Productivity: producing quality work, faster

-part 2 of six-

If you’re going to be a creative independent, it’s crucial that you make the best use of your time. However, being conservative with your time or doing things faster isn’t the right place to start: the secret of productivity is to choose high-level task that produce the most value, while ignoring all other ones. The secret to overcoming procrastination is to only work on projects that excite you. Finding creative projects that are both exciting and profitable is the key to success. It’s not always easy, but think of it like the bull’s eye of a dart board: think about and aim for it. With practice, you’ll get better and finding that sweet spot and knowing whether you’re positioned to hit the mark.


Quotes and Expert Roundup



“It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau



“If you want to be more productive, stop and figure out what you are doing and why it is important to you,” – Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed.



“I could tell you I don’t have time to train for a marathon, but that is not true; I just don’t want to! Using this language reminds me that time is a choice. If I’m not happy about the way I’m spending my time, I probably have the ability to change it.” Laura Vanderkam, author of Fast Company 



“”The true measure of productivity is the quality of your thinking each and every day” – Caroline Arnold, author of Small Move, Big Change 

“The 10 most productive companies in the world…believe that you make incredible amounts of money as a byproduct of the incredible things you do.” – Jason Jennings

“A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but equally important, what is not. It is the discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.” – Jim Collins

“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.” – David Allen



I try to have a sense each morning of what needs to get done that day. Otherwise, it’s easy to spin off in a lot of directions. Also, I find that working is a very dangerous way to procrastinate. I need to be very clear with myself about what I actually need to get done.
Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project


Photo from Danielle LaPorte's website

Photo from Danielle LaPorte’s website

Ruthless focus. Gotta have it. When I plan for what I want to create, I know what I need to say no to. I’m also very clear on how I want to FEEL in my work — and creating my desired feelings is the primary goal.
Danielle LaPorte author of The Fire Starter Sessions

“I think the best productivity tip is doing the RIGHT things.
Time will slip away unless you know the actions that will provide the most impact to your business.” – Jaime Tardy from Eventual Millionaire


Photo from Mark Shead's website

Photo from Mark Shead’s website

The most powerful tip I know for productivity is this: Stop doing stuff that isn’t valuable.” Mark Shead from Productivity 501

Productivity doesn’t happen, can’t happen really, without clarity. You need a clear idea of the outcomes you want to produce and the strategies that will get you there.” Jennifer Gresham from Everyday Bright

My life changed once I realized the importance of my time and productivity. I write a daily to do list, which is done by many, but I directly align each task with my intended outcome.” Ebong Eka from EbongEka

What helps me get the work done consistently, is making it fun and exciting. TO-DO lists and organizing systems are all great, but if you really want to get something done, you need to be excited about doing it.” Primoz Bozic from Skyrocket Your Productivity

A few minutes of daydreaming a day does magic. For few minutes each day, imagine you have achieved your objective for writing the book, article, etc.” – Majid Rafizadeh, Harvard Review- Majid Rafizadeh

“Before I start writing, I meditate. I meditate at least once a day, sometimes twice. Meditation helps quiet the noise and calm any stress around a deadline or a piece that I find isn’t working as well as I’d like. Being productive isn’t only about getting the ideas out on “paper.” It’s about clearing out the noise in order to make room for bigger ideas.” – Melanie Notkin, Melanie Notkin

“For me, the real trick is getting started. If I’m starting a new project, I find that the best way to ease myself in is to let myself write stream of conscious for a while. Writing whatever comes into my brain, whether it’s related or not, helps get my creative juices flowing.” – Angela Bourassa, LA Screenwriter


Photo from Susan Newman's Psychology Today page

Photo from Susan Newman’s Psychology Today page

“Walk Away: Without realizing it, I spent years trying to be productive in the most unproductive way–sitting at a desk for hours. Now I ‘walk away’ from my office after a few hours (or less). Moving, if only to get a cup of coffee, water a plant, or walk outside for five minutes, made me sharper and more focused.  With short breaks, improvement in concentration and productivity soars. Try it.”  – Susan Newman, Ph.D.


Photo from Craig Malkin's Psychology Today page

Photo from Craig Malkin’s Psychology Today page

 “Plan exercise breaks: stress leads to binary (either/or) thinking, distractability, and procrastination. Taking time to reduce stress enhances productivity by keeping you sharp and boosting your capacity for creative problem-solving.” – Craig Malkin, Ph.D.



“My top productivity tip for blogging, and for all writing challenges, is: Write a shitty first draft. This advice comes from Anne Lamott’s book on writing, Bird by Bird, and I bring it to mind every time I write the first draft of a blog. It’s so freeing and motivating to tell myself, “Just write a shitty first draft now and make it great later!” – Meg Selig, Ph.D.


Photo from Gloria Miele's website

Photo from Gloria Miele’s website

“I’m most productive when I eliminate as many distractions as possible and focus on one time-limited project.  When I really need to get something done, I close my web browser and my email program, put my smartphone in my purse and give all my attention to the task at hand: the less multitasking, the better.” – Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D.


Photo from Kristine Anthis' Psychology Today page

Photo from Kristine Anthis’ Psychology Today page

“You may not always be able to choose the projects on which you work, yet when you do have a choice (e.g., of college major, range of assignments our boss needs helps with, committee memberships), go with that which you are most interested. Being passionate about what I do means that juggling the demands of teaching, writing, mentoring students, conducting research, and serving on committees is not necessarily always effortless, but certainly gratifying.” – Kristine Anthis, Ph.D.

“My biggest challenge is finding blocks of time to do tasks that are labor intensive. Now I break things up into segments. I start with half the time I need; an hour becomes 30 mins, 15 mins becomes 7. Anything to begin! This makes hard tasks more digestible, and less likely for me to procrastinate on. Once something is started, I have more motivation to finish it.” – Geralyn Datz, PhD.

“I have discovered that I am more productive when I focus on one task and that task only till it is completed. Working on multiple things at a time is a great waste of your time, it also sometimes results in loss of ideas, and at the end, you see that new “very important” information pop up that suck hours of your time, even though you’re yet to finish your primary assignment.” – Bamidele Onibalusi


elizabeth craig

“Identifying the three daily priorities has helped me focus. I realize that I can edit my three top tasks at any time if things come up.” – Elizabeth S. Craig

“I’m fond of establishing for each day at least one “Most Important Task,” a task (or tasks) you absolutely must get done today.” – Maxwell S. Kennerly