Nothing feels worse than having a never-ending to-do list. Even if you work extra hours, you still can’t seem to finish all your tasks. Whether you are in school, at an office, or working from home, we all want to work as efficiently as possible to make that money. If only there were an easy way to increase your productivity!
Guess what? There is something! No matter what type of work you need to schedule your day around, this one tool can help you out. It’s small, easy to use, and, best of all, super affordable!
Created by Intelligent Change (the same people who brought you The Five-Minute Journal), the Productivity Planner is just what it sounds like. This handy little book was designed to increase productivity by using simple daily journal pages to track your work.
With time tracking, a notes section, and a place to reflect on your productivity at the end of each day, this product takes just minutes to fill in but will make your work time much more efficient. By helping you figure out your daily priorities, the Productivity Planner ensures you complete your vital work instead of blowing it off for less essential tasks.
The Productivity Planner isn’t dated, so you can buy one whenever and use it that day! Each includes six months’ worth of planning pages and weekly reflection pages. It’s minor and light, making it easily portable for working in a coffee shop or at a conference. It makes the perfect gift for your Type-A friend or your work wife.
A Guide To The Productivity Planner
You need to prioritize your work tasks at the beginning of each day. Choose the most important one you must accomplish, some secondary ones, and finally, functions that would be nice to finish but aren’t super important. Fill these in on your journal page in the proper spots to remind yourself of your priorities.
The main point of the Productivity Planner is quality over quantity. By putting your important tasks first, you get more done on the work that matters rather than doing a little bit on many different projects or completing work that isn’t essential.
Next to each task is a time tracker using the Pomodoro Technique (more on later). This space tracks how long it takes to complete each task. At the beginning of the workday, you predict how many Pomodoros (25-minute spurts of focused working) it takes to finish the job, then record the actual amount of time when you’ve finished. Then, you can see how much time you spent on each task so you can predict how long it should take you next time.
But wait, there’s more!
Each page also includes a handy notes section to help you kick that sticky note habit (the environment will thank you for using less paper). This is the place to jot down meetings to remember, ideas that come to you, or shopping lists that pop into your head. Having this stuff in the same place as your productivity tracking ensures you don’t forget anything important in your day!
Don’t forget to fill out the Productivity Planner’s Productivity Score section at the end of each day. Here, you can rate your productivity on a scale of one to ten and write a quick blurb about the day. You’ll be able to track why you may be more or less productive on certain days and find ways to improve.
It gets better.
Weekly reflection pages also help you work towards your productivity goals. This section is for weekly notes, wins, and things you have learned. You can also write down the tasks you didn’t complete (so you know to prioritize them the following week) and your personal goals toward working more productively.
Add the inspiring quote at the top of each page and the gorgeous vegan leather cover, and you have an irresistible planner! Whether you’re a stationery fiend, are trying to stop procrastinating, or want to grow into the best career maven you can be, the Productivity Planner is worth a try.
The Productivity Planner
The Productivity Planner: If you are tired of spinning your wheels during the day, I highly recommend the productivity planner. It helps you focus on your most important tasks for the day and keep your other tasks in focus as well. Created by the same people who created the Five Minute Journal it is designed with your success in mind.
This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no cost to you.
What Is The Pomodoro Technique?
Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the early 90s, the Pomodoro Technique breaks down your day to ensure you’re as productive as possible. Pomodoro” means “tomato” in Italian and is a nod to Cirillo’s kitchen timer shaped like the fruit he used to carry out his system.
The gist of the Pomodoro Technique is simple. Whether you have one big task or a series of small ones, break down the work into small, timed chunks with short breaks. It’s sort of like a HIIT workout for your tasks. The idea is to entirely focus briefly and reward yourself with frequent breaks so you neither procrastinate nor burn out.
Here’s how to set up your Pomodoro cycle:
- Figure out what work you need to accomplish. It could be to clear your inbox, write an essay, or even clean your closet.
- Set your timer for 25 minutes and work until it goes off. No exceptions! This is one Pomodoro. You have two choices if you get interrupted by a call, meeting, or chatty coworker. You can either end your Pomodoro and start a new one after the distraction or tell the other person you’re busy, finish your time, and get back to them after the timer rings.
- Take a 5-minute (or shorter) break. You can do whatever you want: grab a snack, scroll social media, stretch, etc. These breaks should be just long enough to clear your head a bit.
