Everyone craves to achieve the perfect work-life balance. It's a daunting task. Allow me to share my three weapons in this quest of finding the holy grail of productivity.
1 . Getting Things Done
The GTD method rests on the idea of moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them into actionable work items. This allows one to focus attention on taking action on tasks, instead of recalling them.
I keep my Todoist setup extremely simple by nature. I've got only five (three, sir) main projects: work, leisure, and goals. The latter serves as a bucket list, but I dislike the negative connotation of the word hence why I renamed it. Tasks in these projects are all given a label: either "high energy" or "low energy" depending on the amount of energy/time I estimate is needed to complete the task. I tend to do tasks which are labeled as high energy in the morning. Your mileage may vary of course.
Lastly I've created a filter based on the famous Eisenhower Box. Here's a how-to.
This method visualizes tasks in an Eisenhower Decision Matrix (aka Eisenhower Box). The horizontal X-axis represents the level of urgency with the left side being the most urgent and the right side the least. The vertical Y-axis represents importance, with the lowest importance at the bottom, highest at the top. The result is these four quadrants.
Right now we've got everything we need to do neatly organised in an app, out of our mind so we can start focusing on what really matters and actually finish the tasks.
2 . Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
The default timeframe you need to focus is 25 minutes for which you are rewarded with a 3-5 minute break right after. After the fourth 25 minutes focus session you are rewarded with a lengthier break of usually about 15-30 minutes.
For this purpose I am using the really sleek iOS app Flat Tomato, which also integrates with Todoist. It has an additional gamification system where you can earn coins to buy aesthetic stuff in the app. It also features a nifty calendar with some statistics about where you devote your time to the most. Can be quite confronting! :)
We've got all tasks written down, selected a task, and started a Pomodoro timer, but it still seems hard to focus on the task at hand because of external noisy distractions.
3 . White / Pink / Brown Noise
You might find it hard to focus when it’s too quiet. As this video from SciShow explains, that’s because when it’s quiet, a single sound is accentuated, diverting your attention. White noise can help with that, and there are other colors of noises, too, depending on the frequency.
For this purpose I use the amazing Noisli website/app.
Noisli is here to make you more focused and boost your productivity. A background noise generator that helps you drown out annoying noises and that lets you create your perfect environment for working and relaxing. You can mix different sounds and create your perfect sound environment tailored to your personal need and taste.
Try it out and please share with me your favorite sound combinations. Here's one of mine to get you started: the color of the fire. Let's get in focus!
PS: A good night's rest is crucial and beneficial for a productive life. If you have trouble getting a good night's rest you could perhaps try these wireless sleepphones combined with an app like Noisli. These headphones also serve as a sleeping mask to block light. Here's a review of the 6 best headphones for sleeping.
Don't fret if your night's sleep still wasn't great because there's always the power nap! Between 10 and 20 minutes works best for me. Alertness without the grogginess.