10 Tips For Upping Your Productivity

It’s all too easy to sit down to “work” and do anything but. Distractions from outside and within can grind you to a halt before you even get started.

Dumb Little Man offers a plethora of tips to eliminate the noise and focus. Here are 10 of the most effective suggestions:

* Plan ahead. Sketch out a work schedule and stick to it religiously, not allowing yourself to stray from the path.

* Don’t fear failure. You won’t do perfect work. Accept that fact and then forge ahead, pledging to double back and improve it afterward.

* Say “no” more often than your instinct demands. Accepting busywork with little upside only derails you from your main objectives.

* Sleep at home. A tired mind makes for a dysfunctional work day.

* Eat right. Frequent trips to the bathroom and the burden of hunger pangs both keep you from doing your best.

* Take breaks. If you focus too hard for too long, you’ll receive diminishing returns. Step aside to recharge.

* Stay at home when you’re sick. And don’t call in when you’re not sick so your employer will believe you when you need to stay in bed.

* Play to your strengths. Focus on parts of your job that you’re good at and stay away from your weaknesses.

* Don’t make a habit of wasting time. Squander your time too often and it will become routine. Make it the rule rather than the exception to do something productive as often as possible.

* Hold yourself to a higher standard. Don’t just scrape by doing the minimum. Demand higher performance than whatever you’ll need to get that next raise or avoid the next layoff.

27 Productivity Killers: Why Nothing Ever Gets Done! [Dumb Little Man]


Edit Your Comment

  1. PunditGuy says:

    * Stop reading blogs at work.

  2. CubeRat says:

    Remove access to the internet.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I’m afraid that’s going to come to my office. One of my coworkers has managed to download some sort of virus – twice. We think she’s clicking on fake email attachments, but she won’t admit anything and short of standing over her shoulder all day, who knows.

    • Rocket says:

      I work on making a website :-P

  3. Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

    Block Gmail, Consumerist, and G+ on work internet. . . .

    Oh and Livejournal.

    Of course I’d probably just go out this here window but my productivity would be up.

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      Indeed. My last few hours on earth would be extremely productive, but the gains would be eliminated by the crew they would need to hire to clean my brains off the walls.

      • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

        On the plus side it would be a one time expense, and they won‚Äôt have to pay you unemployment! I figure they might get a few days or weeks out of me before the uncontrollable sobbing got to be annoying. Then I‚Äôd haunt the fuck out of this place. Especially since the after life doesn’t have internet.

    • dangermike says:

      Livejournal? That’s still a thing?

      • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

        Of course it is :|

        Though it’s been under DDos attacks off and on because of the Russian elections. Russians love LJ.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’d really love an honest explanation from Consumerist why they continue to title their articles differently from the original article.

    The original contained 27 items, the Consumerist 10. So the article title should say “27 Tips For Upping Your Productivity” and then say to review the article for the rest.

    Maybe I’m wrong in this thinking, but it seems a misleading way to re-post others articles.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      I agree.

      Also, this is Phil’s new schtick. “X Tips to do Y” linking with article with something other than X tips. Makes me miss the “When was the last time you __________?” days.

    • Cat says:

      The original contained 27 items. Simply renaming your article “10 Tips For Upping Your Productivity” makes it a COMPLETELY different, and therefore ORIGINAL, article.

      Your productivity of “original” articles increases! PROFIT!

      (And by “your” productivity, I mean Phil’s productivity, of course.)

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Ummm… because he lists 10 of the 27 and says, “Here are 10 of the most effective suggestions:” Could be, huh?

  5. Cat says:

    Seriously? All management wants these days is “increased productivity” (read: profits)

    Quality products and worker’s wages (you know, the people who have been responsible for actually increasing productivity since, um…, FOREVER) be damned.

    • Cat says:

      Productivity change in the nonfarm business sector, 1947-2010:

      Average annual
      percent change
      1947-1973 2.8
      1973-1979 1.1
      1979-1990 1.4
      1990-2000 2.1
      2000-2007 2.5
      2007-2010 2.4

      Productivity change in the manufacturing sector, 1987-2010:

      Average annual
      percent change
      1987-1990 1.8
      1990-2000 4.1
      2000-2007 3.9
      2007-2010 2.0

      UP. EVERY FUCKIN’ YEAR. And, it’s cumulative.
      What more do you want, you greedy bastards?

  6. Don't Bother says:

    I’m very much productive.

    Oh, at my paid job?

    … That’s a different story.

  7. SkokieGuy says:

    So “Stop Wasting Time” is a way to increase productivity? Wow, who knew? Thanks Consumerist.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Thank Matt Tanguay, who wrote the article.

