How to Unlock the Amazing Secret of Unlimited Productivity

All of us could use some help increasing our productivity. So I’m going to share one of my best productivity secrets. This secret can literally CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!! Are you ready?

Step 1. Buy a productivity book.

Any productivity book will do. I use a book called “The Now Habit.” It doesn’t matter what book you order though, because you probably won’t read it. You can use any random “increase your productivity” book.

Step 2. Look at the productivity book and tell yourself, “If I don’t get X done, I’m going to have to read that productivity book.”

That’s it. As far as I can discern, staring at the cover of a productivity book gives you almost as much of a motivational boost as actually reading the book. And if staring at the cover doesn’t work, then tell yourself the punishment for not getting your work done is that you’ll have to read that dang productivity book. Pretty soon you’ll be off and working. Enjoy. :)

109 Responses to How to Unlock the Amazing Secret of Unlimited Productivity (Leave a comment)

  1. ha ha

    srsly Getting things done by david allen and the 4 hour work week, really did help me become more productive (he says confidently with only two items in his inbox)

  2. Tom

    You are are hunted man now! Every consultant on the face of this planet will be after you now. Best hope the Googleplex has a hidden underground cellar to hide in. Or just go where Steve Jobs goes when he poofs.

  3. Lol I would rather read a fiction book, but there are so many ways to be productive and this one definitely seems to be a really one to try out

  4. Trust you to come up with something like this Matt. Though on the face of it scare works everywhere – why not here logic is sound, but and there is a big BUT

  5. I recommend the productivity book, “Eat That Frog” – if you are depending on the cover of the book to scare you into doing something, that one is hard to top. An OK read, too, if you decide to procrastinate by actually reading the darn thing. :)

    Roger

  6. But do you know what seems to be problem with me? Damn, I like reading those productivity-boost e-Books!

    I’ve read tons of them, but I rarely improve… :)

  7. It appears that a more productive use for the book is to use it for kindle-ing…

  8. I thought for sure it was going to be “stop looking at Facebook 14 times per day, and stop checking your Twitter account 4500 times per day… and stop checking email every 5 minutes…” LOL

  9. “If I don’t get X done, I’m going to have to read that productivity book.” LOL

    Thinking about the same thing for:

    Fitness
    “If I don’t follow the diet, I’m going to have to eat that Lean Cuisine.”

    Television
    “If I don’t watch TV for a week, I’m going to have to watch Jay Leno for an hour.”

    Procrastination
    “If I don’t do that sometime, I’m going to have to do it now.” :-)

  10. haha… why not build a simple 3 step process
    Step 1) Work harder
    Step 2) Work smarter
    Step 3) If not feeling productive repeat step 1

  11. Albert Francis

    Also, if you want to loose weight, nothing works better then hanging pictures of ugly fat people on your fridge.

    Seriously, it works!

  12. Have to give you credit for creativity on this one, Matt! I am compelled, however, to be a little self-serving and share “Getting Control of Your Social Media Life” posted yesterday on Search Engine Journal.

    The key to being productive, in all seriousness, is getting control of one’s personal life first! Ah…such is not so easy! I think I’ll pass on that book and take the time each day, unplugged, to plan! :-)

    Thanks for the laugh!

  13. NG

    This actually works with many kinds of books. I’ve used it with Joyce’s Ulysses for years.

  14. Nice tip, will give it a shot ;) or maybe a cheaper version
    - If I don’t get X done, I’m going to have to order that productivity book.

  15. :D

    it really made me laugh, thanks!

  16. On seeing the title, I thought Matt Cutts has written a productivity book.

  17. you are what you think about. I dont know about you but i get out what i put in my mind. sites like Nightingale-Conant have loads of PMA stuff to get you going. I love this stuff.

  18. Ha, this is funny – and plausible, actually! For a brief moment I thought “oh no, Matt’s site has been hacked and someone is advertising one of these late-night-TV / airport-book schemes … ” :-)

  19. Lets see whether it CHANGES my life or not. :)

  20. webjet

    Buying those books makes you think you at least made a start on how to make better use of your time.
    Then convincing yourself that not reading it is because you don’t have the time gives you an instant sense of self acheivement.
    I agree, buying one and putting it in a prominent place where it’s visible every day might work, as an added bonus, others will see the book, and convinced of your time efficiency, will borrow it and the myth perpetuates, you could get a whole organisation rolling on just one book !!

  21. webjet, sounds like George Carlin:

    “Leftovers make you feel good twice. First, when you put it away, you feel thrifty and intelligent: I’m saving food! Then a month later when blue hair is growing out of the ham, and you throw it away, you feel really intelligent: I’m saving my life!”

    So productivity books can make you feel good when you buy them, and then good again when you save time by not reading them. :)

  22. webjet

    Yeah, it’s a win win !!

  23. Great tip!
    I’ll do that for sure!

  24. LOL!!!

    I do echo GrayWolf’s sentiment on Get Things Done. I’ve also become a fan of Remember the Milk, and my latest new favorite is Jott, which transcribes voicemails from all my three phone lines and send them as texts/emails to my iPhone. How did I ever manage without these…?!

  25. Haha, so true!

    I find a lot of productivity books depressing, a lot of them are like “I’m sat on the beach, having a sangria, whilst you’re read this in your parents basement as you’re broke, single & fat. But don’t worry, you can be like me too!”. Good way to start being productive, whilst you guys are reading, I’ll be tinkering with my code :)

  26. And i was about to pay Tony Robbins for advice on productivity. Thanks to Matt Cutts i don’t have to. Thanks Matt. ;)

  27. Hi Matt! I bought the “Get Things Done” in a Danish translation a couple of years ago. Tried to read it several times but all the methods are so far from my world as the possibly can be.

    Your tip is by far the best I’ve ever seen! Thanks!

  28. Excellent post …

    My best advice was not to read my email except at 30 minute intervals, if something is urgent they will call me!

  29. LoL that’s an interesting method, then I should order a book that I totally don’t like and I will piss it off when seeing it. :D

    Regards,
    Lee

  30. Amphetamines are also great for this kind of thing. ;)

  31. As the only blog I really hunt updates from daily its good to see all the new posts coming out. After Matt posted this I realized I also have a productivity book on the shelf that I have never read. Just having it around gives the illusion of better productivity and the fact that actually reading it would be painful, I would rather be working.
    Thanks for it all Matt!

  32. Heh Its a funny way to get productive haha get a book you hate and say the magical words … and remaining we will see the progress ROFL

  33. Love it!

    However, may I recommend for that extra push of motivation, for those that are still struggling… rather than a “productivity” book, grab a “relationship” self-help book instead! This is especially motivating for us guys!

  34. ha ha I just read headings of step one and step two..very interesting and I think will really work in real world…

  35. Truer words were never spoken.

  36. EGOL

    You tricked me, Matt. I thought that I would get the real Amazing Secret. Maybe I should submit a spam report? :)

    No, honestly, I thought that it was really funny and will probably work for a few people – but most will just drink another beer or look for another TV show. :P

  37. Haahaa

    This is genius.

    Just place the productivity book in close proximity to your work area and the immediate threat of having to read it will make you work harder than ever before.
    Highly effective for sure!

  38. Haha, hilarious post Matt. I have to second Greywolf on this one though, Getting Things done is awesome. IT’s short, dense, and you learn something new every few minutes. As soon as I got done with the book I started either recommending it to friends or in a few cases even buying it and giving it to them.

    Unfortunately, most of them seem to use your technique. Oh well :)

  39. Hahahaha! I would have to agree with this advice. I own “The Now Habit” and “Getting Things Done” and each time I look at either book I become more productive. Actually read about half of GTD before I decided it was better to spend my time being productive ;-)

    Both books are on a bookshelf when I enter my home and so far it has worked quite well! Funny advice, but it actually works :D

  40. lizab

    Great advice! Let’s see if it works with “Never check your email in the morning”! And “The Now Habit” is actually worth reading

  41. What happens when you decide you need more motivation? I would just put off reading the book also, and then buy a couple more to compensate. Soon, my desk would be too cluttered to get anything done.

  42. That was damn funny, man. I am sure someone will link to this in their next “Productivity resources’ list.

  43. Murray

    Excellent Excellent!

    There’s nothing like motivating yourself to go to the book store to buy a book. By the time you get there, you feel like you’ve accomplished something, and head directly over to the magazine rack, where you pick up the latest PC Mag or Gamer Mag and flip through the chapters, not actually reading the articles, but just looking at the headlines.

  44. Make it a super thick book, that is even more motivation to get thing done and not have to read it!

  45. @NG its Anyn Rynd rather than Ulysses for me :-)

  46. Fantastic!
    I had five theories to educate the children, now I have five children and no theory. I need help!

  47. “Remember the Milk?” I’m still looking for the Cheese!

  48. LOL! This strategy totally works.

    I have my own strategy, that is similar. It’s the “eliminating all the other things I could be doing isntead” strategy. Don’t want to work on that TPS Report? Surf I Can Has Cheezburger until you’re sick. Don’t want to work on Project A? Go have that obnoxious discussion about Project X that you’ve been putting off.

    As a college student, nothing gets my house cleaner than an essay due tomorrow.

  49. lol.

    Initially, I thought oh! matts is letting out his personal success formula. Then …. lol!

