Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do

There are many best-seller books out there. By definition, best-seller books are books which are bought by many, many people. Unfortunately, buying doesn’t mean reading. From those many people who buy a book, only a fraction of them actually read the book. Even worse, reading doesn’t mean doing. From those who read the book, very, very few of them actually do what they read. Reading a book is one thing, but applying it is a different thing. No wonder very few people experience what the authors write.

The same thing applies to productivity. Many of us read productivity books or blogs and know a lot of productivity tips. Unfortunately, knowing doesn’t mean doing.

In this post, I’d like to remind us to actually do what we know. Here I highlight top 5 productivity tips which I think will make great difference if we actually apply them. For each tip, I put links for more resources to help you do it.

Here they are:

  1. Rise early
    Why do you need to rise early? This is the reason: early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” Many people find early morning as very productive time to do their tasks. You will be able to accomplish more in the same amount of time.
    Here are some tips on becoming an early riser:
    How to Become an Early Riser
    Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM
    How I Became an Early Riser
  2. Start with the most important task
    After doing your morning routine like exercising or having breakfast, you should start your day by tackling your most important task for that day. Remember that it is the most important, not the most urgent task. Some people choose to start their day with things that seem urgent but actually not important. Be careful. Read Habit 3: Put First Things First of the classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for more information about the difference between important and urgent.
    Here are some more tips about tackling the most important task:
    Control your workday
    Purpose Your Day: Most Important Task (MIT)
  3. Do not multitask
    There is an illusion that we will accomplish more if we multitask. But study shows that it is wrong. Be sure that you do only one task at a time. Doing only one task at a time allows you to have the necessary focus to accomplish the task with the highest possible standard.
    Read “Use single handling” section in this article for more information.
  4. Prevent interruption
    Preventing interruption is important to help you enter a state of deep focus and concentration, which is called the flow. Find what may interrupt you, such as the cell phone, people around you, or the Internet. Then take necessary steps to eliminate any possible interruption as much as possible (turning off the cell phone, telling people around you not to interrupt you, and so on).
    Read more about preventing interruption in 7 Rules for Maximizing Your Creative Output.
  5. Actually do what you need to do
    The key to productivity is actually do what you need to do. I wrote about it in my post What is the Key to Productivity?. For example, if you are a writer, you need to actually do the writing. Be careful not to get trapped by secondary activities. The most ironic thing is spending your time to maintain your productivity system instead of actually do what you need to do.
    One trick I like to get myself actually do is the 50 minutes rule.

These are all common productivity tips. But the question is: have you actually done them? Use these list as your personal checklist. Day by day check which items you have done and which haven’t. Concentrate on doing these 5 things everyday.  Even with only these 5 tips, if you actually do them day by day, your productivity will significantly increase.

Note:
This post is my submission to the ProBlogger Group Writing Project.


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95 Comments

  1. Great tips. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. You’re welcome, NeoTechie. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I love this article. Perhaps I will actually get something accomplished now. Anyway, you’re article is so great I made it into a list on ListAfterList.com. If you have any more advice for the unproductive lot of us, or otherwise, this seems to be the place to list it. Check it out: http://www.listafterlist.com/ListResults/tabid/57/ListID/7023/Default.aspx

  4. You are right about multitasking. As I watch someone do it, I think it is only adding stress in their work because of the their extra effort in coping up with both task. It’s better to give our best on one task so that it will be finished faster.

  5. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  6. These are really helpful tips. Very simple and yet everyone fails to see the importance of these kinds of things.

    I am not a person who likes multitasking, much because of the fact that I get easily distracted. Others tell me to try multitasking to save time, but it seems that the effect is the other way around.

    Nice set of tips! Very helpful!

    Thanks for your post.

    If you have time, why don’t you drop by my post:
    http://mobileko.blogspot.com/2007/05/snatch-top-5-tips-on-how-to-be.html

    It’s also an entry for the problogger top 5- group writing project. ^^ Goodluck to us all!

  7. I have been multitasking all morning actually (reading the list on the Problogger site whilst working), I think I’ve been doing okay 😉

    But you’re the boss!

