Want To Become Super Productive? Stop Doing These 5 Stupid Things Right Now

Want To Become Super Productive? Stop Doing These 5 Stupid Activities

You are exhausted.

Another late work night is about to end…

NOT because it´s late…

NOT because you have completed all your important tasks…

but because your brain has stopped to function properly.

(And it probably did several coffee cups ago).

No matter what you do, you can´t keep up with your never-ending growing to do list.

The only thing you know for sure…

is that if you don´t handle the situation NOW…

you will become BURNED OUT.

Sounds familiar?

No worries, I´ve been there too.

Relax. I got your back.

When you want to fix a problem, it´s not necessarily about starting doing new activities.

The solution can actually be to stop doing existing activities.

Want To Become Super Productive? Stop Doing These 5 Stupid Activities

1. Plan as you go

Perhaps it worked in fifth grade to just wing your tests without impacting your grades in a negative way.

However, you are now in the grownups class in productivity, and if you really want to become among the best, winging it just won´t cut it anymore.

They say that every minute spent in execution will save you ten minutes in planning.

If you don´t plan your day and week, you will just be responding to other people´s requests.

Your schedule will actually NOT be your schedule. It will be THEIR schedule.

You might as well put on a cap with a big red L in the front (L standing for loser).

And you don´t want that, right?

Good, I didn´t think so.

So this is what you SHOULD do.

Start planning your day a week in advance. If that might be bit too hardcore for you in the start, no worries. At least start with planning the next day the night before.

Then you should have ONE master to do list. That means that you will only be using ONE to do list. Tasks that are NOT included in your to do list, won´t get done.

Then over to how to prioritize the tasks on your to do list.

It´s important to NOT…

2. Categorize your tasks as if they are all equally important

Few activities can cripple your productivity more than to categorize your tasks as if they are all equally important.

That means that you will be working on the wrong type of tasks most of the time. As Brian Tracy says, if you believe all your tasks are equally important, NONE of your tasks are important.

Use the 80/20 rule (also known as Pareto´s law) to determine which type of tasks you should prioritize. It says that 20% of your most important tasks will result in 80% of the total production value.

If you have 10 tasks on your to do list for the day, and you manage to complete only the 2 most important tasks, that will result in 80% of the total production value.

That is pretty cool, right?

In other words, as long as you are able to identify and complete the 20% of the most important task every single day, you will be extremely productive, and way ahead of the rest.

Another stupid activity that will pull your productivity down into the mud is to…

3. Say yes to all unreasonable requests

We only have 24 hours in our day, and your time is your most valuable asset. The big difference between very successful people and you is how you have spent your time.

Donald Trump doesn´t have any more hours in his day. He just spends it better. Do you think that he is planning every single day? You bet, he does.

You should really protect your 24 hours each day like it was food for your family. Every time you give away an hour, you give away a meal for your family. In other words, you should be very selective on how you spend your time.

By that I mean that you actually should start saying no to unreasonable requests. Every time you say yes to a request, you automatically say no to other activities.

I know it can be hard in the start to say no, and you probably feel uncomfortable doing it. However, once you get the hang of it, you will be able to protect your time better, so you can spend it on the activities that TRULY matter…

your family and friends.

The next activity most people have heard about, but few people fully understand how it can poison your productivity.

4. Working longer hours believing it will cure all problems

Working longer hours won´t cure anything. Of course, there might be days that you really need to do a long night. However, it should be the exception and not the norm.

Studies have shown that the majority of people are the most productive during the 2 first hours after they get out of bed. This may of course vary from person to person. Some people are the most productive in the evening and other people are night owls.

You should find out at what time of the day YOU are the most productive, and block that time out to work on your most important tasks.

Building your career is like building your muscles in the gym. You shouldn´t do several training sessions per day (at least not if you are a beginner). And if the training sessions are too long, they will have a negative effect on your overall training.


Because your body needs time to rest. Only by resting will your body strengthen your muscle fibers and replenish your strength and energy.

By training too much, you may tear a muscle or hurt a joint, and then you won´t be able to train for several weeks.

Yeah, I´ve been there. I used to train 8 times each week, and my primary goal was to fight in the cage (yeah, it was mixed martial arts, like the UFC). Long story short, I trained with the best trainers in Norway: kickboxing 2 times per week, Brazilian jiu jitsu 2 times per week, boxing training 1 time per week and running 3 times per week.

What happened? After a while, I got big problems with my ankle and I couldn´t train for 6 weeks. So my when I started training again, my shape was really bad.

You might be thinking, “Okay, Tor, I get it. Working longer hours isn´t good. What should I do?”

Good question.

You should increase your productivity, which will help you to INCREASE RESULTS while working FEWER HOURS.

How can that be done?
Plan your day in advance, use the 80/20 rule to work on your most important tasks WHEN you are the most productive during your day, say no to unreasonable request and avoid…

5. Being easily distracted

Few things are making you procrastinate MORE than you being easily distracted.

