Did you ever have a really great day, feeling like you got a lot done, and wonder, what the heck just happened? If you could just bottle your great day, you’d be super organized, right? Well, here are 5 productivity techniques that you’ve probably used, but you didn’t know were valid organizing methods.
Today I’m out boosting my own productivity by changing up my routine and volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity WomenBuild Week. While I’m out of the office, let me share a few ways that you can improve your organizing and productivity in your office.
Below, I’ve provided links for the books that mentions these principles. They are all great reading!
1. The The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, highlights the idea that we have a “vital few” important tasks, priorities, and possessions in our lives. You see it in business (80% of revenues come from the top 20% of customers), at home (we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time), and in time management (20% of the things on your to-do list are really critical. The rest? Not so much.). So the next time you find yourself wanting to blow off most of what you have to do, just focus on the critical 20%, and you’ll probably still see impressive results.
2. The Pomodoro Technique stresses working in blocks of time (typically 25 minutes each) where you keep your focus singularly on one task or a group of tasks, working with focus until the timer goes off. By ignoring outside interruptions and distractions for blocks of time, several times a day, you can get a lot done. By the way, I recommend just 10 or 15 minute blocks of focused, non-interrupted time, which works best for many of my clients.
3. Eat That Frog! is a book by Brian Tracy with 21 great ideas to overcome procrastination. The title technique refers to the practice of doing the hardest or least attractive task first thing in your day. Once you “eat that frog,” everything else is bound to taste better!
4. The Seinfeld Technique (Don’t Break the Chain) cracks me up. I mean, we’ve been doing this for ages, but old Jerry gets the credit. He credits his professional success with the discipline he’s developed of writing comedic material every single day, and then putting a bright red “X” over the date on a paper calendar. By doing this every day, he ends up with a highly visible chain of red X’s that he doesn’t want to break. Let’s face it, working on your craft for a defined period every single day is a surefire way to get better at it. The same visual unbroken chain can be a big motivator for all kinds of things, such as making sure you work out every day, or going for days without yelling at the kids. You’ve got to admit, it does look serious when you rack up a lot of red X’s.
5.The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal reviews several aspects of willpower and barriers to success. Her studies find that we need effective ways to combat the “what-the-hell” effect (no, really, that’s what it’s called). Too often, when we feel that we’ve sinned, slipped, or fallen behind, we figure that there’s just no way to catch up. Someone who feels defeated by an afternoon donut is more likely to gorge on a high-calorie evening meal. Or someone who feels like they are already hopelessly behind in their to-do list might figure, “What the hell, it won’t matter if I spend another half hour surfing the web.” But McGonigal’s research shows that self-forgiveness clears the brain’s way for non-critical reflection and avoids the devastating, cyclical effects of guilt. Instead, it’s OK to cut yourself a break and try again. In fact, research shows that you are more likely to succeed if you do! Read this great book to start incorporating the “I will, I won’t, I want” mantra into your own life to strengthen your own willpower muscle.
So, now you know the fancy name for productivity techniques that you were probably already using. What you may not have known is that they are legitimate and highly effective techniques. Aren’t you smart! Have you shared what works for you in our Clutter-Free Living Facebook Group? We’re all about sharing and encouraging each other to reach our organizing goals.