Productivity Systems and Finding What Works for You

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – Adam Clear, Atomic Habits

Many people have spent the last few years trying to find the best and most efficient ways to stay productive, amid ever-changing work landscapes. Where we work, how we work, and what we work on are changing rapidly and, at times, with very little warning. Having a tracking system is a crucial part of any individual’s or team’s success at hitting goals and reducing stressful moments.

There are productivity systems that range from a loose ‘make-it-your-own’ style to a rigid system comprised of many organizational steps. These methodologies have their pros and cons, but they are intended to help you increase productivity and reduce the stress of keeping track of everything. Here is a select list of systems:

  • The Daily Trifecta (or Top 3 Tasks): The goal is to pick the top 3 items you need to accomplish in a day and write them at the top of your to-do list. You should not start any other tasks until your top 3 tasks are completed. This allows you to take care of your most important tasks and gain productive momentum for the rest of your day.
  • Pomodoro: If you are struggling to begin a task or keep getting distracted by other things, the Pomodoro technique can help. To begin, set a timer for 25 minutes and begin working on a single task without any other distractions. After 25 minutes, allow yourself a 5-minute break and repeat 4 more times.
  • Bullet Journal: This is a flexible system that is built around your needs and what you find most important into a single place. It allows you to become more mindful of your tasks and projects. This does require some setup but the system allows for easy customization and also requires a notebook or device to capture everything.
  • Getting Things Done (GTD): This is probably the most well-known productivity system and there are many resources such as books, classes, and videos to get you started. The philosophy of this system is to allow your mind to think, instead of trying to remember everything you need to do in a day. This is a very rigid system that is designed to help you focus on the right things, at the right place, and at the right time.

You may want to try one or more of these productivity systems and experiment with what works best for you.  If you have tried any of these systems, we’d love to know about your experience, both positive and negative. Or, if you have a productivity system that is not listed, but you’d like to share, please let us know. Email us at!

Nick Matthews, MHS Communications and Program Director


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