The most popular productivity techniques that survived the 20th century, are still efficient in the 21st century: no surprise, because people are still human beings. I would name the following productivity boosting methods that have proved to be efficient:
The Getting Things Done method was elaborated by David Allen. To put it simple, it has two main rules: write everything you have to do on a piece of paper to empty your head. Then pick a number of tasks and then do it one by one, until it’s done. This way, you just do things from the list, one by one, without thinking upon ‘what to do next’, your head is free of side thinking about life and all, and you’re just working. Suddenly, you realize, that you have made a long way forward in your project. It is crucial for GTD to prioritize tasks from the list.
Inbox zero speaks for itself: instead of storing emails in your inbox, searching each time what to start with, what you have answered and what is waiting for being completed, you just read and delete insignificant emails, and for significant emails you either read and answer, or read and send it to your task list. After this, you can apply to the tasks other productivity methods, such as GTD or Urgent-Important matrix.
Urgent-Important method and Eisenhower matrix have a lot in common. Historically, Urgent-Important matrix appeared as a more detailed and simplified Eisenhower matrix method interpreted by Stephen Covey. This is probably the most efficient method to prioritize your tasks, judging from their importance and urgency. Not all of the urgent tasks are important, most of important tasks are not urgent. Eisenhower matrix suggests that you prioritize your tasks visually.
I use all of the 4 methods for my Outlook tasks productivity with the help of TaskCracker, a simple and quick Outlook add-in. It takes my Outlook tasks and presents them in a form of a view where I prioritize them by urgency and importance, and then apply the GTD method to the task achievement. I drag and drop tasks in the grids of the TaskCracker view in a way that I can see my workload at a glance and quickly estimate how much time I need to complete my project.
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