The 4 Stages of Productivity

The 4 Stages of Productivity

    The OrganizeIT weblog has a post that outlines what they consider to be the four stages of productivity as it relates to GTD:


    • Plan
    • Do
    • Complete
    • Reward

    OrganizeIT takes the ideas outlined in “Your Best Year Yet,” by Jinny Ditzler and integrates them with GTD. OrganizeIT does a very nice job detailing what specifically happens at each stage of the cycle.


    The book doesn’t go into much actionable detail…so I’ve decided to take the basic principles…and make it more GTD related. The diagram…is broken down into 4 sections – plan, do, complete, reward – which I have gone into detail below.

    The Productivity Cycle – [OrganizeIT]


    More by this author

    The daily routine of 17 CEOs Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM Search social media content Four ways to automatically backup your hard drive 10 Unconventional Diet Tips: How to lose 50 pounds in three months

    Trending in Productivity

    1How to Organize Your Thoughts: 3 Simple Steps to 10X Your Productivity 2Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boosts Productivity 10X More with Focus 3How to Be Productive: 11 Ways to Be Productive and Happy at Once 4Top 10 Productivity Tips to Achieve More and Create Peace of Mind 5How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    Read Next


    How to Organize Your Thoughts: 3 Simple Steps to 10X Your Productivity

    How to Organize Your Thoughts: 3 Simple Steps to 10X Your Productivity

    Feel like your brain is overwhelmed with too many thoughts?  You’re not alone.

    Our minds are basically organized like human computers. They function to a great extent in much the same way. So, if we want to improve our daily productivity, we need to empty the cache of temporary “files” and reboot for our brains to allow us perform at our peak levels.

    Otherwise we can easily experience brain overload with too many circuits firing simultaneously and so many programs (thoughts) working in the shadows that we often “freeze up”. This will make us unable to remember everything or simply process the information in a less efficient manner than we’d like.

    It sounds odd but when you stop to consider, it actually makes sense.

    In this article, I’ll explain to you why organizing your thoughts is so important and introduce to you 3 simple steps to super boost your brain power.


    Organizing your mind: Why should you care?

    By making it a habit to set aside a few minutes each day to empty and organize your brain, you can drastically improve your ability to focus, complete tasks and achieve your goals.

    A streamlined mind is much more effective than a perpetually overloaded one.

    In addition, an overloaded brain forgets things, important tasks, details and deadlines. The quality of our output suffers as well. We are simply unable to concentrate and use our intelligence and skills to their highest potential.

    As a side benefit, you’ll find better balance, less stress and increased energy. Swirling thoughts cause an enormous amount of stress and prevent our minds from truly ever resting. This results in brain fatigue, which keeps us exhausted and irritable.

    3 simple steps to organize your thoughts

    Organizing your thoughts isn’t really that difficult. It really only requires a few minutes each day and surprisingly simple tools to help sharpen your brain.


    1. Choose your best time

    Ideally, this process is best done twice each day, first thing in the morning and again before bedtime, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

    Choose the time that works best for you. Any time will work. The key is to do it consistently.

    I have found that I need my morning coffee, breakfast and exercise first. My brain has to wake up a bit. I apparently need a caffeine kick, fuel and stress release in order to form coherent thoughts.

    2. Choose your method of logging

    Any number of apps on your phone will work well to record thoughts and tasks. If you prefer, you can use the voice-recording feature. Even the basic note function works fine.

    An organizational program or document, such as Outlook, OneNote, or Evernote on your computer will work as well.


    Though I tend to be a “techie” by nature, I still prefer to use a pen and pad for this process. Sometimes the simplest method is the most effective.

    Whatever tool you choose, make sure it’s quick and readily accessible.

    3. Quickly dump everything you’re keeping in your head

    And I mean everything… Not just tasks but thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas too.

    Get it all out. Don’t worry about sorting them; you can do that later, just get them out of your head so that they can stop spinning around, using up precious brainpower and space.

    Once you’re finished, ask yourself if you need or want to act on any of these items today.


    If the answer is yes:

    • Add those tasks to your ongoing task or to-do list (you have one of those right?)
    • Cross them off or remove them.

    If the answer is no:

    • Is it an idea? – Add it to an idea file, work notebook, or document to pursue later.
    • Is it really more of a question or concerns you have? – Record it in a journal or notebook to mull over at another time. (If you never go back to consider them, they probably weren’t that important!)

    It’s that simple. It should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes!

    A tiny habit with great benefits

    When we’re unable to let go of thoughts and responsibilities that plague us, we are no longer constantly preoccupied. We are better able to quiet our mind and enjoy the other parts of our lives.

    When we aren’t stuck in our head, we can fully engage with the rest of the world outside us.

    That’s not bad for a 5-10 minute investment.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via

      Read Next