The Ultimate Productivity Guide

To give a huge boost to your work, you need to find the right productivity method for you.

Productivity guide

By utilizing a proven method, you can go from feeling lazy and unproductive to being a workflow powerhouse that is ready to take on the biggest of projects.

Productivity is the one thing that helps people reach the goals that they have set for themselves, and today, I will be introducing you to this concept, so that you too can achieve what you need to achieve using our productivity guide.

What is Productivity

Before we dive into the ways to increase your productivity, let’s first take a brief look at what it is.

The official definition of productivity is:

“The effectiveness of productive effort as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input”

Simply put, it is the ability and effectiveness of finishing tasks by utilizing a combination of accuracy and speed to complete them. In other words, ‘Getting Stuff Done’.

Why Does Productivity Matter?

Productivity matters to most people because being productive means that you will finish tasks a lot quicker than usual, thus leaving you with some time that can be dedicated to other things (i.e. spending time with your family or working on your hobby)

Why Does Productivity Matter?

Here is a personal example:

I work as a fulltime blogger.

One of the things that I find quite boring is researching new topics to blog about. In the past, this task could take me a full day sat in my office staring at my PC monitor jumping from one idea to the next whilst I also watch some videos on youtube.

These days, research takes me no longer than 2 hours thanks to the methods I have started to use. This allows me to get a whole list of different topics together to use at a future date.

We all have things in life that we don’t want to do but have to. By using the productivity methods below, you will be able to spend less time on the tasks you hate, and more on the things you love.

Popular Productivity Methods

Pomodoro

You have to take breaks if you want to be more efficient. Regular. every 25 minutes. The so-called Pomodoro technique, which has found many followers since its invention in the 1980s, is recommended in this case. The technique of self-management gives its name to its inventor Francesco Cirillo, an Italian entrepreneur. For this purpose, he used a kitchen clock in the form of a tomato (a Pomodoro). 

Pomodoro

The appeal of simplicity is definitely what made the Pomodoro method so famous: no complex things, no high-pitched technical talk–it’s enough to have a basic cooking clock.

Cirillo’s method is very easy: create a short note of what needs to be achieved before you begin a task.

Then set a 25-minute alarm and start. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a kitchen clock or your smartphone. Any timer will do.

After 25 minutes, once it rings, tick what you’ve accomplished and take a five-minute break. (This 25 plus 5-minute interval is called Pomodori.)

The same work is going to continue after that. And leave a 30-minute break after four of those Pomodori units.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix was founded by Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th US President and its goal is to prioritize your tasks into categories of urgency.

This method involves creating a quadrant matrix containing four different quadrants:

Eisenhower Matrix

Important + Urgent: 

Tasks within these quadrants are also referred to as “must” or “A” tasks. These tasks should be addressed instantly since they are important to the completion of “the goal.” It is best to perform the tasks of this category yourself (list of tasks to be completed immediately) because of the high urgency and importance.

Examples include:

Crises (e.g. technical problems which affects customer service)

Letter of warning from the lawyer

Tasks with a fixed deadline

Customer complaints

Important + Not Urgent

Tasks categorized here are strategically important to achieve the objective, but not so important, so they need not be finished instantly. Nevertheless, at frequent intervals, you will have to dedicate yourself to the B-tasks, as this is the only way to get there.

Important duties are always hard without set meetings. Fixed dates should be set to prevent continuous postponement. If you overlook this category’s duties for too long, they may become important or A-tasks!

Example:

The car insurance was terminated within the term of the contract. As long as the old insurance contract is still in progress, the search for a new car insurance policy is important, but it is far from urgent. The closer the end of the old car insurance, the more urgent the search for new car insurance!

Not Important but Urgent

This quadrant’s tasks are not so important but must be accomplished promptly. If your schedule does not currently match their completion, you can delegate these C tasks to subordinates in confidence.

Examples:

Plan the Christmas party for the current year

Find annual sales reports from last year

Obtaining offers for new desks in the office

Checking invoices

Not Important + Not Urgent

These tasks don’t matter, so it doesn’t matter when they’re done. When time is short, it is even better to focus on more important tasks.

Examples:

The video of the last company celebration

The call or visit of a colleague

Reading funny emails

The main advantage of the Eisenhower method is that it is easy to learn this technique, even if there is no previous knowledge.

The Pareto Principle

One of the productivity techniques that are particularly helpful when it comes to working effectively is the Pareto principle. It is also referred to as the rule of 80/20.

The Pareto Principle

In terms of time management, the Pareto principle states that 80% of the objectives we achieve can be attributed to only 20% of our actions. Likewise, only 20 percent of our working time can be credited to 80 percent of our accomplishments.

The Pareto principle teaches us that the most important results are achieved by a few valuable activities. Therefore, it is particularly a matter of focusing on these tasks.

Ask yourself: Which of my duties contributes to profits? What are the highest production duties? Which 20% of the operations attain 80% of my results? Mostly spend your work time with it.

