Productivity: 3 Ways I increase my professional productivity.
Productivity has many facets and in the last article I outlined my basic structure for personal productivity. I use this core structure both personally and professionally with only minor additions for professional needs. What is crucial when creating the core of your personal productivity structure is both flexibility and that it matches the way you work. This flexibility is what will help you achieve success with personal productivity.
So what do I use for professional needs? I have whittled my way down to two additional techniques and one web site. I do still test other sites and services to see if I would want to add in one of them and remove something else. So far I have tested several really great sites, sites such as GTDAgenda. But, I am generally hesitant to change what already works for me, that isn’t to say that I won’t! The two additional techniques that I use for my professional obligations are the Pomodoro Method and the Results Curve.
Each of these techniques is similar in that you are using blocks of time, breaks and task but, each is very different in how it handles your tasks. Pomodoro Method takes your task list and has you work on it in 25 minute blocks and then take a 5 minute break. Whereas Results Curve takes your task then further breaks them down into smaller more manageable tasks. However, the difference between them is significant. Pomodoro doesn’t take your tasks and break them down at all. You are working off your list, top to bottom and working in blocks of time.
I have been using the Pomodoro Method for so long that when I make a task list I automatically structure it so more time and labor intensive projects are at the bottom. This way I can complete all of my small tasks quickly and easily while leaving the bigger tasks for last. Once I have finished my smaller tasks I then switch over to the Results Curve and break my large tasks down and go from there. I have talked about flexibility in your structures and being willing to change a technique to fit your work styles. I have done that with Pomodoro & Results methods so they better fit my habits. Instead of following the length of time for each block I prefer to work until my mind wanders. Once that happens I know I have lost my focus and need to take a break and stretch.
The only additional app I use when working is Freedcamp. It is a free clone of BasecampHQ and I am quite happy with it. Generally I use Freedcamp for multi-day projects where I have several sections broken into multiple tasks. When using Freedcamp I will setup a new project and create to-do lists. I use to-do lists to break my projects up, initially I set up a list of the major project sections. Then a to-do list for each of those sections with their tasks listed out within. All the sections and task lists are ordered by priority and completed based on those needs. Bear in mind often time is not the factor that determines priority but need. When I break down a project I break down the sections in an order that requires section one to be completed before being able to move on to section two and so on. This helps to keep the project logically structured and also forces me to maintain focus and not jump around tasks.
There are also times that I will work with a client on increasing their productivity and use Freedcamp to watch how they handle large complicated projects. This allows me to get an idea of how they are breaking the work up and if there is anything we can do to help streamline the process. By adding in a Discussion feature to the project we can also discuss areas that could be streamlined within Freedcamp. This has helped out immensely when working with clients who are often travel a lot.
So this is currently the structure I use for work productivity. I may make changes to it at a later date but currently it works very well for my needs. Chances are good when I find either a site or a program that will blend all of the elements together effectively with a front end that I like, I will probably be tempted to consolidate.
Commitment and Flexibility are the keys to Personal Productivity!
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