3 Simple, Yet Genius Productivity Systems to Try This Year

productivity systems

There’s something very personal about productivity: What makes someone productive may actually work the other way around for you, making you lost and overwhelmed.

I’ve seen this many times. I have been multi-tasking for years but I never argue with people who claim multi-tasking generally kills productivity. I realize it actually may be overwhelming. That’s also the reason why I never recommend multi-tasking as the generic productivity tactic. It’s not for everyone.

I am taking personal productivity very seriously. I’ve explained my writing productivity process, but writing is not the only thing I do. I need more tricks to organize my routine.

Now, there are lots of productivity methods and tactics. I’ve selected the three most actionable ones I am going to try this year. They seem to be very easy and straightforward, and most importantly, they are so simple that you can quickly figure out if this is “your thing” and if you want to keep going.


The Pomodoro technique is the way to stay focused — especially if you need to be. You may already have heard of it.

The technique involves working in 25 minute blocks with five minute breaks. Every three to four blocks you take a 20 minute break. It’s a short time, but enough to get a lot done if you break your day up into blocks of quality work.

There Are Apps for That:

Cormac Reynolds suggests using an app called ‘Calm’. It’s a simple meditation app that allows you to set the length of your time out, anywhere between five and 30 minutes. It’s great if you’re feeling a little flustered and can be perfect for 10 minutes within the longer Pomodoro period.

Pomodoro Timer iPhone app is another great option to try.

productivity systems

“Big Rocks” System

One of my main goals for this year is to get on a “Big Rocks” system, which is where you choose three to five things to do every day and you focus solely on those things until they are DONE. I learned this from Lindsey Rainwater and Kim Roach. Most people give themselves these long, overwhelming task lists, and they often end the day having gotten nothing of real importance accomplished.

It’s much wiser to choose three important tasks you want to accomplish each day and focus on them. It’s essential to assign the time limit to each task to learn to track time as well. Once they are done, you can do other things, but at the end of the day this will let you:

  • Get important (not just any) things done first
  • Force yourself to prioritize

There’s An App for That:

I am testing Cyfe to set-up my productivity dashboard. The four widgets I am using on my “Big Rocks” dashboard are:

  • Text widget (to type my to-do list for tomorrow daily)
  • Google Calendar widget (to track my meetings, Twitter chats, calls, etc)
  • Gmail (to keep an eye on recent emails for anything urgent)
  • Time and time zones (I have developers, team members, etc, in different parts of the world, so I am importing the time zones here to quickly see if any of the important people may be available at the moment)

productivity systems

One Hour a Day

While the above two principles allow you to handle the priorities, how do you still get engaged into something creative, inspiring and enjoyable? How to make sure you devote some time to personal growth?

Here’s the system which I am going to try this year: “One hour a day”. I assign one hour of the day to something I am committed to doing (even if it’s not a huge task). This year I am using this trick to write the book.

Here’s a great example of making the most of that one hour a day you may want to steal.

There’s an App for That:

OneHourADay App — End task timer to help achieve your goals in just one hour a day.

productivity systems

Are there any productivity systems you are testing or having success with?

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Ann Smarty Ann Smarty is the founder of Viral Content Bee, a social media marketing platform, and the founder of SEO Smarty, an SEO consulting and link building agency.