Let's Talk About


6 years ago by


Ok, so we’ve been talking about productivity and flow in the studio a lot this week (which was largely inspired by this Fast Company article)(ok, so G read it on the plane during the book tour and then we all read it, and then we all started talking, it’s how it goes here at the studio!!).

There are so many great ideas bouncing around about how to be more productive, and it’s a little like it’s unproductive trying to work out how to be productive sometimes!! But the basic ideas, of trying to not fall into the trap of distractions and focusing on the bigger tasks all makes sense. We’ve been asking the people around us to give us ideas, too.

And then we were like, wait, why don’t we ask our readers for ideas?! (Sometimes the obvious is riiiiight in front of you) So! What are the systems that you implement to be more productive? What are your best tips and tricks to get stuff done, efficiently and well, and suuuuper smooth?

We can’t wait to try out some of your ideas :)


Add yours
  • Ah la productivité ! C’est finalement être efficace, non ? Pour moi, une seule règle : se concentrer, ce qui implique ne faire qu’une seule chose à la fois. Quand on travaille sur un ordinateur, il faut donc s’interdire de surfer et de consulter ces mails (ce sera la récompense (ou pas…) après l’effort).
    Je trouve aussi que travailler avec une date butoir aide énormément. Avoir un deadline ou s’en créer un nous pousse à travailler mieux ou du moins plus vite… La technique Pomodoro est pas mal pour cela : se mettre un minuteur avant d’effectuer une tâche, arrêter quand le temps est écoulé pour s’étirer, boire, se dégourdir les jambes quelques minutes pour ensuite revenir plus fraîche et dispo devant son ordinateur / à son bureau. Bref, il existe plusieurs “règles” et elles sont propres à chaque personne. Pour ma part, avant d’apprendre à être plus productive, je dois déjà arrêter de procrastiner…

  • i have just read about pomodoro this week: i’m totally going to use it! :)


  • I’ve been procrastinating so much lately! so I would love to hear some ideas too


  • You hear so many tips, but to me, in the end, the best tip is to keep it simple – it’s not so magic or revolutionary (sorry!). People introduce so many processes trying to be more productive but all they do is add more work! Identify your goal, work out the main things you need to achieve to get there, focus on your milestones and don’t get distracted by smaller things. Oh and I love a good list!

  • Ah, productivity….well I think we all strive to be more productive, but it’s really tough.
    I make lists, and I read recently that you should make your list at the end of the day for the next day so that anything you didn’t finish can be put at the top of your list.
    I’m trying this method and it does help, but then there are distractions, like reading other blogs! Which is so much fun.
    I’d love to hear more ideas…



  • stay off the internet!

  • Jessica Paugh November, 13 2015, 5:18 / Reply

    I’m a big follower of the “eat the frog” concept. You take whichever task you most dread doing that day and do it first thing in the morning. That way, you can go through the rest of your day knowing that the worst is behind you! It helps me stay on track and curbs my urge to procrastinate.

  • Mary Roberts November, 13 2015, 5:46 / Reply

    When I worked, I’m now retired, I had several tricks I used to be more productive but the one that worked the best was 20 minutes before I left my job at night was to list three (any more did not work) tasks I wanted to accomplish before lunch or a set time the next day. Then I tidied my desk and went home. Of course all night those jobs were percolating in the back of my mind. When I went in thes next morning I was ready to rock and roll. When I took the time to do this it almost always worked and once I got those jobs done I was on a roll so I finished off a few more tasks as well. I still try to do this at least three days a week and most often it still works. The other days I allow myself to sleep in and just do what I do.

  • Je fais des listes en prenant soin de noter, en tete de liste, les taches les plus contraignantes. J’essaie de m’y tenir car je me laisse facilement distraire, surtout lorsque je fais des recherches sur le net. C’est ce qui marche le mieux pour moi. :-)

  • Todoist. Best list making app ever! And it’s on your phone, your laptop, your iPad, tucked into you gmail. So easy to implement and quick to jot things down.

  • I work fron home and on my own, and I found out that I’m more productive when my schedule is on fire. If I have too much free time I get distracted very easily. But aside from that, I would say that keeping a “To do” list is extremely helpful (and crossing items out of the list is great, the feeling of accomplishment is invigorating), setting time out (to have lunch, to chill) gives you the chance to decompress, and tackling one thing at a time helps you to be focused on one thing and not all over the place.

    Besos fron Argentina!

  • Celeste Morton November, 14 2015, 12:22 / Reply

    Je trouve que I need to be inspired to be productive. C’est simple. Quand j’ai une questione de vie, j’ai recherché. Quand j’ai une passion de comprendre, j’essaie de trouver un réponse. All the rest is less important as I am trying to understand the puzzle of my thoughts.

