3 underrated productivity tips that no one talks about

Loads of people are obsessed with getting more time out of their day. I’m one of them, which is why I spend so much time on process and automation in our business.

Time saved through automation with tools like Zapier or Active Campaign can be used on higher level tasks that grow your business. 

For me, an added benefit is that I don’t feel so bad when I’m doing non-work stuff. E.g. If I’m at the gym, hanging out with friends or out for a walk, things are still happening in the business. That feels awesome. 

But there are a few things that I don’t hear many people talking about that can make huge improvements to your productivity. These are really basic things that are accessible to almost everyone. No ninja tricks or some magic app. 

Let’s dig in.

Your Computer

Think of how much time you spend on a computer all day. For most business owners, it’s at least a few hours. 

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Yet computer performance isn’t talked about much. I don’t see anyone talking about it outside of “what laptop do you recommend” questions in Facebook groups.

That’s half the problem – laptops!

One of the most important business tools for me is a beefy, desktop PC. It has:

  • Gaming specs*
  • At least 2 monitors
  • A wired internet connection

* despite not being a PC gamer – I’m on PS4 because I find it more chill

When I suggest people should get a desktop for productivity, then often reply to this by saying their laptops are fast and they already use multiple monitors. 

The fact is though that laptops don’t even come close to desktops in terms of performance, unless you spend a TON. Even then it’s questionable.

The other retort is that they’re only using the internet and email. 

Sure – but websites are getting heavier and heavier on code that runs in your browser. This turns your web browser into an app that needs resources like any other software on your computer. 

I have a great laptop as well as a desktop. For general internet use, the difference is night-and-day. The wired internet connection is a big part of that as well.

Some maths and a half-assed proof

Say that every action you take on the web is 20% faster. So something that takes 5 seconds on a laptop takes 4 on a desktop. (It feels much more than this, but let’s go with a conservative estimate. )

Multiply that time saving by 100s or 1000s of actions per day and it adds up.

If you save just 15 minutes per working day, that’s around 300 minutes per month. Valuing your time at $100/hour, you’ll pay off a $2000 desktop in 4 months. 

One day I’ll do a real test, but my hunch is the time savings are much more than 15 minutes a day. 

Using a desktop is one of the most no brainer business decisions for me.

If I haven’t convinced you, at the very least get a top end laptop. You’ll make up the $1000 price difference in a few months. 

Typing Speed

How much do you type per day? Probably a lot. 

This follows a similar argument to the desktop PC. If there’s something you’re doing all-the-freaking-time, small changes add up fast. 

I can’t take credit for this idea. I heard Noah Kagan mention it on the Productivity Show (side note: this episode is great – queue it up).

To improve in this area, I’ve gone back to basics. I’m learning to touch type from scratch. Bad habits have built up over the years and need to be fixed.

This is how I’ve approached it:

  1. Using KeyHero to learn and test my speed
  2. Spent some time practicing each day
  3. Now I’m trying to force myself to touch type with the right fingers all the time

I’d be lying if I said it was easy. My typing speed SUCKS as I re-learn.  But I think it will be worth it.


Have you tried using speech to text on your phone? On my Android, it’s freaking amazing. I rarely type any more unless it’s 4 words or less. Using Swiftkey Keyboard there is a microphone button next to the space bar which activates voice typing. GBoard Keyboard has the option too. 

Speak clearly into the microphone and punctuate with “full stop”, “period”, “comma”, “new paragraph” etc. 

If it makes a mistake, you can click on sections of words to see other options. If it doesn’t get it right the first time, one of the options is almost always right. 

I’m so used to doing this now I’ve nearly said “full stop” to people on the phone multiple times…

On your computer, using Chrome, you can use the VoiceIn Voice Typing extension with similar effect. However, my goal is to get my typing speed to a point where it doesn’t matter. 

Wrap Up

Instead of trying to find the next ninja productivity hack, get back to basics and see how much time you can get back from these 3 areas. 

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James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare - a software platform that helps professionals collect content & files from clients.

Once an automation engineer, his new priority is to help business owners regain their lives, be more productive and get more done in less time.

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