21 Productivity Methods: Which One is Right for You?

23 min read

There are many productivity methods to choose from that it can sometimes get confusing, but remember – a good productivity method helps you get your tasks done and progresses you in achieving your goals.

We all have days where we have trouble being productive and getting things done, but a good framework will help you keep on track in the long run.

The mistake most people make when thinking about a productivity framework is that they look at it as if it’s a magic trick to change who you are in an instant.

In reality, all productivity frameworks aim to help you structure processes and help you make better decisions when it comes to your time and where to spend it.

In this post, we’ve gathered 21 productivity methods, frameworks, and mindsets for you to choose from or get inspired by.

How to choose the right productivity method for you

The reason there are so many different productivity methods is that not everyone operates the same.

It’s important to understand that it’s crucial to choose the one that is right for your needs and natural tendencies.

If you aren’t sure which method will work best, try a few different ones out and go from there.

Here are 3 aspects to take into consideration:

Personality

The first thing you want to do when considering productivity improvement methods is your natural tendencies.

For example:

  • Are you an organized person?
  • Are you a procrastinator
  • Are you messy?
  • Are you a morning person?
  • Do you have problems focusing?
  • Do you need help prioritizing?
  • What are your strengths?

Each productivity method brings its own rules, limitations, and habits.
Make sure that the one you choose is an expansion of who you are and can help you solve your problems.

While it’s important to step out a little bit out of your comfort zone – going too far will become an obstacle in forming your new productive habit.

Environment

Next, you’ll want to consider the type of environment you’ll be working in.

For example, some might be working at a job with a quiet surrounding where you work mostly by yourself, while others might work in places where there’s a lot of activity and dependencies.

The type of environment you’re in can make or break your productivity, so it’s important to use a method that can be easily used in your personal environment.

Some people have time in the morning, some have more time in the afternoon or evening. Etc.

Function

Finally, you’ll want to consider what function you’re trying to use the method for.

Those that work directly with the product or project will need a different method than those that are doing multiple things throughout the day.

Once you know how to distinguish how you’ll be using the method, you’ll have a much easier time choosing the best one. Remember, try and find one that will make your job easier and help you get as much work done as possible.

21 Best Productivity Methods

Listed below, you’ll see 21 acclaimed productivity methods.

Not only have will you find the basic information about them, but also brief explanations of how they work listed the pros and cons, how quickly you can get started, and who the method is best for.

With so many options listed, you should be able to find a decent method for your situation.

1. Personal Kanban

Kanban is one of the leading productivity methods thanks to its visual appeal and ease of use.
Not only is the Personal Kanban simple to get started with it’s also easy to manage over time​.​

How it Works

The classic Kanban board has only three lists:

  1. Backlog/To-Do – all the items you need to get done soon
  2. Doing/ In-progress – contain the items you’re currently working on
  3. Done – all the items you’ve finished.

You start by adding all your action items to your “Backlog/to-do” list. A good practice is to prioritize the items based on deadlines or urgency, with the most pressing items on the top.

Once you start working on a task, move it to the “In-progress” list. As long as the task is active, it will stay on that list.

Once a task is done – you move it to its final destination, the “done” list.

Pros

  • Powerful visualization
  • Easy to track your progress.
  • Simple to implement and manage

Cons

  • Seeing long tasks lists can be overwhelming
  • Working on multiple-level projects can be messy
  • Hard to scale

Time to Get Started

Super quick. As long as you have a list of “to-do”’s, placing them on the Kanban board is simple and straightforward.

Who it’s Best for

Kanban works best for people who are more visually oriented and looking for a very simple and straightforward way of managing projects.

Any.do - Kanban Board Example

2. Eat the Frog

Procrastinators beware – this method will be hard for you, but will also change your life if you so choose to implement it.

The “Eat the frog” technique is very simple, yet requires willpower.

How it Works

First, you’ll want to identify what your frog is – your frog ​is ​being the hardest task or the task you have to do, but least want to do in your day.

Next, you’ll need to get that task done first thing in the morning. That’s it.

How to chose your frog? Most people already know what their frogs are. They can feel it.

If you need help spotting it: It’s the task you’ve been putting off for days, or simply one that makes you cringe when you need to tackle it.

