🏆 Level Up Your Productivity in 2023
1% better every day is 37% better in a year. Here's your start.
Welcome to The Level Ups, the latest in tech and business for the future business leader (in plain-Jane English).
Hope everyone had a restful holiday.
Productivity per employee is at an all-time low.
Things will change in 2023.
Quick hacks to help you stand out.
Look, I hate the "productivity hacks" industry as well, so this is making me out to be a bit of a hypocrite. The thing is: this is the year where you can either see yourself become a massive success, or you just fall further and further behind.
I get it sounds cheesy, but that's the state of the market. Winners will win bigger, and losers will fall harder. You can skip the productivity stuff by the way, but the numbers are there as well, so you might as well check it out.
Let’s get into it:
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes & 24 seconds.
Productivity per Employee is Dropping:
People love reflections, resolutions, and starting the new year strong. Statistically, none of this matters in the big picture.
On Oct 31st, 2022, The Washington Post published: U.S. workers have gotten way less productive. No one is sure why.”
I can tell you why right now:
People are typically less productive when they work from home (now common).
With so many ways to make money on the side (and stories of millionaires on Youtube), motivation for day-job declines.
Many companies are not good at hiring hard workers.
Until recently, nobody was that afraid of losing their job (more on this below).
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you're well above average already, which is great.
The good news: this decline in productivity is an opportunity for people like us.
And we should take advantage of it and soon (because it’s going to get ugly).
Things Will Change in 2023:
Companies won’t take this for much longer, and now that the holidays over, expect more layoff announcements in Jan/Feb.
The key stat comes to us from Carta.
For the first time recently, more people were laid off vs left by choice. The trajectories are clear. Which is why people may now start to worry about the tough truth of this market.
But there’s much, much more to the story.
Companies avoided layoffs for the risk of being demonized in public. It’s so common now that the risk no longer applies.
Outsourced staff kept many companies alive. This trend will dominate in 2023 (someone abroad may take your friend’s job).
Companies will try to raise money to buy time (it won’t work). Looking at the stats from Cooley (M&A & IPO firm), it’s clear.
Yeah…doesn’t look like raising out of this will work as well as it did a year ago. The stats are as of Sept 2022 because last quarter’s numbers aren’t out yet.
It looks like things will get uglier. Like I said, don’t be afraid capitalize on this opportunity.
Individuals will have to take responsibility. The winners will up their game.
That’s where personal productivity comes in.
Personal Productivity - Quick Hacks:
Productivity is the effectiveness of the time spent on work.
Do you spend time fumbling through software, trying to remember your passwords, and writing the same emails repeatedly?
All of these slight losses in time add up over days, weeks and months. I tracked this.
Before I took small hacks and quick wins seriously, I was wasting about 2 hours a day with small inefficiencies that added up quickly.
20min of work
5min to organize myself for a task switch
2min opening/closing tabs
3min on a lost password
20min of work
5min organizing myself
4min typing something again because I couldn't find the original file
In a little over an hour of work, that's 19min sorting myself out. On average, ~30% of every hour was wasted. That's before breaks.
In an 8-hour day, that's over 2.5 hours. Imagine cutting that in half.
I didn't have a system for personal productivity because it was a lot to implement and I figured that focusing so much time on the right system wasn't worth it.
I was wrong (and the hacks below are pretty simple). Wish I had done this sooner. It's a little sad actually because when you see the changes (hacks below), you'll probably laugh at what I wasn't doing.
Truth is, most people aren't doing this, so good job to you if you are.
Take this as a 101 guide that can make you more efficient and productive. Will cover more advanced tactics in future emails.
It sounds so simple and basic but look at the breakdown above. It adds up.
The “easy wins” refer to software that does the work for us.
You should be using these already (or an alternative):
Raycast. Spotlight on steroids.
Clipboard manager, super-calculator, find everything, save canned messages and reuse them instantly. I don't fumble through files anymore.
Example: I type “tlu” and get “Welcome to The Level Ups. The latest in business and tech for the future business leader (in plain-Jane English).". Have 100s of these saved.
1 Password (most people have this already I'm just slow...):
Secure password protection and memory for every app you have. Can share with your team.
I am one of those people who never remember passwords. Game changer.
Taskade for Management:
To-do lists are obvious. This takes them to the next level. It’s all free (including AI features).
Example: “/summarize” gives me a short summary of a full article (huge for research).
Anything works (and again this super simple), but you should 100% have something like this.
Before moving on, here’s the thing about Chat GPT (and AI in general):
In a recent video, investor Alex Hormozi describes a friend of his who is a lawyer who has been in the law for 40 years.
They asked Chat GPT for an argument on why medical malpractice cases should not be capped regarding how much a lawyer can make on a case.
The argument was too similar to the lawyer with 40 years of experience in the field.
If you’re not convinced (about this and AI in general) check out this video (the malpractice part is at ~10min):
Working hard works. Look, I'm all for "balance," but it has to be in the context of your goals.
Many people are looking for $80k - $100k / year and are happy with that, and if that's you, all the power to you! By all means, take the time and balance you're searching for.
But The Level Ups is about more than that. By extension, working harder than average is required to earn more than average (or achieve more than average in almost any field).
We covered much of this in our article on Quiet Quitting.
It’s a general example, but it makes the point and is in line with the data. Here’s a quick summary:
100 employees at a company.
40 worked 40 hour weeks.
40 worked 50 hour weeks.
20 worked 60 hour weeks.
That’s 4800 hours of work. It’s the same as having 120 employees work the set 40-hour week.
Same 100 employees.
30 work 30 hours.
50 work 40 hours.
20 work 50 hours.
That’s 3900 hours of work. It’s like having 97.5 employees on a set 40-hour week.
To maintain the same productivity, that company would have to hire an extra 32.5 employees.
Those who put in an extra (effective) hour per day aren’t getting fired (unless the company is in deep trouble. trouble).
It may be hard to accept, but it’s the truth in most cases. Again, if you're here, it's an opportunity for you.
Worry about making the most of it, and don't sell yourself short, thinking you might lose your job. You're probably well beyond worrying about that. And if you do lose your job? Reach out anytime. We're happy to see if we can help.
Expect all the industries related to "personal productivity" to start making even more money.
Thanks for reading.
What did you think of this email?
See you tomorrow.