  8. Yep, I think this is great! I do some of this and your article will inspire me to do more
    This may sound simple – like people are attracted to like
    Like minds are attracted to like
    Like thoughts are attracted to like
    If you are interested, there is more at: NigelPendrigh. Com/Interview
    You have to be what you want to attract and then you will habitually do what you want at a higher level with people at a higher level and find these 5 Productivity Tips are routine 🙂

  9. I’ve read this article at Problogger.net. These are very helpful.
    Thank you for your post.

  10. […] Top 5 ways to keep your WordPress Blog valid Top 5 steps for choosing a blog theme Top 5 reasons to start a blog Top 5 Gradients for blog design Five reasons to love Ubuntu Top 5 reasons to Live Top 5 Productivity tips people know, but do not follow […]

  11. I have another one. Avoid ignorant and incompetent people as they will slow you down. At my company, I’m surrouned by them and suffer productivity hits. If your lucky you only have a fiew village idiots are your work that try to crack unfunny jokes, ask stupid questions, or wander around all day. You can avoid a few of them, but a company full of them is more difficult. Very good post and good luck in the competition.

    Turtle King
    http://turtlesatwork.blogspot.com
    [email protected]

  12. I like the tip on rising early, and it really ties in with avoiding interruption – you can accomplish so much more from 5 am to 8 am because no one else is around to distract or interrupt you.

  13. But remember, “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

  14. I enjoy the tip of not multi-tasking, many people think this helps, but it just makes everything you do worse

  15. Thanks for the good tips. I’m more of a night owl, so I’m not sure how effectively I can do the Rise Early thing. But they are all really good advice and there are some nice links there as well.

    Have a look at my entry in the Great Top 5 Writing Project if you have a chance. Good luck in the runnings! Top 5 Tantalizing Blog Title Techniques

  16. You’re exactly right. I try to do it all AT THE SAME TIME.

    You can check out my post, which has no good advice, but may provide a laugh!

  17. Very true, many people know these but dont follow them.

  18. Productivity! Productivity!Productivity!

    Definitely a good topic to address!

  19. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina – some tips that you might read at Ian’s Messy Desk. […]

  20. Man, you nailed me! I need to work on all five of those things, and I’ve been thinking about waking up earlier for a long, long time now. Thanks for giving me a little more inspiration to actually start doing what I know I should. 🙂 I’ll start tomorrow, I promise. Well, maybe next week. =P

  21. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  22. Hi everyone, thanks so much for stopping by!

    I really enjoy reading your comments and learn a lot from them. I’m looking forward to knowing you and your blogs better.

  23. Wow. So, after reviewing the list, my score is 0/5. Ouch. Obviously, I need to work on a few things. The “Getting Up Early” one will probably be the most difficult!

  24. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know but Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  25. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  26. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  27. It is amazing the amount of people who rather do anything rather than do what needs to be done.
    I am pretty good at most of these. The one i don’t do is getting up at 5am. Maybe i will try that.

    Adrienne 🙂

  28. Hey this is helpful! I’m currently score a zero or 1 out of 5, but I think I’ll get there. Thanks for the reminder.

    (Got here via the Top 5 post of Darren’s)

  29. Great article. I am trying to go to work earlier. I don’t have a problem getting up since I have to get my kids up in the morning but I just move so slow in the morning. I am going to have to take up some of those tips to see if it helps me.

    Good luck on the contest!

  30. Donald,

    Very good points. #2 reminds me of “eat that frog!” (Brian Tracy). I also find that if I write a list the night before of what I need to accomplish the next day, then I get it done (also BT).

    #3 is great, I agree 100% and it’s so funny how many job postings state that you must be able to multitask.

    I’ve experienced #4 many times. It’s frustrating to keep getting interrupted. #’s 1 and 5 are spot on, also.

    Thanks again. Have fun reading all of the Probloggers submissions! 🙂

    All the best,

    JoLynn

  31. Those are helpful tips. I think multitasking is based on the capacity of our mind to work with multiple task. Others can be ok with two tasks at the same time, but doing more will surely break our concentration.

  32. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  33. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Don’t Do – By Life Optimizer […]

  34. Great tips! Thanks Donald.

  35. I agree with JoLynne Braley
    “#3 is great, I agree 100% and it’s so funny how many job postings state that you must be able to multitask.”
    It is usually because the companies are disorganised in some way

  36. Thanks for coming everyone!

    @JoLynn, Fran, Nigel:
    Actually multitasking is still fine for doing simple things that do not require concentration, such as exercising or doing chores. But creative tasks usually require deep concentration and thus should be done without multitasking. The article I linked to in the post talks more about this.

    @Adrienne:
    I agree completely. Most people are willing to do anything except the what they actually need to do. I am no exception, but I’m learning now :).

