Things I do to be more focused and productive

I tend to see myself as a person who organizes his time well and is more on a productive side of the coin. I know I am not some productivity guru and for sure I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so with this blog post, I just want to guide you through some of the things I do and practice to stay productive and more focused.

When I first immersed myself in the world of productivity, the same as with note-taking, I found out there was a plethora of books, articles, tools, and techniques. I was so involved, that I often thought that I was spending more time learning and trying some new and hype productivity tool or technique, than getting things done. I am glad that phase has passed (I hope 🤞).

I see productivity as an ability to achieve something effectively and efficiently, without that being harmful to the quality of the thing we do. How does focus fit into the picture? Well, quite naturally - to be more productive, you need to be more focused on the thing you do. More present. Don't half-ass it - as Matthew McConaughey’s dad would say.

Going through all of this material, some (read many) of them long forgotten, I somehow naturally started using some of the techniques for sorting out my priorities, organizing my time, stay more productive and present.

Now, enough jibber-jabber, let me describe the things I do to be more productive, and the things that keep me focused on, well, other things. The list includes:

  • Pomodoro technique
  • Eisenhower matrix
  • calendar schedule
  • meditation

Pomodoro technique

You probably all heard of it. If you haven't, well, the Pomodoro technique is a time-management technique that breaks your work into some intervals, usually 25 minutes, with a 5-minute break, and after 4 cycles of that, you take a 20 to 30 minutes break. That is the basis of it at least.

How do I use it? When I work, read some non-fiction, or write these texts, I tend to take 45-minute-long work intervals, followed by 5-10 minutes of break. After 4 or 5 cycles of that, I take a longer break, for example, when I work, that happens usually around lunch. During these intervals, I don't look at my phone (that is the most important), don't check social networks, I just try and focus as much as I can. During breaks, I take a stroll around my apartment, do some small exercise, talk to my girlfriend, and so on.

Eisenhower matrix

This is a way of organizing your tasks by giving them a certain priority. It is said that this method was used by US president Dwight D. Eisenhower, hence the name. The matrix is divided into 4 quadrants, as in the image below.


The first is - important and urgent - we do those things first. The second is important, but not urgent - we schedule them for later. The third is the not-so-important, but urgent - we delegate those things. The fourth and the last is not important and not urgent - we discard those tasks.

Simple as that.

Keeping a schedule

The thing I do quite often is, well - keep my calendar up to date! It is related to that second thing from the Eisenhower matrix - the important, but not urgent. So all of those tasks that I or others came up with, I keep in an adequate calendar - either work or personal.

Whenever I have something to do, but it's not urgent, I tend to put it in the calendar and allow myself only one re-schedule when it comes up. If I allow myself to re-schedule it more than once, well, those things tend to stay in the calendar a bit longer.


The thing that helps me the most in staying focused is meditation practice. I started with some occasional meditation here and there in college, and just recently (I think from the beginning of this year), I've made it a daily practice. Usually, in the morning, I use 20 or so minutes just to sit in silence, not think of anything other than my breath and meditate.

This keeps me centered, in the moment, and more often than not, focused on my breath instead of my wandering mind. And if you followed my blog so far, you know how I can wander from one topic to another...

How to apply these things?

Well, nothing complex there - you just go and try them. These are just some of the techniques I use, but there are many more out there which are not covered by this post and I leave you to discover them for yourself. The main thing to remember - if you want to be more productive, you need to be more present, more focused, and more in the now. Don't half-ass it!