Our new Monday Motivator email is part of our Hour a Week system, a way to tackle your books by breaking your work down into small, recurring tasks. There are tons of great systems like hour a week out there to help keep you organised in your working routine - here are some well-loved techniques that users find incredibly useful.
We’ve mentioned before that we’re huge fans of the Pomodoro technique, as it’s a super-simple way to stay focussed and make yourself more productive. Essentially a virtual stopwatch, Pomodoro helps you focus your work into 25-minute blocks with rest breaks in between, so you can focus on your work without distractions. It’s perfect if you’re trying to get through a crunch time, or even just to make sure you take breaks in your day.
Comic Jerry Seinfeld developed his own method for staying productive, where he’d score off every day he wrote new material on his calendar - with the ultimate goal to never have a day that wasn’t marked with an X. This technique now forms the basis of Don’t Break the Chain; an online calendar system where you pick a goal, mark off every day which you use to work towards that goal and use the chain of marked off days as a motivator. Simple, yet effective.
If you’re good at focusing on the big picture goals you set for your business, but neglect the smaller tasks, try best-selling author David Allen’s Getting Things (GTD) done technique, which concentrates on nailing the day-to-day stuff first in order to clear your mind for the higher-up tasks later. In GTD, you determine your priorities through weekly reviews and group similar tasks together into lists to boost your organisation and workflow. Best of all, there’s also a host of software that supports the GTD workflow, so you don’t have to rely on a paper-based system.
A great way to check how efficiently you’re working is to create a visual map that highlights all of your completed tasks, your work in progress and the work that you still have to do. Toyota pioneered the idea in the 1950s to maintain a high level of production among their workers, and this system - called “kanban” - is still being used today. Using personal kanban allows people to prioritise their workloads so they can focus on specific tasks, limit distractions and improve their productivity.
It’s difficult to stay on top of your daily tasks and stay productive when your emails are overflowing, so perhaps it’s time to consider an Inbox Zero approach? Coined by 43 Folders creator Merlin Mann, the idea is to go into your email system fewer times per day and manage messages better. By killing them, answering them right away or filing them into a to-do system as tasks, you should have more time to focus on the other important parts of your work.
Do you use any techniques to keep you productive during your daily work routine? Leave a comment or hit us up on twitter and let us know. Have a great weekend!