How Can We Be More Productive?

Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.  When your to-do list is frustratingly long, what can you do to be more productive?

While there is something to be said for the need to relax in our over-scheduled society, sometimes you just need to get stuff done. That might include running errands, preparing a work project, or performing home maintenance. Whatever the task is that you feel is crucial, how can you avoid procrastination and distractions, and actually accomplish said task?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How can we encourage debate?’


Productivity has been steadily increasing in our modern society, thanks to tools like the computer and the internet, as well as the labor-saving machines that magnify the effort of an individual. Not to mention increasing the weekly hours spent at work, or even working during “off hours” like answering emails from home.

Are there further advances to be had? Do productivity programs or apps actually work? Are there routines or practices that can further improve how much we can accomplish? Or is the attempt to increase productivity bound to further increase daily stress and unhappiness?

If you feel that your list of tasks — for work, home, or even for enjoyment — is too long and needs to be reduced more efficiently, what can you do about it? How can we be more productive?

Related questions: How can we turn ideas into actions? How do you set priorities? What is important? How can we encourage collaboration? Do you keep lists?

What Would You Like To Spend Ten Thousand Hours Practicing?

Last week’s Quickfire Question dealt with the activities you have spent ten thousand hours practicing. For this week, we ask: what would you like to spend ten thousand hours practicing? In what activities would you like to become proficient?

Share why if you wish.

What Have You Spent Ten Thousand Hours Practicing?

According to theory, you need at least ten thousand hours of doing a particular task to achieve proficiency. Which activities have you performed for ten thousand hours?

Share why if you wish.

What Do You Wish You Were Doing?

If money, time, expertise, or other limiting factors were not an issue, what would you choose to do? In other words, if you could do exactly what you wish to do, what would it be?

Too often, we get hung up on reasons we cannot do something. It takes too long to learn how to do it. It doesn’t pay enough to support me full time (or is too expensive for a hobby). I’m not good enough, or there are too many people who are better than I am.

As a thought experiment, what would you do if none of that mattered?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘How do you define success?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’


Obviously, some of these things do matter. If, for example, your dream is to play basketball in the NBA and you are 5’5″ and 50 years old, your dreams simply aren’t realistic.

Some hurdles are insurmountable. But most aren’t, and it is important to know the difference.

A big part of that is narrowing down what you really want to be doing. If you dream of being a rock star and playing in sold out arenas, is your dream to play music, to entertain people, or to be famous? The answer could change what the obstacles are to achieving your dream, and could point you in the direction to start.

But the very first step is to dream. In your dream, with no one or no thing standing in your way, how do you see yourself? What do you wish you were doing?

Related questions: What makes you the happiest? What do you want? To what should we aspire? What do you do with a day off work?