What the Most Productive Countries in the World Have In Common

What the Most Productive Countries in the World Have In Common

If I asked you which country was the most productive in the world, what would you say?

Japan? America?

Those were my answers, but they’re not even in the top 5.

Every year, Expert Markets study the productivity of countries around the globe. Their measurement stick, however, isn’t hours worked per week.

Rather, they calculate hours worked divided into income generated toward the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). In other words, how much dough the average citizen earns per hour of effort.

Which makes sense.

The 9 Best Writing Tips I Learned From a 7 Day Writing Challenge With the Worlds Top Blogging Expert

The 9 Best Writing Tips I Learned From a 7 Day Writing Challenge With the Worlds Top Blogging Expert

When Medium curators distributed my article into the Productivity category, and when a publication called The Startup distributed that same article to over 500k subscribers, it reinforced my belief that Jon Morrow is the worlds top blogging expert.

If you don't know of Jon Morrow, he's the founder and chief writer on SmartBlogger.com, and he's wildly successful.

I read pretty much anything Jon Morrow writes, and buy pretty much anything he has to sell. Jon has proven to me, through countless blogs and paid courses, that he's the real deal.

His writing is spot on, his advice is practical and immediately useful, and he seems to know every pain point a writer like me faces in running a writing-based business.

So when he offered his Write a Kick-Ass Blog Post writing challenge in which he and his staff of pro bloggers would walk challengers through writing an article in one week for—get this—$10, purchasing it was a no-brainer.

Over 600 others thought the same.

We set out on a journey to write a list-post from scratch in 7 days. Every step of the way—from idea to outline to introduction to content to closing—Jon and his team read our work and gave us invaluable feedback.

Here are some of the best things I learned.

What Einstein’s Most Famous Equation Says About Maximizing Your Productivity

What Einstein’s Most Famous Equation Says About Maximizing Your Productivity

In 1905, Albert Einstein showed us that time, energy, mass, and speed are intertwined.

The faster you move, the more energy you need.

The faster you move, the slower time passes for you.

The faster you move, the more your mass increases.

Reaching maximum speed, the speed of light, would require an infinite amount of energy and would mind-bogglingly, for you, bring time to a halt.

His formula, E=mc^2 mathematically describes how these principles apply to our physical world. But the concepts ring true for our daily life too.

Bust your ass too hard, and you’ll fall into bed exhausted.

Bust your ass for too long, and seconds will feel like minutes.

Bust your ass for too hard and too long, and you’ll feel as though you need an infinite amount of energy to go on. The “weight” of your work will become unbearable. You’ll burn out, falling to ground zero (or below).

You don’t think of Einstein’s equation while at work, but you feel the ramifications of overdoing it. You know deep down which tasks suck your energy and which tasks recharge it. And you instinctively know when it’s time to call it a day.

As it turns out, these feelings are key to maintaining the intricate balance between Einsteins four variables—time, speed, mass, and energy—which in turn is the key to becoming maximally productive.

The 7 Best Ways to Hustle Hard, Stay Productive, and Still Sleep Like a Baby Every Night

The 7 Best Ways to Hustle Hard, Stay Productive, and Still Sleep Like a Baby Every Night

It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?

The constant hustle. The endless grind. The relentless push to overachieve.

Every other social media post seems to have some self-improvement quote floating over a well-dressed celebrity, hustle-guilting you into working harder.

They tell us to never stop, never surrender.

They tell us to wake up at 5 am, exercise, side-hustle for a few hours, then put in a full workday and side-some hustle some more before hitting the sack.

The Unsexy Way to Make Massive Progress Toward Your Goals

The Unsexy Way to Make Massive Progress Toward Your Goals

They finally got three outs.

After 45 minutes of disappointing hit after hit, the opponents’ pitcher finally ended the inning by picking off our third base runner.

The runner wasn’t upset.

Our team of 10 and 11-year-old boys had scored an impressive 15 runs in the bottom of the third inning completely dominating the opponent and going on to win by eight points.

