Boost your productivity with these 3 strategies!

Monday, 5 p.m.: The office door slams shut behind you and you leave the building with the feeling that you have really made a lot of progress. It's been a busy day. You woke up feeling refreshed and were able to work smoothly and with focus right from the start. Sure, there were challenges and friction here and there, but in the end everything was resolved. A good day. A productive day. One of those days when 8 hours feels like a maximum of 3 hours. And you know that's exactly how the rest of the week will continue.

A scenario like this is not only the wishful thinking of all employers, but also of many employees. Few people really enjoy being lazy and unproductive. We all want to do what we do well and enjoy it. And yet, in practice, we struggle with slack days time and again.

Strategien zur Steigerung deiner Produktivität

On these days, which are the complete opposite of a day as described above, somehow nothing wants to go any further. Although we know that there is no way around our task, we put it off, scroll through Facebook and then Instagram and end up spending hours on abstruse Wikipedia pages. Very few people go home satisfied on a day like this.

Tomorrow is another day: procrastination

"Procrastination" has become a real buzzword in recent years - partly because almost everyone can identify with the feeling the word describes. The term is derived from the Latin "procrastinare". As a combination of "pro" and "crastinum", it means something like "for tomorrow" and therefore perfectly describes what happens when you procrastinate: (unpleasant) tasks and duties are put off and put off until a later date.

Prokrastination kann mithilfe einfacher Strategien überwunden werden.

People who procrastinate can spend hours, days and weeks putting off certain tasks. The process itself takes place both consciously and unconsciously and can take on almost obsessive proportions. No procrastinator feels really good. A guilty conscience and ever more pressing deadlines are constant companions of notorious procrastination. But why is it so difficult to get out of this unpleasant situation? Why not just do the task and get it over with? If only it were that easy!

Fortunately, there are now a number of strategies that can help to eliminate the various causes of procrastination. First of all: there are many different reasons why people procrastinate. From being underchallenged to being overwhelmed and from a lack of motivation to excessive perfectionism: as varied as the causes of procrastination are, the solutions must be just as varied. We advise you not to get discouraged if a strategy doesn't work for you. Keep experimenting! There's sure to be the right trick for you too - you just have to find it.

1, 2 or 3: the choice is yours

In this blog post, we present three strategies that you can use to overcome procrastination or prevent it altogether in advance. Although all three strategies are equally designed to increase efficiency and productivity, they all address different points. The only thing the strategies have in common is that no or hardly any tools are required to apply them. We hope you enjoy trying them out!

1 "Eat That Frog" by Brian Tracy

The first strategy we would like to introduce is Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog" principle. In our team, our regional manager Cécile in particular is a strong advocate of this principle - and has since been able to infect several other team members with it.

Who is Brian Tracy?

Brian Tracy is a motivational speaker and bestselling author with a focus on business and personal development. "Eat That Frog" is Tracy's best-known work. In the book, he presents 21 strategies to help overcome procrastination and achieve greater efficiency.

You don't kiss frogs, you eat them.

Brian Tracy draws his inspiration for the "Eat That Frog" strategy from a quote by Mark Twain:

"If it's your job to eat a 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."

The simple gist of the quote: if you have to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning - and you can be sure that you've got the worst part of the day behind you.

Eat The Frog ist eine bekannte Strategie zur Überwindung von Prokrastination.

Brian Tracy applies this simple wisdom to everyday working life: If you start the day with your biggest and least favorite task, the rest of the day has the reassuring certainty that all remaining tasks will be comparatively pleasant and easy. This not only saves energy and time, but also nerves. Often, the tasks we want to avoid are not just annoying because they are meaningless. They are often essential tasks that, for whatever reason, we find particularly difficult to complete.

If you always take on such tasks straight away, you can be sure that you are working efficiently and not delaying processes unnecessarily.

Be careful not to choke!

So there it sits, your frog. Quacking loudly, a little slimy and always trying to hop away from you: getting hold of it is no easy task. And once you've got a firm grip on it, its size is still the final hurdle. Eating a frog whole, in one big gulp, is something few people can manage.

Brian Tracy takes his mental comparison even further here - and in a very vivid way. To avoid choking on a task and then abandoning it completely, he advises breaking it down into smaller sections. In this way, the frog as a whole loses its horror. Eating a whole frog is bad. But a frog's leg? Well, still bad enough, but doable in comparison.

Try to define different milestones and use these to identify the different stages of work. These in turn can be broken down into smaller tasks. The smaller the various intermediate steps, the better! The aim is not to work through large chunks, but to proceed step by step. That way you can be sure you won't lose motivation. Constant and clearly visible progress will help you stay motivated.