This method won’t “organize your life” but it is very powerful and ​will help you make progress where you feel stuck

Pros

  • Get the hard task out of the way early in the day.
  • Strengthen your willpower over time.
  • Reduces stress level for the rest of the day.

Cons

  • It requires strong willpower
  • Can be emotionally draining and affect the rest of your day
  • Easy to fall out of the habit

Time to Get Started

As early in the morning as you can.

Who it’s Best for

This method is best for those that have issues with procrastination and want to start getting the difficult tasks done first.

3. The SMART goals method

More than a productivity method, SMART goals will help you to set your goals & focus on what you want to achieve. Based on your goals, it’ll be easier for you to prioritize your tasks.

How it Works

SMART is a goal-setting formula that encourages you to be as detailed and concrete about what it is you are trying to achieve.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related.

This means that when you set a goal it should be well defined in a clear way.

It should include: What it is you are trying to achieve, how you will measure success, who’s in-charge, grounded, and doable, and what’s the time frame in which it needs to be achieved.

Here’s an example:

Bad goal: Write a book

SMART goal: Write my first 300 pages long novel by the age of 40.

Why is a goal definition a productivity method? Because once you’ll have a well-defined goal, you can reverse engineer it to make sure you add relevant tasks and prioritize them wisely daily to meet your deadline.

Pros

  • Use SMART goals to guide your daily prioritization
  • A good goal will help you stay motivated
  • You know what progress looks like
  • You have a clear definition of success

Cons

  • It doesn’t solve conflicts between different goals
  • The stated time-frame may cause stress
  • You might put too much focus on the goals.

Time to Get Started

This method doesn’t take much time to get going and you can start working towards your goals as soon as you get them on paper.

Who it’s Best for

People who need to see the ‘big picture’ to stay motivated.

4. The Action Method

At the core of the “Action Method” is the belief that everything in life is a project – and once it’s managed as one, it can be easily acted upon.

How it Works

The first step is to take it to look at all the “projects” you want to achieve.

It can be personal projects such as organizing your finance or a project you are doing for work.

Each of those projects should be broken down into 3 types of “folders”

  1. Action steps – The next concrete action time in the project
  2. References – documents or resources you need to keep, but not act on.
  3. Back-burner items – Things you might need to handle later on, or ideas the relate to later on.

Once you get a new project, immediately break it down into these 3 folders.

Then, you want to make sure that the “action steps” of each project will be in front of you daily – so you’d know what to focus on without the distractions created by the un-actionable sides of the project.

Pros

  • You can see everything you need to get done
  • Your ideas and tasks will keep fresh in your mind
  • You can watch your list dwindle as you complete tasks.

Cons

  • It doesn’t help you prioritize.
  • You might feel overwhelmed by the amount and length of the lists

Time to Get Started

The initial implementation can take some time as you need to both map the “projects” in your life and then spend time organizing them into the different “folders”. Once the initial project is set up, you’ll need to add a prioritization method on top.

Who it’s Best for

People who manage projects with a lot of references and external documentation and need help staying focused on the “actionables”.

5.  Must, Should, Want

This method, originally introduced by Jay Shirley, is a great way to prioritize your tasks and find the balance between all your different needs.

How it Works

Before starting your day create a list based on these criteria:

I must ________
I need to _______
I want to________

The must is what definitely needs to be done today and what can’t wait until a later date.

First, think about a must. These are things that have to be done no matter what, such as paying a bill

Next, think about something you should do.

This should be something that needs to be done without having a time limit, such as replying to certain emails.

This will usually include action items that aim for a more distant due-date. Or “investing” in a long-term goal.

Finally, think about something you want to get done. Doesn’t matter if it’s pressing or not, this is for you.

 

Pros

  • It helps keep you focused
  • Makes you prioritize and consider your tasks carefully.
  • It takes personal preferences into consideration.

Cons

  • Not a great way to tackle long and complicated lists.
  • Easy for tasks to fall between the 3 categories.

Time to Get Started

You can either start a brain-dump to have all your action items in front of you or simply start now with what’s on top of your mind.

