The Productivity Guide: Master the Mindset, Skillset, and Toolset for Better Productivity

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“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” — Franz Kafka

Welcome to The Productivity Deep Dive Guide on Sources of Insight!

This is the ultimate guide to productivity.

Use this guide to master the mindset, skillset, and toolset for better productivity.

This is an organized collection of key resources including productivity articles, productivity books, productivity quotes, and productivity training.

The goal is to help you and show you how to increase productivity by learning the basics, then moving on to core productivity topics, and then learn some advanced concepts and ideas.

What is Productivity

Productivity is simply a gauge of your output over a period of time.  Productivity is how efficient and effective you are at producing results.

Steve Pavlina defines productivity in a simple, but very useful way:

Productivity = Value / Time

Tony Robbins defines productivity in the following way:

“It’s getting the results you want with less time and effort.”

In the book Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg defines productivity as follows:

“making certain choices in certain ways” that moves us from being “merely busy” to “genuinely productive”.

Why Focus on Productivity

I see productivity as a way to explore your potential and realize your growth.

The more productive you are, the more you can innovate.  You can innovate in the way you do things, and you can innovate in the things you create.

Author Adam Davidson makes a bold statement about productivity:

“Productivity, in and of itself, is a remarkably good thing.  Only through productivity growth can the average quality of human life improve.”

Ray Dalio, a famous investor and philanthropist says it’s the most important thing:

”Do all that you can to raise your productivity, because in the long run, that’s what matters most.”

How To Increase Your Productivity

Steve Pavlina suggests that with the formula Productivity = Value / Time, there are two primary ways to improve your productivity:

  1. Increase the value created
  2. Decrease the time required to create that value

Stephen Covey suggests that 4th generation productivity is a shift from things and time to relationships and results.

Ken Krogue suggests Level 5 Time Management: Build habits of execution through recurring tasks.

In my experience, pairing better with people that bring out your best, building better teamwork patterns, and working like a network is how you can exponentially increase your productivity.

They Key to Productivity

To keep my own productivity in check, I use a guiding question:

“Am I working on the right things, at the right time, with the right energy, the right way?”

While the question itself doesn’t hold all the answers, it does hold the keys that help finding them.

The real key to increasing productivity is to focus on meaningful results and to be efficient with things, but effective with people.

Getting Started with Productivity

A simple way to get started with productivity is to make lists of your To-Dos and schedule time for your tasks.

A lot of people don’t schedule time for their tasks, so their tasks pile up and they don’t finish what they start.

By making lists of your To-Dos, you can  organize and prioritize your action.

By building the habit of scheduling time for things, you will at least give yourself a chance to be more productive.

This section provides some great starting points for getting productive:

3 Outcomes for Today
Agile Results QuickStart
Be Effective, then Efficient
Get Unstuck
Getting Started with Agile Results
Just Start
Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
Why Write Things Down?
Wrap Your Day Around Your Mission

Productivity Frameworks, Mindsets, Methods, and Models

Productivity frameworks help you organize and execute your productivity practices. Mindsets and models help you think about productivity from different perspectives and explore new approaches to improve your productivity.

By learning multiple productivity frameworks, mindsets, methods and models, you can build a better foundation to practice and develop your productivity skills.

Here are some articles to help you reason through and develop your productivity skills:

30 Day Improvement Sprints
My Three Wins
Peaceful Calm – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
Productivity is a Remarkably Good Thing
To Do, Doing, Done

Productivity Personas

Productivity is a spectrum from day dreamer to high achiever or the super productive.

By learning productivity personas you gain insight into your own productivity habits, practices, and preferences, as well as better understand how you work with other people.

Here are some articles to help you learn productivity personas:

Productivity Personas
Productivity Personas – Are You a Starter or a Finisher?
Simplifiers vs. Optimizers
Supertaskers: How Some People Task-Switch Faster and How You Can Too
The Procrastinators, The Disengaged, The Distractors, and The Purposeful

Habits

It’s been said that first we make our habits, then our habits make us.    Habits are routine behaviors.  They get ingrained with repetition.   Habits might be conscious or subconscious or automatic.

The first step to better habits is to become aware of your habits.

And changing a habit comes down to how often you perform an action, rather than the satisfaction you get from it.

Here are some articles to help you master your habits:

8 Steps for Building a Habit Stacking Routine
Innovate in Your Approach
Rituals for Results
The Power of Habit Stacking
Why Use Routines?

High Performance

High performers produce better, faster, easier results at a sustainable level.

Brendon Burchard defines high performance as “succeeding above and beyond standard norms over the long-term.”

