How to Be Productive – Advice From 12 Experts

Out of all the experts I got in touch with in preparing this series, the productivity bloggers were the ones who to the greatest extent found the time to participate.

I guess these guys practice what they preach. 😉

Could you use some help with your productivity?

Then check out the amazing advice I got handed when I asked:

What would your number one advice for being more productive?

charlie-gilkey“Pick no more than 3 Big Projects and focus your efforts on those. If you do this right, it’ll stir up a lot of emotions – that’s why strategic planning is so hard for creative people. Better to hit it out of the park with 3 things that really matter than just get by with a bunch of things.”
– Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing

MikeVardy“The greatest thing one can do with New Year’s resolutions is to go small with them. Make them realistic and measurable, and as frictionless as possible. I’m not big on resolutions starting in January (as I mention in my book The Front Nine: How To Start The Year You Want Anytime you Want), but I recognize that there’s a certain freshness to getting things going in January.

Don’t make huge commitments – especially if they are going to involve others in some form or another – because you’ll have a lesser chance of success. Instead, make several smaller resolutions and track them either with an app like Lift or through the process of journaling and you’ll see that they won’t go by the wayside nearly as often…and you’ll be more productive in the process.”
– Mike Vardy, Productivityist

GA twitter“If your new year’s resolution is just “to be more productive”, I’d suggest that’s not clear enough and you’re going to need to do some hard-thinking with yourself about what that really means. Think about what’s out of control or what’s stressing you out – is it making email more productive? Is it running more efficient and effective meetings? Or is it a more general aspiration to feel more organised or use an app better?

It’s important to make your new year’s resolutions very specific – because the psychology of resolutions is such that the brain is scared of change and you’ll subconsciously look for all the ways beat yourself up with how you haven’t achieved it. And unless your resolution is specific (and if possible, also measurable!) then you won’t be able to silence those horrible nagging voices.”
– Graham Allcott, author of “How to be a Productivity Ninja” at Think Productive

ciaraconlon“Use your calendar. If you have your week planned in advance you can hit the ground running when you start work each day. Look at your goals for the year and decide what tasks need to be done in order to achieve your goals, then schedule them into your calendar.”
Ciara Conlon, author of Chaos to Control

Marissa-Brassfield“Commit to continuous improvement. Most New Year’s resolutions are history by February because people want to make better choices, but they haven’t actually committed to doing the initial work required to build up momentum.

It’s like pushing a broken-down car on the side of the road: the initial effort is considerable, but once you get the wheels rolling, it becomes much easier to keep the car moving forward.

To really pull this resolution off, you’ve got to make conscious decisions that support your efforts. If you were trying to lose weight, you wouldn’t fill your fridge with junk food — you’d clean out the crap and fill it with healthy foods. It’s the same with your workflow: commit to constantly look for ways to optimize your workday. Make it a game — how much fun can you have whittling down your workday?”
– Marissa Brassfield, Ridiculously Efficient

hillary-120“Ask for help. Resolutions worked on in the context of a savvy and supportive community have a far better chance of success than those worked on solo.”
Hillary Rettig


timo_kiander“Create a simple system that ensures you: a) Know the most important tasks for the day b) Don’t forget anything
In the first case, jot down 3-5 important tasks you want to accomplish every day. Do this the night before going to bed. The next day go through the list and cross off those tasks as soon as you have done them. This list could be created just with a pen and paper, but there are obviously other ways too.

The second thing is to create a habit of taking notes. When you integrate it into your daily life, you rarely lose your “next big ideas” or things you should be doing. In my case, whenever I have an idea I want to capture or a task that has to be done, I write it down (paper, smartphone, Google Docs document). Once you have collected ideas/tasks, decide when to take care of them. I have a task management software for storing the tasks and a Google Docs documents for my ideas (you could use EverNote as well). With these two steps alone, you’ll become more productive than the majority of people around you.”
– Timo Kiander, Productive Superdad

michael-schechter“There are several things I’d suggest to anyone looking to get more done, most of them come straight from David Allen’s Getting Things Done. It pays to get better at capturing your ideas, to be more intentional about what you take on, to clearly define your projects, to know the next step you can take for everything you’re trying to accomplish, but few things in my life have been as helpful as determining my own personal definition of “productive”.

For some, being productive means having one thing you want to do and finding a way to make it happen (often in the face of seemingly endless distractions). For others, all they really want is a better way to check a few more items off their daily to-do list. Start by figuring out your own definition of productive. Figure out what you’re really looking to accomplish and let that knowledge serve as a filter. If you need to carve out more time in your life, learning to delegate and say no is probably going to get you a lot further than a better task list.

On the other hand, if you need to stop using your brain as a task list (and you do), you’d likely benefit by making time to discover and learn about some of the tools, like OmniFocus or Things that can help. It may sound obvious, but defining what productivity means to you will go a long way towards helping you to actually be more productive.”
– Michael Schechter, WorkFlowing

bojan_1“Oh wow… I was writing years ago about new year resolutions. I don’t make them anymore. But I used to. And I was following up on them pretty consistently, when I followed this advice: “My biggest advice to people who make new year resolutions is to under-promise, and over-deliver.

The less of expectations you put upon yourself, the bigger the chances that you won’t get disappointed and give up. People usually come up with these big impossible New Year Resolutions, and right after the first failure, they give up. Make a new year resolution that you will get back on your feet on the things you’ve failed, and you will be way ahead of your last year you.”
– Bojan Djordjevic, Senior Editor Of Alpha Efficiency Magazine

bob-stanke-headshot“Plan ahead. Don’t just think about the next hour, or the next day. Plan a week in advance to get a jump on all you need to get done!”
Bob Stanke


michael-twitter“Treat new years resolutions as projects and add them as active projects to your current task and project management system. This way you’re changing from a “wishful thinking” mindset to a “gettting-it-done” one. I talk more about this in one of my Productive! Show episodes.

The important thing is to make the resolutions very tengible and create a rough step-by-step (task-by-task) guide what needs to happen to achieve those. Just saying “I want to be more fit” doesn’t cut it. Make a concrete project that will help you get in a better shape and outline the tasks that will lead you to the completion. And when you fail, dust yourself off and try again, don’t give up when you start getting off your track – visualize your life with the resolution completed and focus on it.”
Michael Sliwinski

rami-rantalaNew year resolutions are difficult to keep. That is why you should not reach to the moon. I have achieved a lot with simple practice. Instead of trying to get all things done, pick one task every day and forget everything else. If you pick every day one task and put all your effort to finish it,
you will achieve 365 tasks in a year.

The same practice works in the office, but at home as well. If even small amount of those tasks are dynamite tasks, tasks that really make the difference, you must have a success in your productivity.
– Rami Rantala, Better Productivity Blog

More New Years Resolution Ideas

Pretty great stuff, right? If you’d like some more awesome new years resolution ideas and how to make them a booming success, make sure to check out how to:

Moving Forward

Before you go I have two things to ask of you:

  1. Do you have any advice to share on how you stay productive? Let us know in the comments!
  2. Email this article to a friend who could benefit from it.

Here’s to your productivity – Happy New Year! 🙂