Unlock Your Productivity Potential: Discover the Best Methods to Boost Your Efficiency and Achieve Your Goals

Eli
7 min readMay 8, 2023

With the constant influx of social media content destroying your ability to sit down and focus for long periods of time, being productive can be hard. Just putting aside the endless stream of entertainment and short bursts of dopamine from apps like TikTok, is only part of the challenge. Once you’ve started your work, consistently staying in the flow without any distractions can be the most challenging part.

This is the benefit of finding the right productivity method. Rather than pushing yourself to exhaustion and abandoning your work, productivity methods can help you stay on track and achieve your goals without burning out.

With so many different productivity methods out there, it’s just a matter of finding the one that suits your individual needs and preferences. By incorporating a productivity method into your daily routine, you can increase your efficiency and manage your time more effectively.

Productivity mindset

Productivity Techniques

In this article, I’m going to break down some of the most common productivity methods. I’ll explain how each one works, what it’s good for and whether it’ll work for you. So enough with the introduction, onto the productivity techniques!

🐸 Eat that frog

The Eat the Frog technique was popularised by Brian Tracey. The idea of it is to tackle the task you find most challenging or unpleasant first thing in the morning. Once you get this out of the way you’ll feel accomplished and have a solid momentum to keep you going and get through the rest of your day.

This also helps you avoid procrastination, as by doing the hardest thing first, you’ll get rid of the whole “I’ll work on it after I finish this” mindset.

And, if you’re wondering where the whole “eat that frog” wording came from, it’s based on a quote by Mark Twain (or perhaps you know him by his real name, Samuel Clemens, if you’re a devoted enthusiast like myself). He once said, if the first thing you do every morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.

I wrote about this technique first, as you should keep in mind that it can be used in addition to any of the following techniques.

🍅 The Pomodoro Technique

Perhaps one of the most well-known, and definitely the technique I find works best, is the Pomodoro Technique. The objective of this method is to break down your work into short and manageable 25-minute intervals and prioritise having regular breaks to stay focused and avoid burnout.

So, how do you do the Pomodoro Technique? Well, it’s really simple:

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  2. Work until the timer ends
  3. Take a five-minute break
  4. Repeat the above four times
  5. Take a 25-minute break
  6. Repeat the entire thing

Although you may find yourself able to work through your break, it’s important to stick to the allocated time. This way you’ll create a consistent work method without burning yourself out.

There are many great free apps and timers you can use to help stick to the Pomodoro Technique, here are some of the best I’ve come across:

📱 iPhone: Focus Keeper — Time Management
💻 Mac: Be Focused — Pomodoro Timer
🤖 Windows & Android: Focus To-Do
🌐 Chrome: Focus To-Do: Pomodoro Timer & To-Do List

Focus To-Do is actually the tool I mostly use, and am in fact using while writing this article. It’s completely free and has many amazing features, from White Noise to an in-built task list. Choose the app for your platform and start your Pomodoro!

⌛ The Two-Minute Rule

One of the biggest factors in procrastination is feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks. The Two-Minute rule is a philosophy that suggests if a task takes two minutes or less to complete, do it right away!

This method helps avoid procrastination and quickly knocks out all the small tasks that would otherwise pile up. Checking off these tasks while they are small, also helps prevent them from becoming bigger issues down the road.

This doesn’t have to be just a work method, you can introduce this to your day-to-day life. Whenever something comes up, whether it be making a phone call, replying to a message etc. Just ask yourself, could that task be done in two minutes or less — if yes, then what are you waiting for?

📃 The Ivy Lee Method

The Ivy Lee Method was developed (unsurprisingly) by Ivy Lee, a management consultant that worked for some of the largest companies in the early 1900s, including AT&T, New York Times and U.S. Steel.

The idea of it is to prioritise six of the most important tasks you need to accomplish the following day. He believed that by focusing on a small number of important tasks every day, you can make steady progress and avoid getting overwhelmed. Here’s how it works:

  1. At the end of each day, write down six of the most important tasks you need to accomplish the following day.
  2. When writing them down, prioritise the tasks in order of importance.
  3. The next day, start working on the first task and don’t move on to the next one until you’ve completed it.
  4. Repeat the process each day.

