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4 Ways to Boost Productivity

After working in the freelance and start-up industry for a few years we’ve noticed something: Certain days, you rock. Certain days you blow through your work like a running back stiff-arming the entire defensive line. You cross things off your checklist, you accomplish all your team goals, and at the end of the day you get to spend a few minutes shaking your tail feathers in celebration (hopefully after the rest of the office has left).

But other days are not so great. Other days you get hit. Hard. And you fumble, and the entire defensive line piles on top of you, and it might take hours to climb out of that massive pile of 300+ pound sweaty men that want nothing more than to prevent you getting any further down the metaphorical football field of accomplishment.

Football Tackle

Every Friday, without fail.

So, what makes the difference between an ultra-productive day and one where the IN tray keeps getting bigger, but nothing seems to get put in the OUT tray?

Well, we’re not gurus (ugh, that words makes us cringe) but here are 4 tips that we think can be useful to getting yourself out from under the pile of sweaty dudes and back on track.


You could always hire someone to slap you in the face. We don’t recommend this practice if you are not a freelancer. It can lead to some awkward legality issues.

1.) Don’t Check your Email

Well, I mean, check it. But not for at least two hours after you start working. You have a limited amount of brainpower to devote to your work each day, and the first two hours of your day are when you are most productive.

Don’t waste a jet engine on a bunch of trips to the grocery store. Use that morning lift-off to
focus on tasks that take some time, and when you’re running low on fuel and need a change of pace, then you can tackle your email.

2.) Do the Hard Stuff First

Oftentimes, I find that I spend the a lot of my mornings doing busywork in order to procrastinate from the big task that I know I need to accomplish.

This creates two problems: First, obviously, I’m not getting things done. Second, the longer I put off doing what I know I am supposed to do, the bigger the balloon of guilt and shame becomes inside me, creating a vicious cycle of non-doing that gets harder and harder to break.

If you buckle down and attack your biggest challenge head-on (I know, easier said than done), you eradicate this cycle and not only take a chunk out of the hardest part of the day, but leave yourself with a healthy sense of worth and the feeling of being productive–which exponentially increases your productivity.

3.) Reward Yourself (or Your Employees) for Being Productive

Gummy Bears

Productivity Motivator

Positive reinforcement. It’s a powerful tool, and it is key if your want to create a healthy creative work environment. For example, its 11:17. If I get this post completed, edited, and sent off by noon I’m going to go out for lunch, even though I brought a delicious PB and J. Why? A pulled-pork BBQ sandwich with home fries is an incredible motivator.

Also, nothing feels better than getting a reward from a superior, and knowing you earned it. It could be a small as saying, “Hey, thanks for getting that done so quickly. Good job.” Comments like this can boost morale through the roof, which is an integral component of productivity.

4.) Make an Asana list:

Startups and small companies often times get overwhelmed with the amount of things on their plate. Its bound to happen when Marketing, R&D, Development, Finance etc. are all handled by a small number of people (with many other items on their schedules) rather than entire departments. An Asana list, otherwise known as a To-Do list with deadlines, is incredibly useful in visualizing tasks that need to get accomplished.

Breaking down large goals into small, minute, tasks which have their own deadlines can help you prioritize and manage your time much more efficiently. For example, instead of writing down “Launch website by Friday” you might put:

Monday: finish site design layout
Monday: register blog and choose a theme
Tuesday: get five ideas/outlines for blog
Wednesday: finish coding website.
Thursday: Upload first five blog posts
Friday: launch to public and stand by for technical difficulties

Having small goals to work towards gives us a sense of accomplishment and makes our brain happy as we work towards a larger goal. Game developers know this, it’s the reason we have 12-step programs to break addiction to World of Warcraft, and it’s an incredibly useful tool in the workplace.


What have you found to be the most effective methods to increase productivity? Email us and let us know.


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