In today’s Weekly Wrap-Up I’m going to share 3 techniques you can use to be more productive. I’ve used all three, and I think the latest one I’ve encountered is by far the best . They all produce results. It’s just a matter of how long you can stick with that particular method. If a method is too difficult, you’ll find excuses to not use it again. Once you quit, it will quickly dissipate, and you’ll conveniently not have to think about it again.
I won’t go into much detail on each one. The objective here is to introduce or reacquaint you with the technique. If one or more sounds good to you, follow the links at the end of this article, and learn more.
The Pomodoro Technique was created by an Italian named Francesco Cirillo in the early 90’s. Pomodoro means tomato in Italian. The technique deals with concentrated chunks of time. In its most basic form, you work on a task for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. That’s called one pomodoro. You don’t let anything interrupt you for those 25 minutes. No phone calls, no answering a knock at your door, no getting up for coffee. Just concentrate on that one task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Do 4 pomodoros and then take a longer break, for instance, a 30 minute break for lunch.
I used this for quite a while and it works well. You work on a task for a chunk of time, take regular breaks which keeps your blood flowing, and then continue working on the same or next task. (Chunking comes from the book Focus Like a Laser Beam by management consultant and business blogger Lisa Haneberg.)
Getting Things Done, or GTD, was developed by David Allen in 2002, when he first published his world famous book, “Getting Things Done”. GTD is used in whole or in part, by many scheduling and productivity apps.
GTD is a very complex system, yet it is a system that you should at least learn more about. You may not use it verbatim, but I expect you’ll pick up some part of it that you’ll use the rest of your life. David Allen believes that one should first control the day-to-day issues in order to grow and reach the higher levels.
His system works by following these 5 simple steps that will help you put your chaotic schedule into a manageable framework. They are
- Capture – collect what has your attention
- Clarify – process what it means
- Organize – put it where it belongs
- Reflect – review frequently
- Engage – simply do.
One interesting concept of GTD is the use of context tags – that is, tags that tell us where something needs to be done. In his examples he uses the @ symbol as a context tag. He makes tags such as @ office, @ store, @ home, @ computer, etc. Some tasks may be tagged to tell the person that when they are in a location, a particular task should be performed. For example, the task Buy toothpaste might be tagged @ pharmacy or @ Target. Tasks that require use of a computer might be, Write article @ computer. Essentially we do this anyway, whether we write it down or not. Writing it down organizes tasks. If you are using an electronic time management app that is location aware, then you can tell it if you are near the pharmacy, send me an alert to buy toothpaste. Or if you are at your computer you can pull up all the tasks that are tagged @ computer and start working on them.
This just touches on some of the very basics of GTD. Buy the book and read through it. There are hundreds of other books written about this system. Maybe this is just what you need to be more organized and effective.
Donald Miller is a best-selling American author who has published to date 8 books. There was a time in his life when he just couldn’t seem to get anything done. He squandered away his mornings, afternoons, and evenings. He couldn’t get much written and what he wrote wasn’t that good. With publishers breathing down his neck he decided to drive across the country. During that time he listened to every productivity audio book that was written. By the time he reached the East coast he had figured out a better way to schedule one’s time. Thus was born the Storyline Productivity Schedule. Using this new technique he wrote his next book in 4 months, versus 2-3 years for previous publications. He found a method that worked and decided that he should make this available to everyone at no cost. You’ll find links at the end of this article.
When you download the SPS, Donald will explain exactly how to use his productivity method. In thirty day, if you’ll follow this method, your productivity effectiveness will sky rocket. And it is very simple to use. You don’t have to study anything. Just fill out the form each day and dig in. No schedules, times, or other restrictions. Free flowing and natural, which is why I like it. I think you’ll be very impressed with how much you can accomplish each day. Being highly productive is a very rewarding feeling.
I hope you’ll try all three techniques I’ve shown here. Each has its good points. Each has its difficulties. One may work for you, while it may not be the right technique for someone else. Life is an evolutionary experiment. Pick out the good parts, and leave the bad parts in the dust. Adopting a good productivity technique will provide profit, joy, and make better use of your priceless time.
Wishing you the best of fortune, Randall
Randall S Soules
Remodeling coach, adviser, and educator
My one-on-one coaching will take your remodeling business to new heights!
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