Don’t have enough time to write emails every week? Too busy to regularly clean your subscriber list? You’re not alone. In our 2018 subscriber survey, our audience cited a lack of time as their biggest challenge. So we searched far and wide for uncommon productivity tips to help you take back your time. With these 6 unique tips from experts across the world, you’ll have your most productive day ever.
6 uncommon productivity tips
Productivity tip #1: Write a “not-to-do” list.
Financial expert and investor Warren Buffett swears by the “not-to-do” list. He says that this exercise helps separate extraordinarily successful people from the average person. First, start off with a list of 25 goals you want to achieve and circle the 5 tasks that are most important to you. Tackle these first 5 items on your list, avoiding numbers 6 to 25. These uncircled goals are the distractions that stop you from making the most of your time. They now become your “not-to-do” list! Don’t give any attention to these tasks until you complete your first 5.
Productivity tip #2. Take a break.
In order to get more done, you might log out of Facebook or Twitter. But according to Ron Friedman, Ph.D. and award-winning psychologist, it’s important to incorporate 15-minute breaks into your busy workload. They’ll refresh you so you’re ready to get down to business. Instead, budget a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon break for amusing distractions like social media or television. It’s actually proven that social media can decrease stress throughout your day. Microsoft conducted a study which found that employees were more productive after being allowed to check their Facebook feeds while at work.
Productivity tip #3. Work in sprints, not marathons.
Time management expert, Francesco Cirillo, both created and uses the Pomodoro Technique on a daily basis. The Pomodoro Technique lets you reward your hard work with timed breaks. Rather than working against the clock to meet deadlines, you work with the clock to get things done. The technique suggests working in 25-minute stretches or “sprints,” each followed by a short 5-minute break. After 4 of those 25-minute stretches, you get to take one long 15-minute break. It allows you to come back to your work after each break refreshed and ready to tackle the next task at hand. So it looks like this: 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break. 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break. 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break. 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 15-minute break. Repeat. Know when it’s time to give it a rest by using the Tomato Timer, which helps you apply the Pomodoro technique. It’s a stopwatch that will track your 25-minute work increments as well as your 5-minute and 15-minute breaks.
Productivity tip #4. Accomplish your least favorite task, first.
Mark Twain once said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” Everyone has their daily dreaded task (a.k.a their “frog”). Maybe it’s the email you don’t feel like drafting or research you’re not in the mood to do. Top-selling author Brian Tracy used Mark Twain’s quote as the basis for his productivity book, Eat That Frog. In the book, Tracy argues that you should do your most difficult task first every single day because it’s easier to avoid procrastination if you complete your most difficult task first.
Productivity tip #5. Don’t multitask.
Cramming your schedule full of too many tasks can leave you overwhelmed. And trying to multitask to get everything done can lead to mistakes and wasted time. Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that multitasking decreases your productivity. The human mind can only hold small amounts of information at a time. When you rapidly switch from one task to another, your brain uses up a lot of mental energy trying to keep up. This can cause you to lose time since you’re more likely to make mistakes. Instead of multitasking, focus on one task at a time. Once you complete it, move on to your next one.
Productivity tip #6. Think like a millionaire.
Bestselling author Thomas Corley conducted a 5-year study of 177 self-made millionaires. His findings? That 50% of those within the study all woke up 3 hours before the start of their workday. Since most people are not awake yet, these early morning hours are rarely disrupted by distractions. Try it for yourself: You can use that additional time for many things — like working out, creating your goals for the day, or finally starting that email campaign you’ve been putting off. Start tomorrow, maybe you’ll be included in Corley’s next study of self-made millionaires.
Put these tips to the test.
Ready to see how productive you can be? Follow these 6 simple steps to take back your day,and make the most of your time. To save even more time, download our FREE “What to Write in Your Emails” course. You’ll get 45+ fill-in-the-blank email templates to write emails in minutes.