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5 Unusual Productivity Tips From Famous Procrastinators

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Do you often procrastinate? Are you doing it now by reading this article? If yes – awesome, continue reading.

Most of us consider procrastination the biggest troublemaker and productivity killer. You see it as a vice, consequently, you try to overcome its effects, kill the procrastination beast and cheat with all the possible means.

But what if it’s not quite so? What if procrastination can virtually lead to productivity? Have you ever thought about this aspect? Many outstanding productive people, in fact, were chronic procrastinators. How did they manage to achieve success? What tips did successful people use to beat procrastination?

Here are five unusual tips from hard-core procrastinators that will help you boost your productivity level:

1. Victor Hugo: Lock away your clothes

The author of Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and many more tremendously famous novels was beating procrastination with the most extraordinary and radical means. One episode from his life is the most illustrative here.

Hugo started writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame quite close to the deadline – in the fall of 1830. While the deadline was in February 1831. His preparation was thorough, but he did not feel like writing. Thus, he did something that didn’t leave a choice – he got naked and locked away his clothes.

The aim of all that was to avoid temptations of going outside. Hugo had nothing to wear but a shawl. And for many months, this rag (as his wife claimed) was his daily uniform. Did it work? Absolutely. He finished the book weeks before the actual deadline.

2. Gerhard Richter: Create a crisis

Gerhard Richter, world known German artist and procrastinator, got millions with his paintings. For example, Abstrakis Bild was sold for $20,802,500 at Sotheby’s.  How did he manage to procrastinate and, at the same time, complete paintings of photos, abstracts, “blur” photo paintings, and many more works of art?

It’s striking that he actually wastes time on garden and not on his paintings. In one of the interviews, Richter described his daily routines:  “I could spend my life arranging things. Weeks go by, and I don’t paint until finally I can’t stand it any longer. I get fed up. I almost don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to become self-conscious about it, but perhaps I create these little crises as a kind of a secret strategy to push myself.

It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea.” Thus, his secret strategy to become more productive is a simple crisis.

“Chance determines our lives in important ways.” – Gerhard Richter

3. Bill Clinton: Take criticism seriously, not personally

The 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, was described as a “chronic procrastinator” by Time magazine. Could you believe that a two-time Grammy winner may be addicted to postponing? Clinton had weeks or sometimes months to make comments on the drafts of his speeches, but, eventfully, it all ended with cut-and-paste in the end.

Even his Vice President Al Gore called Clinton “punctually challenged”. However, despite all the criticism, he managed to never give up. The key secret to productivity is the way you perceive criticism, according to Bill Clinton. If you take it too personally, you won’t be able to resist the feeling of deficiency that finally leads to the inferiority complex. Therefore, keep your cool when you are criticized. Then, you have more chances to stay productive.

4. Franz Kafka: Try to wake up the night productivity

The Czech writer worked as an insurance clerk and it was the time to existential thinking. The novelist though didn’t put his ideas into action. After Kafka had been promoted, he had more time and procrastination infected him for good.

His routine day after work, as he mentioned it on one of his letters, looked like this: “Lunch till 3:30 … sleep until 7:30 … ten minutes of exercises, naked at the open window … an hour’s walk … then dinner with my family.” There is nothing about writing though. When did he actually write? Beginning from approximately 11 p.m. and continuing up to 6 a.m. Not the perfect system, for sure, but that’s was the most productive time for Kafka. It appears that he spent most of the daytime napping.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

5. Leonardo Da Vinci: Start several things at a time and make notes

An artist, mathematician, sculptor, writer, inventor, military engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci, is an outstanding figure in history. But despite the success he achieved, he was never focused on one thing at a time.

During his lifetime, he managed to complete only 20 paintings. The Virgin of the Rocks took him 13 years to put the final changes.  While his most illustrious work The Mona Lisa – as many as 16 years. The reason for that was his multi-tasking capacity. He was an incredibly broad-minded and all-round personality with so many genius plans. To improve a willpower, he had a rule book where he had more than 7,000 pages of notes.

