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The Ultimate Guide To Productivity Methods

Sixteen approaches to better time management, from apps to Zettelkasten.

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Before you add one more thing to your to-do list, ask yourself: How’s that to-do list working for you anyway? And would you fare better with a lesser-known method like the Eisenhower box? Zettelkasten? GTD? With so many modern options for wrangling your time and attention, we’ve rounded up some of the best to help you understand how they work—and which one might work best for you. Set that pomodoro timer—if that’s your style—and let’s get started.


First, some guidance from the experts

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What’s Your Productivity Style? How 4 Personalities Can Get More Done

Kate RockwoodMental Floss

Whether you are extremely goal-oriented or like to meticulously plan and organize, here are some ways to boost your daily productivity.

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Productivity Tips for People Who Hate Productivity Tips

Monique ValcourHarvard Business Review

Why do people who know a lot about what helps people focus still struggle to focus?

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How to Be Productive, According to Ancient Philosophy

Darius Foroux

What Socrates, Plato, and Confucius understood about time.

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Productivity Lessons from Artists and Entrepreneurs

Brad StulbergOutside

A few timeless productivity lessons that apply no matter what you’re doing.

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Now, which method is right for you?

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Could Time-Blocking Replace Your To-Do List?

Gwen MoranFast Company

This is how to schedule your workday to get the most done.

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In a World Gone Mad, Paper Planners Offer Order and Delight

Quinci LeGardye Wired

On Instagram and Facebook, members of a wonderfully obsessive community organize every aspect of their lives—through pandemics and protests—with binders and stickers.

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How to be More Productive and Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the “Eisenhower Box”

James Clear

Deciding a level of importance for each task you have allows you to quickly organize which to do first, and which not to do at all.

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This Simple but Powerful Analog Method Will Rocket Your Productivity

Jack BeaudoinFast Company

A German author of more than 70 books and 400 academic articles got so much done because of his pioneering system called Zettelkasten.

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The Psychology of the To-Do List – Why Your Brain Loves Ordered Tasks

Louise ChunnThe Guardian

Studies have shown that people perform better when they have written down what they need to do. What makes the to-do list such an effective productivity tool?

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This Time-Management Trick Changed My Whole Relationship With Time

Dean KissickThe New York Times

Now I start my first pomodoro as soon as my coffee’s ready in the morning.

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Productivity 101: How to Use Personal Kanban to Visualize Your Work

Alan HenryLifehacker

Personal Kanban is a productivity system that's easy to get started with, only has two real "rules."

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The Daily Routine Experts Recommend for Peak Productivity

James Clear

The Ivy Lee Method of prioritizing your to-do list seems deceptively simple. It’s also been working for more than a century.

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The No. 1 Mistake ‘Even Smart People Make’ When Creating To-Do Lists, According To a Productivity Guru

David AllenCNBC Make It

I call it the “GTD” (Getting Things Done) method, and it has helped more than two million people.

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How To Be More Productive and Focus (+ Free Schedule Maker)

Nir EyalNir and Far

An unscheduled day isn’t freedom. Rather, it’s a recipe for regret.

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Eat The Frogs First Thing in The Morning (And Other Better Work Habits)

Thomas OppongMedium

Decision, discipline, and determination.

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12 Best Productivity Apps to Help You Achieve More in 2020

Hannah JeonGood Housekeeping

From online calendars to helpful organization tools, these apps make getting things done a breeze.

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