100+ Productivity Tips Used by High-Achievers
You’ve reached another New Year. Reflecting on your last year’s achievements, it seems like all extraordinary goals have disappeared from your sight. Instead, you spent time paving other people’s way to success while renouncing your own dreams.
Success and mastery do not happen overnight, and it’s highly likely that you’re not going to be blessed with a superpower out of the blue.
To accomplish your life goals, you need to develop a success-oriented mindset and stop being overwhelmed with all the noise and a myriad of options present in the modern world.
Increase success by applying some of these 100+ productivity hacks established by world-changers and success coaches.
It is time to become the pilot of your success. Only you can change your life.
1. Turn off alerts
Need to focus? Start by turning off all phone alerts and notifications that draw away your attention.
2. Ignore daily news
When was the last time you learned something really important from the news? For the most part, news cover negative events, so you’ll end up wasting time and being more pessimistic.
3. Read industry news
To be on top of your industry, you need to be aware of the latest trends and success stories. Add 15 minutes of reading to your morning routine to wake up your brain and start the day with new ideas.
4. Unsubscribe from newsletters
Take 30 minutes to go through your inbox and unsubscribe from all newsletters you never read. Keep up to 3 newsletters that provide useful information but don’t waste your time presenting something you already knew.
5. Airplane days
Create distraction-free days by going to the airplane mode. Give up the internet connection and turn off your phone for one day every week and focus on high-priority tasks.
6. Remove online temptations
Use apps like SelfControl to block distracting websites for a period of time. The next time you want to check your email for the 10th time that day, the website is blocked and your time saved.
7. Use productivity tools
Automate little tasks and enjoy productivity tools and apps that make communication, scheduling and avoiding distractions easier than ever before. Only use the tools that actually save your time. If you run a company, start using business automation.
8. Start a new habit
Develop new beneficial habits. Identify the best practice and commit to sticking with it for 1 month. Never make exceptions of not following the new habit. You’ll soon notice how it’s become a natural part of your daily routine.
9. Make temporary commitments
A temporary commitment is much easier to keep than a permanent one. Prepare to commit to your new habit or routine for 30 days instead of 1 year. You’re a lot more likely to stick with it.
10. Set exciting goals
Establish goals that motivate you to work harder and be a better person. You’re going to feel the thrill when achieving your objectives and moving closer to your life goals.
11. Focus on 5 goals and get rid of the rest
Warren Buffet asked his personal pilot to name his 25 life goals. Next, he told him to pick 5 of them and eliminate the rest until he had succeeded in the first five. Focusing on your top priorities is the only way to become really good at something.
12. Visualize success
Daydream about your goals and think how great it would feel to accomplish all of them. You’ll feel an instant motivational kick and will be more focused on completing your tasks.
13. Find productive ways to procrastinate
Everyone procrastinates. But you can learn to use this time more productively. If you enjoy reading, use the procrastination time to educate yourself. Need to do some grocery shopping? Do it during your down time.
14. Wake up earlier
Take advantage of the stillness and silence of early mornings. Use the time after waking up to plan for the day, focus on your high-priority tasks and work out to wake up your body.
15. Do not snooze your morning alarm
Never use the snooze button again as it confuses your brain and body, leaving you tired and drowsy for many hours after waking up. Instead, wake up energetically and start your day with success-oriented mindset.
Start with 15-minute sessions and continue to learn to focus for 30 minutes. Meditation helps to clear your mind and block distractions. You’ll get better at focusing and self-control, feeling more in control.
17. Be grateful
Start each day understanding the luxury of your options and be grateful for what you have. Don’t waste time on chasing things you don’t even need.
18. Live in proactive mode
People with reactive mindset let random upcoming events set the agenda. Develop proactive thinking and do not let every new wave lead you off the track. Set goals and priorities and live up to them.
19. Expert advice: stop multitasking
Founder of the Time Management Chef blog Tor Refsland:
Research has not only shown that multitasking doesn’t work, but also that it’s bad for your brain.
When you multitask two things will happen:
– You perform several tasks with below average quality
– Your brain will become less effective when you try to focus on a
You should focus on only one task until it’s done (your most important task).
If there is an important task that can`t be completed in the time you have
available, divide it into smaller pieces.
20. Learn while commuting
Use your commuting time for setting agenda for the upcoming day or listen to podcasts. You’ll be surprised at how much knowledge can be gathered from audiobooks and podcasts.
21. Check email only 3 times per day
Instead of acting to every new alert, check your email 3 times per day – morning, afternoon
and evening. Collect the emails you need to reply to a separate folder and answer them all at once.
22. Set a specific time for answering emails
Set an hour after lunch (that’s your less productive time) for replying to all your emails. There’s no need to write an answer right after reading an email. Usually people can wait for 24 hours to get a reply.
23. Create email reply templates
Instead of typing similar replies to multiple requests, create email templates with gaps for personal information that you can fill in later.
24. Have a “reply by XX day” folder
There are emails that need to be answered in a few hours and others that you can reply to after a few days. Create an inbox folder “reply by Friday” where to move all your non-important emails. Use your Friday afternoon to answer all those emails at once, avoiding multitasking.
25. Turn yesterday’s emails into today’s to-do list
If there are emails that need to be answered in a few days, snooze those and add to your to-do list for the next day. By doing so, you avoid messing up your planned daily schedule.
26. Create barriers to entry
Make it harder for anyone to reach you by setting up so-called barriers to entry. For example, switch off your phone and close your inbox to avoid distracting messages from other people.
27. Learn to say no
You simply can’t grant everyone’s wishes. So be ruthless when it comes to refusing new commitments and tasks. Explain you’re already too busy and if possible, suggest another solution.
28. Respect your time
You only have a limited amount of time every day. So use it wisely and avoid doing things that take you further from your goals.
29. Two-minute rule
In his bestselling book Getting Things Done, David Allen introduced the 2-minute rule. If a new task comes up and you can do it in 2 minutes, deal with it immediately. If it takes more than 2 minutes, add it to your to-do list.
30. Expert advice: Power Hour
Founder of ThinkProductive, Graham Allcott:
For the stuff you’re stuck on, try using a Power Hour: allocate one hour a day to the thing you know you should be doing but are not quite getting round to.
You’re only allowed one power hour a day – if you try and schedule five power hours, you’ve scheduled none.
The Power Hour gives you permission to start without the fear of having to finish, and permission to do whatever else you like in every other hour of the day, without worrying about the thing you’re procrastinating over. Put it on your calendar, stick to it, and watch your to-do list shrink!
31. Pareto principle
According to the Pareto principle, 20% of what we do accounts for 80% of our desired outcomes. Define which tasks and accomplishments take you closer to your goals (the 20% most effective ones) and spend more time on result-oriented activities.
32. Make verbal commitments
It is harder to break a good habit or a New Year’s resolution if you’ve told about it to someone else. Share your goals and milestones with other people, and you’re likely to put more effort into accomplishing them.
33. Eat the frog
Bestselling author Brian Tracy once wrote that in order for everything else to seem pleasant, you need to eat the frog first. Every day, start by doing the most difficult and unpleasant task first. After you’ve accomplished it, everything else seems a child’s play.
34. Plan for Monday on Friday
Before you pack your bag and head home for the weekend, take 30 minutes to reflect upon the week and plan your next week’s tasks and work schedule. It will be so much easier to start again on Monday if you have a quick reminder of upcoming tasks.
35. Expert advice: The Rule of Three
Bestselling author of Getting Results the Agile Way J.D. Meier:
Use The Rule of Three to rule your day. Ask yourself in the morning, what are the three things you want to achieve today, and write those down.
Add the fun factor. Don’t just “call back a customer.” Instead, “win a raving fan.” By writing down your Three Wins for today, you’ll have more clarity, more focus, and a vision for your day to pull you forward and help you rise above the noise.
36. Embrace the morning hours
The human brain is at its peak two hours after waking up. Use before-lunch hours to work on creative and demanding tasks.
37. Organize your workspace
Clearing your work environment equals orderly and logical thinking process. Eliminate the noise and gadgets around you for increased focus and clarity of thoughts.
38. Batch similar tasks
Do similar tasks in series as it’s easier for the brain to focus on a specific activity. You save the time otherwise spent on switching between multiple activities.
39. Improve your work processes
Identify the tasks and processes that you use most often and evaluate them step-by-step. Think how you could make some of these steps even more efficient and work more productively.
40. Create to-do lists
Find the best format – sticky notes, mobile or desktop app – and create 3 to-do lists: one for high-priority tasks, one for tasks that need to be finished by the end of the week and a list for less important tasks that can be implemented if you have spare time.
41. Eliminate the non-essential
Frequently review your to-do lists and remove all the unimportant tasks. Looking at a less crowded list gives an overview of your actual workload.
42. Use one tool instead of many
When you start creating to-do lists and write down high-priority goals, use only one tool (or notebook) to do it. Eliminate random sticky notes and pieces of paper and gather all the information into one place.
43. Cross things off your list
After you’ve finished a task, mark it done or cross it off your to-do list. Seeing progress enhances your productivity and gives a sense of fulfillment.
44. Plan ahead
Start each day with a 15-minute break to reflect on your upcoming day. Set small goals for the day such as “do at least one good deed” or “learn something new today”. Completing these little tasks motivates to take up a bigger project the following day.
