You’ve probably heard all the productivity clichés by now, such as work smarter, not harder and the early bird gets the worm. But, are these always the best ways to get more done?

Instead of always sticking to the more seemingly obvious productivity tips, try counterintuitive ways to get more done instead—the ones you think you don’t have time for!

It’s truly amazing what can happen when you try a new approach. You’ll not only accomplish more, but feel great about yourself in the process.

1. Spend Time On A Hobby

You’re busy and don’t possibly have time to spend on a hobby too. Yet, giving up on something you enjoy actually hurts your productivity. In a workaholic society, hobbies get pushed away as something childish.

However, they’re highly beneficial for helping you refresh, feel happier, and get more creative. Sometimes, they’re even the path to helping you embrace your dream of starting your own business.

Whether it’s a hobby you do once a week or 10 minutes a day, schedule in time to enjoy yourself and you’ll get far more accomplished.

2. Exercise The Way You Want

Exercise isn’t exactly a new productivity hack. However, it’s still one of the best counterintuitive ways to get more done. What many people do wrong is trying to be a fitness guru and take on far more than they can handle.

If you’re already busy, the last thing you want to do is drive 30 minutes out of the way to a big gym with a bunch of strangers. Instead, exercise the way you want.

If you’re watching TV, use a music app to play some energizing tunes during commercial breaks (or every 15-20 minutes if you’re streaming TV). Get up and dance like crazy for 3-4 minutes. It’s fun and you get the benefits of exercise without any of the stress.

Do yoga, run in place, go for a walk, try a new class, or whatever else fits your schedule. Just do it regularly to get both your body and mind in shape for increased productivity.

3. Schedule A Daily Planning Session

Creating an endless to-do list might sound productive, but it’s just insanely intimidating. Plus, it’s impossible to quickly see what the top priorities are—which is essential to having a productive day. At some point during your day (first thing often works best), schedule a planning session.

Yes, planning your day does take time, but imagine going through your day knowing exactly what you need to do every hour. After it’s done, there’s no stressing about what to do next and when. Just look at your plan and go for it!

All you need is 5-10 minutes to plan out everything. Those few minutes can save you hours later on.

4. Take Time Away From Everyone

Successful and productive people aren’t always the extroverts they seem to be. Spending every waking hour with family, friends, and co-workers is draining if you’re an introvert. It can even be too much for extroverts sometimes!

All the energy and demands from others can ultimately kill your productivity. Taking some much needed time away from everyone is one of the most highly effective, yet counterintuitive ways to get more done.

Whether it means just shutting your door and locking everyone out or turning off your phone and computer for an hour, make time to be alone. Your mind gets a break, you won’t have any distractions and you can focus on whatever tasks you need to.

5. Take More Breaks

Taking breaks might sound counterintuitive to increased productivity, but working for hours straight isn’t effective at all. Believe it or not, you’ll get far more accomplished by taking more breaks throughout your day instead of just pushing through!

Your mind gets tired quickly. After all, it has more responsibilities than you can possibly imagine, including imagination! According to Psychology Today, breaks increase productivity, motivation, ability to retain information, improve decision making and improve emotional health.

Try to take a five or ten minute break every hour. Get up and move around if you sit all the time—or sit and relax if you move around often.


It’s time to stop trying to force productivity and focus on creating a naturally more productive mindset. These counterintuitive ways to get more done will help you do just that! In your Day Designer planner, schedule these activities first and watch your productivity (and happiness) level soar.