Are you interested in learning more about how a great productivity system can make a difference in your life?
Unfortunately, you may find that at times you aren’t able to be very productive. To help with this, there are systems that have been developed that you can incorporate into your life to help you focus to get daily tasks done more easily.
A good productivity system will help you stay on track when you’re deciding which tasks are the most important to complete, so you can choose how and when they should be done.
But what are productivity systems? Which of the various productivity methods now available would be best for you?
In this article, we will look at these systems and why they are essential. We will also explore a few different types and discuss how to choose a suitable one for your needs.
What’s a Productivity System?
Most people find the term “productivity system” somewhat confusing.
These systems are comprised of a set of guidelines, productivity methods, or practices that people use to complete individual tasks.
It could be something as simple as a to-do list or something that is far more complex such as the Kanban method, which we discuss below.
Many organizations and companies have productivity tools in place for their employees. Although they follow a specific structure, they are often quite flexible and can easily be scaled up if expansion occurs.
To further enhance the abilities of these systems and methods, you can use productivity software that is designed to meet your organization or business needs.
Why are These Systems so Important?
We are constantly being bombarded with things that cause us to become distracted quickly. These distractions and interruptions can make it difficult to focus on a particular task.
For example, how often do you find yourself distracted when you are working and a notification suddenly appears on your screen or phone that you’ve just received an email or a new post on social media? Rather than ignoring the notification and continuing with what you are doing, you probably find yourself drawn to finding out what is in the email or what the social media post has to say.
When you use a productivity system, it will help you to stay focused on what you are working on at the moment and help to reduce the chances of being distracted.
A study by the University of California found that when someone gets interrupted while working on a specific task, it takes around 23 minutes for them to focus on it again. So if you find yourself constantly being distracted at work, over time you will begin to lose a lot of productive work time.
While being productive isn’t always easy, it can become even more of a challenge when you try to stay productive on your own.
Using productivity systems can make a huge difference not only to how you work but also to how others perceive you.
What Sort of Productivity Systems Can You Use?
You can use a few different types of systems to help improve your productivity levels. Below we take a look at some of the most popular ones.
System 1: To-Do List
This is the simplest of all productivity systems you can use to help you prioritize your work. It requires little effort and it is up to you whether you use a manual or digital to-do list.
You’ll also find that most productivity systems are based on this simple concept. This will give you the option to use various kinds of such lists.
Getting started is easy – you simply take a piece of paper or make a note on your laptop, tablet, or phone of all the tasks you need to complete by a specific time. As you complete each task, cross it off the list and move on to the next one.
System 2: Getting Things Done (GTD)
This particular productivity system was developed by David Allen and is proving to be very popular.
With this system, you work on removing all thoughts, tasks, and to-do lists from inside your head, so you can organize them into tasks that you find more manageable.
With this particular system, there are several stages you have to go through to deal with tasks you have to complete. The stages are as follows:
- Capture: This is the stage where you put anything on your mind onto your to-do task list.
- Clarify: In this stage, you work on breaking down each of the tasks into smaller steps that you will find more manageable.
- Organize: This stage is crucial as it helps you to categorize each task and prioritize them.
- Reflect: During this stage, you go over the tasks to refine them regularly.
- Engage: Tackle the list of tasks you’ve come up with.
System 3: Zen To Done (ZTD)
If you try the GTD system and are having trouble sticking with it, then you may find this one more suitable for your needs.
With ZTD, developed by Leo Babauta, you learn to focus on just one habit at a time. It is a little simpler to use than other systems and has a bit more structure.
Create a list of habits you can adopt and use them in any order that you feel suits your needs best, such as collect, plan, process, do, organize, review, and simplify.
System 4: The Pomodoro Technique
If you are someone that finds yourself easily distracted, you may find that this simple method, created by Francesco Cirillo, is the best one for your needs no matter how complex the tasks that need to be completed.