45. Visualize your goals already accomplished
Imagining future success motivates to work harder to get there. Envision yourself after 10 years, having achieved today’s goals. How did you get there? Use the imagined roadmap to achieve real success.
46. Focus on the outcome
Instead of thinking how you’re going to achieve a task, imagine the benefits of having it accomplished. Focusing on the outcome and not the input gives a clear sight to work for.
47. Expert advice: managing attention
Author of the bestselling book How to be a Productivity Ninja Graham Allcott:
The key to productivity or time management is actually about neither of those: it’s about managing attention. Firstly, recognize when your body and brain feel most alive and on top of your game. This is your Proactive attention time.
Most people have only 2-3 hours like this each day, so learn to apply it to your most challenging work, and not waste it sat in someone else’s pointless meeting.
Then, recognize your Inactive attention – the times when you feel like crap. There are always things you can do during these times, too. Save up the easy stuff for these times, to maximize productivity.
48. Identify your targets
Whenever you begin a task, identify the target you expect to reach. Do not stop working unless you’ve reached this objective.
49. Break tasks into smaller chunks
Break complex projects into smaller tasks and focus on one at a time. Once you know where to begin, it is easier to get started.
50. Schedule work time in blocks
Don’t leave your productivity to faith. Use a calendar to schedule time blocks for working on specific tasks. Leave 15 minute breaks for taking a rest.
51. Set timer for tasks
Give yourself a fixed time period, e.g. 30 minutes, to work a task. After the time’s up, move on to the next task. You will learn to work quicker (and be less of a perfectionist), getting things done on time.
52. Give yourself less time
When evaluating how much time you need for completing a certain task, give yourself less time. You’ll end up finishing the task quicker and spend less time procrastinating.
53. Expert advice: the “one thing”
NY Times bestselling author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management Kevin Kruse:
I asked over 200 billionaires, millionaires and entrepreneurs to give me their best productivity advice and the common element was: know the “one thing” each day that will get you closer to your goals and then schedule 60-90 minutes to work on it early in the morning.
54. Do homework before actual work
Do research and plan ahead before you start implementing a new task. It is easier to do things correctly in the first place and not waste time making corrections later.
Always have your task lists prioritized so that you know what you need to do next. Focus on what’s important and leave the less urgent tasks for the next week.
56. Set deadlines
Being constantly reminded of upcoming deadlines makes it more probable that you finish your tasks on time. Don’t forget to set long-term deadlines for your life goals.
Delegate your tasks to people who are more efficient in implementing those and have the right skill set.
Sometimes it is more cost-effective to hire a freelancer than spending hours on a task you don’t know how to do.
59. Just do it
And deal with the consequences later. Don’t leave a good opportunity unused just because you’re not sure you have the authority to do it. It is easier to request forgiveness than wait for a permission.
60. Take periodic breaks
Nobody can work for 8 hours in a row. Give yourself some rest after every few hours. Use this time to plan for the rest of the day.
61. Pomodoro technique
Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is a perfect method of working for those who find it difficult to focus. Use a timer to set a 25-minute working time. After the time’s up, give yourself 5 minutes of rest. Repeat until you’ve finished your tasks.
Modern technology can do many small tasks for us. Use If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes to automate parts or your workload.
63. Silence your inner perfectionist
Learn to mark a task done at the optimal time. While the perfectionist side of you might still want to make amends, your work becomes increasingly unproductive if you spend too much time on details.
64. Quit to win
Spending some time on a task doesn’t mean you need to complete it if you understand it’s doomed to fail. You can still save hours by discontinuing the half-done task.
65. Evaluate achievements
Be it once a day, week or month, but everyone needs some personal time to reflect on their achievements and evaluating whether they’ve reached all the goals or moving towards them.
66. Reward yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself and reward yourself after finishing a complicated task of achieving a goal.
67. Expert advice: live fully now
One of the world’s best-known leadership advisors Robin Sharma:
Too many human beings postpone living. We say that we will live our best lives when we have more time or when we finish the pressing projects that are consuming us.
Yet, deep within us, each one of us knows that there will never be a better time to live our biggest life than now.
And if not today, then when?
68. Avoid meetings
Instead of spending up to 10 hours each week listening to others speaking at meetings, try to avoid attending the ones that give you no new insight.
69. 30-minute meetings
If it’s impossible for you to skip a meeting, try to keep it as short and sharp as possible.
70. File the agenda
If it’s impossible to skip a meeting, create a clear agenda of the topics that need to be discussed. Don’t let the conversation move away from a pre-set path.
71. Less important meetings in the afternoon
As you’re likely to feel drowsy after lunch, schedule this time for unimportant meetings. It’s harder to work efficiently so why not spend time discussing something with others.
