Productivity Hacks All Students Should Be Taught (Regardless of Age)

Today’s article is going to be short and sweet, yet full of actionable items you can take as you need to use yourself, with your child or in your classroom - or, in your tutoring session.

Love me some multi-purpose writing. It’s good for ALL MANKIND… echo echo echo.

Okay, now that I’ve stopped play-typing, I know Jessica is secretly laughing at the first line and specifically the word short, so she’s my motivation for NOT making this a novella but an easy post that’s digestible right now.

Diving in.

Fact: Kids aren’t taught productivity.

Think about it for a second. Did you learn productivity in school?

I know the answer. Call on me. Call on me!

Ah, no.

Unless you went to a rockin’-awesome school run by some rockin’-awesome productive peeps and taught by seriously-productive teachers who should get gold statues at the end of the year, you didn’t.

Just like moi.

And just like kids…

So, here’s a trick. Get them productive early so they can live by this motto Work Smarter Not Harder.

Now that might be something that screams liar liar pants on fire because you have a belief from childhood or from your parents that the harder you work, the more you’ll succeed.

Well, friend, no. Just no.

First, that doesn’t lead to happiness, to run around like a hamster in a wheel getting nowhere. And two, working harder implies effort matters over skill.

Here’s another fact.

Skill is smarter. Effort it harder.

I’m going to majorly simplify this and if you need, we can dive deeper another time, but here’s the skinny - when a person increases their skill they increase their value.

We get paid in dollars (if in the USA or insert your currency if outside our borders) for the value we bring to the table.

Well, hot-diggity-damn, that’s the first lesson to get a person to productivity high ground that every single child on the planet should be taught. And maybe you need to learn it, and believe it, for yourself.

I get it. It might contradict everything you’ve been told and all you’ve been lead to believe and guess what?

Understanding, learning and implementing this new idea (dare I say belief) is the first step in a new skill and increasing your value.

  1. Be open to learning

  2. Be teachable

  3. Don’t just learn something and think “I got this!”

  4. Take action

  5. Action creates clarity

  6. Action also leads to more skill and less effort

And voilà, we have work smarter not harder

Now, let’s get to the meat of this article - Productivity Hacks - because Jessica’s laughter is ringing in my ears and she’s starting to chant, not gonna be a short post!

We’ll show her…

Simple Productivity Hacks Anyone Can Master

and should because the the right training and great productivity, you basically have the entire world in the palm of your hand!

1. Have a Tool Box Of Resources Like

Using the Pomodoro Method

I am in love with the free version of the FocusApp.

Pomodoro, if you don’t know, is working in chunks of 25 minutes with a 5 minute break between each work session (or focus time as this app calls it).

Look up any statistic on productivity in the workplace and it’s shocking how much time actually spent in an 8 hour a day job is not productive.

(According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.8 hours every day and the average worker is only productive or two hours and 53 minutes.) [1]


Employees, even students, who adopt this skill and master it, increase their productivity, can shorten their work week.  

Or, in some cases, work a day from home and not come into the office. 

The sky's the limit with what you can ask for when you show just how productive you can be or how much you can accomplish. Time is one thing we all have in equal measure. Learning how to best use it and manage it is a priceless hack that will serve you in every area, forever.

And seriously, how could it be, how much time could you collect, bank and use, if you were able to do and show (proof) that instead of an 8 hour work day, all you needed as four?

I’d hire you.

And kids, well homework can be a real beast of I don’t want to and dragging of little heels. Or, for the older set, a procrastination technique that lasts until Sunday night at 9pm. Been there, done that!

Maybe you even remember or in the season of things like “Mom, I can’t turn my lights out, my history report is due tomorrow!” or “Tommy, what’s this in your backpack? Homework?!”

Teaching kids this method of Pomodoro-ing quickly becomes a game and rocks their ability to do and complete tasks in less time. And it’s also a great tool for the entire family as there is no longer anything to argue about! (Not that you argue with your kid or anything.)

Inbox Zero

April & Eric Perry are my heroes.

I’ve heard of this concept, tried this concept but in 90 minutes they made it possible for me with their awesome, simple training.

