A Different Kind of a Productivity Hack

Try something unusual to boost productivity

· project-management ·

WORK

To boost your productivity, do something different. Forget about your morning routine, your biological prime time, and every productivity technique you use. Instead, do the opposite.

So for example, if you start your morning with the most difficult tasks (“eat the frog” principle), tomorrow try doing the easy stuff first. Procrastinate a bit, don’t drink your morning coffee, read a bit, and let yourself waste some time. Then after lunch (when you normally start feeling sluggish), drink your coffee and start working.

Your energy level will skyrocket and you’ll be so anxious to get something done you won’t be able to bear it. After all, you lost so much time that you’ll feel the pressure to catch up — and then you’ll enter “into the zone” and start accomplishing things at an alarming rate.

This happens because of several reasons:

  • Novelty effect: you’re doing something completely different so your brain is working at full speed because it doesn’t know what’s happening and it needs to stay vigilant.

  • Pressure to accomplish things: you know you wasted time so this is your chance to redeem yourself.

This technique works when you start working on a new project or are stuck creatively and need a way to jumpstart the process. You can’t do this all the time as you’ll get used to it. Use the technique sparingly and switch things up once a week when you really need extra juice to get things done.

“I’ve found over the years that any momentary change stimulates a fresh burst of mental energy. So if I’m in this room and then I go into the other room, it helps me. If I go outside to the street, it’s a huge help. If I go up and take a shower it’s a big help. So I sometimes take extra showers. I’ll be down here [in the living room] and at an impasse and what will help me is to go upstairs and take a shower. It breaks up everything and relaxes me.” - Woody Allen

Try starting your workday differently tomorrow and see how it goes.

The point is to get out of routine and harness the novelty effect to gain short-term productivity boost when you really need it.

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