• Advice

100 time, energy, and attention hacks to be more productive

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In 2013, Chris Bailey graduated from business school and turned down two great job offers in order to spend a year performing productivity experiments on himself.

Chris wanted to know: What really works? Is there a secret? What do the most creative, entrepreneurial people do?

What he found that really matters is that you’re doing work with meaning, because why become more productive if the work you’re becoming more productive with is empty and hollow? I think this really resonates with freelancers, who have work they’re passionate about -- work that deserves the time and attention it takes to become more productive.

Here are some of Chris’ 100 hacks:

8. Keep all of your emails five sentences or less, and make a note of it in your signature. Using this hack I’ve blown through my inbox like crazy, and most people don’t mind when you keep your emails short and to the point.

10. Register for if you have a Gmail, Yahoo, or account. rolls up all of your subscription emails into one convenient, daily email. I highly recommend it.

14. Save a higher proportion of your income. This allows you to cut decades off of your working life, because you prioritize working less and retiring early over living a fancier life.

20. Live by the two-minute rule. The two-minute rule (from David Allen’s Getting Things Done system) says that when a task will take you less than two minutes, just do it—don’t add it to your to-do list or capture it for later.

44. Paint your office the right color. Science says you should paint a room blue to stimulate your mind, yellow to stimulate your emotions, red to stimulate your body, and green to stimulate a sense of balance.

61. Every day, recall three things you’re grateful for. This trains your brain to “retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first,” making you more energetic, happier, and more productive.

98. Practice active listening. By completely focusing on what someone has to say, you develop deeper relationships, become a better judge of people, avoid misunderstandings, and have more meaningful conversations.

View the full list on Chris’ website here.

What are your favorite productivity hacks?