Imagine that you are going to write an important article, and suddenly your mom calls and asks you if you want to come over for dinner on Saturday. 10 minutes later your friend knocks on the door wanting you to join him for a concert on Friday night. A few minutes later, your neighbor is at the door asking to borrow some flour.

You get the point.

You will get VERY little time working on your article.

They say that the person who is able to focus on one single thought for 2 minutes straight, will be able to accomplish anything.

In order to become super productive, you need to be able to focus.

Nothing will turbocharge your productivity more than you being able to work focused on ONE single task at a time until it´s completed.

Here´s what to do next…

Okay, you know that in order to become super productive you have to actually take a look at your existing activities and habits.

Let´s say that you want to bake the perfect cake, and you are experimenting in the kitchen.

It´s not necessarily about constantly ADDING new ingredients to each new version of the cake…

the solution might be to REMOVE some of the existing ingredients.

The same goes for your productivity.

What´s your experience with doing the wrong activities regarding your productivity?

What happened when you stopped doing them?

This is a guest post by Tor Refsland. Tor decided to leave his six-figure job in order to follow his passion – to help online entrepreneurs SAVE TIME and INCREASE RESULTS. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to DOUBLE your productivity in 7 days.

34 Responses to Want To Become Super Productive? Stop Doing These 5 Stupid Activities

  1. Great post.

    I think that you’re going to save a lot of people from the horrors of burnout!

  2. Nice post Tor. I’m a big fan of implementing Pareto’s principle. It’s a useful way of figuring out what to do and what to avoid.

  3. Kevin Duncan says:

    Hi Tor,

    Congrats on your first guest post! And at Pick The Brain, no less. Impressive, my friend. :-)

    “Distractions” is definitely the one that gets me. I really need to work on that one. But not today… I just saw something shiny outside my window. Must… go… investigate! Haha.

    I’ll be tweeting this shortly. Congrats again, Tor.


  4. Sue Anne Dunlevie says:

    Hi, Tor,

    Love this post! Great info.

    I’ve started following your productivity and time tips and they really work.


  5. I definitely have a hard time focusing. I really need to do some of these things so I stop wasting so much time. Great tips! I’m off to share!

  6. Jenna Dalton says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips, Tor! I love the Pareto Principle and I absolutely agree that working long hours can actually make us less productive instead of more productive. Some of my best ideas have come after having a nap, taking a stroll, going out with a friend, grabbing a bite to eat…

    The ol’ saying “Work smarter, not harder” is definitely true. Thanks for helping make that happen for us :)

  7. Adrienne says:

    Hey Tor,

    Always great suggestions about how to be productive because I know a lot of people struggle with this.

    I’ve always been very organized so that has helped me be more productive. Of course having come online I did say yes to a lot of people in the beginning because I did want to truly help everyone. But the more popular we become, the more we have to do, the more time we don’t have to be able to say yes to everyone. That I learned the hard way but I have become so much better at that. I still hate saying no but it’s just part of the process.

    I was one of those burning the candles at both ends so I’ve learned to manage my time much better and not feel guilty about it. We can’t be everywhere all the time right! One thing that I still do to this day is I write down the tasks I need to do for the day and I check them off as I go along. I don’t necessarily prioritize the tasks because I know which ones are the most important.

    Thanks for sharing this and I’ll be sure to do the same.

    You have a wonderful rest of your week now.


  8. Hi Tor,

    First off congratulations on your first guest post, and by the way I’m open still for the 3 last months of the year, if you’re interested in guest posting at my blog.

    I guess I failed at what you’re dissuading. I planned well ahead at the beginning of the year until July (now September), and then my trip messed me up and the year is crawling on me.

    So, for sure it’s very important to be organized and planning ahead.

    I naturally always been very easily distracted. My mind can wounder easily if I don’t watch it, so that’s always been something to watch for me.

    Considering that am a lot on the go these days, I think I’ve done great with my planning and even completed and published my book last week.

    Thanks for your tips and will share.


  9. Augustus Lu says:

    Distraction is one of the major factors with productivity with me. I have to actively practice concentrating on blocking out and eliminating all the irrelevant thoughts in order for me to work effectively. Learning how the habit building cycle works, and use it to reconstruct positive habits.

    I also like your point on saying no. At first, I feel guilt for rejection, but it’s necessary for you to progress. Got to protect your time. Thanks!

  10. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks for stopping by to comment, Augustus.

    Being a victim for distractions is like throwing rocket fuel on the procrastination bonfire…It goes BOOM!

    And your productivity suffers!

    It`s all about having the self-discipline to fight against procrastination every single day. A good tip will be as you are mentioning, to create positive habits that will ENHANCE your productivity.

    Once you have implemented one habit, you can start implementing another one, and then another one.

    After a while you can have turned yourself into productivity machine 😉

    Have a great day.



  11. Tor Refsland says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    thanks a lot for stopping by to comment.

    I will definitely take you up on the offer to write for your great blog 😉

    Planning while you are changing your environment can be a bit more challenging, since there might be several unknown factors than if you were stationary.

    Once you get the hang of planning when you are travelling a lot, you will become better.

    It`s all about analysing, implementing, reviewing and then adapting :)

    I think you are doing great. A big congrats on publishing your book last week.