His procrastination wasn’t already a secret for his benefactors. And some of them threatened him with bankruptcy in order to have his work done at last.

What if procrastination can be a way to extreme productivity and perfectionism? And still, you have structured procrastination as an option and a solution.

Would you use any of these tips to boost productivity flows? Comment below!

Judy Hart – MFA in Writing course, theater actress and motivational speaker. She is currently working as an art expert and senior editor at Domyessay.today writing center. Keep in touch with her on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dustin

    Aug 25, 2017 at 6:27 am

    I can relate to working on several things at on time, and taking notes along the way. I have ADD, so it’s easy for me to do; but I don’t feel productive. I feel if I could over come my OCD obsessive thoughts, then I would be productive.

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Success Advice

The Power of Personal Reviews: How It Can Skyrocket Your Success in Life

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Do you want to elevate your personal success? If so, do you know what the number one thing that’s keeping you away from that success? You could be doing everything right in terms of setting goals and going after them, and still not make progress if you’re not doing this.

The secret is personal reviews. As goal-getters, we’re conditioned to take action and work hard to make our goals happen. But if you’re not measuring the effectiveness of your actions, then the outcome may be no better than if you were running around in circles. In order to not be stuck in the same place, you have to be continuously adjusting your strategy.

The key is knowing exactly what to do differently in order to achieve your goals and accelerate your success. This is where personal reviews come in, because they answer the most important questions such as: What parts should you keep on doing? What parts should you do differently? What exactly happened last time that prevented you from reaching your goals? How can you get to your goals even faster the next time?. The victory path often isn’t linear, and reflecting on it will improve the process, which is the most important part for speeding up success.

According to Harvard Business Review, people were shown to be more productive and less burnout after thinking about and planning their day than those who didn’t. Studies cited in the same Harvard Business Review have also shown that employees in call centers who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting on the lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect. If you work in an even more complex role, imagine the benefits you would gain from consistent reflections. Ready to take on your own review?

Here are the three parts of a personal review and how each part will help you achieve personal and professional success:

1. Get Clear On Where You Are to Make Better Decisions

It’s hard to get to your destination if you don’t know where you are right now. Luckily, personal reviews are similar to a GPS, where it can accurately pinpoint your place in life. By getting clear on your current situation, there are three main benefits that’ll contribute to your success.

One, it reaffirms your goals. As I often find working with clients doing their own personal sprints to success projects, goals can be easily forgotten without regular check-ins. Each personal review helps bring these goals to top of mind, and align all your actions so that each one will move the needle.

Two, it keeps you on track. Once you are clear on your goals, it’ll become much more obvious whether you are on your way to hit your target or if you have strayed off the path. This will help you focus more clearly, and save time from unnecessary distractions and course-corrections.

Three, it builds momentum. By regularly reviewing how things are going, you can celebrate the wins, and improve on areas that didn’t go well. After all, success comes from consistent action and making progress towards your goals.

“What you can measure, you can improve.”  – Peter Drucker

2. Discover the Roadblocks That Are Holding You Back

Now that you have a solid understanding of where you are at, it’s time to get down to the why. Why are you where you are currently, and how can you go even faster? The second part of personal reviews is where you’ll discover the golden nuggets of insights that you can use as your secret weapon.

Maybe you realized that you usually only get one or two important things done each day. Why is that? Is it because there are too many distractions? Or is it because your energy levels are low? And is there a filter you can set up to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not?

These are all incredible insights into the decision-making process and the factors that contribute to your success. If you stumbled, think about what parts you wouldn’t do again next time. If you achieved your goals, think about which parts you can repeat to succeed again. And as you collect more data points, the easier it’ll be to pinpoint how to 10x your productivity and results. And the more frequent you do reviews, the faster you’ll be able to progress. For example, if you conduct weekly reviews, you’ll be able to move four times as fast as someone who does monthly ones. Now, you can work smarter, instead of harder.

3. Fast Track Your Success Through Feedback Planning

Once you have the clear understanding of exactly where you are and what you need to do differently, you can use this feedback to make powerful changes to your plan. This is the last part of personal reviews – setting and prioritizing goals to accomplish by the next review.