  37. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

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  41. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  42. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  43. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  44. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  45. Thanks a ton! As a mother of 2 children under 2 years old, I am always looking for more ways to be more productive. Thanks again!! 🙂

  46. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  47. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  48. You’re welcome! I hope you will be able to better manage your time and be more productive 🙂

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  50. Can I transtrate your message and post to my blog? I’ll ping back to you. You can read my blog. please followup comments for this. Thanks~ 🙂

  51. @gillian2:
    Of course, I’ll be very happy if it can reach audience from other languages as well. Thanks!

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  56. I agree. There are things that we need to realize.
    Multitasking is something we can’t take without any experience. Some may have no problems with multitasking, especially if they are doing it for a long time. But to some, I believe that it will only cause them to be less productive

  57. @Alan:
    Yes, especially for tasks which require deep concentration, multitasking will surely cause them to be less productive.

  58. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

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  61. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  62. […] Just like you should start your day by doing the most important task, you should start your reading by reading the most important book. Take the book which is not just interesting, but also has the biggest potential impact on your life. Take the book which has the biggest potential return for your investment of time. […]

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  64. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  65. Great…

  66. So much agree about point 1 – Rise Early!

  67. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  68. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  69. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  70. […] Wake up earlier. If you’re capable of getting up earlier than usual, you just might find that not only is life quieter then – allowing more concentration – but that you’re more productive, especially with creative work. If getting up early doesn’t work for you, challenge yourself to be more productive in the same amount of time. […]

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  72. […] stuff you’ve been reading about. Donald Latumahina at Life Optimizer mentions this in his Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do post . So remember this tip as you read through the rest. When you learn something good, make it part of […]

  73. No doubt, many of us know lot of trusted productivity enhancing tricks but don’t apply to get benefits. There may be differnt reasons behind this tendency. I think the main reason may be the shortage of time required to concentrate on the analysis and application of those suggeseted measures. After hiring OutSorcerer.com to accomplish some of my time consuming tasks, I can say that outsourcing is the best way to manage your time hours according to your priorities.

  74. I’ve done an excellent job with the first task: rising early. Where I need to make progress is in eliminating “interruptions”. If I can successfully do that, completing tasks would be much easier. I know what interrupts me (phone and the internet)…but the procrastinator in me takes hold sometimes; I can’t help it.

    I’m practicing time-blocking and that’s worked. So slowly but surely I’mmaking progress…

  75. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  76. Hi,

    Perfect tips actually. I believe multitasking and interruption are the biggest problems in my life. But I don’t have an idea how they can be eliminated in an open-office environment.

    Cheers,
    Mono

  77. […] Top 5 Productivity Tips Most People Know But Do Not Do by Donald Latumahina […]

  78. Hi,

    very well written post.

    Good general tips.

    About the books, it´s true, that buying doesn’t mean reading…

    It’s all about doing and applying the know-how.

    All the best,

  79. superb article. answered so many questions which were floatin in my mind for a long time. it’s like; you have the solution, but don’t know how to (or lazy to) start from somewhere. I’ll use these tips in my daily freelancing life. thanks a lot! it was enlightening.

  80. Thank you for the insight and keeping us all on track with life and work productivity tools!

  81. love it, if i can figure out how to get up earlier i can do it, and i can only do one thing at the time, not an issue for me.great stuff.

  82. Great information and all very actionable. I have been working with a schedule for years and yet still feel there is a lot of room for improvement.

  83. Dana, Magnus, and Mike,
    Thanks for the kind words!

  84. Why are early risers so convinced that they are more productive? The ones I know come in and read the paper for an hour before starting to actually work, then leave early because they came in early. The real work then gets finished by those who stay late to get it done.

  85. […] Being Productive? Or Just Busy?I think one of the reasons that taking breaks from work can increase productivity is that taking a break might reduce your dependence on activities that we call “work”, […]

  86. […] According to lifeoptimizer.org “There is an illusion that we will accomplish more if we multitask. But study shows that it […]

  87. Multitasking is less productive, especially on tasks or activities that require deep concentration. When you multitask on things that needs mental effort, your productivity drops off rapidly. In short, stick to one thing at a time. No matter how fast you are at multitasking, it will always slow things down, increase the likelihood of mistakes and increase your stress leve To learn more about the effects of multitasking, take my free exercise at http://www.davecrenshaw.com/exercise

  88. hey some pretty decent productivity tips, thanks, keep it up!

  89. Great tips, many thanks for that. early rising is my biggest problem, but I am working on that!

    Merry Christmas

    matthias

  90. I really need to do some of these. Thanks for sharing this great list! You’re absolutely correct that multi-tasking is a big no no.

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