Steal These 7 Famous Productivity Tips Today

Desk with laptop, headphones, glasses and smartphone

Getting more done in less time is the Holy Grail of working. Time is the great equalizer, with all of us having the same 24 hours in each day as everyone else. The magic is in what you do with those hours, and that makes all the difference in the world.

While to most people the success of famous actors, thinkers, artists, writers, and musicians might seem like blind luck, the truth is that a lot of work goes into that success. These people get more done in less time, which gives them the upper hand and allows them to succeed where many others fail.

Most successful people have their own special productivity tips that keep them going, and by stealing them you, too, can get more done.

Ready? Here are some key productivity tips. Let the larceny begin!

1. Caffeine Is Your Friend

Overhead view of used coffee cups with pencil and paper

Just about everybody knows how caffeine can help productivity, but some famous folks take it to an extreme of sorts. For example, mathematician Paul Erdos used strong espresso and even caffeine tablets to work 19-hour days. He was quoted as saying “A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.”

Beethoven took a more exacting approach and made a cup of coffee for himself every morning by using exactly 60 beans. While this is a little extreme for most people, following a routine can really help get your mind right for work, too.

2. Notecards Are Awesome

Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov loved notecards. When he was writing his novels he used notecards to lay out ideas and scenes so that he could move them around easily. The 5×8 cards, which held his entire stories, helped him think on his toes and react quickly to changes in his plans.

You can use this system, too. When you’re planning a speech or writing a manual, use notecards so you can easily move thoughts around. Place a main idea on each card and organize them until you’re happy with the result.

3. Set a Goal and Stick to It

To say that Stephen King is a prolific author would be an understatement. King sets himself a goal to write 2,000 words every day he’s working on a book, no matter what. This means that holidays, weekends, and days when he’s sick all require work to be done.

Panel of Stephen King book covers

Lay out a schedule for your work and stick to it. It’s far too easy to allow work to pile up at the end of the week or month, so stick to the plan and do it now.

SEE ALSO: How to Be as Productive as Einstein

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4. Act Immediately

Nothing can replace the energy and excitement that come from a good idea. Bill Gates says that if you have a good idea, you should act on it right away. This not only lets you capitalize on the energy boost a good idea gives, but it helps you to remember the idea as well as possible.

Immediately starting to work on a new idea isn’t the best for productivity, as it can easily pull you out of the task you’re currently working on. But you can act on that idea by simply writing a note or sending yourself an email to look at later. This lets you stay in the zone of your work now and keep the new idea fresh for later.

5. Competition Is Good

Playwright Henrik Ibsen believed healthy competition was a good thing for his productivity. He believed this so much that he actually kept a portrait of his archrival August Strindberg on his desk.

While few of us have our own archrivals, you can use this to your advantage in your own way. Keep a notepad from a rival company on your desk, or frame a piece of hate mail you received about an issue with your product.

Whatever motivates you to be better, put out in the open so you can see it all the time.

RELATED: How to Get Busy People to Read Your Emails

6. Get Physical

A change in your physical state is a great way to up your motivation and productivity. Some people go for a midday run to energize them for the second half of the day, while others do some stretching and yoga.

Composer Igor Stravinsky did this his own way – by standing on his head when he felt blocked. He believed this helped him think clearly again and get back to work.

You probably wouldn’t do so well standing on your head in your office, but the idea still rings true. Completely change your physical state for a few minutes and you’ll open your mind up again to clear thinking.

7. Don’t Multitask

Today’s world is all about multitasking, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to get things done.

Steve Jobs, arguably one of the most innovative business leaders of our time, didn’t believe in multitasking. He felt that focusing on a few things was the best way to make them amazing and to get more done.

Take Apple’s product policy to heart and try to concentrate your energy on only a few things at a time – or, ideally, just one. Not only will you feel less stressed and overworked, but your productivity on these few tasks will go through the roof.

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