Two things about this score were surprising:

One, we lost against the same team in a walk-off hit just an hour earlier.

And two, out of seventeen plays that inning, only one was a home run.

19 Tiny Office Changes to Make Work Drastically More Productive

19 Tiny Office Changes to Make Work Drastically More Productive

You are only as productive as your environment. So let’s get your main work environment, your office, as productive as possible.

Here are 19 tiny changes (with affiliate links to products that I’ve personally used to enhance my productivity) that can do exactly that. Try one, or try them all. The more changes, the more you’ll find you have the clarity, focus, time, and energy to work on what matters.

3 Simple Steps To Stay On Track When You’re In a Tired, Unmotivated Funk

3 Simple Steps To Stay On Track When You’re In a Tired, Unmotivated Funk

Maybe it was just because it was Monday.

Maybe my weekend was too hectic.

Maybe it was because my kid woke me up three times: once to complain that he couldn’t sleep, once to tell me his stomach hurt, and another to puke.

Whatever it was, I stumbled out of bed feeling like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich marinated in a bag of Nickelodeon gak, trampled by a herd of bison, and left out in the sun to dry.

A glance at my calendar told me that I had more meetings than a millipede has legs giving me one and only one time to exercise, one and only one time to write an article, and zero times to take a seven-hour nap (which is the only thing I was contemplating doing).

Today was gearing up to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

What Neuroscience Says on Why Self Improvement is So Effing Hard (and What to Do About It)

What Neuroscience Says on Why Self Improvement is So Effing Hard (and What to Do About It)

Everything you do, or experience, or think is affected by the expectations you already have.

Take your arms, for example.

With both arms intact, your brain works swimmingly. It sends signals to your limbs, they move, they provide feedback, and your brain breathes a sigh of relief that the cycle is complete. When you expect your arm to move and it does, your expectations are fulfilled. All is well.

But if one arm were missing, this feedback loop doesn’t close. A variety of sensations, including pain, can follow.

In a fascinating book Phantoms in the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran explores the world of neuroscience through people who have lost a limb. Patients experienced phantom sensations in an extremity that no longer existed; some as simple as a fleeting tickle, others as irritating as an un-itchable itch and, in the worst of cases, pain.

The patient’s brain, having sent a signal to the missing limb, would expect a response. Without receiving one, its neural pathways would get confused, causing severe phantom pain where none should be possible.

Ouch.

Or take relationships, for example.

11 Ways Camping Can Help Your Productivity

11 Ways Camping Can Help Your Productivity

Camping can be a wonderful experience. Not only is it a great way to spend time, but it can actually make you more productive.

There are numerous great benefits to spending time outdoors. Here we look at 11 ways how camping will help your productivity in the office, at home, and in life.

Sculpting Your Best Self: How Self-Improvement is Best Done Through Sculpting Others

Sculpting Your Best Self: How Self-Improvement is Best Done Through Sculpting Others

You are a block of stone.

Chipped and cracked and carved by life.

Molded since birth, you now embody a unique shape, reflecting all that you’ve become.

Your parents were the first to sculpt you. Using the only tools they knew how. Tools given to them by generations of parents before them, they whittled you into the shape they wanted, or needed, or were proud of. A sculpture of sorts.

From Nice Guy to Respected Leader: 5 Tactics Nice Guys Can Use to Gain Respect and Avoid Finishing Last

From Nice Guy to Respected Leader: 5 Tactics Nice Guys Can Use to Gain Respect and Avoid Finishing Last

What he said to me was, “You’re such a nice guy, Mike. The nicest.”

What he meant was, “Everyone is trampling all over you. You’re not aggressive enough. You’re never going to get anywhere in life, and you certainly aren’t going to find success in this company.”

I’ve heard it a thousand times before.

“Mike, you’re such a nice guy.”

or

“Mike, you’re the nicest. So nice.”

Which would be great if it were a compliment. But it’s not.

Of course, there’s truth to what they say. I am nice. I do treat others with kindness. I would give you the shirt of my back if you needed it.

But their so called compliments are laced with an undercurrent of misgiving concerning my ability to get ahead in life or, at the very least, avoid the wrath of distrustful, self-interested sinners who would rob me of my possessions, my honor, and my virtue.

These stabs at my character disguised as flattery are enough to make me wonder if I should be more of an asshole.

Nice guys finish last, right

5 Mindset Hacks That Make Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson So Massively Successful

5 Mindset Hacks That Make Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson So Massively Successful

Sorry, this post isn’t for you.

It’s for me.

It’s for me internalize the mindset of a big-screen hero, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Someone who, though I’ve never met, I respect and admire.

It’s for me to capture the thinking of a giant who has been kicked around, ignored, laughed at, and ridiculed only to bust through to success in endeavor after endeavor.

It’s for me to embed an absolute can-do, break -through-walls, leap-over-obstacles kind of attitude into my psyche. 

This post isn’t for you. It’s for me. But you can read it anyway :-).

In fact, I’d love everyone read these ideas and watch the video at the end.

I want everyone to hear Dwayne Johnson’s heartfelt words and catch a glimpse of how this success-genius made his way through failures from poverty to continual and lasting success.

Because unlike so many other successful people who share what they’re doing today to be successful, he talks about the mindset he fostered in the past that led him to his present and will help him grow and win big in the future.

A Massively Productive Day Starts with These 3 Things (the Night Before)

A Massively Productive Day Starts with These 3 Things (the Night Before)

It’s a fact.

Waking early is NOT correlated with success.

The proof is in the research. 

According to the Huffington Post, “nearly 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least three hours before their workday actually begins.” [1] 

Okay, that’s not a lot of research, but read that quote again if you need to. While it suggests rising early contributes to success in a matter-of-fact tone, less than half of self-made millionaires are early birds. Which means the other half aren’t. 

This article goes on to list a dozen or so wildly successful business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs who wake up before the crack of dawn, as if this is correlated to their success.

It’s not the only one.

Self-improvement gurus publish dozens of listicles daily on the benefits of rising before dawn. Success experts scream of the benefits of an early start. We even hear of historical figures like George Washington who “the sun never caught in bed.”

All this pressure to set an early alarm, get your ass out of bed, and get moving before the rest of the world... its enough to make you want to try.

But when you do, you feel groggy, cold, and it takes you an hour to warm up for the day. Then, when afternoon arrives, sleepiness strikes, and it’s all you can do to keep from nodding off (let alone get anything done).

If the point of waking up early is to crush your day, why does getting up early suck so much life and productivity out of you?

And, if getting up early is not correlated with success, what truly makes a successful day?

I’ve got three answers to those questions, and they all start the night before.

The Only Two Things You Need to Focus On What Matters

The Only Two Things You Need to Focus On What Matters

Mass confusion struck in droves, and baby turtles were scattered everywhere.

It was 9:30 pm in Topsail North Carolina and we were walking along the beach toward our beach rental home to hustle the kids into bed and watch as many episodes of Handmaids Tale as we could before becoming deliriously tired.

Ten minutes earlier, we had wandered passed two lines of people lounging in beach chairs. Some had beers in hand. All were chatting quietly. 

On any other night, seeing people drinking and chatting on the beach would have been routine. But tonight, two extremely strange behaviors of this crowd caught my attention:

First, everyone was lined up the wrong way; not parallel with the water, but perpendicular to it. Two rows of people, arms width apart, beginning at the base of the dune and extending down into the ocean wash.

Odd.

Second, there was a strange excitement in the air. The kind of excitement you might feel in the moments leading up to a surprise birthday party; the quiet anticipation of a big event.

Come to find out, we were about to witness just such an event. 