These new goals will not be something that you’ve haphazardly put together, but rather it will be a combination of your insights and your vision of success. These reviews can be massively effective productivity tools and accountability structures that you can use to review the past and set in place the steps to take for the future.

For high potential professionals who do not conduct weekly reviews, one of the top reasons is that they either don’t understand the process, or can’t see the benefits. Now that you know how it works and the huge impact it can have, I invite you to take charge of your life, and face your goals and fears head-on.

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy.” – Brian Tracy

After all, in order to stay a high performer and relevant, you must grow. And whether you want to become more focused, motivated or productive, personal reviews will carve out the path for you to get there and skyrocket your success.

How do you envision yourself accelerating through personal reviews? Leave a comment below!

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Success Advice

5 Surprising Ways Your Posture Impacts Your Success

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What makes some people successful while others flop, even with the same education, background, and job position? There is no one size fits all formula, but one thing that always stands out is a person’s posture and body language. The way in which you sit, stand, and even walk, tells people so much about you, and you don’t have to utter a word.

I’m a big movie buff, so if I reference a few scenes, you will understand why. Your posture not only tells people about you, but it can make you feel more powerful and confident in your own abilities. Wouldn’t you like to know what your posture is saying to others and how you can change it?

Here are 5 ways your posture impacts your success:

1. Posture is a Nonverbal Sign of Who You Are

Remember in Titanic, when Jack is waiting to have dinner with Rose. When he’s leaning against the staircase, what does his posture say to you? Gangster? Thief? Then Jack sees the distinguished (banker?) walk by. He’s impressed with his posture and manner of walking, which he tries to emulate.

This is a perfect example of the image you are projecting to others. What do you want your image to say to others? When you are in a business setting, you should always be aware of your posture, so you don’t end up leaning on the staircase like Jack.

2. Good Posture Empowers You

Your posture and other body language makes you feel more powerful and boosts confidence.  A study from Ohio State University found that those who sat up straight had more confidence in their own abilities and believed more strongly in positive statements they had written about themselves.

“A strong confident person can rule the room with knowledge, personal style, attitude and great posture.” – Cindy Ann Peterson

3. Your Posture is Vital to Your Health

Anyone who has spent time sitting in front of a computer screen will tell you that it can wreak havoc on your neck, back and shoulders. It’s true that our bodies were not designed to sit for the majority of the day, but when you add poor posture to the mix, you are asking for some serious pain.

You can only imagine what people will think if you take time off work because of back pain or neck pain. Of course, the alternative is to spend your time rubbing your neck, which won’t do much for your image or authority presence. Avoid these issues by practicing good posture!

4. Good Posture Helps You Perform Better

When your body is out of balance, that is to say, when you are hunched over that keyboard or your head is pushed forward when you are standing or walking, you can’t perform to your true potential. This is especially true if you end up with neck or back aches later on in your day because you are slouching. When you feel good, you look good, and you can perform like a champion!

5. Your Posture Affects How People See You

This should be fairly obvious to everyone. Have you ever seen a CEO slumped over their computer? Think of the movie Shawshank Redemption, when escaped prisoner Andy Dufresne sits in front of the bank executive to cash out his account. His posture screams confidence and authority in that scene. Imagine if he had been a quiet mouse, staring at his feet, with slumped over posture. Your posture can make a huge difference in how you are perceived.

“I listen better with earplugs in, so I can see what your body is really saying.” – Jarod Kintz

The Good Posture Problem

Whenever I counsel new employees, I always stress good posture and how important it is to every area of their lives. I see them sit up straight, pull back their shoulders, and sit back in their chair, only to find them slouched over their keyboard or phone a few minutes later.

Let’s face it, keeping good posture after years of neglect can seem like a lot of work and you’re right, it is. However, it only seems that way because we are unaccustomed to how it feels. We are also creatures of habit and slouching at your desk is probably a bad habit you learned many years ago. Habits were meant to be broken, friends, and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Tips for Practicing Good Posture

If you want to come across as Meryl Streep does in every scene where she is walking in The Devil Wears Prada (minus the arrogant attitude, of course), you should think about your posture every day.

