Three foolproof techniques to increase productivity

Have you ever had the feeling that although working twice the hours, you had half the output of your team? While everyone in the office seems to be faster and more productive, you continue to struggle. The constant information overload brought by smartphones, social networks and multiple screens is compromising our focus.

In order to improve productivity, the first think to be done is stop multitasking. Shut off notifications, close browser tabs and put the cell phone aside for some minutes. The three techniques below (Pomodoro, Getting Things Done and Eisenhower Matrix) are also big helpers. With the Pomodoro method, for example, a workload of 40 hours a week can be reduced to only 17 hours.

The Pomodoro Technique

Despite being simple, this method is one of the most efficient tools for fully focusing on one thing. Each task should be split in chunks of 25 minutes, with the time controlled by a timer.

When the alarm rings, it is time to a 5-minute break. The cycles can be repeated for up to 4 times. Then, a 15-minute break should be followed.

The technique is called Pomodoro because the timer used by its inventor, the Italian Francesco Cirillo, had the shape of a tomato (called Pomodoro in Italian).


Getting Things Done

Created by the consultant and productivity instructor David Allen, the method aims to make you forget distractions and problems, focusing only on performing your tasks. To do this, just follow a few steps:

1. Collect
Make a list of activities to remember everything to be done

2. Process
Divide your tasks in 6 categories:

Do it now: Things that can be done in 2 minutes
Project: More complex tasks
Commitment: Obligations with a date
Waiting: Activities that can be delegated to another employee
Next actions: Tasks to be done as soon as possible
Someday: Everything that cannot or does not need to be done at the moment

3. Organize
Put activities in order of importance.

4. Execute
Make things happen!

5. Review
List everything that was produced to improve the development of the next day’s to-do list.


Einsenhower Matrix

The name is complicated, but the technique is simple. Tasks are divided according to its deadlines and organized in a square with a cross in the center, forming four smaller squares.

Important and urgent activities are in the upper left corner. They should be done first. In the upper right square are important but not urgent tasks. In the third square you should allocate activities that are important, but can be done by other employees. The fourth square limits activities that should not be done, since they are neither important nor urgent.