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Putting the “Pro” in Productivity: 3 Experts Who Know Their Stuff

Putting the “Pro” in Productivity: 3 Experts Who Know Their Stuff

    Productivity experts are a dime a dozen. It seems like every other person who starts to follow me on Twitter is a self-proclaimed productivity expert of one kind or another. It’s definitely one of those industries where it can be very hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, to find a productivity expert that isn’t just “self-proclaimed”, but actually is a bona fide expert who can help people and companies alike to increase their productivity.

    So, what makes a great productivity expert, anyway? It’s a combination of results, writing/professional credentials, and a unique take on the world when viewed through the lens of increasing and dissecting productivity.

    The list below is by no means comprehensive, so don’t take it to heart if your favorite productivity expert didn’t make the list below. If you were going to make a list of every single great and renowned productivity expert, the list would be too long to read.

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    Without further ado, here are a few of the best productivity experts, along with information about their credentials.

    1. Jason Jennings

    Author of: “LESS IS MORE: How Great Companies Use Productivity as a Competitive Tool in Business”, “Hit the Ground Running”, “Think Big, Act Small”, “It’s Not The Big That Eat The Small – It’s The Fast That Eat The Slow”

    Credentials: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Business Week Magazine Top 10 Bestseller

    Personal History: Early in his career, he founded he consulting firm Jennings-McGlothlin & Company, which eventually became the largest media consultancy in the world.

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    Today, he does as many as 80 keynote speeches in a year. In “Less is More”, Jennings profiled companies from a bunch of different sectors, and was able to determine how they were able to function consistently at peak productivity, allowing them to be incredibly successful.

    Quote: “The 10 most productive companies in the world…believe that you make incredible amounts of money as a byproduct of the incredible things you do.” In other words, the purpose of business isn’t to make money, it is to make money by making great products.

    2. Jim Collins

    Author of: “How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In”, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” (on the Business Week best-seller list for more than six years), and “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…And Others Don’t” (sold 2.5 million copies has been translated into 32 languages.)

    Credentials: Degree from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Published in USA Today, Former senior executive at CNN International.

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    Personal History: After graduating from Stanford, Collins founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado in 1995. He has worked with Johns Hopkins and the United States Marine Corps. He is perhaps best known for being a proponent of “fixed-schedule productivity”, and maintaining your work-life balance by dividing your work time into percentages based on long-term career and life goals.

    Quote: “A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but equally important, what is not. It is the discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.”

    3. David Allen

    Author of: “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”, “Making It All Work”, and “Ready for Everything”

    Credentials: Featured blogger at the Huffington Post, one of the “Top 100 thought leaders” by Leadership Magazine, one of the top five executive coaches working in the United States according to Forbes magazine.

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    Personal History: Founder and CEO of the David Allen Company, he has been called “One of the world’s most influential thinkers” by Fast Company. His works have been published in 28 languages, and he has worked in a wide variety of fields prior to starting his company, including jobs as a karate teacher, travel agent, and moped salesman.

    Quote: “You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.”

    Wrapping Up

    We could go on and on. We haven’t even scratched the surface of other big names like Roger Martin or Peggy Duncan. It takes serious cred to become a noted productivity expert, and there are plenty of smart people out there who definitely deserve that designation.

    Which productivity experts do you respect the most? Tell us who you think really puts the “pro” in productivity in the comments below!

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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