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10 Ways To Be More Productive Without Any Productivity Software

    1. Create a productivity habit/trigger

    when I am productive, I listen to a specific kind of music. I’ve done this enough so that when I turn on the music, I already feel primed to be productive.

    i also feel this way when I have my external keyboard set up for my laptop.

    maybe you have an office, maybe you have a particular set up. Maybe it’s a ritual. Maybe it's getting dressed.

    The more triggers you have, the easier it is to slip into flow.

    2. Set up your body

    Good sleep, good food for your brain, hydrate

    3. Forced accountability

    Tell someone you’re going to have something done by a certain time, you’re far likelier to do it without distraction.

    4. Understand and follow your energy cadence

    I know I am not naturally productive for 1-1.5 hours after I wake up.

    I know I can only do ~90 minute focus blocks

    I know that I can get a rush of energy in the evening at 7pm or 10pm.

    5. Indulge indulgences

    Part of the reason I know I’m not naturally productive for the first 1-1.5 hours of the day is because I am running internet errands. I check my email to flag high priority items, I check some social media, there are some time-based games I’ve played for years, I follow basketball, etc.

    when I shun these in the name of productivity, I just get more tempted while working. So I honor it, so I don‘t feel as tempted while working.

    6. Set up your brain

    Journal, put everything top of mind on paper, TODOs, errands, trains of thoughts, musings, so your mind is less-wandery. this helps your brain get clear and distraction free

    7. Understand Your Zone of Genius

    Understand what tasks, activities, work *energize* you naturally and design your life around that. set boundaries and expectations or hire to spend more of your energy working with your personal gravity rather than against it.

    I teach a course on this:


    8. Set up your brain (part 2)

    Decide what you WILL NOT do OR

    Decide WHEN you will do things on your list.

    This will satisfy your brain when you have competing important and urgent tasks to do.

    9. Zero push notifications

    I’ve just done this for years.

    Virtually none of my phone apps have push notifications except for text and calendar.

    I don’t know how people survive otherwise.

    10. Remove environmental distractions

    I hate open offices because my brain always looks when someone walks around. It just doesn’t help.

    thank god I’m remote.

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