4 Unconventional Productivity Hacks And Habits That Actually Work

By Guest Post •  Updated: 11/15/17 •  9 min read

Note from Sean: This is a guest post from my good friend Maneesh Sethi CEO of Pavlok, a behavioral change company known for their best selling habit wearable Pavlok and recently launched Pavlok 2. 

He has also agreed to give away one Pavlok 2 device to a commentor below. So take 30 seconds and let us know what you think of this post!

Take it away, Maneesh!

For the last 4+ years, I’ve been obsessed with learning and studying human behavior. Having struggled with ADHD my entire life, I could never relate to those suggestions to just “buckle down” and get things done. I tried rearranging my desk. Downloading the latest productivity apps.

But, no matter how hard I tried to focus, or how important the task was, I nearly always found myself switching back and forth between Reddit or watching some random Youtube video.

Which led me to a moment of 50% desperation and 50% genius.

Pavlok came about from what is now a viral freak experiment. I was so determined to improve my productivity that I literally hired a woman off Craigslist to sit next to me in the coffee shop while I worked.

The catch? Each time she caught me giving in to distraction, she was permitted to slap me in the face.

It only took a few slaps before I had one of the most productive days of my life.

While Pavlok began from my desire to help my own productivity and focus, I have since helped thousands of people around the world improve their habits, wake up on time, quit smoking, and more.

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I get it.

Changing your habits and routine is hard. It’s scary. But one of the reasons so many people fail at implementing lasting change is they often take the wrong approach.

Instead of strategically experimenting to find what works for them, they test a bunch of random tactics and tips and hope something sticks.

And while everyone works and operates differently, today I wanted to share a few unconventional productivity hacks that have helped me and hundreds of others finally transform into a person that gets things done.

Here are a few strategies that have helped me build Pavlok while remaining sane at the same time.

Pomodoro With A Twist

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You haven’t lived until you tried the Pomodoro…

The Pomodoro technique has become quite popular over the last few years. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s setting aside 20-40 minutes of uninterrupted time to focus on a single task, after which you can reward yourself with a 5-10 minute break.

During those 20-40 minutes, you can only do one thing. Nothing else.

No checking email. No tweeting what you ate for breakfast. No stopping to call mom.

When done properly, the Pomodoro technique is highly effective. However, if you’re anything like me, even just focusing for 5 minutes on a single task is nearly impossible.

Why? Because we’ve spent our entire lives giving way to every little distraction that comes our way.

“Oh, I have to answer that text message. It’s urgent.”

“Did Bitcoin go up again? let me check Coinbase.”

“Fish tacos sound really good… let me go check the fridge.”

The list goes on and on and on.

Despite my initial failing attempts at implementing the Pomodoro technique, I knew the technique had merit. So I spent five days training myself to follow the strategy as it was designed. I would start the timer as planned, and each time I found myself getting distracted or opening up a new tab, I would administer a shock using my Pavlok.

It wasn’t instantaneous, but I quickly began being less and less distracted. Within weeks, I could complete multiple Pomodoros with ease.

Instead of being down on myself for not being able to focus for less than 40 minutes, I trained my brain to be on my side. I made sure that I was giving myself every chance to succeed.

And the results were incredible.

If you’ve struggled to implement the Pomodoro technique, take a step back and start small. It’s unrealistic to expect to be able to focus for 40 mins in a row without never having done it before.

If you have a Pavlok, start your Pomodoro as you would normally do, and each time you catch yourself succumbing to distraction, give yourself a beep, zap, or buzz. Better yet, use the Pavlok Chrome Extension to automatically warn you every time you open an extra tab not essential to your work task.

Over time, you’ll strengthen your ability to focus and get the full effect of the Pomodoro technique in no time.

Build The Habit:

Focus is one of the most underrated “habits” in the modern age. You can use the Pavlok 2 to help build your focus power over time. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to do too much all at once. Instead, focus on becoming aware of your distractions to start and build up from there.

