Co-founder and CEO of Kitchen Cabinet Kings, one of the nation’s largest distributors of kitchen and bathroom cabinetry online.
Any successful professional knows how to keep themselves motivated. When work piles up on your desk, you have to come up with a plan to power through it.
However, your tried-and-true productivity techniques can eventually fall short. It’s possible for your proven technique to lose effectiveness and make you feel burned out. This is normal, but needs to be overcome quickly. I’ve enjoyed David Allen’s Getting Things Done for the past few years as my chosen productivity method. I read the book, implemented the various systems and lists and followed them.
Over the past few months, there have been days when I felt the GTD system that kept me productive for years was getting in the way. I struggled through my regular GTD activities and found myself searching blogs/videos for different ways to manage my day-to-day tasks at work. After taking notes on some highly-recommended ways to organize tasks, I decided to try a few out.
Eventually, I decided that a combination of Kanban/Pomodoro worked well for me. I now manage my tasks in Trello, using Kanban style boards to organize and prioritize my work. When it comes time to actually do things on the list, I’ve got my Pomodoro timer, which keeps me focused and productive while giving me some hard-earned breaks.
If you feel like you’ve reached a point where you need a new method, consider implementing one of these productivity techniques below into your work or personal life.
- Make use of the Pomodoro Technique. This technique was developed to help professionals work more productively. Rather than completing an assignment in one sitting, Pomodoro encourages you to break it up into smaller segments. Most often, someone practicing this technique will set a timer for 25 minutes, taking a five-minute break every time the timer goes off. For those 25 minutes, you ignore email, Facebook and everything else that isn’t what you’re currently getting done.
- Take a Zen to Done approach. The Zen to Donemethod of improving productivity focuses on your overall approach to work rather than individual projects. It encourages 10 habits that promote more organized, focused work. These habits range from goal-setting to regular maintenance of your email inbox.
- Embrace the Eat That Frog perspective.Although it sounds a bit funny, this technique is a great step toward boosting your productivity. It argues that if you had to eat a live frog every day, you should do it right when you wake up so nothing worse can happen for the rest your day. Tackling the project you dread the most first will allow you to fully focus on the later projects you’ll enjoy.
- Stay organized with the Kanban method. This approach to staying productive is a good option for anyone who is detail-oriented. Your to-do list is split up into things you need to do, things you are working on and things you have finished. As the items change categories, you review your workflow and process any problems affecting your productivity.
- Utilize the Flowtime Technique. Similar to the Pomodoro Technique, the Flowtime Technique calls for breaking up large projects into smaller sections. However, it is less rigid in nature. With this approach, you work exclusively on a project until you feel you need a break. You then take a break appropriate to the amount of time you worked.
- Consider the Getting Things Done method. This productivity method places an emphasis on setting daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Its process then helps you organize your thoughts and streamline the path to your goals. Essentially, it is meant to make your workflow more efficient and expedite the work process.
All six of these methods and techniques are great ways to get out of a rut and find motivation again. If you’re struggling to complete a project, trying one of these out is worth the effort. But which should you use? It doesn’t matter, as long as you commit to one before you leave this page and stick to it. If two weeks go by and your new method isn’t effective enough, just try another one. Odds are that you’ll find the perfect technique to keep yourself productive.