The Best Productivity Hacks of All Time – YouTube

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hey friends welcome back to the channel today we’re doing something really exciting and we’re ranking all of the world’s most popular productivity techniques in order of how effective how useful how life-changing they are i’ve been reading all of the productivity books under the sun for the last decade or so and some of these techniques are useful and some of them are a bit crap and so we’re going to be using the standard tier list ranking system that youtubers have been using for all sorts of other things uh we’re going to be using that taylor system for this productivity list so the tiers that we’re going to play with are as follows we start with the s tier these are the absolutely life-changing productivity methods that you literally cannot live without then we have a for essential these are really really really useful that will really impact your life but they’re not actually going to make a life or death difference then we have b which is like useful and nice to know but not massively going to move the needle we’ve got c which is nice to have technique that might be useful in specific situations and then we’ve got d which are techniques that might work for other people but that don’t really work for me and then we have e and f which are totally useless and utter junk respectively let’s start with technique number one which is the pomodoro technique now the vibe here is that you want to work for 25 minutes and then have a five minute break work for 25

5-minute break and repeat this four times and after four repetitions then you get to have a half an hour long break now the pomodoro technique is an absolute classic that’s been used mostly by students as a way of motivating themselves to work and i certainly used to use it back when i was at university but the problem with the pomodoro technique is that for me i often felt like i was just getting into the swing of things at around the 25 minute mark and so when i would have to stop working to have a break i would find that that would interrupt my flow state and so for me i actually tend to work for about 40 or 45 minutes if it’s something that i’m enjoying working on i find that is the ideal amount of time to get me into the flow state and so it’s a bit controversial but i’m gonna rank the pomodoro technique a c on our tier list next we’ve got the concept of delegation now tim ferriss talks about this a lot in the four hour work week which is one of the books that mode that’s most changed my life and recently i’ve heard entrepreneur and investor naval ravikhan talk about the idea of setting an aspirational hourly rate and the idea here is that we should figure out what is our time worth to us personally in like dollar amounts and then if there is stuff that we’re doing that we don’t enjoy then we can think about delegating

it to someone else if it is cheaper than the amount that we set as our aspirational hourly rate so i’m going to give delegation a tier ranking because it’s generally an essential tip and if you haven’t started valuing your time at a certain dollar amount i’d recommend you at least give it a go because it’s a useful thought exercise next on the list we have the two minute rule now this was popularized by david allen in the book getting things done and the idea behind the two-minute rule is that if there is something that you need to do and that something is going to take less than two minutes then you should do it right now rather than add it to your to-do list now the two-minute rule is actually like really really really really useful i just don’t do it very much because i’m a bit of a waste man and so i’ve got to give it a rating of a d because normally if i have something like replying to an email or replying to a whatsapp message that actually would take less than two minutes i would love to actually do it there and then but generally i just think oh i’ll get to this some other time and then it just ends up you know people following up following up following up hundreds of hundred messages and whatsapp apologies to anyone who’s tried to email or message me in the last like two years but i really do suck at replying to messages because i don’t apply the two minute rule next on the list we have the two

day rule now this is something from my friend and fellow productivity youtuber matt diabeta after eight years of attempting to put weight on ever since high school and failing miserably i implemented the two-day rule it’s very simple i would not allow myself to take off more than one day in a row for some kind of workout be it the gym a jog or a hike i had to do some kind of physical activity at least every other day this allowed me the time to take days off as i needed it often multiple days a week but it also kept me committed to my goal and most importantly it prevented me from falling into a slump and neglecting my health for weeks or even months at a time and i really like the two-day rule because it’s an alternative approach to sticking to your schedule that offers a little bit more leeway i tried using the two-day rule at one point back when i was working out at the gym fairly regularly and i found it didn’t quite work for me because i’m not as uh on the workout hype as matt is and so instead what i found was useful for me was having an accountability buddy in a personal trainer and so i’d end up working to working out two or three times a week and so the two-day rule is

awesome and i know a lot of people who use it but because i don’t personally use it at all it’s gonna have to go on the d ranking on our tier list next we have the concept of time blocking now this is basically where you block out a certain amount of time for a particular task or project and ideally you stick it in the calendar and so when that time comes around you actually end up doing the thing now this is going to get an a rating from me i think this is an absolutely essential tip the day i started using a calendar was the day that my productivity basically 2xed overnight because i was now using a calendar because normally like i find for me i don’t know about you but like for me when i have an empty gap on my calendar at that point i think oh i could do all these different things and i end up kind of paralyzed by the amount of different things i could be doing whereas when i have a slot in my calendar where a in which there is a defined task at that point i know what i should be doing in that time and if i want to do something else i can choose to do it but at least i’ve got my default option and this has been an absolute game changer for my productivity it’s not just me that swears by time looking people like elon musk and bill gates and author cal newport also used time blocking quite a lot and they’ve written and talked extensively about how it’s the best thing ever next on the list we have the