5 Simple Ways to Find Time for Yourself So You Can Worry Less, and Relax More

5 Simple Ways to Find Time for Yourself So You Can Worry Less, and Relax More

There are 24 hours per day and 168 hours per week.

That sounds like enough time to finish your work and have time for yourself. But, as the end of the workweek draws near, you often find yourself with an unfinished to-do list and having spent very little time on yourself or the activities you enjoy.

This is fine on occasion. Nobody is perfect, nor should be.

But if this scenario repeats week after a week, you may soon find that your life has become all work and no play. Something which is a chilling thought by itself.

To help you strike a proper work-life balance, here are five simple ways that should help you find time for yourself and let you enjoy life more:

Stop Feeding Your Brain Mental Garbage

Stop Feeding Your Brain Mental Garbage

Less than 10 minutes after waking, I threw up cigar chunks into my master bathroom toilet.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Twelve hours earlier, the groom and I were celebrating his upcoming wedding with a night on the town in historic downtown Leesburg, Virginia. 

As you might have guessed, this night included alcohol and stogies.

We drank and walked and talked and smoked and drank some more. We hopped from restaurant to restaurant, downing wine and beer and whiskey, all the while drawing down a box of cigars purchased at the local tobacconist.

At one point, the groom had me laughing so hard that I bit down on the cigar butt, crumbling the outer paper, which I inhaled, coughed up, then involuntarily swallowed.

I washed it down with a swig of wine—all of it came up the next morning.

Gross, I know.

But it perfectly illustrates the entire point of this article... 

41 Ways to Get Home Early Every Day This Week

The Night Before

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1. Get 7 hours of sleep

2. Lay out daily clothes in advance

3. Block calendar for important work

4. Schedule commute time

5. Schedule breaks

6. Plan to deal with time obstacles

7. Schedule administrivia

In The Morning

8. Exercise

9. Eat healthy food that energizes you

10. Tell everyone when you plan to leave

11. When work begins, begin work (don’t get distracted)

For Meetings

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12. Squeeze meetings together

13. Focus (or leave) meetings that aren’t productive

14. Reschedule meetings that start late

15. Hold stand up meetings

16. Decline meetings where you can’t contribute

17. Add buffer between meetings and tasks

Managing Tasks

18. Schedule important tasks

19. Prioritize urgent tasks

20. Delegate unimportant tasks

21. Delete the rest of your tasks

22. Limit emailing to 3x per day

23. Automate repetitive tasks with apps like IFTTT

24. Bundle similar tasks together

25. Set a timer for your tasks

During Work

26. Begin with the end in mind

27. Minimize distractions

28. Stick to your schedule

29. Delegate

30. Work on what matters

31. Focus with music

32. Work intensely

33. Take breaks often

34. Work when everyone else isn’t

Administrivia

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35. Call instead of email

36. Send shorter emails… get to the point

37. Only read emails where you are in the to: line

Before Heading Home

38. Block time before you leave to clean up your day

39. Reduce and remove clutter in your workspace

Don’t Forget…

40. Add some greenery to your workspace (scientifically proven to increase productivity)

41. Sit, stand, walk, talk, act confidently


About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

Subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter on personal excellence and business mastery that one client called “The Owners Manual to an Awesome Life.”

The Lure Effect: Why waking up early won't make you a millionaire (and all the other life hack lies)

The Lure Effect: Why waking up early won't make you a millionaire (and all the other life hack lies)

It wouldn't have mattered if all 7 billion people on this planet were screaming in unison for my success. Nor would it have mattered how early I'd woken up that morning, how much water I drank, or if I'd eaten protein for breakfast. It wouldn't have made a bit of difference if I'd created a plan for my day, meditated, or drafted the perfect self-introspection piece in my journal.

I didn't know how to drive a stick-shift well, so it was unlikely I'd get it right. I would have stalled that son-of-a-bitch on the platform every single time.

Skills can't be faked.

Wanting to succeed is never enough.

And life-hacks won't give you some magical power to achieve more than you're already achieving.