      Matt is Fluent Brain’s CEO and Chief Visual Facilitator. Visual Facilitation supercharges your thinking, brainstorming, and problem-solving. Visualization brings clarity and order to your thought processes, allowing you to explore and keep track of complex and non-linear ideas. The entire process is captured in a document deliverable that you can refer to in the future, and use to help others understand your ideas.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        Are there CDs that I can order for 19.95 plus shipping and handling, along with a free gift of a 2012 pocket organizer with velour cover?

  8. crispyduck13 says:

    These are great self-motivational tips, but it’s hard to push yourself to the max when your company hasn’t given a cost of living raise (or any raises for that matter) in the last 5 years, the employee contribution for health insurance has doubled in that same time period and half the office got laid off in 2009 and the hiring freeze is still in effect so you’re doing the job of 3 people while getting a stagnant salary for 1.

    I used to think the way the article suggests, that you have to do your best, yadda yadda…but now that I’ve seen the underside of employer/employee relations and the complete lack of respect from the higher ups to the lower downs, I sort of don’t care any more.

    • Cat says:


    • dolemite says:

      Exactly. Companies have been using the economy as an excuse to hold off on hiring, raises, vacation time, benefits, etc. Even ones that are turning good profit. Longer hours, same pay, higher bills…but if you complain (like on a blog), everyone will jump in: “Well, there are probably a 1000 people that will do your job for less, so shut up”.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Companies have been using the economy as an excuse to hold off on hiring, raises, vacation time, benefits, etc.

        Right, because the economy is booming and there’s practically no uncertainty in the markets now.

        • Cat says:

          The economy is chuggin’ along just fine for executives, thank me very much.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          My company had record profits last year and this year, yet they’ve only filled 3 positions out of the 40 they layed off in 2009 and are now drastically increasing our out of pocket costs for our health insurance. So dolemite’s point is quite valid, as employees here we’re getting totally mixed signals about things.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      This. Especially when you have a situation where the boss’s friend works in the office, and runs her eBay business and personal life out of her cubicle, and just can’t find a way to keep up with the actual work she’s paid to do (and that’s OK), but that same boss gets on your butt because one thing ran behind or was missed.

    • Dallas_shopper says:


  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I read the article, and I think it’s a good article.


    In my situation, I am totally dependent on groups of other people in three different states doing their jobs, from NY to CA.

    Yes, I might waste time, but it’s because person A in the sales office gave person B in the home office incorrect information to set up an SKU so I can process an order. Person B might know the info is wrong, but they are required to key the information into the system as it’s presented to them. They don’t ask questions. So I go to person B – who sent this to you? Oh, it’s person A. Then I go to person A and ask for a correction, which goes to person B, and on and on.

    Our new overlord’s company is set up this way – everything is totally silo’d and very few people think about the repercussions of their actions. As long as it’s off their collective desks, they don’t give anything a second thought.

    /rant over

    • DarkPsion says:

      Exactly what I was thinking, the number one thing that messed up my productivity at my old job was when I was dependent on someone else doing their job before I could proceed.

      I lost count how many time everything would grind to a halt while I waited and waited for someone to get back to me, often a higher up who I could not pester or push into action.

  10. Brie says:

    >Don’t make a habit of wasting time. Squander your time too often and it will become routine.

    This is why I groan whenever our CEO’s in the office. He just loves calling us in for “five minute stand-up [meeting]s to ‘see where we are.'” And granted, he needs to know so he can sell our software, but five minutes always stretches to an hour or more.

    Our manager tried to tell him, “Hey, why don’t you and I just talk for ten minutes over coffee and I’ll get you up to date.” The CEO (whose signature appears on our paychecks) said “Oh no, I like to hear it straight from them. I miss them!”

    • Rachacha says:

      At a former job, the president of the company (small company) would stay in his office, and never leave or interact with any of the staff. Someone on the management team told him that moralle was low and the president appeared unapproachable, so he should leave his office, walk around the different departments, talk to the staff, find out what they were up to and what they needed to do their job better. Unfortunately the president had the personality of a wet sock, and his conversations with staff were always forced and very awkward.

  11. The Lone Gunman says:

    “Yes, sir—I’ve upped my productivity. Up yours.

    • KitanaOR says:


      And I’ll chime in with an agreement to crispyduck13 as well. I don’t feel any motivation from my employer to do my best. Any work I do that is above standard is blatantly ignored. My annual review is determined by how much they can afford to give me. Otherwise, they might have to increase my pay for a job well done. GOD FORBID!

    • Dave on bass says:

      Dammit, I clicked on this article just to say that. Heh.

  12. Dallas_shopper says:

    I’ve upped my productivity. Now up yours. Nyuk nyuk.

  13. varro says:

    Some good advice there, especially about eating right, sleeping, and exercising, and especially trying to gonad up to say “No” if you’re oversubscribed.

    But 10-12 hours a day? Productivity goes way down once you hit a certain point. The 8-hour workday is a good idea, and it should be the law.