five-minute rule now the five-minute rule is that if we are struggling with procrastinating on a big task or a project we just tell ourselves we’re just gonna do it for five minutes actually i have a five minute hourglass on my desk back in cambridge that if i’m struggling with doing something i’ll just turn the hourglass over and i will genuinely convince myself that i’m only gonna do it for five minutes and this works really well we’ve got to give this probably a b it’s not like absolutely essential but it works really really nicely because the way procrastination works is that procrastination is generally a failure in getting started with the thing and once we’ve gotten started with the thing you know newton’s first law the law of inertia then our momentum will generally carry us on through it and we can start having fun with doing the task but we have to get started and so i think about it as either just just doing it for two minutes or just doing it for five minutes and i think that’s a tip that’s really helped me combat my own tendencies towards procrastination next on the list we’ve got systems now this is something that james clear the author of atomic habits talks about quite a lot and the distinction here is between goals and systems so goals are that you know the goal that we want to achieve but systems are the process and the

thing that we do to get to the goal and focusing on systems is actually an amazingly useful productivity tip and in fact this is going to get the s life-changing ranking from me because i often find that if i’m trying to get anything done if i focus on the goal and i fixate on the goal generally the thing won’t get done but if i think about what what system can i build what can i do right now what’s the process i can follow to do the thing then the thing will get done and if you hear interviews with anyone who’s like uber productive like you know world-class athletes and authors and stuff the thing they always swear by is the system of training or the system of practice that they follow rather than having a goal like everyone who does any kind of sport wants to do really well on it and everyone who’s in the olympics wants to win gold but and so just having the goal is not enough it’s actually more about what is the system that gets you there next up we have the daily highlight now this is another thing that’s going to get the s life-changing ranking and this is probably the single most useful single productivity tip i’ve ever come across in my life and the idea behind the daily highlight is just every single day we decide what is the one thing i want to get done today and then we just make sure we do that thing and this can be something productive like complete

chapter of my book proposal or it can be something completely unproductive i.e not work like hang out with friends or like call my grandma it could be anything like that but the idea here is that if for every single day of the year we could actually just do the single most important thing that we want to get done that day that genuinely would change the needle for our productivity and also for our life and so we’re going to give the daily highlight an s ranking on the tier list next up we’ve got the technique of batching again something that tim ferriss talks a lot about in the four hour work week the idea being that if you have tons and tons of emails instead of checking email throughout the day at different times you check email all at once all at the same time or for example like i’m doing today instead of filming a youtube video every day i film four videos in a single day and then i have the other three days off this is batching it’s pretty good it works on a lot of things it’s not like massively life-changing and therefore i’m gonna give it a c ranking on our tier list all right let’s speed up through these a little bit more next on the list we have color coding uh which my friend noah kagan uses quite a lot the idea here is that you color code your calendar depending on what category the task is in so self-care stuff gets a different color and work stuff gets a different

color and life stuff gets a different color i don’t personally use it myself so this is going to get a d ranking next on the list we have to-do lists nothing much needs to be said there i don’t really like the idea of to-do lists instead i call like my to-do list a my to-do list and so when i figure out what i’m doing for the day yes i do the daily highlight that’s the one thing that i swear by because that’s the one thing i absolutely have to get done but then everything else falls under the might do list this is stuff that uh if i feel like it if i if i want to be bothered to do the thing then i will just check things off the list and often i have just so much stuff on there that i’m never going to get around to doing but that’s fine because as long as the most important things are being done each day thanks to the daily highlight i don’t really need to overly worry about these little things on my to-do list therefore i reckon we’re gonna give this a ranking of c which is pretty good in some contexts but not in all contexts it’s all right they’re pretty good next up we have the idea of listening to things or watching things at speed multiples this is absolutely yes this is 100 life-changing one of the most life-changing things you can do which is like when i’m when i’m listening to audiobooks on audible generally i’m

listening to them at double speed sometimes even when i’m watching tv shows if i’m watching them on my own i will just watch them at double speed or triple speed and slow down for the more interesting bits i know people like people lose their minds over this stuff but genuinely i enjoy tv shows and books more when they’re faster paced at 2x speed then i do at 1x speed like i’m sorry it’s just the way i am which is the way i’m wired it’s just more fun when something is just a little bit quicker incidentally if you haven’t gotten into audiobooks yet then you absolutely should sign up to audible who are incidentally completely accidentally very kindly sponsoring this video now i rave about audible all the time i even rave about audible especially in videos that they’re not sponsoring and so it’s very fortunate that they happen to be sponsoring this one i discovered audible in 2017 and since then i’ve listened to audiobooks for like at least an hour every day on average like i’ve clocked up months like over a month worth of watch time on my audible watch time listen time the great thing about audible is that practically every audiobook on the planet is available on audible and so like if i ever hear a book recommendation from a friend like i was at dinner with a friend yesterday he recommended me three books and i just