Unlike other popular productivity systems we discuss here, this one helps you maintain your focus by dividing the task list into short blocks of time, followed by a break.
Usually, each of the chunks of time is 25 minutes long, and after this, you will take a five-minute break. However, if you want to experiment with making each session longer or shorter, you can.
You may find installing a timer on your computer, laptop, or other devices helpful when using this productivity system. You can also use a conventional kitchen timer that sits beside you as you work, but some may find this a little distracting.
System 5: Time Blocking
We tend to waste quite a bit of time when we switch between different tasks, not providing us with sufficient time to tackle the bigger projects.
Time blocking productivity systems provide a way to stay on track and hold yourself accountable throughout the day, allowing you to achieve your daily goals. You do this by setting certain periods aside to achieve specific goals. At the same time, you make sure you include time to take a break to help manage your mental energy.
With this system, you don’t need to use any special productivity apps – all you have to do is put time aside in your calendar for each task you need to complete.
You will find that time blocking is not only a simple tool but it can easily be used in conjunction with many of the other productivity systems we discuss in this article.
System 6: The Kanban Method
If you are looking for a great way to stay accountable while working on any task, then try using a Kanban board, which ends up producing an actionable to-do list.
All you need to do is create a table with three columns and then split each of the tasks you need to complete between them.
The first column is the “To Do” one, the second is the “Doing” one, and the third column is the “Done” one.
This method helps you to be more productive in three different ways:
- The “To-Do” column helps you prioritize what work you need to do, making it more visible to you.
- The “Doing” column helps to limit your work as you go through each task, as you should only have three in this column at any time.
- The “Done” column is vital as it helps you to improve your productivity further by learning from what you’ve done previously, as you will review everything you have done before you can mark it as “done.”
Which Productivity System is Best for Me?
When it comes to productivity systems, there are quite a few to select from. So how do you decide which of these systems would be best for you?
Well, the first thing to remember is that any of the systems you want to use must abide by three simple rules:
- Is it helpful?
- Is it easy to use?
- Can you customize it?
For you to be able to decide which task management method or system is a good fit for you, there are specific questions that you need to ask yourself.
Question 1: Will it work for me?
There’s no point in using a system specifically designed for use by a farmer, for example, unless you can customize it for use in your own life.
What you want to focus on is finding a system that will do what it says and help you get work done so that you will not only meet your targets but also achieve your overall goals.
If you find any system to be a hassle or if it isn’t proving as effective as you hoped, then try a different one.
When it comes to such systems, you will not know if a particular one is going to work for you or not until you’ve tried it.
Question 2: Is it easy to use?
One of the biggest complaints you will often see about using these productivity systems is that they aren’t natural.
You must remember that getting the best out of them will take some time. This is because you are probably going to have to change your ways.
We recommend you look for a system with comprehensive instructions showing you how to use it and what you can do with it once you have mastered it.
The best systems are those that are easy to use and also convenient to access.
Question 3 – Does it integrate well with other systems?
The best productivity systems are those that you can customize.
However, it should also be suitable to meet your specific needs. What is most important is that you choose a system that is not only able to adapt and change but will also grow along with you.
Make sure you try several out before making your final decision.
When it comes to productivity systems, there aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. Whether you use it on your own or as part of a team, getting everyone working on the same page can be challenging.
However, with a little experimentation, you may find that using different productivity systems in conjunction with others proves more beneficial. Not only will these methods help increase work output, but they also provide support to ensure you and anyone using the systems enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
It is also worth noting that you shouldn’t expect to increase productivity levels immediately when you start using such techniques.
You will need to use these systems and good productivity management software, which will not only help you to remain motivated but also help you to focus on your work better. It will also provide you with vital information to assess how well your productivity levels are improving.
Try out some of the systems we’ve suggested above, and let us know which of them you found suitable for your needs.
Simply leave a comment below to let us know if you found this article helpful now or in the future.