Productivity is the name of the game in the modern workplace. In fact, there’s no end to the lengths that a professional will go in order to increase their output, and many workers are even resorting to extreme options like treadmill desks and cold showers in a desperate attempt to increase their productivity.
While quirky hacks can sometimes deliver success, often going to the well of the tried and true methods can produce the best results. If you’re struggling to produce a heroic amount of work each day, or you’re trying to get your team all on the same level of healthy output, here are some well-established concepts to help you increase your productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique
If you’re a fan of both working hard and taking breaks, you may want to try the Pomodoro Technique. This productivity method involves working for short, 25-minute bursts of time separated by even shorter 5-minute breaks.
Collectively, this half-hour chunk is called a “Pomodoro.” After four Pomodoros, you take a longer 15 to 20-minute break. The popular technique takes a little under two and a half hours for an entire cycle to play out, which means you can fit roughly three cycles into an 8-hour workday. If you want to try this technique, you can streamline the effort by searching for a Pomodoro timer app on your smartphone.
Sometimes if you want to get things done, you need to make it a game! It may sound counterproductive, but gamification is actually a very popular way to increase your productivity. Incorporating a reward system into a dull or monotonous task is an excellent way to stoke both the social and the competitive nature that dwells in each human being.
Gamification is particularly effective when it comes to learning and training. If you’re trying to train new employees, teach your staff a new organizational process, or fill in a skill-gap concern, turning the experience into a game is a great way to boost productivity and accelerate your results.
The “Getting Things Done” Method
While there are many different techniques and strategies for improving productivity, none of them are more aptly named than the “Getting Things Done” method. The concept of the Getting Things Done (GTD) method is fairly simple, and can be broken down into five basic steps:
- Capturing: Many of your best thoughts can strike when you’re not in a position to mull things over. That’s why the GTD method begins with capturing your scattered thoughts and transferring them to an external system (a Google doc, note app, or a piece of paperwork well).
- Clarifying: Once your thoughts are written down, try to draw out and identify the critical components and details.
- Organizing: Next, create a list of steps that must take place in order to reach your goal. Eliminate unnecessary steps or information and then prioritize the remaining steps.
- Reflecting: Once you have an actionable, organized plan, make sure to revisit it regularly as you carry it out to ensure you’re on track and the plan itself doesn’t need any adjustments.
- Engaging: Dive in! Once you have your thoughts written down, clarified, organized, and carefully considered, it’s time to take action and carry out the plan.
While the GTD method may not be for everyone, it’s an excellent way for those who tend to have scattered “moments of genius” to capture their thoughts and turn them into productive, effective, real-world realities.
If you want something done, do it. At least, that’s the idea behind the productivity-concept of continuous integration. Continuous integration consists of carrying out improvements and changes as soon as possible, as soon as the inspiration or the need strikes. Rather than sitting on an idea or a solution until a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly scheduled time to implement it, continuous integration thrives on making positive changes as quickly as possible.
While primarily used in development code contexts, the essence of continuous integration carries over into the larger productivity realm as well. If you decide that, for instance, you want your employees to try the Pomodoro Technique detailed above, have them do so starting today. Don’t wait for weeks to implement it.
Once you’ve experimented with it a bit, if you find it isn’t working, then stop without waiting for an artificial decision point. In other words, don’t be afraid to continually be making tweaks and changes in the pursuit of greater productivity.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
While a bit more nebulous than some of the other examples in this list, the concept of solid, quality communication within a team can be a critical factor for highly productive workspaces. A large portion of this communication gospel boils down to leadership.
If the leadership of a company isn’t properly communicating productivity goals, all their employees are likely to see are changes that hamper their productivity as they figure out how to use a new system, process, software, app, and so on.
Leadership should always take great pains to communicate the point of a productivity change (or any significant change, for that matter) to their employees. This empowers the latter to knowingly participate in the effort to boost production.
Manage Your Time
The concept of time management isn’t just a fancy phrase that you can use to spruce up a resume and catch a hiring manager’s eye. It’s a time-honored, highly effective productivity booster in the workplace. There are many different ways to better manage your time, including:
- Scheduling tasks and responsibilities on a timeline in order to make sure you can get everything done.
- Following your internal clock and allowing yourself to work at times of the day (and night) that are naturally best for yourself.
- Utilizing other methods like the Getting Things Done method or the Pomodoro Technique in order to stay focused.
However you choose to go about it, taking steps to increase your time management skills can be an excellent way to boost your awareness and, by extension, your productivity.
Increasing Productivity Through Tried and True Methods
There are countless hacks to increasing productivity, but many of them are short-lived or specific to a particular personality type or work situation. However, concepts like communicating objectives, time management, continuous integration, and even gamification are all tried and true methods that are likely to yield positive results in nearly any situation, whether you’re seeking solutions for yourself or a group of people you work with.
So take some time, choose an option from the list that you think will work best for your scenario, and then implement it. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can get you and your team’s productivity to spike!