Who it’s Best for

While this method is great for anyone, it’s especially good for those that want to focus on daily progress and keep both personal and long-term goals in mind.

Must,should,want
Must,should,want

 

6. Time Blocking

Time blocking is a great way to manage your time and make sure your day is well-planned.

With time blocking, you divide your day into several blocks of time, each one, focused on a specific task or task category and these only.

This method is a great way to visualize your day and make sure you don’t overstuff it or miss something you wanted to do.

How it Works

The first step is to make a complete list of everything you want to get done and estimate how long each task will take.

You should add both work and personal tasks to the same list.

Next, every week, prioritize your tasks and start adding them into your calendar as blocks.

Working on an assignment that will take 2 hours to complete? Add a 2 hours block. Going to the gym? Add that 1-hour time block.

Blocking that time in advance, will make sure you have time for the things important to you, but also make sure you don’t overstuff your day.

By blocking the necessary time you will also uncover “dead” time blocks you can use for personal time or get more work done.

Variations of this method can include:

  • TIme blocking – Block specific hours for dedicated tasks.
  • Task batching – Where you add a similar task to the same time-block (answering emails)/
  • Day themes – Every day is dedicated to a different project or time of work.

Pros

  • You guarantee you’d get the important things done
  • Productive structured days
  • Uncover hidden free time
  • Have a visual representation of how you spend your time.
  • You don’t overstuff your day and have better control over your time

Cons

  • Not everything can be pre-planned
  • It’s hard to estimate tasks you’re doing for the first time
  • Can feel too strict at times

Time to Get Started

You can get started right away, just prioritize your tasks for tomorrow and batch them, see how it feels like.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that do well when they make a schedule and stick to it and for people who prefer a visual representation to understand their priorities.

time blocking
time blocking

 

7. Biological Prime Time

Coined by Sam Carpenter in his book “Work the System”, ‘Biological Prime Time’ is based on the fact that our energy levels change throughout the day – and it’s best to fit your daily planning according to it.

How it Works

Start by discovering your natural energy levels throughout the day.

To do so, take a 3 weeks period and document how energized you are feeling throughout the day.

For each hour of the day – give it a grade between 1-10 (10 being high energy).

For that time period, try to avoid anything that messes with your natural energy level (coffee for example).

Based on what you’ve discovered – plan your day accordingly.

If you naturally have high energy levels in the morning – add the task you’ll need more focus on energy in the morning.

Low energy levels in the afternoon – save your low energy tasks for that time. Going through emails for example, or bureaucratic tasks.

Pros

  • You can get work done in a short amount of time
  • You only work during your productive hours
  • Feel better and more “natural” as you work

Cons

  • In busy times you might have to ignore your “natural” energy to get things done in time.
  • It takes time to figure out when your best hours are
  • You can’t make everyone sync with your energy level

Time to Get Started

Since you’ll need to track your energy levels for at least 3 weeks, you won’t be able to get started right away.

While tracking, you can start working on your lists to add all of the important tasks you’ll need to do.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for people who want to be more connected to themselves and have complete control over their calendar.

8. Getting Things Done

It’s completely normal for people to get stressed out when trying to remember everything they need to get done.

Many people find that they do better with lists and calendars, which is exactly what this method is for.

How it Works

Create a list called “Inbox” and capture all your existing to-dos and tasks. This is where you’ll register all your new incoming tasks.

Next, you want to process it based on a simple set of rules:

  1. Is this task actionable? If not, decide if you want to throw it in the trash, save information in a reference folder, or put it aside for some time in the future.
  2. The task is actionable?
    1. If it takes less than two minutes – do it now.
    2. If it takes more – can you delegate it? If you do, delegate it now.
    3. If it has a specific time/date when it needs to be done – put it in your calendar.
    4. Everything else – categorize by the relevant project list and review it every week to prioritize what you’ll get done.

Use this chart to help you manage the process:

Pros

  • Free your mind from being a storage unit
  • Have all of your tasks organized in a list.
  • Never miss a deadline again

Cons

  • Needs ongoing daily maintenance or it becomes obsolete.
  • Some might feel overwhelmed by a long list.
  • Needs a lot of structure and discipline to make it work.

