The productivity gurus every IT manager should get to know

Lucy Hattersley

Monday 20 October 2014

While there are plenty of snake oil salesmen in the productivity business, listening to the right productivity guru can change your life.

Sometimes it seems like everybody has new timesaving and moneymaking lifestyle advice to sell you, but discovering the right productivity tool can be a life-changing experience. Here are the four biggest productivity gurus and their ways of getting you to work more effectively:

David Allen: Getting Things Done

GTD is a time-management technique based on getting everything you need to do out of your head and into a storage and tracking system, so it’s easier to make decisions about what to do right now. It’s based on the fundamental premise that you cannot do everything.

Starting out with GTD involves setting up a system to capture, process and frequently review and recalibrate the things you need to do. The genius of GTD is that it applies to your whole life, not just business, and it enables you to feel good about the stuff you haven’t done.

Francesco Cirillo: The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management practice that breaks work into 25-minute bursts using a ticking egg timer. It was developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, but has come into its own in recent years as a means of combating distraction. Work is divided into blocks (known as ‘pomodori’) with a short break between each one and a longer break of around 20 minutes every four sessions. Paper and pen is used to note how many pomodori each tasks takes.

Timothy Ferriss: The 4-Hour Workweek

Timothy Ferris developed the ideas for his book The 4-Hour Workweek, while working 14-hour days. While some books promise to help you work more effectively, this one encourages you to work less and live more.

The technique involves figuring out what is important, and what is effective, and focusing on those tasks. Taken to its extremes the technique aims to liberate people from locations and jobs, and advocates outsourcing mundane tasks.

Craig Jarrow: Time Management Ninja

“We get pretty upset when people steal our money… so why do we turn a blind eye when people steal our time?” says Craig Jarrow. His blog Time Management Ninja, gathers together a range of ideas for time management, productivity and motivation. He advocates against using email (calling it “the number one time waster”) and other forms of technological distraction.