Time blocking is one of the productivity hacks that many people most find useful.
In time blocking, people properly visualize and set in specific times some color-coded tasks. It may seem messy at first glance however, this is particularly useful because one can also set aside some time for specific distractions.
Ironically, scheduling some time for a person to succumb to distractions is a way not to go overboard with being distracted all the time. Time blocking helps maintain focus while giving oneself some leeway to rest as well.
The Eisenhower Matrix is also referred to as Urgent-Important Matrix.
This productivity hack divides tasks into four quadrants: Do first, Schedule, Delegate, and Don’t Do (Eisenhower, 2021).
When one is at a crossroads between which task to prioritize in a day, Eisenhower works best. This productivity hack helps place the most important tasks at the forefront of one’s to-dos. By ‘most important tasks,’ it means the tasks that cannot be put off for the next day or the most important task among all the ones at hand.
The most important tasks must be placed at the Do first. These tasks are the most urgent ones that require a person to do them the soonest they can.
Tasks that are less urgent and could be put off for the next few days or so must be placed at Schedule. In this quadrant, people put them in a calendar to help them visualize the flow of their tasks. These are important, yes, but not-so-urgent. Therefore, this stuff must be scheduled.
The third task, Delegate, is an external task that still requires a bit of urgency. With regard to the tasks in this quadrant, they are less urgent personally but could be important to others. Therefore, the best way to delegate is to have another person better fit for the job represent the job instead.
The last quadrant is the Don’t do. These are tasks that are the least important among all the tasks on the table. Essentially, the things that a person places in the Don’t do quadrant are the things that cause distraction. Surfing the internet, going over one’s social media, and other bad habits that cause them to delay their tasks are listed in the first, second, and third quadrants.
It helps to list out all the things that distract a person in the Don’t do quadrant because they help one visualize and consciously familiarize themselves with the things that delay them. This would eventually make a person much less susceptible to these recognized distractions.
The Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle started in the mid-1800s when an Italian engineer named Vilfredo Pareto noticed something different about the wealth distribution in Italy. He realized that 80% of the land was owned by a measly 20% of the population.
The Pareto Principle is the idea that 20% of people’s efforts usually are the ones that yield 80% of the results.
It is a way to measure that people have to devote themselves to that 20% and they would realize that it already consists of the 80% sales, revenue, and growth that they are looking for.
The best way to incorporate the Pareto Principle is to properly identify which 20% of one’s current efforts are resulting in 80% of the desired outcomes and happiness.
From the words of Peter Drucker, “Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.” Doing the right things is the 20% that one has to do to achieve this 80%.
The Ivy Lee Method
The Ivy Lee method is essentially useful to people who prefer to plan the things that they would do the next day the night before they do them.
Under the Ivy Lee method, at the end of each night, writing down 6 of the most important tasks that one should accomplish the next day eventually leads to a more productive day afterward.
This strategy works because it helps reduce “decision fatigue,” the constant decision-making process that leaves people confused with what to do with the next days that follow.
The 2-Minute Rule is a way to stop people from procrastinating. Generally, it’s the simple things that distract people from focusing and finishing their tasks. Browsing over social media to check on any notifications or messages, emailing a friend, tidying one’s desk, making one’s bed, etc.
People just find it hard to focus when there are lots of tiny things at the back of their minds constantly nudging for their attention.
The 2-Minute Rule says that all these little things can be compressed in the duration of 120 seconds or 2 minutes. As fast as possible within the duration of 2 minutes, do all the simple things just to clear one’s head from them.
This way, there is an improved focus on the task at hand and the little distractions would go away.
Kanban board is a must-use for people working in large groups or teams. Kanban is a simple system that’s based on doing tasks through a delivery system.
Take some sticky notes, and place them in to do. Once it has already started, transfer the note to in progress, and once it is done, move them to do.
When there’s a division of labor between one task, this helps properly visualize who’s working on what and with whom, and in what phase a task is already at.
In Kanban boards, tasks are extra organized and every task that is in progress is easily seen.
The GTD Method
The GTD method is based on one psychological truth: the more information that bounces in your head, the harder it is to decide what needs attention (Todoist, 2021). As a result, people spend more time thinking about them than doing them. This information overload is what causes stress, among others.
The GTD method posits 5 basic methods.
1. Capture everything
List down everything that bounces in one’s head. Do not stop until it seems that everything has already been listed. By capturing everything, people allow their minds to free themselves from anything that floats.
Process all the things listed or captured. Describe them much more and the tasks that are needed to be done specifically.
Arrange these processed things in order of importance, having the most urgent ones be put in front and the less urgent at the bottom of the list.
Edit, refine, and go over all these tasks again and see which items need more clarification or organization. In this phase, finalize everything and make sure that the first three steps are incorporated neatly.
This is the phase to begin working. In this phase, distractions do not seem to float around one’s head that much anymore, because everything seems to be much more in place and organized.
Not all productivity hacks work with the same person. In the end, it’s still a matter of preference and checking which productivity hack works best. And thankfully, there is an ocean filled with different kinds of productivity hacks that one person has the liberty to choose from.
Here at Mangtas, we work with what method we find most effective! Which productivity hack works best for you? Comment down below!