How to Work Smarter Not Harder - Productivity Hacks (2018)

Posted by Luke Johnson

One of our core values at Growth Tribe is getting shit done! Execute, execute, execute! Now, we don’t normally talk about productivity but these productivity rules have been so vital to our success that I thought it worth a share!

Now the way we get shit done is by following 6 simple but powerful principles, the 6 laws of productivity as we like to call them.

By adopting these same laws and embedding them into the culture of your organisation and your daily work life (and personal life for that matter), you to can push your productivity into overdrive and drastically increase the return on your time investments!

Let's go! 


Principle 1 - Pareto's Law

 The first one's kind of the most important one, it's Pareto's law. This law states that 80% of the results are gained by 20% of the efforts. So 20% of your efforts are gonna give you 80% of the results basically it's saying know what to focus on!

Some typical examples are that 80% of your sales will actually come from 20% of your clients so what we're saying is that 20% of the things you're actually gonna do today are gonna give you 80% of your results on the main metrics that are important for you.

"Choose very wisely what you're gonna spend your next minute, hour or day on."



Principle 2 - Laborit's Law

Laborit's law it states that you should prioritize difficult tasks for the beginning of the day, the reason for this is the brains are actually a lot fresher in the morning. For tens of thousands of years our brains natural reaction has been to avoid pain or effort and I'm not talking about running away from Tigers! In our case it’s running away from big difficult tasks. Add to that a second component of our brain called ‘decision fatigue’, where the amount of information and decisions you can make actually diminishes as the day goes by.

This is the biological reason why you should put difficult tasks at the beginning of the day!



Principle 3 - Carlson's Law

Law number three is Carlson's law, this law is that one task completed in one single stretch will actually be completed much faster than doing that same task in multiple attempts or multiple goals. This is mainly due to the mental switching cost of switching from one test to another.


This is also one of the reasons why we advise our team to get rid of notification we also use noise cancelling headphones so we can get in the zone and we don't get bothered by audio cues or visual cues visual distractions.

Principle 4 - Murphy's Law

This law is pretty well known, it’s Murphy's Law! The original Murphy’s Law is that anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong. The way we apply Murphy's Law to productivity is that every task will probably take a lot longer than you think.


A development project, for instance, will take two or three times the amount of time we thought it would take. That growth experiment that we thought would be a really short easy experiment actually took 50% more time than we thought! To cope with this often in sprint planning, for example, we'll add an extra 30% on every task.

Principle 5 - Parkinson's Law


Parkinson's law states that the more time you have available to complete a task the more time you’ll probably end up taking to actually complete the task.


This is why setting deadlines are so important!



The technique is basically a way where you allocate specific amounts of time to do specific tasks. Remember when you were a student and you would get all the work done just a night before the final exam, well it's the same idea but in micro-snippets.


Principle 6 - Illich's Law

Don't forget about our last law - Illich’s.

This law states that after a certain amount of time spent on a specific task our productivity actually decreases on that task! Yes, this one goes a little bit against Carlson's law so you need to be able to balance both of them out if something's getting too difficult. If you're really grilled maybe stop and take that task a little bit later.



Written by Luke Johnson