Exploring Innovative Ways to Work Efficiently and Productively

The most common yet simple time management technique we already know is the to-do list. Making your to-do list is traditionally effective for some, but it doesn’t work for everyone. You can mix and match several creative techniques to maintain and improve the work efficiently and productively. As the world of outsourcing and remote staffing solutions evolve, we looked at other ways that might be better than the traditional to-do list. Here are some time management techniques from University of St. Augustine for Health and Sciences that you might have never heard of.

The Pomodoro Technique comes from the Italian word Pomodoro which means “tomato” and the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Francesco Cirillo used as a university student. This method uses a timer to break down your work into intervals. It is a time management method that encourages people to work with the time they have. This strategy divides your work into 25-minute chunks with five-minute pauses in between.

Here’s how it works.

The 80/20 Rule, also called the Pareto Analysis, was created by an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who states that 80% of a project’s benefit comes from 20% of the work. Alternatively, 80% of the impact can be attributed to 20% of the causes. The Pareto Analysis finds the problem areas or tasks with the highest return on investment.

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, was created by Dwight Eisenhower to help you prioritise a list of chores by the matrix — urgency and significance, separating the most important from the least important item to complete.

Your daily task with each block of time. This is what we use in appointment settings using a variety of computer applications.

Have you heard of Time Blocking? That’s right. This is the method that Elon Musk uses to manage his tasks productively. Musk schedules his day in five-minute intervals called “time blocks.” Each time block has a specific assignment or activity allocated to it. Time blocking forces you to fill spare time with pre-commitments and a strategy for getting things done.

Another advantage of time blocking is that it reduces the number of decisions you have to make at any given time, allowing you to focus more on your work efficiently.

The GTD (Getting Things Done) Method was created by David Allen to help you manage your workflow by recording or simply jotting it down. The GTD workflow consists of five stages: capture, clarify, organise, reflect, and engage.

Another is Kanban, the Japanese term for “visual board” or a “sign,” which helps you manage your workflow by visually presenting your work process and monitoring its progress to maximise your productivity. It began in manufacturing and has since been claimed by agile software development teams. It was developed and applied by Toyota.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins wanted a simple, clear, step-by-step system for successfully achieving his goals. So he developed the Rapid Planning Method (RPM). With that said, it is a massive action plan that focuses on results and helps you take deliberate action on what you want to achieve.

The Pickle Jar Theory is the latest theory of time management developed by Jeremy Wright. It helps you prioritise things for your daily life and plan tasks that will balance your personal life and work. The Pickle Jar theory is based on the idea that like a pickle jar, time is limited. Our lives are like a jar, with a finite amount of room and volume. It’s a visual metaphorical expression that helps you figure out what’s important and what’s not. It assists you in setting daily priorities and planning tasks so that you have time to spare rather than too few hours in the day. In the Pickle Jar Theory, rocks, pebbles, and sand all serve a role. Rocks represent the most important tasks. Pebbles represent the tasks that are of average value. And the sand represents the activities that are of least relevance.

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The famous line from the British historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a humorous essay he wrote for “The Economist” in 1955. Hence, Parkinson’s Law is an adage that means we tend to work efficiently within shorter time frames. This works well on people working under pressure.

Derived from Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day,” the Eat That Frog Technique simply implies you must take immediate action to solve the most important and most complex tasks of the day. The frog is the thing on your to-do list for which you have little motivation and are most likely to delay. Eating the frog indicates to simply do it because if you don’t, the frog will eat you, and you’ll end up procrastinating all day. Once you’ve completed that one thing, the remainder of the day will be much easier, and you’ll have gained momentum and a sense of achievement at the start of your day.

You may explore working with the combinations of these techniques and come up with the method that suits you best. As the digital transformation emerges, various automated systems and applications will be developed and enhanced to help us achieve our daily goals.

Whichever your techniques are, keep in mind that it’s always best to balance your work and personal life. You may keep doing your way. So, what’s yours?