Time to Get Started

Like some of the other methods, this takes very little time to get started and you can begin as soon as everything is processed.

It might take some time to complete your tasks, but patience and perseverance will get the job done.

Who it’s Best for

This method is a great option for people who feel overwhelmed or forgetful. It’s a great way to get your life organized and feel in control.

9. Pomodoro/Sprints

Staying focused for a long period of time is hard. Being focused for a predefined short period is easier.

The Pomodoro method uses a timer to break down your workday into short intervals of 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between.

How it Works

Make a list of the tasks you need to get done today and break them down into time-defined sessions.

It’s recommended that you do one task for each time interval.

Next, set your timer for the length of your choice (the classic choice being 25 minutes).

Once the session starts, you’ll want to work on your task until you hear the timer go off and take a short break.

The recommended break time between tasks is about 5 minutes.

For every four tasks, you can increase the length of your break to a 15 minutes break.

Pros

  • You can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time
  • You take plenty of breaks
  • Build up your focus muscle

Cons

  • Not all tasks fit into 25 minutes sessions.
  • Sometimes the timer will go off while you’re “in the flow”
  • 25 minutes is not enough time to really go into “deep work”.

Time to Get Started

Choose a timer app or use Any.do’s focus mode and get started ASAP.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that get distracted easily and want to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

pomodoro vs focus mode

10. The Medium Method

The Medium Method is a great way to use both technology and paper to be more productive. It gives you the best of both worlds by keeping both things balanced.

How it Works

The idea is to combine the best of both worlds.

Document using paper on the go and then transfer the information into digital for long-term documentation and search capabilities.

Throughout the day, collect all the information, tasks, ideas, and inspiration on your favorite go-to notebook or journal, or post-its. At the end of each day, review all the materials you’ve documented, and process them into your favorite to-do list app or note-taking app.

Pros

  • You can have features of both methods.
    Your information will be digitally saved.
    You don’t have to worry about messing with your electronics when an idea strikes you.

Cons

  • It can get tiresome transferring everything over.
  • You could lose all of your notes if something happens to the notebook.
  • You could run into issues if your digital files aren’t secure.

Time to Get Started

You can get started as soon as you have your notebook and applications.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that want the benefits of both technology and physical items – or fans of paper products.

11. Agile Results

J.D. Meier’s​Agile Results method is great for figuring out short-term and long-term goals and can be used in both your personal and work life.

Instead of focusing on what you want to do – focus on what you want to achieve.

How it Works

The main idea is that you’d focus on outcomes you want to get and make sure you accomplish something every day.

To start, identify 3 things you want to accomplish – daily level, weekly level​, monthly level, and yearly level. Both professional and personal.

Every day, focus on the 3 daily outcomes you want to achieve.

At the end of each time period (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)  – review your accomplishments and re-plan accordingly.

Pros

  • Plan both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Three goals feel do-able.
  • You make progress daily.

Cons

  • Balancing your day-to-day musts, with your goals.
  • It can take time to get the results you want.

Time to Get Started

You can start planning right away, and start executing on your first 3 goals on day 1.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that have both short-term and long-term goals and need the daily reward and incentive.

12. Zen to Done

The Zen to Done (ZTD) is a productivity method built on the ground of GTD, but with a twist.

ZenHabit’s Leo Babauta developed the ZTD to approach the more human side of the popular productivity method.

While GTD is a well-organized system, it forgets to take into consideration that we as people have habits, and getting into the GTD lifestyle, requires mostly a habit change.

How it Works

The method has 10 steps:

  • Collect – collect all your to-do’s, information, resources.
  • Make a habit of processing the information you’ve collected – daily.
  • Your 3 rocks – at the beginning of the week, choose 3 big things you’ll want to accomplish, and add them to your calendar.
  • Do one task at a time with no distractions.
  • Make sure you have organized lists (similar to GTD)
  • Make sure all your items are sorted and categorized in the right place.
  • Review your goal and progress monthly.
  • Minimize – make sure your to-dos are focused on what’s important and your list isn’t inflated.
  • Form the routine around the habit. Make a goal of keeping the ZDN process a routine.
  • Use your to-do’s to find your passion.

