Productivity Systems and Tools to check-in 2020
How are you going to get stuff done this year?
For many of us, the start of a new year signals a desire to get more done and to become more efficient with our time.
After all, time is in short supply, and when you’re time poor, you need the best systems and tools to make you get stuff done quickly.
I’ve spent a long time refining my own productivity, and while I’ll never perfect it (that’s an impossible dream no one should strive for), I’ve learned an awful lot along the way.
Originally invented by Toyota in the 1940s, the Kanban methodology has evolved to become an incredibly useful productivity technique for a huge number of industries.
It works on the basis of boards and cards. You can imagine a simple Kanban board where you have three columns labelled as follows:
Within each column, cards are placed for all of the constituent elements of large projects. Workers move the cards into the column that best represents their current status.
It’s one of the best, most visual ways to keep on top of what you’re doing and could be your saviour during 2020.
2. Inbox Zero
Email is still useful.
No, really. It’s just misused.
The key lies in only using email when you absolutely need to - and in keeping a nice clean inbox.
Known as Inbox Zero, this is a method by which you regularly keep your email client clean. And you can do so by devoting specific times of the day to email management.
During that time, reply to stuff that’s simple, schedule to-dos for the larger tasks and bin anything that isn't needed.
The more you do this, the more Inbox Zero becomes a reality, and it’ll pay you back handsomely in time you can allocate to more important tasks.
3. A consistent morning routine
Not all productivity tools and systems are tangible - sometimes, it’s what you do each day that makes you more efficient.
If you get up at the same time (early enough to have gained enough sleep and to be ready to leap out of bed), eat a healthy breakfast and begin work when you’re most inspired to do so, you’ll become more productive. Simple.
The morning is one of the most important times of the day - don’t waste yours; give your body and mind what they require and make it a consistent effort.
4. Bullet Journalling
Why don’t we go back to pen and paper for this one?
Regardless of the myriad of digital ways we can keep our to-do lists and calendars organised, sometimes the old-fashioned way is the most effective, and that’s certainly the case with bullet journalling.
This is simply a way of organising all of your tasks, thoughts, plans and diary events in one place. Most bullet journal aficionados will use traditional notebooks and pens for this, but you can use whatever feels the most natural.
Bullet journalling is a huge topic, but there’s a great intro here.
And finally: don't forget the to-do list
I’ve left this until last because it impacts all of the above - the humble to-do list.
If you’re starting each day without one, you’re making a big mistake and one that could cost you dearly.
Effective to-do list management will make you more productive than you thought possible. It just requires a large degree of honesty. Each day, make sure you only schedule tasks you know you can get done.
Have fun being productive this year!