When it comes to the average workday, most of us simply try to power through from start to end with a break in the middle for lunch. Whilst it is the go-to method, there are many more techniques for you to try and harness to be the most productive you can be. While all these techniques can help you successfully manage your workload, some are more effective than others. Be sure to assess your to-do list and surroundings to see which technique would work best for you in your current situation, and remember - a mix of all could work too!
The Ultradian Performance Rhythm
The Ultradian Technique is all about working with your body’s natural rhythm to optimise performance. Researchers have studied high performers for years including athletes, musicians, chess players and writers, and in every area findings have been the same: those at the top tend to practice in intense 60-90 minute sessions with recovery breaks to avoid slump periods. Find your biological prime times and take advantage of them by producing your best work, then be sure to identify the times you need to recharge and do just that – stop and recharge.
The Pomodoro Technique
Named after the infamous tomato kitchen timer, the Pomodoro Technique involves setting yourself a task, working solidly for 25 minutes without interruption (until the pomodoro rings) and then taking a quick rewarding break. Following the break, you will complete 3 more pomodoros and then take a longer break. This timer involved technique can create a sense of urgency during the pomodoros which can motivate you to work harder and faster, to then reap the benefits of the break periods.
The Batching Technique
The Batching Technique refers to grouping similar tasks together to do them all at once, instead of scattering them throughout the day. For example, instead of routinely checking your inbox or phone as texts and emails come in, or making similar small changes to pieces of work you have already sent off for review, set aside batches of time to tackle related tasks together. Blocking out times for comparable tasks allows you to power through them without interruption, therefore making you more efficient with time. Once completing a ‘batch’ take a break and then move on to either the next batch or a larger project you’re working on.
The 52:17 Technique
Similar to the Pomodoro technique, the 52:17 technique is about breaking up your day but now into 52-minute work bursts with a rewarding 17-minute break. Depending on your work, the 52:17 may be more effective than the pomodoro technique as you have more time to produce effective results with a good enough break to do something substantial like go for a walk, grab some food or do some personal admin.