Productivity Methods That Actually Work
How productive are you on a daily basis? The truth is, you probably don’t get as much done as you possibly can every day, due to distractions. Think about it. Our daily lives are filled with endless distractions. What do you do when your phone rings or you get a text message? What about an email that pops up on your screen?
If you’re anything like the average person in the biotech field, you immediately drop what you’re doing to answer the phone or respond to that message. While this means that you may not miss anything important, you’re also not getting as much work done as you possibly can. So, how can you increase your daily productivity and still stay on top of all the “new arrivals” that are flooding your inbox?
The Problem with Distractions
In today’s connected world, it’s easy to get distracted, which inevitably affects your productivity. Since it’s truly impossible to multi-task (you may feel as though you are, but what you’re truly doing is working on one thing, then another, then switching back, so none of it actually holds your attention well), you most likely aren’t properly concentrating on each task. When you get pulled out of your research, report or testing, you’re actually losing additional time because you need to refocus your efforts upon returning to them. As a result, you aren’t performing at your maximum productivity levels. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this – we have some productivity methods that really do work that we want to share with you.
This productivity method is named after a kitchen timer that looks like a tomato. All of that aside, it really does work to help you focus on tasks. With this method, you break your day down into timed chunks of 25 minutes each. Once you complete a chunk, you take a short five-minute break. After finishing four chunks of time (short breaks included), you get to enjoy an even longer break. The trick to success with this system is ignoring all outside influences during your chunks. Turn off your phone, ignore your email and ask your colleagues to respect your system. You can respond to all of those outside sources during your breaks. There are plenty of apps available that help you time everything, so you don’t really need to use a kitchen timer unless you want to. It sounds strange, but “chunking your time” really helps you focus and allows you to breeze through your tasks at hand, completely uninterrupted.
Zen to Done
With Zen to Done, you focus more on changing your habits (such as not answering your email every time it beeps) in order to increase your productivity. Plus, there’s a focus on accomplishing large tasks instead of small ones. Every day needs to be planned fairly well, with a list of your three most important tasks. These tasks play into the bigger picture, which includes several large projects or things that you want to get done each week. Essentially, you’re breaking down those large projects into manageable chunks, and then changing your habits for the better while avoiding burnout at the same time.
The Eisenhower Matrix
If you’re a very visual person (as many are in the biotech industry), then this method will work well for you. What it does is help you create a chart of your tasks that help you determine which are priorities. Start by drawing four boxes, two on top of each other on the right and again on the left, on a piece of paper. Beginning with the one on the top left and working clockwise, label them “important, but not urgent,” “urgent and important,” “urgent, but not important,” and “not important, not urgent.” Place everything on your to-do list in the proper box, and then plan your day or week accordingly. This method quickly helps you prioritize your tasks and identify which ones must be tended to immediately.
Finding the Best Method for You
Maximizing your productivity is a skill that can be honed and perfected – it just takes a little practice and dedication to the process. It can require some trial and error before you discover a productivity method that truly works for you because some people have no issues adjusting to different systems, while others need a little time to get acclimated. It’s best if you try each method for week before deciding if it meets your needs or not and then switching to another. In the end, it’s all about getting as much work done as possible, so feel free to experiment until you have that breakthrough moment where all your productivity needs just fall into place.