72. Meeting-free days
Make one meeting-free day every week when you can go undistracted and focus on accomplishing important tasks and goals.
73. Use scheduling tools
Instead of bouncing emails back and forth when trying to find a mutually suitable meeting time, use a scheduling tool to propose multiple meeting times and skip the emailing process.
74. Use mornings for creative work
75. Get 8 hours of sleep
One hour of quality time is worth as much as 3 hours of feeling sleepy and tired. Your brain needs to be well-rested in order to work creatively and efficiently, so give it 7-8 hours of sleep every night
76. Exercise in the morning
By taking up a morning exercise routine, you wake up your body and feel better for the rest of the day. And you have your evening time free to focus on a personal project or spend time with your friends and loved ones.
77. Eat protein-rich breakfast
Kick-start your metabolism with protein-rich food in the morning and avoid the blood sugar crash during the day. Your energy will be slowly released and you feel better throughout the day.
78. Work from home
Instead of going to the office, embrace the silence and comfort of home. It takes some extra discipline but once you get used to being your own time’s master, you’ll be even more productive than behind the office table.
79. Save articles to Pocket
Don’t let interesting articles distract you while working. Save them to Pocket for accessing later. You can them fully focus on one thing at a time.
80. Listen to online articles
Save interesting articles to Pocket and use Lisgo for listening to these articles while commuting.
81. Read more
Books are the perpetual source of wisdom. Find time to read one business and one fictional book every month. You’ll come up with new ideas and increase empathy.
82. Watch less TV
If your evening time mysteriously gets lost, TV might be to blame. When was the last time you learnt something new by watching TV? Turn off the screen and spend time on more productive and fulfilling activities such as reading and learning.
83. Expert advice: empty your brain on paper
Bestselling author Stephen Covey:
From David Allen’s Getting Things Done I learned that my brain is for processing, not storage.
Most of the stress in my life, perhaps all of it, used to come from the nagging fear that there was something more important that I ought to be doing.
From Tony Buzan, I learned that the best way to empty my brain on paper is a mind map.
84. Make bad habits uncomfortable
To get rid of bad habits, you need to make them uncomfortable. Set barriers and distractions on the way of your most unproductive routines.
85. Invest in good headphones
Whether you’re working in the office or a cafe, there comes a time when you need to deeply focus. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones become priceless at these moments.
86. Listen to background noises
Not everyone can focus while listening to music. Use Noisli to find the suitable background sound that helps you focus and be less distracted by the noise around you.
87. Improve your typing speed
Use a tool like Keybr to learn to speed type. Although it takes some time to master the skill, it will pay off in the future.
88. Learn to speed read
Take a course in speed reading. You’ll grasp the information more easily and work through the text twice as fast.
89. Eat healthy
From a productivity standpoint, the most important meal of your day is lunch. Eat protein-rich foods to avoid the after lunch drowsiness.
90. Be effective, not efficient
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker
Detect the most beneficial tasks and focus on these.
91. Have a clear agenda
Don’t’ start a task unless you’re completely sure how you plan to do it. Apply the same rule to all your daily activities.
92. Build a support network
Establish a circle of close friends and family – the people to help you get through problems and hard times.
93. Find your passion
Discover what it is that you want to do with your life and build your career around your passion. You’re much more likely to succeed.
94. Love your job
It is difficult to express how much more productive you’ll be when doing what you love. Let the passion drive your success.
95. Stay positive
96. Be nice to people
If you’re kind to someone, you’re likely to be returned a favour. You’ll also get the feeling of self-fulfilment after helping someone.
97. Surround yourself with success
It is said that you’re the sum of all the people surrounding you. Build a friend network of success-minded people and learn from them.
98. Regard your problems as challenges
Instead of feeling down when something goes wrong, make it a challenge to fix the bad situation.
99. Dream big
Don’t’ just set goals, set high, hard-to-imagine goals and work hard in order to achieve them.
100. Live in the present
Do not waste time regretting mistakes of the past. Instead, focus on what’s important at the present moment and make plans for the future.
101. Live minimally
You don’t need all that stuff, do you? Having fewer things lets you focus on what’s actually important, without being weighed down by all the material objects in your life.
Don’t make excuses for not exercising. If you’re lacking time, go jogging for 30 minutes every morning.
103. 10 000 hours
Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell established the rule according to which you can master any skill after 10 000 hours of deliberate practice. Find your true passion and devote time to mastering it.
105. Find time to think
Take half an hour every day to reflect upon your day and think where your life is headed. Clear your mind of busy thoughts and recall what you’ve learned today.
105. Just start
Don’t just sit around and wait for great things to happen to you. You make your own success. Start today by applying some of the productivity hacks to your life.
What are your favorite productivity hacks that have helped you succeed? Share your thoughts with us and leave a comment!