5 Tips to Reclaim Your Productivity

5 Tips to Reclaim Your Productivity

You want to be more productive.

Yet you look back at the end of each day, wondering…

“Where did the time go?!”

We’ve all been there. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are 5 mind-blowingly simple tips to reclaim your productivity for good…

1. Create “The List”

98 years ago, Charles Schwab asked a guy named Ive Lee for help.

Schwab was president of one of the largest steel companies in the world. And he wanted to make his executives more productive.

So Ivy Lee spent 15 minutes with each executive, and Schwab sent him a check for the equivalent of $400,000.

What was this $400,000 advice?

Before you finish work today, write 6 things you have to do tomorrow. Then number these things in order of importance…

First thing tomorrow morning, start working on number 1, and stay with it until it’s done…

Then do number 2, and don’t go any further until that one’s completed… And so on.

At first glance, this sounds like a to-do list. But there are 3 reasons Charles Schwab said this lesson was the most profitable one he’d learned in his business career…

  • It forces you to prioritize. You always want to know what things are most important, and you want to do those things first – when you have the most time, energy and focus
  • It forces you to Single Task. You always want to focus on one thing – the most important thing – with full attention before moving on to the next
  • It forces you to keep it simple. When you limit what you have to do to no more than 6 things (ideally even less), there’s a bigger chance you’ll actually do those things.


So before you start every day, make this list.

2. Protect Your Castle

Imagine you have a beautiful castle in the French countryside…

Then someone tries to steal it from you.

You’d do anything to protect that castle!

Now imagine you have a beautiful castle. But it’s made up of time. Someone tries to steal it from you. And you let them take it.

Roman philosopher Seneca wrote 2,000 years ago that people guard their property like their life depends on it. But they give away their time like a kid giving away candy on Halloween.

Think about all the time you’d like to spend doing things, but just don’t…

  • Working out…
  • Spending time with family…
  • Visiting your parents…

The solution?

Practice something called Time Boxing. Use your Passion Planner to schedule every hour of your day.

  • When will you work?
  • When will you check your email?
  • When will you get on a Zoom call with your friends?


You’ll never stick to your schedule perfectly. But taking 2 minutes to make this schedule is one of the easiest “tricks” you can use to skyrocket your productivity.

And if you want to make sure your schedule is sparking joy for you, make sure to check out this article too.

3. Avoid Interruptions

I once read a fact that blew my mind.

It said that the average adult checks their email 145 times per day!

But spending too much time on email can make it IMPOSSIBLE for you to get things done.

Every time you send or receive an email, your body releases a tiny amount of dopamine… which makes you feel good.

So you do it again, and again.

Here’s the problem…

According to one study, it takes 23 minutes to focus on a task again, after you get distracted.

So if you’re spending your whole day distracted, you never get anything done.

Here’s the solution…

Check your email no more than three times a day.

And when you do, answer or delete every one. Even if you have more time during the day to check your email…

Don’t!

By doing this, you’ll actually have less email in your inbox, and far more mental power to focus on what matters.

4. Get a Timer

Forty years ago, a psychologist by the name of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wondered…

“Why do people feel unhappy in their everyday lives?”

So he thought about artists, athletes, musicians — and how they get so lost in their craft, that it feels like total BLISS to them.

And he discovered that they get so lost in a task, that they lose track of time.

They get in the zone.

It’s almost like stepping into the Matrix — where you’re so focused on a task — that you unlock mental powers you didn’t even know you had.

Studies show us that when people get in this state, their heart rate slows down and the muscles that let them smile become activated.

They literally become a different person!

And getting in this state can unlock productivity superpowers you didn’t even know existed.

All you have to do is one thing…

Get an electronic timer — and use it every time you work. When the clock is on, your phone is off, and you focus on whatever you’re doing until the timer hits zero.

This one simple “trick” can help you get more done in 3 hours than you used to get done in 10!

[Extra tip: Use a timer when you want to spend time on your hobbies as well]

5. Ask the “Magic Question”

Imagine you have a magic well that can give you anything you want…

You ask for a car, and it pops out of the well…

You want a new phone, and it magically appears…

Every 2 seconds, there’s something new coming out of this well for you to play with.

This well is called your mind.

It’s constantly giving you new ideas on how to spend your time…

  • Check Instagram…
  • Respond to this text…
  • Stay in bed…

You think the secret is to learn to organize how long to play with each “toy” that comes out of the well…

It’s not.

The secret is to make better decisions about what you play with in the first place.

That’s why Alain Lakein says in his book that time management isn’t about getting better with your time.

It’s about making better decisions.

Like deciding to continue reading this blog post instead of interrupting yourself with Instagram.

Or like deciding to work on the project that actually matters, instead of responding to the emails that don’t.

So how can you learn to make better decisions?

You just have to master asking yourself a simple question…

“What will happen if I don’t do this?”

  • What will happen if I don’t check Instagram?
  • What will happen if I don’t respond to these emails now?
  • What will happen if I don’t do this task that seems so important?

This question is like a sword that cuts through the BS of what feels important to do, but really isn’t.

So before you do anything, always ask yourself this magic question.

These 5 tricks are easy to use. And they can change your life.

The question is…

Will you use them?


Brandon Hakim is on a mission to help you get unstuck.

He was so frustrated by what he was learning in college, that he went to the dean of his university to say he felt like students were getting an outdated education.

He’s since read over 1,000 books, and helped over 200,000 students online get “unstuck” through his online courses.

Connect with me at Insider School or Instagram