Pros

  • There’s less chance you’ll get overwhelmed.
  • You’ll know exactly which tasks you need to get done.
  • You can spend as much time as needed before going to the next task.

Cons

  • It could take some time to get through your list.
  • Forming a new habit is still hard
  • Doesn’t give you a method to prioritize

Time to Get Started

It’s very easy to get started, but it does take some time to create your list and work your way through it.

Who it’s Best for

It’s great for those that can’t focus well on multiple tasks and work hard on the task at hand.

13. Don’t Break the Chain

Don’t break the chain, mythologically invented by Jerry Seinfeld, is a productivity method that aims to help you stick to a habit, and It’s a great way to track your progress and reward yourself for meeting your daily goals.

It’s a simple yet powerful method to achieving your goals.

How it Works

The method revolves around you doing a daily goal over an extended period of time. For each day you’ve completed your task – you simply go to your calendar and mark that day as done.

The first few days of commitment are usually the hardest – but your motivation to make a change pulls you through.

As the chain grows longer, not breaking your streak becomes a renewal of its own and motivates you to keep going.

Pros

  • The bigger the chain, the higher chance you’ll work to keep it going.
  • It’ll become second nature after a little while.
  • You can feel proud seeing all of the Xs on your calendar.

Cons

  • It can be discouraging if you break the chain.
  • It can get redundant after a while.
  • You may never get to certain goals that aren’t as important.

Time to Get Started

It only takes a few minutes to start your list and you can start putting Xs on your calendar in no time.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that do well when they see their accomplishments building up, as well as those that have trouble with consistency.

14. The Eisenhower Matrix

This method is a great way to better manage your time and efforts. You’ll be able to separate the most urgent tasks from the less urgent ones, which makes you more productive.

How it Works

Make a list of all of the tasks you need to do, then put them into four different categories.

These four categories are:

  • Urgent and important tasks
  • Important but not urgent tasks
  • Urgent but not important tasks
  • Not urgent or important tasks

When it comes to prioritizing, you’ll want to do the urgent and important tasks first, then the urgent but not important tasks.

After those are done, you can start working on the important but not urgent tasks and finish with the tasks that aren’t important or urgent if you have time.

You have to monitor your prioritization as some tasks start off is important but not urgent, and as a deadline comes close – move from the “not-urgent” to the “urgent category”.

An urgent & important task can be – paying a bill that’s due tomorrow.

An important task that isn’t urgent – might be going on a date night with your spouse. It’s not urgent, but if you don’t do it, over the long run it will hurt your relationship.

eisenhower matrix
eisenhower matrix

Pros

  • You can easily see which tasks need to be done first.
  • You can make the most of your time because you won’t be focusing on tasks that are unimportant and not urgent.
  • Easier to see what tasks shouldn’t be done at all.

Cons

  • It can be hard to figure out which category each task needs to be in.
  • Some of the unimportant and not urgent tasks might not get done for a long time.
  • Not works well with big projects.

Time to Get Started

It’s easy to get started and you can have your lists done relatively quickly.

Who it’s Best for

For people who have long task lists and need help prioritizing.

15.  The Commitment Inventory

It can be hard to tell people no and doing so often gets in the way of things. By saying no and refusing to make a commitment, you’ll have an easier time getting your stuff done and have less responsibility to please others.

How it Works

You’ll first want to make a thorough and complete list that has what you spend all of your time on.

Next, put everything into categories and give each one a percentage of time you have to dedicate.

Go through each category and start cutting out things that aren’t as important as the others. You can then organize your list and put which tasks are the most important. Make sure you’ll have plenty of time to do everything in each category in the best way possible.

This will focus you and help you make sure you’re only going to work on the things you’ve decided are important enough, cut out the things that don’t’

Pros

  • Understand the cost of committing to the wrong things.
  • You’ll stop doing tasks you don’t really want to do
  • You can spend more time on the things that really matter.

Cons

  • It’s not always comfortable to say “no” to others.
  • It can be hard to figure out how much time everything needs.
  • Some “no”’s are hidden opportunities.

Time to Get Started

You can start in just a few seconds, although it might take some time to get your list written and figure out what to take away.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that feel like they’re stretched too thin and those that feel like they aren’t getting enough results for the amount of work they put in.