You can try setting an alarm on a daily basis to check your posture at work or at home. Try to be mindful of the way you’re sitting, standing and sleeping, and avoid any unnatural positions. Ask friends and family to remind you to stop slouching, too!

Also, check your workstation and make sure nothing is triggering bad posture there. Is your computer screen at eye level? Is your chair comfortable? Make sure your office equipment isn’t negatively affecting your posture.

Finally, some people have great success with a yoga or Tai Chi class, which focus on building strength and flexibility in your postural muscles. If you’re interested, you might sign up to maximize your posture. Otherwise, you can also try a home morning posture routine with different stretches.

In the end, you have the power to change your posture! As your mother might say: sit up straight!

How do you practice having proper posture throughout your day? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

If You Must Work, Work For A Leader You Love

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Let me lay this out nice and simple for you all: it’s not companies, or products, or services that make us go to work.

It’s people. To be more specific, it’s the leader you work for.

I came to this realization when I looked back on my own career. I looked at why I stayed in certain jobs for too long. I looked at why I gave a damn about finance when in my head I hated it.

The answer came to me late one night as I was trying to think about how to get myself out of this crappy career situation I’d found myself in where I literally didn’t give a stuff about business anymore.

Then it hit me: I’m following a leader I love.


It’s not the company.

The company doesn’t make you love your work, sorry.

No video on company culture or fancy office with stand up desks and indoor plants is going to change that. A company is a legal entity which revolves around a group of people who all work together towards a common goal that makes money.

None of us will be inspired by this incredibly dry thing called ‘a company’

A company is a figment of our imagination. Some people in the company rock. Some people in the company suck.

And that applies to all companies including Google, DropBox and any other company you think is sexy because of its uber cool culture and work from home days.


Working for a leader you love.

Why the hell would you bother?

It’s because it’s in our human nature to be led by someone who touches the deepest, darkest places that we don’t want to go to but must in order to survive.

Those dark places look like:

  • Leading a team of people
  • Doing public speaking
  • Admitting you’re wrong in a major argument
  • Quitting your career because it’s wrong
  • And even breaking up with a lover

These are the things a leader made me do. I didn’t want to do any of it although I had to.

This made me want to come to work every day and work for this leader because in the work I was doing, I was discovering myself and finding a way to grow into the person I’d avoided becoming for so long.

No one wants to face the darkness, but when a leader guides you, you’ll find a way and be forever grateful that you did.


From one company to the next.

You see many people go from one company to the next. They’re not chasing the idea of a company or trying to find a better company.

We go from one company to the next because in most cases we’re chasing a leader

Finding that leader you love working for is not easy. You’ll have to work for many useless leaders before you find a couple that are worth dedicating your entire career to.

The process of finding a leader you love working for is so difficult that once your search ends and you find those rare individuals, your standards will be forever raised and anything less will piss you off.

In my own career, I’ve met 1–2 amazing leaders and every other leader that is not them ends up making me want to move on.


Not finding a leader I love.

I end up moving on because the leaders I don’t love working for focus on the following: numbers, email signatures, the share price, managing people into the ground in favor of ‘productivity’ and overcomplicating business.

That last one is the most important. Business revolves around understanding how people think, what motivates them and how to get them to take ownership.

To put the people part to one side is to completely Mess up the most simplest idea that has ever existed in the business world”

The process goes like this:

  • Hire one good leader
  • Support that leader
  • Allow them to hire incredible human beings
  • Stay the heck out of their way

Hiring the right leader and then letting them hire people who love working for them is the number one consistent approach I’ve seen from looking at many of the unicorn tech companies that have gone on to define the future of the human race.

It’s this counter-intuitive, somewhat magical approach that makes us stay working for a leader we love. Until, of course, we may not need to work or decide to go off and start our own thing.


The leader makes it all worth it.

So from this day forth, I’m committed to only working for a leader I love. If you mess that part up, you’ll probably find me saying goodbye.

I’d encourage you to think the same way.

