Diva Musings

Smart Systems for Time Management and Productivity

Time ManagementPeople often ask me how it is that I can get so much “stuff” done… well some might say I am crazy 🙂 but really it is all about putting in place a system that allows me to focus on specific tasks.    A combination of BIG goals, clear focus and systems to increase productivity.

These are proven time management and productivity improvement systems that you can adapt or fine-tune to meet your own needs:

1.      Getting Things Done. The GTD, or Getting Things Done, system was designed by David Allen, and utilizes a five phase approach to taking control of your life and improving your productivity. These five phases are Collect, Process, Organize, Review, and Do.

  • This plan involves focusing on control and perspective rather than looking at priorities as the basis for time management.
  • Getting Things Done uses a workflow process, allowing you to gain control over all of your commitments and key tasks that need to be accomplished. Perspective is obtained through six different levels of focus that make it easier to determine what tasks need to be focused on, and when.

2.      The Pomodoro Technique. This is a simple time-management technique that involves the use of a Pomodoro kitchen timer to focus on work tasks. You set the timer for 25 minutes and spend that time working without stops or interruptions.

  • You set the timer and begin to work without any pauses for as long as the timer is ticking. If you’re interrupted, the timer stops. There is no pausing a pomodoro session.
  • When the timer goes off, you take a 5 minute break away from your work. After 4 “pomodoro sessions,” you take a longer break of up to 30 minutes before continuing with the process. While the timer is ticking, you should focus on your list of tasks without any interruptions.
  • There are other ways to utilize the pomodoro technique to your advantage, including using a worksheet to track how much work you complete during each session, and to track notes and ideas for things you need to do after your pomodoro session so that you aren’t interrupted while the clock is ticking.

3.      Zen to Done. Designed by the creator of Zen Habits, ZTD is an offshoot from the aforementioned Getting Things Done program. This program captures the same spirit of the GTD system, but with a greater focus on simplicity. ZTD focuses on changing one habit at a time, rather than several at once the way GTD does.

  • The Zen system also focuses more on doing and structure than the original series, which are beneficial modifications for many people. Rather than trying to do too much, the Zen system focuses on organizing and managing time while simplifying tasks.
  • You can read more about my ZTD experience here: My Zen to Done Journey, Zen to Passion and Zen to Done – Organize


Which System is Right for You?

When it comes to time management and productivity systems, there is no single solution that will work for everyone. The key is to find the system that meets your own personal needs, or you can modify what is available until you have a system that works. You may need to combine different productivity systems until you find comfort in a system of your own.

Experiment, with these systems or any others, pick out the actions, items, tasks that work for YOU!  Do it quickly though, don’t get bogged down in the system. Make sure the system is free flowing and easily moves you toward your goals.  The idea is not to spend more time on the system then you do on your actions!

What system are you going to try first??

Photo Credit: by photographer padawan *(xava du)

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