There are two kinds of people – those who deal with their assignments almost automatically, thus getting their work done without even making an effort, and those who perceive every intellectual challenge as an obstacle impossible to pass, thus wasting their time circling around in vain. At certain points in our lives, we’ve all been both. As the world continues to speed up with each new day, productivity, or lack thereof, becomes an issue too big to ignore.
Lately, constant variations in our personal work rates have spurred new productivity methods that individuals can benefit from both during working hours and in their everyday lives. With each of them putting an emphasis on organization, prioritization, visualisation and timeliness, modern productivity methods are now being employed hand in hand with online tools primarily developed for project management.
Here’s how PM software systems like Asana, Flow, Trello, ProProfs Project, or GanttProject can empower your productivity method even farther.
- Getting Things Done: Task Management & To-Do Lists
Though pretty straightforward, the whole concept behind David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is quite encouraging – pen down your thoughts and responsibilities as soon as they appear, organize them on paper so that they are crystal clear and start checking them off, one by one.
GTD also implies prioritizing your to-dos according to the time required for accomplishing them, and always beginning with tasks that are less time-consuming. Complex and long-lasting assignments should be broken down into simpler, more manageable units, just like in project management.
In fact, a majority of project management tools are created to suit this method’s demands. Evernote, for starters, encourages its users to always capture whatever it is that’s on their minds, thus never forgetting to tackle even the tiniest of problems.
Once you open up Asana or ProProfs Project, tasks are categorized, prioritized and visualised through convenient and tidy to-do lists. Also, these tools come with automatic notifications that alert users of an approaching deadline, which once again ensures that everything gets done efficiently and on time.
- Staying on the Clock: Time Tracking
Speaking of deadlines, it’s safe to assume that project management is just as successful as it is time-efficient. In business, the two are irretrievably intertwined, but their interconnectedness applies to our day-to-day routines as well. In order to accomplish the goal, we need to make the best of the time we are given.
Popular productivity methods like The Pomodoro Technique and The 10-Minute Hack are developed particularly with that purpose – while the first teaches us how to arrange work hours and establish breaks in order to reach productivity peaks, the second eliminates procrastination by urging us to start the day with a 10-minute warm-up session.
All that calls for a potent online time tracking solution. For this purpose, project managers use specialized tools like Toggl, LiquidPlanner, Harvest and TimeCamp, but such handy features are available within the aforementioned PM software systems as well.
You can simply push play and these tools will track your hours with precision, so that you can assess which projects are worth your time and which are not. More powerful versions, like the ProProfs Project for instance, offer time comparison features, so you can evaluate your estimated hours in collation to your actual hours.
- Visualising the Goal: Progress Graphs
In project management, every single task is being allocated in accordance to what has been done so far and what needs to be accomplished next. In the greater scheme of things, even seemingly insignificant sub-tasks have their own place in what’s called the chain of dependencies – in our everyday lives, this translates to the things you have to finish before being able to start working on something else. You cannot cook the cannoli before buying chocolate chips first, and you cannot finish a milestone without previously checking off individual tasks.
Kanban proposes exactly that – reaching a goal by visualising its consecutive steps. What’s already done is a reminder that you can do everything you put your mind to, and what’s currently in progress helps you to stay decisive. What remains undone allows you to visualize the objective, while all three provide a powerful productivity boost. Simple project management software systems follow this principle not only with neatly organized to-do lists, but with progress graphs – Gantt charts, for instance – as well.
- Clever Scheduling & Consistency: Intuitive Calendars
That’s exactly why so many of them insist upon visualisation and transparency. Once graphically perceived and seamless to scan through, a problem is less overwhelming. A firmly established structure is a stepping stone towards consistency, which is why clever scheduling is a key that inevitably unlocks the road to success.
Don’t Break the Chain is yet another productivity method that employs strategic scheduling and helps you reach results; most importantly, it demands for nothing more than a calendar.
Whether you need a personal one to get your diet in order or a team version to keep you on the same page as your co-workers, automated calendars embedded into project management tools can empower you to stay on track of your progress, one step at the time.
Most of them offer a reliable tagging system for keeping your daily priorities in check, recurring tasks features that automatically update monthly entries and notifications to remind you of what’s scheduled for each day. Ultimately, there’s no better motivation than a calendar full of fields marked with “X”.
- Whatever Works: Centralizing Workflow
Different project planning tools might seem identical to a layman, but project heads prefer some instead of the others according to their personal management styles. The same goes for different productivity techniques – the way individuals cope and deal with challenges isn’t always the same, which means that the methods discussed above may not be suitable for every specific case. For that reason, productivity masters advise that each of us should devise a method of our own. If too busy to do so, they suggest, experiment with a variety of techniques that are already there.
Project management platforms are simultaneously great productivity tools exactly because they offer a variety of these elements, all in one place. Their main purpose is to increase workflow, eliminate halts and spare valuable time.
They provide both project overview and in-depth insight at just one glance, real-time communication when you need to share and discuss your ideas with others, time trackers, calendars, document storage, and so much more. Thanks to them, all your work is centralized within a single platform, thus keeping you from wasting time and allowing you to multitask with the utmost efficiency.
After all, there’s just one simple rule when it comes to raising productivity – find whatever works for you and allow it to guide you forward. Being effortless to use and empowered by many features, integration options and on-the-spot solutions, project management tools are certainly worth the shot.