Overlooked Productivity Tips for the Worker Who’s Tried Everything

We all want to grow, save time, learn more, and be better in one way or another. But who has the time to do it all? I’ve done the heavy lifting for you, listening to over 20 Blinks on productivity for the hidden gems.

by Emily DiLaura — January 10th, 2023

The Pomodoro technique, 5 AM club, SMART goals, eat the frog, time blocking. Heard of them? They’re old friends (or maybe foes) to most of us trying to create a more productive, efficient, and “successful” life. But are they the only options? I could recite these techniques on command, but none are really my cup of tea.

So, I used my Blinkist account and listened to over 20 Blinks on productivity to find useful, unconventional, and overlooked advice for professionals who have already taken productivity 101 and are looking for more.

To get started, I created a collection in my Blinkist account and then searched productivity topics. The goal was to pick out 25 Blinks, and by the time I looked up from my enthusiastic scrolling, I had saved 70. No, I did not listen to all 70, but I got through a good chunk in the name of science.

Here are some of the most useful, unconventional, and overlooked pieces of advice I found:

Stop defining yourself by your productivity.

How to Do NothingDon’t work for companies that grade you by your productivity. Full stop. Easier said than done, I know, but this is crucial. Productivity doesn’t necessarily equate to success and can often become synonymous with burnout. Be gentle with yourself on days where you don’t cross it all off your daily to-do, step away and regroup when you hit a frustrating roadblock, and ask for help from your team. This does not make you a failure or a lightweight. Check out this Blink to dig deeper into the productivity mindset switch.


Agility is everything.

Sometimes you start a project and it’s just not clicking. Forcing it is such a waste of time and resources. If you’re not getting anywhere, or you have a blocker, stay agile in your work and pivot (Ross Geller, anyone?). If I’m not careful, I can get sucked into creative work for hours and get nowhere. Some days my creative bucket is empty. When this happens, I’ll switch to a more robotic task I have to do where I can be on auto-pilot until the creativity strikes back.


Think unconventionally.

If you’re fed up with the lines “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or the personal bane of my existence, “this is how we’ve always done it,” this one is for you. We are very fortunate that in 2023, it’s more acceptable to challenge what is asked of us at work. In the name of productivity and integrity, don’t be afraid to take risks, challenge procedures, and find unconventional ways to get the job done, even if it means fighting against workplace bureaucracy to take a shorter route to meet company goals.

I’m not saying cut corners, but if you see a better way to save time and/or money, bring it to your supervisor. Show them an example of how your method can improve the current standard. Unconventional thinking often paves the path to the top, so don’t be afraid to go for it.

The above two strategies came from this Blink on being a productivity ninja.


Prioritizing your personal life is not counter-productive.

This Blink hit home for me with the line: “after all, the point of being efficient at work is to make time for your life outside of work,”  because that is something I often forget when I am in the thick of it. Setting boundaries at work to keep commitments in your personal life is crucial for your well-being, which in turn supports your productivity by leaving you with less to worry about at home, more structure in your work schedule, and much more.

Two ways you can prioritize your personal life:

1. Work for companies that believe in legitimate flexible work hours.
2. Discuss personal time commitments with your team. If you always need to take lunch at 1:00pm to give your child medication that needs to be eaten with lunch, communicate that and set boundaries.

Head to this Blink for more on prioritizing personal life.


Anchor new habits around recurring activities.

For example, if every Friday you have to deliver a report to your supervisor and every Friday morning you’re rushing to finish, you have a broken system. Create a productive workflow where you always wrap up this report after your recurring Thursday morning 1:1 and make it a habit. That way, when the 1:1 ends, you know what to do next. Block the time on your calendar as busy. Anchoring this task to the recurring meeting makes it feel concrete, immovable, and mandatory. This Blink discusses making small changes and anchoring tasks.


Lean into neuroscience and hack your own brain.

This is my personal favorite tactic when it comes to productivity. After all, productivity is nothing but a behavior. If you spend time learning how we are hard-wired to work, whether it be through neuroscience, behavior, psychology, etc., you can dig into your personal experience and how best to hack your brain.


A Final Note, Supported by Blinks:

A crucial step in analyzing your productivity habits is evaluating your comfort level and willpower to change. Change is challenging, scary, new, and intimidating. Some jump head first, some test the water, and others never go past the shallow end. With any evolution or change, the key is knowing yourself and what is an authentic and rational approach for you.

While this article scratches the surface of the extensive library of productivity Blinks that exist in the Blinkist library, I found it to be a good starter for those looking for something different to boost productivity. Have you heard these ideas before? What did you find most interesting?

Check out this free Collection* for more on productivity and share it with your team to empower a more productive workforce:

(Which includes multiple titles from my list of 70 Blinks on productivity!)

Supercharged Productivity Collection

*Free access until January 31, 2023

Emily is the Senior Marketing Manager at Blinkist Business. She loves to challenge the status quo, supports continued learning, and is a true ISFJ-T empath who thrives on a productive work schedule.

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