LoneMind.com sought out experts from around the world and we asked them what is the most effective productivity tip that can change your life today. If you want to know how to literally save hours every day, before you do anything else today you’ll want to read what they had to say.
These are professionals who made their name in the areas of efficiency, writing, entrepreneurship, marketing, blogging, branding, etc. and the one thing that they all have in common (and happen to be exceptionally good at) is time management and being extremely productive.
To that end (and for the sake of time!) they exclusively shared their #1 productivity tip that the average person can start doing right away–today.
Comments are now open below for any tips that you would like to share as well.
Talent Development Expert,
Think “888 22/8 80/20″ (the Life Optimization System):
“Give your body rest for 8 hours;
Work only 8 hours a day;
Give yourself 8 hours leasure and development;
Work only 22 minutes and recharge yourself for 8 minutes;
Focus and invest in 20% of the most important personal resources, energy and attention to get best results.
To radically improve your productivity today, move all ideas, tasks and projects from your head and into a single system.
The biggest and most fundamental productivity hurdle that we face today is depending on our minds as our main repository of information. Our mind’s biggest value-add is for creativity, strategy and decision-making. When we also try to use it as our task manager, daily to-do list-keeper and project status tracker we run into problems.
In David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology (see #6 here and the interview that follows), he argues that “your head is for having ideas, not holding them.” To radically change your life and to be more productive, find that one tool that can house your notes, ideas, to-do lists and projects so you can use your mind for what it was designed for, not as your storage file.
Director of Marketing,
Amy Lynn Andrews
Stop underestimating the amount of time it takes to complete tasks. Allow a realistic amount of time in your schedule for tasks you need to complete. Build cushion or margin into your schedule for unexpected delays and time overages.
Plan your time in a void.
At the beginning of each day, write out a to-do list. When you do, imagine that you actually have nothing to do today; no emails, no phone calls, no meetings, nothing. You have a blank slate to begin with. Then ask yourself, “What would I do to affect my results a month from now?” List these activities and projects. These are your top priorities. These come first.
Then, think about what you could actually get done on these today. Maybe not the whole project – that will take some time. But there is a piece of it that you can complete today. Schedule a specific time to do this. And on your to-do list, write down what you plan to complete. “Working on” or “developing” doesn’t count. Instead, quantify what you will get done; “complete a draft of the report” or “make ten sales calls” for instance. Then at the end of the day, you can look at your to-list and say, “Yes! I got that done.” A large project is just a series of small tasks. Get one done, and the next will follow.
Once your priorities are scheduled, write all the other stuff on your to-do list; the meetings, requirements, and the daily tasks. But by planning for your priorities first, you’ll be on your way to productivity and success.
Pace Productivity Hai NguyenCofounder
Priority Matrix by Appfluence
Accept the notion that not everything that can be done has to be done. It’s ok to leave things undone. Choose only one out of four things you have to do and put that in Top Left Quadrant of your Priority Matrix, and then when posed with such a hard choice, you’ll figure out what truly matters. Do it everyday in order to achieve higher level of effectiveness.
You multiply time by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that give you more time tomorrow.
Author, Take the Stairs
I always say “you don’t have time to do everything, only time to do what matters”. People need to know what matters and focus on that. We get 1,440 minutes in a day – how will you invest yours?
I share with all my audiences you can conquer the world in 15 minutes – it’s the key to productivity!
Check email less often.
S. Anthony Iannarino
The Sales Blog
The most important thing when it comes to being productive is knowing your purpose. It is easy to be motivated when you have a purpose, some big, burning reason why you are doing what you are doing. People procrastinate, or sit and wait for the world to force them to react, when they don’t know their purpose.
The single most effective productivity tip is Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection.
It’s a powerful tip, because it helps you get better and better results, each day, each week, each month, each year, etc. It’s also powerful because it helps you get fresh starts, so you can use your best energy for your best results.
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection also helps you figure out what’s worth spending time on. It helps you get a simple vision for your day and your week. This helps you apply clarity to chaos, and rise above the noise, by taking a balcony view, before you jump into the fray.
It as simple as 1-2-3 and it works like this:
1. On Monday, identify Three Wins that you want to achieve for the week. A simple way to do this is to imagine that if this was Friday, and you were looking back, what would you want to be able to say you accomplished. They are your private and public victories.
2. Each day, identify Three Wins that you want for that day. Maybe it’s “win a raving fan” or hit a meaningful milestone, or clear your backlog, or reach a new level of awesome in something you do every day.
3. On Friday, identify three things going well and three things to improve. Use the lessons and insights to figure out a way to improve your approach for the coming week. Maybe it means biting off less stuff. Maybe it means finding out how to prioritize better. Maybe it’s reminding yourself to finish what you start. Either way, use it to improve your personal ability to achieve the results you want.
Keep in mind that time changes what’s important, which is why it’s important to have both a view for the week, as well as a view for today. This helps you balance and make better trade-offs. You’ll also find that having a simple vision for your days and week, will give you a new level of confidence and clarity that will inspire more meaningful moments and help you build momentum in work and life.
By focusing on Three Wins, you practice figuring out what you and others actually value. You put a bow on it. When you get to the end of your day, and you can rattle off three achievements that you are proud of, it makes the day more meaningful. And, this is especially true, when you get to the end of your week, and you can easily state Three Wins you accomplished, either to yourself, or to your manager, or to whoever cares.
