The Science of Productivity

In a world that seems busier by the day,
productivity is on the minds of many. But instead of downloading
the latest time management app or forcing yourself to stay at work for hours on
end how can we use science to crack open the potential of our minds? Is their a
secret to being productive? The first thing to come to terms with is that your
willpower is simply not enough. In fact some studies suggest that will power is
an exhaustable source, that can be entirely used up. This is a concept known
as the ego depletion, so instead of convincing yourself to simply try harder
a more methodical approach is suggested. The first step, get started, it may seem obvious but
studies have shown starting a project to be the biggest barrier to productivity. Before starting our brain visualizes the hardest parts to come and instead
tries to simulate real work by focusing on small mindless tasks. Luckily there’s
a construct of the mind known as the Zeigarnik effect which compels humans to
finish a task that they’ve already started. The Zeigarnik effect shows that when we don’t
finish a task we experience discomfort and intrusive thoughts about it, so
get started, now. What about time management? Shockingly
when we look at some of the most of the elite musicians in the world we find that they
aren’t necessarily practicing more but instead more deliberately. This is
because they spend more time focused on the hardest task and focus their
energy in packets. Instead of diluting their effort over the entire day they
have periods of intense work followed by breaks. Not relying on willpower they rely on a
habit and disciplined scheduling. Studies have found that the most elite violinists
in the world generally follow a ninety minute work regime with a fifteen
to twenty minute break afterwards. Instead of trying to maintain energy
throughout the entire day, breaking it down into sessions with planned
relaxation is most effective. But how can you develop the discipline
to follow this routine? One key component is giving yourself a
deadline. Write it down, mark it in your calendar
and you’ll be much more likely to complete your task. On top of this, create
something called an accountability chart to document your progress. In one
column write the time span and in the other the activities you accomplished
during this time. Similar to those on a diet who document
their food intake writing down your progress allows you to realistically evaluate your work as opposed to inaccurately assuming what you’ve done. Furthermore tracking your progress helps
to avoid small mindless work. And finally, stop multitasking, well it may feel like
you’re accomplishing more, studies show that multitaskers are much less
productive. Instead try and make a list at night of what you
want to accomplish tomorrow, this way you hit the ground running with your action plan
and avoid trying to complete multiple activities at once. While you’re at it
split up your large tasks into smaller bite sized ones. Your brain will find
these less daunting and it will make the starting process easier. With a clear goal and
action plan in mind, your productivity levels can soar to new heights. Want more tips and information on
productivity? Checkout Gregory Ciotti’s blog, “sparring mind” who we worked with to
make this video. We will link to the productivity article
in the description where you can find even more information and be sure to
sign up for his newsletter which covers other amazing brainy content. Got a
burning question you want answered? Ask it in the comments or on facebook and twitter, and subscribe for more weekly science videos.


  1. Joshua R

    February 19, 2018 at 8:33 am


  2. Buddlebot

    February 25, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Also, not thinking about what you need to do helps.

  3. Aveacado

    March 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Video: “…hit the ground running”


  4. GravitySloth

    March 10, 2018 at 1:37 am

    dude if I'm too unmotivated to do my work, what makes you think I have the motivation to make an "accountability graph"? This is all well and good, but at the same time, this is very "pull yourself up by your bootstraps-esque". All of your solutions require me to be productive in the first place

  5. EC/EC

    March 10, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Cant there be the will to regain willpower?

  6. Ange Dong

    March 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    This is amazing thank you

  7. Salt-Upon-Wounds

    March 11, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    watched this video and got carried away by my thoughts…oh well

  8. Kleyko

    March 12, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    But how do I Kill myself?

  9. Shauni Samantha

    March 17, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks so much for making this video!

  10. Sofiane Benz

    March 28, 2018 at 3:51 am

    i work 0.1 s and i rest 10000 h i swear , i hate this routing


    March 28, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Best video on productivity

  12. Music Nova

    April 3, 2018 at 9:16 am


  13. Zelefex

    April 6, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    My willpower is nonexistent

  14. no u

    April 8, 2018 at 6:18 am

    i've tried them all i still cant.

  15. THO games

    April 8, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I needed this video! Thank you very much!

  16. AmazingDude

    April 9, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Best channel ever…..lots of stuff in entertaining way!!!!

  17. URHO TM

    April 16, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Thank you we will be productive and successful b/c we learnt this.

  18. AceTivity Labs

    April 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Productivity has less to do how efficient you can do work, than with what work you can do. Priority is more important

  19. proserpinathewriter

    April 22, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Time management is when you manage by making time for your health, social life, family or caring for yourself, and etc.

    Since I’m struggling with my health, my social life is good. It is just I do not go out as often. There’s no reason for me to feel embarrassed, but I’m a college student at 19.

    I never have a job before nor volunteered. My mom pays for my tuition, I’m extremely lazy, do not mess with me, the inside health of my mind is all over the place. And I have not been taking care of my health.

    So I feel like I’m not good enough honestly. Since I get extremely stressed, I rather get tasks or work done without taking breaks. However, depending how long I have been productive depends if I should take a break. Instead it would be nice to look over my progress, and then complete them in another day. Because everyone needs to rest and relax.