- Set your timer for your next Pomodoro and start again!
- Take an extended break every 4 Pomodoros (100 minutes of active work time). This should be between 15 and 30 minutes long and help you fully recharge.
- If you’re a visual learner, make checkmarks or circles on a sheet of paper for every Pomodoro it takes to complete a task. This technique will help you understand how efficiently you worked on that task and help you schedule your day better next time.
Why It Works
You know you only have to work for a certain amount of time and then get a break, so you’re more likely to focus during that set work time.
We often work one of two ways that kill our productivity. You might dive into your work in the morning and go for hours without stopping. This fries your brain fast, so you’ll feel burnt out by lunchtime. On the other side of the coin, you might procrastinate by chatting with coworkers, making coffee, or doing non-essential work.
This regular break method helps you avoid burnout and unnecessarily dragging out your work. Even if you don’t organize your day with the Productivity Planner, you can still use the Pomodoro Technique to maximize your time. Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll see an increase in your productivity right away!
More Ways To Increase Your Productivity
You can also watch this helpful video by Becca Bristow below. She shares her favorite ways to stay productive and motivated throughout the day!
Work When You Feel Productive
Everyone has different working styles and times of day when they feel the most productive to get the most work done that you can, try to schedule your day around the times when you have the most energy.
Morning person? Schedule important meetings for the start of the day. Night owl? Do mindless tasks in the morning and tackle your more complex work once you’ve fully woken up.
You can personalize your schedule even more if you are a student or work from home. If completing tasks at 11 p.m. feels right, go for it! I realize this isn’t an option for everyone, but working during your most productive times is a no-brainer.
Follow The 2 Minute Rule
One huge hurdle to productivity is worrying about small, trivial tasks. You get so caught up in the minutia of your to-do list that you forget to work on the most critical projects. To avoid this, try adopting the 2-minute rule.
In this method, you think about all the tasks you must do each day, both big and small. If the job can be completed in under 2 minutes, do it right then and there! Rather than adding these tiny little things to your to-do list and making it even longer, you get them done and over with. By answering an email, making an appointment, or tidying your desk, you get a sense of accomplishment and stop wasting time and brain space by putting them off for later.
Just get started for tasks that take more than 2 minutes to finish! Putting off more significant projects will only make you more stressed out. Begin your big jobs with a 2-minute chunk of focused work time. Chances are you will gain momentum and roll right into being productive.
Don’t Break the Chain
Are you the competitive type? Then, you’ll love this hack to increase your productivity. Invented by Jerry Seinfeld (yeah, the comedian), the “don’t break the chain” method helps you start a good habit by competing with yourself.
To start, set a goal you want to accomplish. This could be something you want to do every day or a more extensive plan you want to achieve (like getting a promotion). Next, hang an annual calendar in your office in plain view. Finally, make a big ol’ X each day that you do something that helps you get closer to your goal.
For instance, if you want to get all A’s in your classes, make an X each day you study. Or, if you are trying to find a new job, mark every day that you actively searched for open positions.
The whole idea is that you don’t want to break the chain of productivity toward your goal. The calendar is a visual reminder of your progress. If you miss a day, it’s basically like starting over! Soon, this daily work will become part of your routine, making it easier to remember to do and getting you closer to your ultimate goal.
Turn Off Notifications
Let’s be honest.
We all know that notifications are time wasters. Seeing your phone light up whenever you get a social media comment, message, or email is distracting. It’s just facts! The only type of “notification” essential is a phone call; if someone contacts you another way, they expect a delayed response anyway.
So why let notifications dig into your precious work time? Turn them off while you’re at the office so you can focus and get shit done!
This tip works hand-in-hand with the Pomodoro Technique incredibly well. Rather than being distracted by constant “dings” from your phone and computer, you can use your break times to check any account you might be expecting a notification from. You might find that immediately knowing about every “like” isn’t as relevant to you after a while!
Everyone wants to be more productive at work. However, finding ways to clear out that long to-do list can be difficult! Hopefully, these tips will make you work faster and more efficiently. The Productivity Planner is an excellent tool because it’s easy to use and instantly boosts productivity!
Do you own the Productivity Planner? Have you ever worked using the Pomodoro Technique? What are your best tips to increase your productivity at school or work? Let us know in the comments below!