    I`m so proud of you :)

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great day.



  12. Tor Refsland says:

    Hi Adrienne.

    Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment.

    Being organized helps a lot when it comes to productivity.

    You have a great point, Adrienne; the more popular you become, the more busy you will become.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your insights, Adrienne.

    I know you are doing very well with your business much thanks to you being productive 😉

    Have a great day.



  13. Tor Refsland says:

    Hi Jenna,

    thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts.

    I really appreciate it.

    Many of the greatest minds of our time has gotten their best ideas while showering, gazing at the stars or taking a stroll.

    Sometimes the best way to become MORE productive…

    is to do LESS.

    Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment.

    Have great day!



  14. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Stacie, and for sharing :)

    Few things will improve your productivity as much as learning how to FOCUS. You should check out the article I wrote on Blogging Wizard about learning how to focus (the link is in the article above).

    Have a great day!



  15. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks for stopping by to comment, Sue, and for your kind words.

    I really appreciate it :)

    Have an awesome day.



  16. Tor Refsland says:

    Hi Kevin,

    thanks a lot for stopping by to comment.

    I really appreciate it :)

    LOL. You can work on your distractions tomorrow, then 😉

    Thanks for sharing.



  17. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Bryan.

    I really appreciate it.

    Yes, Pareto`s principle can really make HUGE changes in anyones schedule 😉



  18. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks for stopping by to comment, Anthony.

    I really hope so. We have to stick together against our common enemies, procrastination and burnout 😉

    Have a great day.



  19. EPIC list and so damn true! Saying no and getting clear on my plan is a work in progress but they has helped me get a ton more shiz done than most. I’ve learned to work productively in work mode and a lot of that is thanks to avoiding the mistakes on this list AND making sure I am OFF during non-work time.

    Awesome to see you delivering some tough lovin, Tor! 😉

  20. Jenna Dalton says:

    So true, Tor. Downtime can be the most creative time. You have a great day too :)

  21. Augustus Lu says:

    Nicely put Tor! Keep going man.

  22. Pooja says:

    Hey Tor,

    Great to see you here.

    Love that list — and I can especially relate with #3. Sometimes, the smartest thing to do is to say “No” to new clients. It’s not easy because you have this weird idea that you are superman and there’s no stopping you. But guess what? We all burn out — I’d rather have that spare time to rejuvenate than taking on more assignments that I can do justice to :)

    Thanks for the share!


  23. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Andrea.

    I really appreciate it.

    I know that one of your secrets behind your successful business, Andrea, is to spend your TIME in the best way possible :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Have a great weekend.



  24. Tor Refsland says:

    Hi Pooja,

    thanks for stopping by to comment and sharing from your experience.

    Yes, it can REALLY be painful to say no to new clients. But sometimes it`s the right way in the long-run.

    That means that you can focus your time and energy on your existing clients, and serving them a lot of awesomeness.

    If you take on too many clients, you may become burned out…

    …and all your clients and YOU will suffer.

    Have a great weekend.



  25. Brent Jones says:


    This is wonderful to see you published over here! Plus, I had no idea you trained in mixed martial arts…

    Productivity is something I aim to be ever-mindful of. The thing is, I put in long hours… and I recognize that the more hours I put it in, it seems like the less I get done each hour.

    Sharing now!

    – Brent

  26. Daniela Uslan says:

    Hi Tor,

    Oy. I think I’m guilty of ALL of these! Especially the one about getting distracted! Maybe this is why I can never get anything done…If you could pick ONE to work on first, what would it be?


  27. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks, Augustus.

    I am cheering for you to, man.

    High five *SLAP*

    Have an awesome weekend!



  28. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment, Brent.

    I used to train in MMA, I have switched it out with building my dream (read: business) 😉

    I really appreciate you sharing from your experience, Brent.

    Thanks a lot for sharing the article.

    You are the best.



  29. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks for stopping by to comment, Daniela.

    I would pick the planning FIRST.

    Without planning, your day will become a victim of random events.

    Good luck, and let me know how that goes :)

    Have a great weekend!



  30. Hey Tor,
    Glad to see that you have written about the pareto principle. I think it’s probably the most valuable productivity tip ever, and we fail too see how even the most productive of us can get better by exploring how far we can go with the 80/20 rule.
    Great to have another awesome post from you.

  31. Tor Refsland says:

    Hi Peter,

    thanks for stopping by to comment and for your kind words.

    Yes, few things can transform your life as much as starting to apply the 80/20 rule to every task you do through the day.

    Have a great day.



  32. Hi Tor! Really good post! Thanks a lot. You are spot on with your analysis! Thank you for the reminders to let go of these five stupid activities. Sometimes you really need a wake-up call and realize what counter-intuitive thing you are doing. :)

  33. Tor Refsland says:

    Thanks for your comment, Lisa.

    We all do need some wake-up calls 😉

    Have great day!



  34. BrambleTree says:

    Nice article. But- Donald Trump does not plan his day. He pays people who plan his day. Just sayin’…

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