Tips and Tools to Use
Productivity is vital to success in any area. Considering that we spend most of our time at work, it would seem logical that we do everything to make it as efficient as possible.
However, productivity does not come naturally to everyone. In fact, it’s a skill that you can sharpen through practice. This is likely why you’ve read countless productivity books and attempted various hacks and methods.
In this article, we will introduce a framework that covers the basics of productivity.
The Four Pillars of Productivity
The four pillars of productivity are time, energy, concentration, and knowledge: let’s call it the TECK framework. Although this framework does not cover every productivity hack or system out there, it encompasses most of the critical aspects that you can start managing immediately.
It is vital that you manage and optimize all four elements simultaneously to maximize your productivity. That’s because they all work in a symbiotic relationship with each other.
So, whenever you struggle with productivity, you can quickly address the problem by figuring out which pillar is out of balance. For example, if you have the time, energy, and concentration to work on a project, but you don’t know how to go about it or lack access to crucial information, you can’t reach peak productivity.
Therefore, you can start by building your knowledge and learning as much as you can about the project to boost your productivity. When you manage all four properly, your productivity will skyrocket.
Let’s explore each pillar in more detail, with tools and techniques to help you manage them:
1. Time Management
Time management is undoubtedly one of the essential areas of productivity. This is because you only have so much time in the day, and it’s important that you spend it well.
On average, people work 8 hours a day. Although you might often complain that you don’t have enough time, that’s quite a lot of time to do your most essential tasks. If you prioritize your tasks and plan well, you’ll see that you have all the time to be productive.
So, how can you do that?
You can manage your time better by leveraging your prime biological time or chronotype, or using time management methods like timeboxing and the Pomodoro technique.
- Timeboxing: The idea with timeboxing is that you set aside a certain amount of time to work on something. You then stop working when the time has run out, even if you haven’t completed the task or achieved your milestones. This is merely a technique to help you stay on track and get the most out of your time.
- The Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro technique primarily consists of working in 25-minute chunks, followed by quick 5-minute breaks. After every four cycles, you take a more extended break of 15-20 minutes.
These techniques are great ways to stay on track, and you can apply them regardless of whether you are a freelancer or work in an office. You just need to find the one that works best for you. You can also use time management tools like Pomodone, Toggl, or Timely.
Energy is another crucial pillar in the productivity framework because it can help or hinder your performance depending on how well you manage it.
You may often find that you’re not working at peak capacity, which could affect your productivity. That’s so because, even if you can effectively manage your time, you won’t be able to do much when you are exhausted. Conversely, the more energy you have, the less time you will need to produce great results.
You can manage your energy levels better by understanding what drains or boosts them. Understanding these factors will give you an advantage in planning out your day and managing your time more efficiently.
So, let’s explore some ways to boost your energy:
- Use sleep management apps: Getting enough quality sleep is closely linked with high energy levels. You should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night and ensure that your sleeping environment is conducive for high-quality rest. You can use digital solutions like Sleep as Android, Noisli, or pzizz.
- Proper Nutrition: Getting enough nutrients from food is another excellent way to boost your energy levels throughout the day. Eating fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks will give you enough energy to work at full capacity. You can use these food apps to make healthy eating easy.
- Exercise: Having regular workouts can help boost your energy levels. What’s more, exercise also reduces stress, increases blood flow to the brain, and enhances brain plasticity. Most importantly, it’s a great way to keep your energy up throughout the day. If you are looking for a practical fitness companion, you can rely on FitOn.
- Motivation: Having a strong motivation for what you do is another great way to feel energized and accomplish more. When you start your day with enough motivation, there’s no stopping you when it comes to being productive. That said, you will need to find ways to increase your motivation to get more done.
So, let’s assume that you have enough time and energy, but you are bombarded with distractions and interruptions. Well, it’s clear that it will take a toll on your productivity.
Concentration is the third pillar of productivity, and it refers to your ability to focus on whatever you are doing at that given time without falling prey to distractions.
According to a study from the University of California, Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes for someone to recover from a distraction and get back to work productively. When multiple tasks are vying for your attention, it can prove to be extremely difficult to focus on what you’re doing.
So, how can you improve your focus?
- Avoid Multitasking: Multitasking has long been discouraged for many reasons. It disrupts your focus, limits your ability to manage time well, and causes stress. When you have a lot on your plate, it’s essential to find ways to make your work more manageable, like mastering single-tasking to improve your productivity.
- Practice Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness empowers you to stay present in the moment. This means that you are able to tune out distractions and focus on the task at hand. Mindfulness can also help you avoid context-switching, making it easier for you to improve your attention span. You can use tools like Insight Timer or Headspace.
- Improve Your Working Environment: There are several ways to improve your working environment to benefit from better focus. First, ensure that you work in a quiet environment. It’s also vital to limit notification pop-ups and have a clutter-free workstation.
Our ability to perform tasks is fueled by energy, but knowledge tells us how to use that energy. You will have difficulties getting the job done without knowing how to do it or the right tools to use.
That’s because there are many ways to arrive at the same outcome or complete a task. It would, for example, take you more time and energy to trim your yard with a grass shear than it would with a lawnmower.
So, it’s essential to know the best practices and tools for whatever you need to accomplish. That said, you could challenge yourself to continuously examine how you do your work and how you could do it more efficiently.
There are many ways you can enhance your professional expertise. If you encounter a particularly challenging task or new project, look for tutorials, walkthroughs, and proper tools on platforms like YouTube or relevant online forums, communities, and websites.
You could also enroll in an online course via sites like Coursera, Skillshare, and Udemy to fine-tune your skills. Creating an internal wiki in your organization can also be a great way to provide better access to information.
Reach Peak Productivity With the TECK Framework
By managing and optimizing these four pillars, you will be on your way to being more productive. Chances are, you will naturally excel in some areas and struggle with others.
Once you identify your weakest pillar, you can leverage the strategies and tools above to make it stronger. And when they are all strong, they will work together and make your workflow much more productive.
Want to increase your productivity and do more in less time? Here are some effective ways you can use.
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