September 30, 2020

5 theories and 5 tools to get s*** done without getting stressed

Giulia Piona
Co-founder & Head of Marketing

In the last blog, we saw how being able to manage time effectively can bring many upsides. I already covered some basic actions you can take to structure your time that work for me, but now I want to suggest to you widely recognised theories and tools which can help you even more. 

5 theories

These theories/rules/practices/frameworks pretty much describe what I usually do at an unconscious level. I believe they really can give a sense on how to structure your thinking and planning. 

  • 80-20 rule; the bottom line of this rule is that you want to find which actions have more impact on achieving your goals. More specifically, you should identify the 20% effort which produces 80% of the results, and then prioritize that 20% only. This rule is also known as the Pareto Principle.
  • Urgency and importance quadrant; once you have identified all the tasks to complete, you should be able to identify which ones are more important and urgent and prioritize them. You can directly use the matrix below. 

  • Eat the frog; this rule comes from Mark Twain, who once said “If it’s your job to eat the frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”. In other words, do important projects first. You will acquire a better workflow and achieve more efficiency.
  • Kanban Board; some people need to visualise stuff, possibly physically and with colors. The Kanban Board might be the solution: it is a visual board that helps you track progress. You just need a big whiteboard. You should have at least three columns to divide tasks: to do, in progress and done. If you do not want a whiteboard, there are softwares which support the Kanban method, such as Trello, KanbanFlow, Kanban Tool. These become much more efficient in case you are working in a team.
  • GTD: Getting Things Done, by David Allen; GTD is among the most comprehensive time management frameworks. It comprises five steps (Capture, Process, Organise, Review, Engage) that help you break big scary tasks into smaller ones and finish those small ones quickly. 

5 tools

I have signed up and used the following tools in order to give a sincere opinion and suggest them to you. I hope you will be comfortable using them as I was.

  • Toggl; founded in 2006 in Estonia, has 5mn+ users and is vastly appreciated. Toggl offers more products, For the purpose of this article, you should check out Toggl Track (for time tracking) and Toggl Plan (a project management tool).
  • TickTick; I have used this App for many months, not for the purpose of this article and I must say I really liked it and believe it is among the best task management apps out there. It is very convenient because you can create different lists so you do not have to mix work, startup and family tasks anymore. You can even share specific lists with others, plan reminders and track habits.
  • For those who want to incorporate the Getting Things Done framework, there are softwares which support it. Among this, I would suggest FacileThings,
  • Todoist; it is another task management App which can help capture and order all your tasks and activities easily. You can flag each task based on priority and even assign a due date.
  • Harvest; it is the right software for you if you need to track time. If you do not have a clue about how long you take to complete a task, it gets very complicated to organise your day, as you have no right time perception. Harvest can help you with that: you can start and stop timers as you go through your to do list. 

I know there are hundreds of other theories and tools which can help you organise your tasks, but I made a selection of the ones I believe can be more useful. Concerning the theories, I reckon they are a starting point to be able to structure your thoughts and tasks. It might seem hard to put them into practice now, but with time you will do it naturally. The tools instead are very powerful ways to simplify even more the whole planning, structuring and organising process. My personal advice is to find the tool which best suits you and use that only. Too many tools only bring more confusion.