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10 Videos That Will Increase Your Productivity

productivity videos

1. First, let’s start with the science behind productivity.

2. Getting things done is sometimes about saying, “NO!” thinks Steve Jobs.

3. Eddie Obeng tells us productivity is about…failure

4. To be productive, focus on happiness.

5. Productivity may mean ending you social life.

6. Merlin Mann tells Google how to get things done.

7. To be productive, master the “Pomodoro Technique.”

8. Tim Ferris of 4-Hour Workweek fame discusses productivity and introduces the 4 hour day.

9. Take advice from Nick Cave’s creative process and productive work habits.

10. Ray Bradbury’s persistence boosts productivity.

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7 Productivity Tips From Ernest Hemingway


Ernest Hemingway may go down in the history books as a hard-drinking, big-fishing, Nobel-Prize-winning writer, but he was also a productivity guru. Throughout his career he often gave advice to young writers and openly talked about his work habits and writing style. Even if you aren’t a writer Hemingway’s tips and tricks can help you increase your productivity.

Follows is a list of productivity tips that come from Hemingway himself…and they aren’t just for writers.

1. Don’t Waste Words and Be Clear: Hemingway is famous for getting to the point and killing unneeded adjectives. When he was challenged to write a six word story, he wrote “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” Clearly, he knew how to be economical with his words. If you want to get things done you need to exercise the same verbal restraint. Meetings, email exchanges, and conversations often spill into the late afternoon because people employ too many words. Keeping it short, simple, and clear will save time, cut down on confusion, and get everyone back to work.

2. Make a Schedule: Everyday Hemingway would  wake up at 7am and try to write between 500 to a 1,000 words. The rest of his day he devoted to a combination of fishing, hunting, and drinking. Give yourself a schedule. As Jeanette Winterson, another writer, says, “Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.” Routines and schedules give leaders the ability to be creative and consistent.

3. Quit While You’re Ahead: Hemingway said “The best way [to write] is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.” If you do one task well and you know what to do next, it might help to pause and tackle it the next day. Getting something done every day will increase your confidence and keep momentum going.

4. Keep Your Mouth Shut: According to Hemingway, it’s bad form for a writer to talk about his work. He said discussing writing takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Don’t discuss your project or new idea until you are certain it is clear and well thought out. Talking about a new proposal or plan too soon can give your competition time to coalesce against your idea. Productivity will suffer if you spend more time talking about your idea than acctually moving it forward.

5. Don’t Give Up: Hemingway once told F. Scott Fitzgerald, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” You need to be able to be critical of the work that you do complete. Not everything you do will be perfect. Increased productivity will help you make a lot of progress, but you need to approach it with a critical eye. Don’t get frustrated and give up because you feel you are doing a bad job. Keep producing and moving forward. Eventually you will do one thing very well.

6. Work Standing Up: Hemingway wrote standing up because of a minor leg injury he got in World War I. But, his vertical habit isn’t that odd. Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, and Donald Rumsfeld, among other popular figures chose to stand up while they work. Standing while working can increase productivity by fighting fatigue, the allure of napping, and minor distractions. According to the New York Times, it can also help you lose weight.

7. Lastly, Hemingway said, “Never mistake motion for action”:  Leaders have to remember that productivity is about action and getting things done–not running around in circles.

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The Myth of Productivity: Is 8 the Magic Number?

It’s all about getting things done. If you can get those you lead to rally around your ideas then success isn’t that far away. But once you’ve reached a certain level of success it becomes imperative that you sustain the momentum you worked so hard to build.  One way to sustain momentum is to make sure that you keep your employees motivated–motivated to continue the high level of work that got everyone to the top of the mountain in the first place.

Entrepreneur magazine’s Tony Bradley recently wrote an article entitled Telecommuting Is Good for Employees and Employers. In the piece, Bradley makes the point that, despite what we’ve been taught for years, allowing workers to break out of the normal 9-5 grind will actually help maximize their time. He argues that forcing those you lead to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day doesn’t guarantee that more work will get done.  In fact it does  just the opposite. There is no incentive to work faster if the only reward is more work and more time sitting around.

The idea that telecommuting is more than just people sitting in their bathrobes watching game shows instead of working is a perfect example of how leaders have to burst The Myth of Productivity. There is no generally agreed upon norm for productivity. Working eight hours-a-day in a sterile, fluorescent lit, cubicle is the result of nothing more than a law to keep unscrupulous bosses from forcing people to work fifteen hours a day in a dangerous and poorly ventilated mine shaft. There is no science behind the number. It’s not some perfectly worked out equation that guarantees success. Yet we still hang on to it like Moses brought it down from Mt. Sinai.

The key here is to understand that you must be able to adapt your criteria for success and productivity.  The bottom line is that you want to get things done. But everything that comes before that final goal must be flexible and adaptable in the face of change. Setting understandable and clear criteria for your employees is an ongoing and continual process. You might have been told that forcing your employees to work a certain number of hours in a certain place is a must, but it is just not so. Don’t be afraid to shape, mold, and transform your criteria as your initiatives and ideas change.

Picture credit: Legozilla

BLG Leadership Insights

3 Tested Strategies to Empower Employees

Managerially competent leaders who sustain momentum are experts at empowering individuals and groups to perform specific tasks or processes in the pursuit of their agenda. The most effective leaders understand that their ability to deliver results and to engage others with the responsibility and authority of getting things done.

Douglas Conant, CEO of Campbell Soup Co., knows this lesson well. In his recent interview with Forbes he stresses the importance of engaging employees in order to secure better results. Mr. Conant says the following techniques helped him dramatically engage employees and increase productivity:

  • Find Leaders From Within: Mr. Conant replaced 300 managers with leaders from within the company. It was a clear illustration of caring for the team and people at Cambell Soup Co..
  • Learn to Celebrate Success: It’s easy to find success stories within organizations and they should be celebrated. You can skip the balloons and the cake–but you should make an effort to share a lunch with a few colleagues who have done something positive.
  • Write Thank-You Notes: It’s easy to send a quick email but it’s not worth much–no matter how many exclamation points you use. Instead, try writing a small, personalized, thank-you note to team members who’ve done a great job. It shows you care and it shows that you have time for people, not just profits.

Mr. Conant motivates his team and enhances his organization’s cultural momentum by largely guiding individual self-motivation. He wants everyone to feel like an integral part of the team. Thank-you notes, small lunches, and hiring leaders from within help Mr. Conant show his team that he cares about everyone and, as Campbell’s success is showing, his team cares about doing a better job.