The Four Quarters method
A viral video by @rajpatelofficial7 explaining the Four Quarters method has over 2.4 million views on TikTok. The method sounds simple — you simply divide your day into four equal parts that are four hours long each, comprising early morning, late morning, afternoon, and evening. By setting these rigid boundaries, you get two main benefits.
The first benefit is that you can organise your tasks more efficiently, setting goals that are achievable in each four-hour segment as opposed to having multiple goals for the whole day. The second benefit is that, by compartmentalising this way, you’ll find it easier to move on and leave distractions and setbacks in the past which might have otherwise disrupted your flow. That means no more bad days, just bad quarters!
In an office setting, this method can be adapted to suit an eight-hour workday by splitting it up into four two-hour long segments.
The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique was invented in the 1980s but has more recently been a hit on TikTok, with the hashtag #pomodorotechnique amassing over 13 million views at the time of writing. Named after a kitchen timer shaped like a pomodoro (tomato in Italian), the idea is to have a unit of time in which to focus and work uninterrupted, then take a short break when a ‘timer’ goes off regardless of where you are up to in your task, returning to it afterwards. Usually, the unit of productivity is 25 minutes, and the short break is five minutes long.
According to those who use the technique, this system of undisturbed work and short scheduled breaks allows you to work with maximum efficiency without burning out. It can be easily assimilated into a workday — choose your task, set a timer (remember to put it on silent so you don’t disturb your co-workers), and then take a short break when the timer goes off. Make a coffee, hydrate, grab a snack, chat to a colleague, or stretch your legs, then come back ready for another period of intense focus. After completing four ‘pomodoros’, you can take a longer break (20–30mins).
Personal Kanban is a productivity theory based on a lean manufacturing process used to increase efficiency in mass production, so it’s ideal if you have several projects on the go or need to complete a lot of tasks quickly. Using personal Kanban to manage your workload involves visualisation and limiting your ‘works in progress’ — that is, avoiding having multiple tasks on the go at any one time.
In the office, you can use post-it notes and a board or sheet of paper. Create columns on the board or sheet labelled ‘to do’, to ‘in progress’, and ‘complete’, then write each task or goal you need to achieve on its own individual post-it note. Then, you can physically move each note from one column to the next according to how far you’ve progressed with it.
Seeing your tasks on post-its and physically organising them can better help you keep track of your tasks, and this method may be more appealing to people who find to-do lists difficult to work from — in fact, the hashtag #kanban has 2.9m views on TikTok. You can also customise the columns to suit the processes you follow at work, for example by adding a ‘testing’ or ‘proofing’ column.
Timeblocking is another productivity hack that has been given a new lease of life on TikTok (the hashtag #timeblocking has an astonishing 13.7 million views). This technique involves thinking about each item on your to-do list as a unit of time, or block, rather than simply a task to be ticked off.
In a notebook or on a spreadsheet, write each hour of the day down in order and then block in the tasks you must complete or the goals you have set for the day. The key to this task is to be realistic about how much time you need to complete each item, as well as keeping track of ad hoc responsibilities that can impede your progress. It can help to include even the smallest of tasks in your schedule, using colour-coding to keep track, as well as scheduling plenty of breaks to avoid burnout.
Assigning yourself some additional wiggle room when timeblocking can also be beneficial, as our brains get a positivity boost when we complete a task early and this can help keep our stress levels low.
“Many of us are now back in the office for at least part of the week, having worked from home for months on end during the pandemic. If you’re finding it hard to adjust back to office life, or if you’re just looking for ways to boost your productivity, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of TikTok hacks you can try out to improve your focus in the workplace.
“Even if you’re still working remotely, we all need a boost from time to time and productivity hacks like these can help you tune out distractions.” -Sally Evans, Director of Operations at Making Moves