30 productivity hacks

1. Start for just 15 minutes. You’re allowed to stop after.

2. If you’re nervous about writing an email but need to respond, schedule it to go out.

3. Make a decision at the end of the meeting. Don’t do in two meetings what you can do in one.

4. Do something, even if there’s a chance it might not be the right thing. Bias for action.

5. Find a way to make it easy. Sometimes, acceptable is enough. Write shitty first drafts, improve it later.

6. If it’s not important or urgent, but you need to get it done, be okay with doing a bad job. Save your energy for the high impact work.

7. Focus on the process, not on the outcome. 

8. Do one thing at a time. Don’t let your focus wane too far into the future or the past; stay in the present. Keep any extra projects or work to a minimum. Don’t multi-task and minimize interruptions. Done is the engine more. Don’t shave yaks.

9. Plan out your week.

10. Listen to yourself. Don’t be mean to yourself.

11. Take breaks when you need to. Forcing yourself, or trying harder, can be counterproductive.

12. Identify lessons that don’t support you, and take time to let go of them.

13. Life is going to happen, so always make sure you have some extra time and space in your week. Make time for unplanned work. If you find yourself with more time than you need, use it proactively.

14. Prioritize. Do less.

15. Get good at asynchronous communication. If you need to hand off a project, or deliver a document with a personal touch, can you record a video instead? When you get good at this and build trust with it, you’ll be able to turn meetings into videos.

16. Take notes of the best things you learn, so you’re not forgetting it. Just put it somewhere you’ll review; notes in your phone, your desktop wallpaper, in a notebook you always use, wherever you know you’ll see it again.

17. Just do the main thing, don’t overprepare. Sometimes you need to do it before you learn how to do it. (It’s a paradox.)

18. Start with best practices, then modify them to the way that works best for you. (Every single one of these hacks should be just a starting point for you.)

19. If you feel inspired, and healthy, seize the moment. Don’t take it for granted.

20. Be open to unexpected opportunities; you come across a lucky break, learn something incredibly useful, or find a productive or creative breakthrough. Aim for controlled sloppiness. Work with your metaphorical or physical door open.

21. Finish the work. Aim high, but make sure you shoot. Don’t take shortcuts; do a good job. Don’t let future work accrue.

22. Do the opposite of what you’re doing, or at least a variation.

23. Break one of your own self-imposed rules or constraints. Raise your expectations. It could be the start of a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.

24. If you don’t “feel” like working, just get to your work desk and computer. Ease your way into it; it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than to think your way into a new way of acting. Just remember hack #1 and #10.

25. Quantity leads to quality, and allows perfection to emerge.

26. Loosen up

27. If you need extra energy, try changing your physical environment.

28. If you’re running up on a deadline, scope down. If you’re starting something and it feels overwhelming, think smaller

29. You will learn fastest when you release your work and get people’s feedback. This is also, by no coincidence, the scariest way to learn.
30. Skimming a book and applying one lesson from it right away is more productive than reading a whole book and not applying anything with it.

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