Reddit is a goldmine for community knowledge and information. This is true for all sorts of themes from movie recaps to science tutorials to memes. One of my favorite subreddits is r/Productivity which is a space to learn tips and hacks from productive people for getting things done.
The wealth of productivity knowledge on the subreddit is immense. The topics are wide-ranging and include tactics to improve time management, better prioritize work, as well as reduce procrastination and social media use. I’ve also found that the redditors have formed a strong and supportive community. I encourage you to join r/Productivity to participate in and learn from the community.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, I pulled a few of the best productivity tips and lessons that I found on r/Productivity. I hope you find them as useful as I have.
1. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.
Redditor newsynapse shared learnings after watching a talk by Shawn Achor, a speaker on positive psychology. As a society we focus so much on success, believing once we achieve that promotion or raise we’ll finally be happy. However, research shows that in reality the cause and effect is reversed. If you focus on improving your state of happiness, you’ll be more productive.
From the post:
“On the other hand though, studies have shown that reversing this “success leads to happiness” formula is more accurate: your brain, when in a positive state, is 31% more productive, and works more intelligently and creatively than your brain in a negative state.”
They also list a few daily habits you can do to train your brain to be happier. This includes:
- Write down three little things you’re grateful for.
- Journal a positive experience.
- Do a random act of kindness.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Start comparing yourself to who you were yesterday.
As noted in the original post, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So much of productivity comes down to your mindset. You can never compare yourself to others accurately because you will never truly know the experience and journey of others. If you get into the habit of comparing yourself to others, you’ll continue to move the goalposts and compare yourself to more successful people even as you accomplish your own goals.
Lastly, you’ll be drawn to compare yourself against the most successful people who may have years of a head start in their field. Reaching the goals they’ve reached will seem an insurmountable challenge. If you compare yourself to who you were yesterday, you can always focus on improving yourself little by little.
3. Work on improving yourself 1% everyday and you’ll be 37 times better at the end of the year.
If you focus on continuous improvement each day, you will make massive progress over time. This is due to the fact that success compounds. If you focus on improving yourself 1% each day, before you know it you will hit goals that felt unreachable just months before.
4. Trick yourself into productivity like you trick yourself into procrastinating.
This is another post that centers on the importance of mindset and productivity. We can learn and leverage unproductive behaviors like social media and procrastination. In this case, we’re using the tool of self-deception, but for good. Just as you’d say “One more video” on TikTok, you can say “one more task” or “one more line of code”.
5. Your mind gets tired just like your physical body.
While it’s important to push yourself, it’s equally important to take breaks and give your mind a rest. It’s helpful to compare the brain and focus with the body and exercise. You can’t be locked in and focused all day just like you can’t run a marathon or lift weights all day. Similarly, focus and productivity are skills that can be honed over time just like physical fitness.
6. Sleep is the most important productivity hack.
Getting consistent and high quality sleep is arguably the most important thing you can do to improve your productivity. Study after study confirms this. Sleep is the foundation of your productivity, without a strong foundation you can’t build anything.
Furthermore, the benefits of sleep go beyond productivity. Better sleep leads to a stronger immune system, prevents weight gain, improved cardiovascular health, increased happiness, and improved memory.
7. Doing nothing is also productive.
Redditor minimalismemma reminds us that we don’t have to fill every second of our time with activity. Being present, being mindful, and building the ability to do nothing are skills that are increasingly rare and important. A lot of people struggle with doing nothing, especially those who want to continuously improve themselves and be productive.
If you finish what you wanted to in a day early, be comfortable with taking the rest of the day off and doing nothing. It’s extremely important for your mental health to be able to step away from work and be present in the moment.
8. Focus on doing a few things well, not doing as many things as possible.
Another trap that a lot of people who want to be productive fall into is taking on too many projects or trying to do too many things at once. Adding too much to your plate greatly reduces your productivity by splitting your attention across multiple tasks. Effective multitasking is a myth and context switching is one of the worst productivity killers out there.
Your time is much better spent identifying the three most important tasks and focusing on completing each one individually as efficiently as possible. By focusing on a single task you devote all your cognitive effort and attention toward one goal, which leads you to finish that task more quickly while producing higher quality work.
9. Your attention is your most precious resource.
The title of the post says it all. Your attention is your most precious resource. In our current world, your attention is at a premium and you constantly have to fight off distractions. Our cell phones, iPhone or Android, are constant distractions. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Netflix, and all social media are built to be addicting and consume all our attention. Even work tools like Slack, Gmail, and Zoom tend to inhibit our ability to get quality work done. We recently wrote about how phones and apps reduce your ability to focus even when they’re not distracting you.
In order to be productive, you need to be ruthless about cutting distractions and extremely discerning with where you spend your attention. It’s your most precious resource.
10. Get off Reddit and take action!
This post made me laugh. It’s a great reminder that you can google search and read all the productivity inspiration you want but you won’t accomplish anything until you start taking action.
Hope you found this list valuable! Check out r/Productivity for the most upvoted productivity tips for self-improvement, self esteem, life hacks, keyboard shortcuts, ted talks, productivity templates, ways to get motivated and stay motivated, ways to start your new year, to keep fighting, to improve your personal life and work day.
Photo by Brett Jordan
Macgill Davis is the cofounder of Rize - a simple, intelligent time tracker that improves focus and helps build better work habits.