Eat The Frog

Basically,’ Eat The Frog’ is a very simple method, and it just means that you should perform an unpleasant or difficult task before the more enjoyable ones.

Eat The Frog

That is, the first thing you do when you get up in the morning is to do a task you don’t want to do. And if you have a couple of tasks to do and you want to work out a stack, then you begin with the hardest job.

Whether it’s because of certain traits or the current generation, or if it’s just too many tasks we’ve got to do: you often have a huge mountain in front of you that seems even bigger because you just don’t feel like it and don’t know where to begin, which usually makes it bigger because you don’t start at all.

First of all, doing an awkward or difficult job doesn’t do all of your duties, but it has the benefit that you have ticked off that one task no matter what happens.

Ideally, you still have the strength and energy to handle this assignment in the start, which is why eating the frog with this one is advisable. Anything that comes after is no longer the hardest or unpleasant thing you’ve got to do, so it just seems half as hard.

Popular Productivity Methods

Here are some other popular methods that you can try (I have tried most of these methods myself at some point, but I prefer to use the ones that I have talked about.):

  • Getting Things Done (GTD)
  • Personal Kanban
  • The SMART Method
  • The Action Method
  • Timeboxing
  • Biological Prime Time
  • Systemist

Productivity Software

There is some really good software out there these days that will help you with various productivity methods.

Here are some of the ones I recommend:

Productivity Software

Todoist

One program that just can’t seem to live without is Todoist.

Todoist is an app/software program that allows you to sort out all of your tasks in the form of todo lists. But that’s not all it does.

It also has the ability to sync across multiple platforms, meaning that you can create a todo list on your mobile when you are out of office, and the list will be available on your PC.

As someone who tends to create their to-do lists at night whilst in bed, this is a must-have feature.

Other features that I like about Todoist are the ability to create different projects and set alarms for deadlines.

Todoist is free to download, but more advanced features will cost you a small fee (that is billed annually)

Give it a try at todoist.com

Toggl

Toggl is another productivity tool that has proved itself time and time again. Among creative agencies and freelancers, this software is particularly common. It presents itself as a particularly simple, flexible time recording solution. With just one tap, the user can create fresh tasks and begin the stopwatch to record their working hours automatically.

Toggl now also features a Pomodoro timer to help you with the Pomodoro technique.

Just like Todoist, Toggl is offered on a ‘Freemium’ basis. Meaning that you can download and use it for free, however, you will have to pay to unlock all of its features. (To try it out yourself, go here: toggl.com)

Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app that has been around for quite a few years now.

It is my ‘go-to’ app if I need to jot down any ideas.

Of course, that is not all it can do.

Evernote is compatible with many other programs, so you can also load external information into the tool.

Most browsers offer add-ons that allow you to copy information from the Internet, while Outlook and Thunderbird provide plugins for email. Even image files from your phone’s camera can be integrated.

For a list of all Evernotes features, just head on over to evernote.com

Trello

Trello is a free online project management tool that is used by many people, for many different reasons. The tool can be used for personal reasons as well as for business purposes.

For instance, there are many items you need to prepare, organize, coordinate, and schedule if you begin a competent project. Trello helps you to clearly organize your project so that you don’t lose track of anything.

Everything can be structured by creating various groups with specific tasks. These assignments can be made up of meetings, checklists, conversations, pictures, videos, etc.

You can organize, relocate, assign staff, or email individual staff after you create tasks.

Trello is the ultimate tool to use if you are following the GTD productivity method.

To sign up for free, go to: trello.com

Productivity Music

If you are anything like me, you can’t seem to get stuff done whilst sitting in silence. You need some sort of background noise playing to be able to concentrate properly.

Productivity Music

The background noises that you pick, however, could make or break for your productivity. Simply put, if you choose the wrong kind of music, you won’t be ‘getting stuff done’.

Of course, everyone is different and some recommended music to help you concentrate will have the opposite effect.

Lucky for you, I have some general guidelines on what music you should be listening to while working, that is backed up with science.

A general rule of thumb is that you should not listen to music that contains lyrics, as you could end up finding yourself concentrating on the lyrics instead of your work.

Classical

Classical music has been proven to increase productivity and also improve your mood.

Classical

Here is an example that is on my personal playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0kl9xFVSnI

Lo-fi Hip Hop

Probably the most popular genre of productivity music is ‘lo-fi hip hop’.

Lo-fi Hip Hop

It seems to be the go-to genre amongst students that need to focus on studying.

Give a try yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHW1oY26kxQ

Ambient sounds

This one didn’t really work for me, but many people swear by it.

Ambient sounds

Ambient sounds such as rainfall and other natural sounds help people stay calm and focused on the task at hand.

One of the most popular sounds that people use, is a recording of a busy coffee shop.

I am not going to link to a youtube video for this one, as there is a very good called noisli that lets you customize the sounds: https://www.noisli.com/

They even have a chrome extension.


I really hope you found our productivity guide helpful.

If you did, then I would be grateful if you could share it with your friends and family.