  • Christina November, 14 2015, 2:52 / Reply

    I use an app called ‘tadam’ and work in lots of 25 minutes (I’m doing my PhD + working) and also have an app called (ironically) ‘self control’ where I can ban certain websites. Saying “I will just do 25 minutes” first thing in the morning works! You don’t have to comitt to hours (that’s too much). I also avoid checking my email all the time and just have specific times during the day. Last – the prospect of reward – meeting people for dinner after work or exercising at a particular time or even having to go home to your family at a certain time means you have to be productive!

  • Over the past few months I’ve been shifting my life into minimalism – not just fashion-wise, but lifestyle wise. Along with shopping way less (= not at all), I’ve also been approaching my tasks with much more simplicity. One very easy way to be productive is to do simply one thing at a time instead of ten. At first I was scared by this: we’re so used to rushing and doing things all at once that our work and our well-being suffers. But in fact, when you only have one task to focus on for the day (or for the morning or the afternoon), it is done so much better. It receives our attention 100%. Not to mention that there is a feeling of ease. When I have only one task, I’m not stressed and feel much better. And therefore am productive. I definitely recommend checking out The Minimalists blog and their approach to work. In a maximalist fashion society, it’s nice to approach things with a minimalist attitude.

    So there you have it :) Can’t wait to read what others have wrote. xx


  • Je suis productive quand je fais une liste et planifie. En principe ça marche si je suis concentrée (et quand je ne suis pas dérangée par des questions, bruit,…). Sinon j’ai aussi l’habitude de prendre des notes et j’essaie de les organiser, la raison principale est de ne pas oublier des points importants, mais cela m’aide aussi à structurer mes idées et a définir une stratégie.

  • For me it has to be lists. I wake up early in the morning and the first thing I do is sit down and look through what needs to be done for the day. I take the things that absolutely have to get done and the things I want to do. By prioritizing I don’t get overwhelmed with everything that suddenly crops up in my life!

  • A la Garance Doré Team : faites une session de sport en groupe sur la pause lunch, félicitez-vous de l’avoir fait, manger un bon plat équilibré et vous serez d’attaque pour la demi journée qu’il vous reste à faire.
    Blague à part, je ne me suis jamais sentie aussi productive que depuis le moment où je me suis remise au sport. Surtout pour la capacité à rester concentrée et “à fond” dans un truc que je dois finir. Je sais mon commentaire va vous ennuyer, on entend partout qu’il faut faire du sport bla bla bla mais en l’occurence cela marche très bien sur moi. Je dors mieux, je me réveille en forme et je suis pleine d’énergie toute la journée.

  • identify the longer-view goal(s) first – post goal(s) prominently – important to see it every day. Then begin identofying the steps to get there. Face up to the biggest risk(s) you must take. Commt aloud, say the words, that you are willing to face the risk(s). Then the little day to day lists are useful. But, not useful unless you know the goal. Works for me.

  • Elizabeth Gates November, 14 2015, 8:41 / Reply

    To help my productivity as I oversee many diferent tasks and projects as director of marketing for my company, I have created a schedule of my “ideal week” it is broken down hour-by-hour during my work day and includes time for meetings, checking emails, research, special projects, etc. I’ve also included time for exercising or grabbing lunch with a girlfriend. This has helped me stay on track, ensure all my tasks are being accomplished and really created structure in my days. I’d encourage you to give it a try and see how you like it!

  • Prévoir, planifier, préparer, organiser… It’s the key of productivity ! ;)

  • For me being productive is all about finding the right balance in the day. I’m certainly not one of those people who can work for 12 hours in a row, get little sleep and be in good form the next day. The perspective of working for long hours without rest and some me time deprives me of all the energy.

    What I like to do is to write my to-do list for the next day before bedtime, so I have undisrupted sleep and don’t need to worry about forgetting an important task. I put the most ambitious tasks on top of my list and get to them right after I finish my little morning routine. I always try to get those things done before lunchtime, so it’s important not to set too much (for me it’s never more than 3). Then in the afternoon I do less demanding things like running errands, reading something for classes, learning new skills etc. My evenings are reserved for enjoying dinner with my boyfriend, watching an episode of my favourite TV series and relax in general. This way I’m motivated throughout the day, because I know that there’s a reward waiting for me in the evening.


  • I am always have a big problem when it comes to productivity! I like, in fact love to push everything to the very last minute. Procrastination is my constant mode. I don’t why, I feel like I have a really hard time concentrating and it is really frustrating. I am so glad that I can find this post and read the tips from all the other commenters.

  • I hate to say it as much as everyone hates hearing it, but what I have found to be the absolute best way to be productive is to get up earlier. Having time in the morning to get things done makes a huge difference…I know after lunch I hardly ever get anything done, so I need to lengthen that time before the afternoon laziness sets in. So getting up, making a healthy lunch to take with me, listening to the news, exercising, and getting those few crucial work things done before the rest of the world starts up and begins making demands of me at around 9:30 or 10 is the best way to make sure it will all happen.

  • J’essaie de ne jamais remettre à demain ce que je peux faire tout de suite. Et pour être efficace, rien de tel que de rester concentrée sur une seule tâche afin de la faire correctement.


