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The Productivity Challenge: Putting Expert Tips to the Test

How did I find myself armed with personal productivity advice from people like  Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to former Microsoft Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky?

It was a typical workday. I was on Twitter. It was making me upset.  Their tweets suggested that my friends were far more superior human beings to me. Oh @jamiesoncox published another article on Pitchfork. Looks like @melissaaL is off for ANOTHER jog. Damn. I′m so unproductive.

To curb this feeling of inadequacy,  I sent 56 unsolicited tweets to people I deemed successful, and asked them their number one productivity tip.  Most, understandably, ignored my request. But there were 8 responders who took pity on my plea.

Now I′m overwhelmed with advice. I′ve had enough talk. I’m going to put these expert tips to the test to see which will make me most productive.

Next week, each day I will try a productivity tip, then record how successful I was at getting things done. April 23, I will crown a winner, and announce the best way to be productive at work.

Here is my productivity challenge schedule along with the expert tips I received:

Moving Forward Monday

Jefrrey Hayzlett's advice






I′m not in the position to delegate so instead I′ll interpret marketing master Jeffrey Hayzlett′s advice as a type of countdown productivity technique. I will work off a list of things to-do and accomplish them one by one without referring back once I′ve completed them.

Prediction: this advice could really keep the momentum going, but I worry it might produce lower quality work since I won′t waste time double-checking.

Content Creation Tuesday

Steven Sinofsky's Advice



Since blogging is the favourite part of my job, I will focus on content creation all day to harness that passion Sinofsky is talking about. Then I will force my friend Jamieson (that infamous Pitchfork reviewer) to edit them for me. He′s very excited.

Prediction: I have high hopes for this one but I wonder if passion alone can propel productivity? Will I suffer from the law of diminishing marginal utility by lunchtime?

Rested and Inspired Wednesday

Dick Costolo's Advice

Life Optimizer's Advice

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo gave the simplest, but perhaps most helpful advice: get enough sleep. I will make sure to get a full 8 hours before work on Wednesday, and then I′ll start my morning following LifeOptimizer′s Donald Latumahina′s tip by reading some wiki bios to get inspired by the lives of others.

Prediction: I don′t know if this will work, but if it does, it offers an easy fix for my productivity problems. Plus I love sleeping.

Anti-Social Thursday

Tara Hunt's Advice

Pavlina's advice









Co-founder of Buyosphere (and more importantly, proud pug owner) Tara Hunt and self-help author Steve Pavlina both stressed the importance of cutting down on Facebook, Twitter et al.

So I guess that means no recreational social media of any kind on Thursday.

Prediction: There are always other tools to procrastinate with, but I do think this will be helpful. Sadly.

Focused Friday

PM4Girl's Advice

Marc and Angel's Advice




Marc and Angel from Marc and Angel′s Hack Life and Elizabeth Harrin’s (PM4Girls) advice will round out my week. My desired outcome? Reaching 50 responders for my client happiness survey calls. There will be no multitasking. I′ll be calling all day.

Prediction: I think having a focused goal is very important. This unrelenting single-minded focus will work extremely well for one day of work. If I were to adopt this advice every day, of course I′d need to be able to balance more than one task–just one at a time.

So that′s my schedule. Thanks to all the experts for your great and varied advice–I can′t wait to test them out. Feel free to join me in this challenge, and in the comment section below, predict whose advice you think will reign supreme.  


Planning for Success

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