extension (available for Chrome and Firefox).

This extension places all of these distractor tabs inside one tab, for you to consult them after your work routine or when they become relevant.

Inbox Zero

Email can also become a problem if we check it constantly during the day. It’s not only distractive, but it also helps to raise anxiety and stress.

That’s why I recommend a managing system called Inbox Zero.

Inbox Zero was developed by the productivity expert Merlin Mann. It’s about keeping your inbox empty, or almost empty, applying an action to each message that comes in our mail. According to Mann, these measures could be five: delete, delegate, reply, defer and make.

For a practical use of this system, you must follow these recommendations:

  • Don’t leave the email client open.
  • Process email periodically throughout the day.
  • First, delete or archive as many new messages as possible.
  • Then forward what can be best answered by someone else.
  • Immediately respond to any new messages that can be answered in two minutes or less.  
  • Move new messages that require more than two minutes to answer.
  • Move messages that can be answered later to a separate “required response” folder.
  • Set aside time each day to respond to email in the “required response” folder or chip away at mail in this folder throughout the day.

Conclusion:

It’s possible to be more productive using the right strategies.

The Pomodoro and SuperFocus methods look forward doing the hardest task first, having the chance to make a great difference in your day.

Of course, not every method adapts to everyone. However, without good habits, willpower and focus, it will be harder to reach the goal of maximizing the productivity.

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David Salcedo
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Project Manager at 1Entity. Graphic designer with experience in branding and web development. A fan of Kandinsky, Faulkner & Kieślowski.
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