  50. Here’s what I do: when I am particularly unproductive, I write a blog post about productivity. Nice, eh?

  51. Tongue-in-cheek post, perhaps, but useful advice, no doubt. Plus, the logical extension to the technique is to look at a *stack* of productivity books–inspiration galore.

  52. One of the best ways I’ve found to be more productive is to learn to use the word “no”. You’d be surprised how much work you can get done.

  53. Big Daddy

    I love it. Anthony Robbins is now going to see his seminar attendance go down ;-)

    My favorite quick read is: You 2 (you squared) by Price Pritchett. A high-Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps!! Enjoy

  54. When I first started reading your post, I was thinking you were going to say prop the book under you laptop to make it more ergonomically friendly for your wrists. But I think your idea is even better!

    I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself, if I don’t do “A”, I’ll have to do “B” and it works because “A” is usually more interesting. “B” needs to get done eventually though…

  55. Matt, what about if I lack motivation to even buy the book. That’s my present status. :)

  56. Ha ha ha ha. This is genius. As an avid procrastinator, I can confidently say that your tip is by far the most useful I’ve ever read.

  57. alisha

    Matt,

    just priceless…. luv it!

    Alisha

  58. Funny But true though – If the cover does not do the trick (even after a week) then may be try reading the book – that will do the trick (most of the time, at least)

  59. Nice tips…. Thanks for posting to some diverse things that is very precious & helpful…..

  60. For productivity I find it’s best to do the things you know are on your to-do list before you check your email. No point having gigantic lists when you can only do one thing at a time anyway.

  61. Yes, sometimes reading such books is really like “Eating that frog” (after Brian Tracy) :)

  62. John

    You should write a book.

  63. Why not just use a dictionary or encyclopedia instead?

  64. Oh geez… I really don’t want to get up and go to the bookstore or library. Can you send me a link so that I don’t have to do a Google search? It’d be a heck of a lot easier. Thanks in advance.

  65. Productivity equals a subject that never goes old. We each have individual ideas and opinions that function for us. And some folks rely on a life history of bedlam and randomness.

  66. As simple as this post is I think that it is an excellent idea. We need to motivate ourself to be productive, maybe not everyday, but certainly on some days. We all have something that we can use to light a fire under our butt to get something done. Pick what works best for you and use it.

  67. Haha i spent 10 seconds reading your post on productivity. :P *winks*

  68. Love the title of this post – I thought somebody had hacked your RSS feed! It looks just like so many blog posts I’ve seen on “internet marketing” blogs. In most cases I think your advice will yield results as good as most books out there, but I agree with Graywolf – the 4 Hour Work Week was genuinely useful to me and opened my eyes quite a bit.

  69. That is great Matt!

    You really threw me off with your “Step #1″ – I thought, “Oh great. Matt is pushing a productivity book.” Then I got to Step #2 and laughed and laughed.
    Good Job!

  70. Thanks for the post, made my day! :)
    @Stacey … The humble dictionary is of great use to us folk who are hard of spelling. >.>

  71. How about reading and responding to your emails?

    That will increase your productivity.

  72. Dave (Original)

    …………or answer the questions you cause by blogging about such things a “Straight from Google. What you need to know”.

  73. ha ha. reminded me of the get slim in 30 days ads!

  74. Don’t knock the book. Even if you only improve your life in one way it’ll have been worth reading.

  75. A manufacturing productivity consultant once told this story.


    About ten years ago I noticed my wife was inefficient when she made breakfast. It took her about 12 mins to put it all together. I suggested if she do this and do that and move the pans this way that she could make breakfast in 6 mins or less.

    For the last 10 years I’ve been making breakfast in 6 mins or less.

  76. I bought the book, “getting things done” and just never got around to reading that thing. Too dry.

    I’m actually going to try your suggestion right now. :D

    Thank you!

  77. That is too funny. I actually bought a motivational book for my husband and it worked just as you described. He still has never read it!

  78. johnnny

    Well, you made #1 on the SERPS for the title. check out the duplicate content that followed

  79. Thank you Matt – after reading and following your secrets my life was transformed!

  80. I always stumble into that section of the bookstore and get enticed by a number of those books. They all make me feel unproductive. Luckily I manage to always walk away empty handed. I did pick-up by Guy Kawasaki. I don’t know if it would fit into the “productivity” category, but it was a good read.

  81. Mis-typed the HTML Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

  82. To bad they don’t have many books on Domainers and Domain Brokers as to motivation. But then again you see se*.com was recently sold for 12.000.000 and there goes my boost of motivation :)….Matt need domain name? BoostMeUpByMatt.com LOL!

  83. I always read the first chapter and figure – well, I think I know how this is going to end.

  84. LOL…nice! But I also find that reading until you “get-it” is a good way to go as well. Typically I can read the first few chapters then skim a few more and I’ve got it. The executive summaries in audiobook format are pretty awesome too.