If your kid has email, get them in this early!

Screenshot 2019-01-16 15.48.29.png


When you work, move, don’t sit. What does this look like?

  1. Treadmill desk is what I can easily walk 10-12 miles on if I’m in writing mode. No joke. I have a good quality, compact one, but there is a lot on the market.

    Do some quick research and make a decision. It will save you health bills and keep the flu at bay. Seriously! Plus, movement keeps your brain sharp and your thighs from going wide. (Ladies, you hear me! I know you do!)

  2. Standing Desk with a Balance Board - Consider this for yourself and if you have a child. Cheap version - kitchen counter and just the balance board.

  3. Bouncy Ball - yippee! What fun. Great for core workout and balance benefiting but for a kid, they need to be a bit older.

    The ball can even make homework more fun. Kids are not meant to sit still. We simply don’t want them using this option too young, whacking their head on the desk and earning a trip to the ER.

    So use your best judgement, Mom and Dad. Or invest in a kid version!

  4. 60 Second Dance Parties.


    Finish a task, blast a beat and bust a move.

    Right there in the kitchen, in your office, while folding laundry. Seriously. This will change your flow and improve your emotional state. Ya can’t stay mad at the world and dance, dance, dance!

    And if you have kids, do it together. Parents who dance together, stay together. Families who dance together - same goes!

    Here are two options. Hit play on one and start your first 60 second dance party now!



time fight

As much time as you allow yourself will be how long it takes to get something done.

Time is a void like the kitchen counter and we will fill as much of it as we have.

So just as that kitchen counter, or the spot that fills up within days of decluttering it, time is the same way.

It fills. Automatically.

If you give yourself five hours to do a 30 minute task, you will use all five hours and possibly more. And if like most, wait till the last minute to complete the task you need to do. (Some people have created a habit of thriving or being super productive under pressure.)

Time is a void. It will be filled with something. It must be.

It’s like digging a hole.

Dirt.Will.Find.Its.Way.Back.In. Unless you plant something new and narrow down the options.

So, as far as time, you must give yourself a set time to accomplish a task or you will waste precious time.

Try using the Pomodoro App mentioned above - the Focus App. It’s awesome and in a 25 minute stint, when focused, it’s insane what you can get done.

It’s also remarkable how easily it is to waste that same 25 minutes. This happens when you start to pay attention and understand time and how you manage it.

That is something when learned, your kid can take to the bank. Talk about a good selling point during a job interview! Time management is a huge skill that makes working smarter not harder start to make even more sense, right?

3. Who Do You Look Up To?

Word of warning: Don’t look at most adults to be productive. They aren’t.

So finding good examples might be a challenge. For real. Pen drop. Again, never assume.

Ask yourself honestly if you are truly productive. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being rocking awesome, give her the award!

If so, great.

If not, work on it starting today by implementing just one or two of these steps above. Your kids, if you have any in the home, are learning from your actions - not just what is said.

We know this. We’ve always known this. And that is why it’s so vital to start making a change today, not in words, but in actions.

My Productivity Grade:
Last year I was a 2 or a 3, depending on the month. In most cases that would be a big-fat-failing grade on the productivity scale. And it showed up in my life. Scattered, chaotic, stressed, declining health… the list goes on and on.

I’m a 5 currently and inching toward a 6.


I have years of habits that were not productive. Habits are unconscious and while the attention can be shifted to new habits with the right training, the neural pathways to the old habit are always there. That’s why starting today is vital!)

Second, and for all students out there (and parents!), don’t assume your teacher is productive.

I wasn’t when I taught. I was all over the place. Some are. Some aren’t. Never assume. Enough said.

Important Side Note. In the school system, I’ve watched elementary and middle schools hand out planners and then make them mandatory, yet I watched teachers not use them nor give any real teaching on how to actually implement one!

Why? Because even teachers, parents… most of us… don’t know how to manage our day, our month, our quarter, our year - nor how to manage all the “stuff” in our heads and in our lives.

When you factor in all the external clutter with the scheduling needs of families or just a single person, well, it’s no wonder we’re a stressed out society (in the USA, at least and really just about any western country).

