On a packed day, has it ever happened that you’ve found yourself feeling unproductive and unable to focus? These are times, perhaps, when you lack clarity about what you are trying to accomplish and what you need to prioritise.
During such times, it’s important to have a systematic approach and framework that helps you tick everything on your to-do list. The trick is to reset, start feeling confident, take challenges head-on, and eat the frog (and no, we don’t mean a literal frog).
Scroll down to read more about this method – and if this doesn’t float your boat, some other tried and tested approaches – that will help you amp your personal productivity.
Think of the hardest task you have lined up for the day. Jot it down. Take a closer look. Does it scare you? Or is it too tough? Then that task is your frog. According to the, ‘Eat The Frog’ productivity method, the frog is the metaphor for the task you have been avoiding because it is challenging or worrisome.
This method suggests, that the harder the tasks, the more important it is to accomplish them. With the ‘Eat The Frog’ time management strategy, you will accomplish two main goals: manage your top tasks and achieve progress without procrastination.
It ensures that you complete the most mentally-taxing work and still have the energy and time for your less urgent tasks. This is not only an efficient time management method but also is perfect for any goal, or circumstance at work.
“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Eisenhower Box or the urgent-important matrix, by Dwight Eisenhower, is a simple technique which asks you to make a box with four squares. The box is divided into four categories according to your work priorities.
This method helps you differentiate between what is essential and what is urgent. If you feel like you have been addressing chores like responding to a call or an email, but are not truly satisfied with your productivity, that is because you are taking up urgent tasks and not the important ones. Fix a time for your important tasks and just do them.
“If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.” – David Allen
The idea behind this method is to just do it. It is as simple as that! Let’s take the example of writing an email. If it’s going to take merely two minutes to send off that email you have been thinking of, then instead of adding another chore to your to-do list, simply sit down, frame the mail, and send it off.
The art of breaking down tasks into this 2-minute framework and checking them off the list eventually translates into following a more extensive routine. Not only are you fighting procrastination, but also building discipline and sticking to it.
Guess what? Tech entrepreneur like Bill Gates follows the ‘Time Blocking’ method! The popular technique is simply about dividing your day into small blocks of time.
But how do you create time blocks? Put together a task list a week ahead (planning in advance is essential), highlight your priorities, and set aside time for each task. Make sure to incorporate breaks as well. Design a template and just stick to it every week.
Pro tip: Grouping similar tasks together in a dedicated time block reduces the time taken to switch between tasks. This is a fun method to gamify your productivity and ensure you work efficiently.
The Ivy Lee method suggests, in the order of your priorities, list down six tasks that you need to do tomorrow by EOD. The next morning, tackle the first task from the list, complete it and move on to the next. If any task is left unfinished, add them to your list for the next day. That’s the Ivy Lee Method for you. It’s one of the simplest ways that you can use in your everyday routine.
Warren Buffett, one of the most successful businessmen in the world, advises the 2-list rule or 5/25 rule to narrow down your goals. This productivity method helps you visualise your activities and get closer to your goals by ruthlessly eliminating tasks!
Many of us have had days when we have chosen to put off tasks for later and opted to procrastinate rather than process them. And this becomes a dangerous habit loop. With the above-mentioned productivity techniques, you are sure to pave a new neural pathway and build a habit of getting things done.
Do you have an interesting productivity method too? We would love to learn how to be a productivity pro from you! Go ahead and share your favourite method.
I'm Naqshib Nisar aka the Ministry of Happiness. A digital journalist who can write anything under the sun. When I'm not writing, I'm definitely discovering hidden gems of a city or exploring the food culture. Being a language enthusiast, I grasp words from songs I don't really understand. I'm mostly in the procaffeinating mode because coffee comes first. Hit me up if you ever want to find the best cappuccino and croissants in Bangalore.
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