Waking up every day feeling guilty, disappointed, accusing myself of being lazy because I couldn’t get most of the things I had set to accomplish before the end of the previous day, maybe I’m too hard on myself or maybe I’m just trying to get too many things done, well maybe just maybe.
And so I decided I need to own my time, deliberately cut out time-wasting activities, stop getting work done and also drifting off into Twitter, Instagram or YouTube in the middle of actually getting something done. I wanted to take account of time spent during the day and night, I wanted to get more things done, I wanted to be more productive.
I googled various productivity hacks I could add to my daily routine and watched several videos. After trying different things some worked but I didn’t quite stick to them, some didn’t just work at all but three stood out.
The 1–3–5 rule
The first is the 1–3–5 rule. At the end of each day before going to bed I set one big and important task, three medium tasks and five little tasks to get done before the end of the next day. With this, I prevent myself from getting overwhelmed by tasks because completing them is way more feasible. Sometimes I might not get every single task done, but I don’t make myself feel guilty about it, I just add it to my todo list for the next day.
The next productivity hack that works for me is time-blocking, with time-blocking I create a distraction-free duration of intense focus for one specific task, for example, “10:00 AM to 1:45 PM, add a particular feature to a codebase”. This has helped me not to multi-task because when I multi-task I come up with chunks of tasks I start but leaving them unfinished.
Sometimes I might complete the task before the time I set, so I reward myself with free time to do whatever I want that is fun, or just get something else done.
Variation of the Pomodoro technique
Time blocking is great but sometimes working on one thing for two hours or more at a stretch could be daunting, so I added a mix of the Pomodoro technique. It’s a well-known technique of setting blocks of 25 minutes countdowns to get work done with breaks of 10 minutes, but 25 minutes was just too short for me to experience flow in whatever task I was working on, so I made a slight change with 45 minutes of focused work and 15 minutes breaks, which is efficient.
Having a mix of these three productivity hacks has been effective in getting things done. This may not work for everyone but I hope someone finds it useful.
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