16. The Weekly Review

Not only does this method improve your productivity, but it can also help improve all areas of your life. You can look at things and see what you wanted to do differently and what you did exactly right – and how to improve week by week.

How it Works

Once a week, you’ll want to sit down in a quiet place where you can think and reflect. You could also use a notebook and pen if you wanted to keep physical track of the information.

You’ll want to review your past week in terms of productivity, energy levels, what worked for you, and what didn’t

For example:

Waking up at 06:00 AM made a real productivity change for me.
Eating a large meal at lunch threw me off my groove.
I don’t estimate how much time a task will take correctly.

In addition to thinking about how the week went, you’ll want to look at what decisions you made and which ones you wanted to change.

You can come up with ideas to improve your results and you can catch up with anything you didn’t get done.

Pros

  1. Week to week improvement
  2. Keep track of loose ends.
  3. Spot bad behavioral patterns.
  4. Easy to track your progress towards a goal.

Cons

  • It’s an additional habit you need to add.
  • Sometimes it can be emotionally draining to face bad habit patterns.

Time to Get Started

You can start right away, though recommended to do it a full week to a full week. So start Sunday!

Who it’s Best for

It’s great for people who want to make a behavior change and see the big picture, but feel like their current day-to-day process already works for them.

17. The Not-to-do list

Overcrowded to-do lists, bad task management habits, self-discipline issues. All these traits factor into energy-wasting and getting very little done. The not-to-do list is here to save you.

How it Works

First of all, take a look at your list from the previous month or so.

Spot all the habits that waste time, tasks you shouldn’t have done in the first place, and all the “yes” you should’ve said no to.

Now take your current active to-do list and search for :

Action items that don’t resonate with your skillset and it’s better to delegate
Bad habits should stop doing,
Tasks that drain your energy
Things that don’t really need to get done
Tasks that don’t really belong to you
Tasks that don’t add value.

Put all those under your “not to-do list” and every time you catch yourself doing them  – stop immediately.

Not-to do list
Not-to do list

Pros

  • You can figure out which tasks are the most important.
  • You can save time by trimming tasks away.
  • Save a ton of energy.

Cons

  • It might be hard to figure out what’s not as important.
  • Sometimes you’ll have to do tasks from that list anyway.
  • It’s hard quitting old habits.

Time to Get Started

A day to review your old task lists and habits to spot your “not-to-do” candidates.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for people who often succumb to temptation, are easily distracted, and have a habit of finding themselves working on things that don’t help them progress.

18. OKRs

OKR means Objectives and Key Results.

This method is used by both individuals and teams of people to help set and achieve goals. It’s also a great way to keep track of your productivity.

How it Works

With this method, you’ll first need to figure out what your objective is. This is the ultimate goal you want to accomplish.

Key Results are the results that indicated you’ve achieved your goal.

OKR​s need to be precise. They need to be time-bound, measure​able, achievable (yet not too easy ​to ​​achieve)

Let’s say my objective is to live a healthier life.

My Key results can be :

  1. Run 10 KM 3 times a week
  2. Stick to my intermittent fasting diet.

Pros

  • You have a specific north star you want to reach.
  • Prioritize based on “what task will get me the most progress”
  • You can track progress over time.

Cons

  • It’s a win or lose only situation.
  • Some objectives are hard to define by the Key Results.

Time to Get Started

While it doesn’t take much time to get started, it might take some time to get to the goal or results you want. Have plenty of perseverance and patience.

Who it’s Best for

It’s best for those that have a specific goal in mind and want certain results to happen along the way. It’s easy to get started and can help you see how you’re doing over a period of time.

19. Single Tasking

We live in a world that praises the ability to multitask, but the truth is, that for most, multitasking doesn’t work. We cannot give 100% of our attention to multiple tasks at once, so each task gets less attention and is done in a lesser quality – and most of all, takes more time to complete.

In her book – “Single Tasking: Get More Done-One Thing at a Time”, breaks down the myth of multitasking and explains how you actually get less-done and why we should go back to single-tasking – and how to do it.

