We don’t want to rely solely on our brains for managing our to do list. We also don’t want to skip around doing different tasks at the same time. Multitasking should be avoided at all costs. Here’s what you can do about this:
I combine the pomodoro (tomato in Italian) technique and GTD contexts for a super charged productivity boost!
Things take more time then you want them to.
I feel like getting to 75% complete is easy. Getting to 90% complete takes a push but it’s within reach. But the effort involved for 100% completion is where most people seem to fall a little short.
One of my favorite practices is to to combine two productivity techniques in order to help push everything to 100% complete.
First is batching tasks.
With a program like Nozbe (and most project based task management software) you can assign a category to a task AKA in GTD lingo a context. Here’s why this is like adding a little rocket fuel to your productivity:
- Setup is the same – When I’m making calls for instance, I’ve got my phone at the ready, phone numbers handy, paper ready for notes, pen in hand to take notes and my calendar open.
- Frame of mind – Even though the tasks might be from different projects you are in one mode of thinking when they are grouped by contexts. You will be laser focused.
- You won’t drop the ball – There are no cracks in this system. You plow through all your tasks related to that context. How ridiculous would it be for you to have to go out of your house to run errands multiple times in one day because you didn’t have all your errands on one list called errands.
Have as many contexts as you need but not so many so it becomes a burden to your system.
Heres are some of my contexts and here’s a little more background on my contexts systems.
- Call-Email – This is the one that gets the most action on my lists. I already used an example of how this can be used to make you more efficient.
- Waiting for – This one is critical. It’s what are you waiting for from someone else.
- Office – Tasks that can only be done in the office.
- Home – Task that can only be done at home.
- Errands – When you are out and about scan you errands list maybe you can get a few things crossed of this list.
- Key people – one for each key person you interact with. This is very handy when you meet with someone and they say is there anything else you want to talk – I say, hold on, let me check. I filter my contexts (categories in Nozbe) and see if there is.
Second is creating chunks of time.
I combine my task batching with the pomodoro technique. The pomodoro technique employs the use of a timer set to 25 minutes. You work for 25 minutes on your tasks then take a 5 minute break.
Now I have to say that I tweak the times a little here and there. I think the conclusion I’ve found is that there is a balance between how long you work before a break. 25-35 minutes seems like a good number to me.
I recommend organizing your task by context. Then set a timer and really plow through those phone calls or emails. The combination gives me a productive boost!
Let’s talk more about this on Twitter.