Here are 6 productivity hacks that actually work. They're based on 11 years of experience, research, and experimentation on my part.

I've personally used them to 10x my productivity, which has helped to exponentially grow my company.

My hope is they'll be helpful to you as well.

- Nick Diliberto, Pure Canvas Art

1. Focus on your #1 task first. Don’t check email or social media until 11a.m.

I got this one from bestselling author and podcaster, Tim Ferriss. When I follow this guideline, I'm way more productive. Decide on your #1 most important task of the day. Make sure this task has the potential to have the most significant impact on your day. Focus 100% on that task as soon as you get in work mode. Don't check email, social media, Slack, or any other kind of messages before working on the task. Block out all possible distractions.

For example, put your phone on airplane mode, close out all internet browsers if you're in front of a computer, etc. Immerse yourself in the task at hand until completed. Then, you can check email, social media, etc.

I've discovered that a good chunk of time, 3-4 hours, is usually needed to focus on an important task. And that often brings you to about 11am, given that you started the workday at 7am or 8am.

This guideline enables you to tackle your biggest task first. It puts you in action mode, rather than reactive mode at the very start of your day. It sets up your day to win.

2. A new spin on the 80/20 rule.

You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule, which states that 20% of the things you do are responsible for 80% of the results. The goal is to identify what that 20% is and spend 80% of your time on those tasks.

If you’ve never heard of this principle before, try it. This one thing can have a massive impact on your success.

Here’s a new spin on it. Of the 20%, identify the 10% most important. Cut it in half. Or better yet, narrow it down to 5%. Eliminate, automate, or delegate the rest. Really challenge yourself to reduce it to the bare essentials.

What’s absolutely most important? What are the one or two things that bring the most results? What will really move the needle forward in your business, career, or life? Identify and focus 90%-95% of your time on the top 5%-10% things.

3. Keep your to-do list small.

If you’re focused on the 5%-10% most essential tasks, then your to-do list is small. That doesn’t mean you’re not busy, hustling and making things happen. It means you’re focused on the big tasks at hand. You’re focused on the few things that have the most significant impact.

A small to-do list is the best indicator that you’re focused on what matters most. You have a problem if the list is long, and you feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get it all done. That’s the best indication that you’re not focused on what’s most important.

4. Focus. Eliminate distractions.

As noted in #1, focus is essential. Any time you are working on a task, eliminate all distractions like email, social media, etc. Stay 100% focused on the task at hand. Build into your day pockets of time to check email, social media, etc. And stick to them.

5. Single task.

Studies show over and over that you’re more effective when single-tasking versus multi-tasking. So, just make it a point to only single task. Focus on one thing at a time.

6. Adjust your perspective on time.

Think about this. Everyone in the world has only 24 hours each day. If you find yourself overly busy and struggle to get everything done within that time frame, then time is not your problem.

You have only 24 hours. The problem is what you choose to do with that time. If it’s not all getting done despite your fast-paced life, then it is time you make a change. You can’t create more time. But you can minimize what you say yes to. Learn to say no, eliminate the lesser important things, and focus on what matters most.


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