1. define your task
Before you set to work, take time to define your task and your goal precisely. What do you want to achieve? What do you want the final result to look like?

2. name intermediate steps
As soon as you know what you want to achieve, you can start defining intermediate goals and naming work steps. The more detailed, the better!

3. start working
Focus on the next step ahead of you. Instead of despairing about the task as a whole, you can work towards intermediate goals.

4. track your progress
Ticking off to-do lists is not only fun, but also helps you to keep track. You can always see how much you have already achieved.

If you want to increase your motivation even more, you can also set strict time and deadline limits for the individual tasks. A common cause of procrastination is the lack of a time frame. People only become productive when they are really pressed for time. By creating timelines, you can create this effect yourself to a certain extent - but only if you really take these deadlines seriously. If there is a risk that you will lose motivation and give up completely if you miss a deadline, it is better to do without such time frames in advance.

To summarize, the "Eat That Frog" strategy is a very helpful concept. Whether it's about day-to-day work in the office or tackling large projects, the "Eat That Frog" strategy can be applied in many ways and is certainly not only interesting for stubborn procrastinators.

You can find a brief summary of the theory in the video. You can certainly get the full book in your local bookstore, and it is also available as an audio book on Spotify.

2. the "Pomodoro technique" by Francesco Cirillo

The Pomodoro Technique: honestly, doesn't that sound delicious? In fact, this strategy has something to do with Italian cuisine - but (unfortunately) only in terms of how it came about.

Who is Francesco Cirillo?

Francesco Cirillo is a specialist in efficiency and productivity. As a consultant and trainer, he supports companies in process optimization. His goal is to achieve more in less time and with less effort. The Pomodoro technique is not only Cirillo's best-known productivity management strategy, but also his oldest. He developed it during his time as a student in order to increase his own efficiency. Ultimately, however, he not only helped himself with it, but also many others.

The Pomodoro technique: can you eat it?

So what is this technique, which sounds like a delicious dish, all about? Unfortunately, the strategy has little to do with Italian cuisine. The name comes from the Italian word for "tomato". The reason for this is a kitchen clock that Cirillo owned as a student: it was Cirillo's favorite tool when it came to learning - and happened to be shaped like a tomato.

Cirillo's tomato-shaped kitchen timer could be set to 25 minutes. Cirillo used these time periods to study consistently and with concentration. As soon as the time was up, he took a break - and then started the next 25-minute session.

Although Cirillo developed the technique back in the 1980s, the Pomodoro technique is still highly relevant today - perhaps even more so than ever. The aim of every Pomodoro session is to work in a truly concentrated and focused manner, a challenge that is greater than ever in these times of digitalization and smartphones. After all, there's only a single click between the Word document you're working on and the infinite expanse of the internet.

Die Pomodoro-Technik ist eine simple Strategie, um sich auf die Arbeit zu konzentrieren.

Focus, focus, focus - pause!

The aim of the Pomodoro technique is to work in a really concentrated and focused way for a certain period of time. As soon as the timer is set, there is nothing but you and your task. No cell phone, no emails, nothing.

In order to really stick to these phases consistently, you can take a few measures in advance. The first step is to clearly define your task. Cirillo advises against working on several tasks in one Pomodoro unit. This is because multitasking also invites distraction and therefore procrastination. So decide what you want to focus on and then stick to it.

Also make sure you have all the necessary materials on the table in front of you. The rule is: no more, but also no less. This will prevent you from having to leave your table within the Pomodoro time before the session starts.

Once the time is up, you have the opportunity to take a break. Just as work means work, a break also means a break. Be consistent here too and try to consciously leave your desk. Give your thoughts the opportunity to get away from your work. This is the only way you can start again refreshed afterwards.

1. avoid distractions
Ensure a quiet working environment. Try to identify and avoid potential distractions in advance. Also switch your smartphone to flight mode.

2. work in a focused manner
Avoid multitasking. If you work on several tasks at the same time, you will quickly lose focus. Each Pomodoro session should only be dedicated to one task.
3. concentrate
Until the timer runs out, you should focus your attention exclusively on the task you have chosen. No matter whether it is 10 or 25 minutes.
4. take breaks
If you work consistently, you also need to rest just as consistently. Without regular breaks, your concentration and performance will inevitably dwindle.

The Pomodoro technique in practice

Cirillo has made clear recommendations for the technique. For him, the simpler the tools, the better. According to him, the mechanical ticking of the kitchen timer has a psychological effect that a digital timer can never have in this form. And even if this is true, you don't have to invest in a kitchen timer to use the Pomodoro technique for yourself.