  85. Hey folks,

    Here is a REALLY great use of the meta keyword tag and exactly how I personally use it on my web pages

    I enter the Meta Keyword tag as a reminder to myself of exactly what keyword did I actually intend to target.

    Why do I do this?

    Because I do NOT follow any keyword density formula or have any “content creation rules”, when I include the Meta Keyword tag it serves as a reminder to me that “Oh yeah, that’s the phrase I intended to target with that article”

    Now my friends, that is a great use of the Meta Keyword tag :)

    As Matt alluded to in his video, other search engines may use that in their search results so don’t get your nose out of joint if updating your Meta Keyword tags doesn’t make a rats behind of difference – Yeah, briefly considered using a well known colloquialism in the place of rats behind but thought better of it :)

    Hope that helps somebody get their focus on exactly what Google is going after and helps you get your focus on actually building a business that would make Mr. Cutts smile ear to ear and better yet I hope that helps our dear friend Mr. GoogleBot become very happy with your website :)

    Remember this my friends, if you soul intention is ONLY to get to the top of the Google SERP’s you are likely going to be VERY disappointed but when you loosely target a keyword phrase and use the Meta Description tag to serve only as a reminder to you as to what your actual target phrase was then you are likely creating your website content in a fashion that Google will reward

  86. Playing games with ourselves to get us to actually engage in our work, is such a great idea, and really can be an effective way to move us to action. I have The Now Habit on audio, which makes it less boring, because even as a productivity specialist, I find the stuff can be dry and tough to get through. (I can’t imagine reading it if I wasn’t in the industry!) I would say though, that David Allen, and Dr. Neil Fiore make the material as interesting and easy to read, as the info possibly can be.

  87. Thanks, Matt, for the inspiration to be more productive! I’ll streamline your advice by just snagging an image of a productivity book cover and use it as my computer’s wallpaper. I’ll save a few dimes PLUS have that dreaded book ready to scare me anytime. :)

  88. hahah great advice Matt, just reading this post makes me feel inspired :). I feel productive just reading this blog post to begin with. However one is to wonder, what is pushing the person to actually read the book if their are not being productive? It is a conundrum.

  89. Pierre V.

    Kudos to that Matt, but I’ll take it one step further. Whenever I feel unproductive, I’ll just think about having to actually make the effort to buy the book, and that should be enough to get me back on track.

  90. Very inspired by reading you blog post. Im heading off to get a book :)

  91. Matt,

    Absolutely hilarious. There are some things that we are reluctant to do. Somehow buying the book was going to be easier than reading some free articles online. You told yourself that it would be easier if you didn’t have to be in front of the computer. Very funny. I like the punishment for not doing idea. I am going to try that one myself. I went to the length of buying an audiobook version of something similar. It is on my iPhone and my Laptop. No luck. Somehow TWiT or The Adam Carolla Podcast is more pressing.

    There is no better boost to productivity than hanging around with some top 1%’ers. Whatever field you are in, hang with the people who are the top in that field and it will make you feel like you are the laziest guy in the room (even if you aren’t).

    Bob L.

  92. Matt,

    That’s pretty good. Also, timely because I just ordered a a $5 (used) book on approachability which I’m sure I’ll never read.

    LOL,

    RM

  93. I have not heard of doing this until now and that is a perfect idea. I will being going to buy this first thing tommorrow. This is so funny that we can change by just one item!! I just hope that my wife doesn’t login on here and say that she is going to buy the book for me!!

  94. Robyn

    I am just curious to know if anyone knows anything about the new Secret movie, “The Lost Message.” http://www.TheLostMessage-movie.com

  95. I think the best way to be productive is work when feeling comfortable, concentrate on whatever is doing, and creating a nice routine to follow that every single day.

  96. Matt,
    Awesome suggestions however 8/10 times, I’d end up reading the productivity book because I’m usually way too eager to know what kind of information do authors put in these “Feel Good” books. I’ve read a few, They definitely leave impression on your brain for about a week or two but productivity definitely starts decreasing after a few weeks.
    Nice trick though! :)

  97. wrt to the book, the thicker, the better….haha..

    I bet most of us have the same enemies in being productive: emails and browsers!

  98. Ok Matt, that’s a little too cynical for me. This is better. Get a timer, an egg timer, Outlook, whatever. Every morning make a list of what you want to accomplish and give yourself a time deadline for each item. Work to meet that timeline for every item. Don’t allow yourself to stray much from the deadlines. That’s it. Now you don’t have to read the productivity book and you will double or triple your productivity.

  99. Amy

    In my experiences these books never worked for me. The only way to get more productivity out of yourself is do what you love like Steve Jobs said.

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