It’s a fairly simple yet effective technique that some of the most successful people, including Henry Ford, Warren Buffet and Tim Ferriss, have been known to use.

✋ Time blocking

Time blocking is a method I discovered while reading James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits”. He talks about it in the first law on How to Create a Good Habit, using implementation intentions.

This means, rather than saying I’m going to write that blog article, be specific. Say on Monday at 11:30 AM I will write the blog article. The more specific the better, here’s a template you can use:

I will [BEHAVIOUR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].

By dedicating uninterrupted time to a specific task, you can increase your focus and productivity.

Some people even take the Time Blocking method further and divide the day into blocks, allocating specific tasks to each block of time. Here is how that’s done:

  1. Make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish
  2. Divide your day into blocks of time, such as one-hour or 30-minute blocks
  3. Assign specific tasks to each block of time, prioritising them based on their level of importance and urgency
  4. Make sure you allow time for breaks and downtime, so you don’t get burnt out

Now, during each time block focus solely on that task at hand, avoiding all distractions. And if you find a task takes longer than expected, restructure the schedule accordingly.

🧮 The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule originates from the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, he observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by only 20% of the population.

The idea of the rule is that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your efforts. This means that you should focus your time and energy on the tasks that generate the most results and have the biggest impact, rather than trying to do a bit of everything.

Let me explain this with an example: In a business, the 80/20 Rule suggests that 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers. By focusing on those key customers and providing them with the best service and products, the company can maximize its profits and productivity.

Now, to apply this to productivity. The rule suggests that you should focus your time and energy on the 20% of tasks that have the biggest impact and generate the most results. This means identifying the tasks that are most important to your goals and focusing on those first, rather than getting overwhelmed and demotivated by less important tasks.

📔 The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is named after former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is said to have used this technique to manage his workload.

The idea is to focus on the tasks that matter most and avoid wasting time on unimportant ones, or procrastinating on the important ones.

To use this technique, it’s slightly similar to the time-blocking method:

  1. List all of your tasks
  2. Sort them into the following four quadrants:
  • Quadrant 1: Urgent & important tasks that need to be completed immediately
  • Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent tasks that can be done later
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but unimportant tasks that can be delegated to others
  • Quadrant 4: Neither urgent nor important tasks that can either be eliminated or postponed

3. Now that you’ve sorted them into the four quadrants, prioritise the tasks in each quadrant based on their priority

4. You can now focus on Quadrants 1 and 2 while delegating or eliminating tasks in Quadrants 3 and 4

Finding the Right Method

Finding the right method for you can be challenging, but once you find it, the rewards and ten-fold! There’s no one-size-fits-all productivity method, it’s all about trying them out and finding what works best.

Also remember, you don’t need to be by the book. Feel free to switch things around and experiment, combine two methods and go crazy! Just remember, your goal is to be as productive as possible while also avoiding burnout and the endless distractions that appear all over the place.

Conclusion

While all of these methods are unique in their own way, there are a few common things that can be found across all of them:

  1. Prioritization: By checking off the most important task first, you can make the most of your time and increase your productivity.
  2. Time Management: Learning to effectively manage your time is an important skill to develop, it’ll help you accomplish more in less time while avoiding burnout.
  3. Focus: Take a look at your surroundings, remove any distractions and prepare anything you may need in advance. Turn your phone on silent and close any background apps or programs that could be a distraction. By minimising interruptions and staying focused, you can complete your work more efficiently and effectively.

Now, what are you waiting for? Try these out and see what works best! If you found this article valuable, maybe even share this with someone you think could benefit from it too. I hope you enjoyed this, stay productive! 💪

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Eli

🍱 bento.me/eli 👋 Hi I'm Eli, I’m 17 👀 I'm interested in anything tech 🌱 I'm currently doing a full stack web dev course 💪 Eager to learn new things!