In general: find your rhythm. The duration of the Pomodoro units is just as little set in stone as the duration of the breaks. Who knows, maybe 15-minute Pomodoro phases suit you better? Or even 35-minute Pomodoro sessions? Be prepared to experiment. Attention and concentration spans vary from person to person. It is of little use if you try to force yourself into a pattern. Instead, use the freedom that technology offers you to adapt it to you and your needs. But also be honest with yourself. Make a note of how you feel with different time units and ultimately choose the most efficient option for you.

You can simply use the timer on your smartphone as a clock - but there are now also many apps that are based on the Pomodoro principle.

One of these is "Forest Grow", which identifies smartphones as the number one source of distraction. Accordingly, the app, which is basically a timer, links the work phases with a strict smartphone ban. It also works on the principle of gamification. Anyone who wants to "win" here must not use their smartphone before the time has expired.

Mobile Apps gegen Prokrastination

In concrete terms, it looks like this: In the "Forest" app, a delicate little plant grows as the time runs down second by second. If you reach for your cell phone before the time runs out, you kill the plant.

Forest Grow for iOs:

Forest for Android:

Pomodoro: Flexible, but consistent

The Pomodoro technique is so popular precisely because it can be adapted very flexibly to your own needs while still addressing a problem that many people face: Too much distraction and too little concentration. The Pomodoro technique turns self-discipline from an abstract concept into a time-limited form of behavior - and therefore feasible for everyone.

3. the "2-minute rule" from James Clear

The last technique we want to introduce is also the youngest and therefore least known of the three strategies. James Clear's 2-minute rule is as simple as it is ingenious. What do you need for it? Nothing. Not even much self-discipline.

Who is James Clear?

James Clear describes himself as an author, weightlifter and photographer. He caused a sensation with his book "Atomic Habits", in which he focuses on personal development. His work became a New York Times bestseller - in Europe, however, he is (still) relatively unknown.

Two minutes: What is this time even enough for?

Clear's 2-minute rule is based on David Allen's "Getting Things Done" principle. David Allen's principle is as follows:

"If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now."

If a task takes less than two minutes, it is best to complete it immediately and without further delay. It doesn't matter whether it's washing up or an outstanding bill. If you get the unpleasant odds and ends out of the way straight away, you have more time to deal with the really important things.

Clear applies this rule to all areas and activities - but above all to new habits and activities.

The 2-minute rule states that everything can be started within two minutes. Regardless of whether it is a trivial task or a really big and ambitious goal: Everything can be started equally within two minutes.

Mit einfachen Mitteln kann man gegen Prokrastination ankämpfen.

All beginnings are difficult. All beginnings are easy.

This means that the 2-minute rule hits the crux of procrastination: the beginning. In fact, most people quickly find their way into the workflow once they have started. However, it can take hours, days, weeks or even months and years to get there.

The 2-minute rule is a clever hack to get around the mental block that getting started causes in many people. Clear explains the idea behind the 2-minute rule with simple physics and refers to Newton's first law: physical bodies retain their motion until they are forced to change their motion by external circumstances or forces. This also means that bodies at rest remain at rest until an external force sets them in motion. Once this movement is present, it is easier to maintain it.

According to Clear, this applies to both the physical body and our psyche: once you have started, it is easier to continue.

The first step is often the hardest

So what does the 2-minute rule look like in practice? Clear advises breaking down every task, every goal and every project into simple steps. For example, if you want to become a writer, you shouldn't think about the bestselling novel that has to be written first, but simply write a few sentences. In Clear's theory, 2 minutes is the time frame in which the abstract goal should be transformed into a practical activity. His advice: No matter what your goal or task is - use two minutes now to get started.

We use three examples to illustrate what this can look like in practice:

  • Goal: Go running regularly
    Put your shoes on. Go out onto the street. Run for the remaining seconds of your two minutes. At the end of these 120 seconds, you can go back home. You can, of course, continue running for as long as you like.
  • Goal: Sort and clear out your desktop
    Switch on your PC and start sorting, naming, filing and deleting data where necessary. You can stop after 120 seconds. Or continue as the mood takes you.
  • Goal: Read more
    Take a book of your choice and start reading. You don't have to read a chapter, ten or five pages. Just read for two minutes - this will probably be between one and three pages, depending on your reading speed. Then you can put the book down. Or, if you feel like it, keep reading.

This technique can be used to break down big goals and ambitious projects to what they really are: Many, small steps that are feasible in and of themselves - as long as you get started.

Makers gonna make!

The 2-minute rule does not focus on results and outcomes, but on the process of creating and doing. As with all other principles and theories, we cannot promise success. But it is definitely worth a try. After all, what have you got to lose? 120 seconds?

Sources & further reading

Images & icons:

Icons via Nikita Golubev, geotatah, Darius Dan, photo3idea_studio, Eucalyp and Freepik via
Images via,,