Want to get more done in a day? These tips might come handy…

3 productivity techniques the most productive people swear by

The fact that this blog title caught your attention says that you aren’t happy with how much you get done in an average day. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! We’re all trying to do a little more, everyday!

I know people who work 12 hours a day, take their work home, and work on weekends too. For instance, this is what I know about my friend who’s constantly working:

  • She has no idea how much is on her plate. Just that her plate is full.
  • She cares more about getting the task done, than actually doing the task.
  • Collectively, she works for more than 4 hours on a task that would probably take another individual about 45 mins.
  • She tries squeezing in smaller tasks between the bigger ones.
  • She’s always busy!
I had to figure out how to work smarter, not harder. I needed to optimize my work process to do more in less time - Chris Winfield, Entrepreneur and Writer

Tired of constantly running behind time? Let’s see if these top 3 productivity tips can help:

The Pomodoro technique

This method helps you make the most of your time and energy, and gives you a headstart on your tasks.

Simple steps to be more productive (source)

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. List your tasks (also known as pomodoros)
  2. Assign 25 mins to each pomodoro with a 3–5 min break in between tasks
  3. Work on the task
  4. Stop working after 25 mins and put a check mark in the list
  5. Go back to your list and work on the next task
  6. Take a longer break of about 15 mins after 4–5 pomodoros

Why does the Pomodoro Technique work? Because it’s simple and doesn’t require much planning or tools. It helps you learn to work with time, manage distractions, and most importantly replenish yourself to keep going.

But here’s the catch.

The method is effective, but it takes a toll on you as you’re mentally engaged for longer than you were used to. And on some days when you’re not feeling your best, completing 5–7 pomodoros can seem like a daunting task.

So, here’s my suggestion:

  • Find your magic number (there is no ideal number of pomodoros you have to complete per day).
  • Allow time for personal to-dos, so you have more than just 8 hours a day to work.
  • Don’t stress about completing your magic number each day, allow yourself to choose the number of pomodoros depending on your capacity and mood.

The Inbox Zero method

How many unread emails do you have in your inbox at this moment?

I had about 145 in my work inbox and (brace yourself) 19 thousand in my personal inbox. Most of them were, of course, spam, updates and promotions, but a large chunk comprised important emails that I had missed.

I have tried replying to or archiving emails the moment I receive them, but that left me getting distracted. Which is where the Inbox Zero Kanban method fits in.

Here’s how you can achieve the “0 Unread Mails” target that the method advocates:

  • Use a single email ID; the more the IDs, the tougher your task.
  • Set 2–3 slots a day to check your inbox.
  • Reply to emails that take less than 2 mins as you receive them, and archive them as soon as you’re done.
  • Make a mental note of emails that don’t require a reply and archive them once read.
  • Keep emails that take longer to reply in the inbox and set aside a time to reply to them. Once done… you guessed it, archive them.
That’s my empty inbox! Wohoo!

Now, I know that this might feel like a lot of work at first, because you’ve now categorized it as a task and put it in your to-dos! But with practice, you’ll have more time on your hand to get the important tasks done.

My tip? You could move your entire work-space communication to Flock and never worry about emails again. That’s what my experience of working for Flock tells me.

Read more about Flock here.

The Biological Prime Time method

Do you feel like Dexter’s parents on most days, except even large cups coffee and redbull won’t wake you up? That’s probably because you’re a nocturnal (night) person.

Wake up! (source)

Sam Carpenter, in his book “Work the System”, explains that every individual’s biological clock works differently and their energy and focus levels fluctuate during the day. He says that you should categorize and schedule your tasks for the day based on your energy levels.

But, the downside of this method is you will have to do a little homework on your energy, focus and motivation levels for over a week or two, to figure out your time of the day.

Once you know your biological clock, you can schedule your day to work on important and creative work when you’re most active and productive, and pick up housework, take a nap or finish small tasks during your downtime.

Want more? Try to make these changes in your routine to become more productive:

  • Meditate for at least 15 mins everyday
  • Keep a journal of your tasks, feelings, and everything else. It helps manage yourself.
  • And lastly, don’t fret about productivity… remember to enjoy what you’re working on!

Have any other ideas about bumping up your productivity? I’m all ears!