Being more productive does not necessarily suggest working more hours. Successful people accomplish more working the same amount of hours as an average Joe. The difference is efficiency- how well you are utilizing your hours. Here’s a list of 20 techniques that anyone can apply to increase productivity.
1. OHIO Principle
OHIO means Only Handle It Once. If you have a task on your hands that can be finished quickly, don’t leave it for later. Just handle it now and cross it out from your list of tasks. For example, if you need to reply an email which will take 5 minutes, do it.
2. Seinfeld Calendar Chain
It is the big secret behind Jerry Seinfeld’s success. If you are curious, read the full story here. If you want to apply this technique, buy a one page calendar. Now think of an important task that you need to do every day. The task might be writing if you are a writer, or working out if you aim to get leaner. Just make sure that you are committing to a task that needs to be repeated everyday for your betterment. Now start on a specific date. Complete the task and put a red cross mark over that date on the calendar. Repeat it. In a few days, you will have a visible chain of red cross marks and you will not want to break this chain.
3. Mix Tape
Create mix tapes with you favorite songs. These mix tapes must have specific length- 30 minutes, 1 hour and 2 hours. Now, if you need to work on something for 30 minutes, then start working on it and play the mix tape. Don’t stop until the tape reaches its end. Use mix tapes of different durations for tasks that require longer time commitment.
4. Mundane Task Grouping
Usually, work is not fun and there are some tasks that are so mundane that you never feel inspired to complete them. Group such tasks together and allot a chunk of your working day to complete them.
5. Podomoro Technique
Studies suggest that working for longer hours at a stretch decreases your efficiency. Podomoro is a clever technique that can help you to avert the fatigue of working longer hours and still accomplish more. According to this technique, work hard for 25 minutes and then reward yourself with a 5 minutes break. Repeat it and take a longer break (10 or 15 minutes) every few cycles.
6. 2 Minutes Rule
Is there something that you can finish in 2 minutes? Well, complete it right away. Maintain this 2 minutes action rule and you will see that you start to accomplish more than ever before.
7. List of 3 MITs
Every morning, make a ritual of writing down 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) that you need to accomplish within that day. Try to finish the MITs as early as possible. If you can create a habit of completing 3 MITs each day, your productivity level will reach a new height.
8. Daily Big Rock Movement
Do you have a big project? Or, need to do something that requires time and a lot of effort? Often, we fail to accomplish our long term projects or turn our big dreams into reality. You need to move such big rocks every single day. Fix a specific time solely dedicated to your ‘big rocks’.
9. SMART Goals
We often fail to achieve our goals just because we don’t know how to set a goal properly. A proper goal is SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Having these characteristics, you will get to see your goals much clearly and thus can approach them in a more systematic way which increases the chance of your success at attaining your goals.
10. SUCCES for Ideas
Ideas come and flee away quickly. Better ideas make us more productive. And better ideas stick. You can filter your ideas and sort out the ones that will really help you applying SUCCES as the rule of thumb. SUCCES means ‘Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional Stories’. That’s exactly what good ideas are.
11. 80/20 Rule
According to the famous 80/20 rule, the best outcomes come from a small portion of your actual work. In order to get the most out of applying 80/20 rule, you need to identify which part of your work is producing the greatest result and then focus as much energy as you can on that particular part.
12. Time Boxing
Time Boxing is fun, if you can apply it properly. Assign a fixed amount of time, let’s say 30 minutes, every day to work on a task or a project. Focus 100% on your work during the time and try to do as much as you can. Imagine it as a battle against time.
13. Do It Now
Want to fight procrastination? Adopt ‘Do it now’ principle. Limit yourself to 60 seconds when you are making a decision and decide within this time regarding what you are going to do next.
14. Gap Time Utilization
Gap time is the little blocks of time that we all have while we wait for the bus or stand in a line or wait for a meeting to start. Create a list of small 5-minute tasks that you can finish during the gap time.
15. Choice Limitation
It is said that Steve Jobs used to have several copies of same t-shirts and jeans that he used to wear. He didn’t want to waste time on choosing dresses every day. Following this principle, you can limit your choices for menial tasks and save time for more important ones.
16. 43 Folders
It’s a system to keep track of your tasks on a specific day, formed by a set of 43 folders, labeled 1-31 and January-December. To know more about 43 folders system, check this video.
17. To-Don’t list
Besides having a to-do list, it’s a good idea to make to-don’t lists. Keep a list of things not to do. It will help you to get out of habits that make you unproductive.
18. Template Creation
Templates can help you save time and become more efficient. For repetitive tasks such as letters, customer reply, emails etc. make templates and use the template over and over again unless something new needs to be added.
19. 50-30-20 Rule
Spend 50% of your working day on tasks that will help you reach your long-term goals, 40% on tasks that will advance mid-term goals, and 20% on urgent tasks.
20. Gamification of Your Work
Often you will not enjoy what you are doing. In that case, gamification can help. Set a target for yourself and reward yourself if you can reach it and punish if you cannot. It’s like viewing your life as a game you are playing and of course, you want to win.
These 20 techniques are applied by many people like you. You might have another technique that helps you achieve more and be more productive. Share your own productivity technique with us- leave a comment and we would love to add your technique in the list. Have a productive day!