My Productivity Advice for the Weird

I am, admittedly, one of the weird people walking this earth. Most of the productivity advice isn’t directed at the weird, but at the typical person. However, this post, is all about productivity advice for the weird, as I fall directly into this specific category.

Let's start by realizing that #productivity comes in all aspects of life from what you do for a living to how you #sleep at night. Click To Tweet

Let’s start by realizing that productivity comes in all aspects of life from what you do for a living to how you sleep at night. It’s all connected and it’s important to understand you need to be productive in all aspects of your life.

If you think you fall into the category of “weird” or you’ve just tried every productivity tip under the sun without much success, this post is for you. Below, I will share some of my top tips when it comes to productivity for the weird.

Use the Rule of “Next” with your Inbox

Inbox NEXT Rule

It’s a pretty simple rule, but if you say it out loud, your co-workers may think you’ve gone mad. Schedule a time of day to handle your email inbox with the goal to get to inbox zero.

Then, as you start go to through each email, say to yourself, next and delete it, archive it or move it to the proper folder. While this tip comes from George Kao and I agree that it’s weird and works, I don’t agree with his advice completely.

Kao would have you checking your email every single hour, which is far too often for those looking to gain productivity. I agree with Kao, you shouldn’t have the tab up all day long, but once an hour is too much distraction for your email.

Set aside one or two times per day to check and process email. Then, as you go through your inbox, say “next” and move each email. You’ll fly through the emails and you’ll only spend time on the most important ones.

Wake up at an Ungodly Hour

Early Riser

While most of the people you know in your life will likely think you’re nuts for waking up early, they will also stay right where they are, as you fly right past them with more productivity.

This is actually one of the productivity tips for the weird I am working on right now. Waking up before everybody else allows for quiet time to work, think and get your day started on the right foot. There’s nothing better than knowing you won’t be interrupted because 99% of the world around you is still in bed.

Some say 5am is early enough, while others push for 4am. Personally, I like 4:30am and that's my weird #wakeup time goal. Click To Tweet

Some say 5am is early enough, while others push for 4am. Personally, I like 4:30am and that’s my weird wake up time goal.

If I am up by 4:30am, you get 6 solid hours before I have to go into breakfast prep mode. That’s time for about 5 hours of work, a morning routine and a couple of breaks.

Even better, when I am up by 4:30am, I can have between 7 and 8 hours of actual work done before my wife and I take a break for lunch. That means, after lunch, I don’t have to do anything else, if I don’t want to. It’s all extra.

In my opinion, there’s no better productivity advice for the weird than to become the weird guy or gal that’s up when everybody else is sleeping and in bed while everybody else is watching their 5th TV show for the night.

Take Laugh Breaks

Laughter Breaks

Yes, it’s weird and it sounds like you’ll just get looked at as the crazy person, but it works. In fact, a study done by Robert Half International found that 91% of executives believe having a sense of humor will lead to more career advancement.

I am not suggesting you take a five minute break and just laugh uncontrollably like a weirdo. You can do that if you want, but it’s a bit better to find something funny to laugh with or at.

#Laughter helps to break up the stress of the day and leads to more #productivity. Click To Tweet

Laughter helps to break up the stress of the day and leads to more productivity. You’ll be in a better mood and if you work with others, they will enjoy working with you.

Maybe you found one of those funny videos from your college buddy in your inbox when going through it. Save those bad boys and use them when you need a laugh break. Anything that gets you laughing out loud will help you maximize your productivity.

Crank Up the Heat

Crank up the Heat

I know, you’re wondering how turning your heat up will make you more productive. Maybe it’s not exactly turning up your heat that makes you more productive, but turning down the AC or even turning it off.

A study from Cornell University showed that a warmer work space led to fewer typing errors. When your office is warmer, you won’t have to deal with as many errors. The study also fund that output increased by 150% when the temperature was between 68 and 77 degrees.

Cold Showers are Productivity Gold

Cold Showers

Walk up to someone that looks normal on the street and tell them you take cold showers every morning. They will look at you like you’re insane, and only partially because you’re a stranger.

