Have you ever marvelled at sportsmen and women that get to the top of their profession? I am amazed at how simple they make everything about their sports look. I wondered “how were they successful?” and realised it’s to do with their technique. They have a simple yet powerful technique that makes them produce winning results. If we want to be a successful and productive person in life, we also need productivity techniques that suit our life and our personality.
Tried and Trusted Techniques
If you watch Mark Selby or Ronnie O’Sullivan, you’ll see they follow the same method each time they take a shot. They’ll lift the chalk out of their pocket, dust the tip of their snooker cue, put the chalk away and go down for the shot. They’ll bridge their hand the same way, push the cue forwards and backwards the exact same number of times. Their focused, attentive eyes will move from the cue ball to object ball. STRIKE!
Consider, Tennis’s World No1 Andy Murray, the way he bounces the ball to prepare for a serve. Every time he will bounce the ball the same number of times, his head movement, racket placement, toss up, body movement carefully choreographed. Any slight distraction, he will stand up and start the setup over again. You’ll notice that even though he chooses various shots, he always starts with an identical preparation technique.
To emphasise this point, I followed the TV coverage of the 2017 Masters Golf at Augusta, and it’s so interesting to study the methods of each golfer. There different putting setups are evident when they reach the greens and are preparing for a putt.
Justin Rose was sharing the lead on the final day with Sergio Garcia. It was an incredible day of golf between the two of them. They were putting on a display that spectators and viewers will not forget.
With this in mind, the coverage came to Justin Rose on one of the putting greens; the commentators were discussing his putting setup. Justin stands behind the ball and uses his index finger to line up the shot. I’ve never seen it before, it’s different, but who am I to question?
Likewise, another interesting setup is that of Owen Farrell who is a prolific kicker for the England Rugby Union team. After he has placed the ball, he sets his foot beside the ball and proceeds to pace out his strides to his start point. He will focus on the ball, and then glance at the goalposts, repeating this motion till he’s settled. Afterwards, with eyes focused tight on the ball, he tilts his head and looks at the posts from the corner of his eye. He does this several times before he sends a sweet strike through the centre of the posts.
They are fantastic competitors at their sport. What helps them to be successful? For one thing, talent, years of training, determination and a will to succeed is paramount. Yet, when they are out there in the middle where it counts a prepared, trusted and successful method or routine gets them over the finish line.
Comparatively, if we want to be more productive, we need a trusted method. Faithful productivity techniques helps us to do things in a structured order, which stops us wasting time. Our saved time put to good use doing other worthwhile things.
3 Different Productivity Techniques
Indeed, our life is a competition. Yet, not competing against another individual. We need to compete against ourselves and our own personalities.
So, let’s get straight to discussing different productive techniques that will have a positive influence on your life, and the way you accomplish things.
I have used the following methods discussed during the past few years.
Productivity Techniques No 1: Pomodoro Technique
No, it’s nothing to do with Tomatoes but of interest is the majority of Pomodoro apps that use a tomato or tomato shape for their logo. The application I use is Focus Keeper.
What is the Pomodoro method?
The Pomodoro method is most useful when you are working through a list of needed tasks. However, this great tool won’t help you with your project management needs.
The Pomodoro technique, created by Mr Francesco Cirillo helped people combine deep work with regular breaks. Thus, the procedure is 25 minutes of deep work followed by a 5-minute break.
Consequently, use those 5 minutes to get away from your desk and do something different. Make a cup of coffee, take a walk in the garden or talk to your family. You repeat this process for 4 Pomodoro and then take a longer 15-20 minute break.
In fact, to get good results with most productivity techniques and especially Pomodoro is to make sure you turn off all notifications. So, before you start your first Pomodoro, silence smartphones, tablets and desktop notifications.
Productivity Techniques No 2: Eisenhower Matrix
Equally powerful to the Pomodoro technique, the second of three productivity techniques discussed is the Eisenhower method. This is fantastic for deciding your next action or next project.
On the whole, this is a quick, simple, and visual aid to help make quick effective decisions. The Eisenhower method works on the basis of 4 different questions you can ask yourself.