This simple act will help you clarify value, articulate value, focus on value, and most importantly, appreciate your own efforts, when you fight the good fight or lean in on the tough stuff.
It makes the journey worth it.
The beauty is you can start right here, right now — just ask yourself, “What are Three Wins that you want for today?”
Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection is from Agile Results, introduced in the book, Getting Results the Agile Way (A Personal Results System for Work and Life.)
Getting Results the Agile Way Sid Savara Personal Development Trainer
Just like in budgeting when you are taught to give every dollar a job – give every minute a job in your life. That minute’s “job” doesn’t have to be “work on project” – it could be “rejuvenate self by spending time with family”. – but give every minute a job, and make sure every minute is spent intentionally on something worthwhile
One of the most effective tips to improve one’s productivity in our opinion is to focus on the right tasks and aspects of one’s career or a specific project, while ignoring the others. As Pareto principle (the 20-80 rule) suggests, 20 % of the tasks typically account for 80 % of the results. Identifying and focusing on those 20 % can make the biggest difference.
Marketing Director, Vanania
The single best productivity tip I have ever seen and used is to single task. When we are multitasking, we are actually just switching our focus — we’re not truly multitasking. The delays caused by switching back and forth add up. Focusing on one item at a time allows you to give your complete attention and get it done faster and better than by multitasking.
The most important productivity tip I’ve found is to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. I used to write these massive to-do lists that would do nothing but stress me out on a daily basis. Now, I limit my list to 6 tasks per day: 3 for the morning and 3 for the afternoon. This way I feel more accomplished on a daily basis, work on only the most important tasks, and feel more motivated to get through my list quickly.
As a quick caveat: this doesn’t mean writing things like “finish website” on your list. These need to be easily actionable tasks. If your end goal is to write a blog post, I’ll add “finish research on new blog post” to my morning list and “write first draft of new post” to my afternoon. This way I’m not cramming too much into each day.
Productivity has both a efficiency and aspirational side to it, so be clear which side you’re dealing with. For work you know how to do, optimization is possible because you have a baseline of measurement from your previous trials. When you are dealing with the aspirational aspect of Productivity, you are often learning something new, or addressing something that is unknown. You have to suppress any preoccupation you might have with effectiveness/efficiency, so you can engage the challenge with your full attention undistracted by future review.
For me, tackling big challenges requires me to adopt a fast-moving experimental mindset: taking the very first step, no matter how inconsequential or stupid it might seem, that comes to mind, just to see what happens. I can then trust myself then to take another step, more refined in its intention, that builds on what I just learned. As a bonus, the continued gathering of knowledge can allay the resistance that keeps us from treading forward without a guaranteed outcome, as our understanding and confidence will grow with each step.
Once you’ve gotten the new thing down, optimization and measurement can come into play, and you can go ahead and systemize those parts that you can systemize, and practice them to mastery if that’s your goal.
Do the most important thing first each day.
Sounds simple. No one does it.
Just like Hemingway, who produced an remarkable volume of high-caliber work during his career, you can make surprising progress each day if you simply do the most important thing first.
We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important.
Being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.
That’s why this strategy is effective. If you do the most important thing first each day, then you’ll always get something important done. I don’t know about you, but this is a big deal for me. There are many days when I waste hours crossing off the 4th, 5th, or 6th most important tasks on my to-do list and never get around to doing the most important thing.
Entrepreneur, Weightlifter and Travel Photographer
Author Getting Things Done
Your head is for having ideas, not for holding them.
Use your calendar, schedule the things that you want to get done. Schedule everything from exercise to accounts and not only will you feel more in control you will achieve more than you ever thought possible. To maximize the time scheduled use the Pomodoro technique to stay focused. Use the five minute breaks to take some deep breaths and refill your water glass. In this way you will stay energized and hydrated, helping you to get more done.
Author, Getting More Done
I believe the single most effective personal productivity practice is to maintain an “external commitment management system” – a system that lives outside of one’s brain, which is used to record, track and manage all of one’s commitments. The human brain is not good at this task, so it’s critical to have and use a reliable system external to the brain for this purpose.
I’d say that planning your day can have a major impact in your life. I know that it did mine, when I implemented this habit back in 2007.
All you have to do is to pick “the rocks” and “the gravel” for your next day. In other words, the rocks are your most important tasks, while the gravel is the less-important stuff. So just pick three rocks and some gravel, so that you make progress on every level in your days.
Timo Kiander Author, Overcoming Procrastination
Use a timer to help you overcome distractions. In my case, I decide that whenever the timer runs, I must work solely on the task at hand. Whenever I switch to something else (for example, checking emails), I must stop the timer. Having to stop the timer makes me aware that I’m getting distracted. Usually I can then go back to the task.
Do the right tasks at the right time of the day.
It’s a good idea to prioritize your tasks but instead of just considering the importance/urgency, it’s worth thinking about what time is really the best time to do them.
·I write and do other creative tasks in the mornings
·I leave analytical tasks till later in the day
The reason for this is that studies have shown that the creative part of your brain rises early and the analytical parts of your brain are more active later in the day, Kevan Lee wrote a great post for Lifehacker.com which covers this in more depth.
Well there you have it–from the experts. For more of the world’s greatest mind-blowing advice sign-up for LoneMind’s free newsletter–where we share information that you will never find on our site.