Adopting time management and productivity systems is a good way to boost your productivity and get more done during the day. If you're struggling to meet your goals or cross items off your to-do list, experimenting with time management systems can be a big help.
These are proven time management and productivity improvement systems that you can adapt or fine-tune to meet your own needs:
1. Getting Things Done. The GTD, or Getting Things Done, system was designed by David Allen and utilized a five-phase approach to taking control of your life and improving your productivity. These five phases are Collect, Process, Organize, Review, and Do.
- This plan involves focusing on control and perspective rather than looking at priorities as the basis for time management.
- Getting Things Done uses a workflow process, allowing you to gain control over all of your commitments and key tasks that need to be accomplished. Perspective is obtained through six different focus levels that make it easier to determine what tasks need to be focused on and when.
2. The Pomodoro Technique. This is a simple time-management technique that involves using a Pomodoro kitchen timer to focus on work tasks. You set the timer for 25 minutes and spend that time working without stops or interruptions.
- You set the timer and begin to work without pauses for as long as the timer is ticking. If you're interrupted, the timer stops. There is no pausing a Pomodoro session.
- When the timer goes off, you take a 5-minute break away from your work. After 4 “Pomodoro sessions,” you take a longer break of up to 30 minutes before continuing with the process. While the timer is ticking, you should focus on your list of tasks without any interruptions.
- There are other ways to utilize the Pomodoro technique to your advantage, including using a worksheet to track how much work you complete during each session and track notes and ideas for things you need to do after your Pomodoro session so that you aren't interrupted while the clock is ticking.
3. Zen to Done. Designed by the creator of Zen Habits, ZTD is an offshoot of the aforementioned Getting Things Done program. This program captures the same spirit of the GTD system but with a greater focus on simplicity. ZTD focuses on changing one habit at a time rather than several at once the way GTD does.
- The Zen system also focuses more on doing and structure than the original series, which are beneficial modifications for many people. Rather than trying to do too much, the Zen system focuses on organizing and managing time while simplifying tasks.
Which System is Right for You?
When it comes to time management and productivity systems, there is no single solution that will work for everyone. The key is to find the system that meets your own personal needs, or you can modify what is available until you have a system that works. You may need to combine different productivity systems until you find comfort in a system of your own.
It is well worthwhile to experiment with different systems because they may contain elements that appeal to you. Draw out the time management and productivity elements that successfully improve your own organizational skills, or brainstorm your own based on what works for you.