5 Lesser Known Productivity Tips

There is no shortage of productivity advice on the web, with one list of productivity tips much akin to the next. However, there are times when one stumbles across something a bit different – and here are five of such examples that can help you work a little smarter.

Automate your morning routine


I picked up a few useful pieces of advice by Frank M. over at ampyourresults.com. He gives some useful and tangible advice on how to get going in the morning. These useful tips include,

  • The idea of listing whatever programs, web pages etc. that you need to do your work. This can be then executed by windows task scheduler to open up everything before you arrive and have it ready to go.
  • Never habitualize what you can automate: If you repeatedly do things, see how they can bemade more efficient or automated.
  • Define a morning checklist and follow it until it becomes a habit.

Master your tools


From Justin Rosenstein, the co-founder of Asana, a sound piece of advice. Simply master whatever tools you are using. When you can master them you can really squeeze the last drop of efficiency out of them. This could be as simple as learning the software hotkeys for common functions that you use of if you use MS Office, perhaps it is time to finally learn how to use those macro functions to automate your tasks.

Theory of constraints


If you have practiced Critical Chain Project Management you may have stumbled across the Theory of Constraints. Simply put, the Theory of Constraints(TOC) states that systems are limited in achieving their goals by a very small number of constraints. The TOC uses a process to identify those constraints and mitigate them. The application of this philosophy has been mentioned by Yaro Starak and it is a fresh perspective when it comes to thinking about goals and what stands in the way of completing them.


Add time estimates to tasks


From Omar Kilani, co-founder of Remember the milk, a very simple tip which is to add a time estimate to each of your tasks. The thinking behind this is to enable the accumulated time to be determined so that realistic decisions can be made as to what can be realistically done that day. To enable such accumulated time calculations, you can try the Matryoshka task list from yours truly which can apply this principle in a very simple and elegant way. It borrows an idea from the Russian nesting dolls in which each time container fits inside the next. A day inside a week, a week inside a month etc. As tasks are added we can see how much time has been taken and how much remains.

We can then view this single receptacle with time markings as our working time available up to 1 month. As tasks are added we see it start to fill up. With the addition of Task A and Task B, we have already filled up the current days activities. Any additional activities will spill into the next days or the current week.

Time Containers


So, from a glance we can quickly see that there is no more time available today for additional tasks. Currently though we have time available this week for additional items and plenty of time this month currently for other tasks.

Adding Tasks to Containers

This is the fundamental approach that we will take with the Matryoshka todo list.

Every book is a mentor

I came across this phrase by James Altucher. It is no surprise that reading can help you master your particular field of interest, help with your self-development or give a leg up to your career progression. I have heard similar advice from Brian Tracy when he states “Every reader is not a leader but every leader is a reader”. However, I prefer James’ rendition.


Final words

So, there are a few tips that I hope you have not come across before. If you have any other more unusual tips, feel free to leave a comment.



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