The concept of taking a cold shower every day seems to be one of those things people just cannot wrap their minds around. It’s cold, it feels uncomfortable and it’s weird. Yes, but it also works!

If you want to teach your body and mind to become more productive, and you want to gain some anti-aging benefits along the way use this productivity advice for the weird every single day.

Set Achievable, STRETCH Goals


No, I am not going to turn the word STRETCH into some acronym like SMART. If you’re a productivity buff like me, you know exactly what I am talking about.

While I don’t have any problem with SMART goals, I believe in STRETCH goals. These are goals that you can achieve, but they stretch you a little bit.

Too often, we read the normal productivity tip of setting goals that are unrealistic. However, those of use that are truly weird know we cannot achieve those goals and end up de-motivating ourselves instead of motivating ourselves.

#Productivity for the weird requires a fine line to be walked and #STRETCHgoals fit pretty well with that line. Click To Tweet

Productivity for the weird requires a fine line to be walked and STRETCH goals fit pretty well with that line. Simply put, a STRETCH goal is one that you cannot easily achieve, but it’s still achievable.

For example, waking up at 4:30am is an achievable, yet difficult goal for most of us. However, trying to live on 4 hours of sleep is an unachievable, ridiculous goal.

Another example, Writing 10,000 words in one day (for someone that’s capable of writing 1,000 words or more per hour) is a good STRETCH goal. However, trying to write 25,000 words in one day is unrealistic and not really possible unless you want to see your fingers fall off.

I have now covered my productivity advice for the weird. Let’s look at some of the odd things famous people throughout history have done to gain more productivity.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

If you know anything about Benjamin Franklin, you’ve probably already caught on to the fact that he was weird, or at least quirky. Mr. Franklin was known for taking morning “air baths”.

Basically, he’d read or write in the nude for about an hour before putting on his clothes and heading to work. I would not have enjoyed being his neighbor in the morning.

Thomas Wolfe

#ThomasWolfe wrote standing up by using the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Click To Tweet

Did you think the standing desk was a new concept? Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up by using the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Earnest Hemmingway also wrote while standing.

Rainbow Rowell

The author of Eleanor and Park only writes her books while sitting at Starbucks.

Igor Stravinsky

Want a way to deal with writer’s block? Igor has one. When he felt blocked, he’d stand on his head to clear his mind.

Woody Allen


Maybe the cleanest person in Hollywood, Woody Allen is known for taking multiple showers a day whenever he needs a mental boost.

Stephen King

The famous author writes every single day of the year. He sets a goal of 2,000 words and it takes him about five hours to achieve, on average.

Anne Rice

During the writing of Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice completely changes here schedule. She slept all day and worked all night. This was the schedule she preferred to avoid distractions.

Jerzy Kosinski

An author with an odd schedule, Kosinski slept a full eight hours a day. However, he split this sleep into two four-hour blocks waking at 8am and sleeping 4 more hours in the afternoon.

It's not hard to find these little odd #habits when searching for the #productivity for the weird. Click To Tweet

It’s not hard to find these little odd habits when searching for the productivity for the weird. Many of the most famous people were also looked at as weird, odd, quirky or downright crazy.

Do you have any productivity advice for the weird? If you have the guts, share it in the comments below.

Comments 2

  • Love these tips Ben. Mourning the loss of my icy cold showers LOL because I have weaned myself off of them. Heading to Thailand next week. Bye Bye cold water. But meditating and yoga daily help keep energy flowing and as energy flows, I up my productivity and effectiveness. As for the waking at an early hour I will get back on early sked soon. Always happens in Thailand or when I hit the road. Here in NJ I have been working late into the night; quiet time.


    • Sorry to hear about your Cold Showers. They have helped me so much over the past few years, but I must admit, I am not always in them. When it’s super cold, I often skip them, but when it’s warmer out (most of the year for us) they become a regular thing again.

      Complete get the quiet time, too. Right now, staying with family causes me to do much of the same. Just gotta find those pockets of time when others are asleep and not creating distractions.

      Enjoy Thailand. I have another month before we head back on the road.


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