3 Counterintuitive Productivity Tips That Really Work

Tired of reading about how you need to get up earlier and make better to-do lists? Good news for you, then: some of the best productivity tips are the ones that go completely against the usual advice for getting stuff done.


(Photo Credit: James Forbes via Unsplash)

For example:

1. Turn up the heat.

Anyone who's ever worked in an office knows that finding the perfect temperature that makes everyone happy is nearly impossible. For financial reasons, companies are often more willing to listen to the folks who are always too warm, instead of the ones who want to turn up the thermostat. If asked, the boss might even tell you that keeping the office too warm will make you sleepy, and therefore, less productive.

Research, however, suggests the opposite. A study from Cornell University found that workers made 44 percent more errors when the temperature was 68 degrees than they did at 77 degrees.

2. Procrastinate.

The worst thing to do when you want to get stuff done is put things off, right? That's true, but only if you procrastinate by surfing the internet or playing games. Structured procrastination, in which you put off one task by focusing on another, can help you break through. How does it work? By figuring out which method of prioritizing will help you get the most done.

"For some, working on the Very Important Task first can help," writes Walter Chen at 99u. "But remember, you are still playing the procrastinator's game, in which the act of prioritizing something at the top saps the impetus to start working on it. So, the mental trick is to regard other tasks as more important in order to make Very Important Task an easier choice."

(Via Buffer.)

3. Work less.

Have you ever noticed that you get more done during the week before vacation than you do during an ordinary week? That's because you have to, or you'll wind up sitting on the beach, laptop in tow, trying to shield your screen from the glare.

"Time budgeting does the same thing as money budgeting -- it forces you to be efficient," says Henry Cloud, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Boundaries for Leaders.

If you get stuck, just pretend you're going on vacation soon and absolutely need to get everything done. Better yet, see if you can take one -- even if it's just a vacation from answering your work email over the weekend.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you increase your productivity? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


  1. Please prove to us that you're not a robot: