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6 Productivity Hacks From These Top Influencers

David Mizne
David Mizne

Everyone these days wants to figure out how to do more with their time, whether that’s using little tips and tricks to “hack” away at work, or by developing  a more comprehensive strategy.

Technology certainly helps us to be more efficient and productive, and there are a slew of apps that are designed to save time and energy. Unfortunately, we often quickly fill those spaces we create with more things to produce. 

From the latin pro meaning “forth” + ducere meaning “to bring or lead”, one definition for productivity is what leaders bring forth into being. So it seems only fitting to ask some present day leaders what they do to be as productive as possible.

The hacks

I sent a simple survey to a group of influencers who have inspired me in my own work and career, and asked this question:

What is the #1 thing that you do personally that has the greatest impact on your productivity?

I provided the following choices, which you will probably find useful whether or not they made the cut:

– Hold a daily or weekly team meeting. Align everyone with goals early-on so that they know what needs to be done. This prevents detours and duplicate efforts, saving time and energy for managers and employees alike.

Ask the team questions / ask for status updates. After aligning people, follow up to provide course corrections or support.

– Shut off email and messaging (go dark) for an hour or more each day. This is my #1 hack but it’s not included in the results below, since I’m still working on the whole influencer thing. Follow me on Twitter! 

Time blockingParkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time available for its completion, so you might as well be intentional about blocking off time. Prioritizing tasks and scheduling all of them (even leisure time) may feel constricting, but the practice can increase efficiency by 50%.

– Create to do lists

– Use productivity apps (Workflow, Trello, and others…) 

– Use the Pomodoro Technique / Single-Tasking. Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes, estimate and monitor efficiency, protect against interruptions, save time for recaps and reviews, organize work, and create a personal objective.

– Take breaks or nap during the day

– Exercise

– Meditate. Meditation isn’t just for people seeking to elevate their consciousness. It has many real world benefits including lowering stress, and improving mental processes like decision making and memory.

– Read articles or books on productivity

– Other. Individual responses are included below.

And the winner is…

Top productivity hacks pie chart

1) Time Blocking

This was the #1 productivity hack for nearly half of the respondents; Simon Sinek, Dave Sifry, Renee WarrenBryan Franklin, and Shawn Murphy. Our very own CEO, David Hassell, also blocks off his time and then single-tasks while listening to music.

2) Exercise

Coming in at #2, physical activity is a favorite of Ryan Holiday, Andrew Deutscher, and Dave Kashen.

3) Take Breaks/Nap

Founder of Refound, Jonathan Raymond, stays refreshed by stepping away from work when he needs to. While this sounds counter-productive, it allows necessary time to process information, work-out problems, and cures the mind-numbing effects of multitasking.

4) Meditation

Anese Cavanaugh couldn’t really choose just one. Here are her very close seconds:

It’s a combo of all of these – email dark periods, setting intentions, meditation to ground my self and my day before it GOES!, chunking my calendar out for similar tasks so my brain stays in the zone, blocking time for white space, exercising, and using todoist has saved my life this last year. 

5) Inbox Zero

Founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, commits to doing this so he’s “never a blocker”. Email is one of the greatest obstacles to productivity in the modern era, and cleaning the inbox daily is no small feat.

Merlin Mann, who is credited with coining the phrase, inbox zero said:

It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be.

6) Strengths Consideration & Calibration

As 34 Strong’s Darren Virassammy looks at his daily list, he consciously envisions what strengths will be most needed to make him successful. He structures what he does to create those pockets for strengths to be collectively and individually exercised. 

There are infinite ways to tweak your daily routine to increase productivity. I hope that you found this advice useful, now stop reading blog posts and get back to work!

Image Credit (cropped): Urs Steiner

What are your top productivity hacks? Please share in the comments below.