When working, wear your Pavlok 2 and install the Pavlok chrome extension. You’ll be able to customize which sites you can visit and how many tabs you would like to have open. Break your rules… and be welcomed by a zap. 🙂

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More Water. More Movement

As a busy entrepreneur, it can be a struggle to even remember to make your daily standup.

But if you’re living the digital nomad lifestyle, it can be just as easy to forget to drink enough water, or you know, giving your body a break after 10 hours at the computer.

Using the Pavlok 2 app, you can have your Pavlok 2 take the guess workout of the things that need to be done daily. Yellow pee? Set your Pavlok app to buzz your device every 2 hours. As soon as it goes off take a drink.

I have my Pavlok 2 go off every hour, not only so I can make sure I’m staying focused, but as a reminder to stop what I’m doing and do a quick neck stretch.

Build The Habit:

Whether you have a Pavlok 2 or not, it’s essential to set reminders on your phone, computer, or elsewhere to make sure you take care of things you might otherwise forget.

We all know drinking and moving more is GOOD for you, but so few of us build the systems to make things automatic.

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Maneesh went heat to head with Mr. Wonderful on SharkTank.

I can proudly say I’ve never donated a cent to the KKK (hello, that would look bad I’m brown.)

But the truth is, I’ve had a few close calls.

One of the most effective ways to get things done is have “skin in the game.” In my case, I often use the punishment of rewarding some of the most detestable organizations known to man, if I fail to deliver.

Extreme I know… But I have yet to find a more effective way to deliver consistently.

In fact, when I was working on the Indiegogo campaign copy for the Pavlok 2, I committed 1k USD to the KKK if I didn’t share the page copy with my coach by a certain date.

I had a few late nights with my content team, but ultimately the copy was written with plenty of time to spare.

If you’re pro-life, commit 1k to Planned Parenthood. If you’re anti-gun, commit to donating to the NRA.

That course you’ve been promising to create for years?

That book you’ve always wanted to write?

Those 20 pitch emails you’ve yet to send?

Give this method I try, and I’m confident you’ll be blown away by the results.

Build The Habit:

Do some research on a few organizations you would never in a million years support.

Open messenger, tell your closest friend or employee. And then get to work. If trying this method for the first time, I highly suggest picking off some low hanging fruit first.

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Tackle your tasks.

Have Your Community Hold You Accountable

The thought of donating to the KKK might be too much for some. That’s perfectly okay. Not everyone is as weird as me.

Fortunately, as an entrepreneur, you have a resource not everyone else does.

Your community.

Using your community to keep you motivated and deliver consistently can help take your business and life to the next level.

Let’s say you’re aiming to post two blog posts a week.

Simply post on Facebook and Twitter that if you don’t publish an article on Tuesday and Thursday of each week, they can publicly humiliate you. While some of you weirdos might be into that, for the majority of us that’s plenty of motivation to get things done.

If you’re really wanting to overachieve, you can set up the Pavlok 2 and IFTTT to relate a “shock me” link into the wild if your post isn’t live by a certain time.

If the thought of 14 members of your community shocking you until your post is up doesn’t scare you, perhaps you should reconsider some of your priorities.

Having your community hold you accountable won’t just help you get more done, it will help build trust and transparency with your most loyal followers.

Built The Habit:

Take an hour this week to plan your goals for the next month. What do you hope to accomplish? Do you want to release a course? Offering your coaching program? Once you decide, put it in writing. Open up Twitter and Facebook.

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Earn volts for building good habits!

Taking Action

While the above tips certainly won’t work for everyone, I’m confident by implementing just one of these suggestions will yield huge results for your productivity and business growth.

I invite you to give these techniques a try and let me know how they work for you.

The most important thing, is you take action. Keep tweaking, testing, and experimenting until you find something that clicks.

Then go all in.

If you’re still struggling, I can’t recommend hiring someone to slap you enough. 🙂

Any tips or tricks you use to remain productive at home or work? Leave a comment below. We’ll be giving away a FREE Pavlok 2 to one random commenter 🙂

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Learn more about Pavlok and Maneesh’s life work at Pavlok.com

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