Efficiency is the name of the game at Agents of Efficiency (obviously) so we’re making it even more efficient for you to improve your business. Every week, we sort through all the boring stuff to bring you only the best tips from the wide world of the web. There’s no one magic solution for efficient, productive work, so for this week’s #2tips4tues we examine two methods, notorious for their efficiency.
ONE THING AT A TIME
Increasingly, executives, programmers, and project managers are touting uni-tasking over the notorious multi-tasking, and both of these approaches focus on doing one task at a time in order to come out on top. David Allen’s Getting Things Done has been a perennial best seller for good reason: he knows how to use organization as a tool for efficiency. This approach leads to clear visibility for all parts of every project: “You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done.'” On his website, Allen makes no secret about his efficient path: Capture (collect what has your attention), Clarify (process what it means), Organize (put it where it belongs), Reflect (review frequently), Engage (simply do).
Ah yes, the “doing” part. Beyond the GTD method, what you’re still left with is a whole slew of tasks that need doing. Now it’s time to implement Italian programmer Francesco Cirillo’s The Pomodoro Technique, named after a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (“pomodoro” is Italian for the bright red fruit [not a vegetable!]). The simple act of working in 20-25 minute increments, without distraction, is the core of Cirillo’s technique. There’s also the added bonus of learning how long it should take to complete future tasks. From Quartz: “…because the system relies on blocks of time, it helps you better estimate how long your tasks will take. For repeatable tasks in particular, you’ll know how many Pomodoros they usually take, and be able to plan your days more accurately. You’ll also know how many Pomodoros you can get through most days, so you can plan a more realistic workload for yourself rather than getting overwhelmed by overly ambitious plans.” Neither GTD or Pomodoro are for everyone, but they’re part of an encouraging and growing trend to close all those tabs and do one thing at a time.