Brendon differentiates high performance from peak performance.  He notes that high performance is sustainable, while peak performance is not.  High performers experience and generate heightened and sustained levels of energy.

3 Keys to Peak Performance: Commitment, Completion, and Closure
5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity
25 Keys to Getting Better Results
Add Creative Hours to Your Week
Add Power Hours to Your Week
Feedback: The Ultimate Key To High Performance
Find Your Arena for Your Best Results
Find Your Unique 20 Percent Spike
High-Performance Mode vs. Grind-It-Out Mode
How To Scale Yourself as a One-Man Band
Master Faster
Motivation, Skills, and Feedback
Multiply Your Productivity by 10,000 Times
SWAT Mode for Extreme Productivity
The 20 Percent Spike
The Power of Certainty
What is the Secret to Insane Productivity

Productivity Topics

Here are productivity articles organized by hot topics to help you master your productivity, time management, and work-life balance:

Action

How To Do Tasks More Efficiently
Iterate More, Plan Less
Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, COULD
Rituals for Results
Scrimmage Your Results Start with Something Simple
Starting is the Hardest Part
Quick and Thirty Getting Things Done

Focus

101 Proven Practices for Improving Your Focus
Focus on the Wildly Important
Framing the Problem to Focus and Prioritize
How To Instantly Triple Your Focus and Get More Things Done
Life Frame: The 7 Life Categories for Work Life Effectiveness
Less is More, Slower is Better
Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week
Shut Down, Compartmentalize, or Channelize

Goals

10 Reasons that Stop You from Reaching Your Goals
Brian Tracy on the Best Times for Writing and Reviewing Your Goals
Goal Setting vs. Goal Planning
How Brian Tracy Sets Goals
How Dreams, Goals, and Habits Fit Together
How I Design My Year
How John Maxwell Sets Goals
How Tony Robbins Sets Goals
How Tony Robbins Transformed His Life with Goals
Knowledge Workers Must Focus on the Results
Productivity Objectives: Effectiveness Wins in the Long Run
The Power of Dreams
Vowing Doesn’t Work But Concrete Plans Do

Information Management

10 Ways to Improve How You Manage Information
Dump Your Brain to Free Your Mind
How To Read 10,000 Words a Minute
Sweep It: How To Clean Up the Mess that Adds Up

Motivation / Energy

4 Sources of Strength
Add Power Hours to Your Week
Catalysts and Drains: Get a Handle on Your Energy
Feel Strong All Week Long
How To Avoid Mental Burnout
Manage Energy, Not Time
Master Motivation: The Keys to Motivating Yourself and Finding Your Drive
Peaceful Calm – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
Reduce Friction and Create Glide Paths for Your Day
Start Your Day Like Tony Robbins
The Seven Major Catalysts that Inspire Progress
Use Metaphors to Find Your Motivation
Why Do We Procrastinate?

Planning

Design Your Week with Skill
Monthly Planning with Agile Results
Vowing Doesn’t Work But Concrete Plans Do

Prioritizing

Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, COULD
What’s Worth Doing Today?
Worst Things First

Strengths

4 Sources of Strength
Add Power Hours to Your Week
Design Your Week with Skill
Feel Strong All Week Long
How To Find Your Strengths
Outsource Your 80 Percent
The 20 Percent Spike

Task Management

3 Steps to Crush Your Overwhelming List of Things To Do
How To Do Tasks More Efficiently
Let Things Slough Off
Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, COULD
Shut Down, Compartmentalize, or Channelize
Start with Something Simple
Supertaskers: How Some People Task-Switch Faster and How You Can Too
To Do, Doing, Done
To-Do Lists are Great
Triage Your Action Items
Worst Things First

Time Management

3 Keys to Effective Time Management
7 Strategies for Better Time Management
Carve Out Time for What’s Important
Design Your Week with Skill
How To Use Timeboxing for Getting Results
Manage Energy, Not Time
The Starting Point of Time Management is Goals, Priorities, and Value
There is No Shortage of Time
Time is the Limiting Factor
Timebox Your Day for Better Results
Timeboxing, Rhythm, and Incremental Value

Work-Life Balance

Life Frame: The 7 Life Categories for Work Life Effectiveness
Setup Boundaries and Buffers
The Ultimate Work-Life Balance System is You

Additional Resources

Articles Explore Productivity Articles
Books Best Productivity Books
Checklists Focus Checklist
The Charge Checklist
Time Management Checklist
Quotes Best Productivity Quotes
Training 30 Days of Getting Results (Free)