  • I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately: with all the social media, blogs and other distractions at my fingertips, it became hard to concentrate on writing longer blog posts. So I came up with an easy technique: when I really want to write something substantial, I do it with pen and paper. So analog of me :) But it truly works. I shut down my computer, leave my iPhone in the next room, and just focus on putting words on paper. I feel like the quality of my writing has improved as well, since I get to edit each article twice, and I’m really happy with the results. Old school, but oh so effective!

  • I write everything I need to do, all my tasks, into a TODO-list. Even the smallest ones, like “write this email”. If a new task comes up, I write it down to the list and then shut my mind about it. This way, I don’t constantly have to worry about unfinished or upcoming tasks.

    Everytime I finish one task, I select the next one from the list based on priority, and do it. I do only one task at a time, and try to split bigger tasks into smaller ones.

    These practices have helped me a lot to improve my productivity, especially when there are gazillion parallel things going on or when things get very hectic.

  • I think I feel productive if I start early and then take short breaks in between. Distraction suits me :)


  • What a fabulous post — I love that you’ve created a think tank among readers! So many great ideas I am going to try. . .

    I am a professor so a lot of my time is unstructured. There is work to do but I choose when to do it. I find that setting small goals for myself each day (I will grade all writing assignments by 12 noon) helps keep me on track. I also use a kitchen timer (not my phone which I keep in another room) to give me a 10 minute break every 50 minutes. That way I know I have a break coming up and it keeps me motivated to keep grading (something I loathe) until that time goes off! And I get to do anything I want in the ten minutes (usually a yoga pose to stretch out or a quick walk around the block) that doesn’t include the computer. It helps me refocus and feel fresh!

  • Come on guys, productivity is a bullshit invented by society to make the rat race work. Just enjoy every moment of your life, in the world where we live we never know when we’re gona die and there is no big future either. So just enjoy the fact you are all there together and can discuss. The rest is just superfluous.

  • Taking time off! It sounds counterintuitive, but my weekdays are far more productive if I get out in the wilderness for a day. I also find I’m less distracted if I get enough sleep, eat breakfast at home rather than at work, and avoid too much alcohol during the week – which is all easier said than done! If I’m really struggling to get focused I use a pomodoro app, even if it means I just sit there for the first 25 minutes. And I break tasks up into reward chunks, and then make them something that gets me away from my desk, so if I’m writing a paper I might get to plant some seedlings or walk to the corner store or something if I hit the number of words I set myself.

  • There are a few things that help me. First is the Nike principle “Just Do It!” I think it is fantastic. Very often when you think of something you need to do, especially if it is someting you reeeeeeaaaly don’t want to do but have to, you find yourself finding reasons not to do it the more you think about it, so for me it is easier to just stop thinking and simply do it. The less time you think about it and the faster you’ll get it done the easier it’ll be. As simple as that. It works like magic.
    Another thing is focusing on just 3 most important things you need to get done that day. It is very effective.
    And of course lists. Somehow, they put your mind in this magic to-do mode. And what can be more satisfactory than ticking off an acomplished task at the end of the day. Aaaah… Pure joy )).

  • I use a creativity trigger I’ve conditioned with a certain tea in a certain way. The aroma, flavors and preparation process condition a desire to get to work. I blogged about it, let me know if it works for you too. https://garrottdesigns.com/2015/11/02/creativity-triggers-tea-time/

  • It goes without saying lists and prioritizing and getting up early and limiting the obvious distractions are a given.

    However imagine if time were an illusion and that when we do not have the pressure of time at our heals, then we can be free to do all that needs to do in the space that it takes to do it.

    It is surprising how much actually gets done when you take away that external pressure and by a natural law and order of things what ever is divinely needed to be done in that 24 hour cycle gets completed.

    Instead of time owning you, you now own time it comes to you and you are longer having to rush to it.

  • Je bois du café, je me mets seule dans une pièce lumineuse, rangée, bien éclairée, sans bruit, et je bosse comme un robot en fumant des clopes toutes les demi-heures. En faisant ça, si rien ni personne ne me dérange, je peux travailler 4 ou 5 heures (avec une pause crêpes)

  • There’s a book I have found to be really helpful, The 4-Hour Work Week. It’s totally brilliant.
    Two rules that have worked great for me are: don’t take calls unless they are your boss/es and your family; return all important calls from 11 to 12 am; only read emails from 12 to 12.30 and at the end of the day.
    Those two have really kept me focused for years now.

  • Write it down. I change purses a lot but when I empty them out four items remain – pen, pad, $5, and a lip balm. WRITE IT DOWN. It clears your head and helps you focus.

    Schedule ruthlessly – Every hour of the day has a purpose – cleaning, activities with kids, phone calls, work, working out, grocery shopping, driving. But scheduling all of it I can find blocks of time to create, work on a neglected protect, take a nap. I know if I have a lot of time in the car that day it’s a good day to catch up on phone calls via bluetooth.

    A designated spot for paperwork and scheduled time when you blow through and process it once a week.

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