bought them an audible there and then and because i care about being productive but also i enjoy things more at faster speeds i tend to listen to most audiobooks at two or three x speed which means i can finish an eight hour audio book in somewhere between three and four hours and that means i can read twice as much or three times as much as i would have been able to otherwise if you’re interested in a specific recommendation i’ve recently been enjoying the non-fiction book radical candor which is all about how to have difficult conversations at work and in life and if you’re interested in fiction you should absolutely check out the mistborn series by brandon sanderson brandon sanderson is my favorite author of all time and the mistborn series is an amazing introduction to his work literally been recommending this to all my friends and 100 of my friends who have started listening to miss born on audible have messaged me afterwards saying oh my god this series is incredible why didn’t i discover it sooner so if you want to check out audible with a free 30-day trial which includes a free audio book then head over to forward slash ali abdul or if you’re in the us you can text ali abdel to 500 500 and they’ll text you your like audible download stuff and that’ll be linked in the video description as well so that’s forward slash ali abdal and thank you audible for very kindly sponsoring this video right a few more

things to talk about let’s talk about deadlines next now i’m not really a huge fan of deadlines deadlines work for a lot of people because that’s the only thing that it takes to get ourselves into gear because now we have a deadline and there are consequences but i really like the way seth godin approaches this he says in one of his blog posts deadlines work they work because they focus the mind and they create urgency they work to get us to file our taxes or finish an assignment they’re an external lever of the work that we have to do on the other hand dessert works too you don’t need an external force to encourage you to eat dessert after you finish all your vegetables it’s something you get to do not something you have to do and so i much prefer to think about stuff as get to rather than have to and that’s why i don’t really like using deadlines yes they’re effective and we’ve got to give them a c on the list because they’re useful in some circumstances but i think we do want to build a life in which we don’t have to rely on deadlines and instead we just do the stuff that we enjoy doing that we feel like we get to do that we feel like we are blessed to do next on the list we have the eisenhower matrix now the idea here is that we split up everything we have to do into one of four quadrants based on whether it’s

important or not important and based on whether it’s urgent or not urgent now i think the eisenhower matrix is absolutely fantastic i don’t really use it consciously i kind of use it subconsciously but i don’t really use it as the eisenhower matrix i don’t decide for everything i need to do is this actually important and do i actually need to do it and generally if it’s important i’ll find time to do it so we’re going to give this a ranking of d on the list like it’s it’s useful for some people but i don’t personally use it a lot myself next we have the technique of setting goals now this one is a little bit controversial because a lot of people swear by the idea of setting goals that your goals should be smart and specific and measurable and achievable and if you set your goals then you’ll manifest your future and you’ll know what you want to get to i’m not really a huge fan of goals i think they’re useful in some areas of life but generally i’m much more about the systems and about the journey rather than about the destination and so to me goals ugh i keep changing my mind about goals these days i’m writing goals as a c on the list i think they’re kind of useful in some circumstances and i certainly do have some goals but i generally prefer to have input goals

rather than output goals so i prefer to have goals that are entirely within my control and finally we get to the ultimate point of all this productivity stuff which is enjoying the journey and this is going to go right at the very top of our tier ranking this is an absolutely life-changing thing because to be honest enjoying the journey is the ultimate productivity hack because when we’re having fun when we’re having fun doing the stuff that we need to do or that we want to do then productivity just magically takes care of itself and you don’t need to motivate yourself to like sit down and watch netflix or hang out with your friends because the thing is fun and you don’t need to like worry about distraction and procrastination from doing something you genuinely enjoy and so if we can find ways to make sure we’re enjoying the journey of all the things we have to do like writing a book or filming this video or going to work studying for our exams if we can find ways to make it more fun then our productivity just gets automatically taken care of and all of these techniques all of these other techniques we’ve talked about they kind of go out the window because you don’t need to bother with them because you’re having fun doing the thing and so overall here we have the final productivity tier list you don’t have to follow all of these but i’d recommend you check out the ones
in the s-class and the a-class and maybe try and incorporate them into your life if you’re not doing them already and i promise you’ll end up being more productive but more importantly you’ll also end up having a happier and more fulfilled life because you’ll be doing stuff enjoying the journey and working towards your goals and working towards stuff that you hopefully find meaningful if you found this video interesting and you want to learn some more productivity hacks and time management techniques check out this video over here which is my top 10 time management tips that i genuinely use every day in my life and if you want to have a full list of all of the productivity techniques that i’ve used in this video and all the ones that we cut out of this video there will be a notion page that you can access with a link in the video description thank you so much for watching do hit the subscribe button if you aren’t already and i’ll see you in the next video bye


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