Get a handle on this and your life will change. We’ll dive deeper into this topic another time but for a taste move on to #4 on the list.

4. DeclutterING Leads To Being
More Productive

April and Eric Perry, who I mentioned above, also have a program called STEP Mastery, for adults and a program geared to a younger crowd, STEP For Students.

STEP Mastery not only decluttered my home, it also decluttered my mind. And that was a huge win for my ability to be more productive.

Our minds are full of so much to remember, to do, to learn perhaps, and things or projects we want to accomplish.

Yet, we never seem to get to those things we say are important or that we really want to do. Like…

  • write that book you’ve been talking about

  • go to Rome and eat pasta like you dream about

  • climb a mountain

  • learn French like a native and sit at a French cafe able to order a cafe with a perfect accent

  • Or even, simply get in better shape, organize the garage or go through your closet and pull out the clothes that you never seem to wear but can’t let go of.

And that plain sucks.

That we keep having the same repetitive thoughts of what we want to do instead of just doing them!

And it’s what we’re teaching the next generation. It’s actually what the millennials are running from. They don’t want to be like their parents… they don’t want the things, they seek more the experiences. Now sometimes it’s a screen experience, not a living one, but that’s a chat for another time, too.

When space is made for all that is physically around us cluttering our lives, and we learn a way to get what’s cluttering our minds out into a usable system, well, so much more is possible.

I’m living proof of that.

5. Work Smarter Not Harder

We covered this in detail above but it’s so important, it’s worth mentioning again as a Productivity Hack.

You have two options in life.

  1. To hustle

  2. To flow

I pick flow. It’s easier and feels better! To me, hustle is like pulling the door when the sign says push.

I don’t want to fight to win, fight to make money, fight to be healthy, fight to make time for my family and my dreams.

And I don’t want that for you.

So this productivity hack starts with creating a new awareness that you can either believe success comes from working hard or you can start to change that belief, and see all the examples around you as living proof, that working smarter is the way to go.

Start smart today with developing productivity hacks to help you gain back hours of your day, control of your life and an enjoyment of each moment.

Bonus Productivity Hack

If you’re a family with schedules to keep track of and kids to pick up, games and dentist appointments to attend, I’ve heard from my girl, Rachel Hollis, a fellow author, that Cozi is a great app.

I’ve yet to try it but check it out if you need an easy-to-use, very functional, simple looking system that notifies you by color of who’s turn it is to do what at a glance.

BONUS BONUS - Because I can’t help myself!

Moo Baah sleeping after browsing in the field. He truly knows the importance of a catnap.

Moo Baah sleeping after browsing in the field. He truly knows the importance of a catnap.

Get your sleep on.

At all costs, figure this out. A body, a mind, a being - you - can not be productive if you have poor sleeping habits.

Try reducing screen time at least one hour before bed. You’ve heard this, so do it if sleep is an issue you should work on.

Get the free version of the RELAX MELODIES APP.

It’s lovely, awesome and it puts me to sleep like a baby. (For some reason those babies are the cutest sleeping creatures, next to Moo Baah!
Tell me I’m wrong…)

And that’s a wrap!

How do ya like them (kinda short and sweet) apples?

Post where that quote, minus the kinda short and sweet, is from in the comments below and your big takeaway from the article, and you might just win a little somethang-somethang from the Education Lady Swag Bag!

Jessica gets to pick! She just got these erasable pens (pack of 24 that she thinks are the bomb). And yes, she takes bribes. For real.

Need dance moves. This is priceless. Go Teacher Go!

And this guy, wow! He can move… and teach you a thang or two!
(He schooled me.)

No excuses!

Remember to learn something today that you can share with someone tomorrow.

Now leave a comment and tell me what song you’re gonna bust a 60 second dance party move to!

Education Lady | Jill Stevens

Educator. Writer. Life Long Learner. Jill has a passion to help the next generation and improve learning across the board. She’s here to change the world, one mind at a time. Right now she does that through words with purpose and by training up remarkable, rockstar tutors.