Are you also always looking for tools and ideas to improve your productivity?

I hardly ever have enough time in a day and am always on the look-out for anything that can increase the things I can get done in a day.

The best book I ever read on the subject was Getting Things Done by David Allen. The book and the productivity tools mentioned in the book has reached cult status on the Internet with thousands of websites offering tips and suggestions.

Here are a few:

Getting Things Done – Wikipedia – Best summary

Getting Things Done – Official Website

Getting Things Done – Guru David Allen and His Cult of Hyperefficiency – Wired Article

Getting Things Done – Official Blog

I recently implemented three routines that I found really helpful and I thought you may want to give them a try.

 

Step 1

Firstly, at the end of each day take 10 minutes to make a list of five things that you want to do tomorrow. These are the tasks that will make you feel that your day has been worthwhile.

Write them down on an A4 page that you fold in half. Clear your desk so you only have this paper on it.

First thing in the morning take the first task on the list, make it the most difficult one, and work on it immediately.

After that take the next one and the next one, until they are hopefully all done by the time you go home.

This has improved my productivity and my feeling of accomplishment. The five tasks are the things that I most want to accomplish each day but even if I only accomplish three of of them I have a feeling that my day has been worthwhile.

 

Step 2

Secondly, I’ve started using the timer function on my mobile phone to time periods I have set aside to complete certain tasks. For example if I want to write for 30 minutes I set the timer, focus on the task for the full 30 minutes until the timer beeps. I then stop working on that task and go onto the next.

This improves your productivity because you focus on just one task without being distracted for the period of time you have allocated to that task.

Also because of only allocating the certain amount of time to a task you will find that you complete tasks quicker than in the past. It has also stopped me from getting so caught up in any one task that I do not get anything else done.

 

Step 3

Thirdly, is a technique I use to manage internal distractions. For example send an e-mail to Greg on the great movie I saw or to remember to look at the review of the new mobile phone I am considering buying.

Whereas previously I would stop with the task I was doing and quickly do this I now, on the back of that piece of paper that I write down the five tasks for the day mentioned above, quickly list all these things that pop into my mind from time to time.

I then allocate 15 to 30 minutes at the end of each day to quickly take care of these tasks.

What I found is, as I write down these internal distractions, I removed them from my mind and it frees me up to be more focused on the task at hand.

 

Give these tools and techniques a try you may also find them helpful.

Apart from the Getting Things Done book mentioned above another program I found really helpful in increasing my productivity is audio program called the 80 / 20 Principle.

What this program did for me was make me work on the 20% most important things in my life that lead to the 80% of what I wanted to achieve. It will give you a lot of satisfaction, to know that you are working on the right things rather than just working on something that is urgent.

Take a look at the program, The 80/20 Principle, you may also find a value.

 

Your productive analyst