The ONE Thing You Can Do Every Day to Be More productive


time-word-wheelThe solution to lack of productivity? Stop focusing on massive gains. Instead, make it your goal to improve 1 percent each day. If you can improve 1 percent each day, you’ll double in ability roughly every 70 days!

Let’s do the math: If you start out with $100 at the beginning of the year and you were able to increase what you have by 1 percent every single day, at the end of the year, you would have $3,778.34, which is $100 *(1 + 1%) to the power of 365. That is 37.78x what you had at the beginning of the year, not 365 percent (3.65x) better.

Hitting that 1 percent goal every single day will have a dramatic effect on your performance! I’ve discovered that incremental improvement is very easy to do if you focus on it. There are always dozens of tiny little things you could do, which you might not even think about:

  • Shorten a typical 45-minute meeting to 30 minutes.
  • Call someone instead of calling a meeting.
  • Look at an existing process and try to make it shorter.
  • Do something more important before you do something more pleasurable.
  • Integrate a new piece of technology.
  • Learn how to use Tasks in Outlook.
  • Create notebooks in OneNote.
  • Memorize a keyboard shortcut.
  • Drive a different way to work.
  • Don’t read email first.
  • Read an article on a subject that intrigues you.
  • Watch a TED video and tell a friend about it.

Everything adds up! In 2014, I’d challenge you to wake up every day and ask yourself, “What is the 1 percent improvement I can make to improve myself personally and professionally? Or what would make my team better? Or what would make my organization better?”

Get rid of time drains: status reports no one reads, inefficient paperwork, and time-tracking techniques that never see the light of day. Things like this point to an underlying problem, so be the one who steps up to say, “Let’s improve this!” Is there a recurring meeting at work that makes everyone groan and hasn’t been worth the hour it eats up for as long as you can remember? Maybe it’s time to reconsider how that time is spent. Or maybe it’s simply time to get rid of the meeting altogether and give everyone involved a little extra time in their day.

Imagine yourself making 1 percent changes every day! Imagine being 37 times better by the end of the year! Imagine if every employee at your company were doing the same. Imagine how much better you, your team, your company, and the world would be next year.


Don’t settle for mediocrity! Keep trying to improve 1 percent per day. Download additional productivity resources to help you think about your 1 percent a day! You can enroll in a one-minute weekly productivity video for a year, a productivity tip of the day, or a productivity article each week. Every day, learn something that will help you be more 1 percent productive!

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Laura Stack

Laura Stack

Laura Stack is America's premier expert in personal productivity. For over 20 years, her speeches and seminars have helped professionals, leaders, teams, and organizations improve output, execute efficiently, and save time at work. She's the author or coauthor of 10 books, most recently, What to Do When There's Too Much to Do. To invite Laura to speak at your next meeting or register for her free weekly newsletter, visit

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