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8 Approaches Ultra-Productive People Use To Finish Their Tasks

8 Approaches Ultra-Productive People Use To Finish Their Tasks

Are you always racing against time? Do you always find yourself stuck with a lot of tasks and no way to manage them? Do you have a satisfied feeling at the end of the day or are you sulking over where the day went? Do you often wonder how others balance their time and get everything done?

You have landed at exactly the right place! Here, we will tell you how to be ultra-productive and make the most of your time – the most precious yet scare resource for every human being. Let’s not waste any time and get on with the approaches that you can actually start applying today. These are the tried and tested approaches used by ultra-productive people.

1. They know their priorities

All of us seem to have a LOT on our hands all the time and it is always very important. But trust me, if we look closely, we would find that not everything on our to-do list is equally important. Some of them are and some of them are not. Some can be delegated, some cannot be.

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Ultra-productive people know their priorities better than the rest of us. So, we need to follow their lead and prioritize tasks. Also, when we accomplish the most important things, we tend to get even more motivated to get on with the rest of things to be done.

2. They don’t defer tasks

Either they do it, delegate it or eliminate it, but they never defer it. Delaying a thing to be done later means that you will have to look at it twice, read it twice or comprehend it twice. That’s a big time-waster. Tackle the task at hand immediately, delegate it if you can or decide that it is not required.

3. They focus on one task at one time

Multi-tasking is old school, ultra-productive people focus instead! If you are trying to multi-task, you may think that you are saving time or getting a lot done in little time but usually that’s not true. Instead of this approach, it is much better to focus on one task and finish it by a decided timeline. This will not only help you in achieving better results but will actually save you time and energy.

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4. They don’t say “yes” to everything

Saying yes to everything is a sure way to end up not getting what you want. Productive people say no more than they say yes. This way, they have only those things to do that really matter to them or can really make a difference. If you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to get even half of them done and end up disappointing yourself as well as others.

Learning to say no is an important step that can boost your productivity. Over-commitment is a key to failure.

5. They set aside specific time for email and other ways of communication

Being connected all the time is a fallacy that has sneaked into all of our daily activities. Apparently, it doesn’t take specific time because we falsely believe that we are “just checking” our smart phones when waiting in a queue or so but this activity takes both our precious mental energy and time.

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Ultra-productive people check their emails and other messages only at specific times. This way, they can focus on the task at hand and can complete it more successfully.

6. They do the least inspiring thing first

Generally people try to delay doing the stuff that they find least interesting. That’s a wrong approach for productivity. Ultra-productive people tackle such things first. This way, they have a clearer mind to do rest of the activities and can actually look forward to them. Otherwise, a less interesting task to be done would keep nagging you even when you are involved in your favorite activities.

7. They plan their day

They plan effectively. Good planning is like getting almost half the task done! If you plan your day or week, you will be quite clear about what needs to be done, how much time it will consume and what are the expected results. Otherwise, you will keep doing things constantly and the results might be vague or undesired.

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8. They have a to-do list

Documenting things is one of the best ways to be absolutely clear about your thoughts. Ultra-productive people document their tasks. Sometimes, by following this practice, we can be surprised by the results ourselves. When we write down things, we put them in black and white. In our mind, things can be a jumbled mess but when you write them, you know exactly what needs to be done.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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