Seven productivity methods to help boost your work output

Working from home seemed like it would be less stressful and probably more fun, but you may be struggling to focus now that your office is a lot closer to your bedroom.

If you need tips on effectively managing your time to get more done each day, try one of these productivity methods:

Rubber duck debugging

Rubber Duck Debugging is telling an inanimate object, or even your pet, about the problem you’re having and why.

This verbalises the problem and puts it in perspective.

Eat the live frog: do the worst thing first

Mark Twain once said: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

This productivity method reportedly works well for those who procrastinate, miss deadlines or rush last-minute work.

Do the task you’re dreading first and the rest of your list will seem like a breeze.

Personal Kanban

If you’re a more visual person; this simple system is great.

Divide all your tasks into three categories: “to do”, “doing”, and “done”. Use sticky notes on the wall above your desk, create an excel spreadsheet or the sticky notes app on your computer.

Check the list regularly and move things to their relevant sections.

The SMART method

Have big ideas? Need them turned into actionable plans? Try this.

SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Timely.

What would like to accomplish? What measurable tasks need to be done? Are there roles that need to be assigned? What are the real challenges? When is the deadline?

This method can work for individuals and businesses.

The Action Method

Are you great at brainstorming, but not always great at putting plans into action?

Being creative calls for thinking outside the box, but putting plans into action calls for structure. How do you do that exactly?

Break down ideas into three categories: action items, backburner items, and reference items.

Action: the steps you’ll take to get it all done.
Backburner: interesting, but maybe not for this project.
Reference: the resources and information you’ll need.

The Time Blocking Method

If small tasks and interruptions take too much of your time, this method will hold you accountable by allotting set times for specific work.

Split up your day into blocks of time assigned with specific tasks; from 11am to 12pm, you’ll answer emails, from 2pm to 4pm you’ll work on that design project and so on.

The Pomodoro Method

If you need structure and control to not be distracted, try this.

Work for 25 minutes, take a five-minute break, and repeat for four sprints, after which you take a longer break. It works out to two hours with a 20-minute break and then half an hour to sit in the sun, eat lunch, or even do a quick workout.

You can also adjust it to your personal preference.

No Zero Days

Use this productivity method to break habits or create them.

Set yourself an achievable task each day and mark it off on a calendar. The aim is to never have a day where you have achieved nothing.

Use it as a small step towards a much bigger goal.

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

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