To demonstrate, ask yourself about a task or project:
Important AND Urgent?
Important BUT Not Not Urgent?
Urgent BUT Not Important?
Not Urgent AND Not Important?
How can you define what the different answers to these questions mean? What connection do they have with your workflow?
To explain, consider the following:
Important AND Urgent = A task, project, meeting or errand that has a fast approaching deadline which you cannot miss.
Important BUT Not Urgent = you’re able to decide when you will do it.
Urgent BUT Not Important = If you recognise things in your workflow that fit this category, it may be best to delegate the task to someone else. It needs doing, but maybe not by you. Can someone else help you fulfil this task?
Not Urgent AND Not Important = Do you recognise things in your workflow you can tackle at a later time? You do! Well, now you can decide it’s Not Important and Not Urgent.
If you would like to read more on the Eisenhower method then you can find a great article on the Evernote blog.
Productivity Techniques No 3: Getting Things Done
You may have heard of Getting Things Done or GTD the abbreviation used by those familiar with the third of our productivity techniques.
The author David Allen introduced GTD to the world through his bestseller book “Getting Things Done”. (This is not an affiliate link, I gain nothing from promoting the book.)
To explain the full philosophy of Getting Things Done I would need to write many blog posts. I feel it is unprofessional of me to try fitting a comprehensive explanation of GTD’s mechanisms into a single subheading of this article.
Then again, it would be criminal for me to skip this method completely.
In short, the Pomodoro and Eisenhower’s productivity techniques help you to choose a particular task to carry out; Getting Things Done is a framework you build to run your daily affairs.
The 4 main systems that the GTD teaching encourages is:
Whether you are busy or not, we’ve got ideas, plans, appointments, errands, hobbies, projects, gifts stored in our head. In reality, we have a tendency to forget one of those, possibly more.
For this reason, we need a method where we take great creative things from our mind, jot down on paper and place them in a safe inbox. Afterwards, in a productive manner, we work through them to fulfil our goals and aspirations.
Once we’ve collected together our “stuff” we need to organise, so we can carry out everyone in an effective and productive way.
Therefore, we need a trusted system where we organise important daily tasks and creative projects.
Most of us are similar to jugglers just without the balls or pins. We juggle what we are doing, what we soon need to be doing and in the coming future. We may still be juggling things we should have already done.
Does that sound familiar?
In that case, you’ll understand why we need to have a process in place that allows us to review those things we have collected and organised. As a result, we won’t forget important “stuff”. Additionally, we can in a clean and succinct way add new “stuff” to our inbox.
The most important and rewarding part. It’s futile if we have an excellent streamlined operation to collect, organise and review but we don’t carry out any tasks, or start our projects.
Accordingly, the “Getting Things Done” method, the things we need to get done are on a list called Next Actions. Each of the Next Actions has a context, time and energy rating. We can even include the 4 Eisenhower Matrix choices.
These small important ratings help us to channel our current environment, our amount of time and required energy levels to choose the right Next Action to get us started.
Call To Action
As a matter of fact, over the coming weeks, I will write more on the Getting Things Done method. The purpose is to help you know how to implement the different productivity techniques and features into your daily life. I will include how we can use Evernote to carry out Getting Things Done.
If you’re interested how Evernote could assist you then you will want to read how the friendly elephant can help you.
Please remember, here at The Productive Writer we want to help every member in the family to make better use of their time.
I’m not only helping the entrepreneurs or businessmen and women in the home. If you are a stay at home mum or dad, you still have loads to accomplish in your day.
If you’re at school or college, you need to be effective in balancing every one of your different responsibilities.
After all, we want to each day and each week, have the freedom to “down tools” and spend quality time together. We want to feel unrestricted doing something you love such as a hobby, playing a musical instrument or eating popcorn in front of the television.
Finding suitable productivity techniques is an absolute lifesaver. It saved mine a few years ago. Yet, installing an application on your smartphone, or downloading The Productive Writers Top Resources will not immediately bring you results.
We need to learn how to use them not only efficiently, but effectively. I am committed to helping people achieve this!