To understand the 2nd best personal productivity cheat, you have to understand the first one.
And yes, I realize that highlighting the 2nd productivity cheat first seems wrong. But you’ll understand in a moment.
The best personal productivity cheat is to measure. Measure your productivity and compare it against the different cheats you implement. Measure your productivity on Monday and compare it against Friday.
Measure. Measure. Measure.
Truly, measuring is the most important tool in any endeavor that requires change. It’s part of the scientific method:
– Define the question
– Gather information and resources (observe)
– Form hypothesis
– Perform experiment and collect data
– Analyze data
– Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
– Publish results
– Retest (frequently done by other scientists)
For copywriting, I might measure how long it takes me to start on my first project after I wake.
Or I might measure how many planned tasks I finish each day.
Or I might measure… it doesn’t really matter. As Tim Ferris points out in The Four Hour Body, even measuring the wrong things can produce positive results as long as it’s consistent.
For example, measuring how many tasks I finish each day may not be too accurate if my tasks very wildly in the length of time they take to complete. And they do. But overtime, and as the tasks begin to repeat themselves, this noise can be cancelled out. (It can also be cancelled out with reason (and hopefully not rationalizing)).
So again, what’s the number one productivity cheat? Measure every attempt to improve productivity.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
What’s the number TWO best productivity cheat?
A new one.
For some psychological reason that’s probably not too hard to figure out, new productivity cheats seem to work best. And work best when you MEASURE them.
Maybe it’s because the cheat is new and exciting. Maybe it’s because it’s a change of pace or scenery. Maybe it’s because you’re curious to find out the results of your new, exciting cheat.
Regardless, new productivity cheats tend to do the most for your productivity.
If you have a productivity tip that might be new for my readers, please share it in a comment below.