Have you tried all the usual productivity tips only to find yourself still procrastinating?
Or no matter how awesome your day goes, your to-do list still seems never-ending?
We know that road, too.
So we decided to see how the best marketers in the world stay productive. What do they really do that makes a difference?
Here’s what we found. We hope you’re as surprised and inspired by these unique tips as we were.
1. Ask the Naive Question
“If we weren’t already doing it this way, is this the way we would start?”
The beauty of this question is that it forces you to ignore everything other than results. If you discover a better way to do something (earn more money, land a dream job, graduate college) then “but we’ve always done X” should not stop you. The Naive Question establishes a Darwinian selection process where only the best ideas survive.
Jay Cross, The psychology of putting effectiveness before ego.
Jay Cross is the creator of the Do-It-Yourself Degree. Follow Jay on Twitter here.
2. Have a “Be the Best” Daily List
Call it what you want, I’m talking about a short list of actions you undertake every day (or at least attempt to achieve 80% of the time) that will make all the difference to your client work and effectiveness.
This list should contain key tasks that move you closer to your goal of making more money, getting more clients or being happier and successful.
Natalie Sisson, How to Squeeze the Most out of Every Day.
Natalie Sisson is the founder of The Suitcase Entrepreneur. Follow Natalie on Twitter here.
3. Create a “Click!-Whirr” Ritual
Our brains have built-in, automatic responses to fixed-action patterns activated by trigger features. That means if something triggers our pattern, we run through a sequence of behaviours as predictable as snow in the Arctic.
Here’s an example: Every day, I follow the same, fixed routine. I wake up. I grab a cup of coffee. I sit at the kitchen island and read my email. I wake up my daughter and get her ready for school – iCarly, cereal, clothes, prepare her lunch, brush her hair, walk her to the bus stop. I walk back, breathing deep, feeling grateful and thinking only about the writing task I’ve chosen to work on when I arrive home.
I refill my coffee, sit down and – “click!-whirr” – hit the keyboard.
James Chartrand, How to Write Massive Quantities on Demand.
James Chartrand is a copywriter, blogger, and founder of Men with Pens. Follow James on Twitter here.
4. Have a Master Purpose
But this can all be accomplished just by changing strategy.
Strategy is the master purpose your business is all about. It’s different than your business model. Strategy is the explanation of the entire operating approach your business is following and why and how every element of it integrates, advances, and contributes to the big-picture outcome that you’re after.
Jay Abraham, The Easiest and Fastest Way to Transform Your Business.
Jay Abraham is a direct response marketer and founder of the Abraham Group. Follow Jay on Twitter here.
5. Decide and Do
Decide what you’re going to do next, and then do it. Make good decisions about what’s next and you thrive.
Seth Godin, Redefining Productivity.
Seth Godin is an author, marketer, and entrepreneur. Follow Seth on Twitter here.
6. Timer + Goof Time
The most important tool on my desk isn’t my laptop, my complicated GTD-based next action list, my phone (on which I spend more time than I like), or even my fancy fountain pen collection.
It’s my timer.
I work in 50-minute chunks, followed by 10 minutes of goof time.
The goof time is really important when you’re doing creative, difficult work.
Your brain needs time to play and rest and have a good time, or it won’t work for you when you need it. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I hang out with the cat, sometimes I just walk in circles. Under no circumstances do I do anything productive.
Sonia Simone, How to Get Any Work Done (When Connecting Is Your Job).
Sonia Simone is chief content officer at Copyblogger Media. Follow Sonia on Twitter here.
7. Don’t Panic If You’re Not a Superhero
Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.
Tim Ferriss, “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me).
Tim Ferriss is author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Follow Tim on Twitter here.
8. Set Aside Sacred Time
I don’t take early morning appointments. Ever. I rarely take breakfast appointments. My hours from 4:45 to 8:00 are sacred. I don’t allow them to get interrupted by anything other than the occasional flight—which I loathe. Fortunately, they only happen once or twice a year.
Michael Hyatt, How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day.
Michael Hyatt is author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Follow Michael on Twitter here.
9. Keep Your To-Do List Short
Your to-do list will end up demolishing your productivity if it’s not handled carefully. Every small thing that needs to be dealt with gets listed on your small list. Your small list becomes a big list and you realize you’ll never make a meaningful dent in it.
Ensure that you have no more han three important things on your to-do list every day. It doesn’t mean that business as usual comes to an end: you’ve still got to pay your bills, answer your emails and buy your groceries, but you don’t need to put them on a list of things to make you feel sick every time you look at it.
Matthew Kimberley, How To Be Really F***ing Productive.
Mathew Kimberley is author of How to Get a Grip. Follow Matthew on Twitter here.
10. Use Your Head
I can keep a whole lot in my head until it’s ready to come out. This is both a blessing and a curse, but it’s always worked for me.
Brian Clark, Here’s How Brian Clark Writes.
Brian Clark is the founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Follow Brian on Twitter here.
Over to You
Which of these tips did you find most helpful? Let us know in the comments. Also, why not head over to Twitter and say thank you to the person who gave the tip? You’ll brighten his or her day and build a new connection.