Unconventional Productivity Tips from Reddit [March 2021 edition]

Welcome to the new edition of the Productivity Tips found on Reddit series. If you want to see my favourite tips from February, you can find them here.

Let’s jump straight into it.

productivity tips reddit

Favourite Productivity Tips from Reddit This Month

Tip #1: The price of creativity is the judgment of others.

Link to the original Reddit post.

I found the title of that post so true. Just one sentence, yet so much meaning.

I always thought that the price of creativity is overcoming resistance. But now I would add this component as well.

Creative process = Overcoming resistance + Willingness to face the judgement of others. 

Tip #2: It is normal to be lazy sometimes.

Link to the original Reddit post.

The post’s main idea is about committing to 2 minutes of whatever habit you want to develop. However, what caught my attention was something mentioned at the very beginning:

“Humans are innately wired to take the path of least resistance, and it seems most things in the universe have this bias.

If we look from an evolutionary context, our bias to be lazy has good intentions.

Primal man did not have UberEATS or Dominos Pizza delivery on standby – Every day was a bitter struggle for survival.

A human who expanded their energy doing unproductive things like dancing in a tree for several hours or digging random holes was more likely to get eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger.

Meanwhile, his ‘lazy’ friends had the energy to run away.

The problem is our primal programming still persists.”

I feel like we’ve categorized unproductive behaviour as something shameful. We are being bombarded with the message of never-ending hustle. I like that the author reminds us that it is biologically normal to preserve energy. It is not normal to want to do things all the time. It is not human to be productive all the time. This is something I should add to the list of reasons why hustle culture doesn’t work.

Tip #3: Focused on 3 tasks a day for a year. Depression is gone.

Link to the original Reddit post.

Main idea:

The author only had three slots on the to-do list to fill out each day. By having such a limited number of to-do tasks, he was forced to prioritize the things that truly matter. He committed to the selected few. Less but better. Plus, the smaller tasks didn’t feel like a chore anymore because they were not on his to-do list. He didn’t have to do them. I highly recommend reading the entire post where he lists all the achievements he had as a result of doing 3 tasks a day for one year.

I couldn’t agree more with the benefits that come from prioritizing your tasks. I keep saying that very few things are truly urgent and important. That’s why I only focus on 9 goals every month in 3 areas of my life. It forces me to prioritize all the tasks/goals and see what is truly important. It brings an incredible level of intentionality and focus. It propels you forward because you end up doing the most impactful tasks that you could be doing that day instead of filling your time with low-value activities.

Tip #4: Set a timer.

Link to the original Reddit post.

Main idea:

An author who got diagnosed with ADHD turned his/her life around by setting timers for different activities throughout the day.

It is Sunday and I don’t do time blocking on the weekends. However, I know that I need to write this post. I thought let me try this timer advice.

Right now I have a timer running as I am writing this post. There is one thing for sure. Having a timer makes starting an activity a lot less painful. You just start. You don’t browse social media, play the perfectionism game or fool yourself into believing that you need to do just a little more research.

A timer might be that miraculous cure against procrastination you’ve been searching for. 

I wrote more about it in How to Stop Procrastinating.

Tip #5: Newton’s First Law.

Link to the original Reddit post.

“Newton’s first law states that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will remain in motion at the same velocity unless acted on by an unbalanced force.

Using this law in productivity, if you stay in sloth mode, you’ll remain in sloth mode.

If you decide to jumpstart yourself and get started on something, you’ll get the ball rolling.”

The mention of Newton’s First Law in this article made me realize something. Every time I listen to the interviews of people who completely transformed their lives, these people get asked how they started. The answers you hear are often a bit blah… to say the least. Something very mundane. Even boring. The activities that they mention are so small that you don’t even believe these people when they tell about them. Because you see the “before” and “after” pictures, numbers, titles, etc. And there is no way “walking around the block after dinner” could’ve created the result you see on those “before” and “after” pictures.

I now realize that this gap between the initial tiny action and the final result can be explained by Newton’s First Law. When you commit to the tiny action, you change your state from “an object staying at rest” to “an object being in motion”. And once you are in motion, you tend to stay in motion. And a tiny action then grows to an action that is 5% bigger. Then it’s another 5%. And in a few months being “in motion” in one area of your life, other areas of your life go from being “at rest” to being “in motion”. It is a chain reaction that eventually results in major changes. But it all started from a tiny action that moved us from being “at rest” to “being in motion”.

Try the Monthly Method for Yourself

Many of our readers come from Reddit. Reflecting back on our posts from March, these three posts got the most love from the community. Check them out in case you missed them:

  1. Why You Don’t Need Another Productivity App
  2. How to Create and Follow Your Schedule
  3. How to Use Product Backlog for Personal Productivity


 

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