How it Works

More than a “new” method, the Single-Tasking process is more about reintroducing a more productive mindset – which you can achieve in 3 steps.

Get rid of distractions: close irrelevant tabs on your browser, put your phone away, get away from anything that catches your attention.
Develop the focus muscle one focus session at a time. Similar to the Pomodoro method, start with short focus sessions using a timer. Extend the session length over time.
Take time between sessions. Focusing is very energy-draining, To be able to focus 100% on each session, take a break from all your screens for a substantial amount of time.
Pros & Cons

Pros

  1. Improve your focus over time.
  2. Do better work per task.
  3. Reduce stress levels

Cons

  1. In the beginning, it will feel as if you’re doing less.
  2. It might be difficult to find a quiet place to work.
  3. It can be hard to not jump from task to task.

Time to Get Started

Start training your muscles now with a short focus session.

Who it’s Best for

The method is great for those that find that they are focusing on too many tasks at once or those that have trouble finishing tasks due to distractions. By focusing on one task at a time and working in a quiet place, you can increase your productivity.

20. Organize Tomorrow Today

In their book “Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life”, Jason Selk, Tom Bartow, Matthew Rudy discuss methods to optimize your daily performance to achieve greater success in life.

To boil it down – it’s all about successful habits

One of the most successful have is planning your day, a day in advance. Being prepared and organized is what separates the calm and the forever stressed. The optimized versus the underachiever.

One of the best ways to make sure tomorrow will be a productive day for you is by organizing it – today. Planning ahead is a great way to reduce stress and optimize your time.

How it Works

From a list of all the things, you need to get done, choose 3 you need/want to do tomorrow.

It’s important to add your time estimation for each task.

Out of the 3 tasks, choose 1 you MUST get done by the end of that day.

This is how you’ll guarantee that your most important task will be done that day.

Between the time-blocks, you scheduled for the 3 big tasks, add the small 1-5 minutes tasks.

Now, do it daily.

While the method is simple – there are 2 common pitfalls to avoid.

Don’t try to pass off big complex projects as a single-simple item.​ ​B​​​​reak it down into manageable tasks.
Be careful on how you prioritize the tasks you’d work on, and make sure you secure enough time to do it. You can use the Eisenhower Matrix we mentioned earlier to prioritize.

Pros

  • Get the most important thing done
  • Iterate daily
  • Helps you better prepare.

Cons

  • Small tasks can sometimes get lost on the way
  • Less helpful for days filled with small tasks

Time to Get Started

Start today to plan your tomorrow of course!

Who it’s Best for

It’s great for people who find themselves overstaffing their days with tasks.

21. The Checklist Manifesto

The Checklist manifesto method, coined by the surgeon and New Yorker contributor Atul Gawande, was originally aimed to solve a challenge modern medicine faces – and found himself tackling a larger problem.

The idea behind the checklist manifesto is that a lot of the things we do daily are complex and it causes us to make errors of ineptitude. Errors are made by misuse of what we know.

To help us reduce stress and minimize the number of errors we make – a well-detailed checklist can be extremely helpful.

The checklist manifesto
The checklist manifesto

How it Works

It’s as simple as it sounds.

For every routine, for everything you do more than once, or simply a complex task you are about to embark on – start by creating a detailed checklist of what you need to do to complete it the right way.

Take a task you have to do and break it down into the smallest items. From “to do” to “review” – add everything in between.

Pros

  • Reduce stress.
  • Eliminate the friction in the decision-making process.
  • Free “mental CPU”
  • Reduce the chances of making a mistake.

Cons

  • Creating checklists takes time.
  • Not all tasks need to be broken down into small actions.

Time to Get Started

You can start doing this almost immediately and you can get it done relatively quickly, especially if you don’t have a whole lot of tasks.

Who it’s Best for

This method is mostly recommended for people who have complex repeating processes. Surgeons, campaign managers, and so on.

In conclusion:

Now that you know 21 of the methods to improve productivity, you’ll have an easier time getting your tasks done.

Choosing the right method is the first step towards improving your productivity and you want to make sure you match the method to your personal characteristics.

Remember, it’s completely normal to have to switch personal productivity methods if you feel like your current one isn’t working. If need be, try several different methods and use the one that works best.