Basically there are two major problems to stay Focused and Productive.
The hurdle of Decision making and the hurdle of Starting. Inn order to solve this problem, mainly I use two methods.

1. Eisenhower matrix method

Before thinking about “How can I get Focused and Productive”, we have to decide first “What deserve my Focus”. So I use Eisenhower matrix to solve this problem. It is a useful tool for decision making on Identifying and prioritizing what deserves my attention.

This method is generally very good Prioritization Framework.

Eisenhower matrix has 2 basic attributes to prioritize tasks. Those are Urgency and Importance.

Urgency: needs immediate reaction.

Importance: tasks that has contribution for our goals, values, missions and wellbeing.

So, this matrix divide tasks into Four possibilities.

1. Urgent and important tasks.

These tasks are first priority, you have to do these tasks immediately.

2. Important but not urgent tasks.

These tasks requires a schedule to do it later.

3. Urgent but not important.

These are tasks you don’t need to do instead you can delegate to someone else.

4. Neither urgent nor important tasks

These are tasks you should eliminate.

So this method significantly improve the hurdle of decision making. But still there is one big step is left that is STARTING. But there are several ways to encourage starting but I normally use Ivy Lee Method.

2. Ivy Lee Method

It is super simple but effective method to stay focused and productive especially by encouraging my self to Start tasks.

This method overcome the hurdle to start.

What I need to do is :

I write down six most important tasks the end of each day that I need to accomplish tomorrow.

Then prioritize the tasks by their importance. Already, I know how to decide on which task should be Eliminated and which tasks should be prioritized using Eisenhower method.

On the next day, I start working on my first priority task. Then follow this list order by doing One task at a time.

If I can’t finish all the tasks, than I add remaining tasks to next day’s list.

This method is very simple but efficient because:
Removes decision Fatigue:
You might think you have to do lots of things get done, but just to list down limited tasks, you just force yourself to eliminate none important tasks.
Removes Friction of starting:
Because you already decided your most important tasks and their order, all you need is just start doing our first task on the list and follow the order.
It is easy to do one thing at a time than multi tasking:
All you need is just work on first task unit it is completed, then stat second task and complete it .... continue the process.

You can customize this method:

The number of tasks should not be Six, it can be 4 or 7 or 3 or any reasonable number but it should be fixed number of tasks to make you disciplined while your are deciding.

You can customize this method based on your tasks . May be your most important task needs days or weeks even months to complete. So, what you need to do is, allocated amount of time you should do this task. For instance, if you are writing a book, obviously more than one day is needed to complete the book. So, give it time, lets say 2 hours, after writing for 2 hours , stop writing and start the next task.

Thank you.

Written by Biruk Hailu.


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