The leader you work for makes it all worth it. It’s knowing someone has your back, someone cares and someone is simultaneously going to push you to the next level whether you like it or not that will not only define your career but your life.

Don’t. Settle. Ever.

Find a leader you love working for.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

5 Unexpected Ways to Unlock Your Creativity

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You know those times when you can’t think of a good idea? When you’re ready to bang your head against the desk because you can’t even think of a bad idea? It happens to the best of us. No one is immune to Creativity Lockdown Syndrome. But before you throw your project out the window or decide the only way to get through the idea desert is to dive head first into a Netflix and Cheeto binge, there is another way.

After pouring over thousands of projects with thousands of creatives over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks to get your wheels turning again.

Here are 5 unexpected ways to unlock your creativity, even when your usual inspirational soundtrack and motivational movie clips aren’t producing results:

1. Stand up and turn around

Seriously. Physically stand up out of your chair, then turn and face the other way. You might actually *hear* the sound of a good idea dropping into your brain. As the saying goes, humans are creatures of habit, making it easy to create routines that put our brains on autopilot. By changing up where or how you’re sitting, it shakes up the status quo and gets your brain thinking in new ways, which opens you up to new ideas.

Still stuck? Ask yourself this open-ended question: “What is the truth about this problem or situation?” and let the answer tumble out. Your mind will start creating answers for any question you ask it. Take a pen and paper, and write out whatever comes to mind.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

2. Drink a teaspoon of booze

You know how some great writers and artists are legendary drunks? One reason is because alcohol lowers inhibitions, muffles the inner critic and gives your inner wild-and-crazy guy a chance to run the show. Sadly, the era of the three-martini lunch has passed, and it is generally ill-advised to get hammered on the job.

But I’ve found that just a teaspoon of liquor can get you loosened up without jeopardizing your reputation. Maybe it’s the stimulation of sense-memory from the smell and the taste in your mouth, or maybe it’s your body responding to the tincture itself, but it works – if you let it.

If it’s not possible for you to take the world’s tiniest shot (not all people can have even a teaspoon of alcohol), try just “acting drunk” by letting your body go loose and allowing yourself to ramble like a wicked old sot. You might just surprise yourself.

3. Make some 5-minute art

Especially if the reason you’re stuck is emotional (low self-esteem, jealousy, fear of failure, perfectionism…any of those monsters from under the bed) making some 5-Minute Art can be revelatory. Just grab a piece of typing paper and a pen, and draw out the FEELING you are having.

Use stick figures or big scrawls – don’t worry, no one is ever going to see this – and just allow yourself to express on paper what it feels like to be so jealous, afraid or stuck. Getting a visual image of your feelings often gives you a new perspective on them, and can free up the blocked energy that’s holding your good ideas hostage.

4. Copy someone

Of course I’m not recommending plagiarism, in the illegal, unethical kind of way. Here’s the thing, the next time you’re stuck, try straight-up imitating the work of someone you admire. Just for a few minutes, pretend you are that person.

Allow their genius to inhabit you for a minute, and let yourself borrow their phrasing, style or flair. Be a copycat. You will probably want to revise and polish later, but your homage will at least give you something fun and unusual to start with.

If for some reason you can’t think of someone you admire to copy, try creating a character or alter ego you can put on for a little while. This technique was made famous by Beyonce Knowles when she announced her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, to the world. When you assume a character, you shift your attitude and focus instantly because you see the world through a different lens.

This opens your creative thinking and problem solving processes in new ways, opening you up to new ideas you would not have been able to consider before.

“Through others we become ourselves.” – Lev S. Vygotsky

5. Take a tiny step toward a big goal

Overwhelm is so real. You get paralyzed when your projects are too big so start smaller. Set your timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can in that time. Maybe you’ll just make a list of people you could reach out to for help or advice, or you’ll open a new notebook in Evernote.

If you spend just 15 minutes a day, every single day, working on the projects that matter most to you, you will achieve astonishing results. Baby steps often lead to quantum leaps, so keep going, no matter what.

How do you become creative when you’re unmotivated? Share your thoughts below!

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