99 Ways to be More Productive According to Quora
3 May 2016

99 Ways to be More Productive According to Quora


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Career development Performance


Getting answers to your questions is what Quora’s all about and there’s some very interesting conversations happening around all sorts of topics.
One question asked recently was “What are some uncommon ways to work smarter instead of harder?“. Below is a summary of some of the great answers given by members of the site.

  1. Learn to say “No.”
  2. Sleep at least 8-9 hours
  3. Don’t be a night Owl. Work in between 5am-10pm not from 10pm-5am
  4. Stop multitasking
  5. Take more breaks: respect your natural attention spans
  6. Spend time in nature
  7. Move around and work in blocks
  8. Limit your to-do list
  9. Measure your results, not your time
  10. Build “getting ready to work” routines
  11. Track what you’re wasting time on
  12. Exercise daily even if you think you have no time
  13. Believe that you can do it
  14. Use keyboard shortcuts
  15. Get enough rest and sleep, even when you’re behind
  16. Procrastinate, but not until the last minute
  17. Delegate
  18. Don’t be a perfectionist
  19. Increase your typing speed
  20. Use the 80/20 Principle. Analyze the work before you start
  21. Set a deadline
  22. Use a time management system, such as GTD
  23. Believe that you can do it
  24. Eat that frog“: Do the most difficult task or the task you hate the most first
  25. Do not sit in the same place for long stretches of time
  26. Use systems & automation to make good habits stick.
  27. Don’t rely on discipline & willpower
  28. Hire a virtual assistant to get more done
  29. Planning is the #1 tool to ensure you’re working smarter, not working for work’s sake
  30. Find your biological prime time
  31. Schedule 1-2 hours just for yourself
  32. Stop multitasking
  33. Divide big tasks into small tasks
  34. Tackle the worst task first
  35. Do everything that takes less than 2 minutes, right away
  36. Block distracting websites
  37. Use the Pomodoro Technique
  38. Eat “brain” food
  39. Use room scents
  40. Drink coffee strategically
  41. Watch your working hours
  42. Set a deadline for each task
  43. Use waiting time for small tasks
  44. Track your time
  45. Do similar tasks together
  46. Do email response batching
  47. Dictate
  48. Improve your typing speed
  49. Learn speed reading
  50. Set the office thermostat to 70-72°F (21–22ºC)
  51. Use a standing desk
  52. Have a plant on your desk
  53. Clean your desk when you’re leaving the office
  54. Take a power nap
  55. Procrastinate or Surf the web for 10 minutes
  56. Use two screens to work
  57. Communicate more by talking
  58. The 80-20 rule. Much of your effort is not really adding much to your life and should be cut out. A small part of your efforts are driving most of the success in your life and need to be expanded even further
  59. Stop hitting Reply All
  60. Setup email filters
  61. Meditate
  62. Build Relationships at Work
  63. Banish long meetings
  64. Make use of Chrome Plugins
  65. Use a voicerecorder and repeat back something important you’re told
  66. Build habits that become systems. Systems beat willpower
  67. Use a password manager like 1Password/Lastpass
  68. Recognise starting is often the hardest part
  69. Switch your workplace
  70. Use a whiteboard
  71. Eliminate friction wherever you can
  72. Have some fun
  73. Use a kanban board
  74. Talk and write in bulletpoints
  75. Identify and deal with bottlenecks
  76. Optimize the repetitive processes
  77. Get good tools
  78. Make decisions on the spot
  79. Be clear on responsibilities
  80. Spend less time planning and more time doing
  81. Avoid analysis paralysis. Use a decision matrix. Makes decision faster
  82. If something stays on your to-do list for so long that it starts to bother you, just delete it
  83.  Set realistic expectations for what you can accomplish in a day
  84. Enjoy a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day
  85. Make weekend plans, and NEVER set a Monday deadline
  86. Use your left hand while brushing, it ignites the imaginative part of you
  87. Don’t see, OBSERVE
  88. Don’t hear, LISTEN
  89. If you want to prepare a presentation, use 10, 20, 30 technique. (10 slides, 20 mins, 30 font size)
  90. Offer two or three choices – never more
  91. Look for simplification
  92. Remember Parkinson’s Law ~ Tasks expand to the time allotted
  93. Use the Pomodoro Technique and a Timer
  94. Look for inspirations from others
  95. Train your mind to go through the analysis and not jump to conclusions
  96. Know the rules of the game so you can optimize how you play
  97. If you’re already working as hard as you can, then working even harder isn’t the answer
  98. Turn on music
  99. The Method of Loci or Memory Palace

For further details on any of the above the full comment trail can be found here.