    Well..I rather get work or tasks done without breaks. But, since I’m currently struggling I have a neutral mind. Also, I’m Asian American I do not expect myself or see myself smart, have the perfect grades, and exceed my education like do well and graduate from college.

    Boi I’m in community college, and it is great. But no one understands how I feel and it is just, “what the fu** is life?”

  20. snipersev07

    April 25, 2018 at 5:13 am

    Thanks. This helps

  21. Fatima T

    April 28, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Tomorrow I want to finish philosophy 2 1 that takes 4 hours that means 8 pomodoro sessions and cinetique chemistry what takes 5 hours means 10 pomodoro sessions and I want to stop overeating means that I should stop junk food and eating more than I need and get past fullness

  22. You Need Jesus

    April 29, 2018 at 3:33 am

    I just simply try to stay productive from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. Just because I clock out of work, does not mean the day is over.

  23. Nicole Chen

    May 1, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Who else is procrastinating?

  24. El Vato Loco

    May 3, 2018 at 5:01 am

    Or… or… do some adderall and get shit done! Lol. I’m kidding by the way.

  25. Zane Poise

    May 3, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    I feel like I've got this.. sort of anit-zeigarnik effect. I start off my work strong and nice, and as it slowly dwindles on, it just becomes less interesting and more of a hassle. Eventually I stop working completely on stuff for what feels like months at a time, until I force myself to do it all again, only to let myself down halfway, or even a quarter of the way through something.

  26. Haneix

    May 13, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    I wouldn't believe what is said about willpower, it is the most powerful thing I have anyway.

  27. Zohirul Islam Jewel

    May 16, 2018 at 4:31 am

    Why is society so obsessed with productivity this day and age?

  28. Darren Albarda

    May 17, 2018 at 11:55 am

    But I love being multitasker,

  29. mimimi mi

    June 3, 2018 at 3:11 am

    Watching this made me feel a little more motivated. And I'm glad I'm finally doing the stuff I should do. But it's a cycle, and I know it'll start to feel pointless after a few days. Then it'll be back to being useless.

  30. Narayana Rao

    June 10, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Good. Getting 3.9 million views for a productivity science video is also good.
    Reaching 2500 views

    Principles of Industrial Engineering – Taylor – Narayana Rao – Video

    Productivity science is the first principle.

  31. Sergey Grushevoy

    June 15, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I recommend reading the article "Efficient work. In search of the ideal process." ( ). Helps at the start of building a personal process. Also helps to improve the personal process.

  32. Mohamed ElKabbash

    June 16, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Can you make a video on oil, healthy ones, temperature ranges, and reusing oil. I really dont quite understand the processes involved and how to minimize its risks, etc.

  33. Liukrish 17

    June 18, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Humans are more productive than 'big bang' for their selfish brain

  34. Meow Meow

    June 27, 2018 at 11:29 am

    I watched cuz I was too lazy to get off my couch

  35. The Sheepster

    June 30, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Am I the only one who hates taking breaks at all?

    It feels like it's not worth it and that I don't deserve it…

  36. Business Quenns

    July 12, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Which software do you use for making videos?

  37. Maryam Ojani

    July 18, 2018 at 9:40 am

    that canadian accent

  38. straighter100

    July 22, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Funny regarding the disciplined work scheduling thing, back when I wasn't lazy I would work 40 minutes and then take a 20 minute break. It did absolute wonders….

  39. cauhra

    July 31, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    i thought it was pronounced

  40. Ada Chu

    August 22, 2018 at 2:14 am

    I am always multitasking

    I do homework while breathing, using my brain, moving my eyes, writing, pumping my heart, and many more 😂 😂

  41. Troy Sullivan

    August 24, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Great Video! I just uploaded a video on productive mornings in case anyone wants more info!

  42. Yudha Eka

    August 26, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for the help!

  43. Narendra DR

    August 27, 2018 at 9:52 am

    You're tips are simple & doable.

  44. TT Two

    August 29, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I blame SCIENCE

  45. jose leo

    August 31, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    This video actually keeps you from being more productive.

  46. Ankit Pradhan

    September 4, 2018 at 9:18 am

    thank u for putting up such gud content…
    Can u plz do me a favour..
    I used to run uphill quite a lot before ..infact along with that i used to work out a lot .. .
    And then
    I stopped running for some tym
    And now .. My calves and thighs hav become so sore that i cant even jog for a kilometer ..and even the thigh muscles ache while climbing stairs …

    I hav been going thru this for months ..
    Can u plz suggest me something
    Bcoz i dont knw whether it is bcoz of over workout r a break from jogging

  47. Hundred Years Boar

    September 27, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Yeah I don't really buy into the ego depletion hypothesis

  48. Arron Nash

    October 3, 2018 at 6:02 am

    This is nothing new. The problem is when you get to a point where all advice out there has either already been heard before, or it just goes in one ear and out the other. Other peoples words (these included), or actions, often just have zero impact on what you do. You're so dead inside that it just doesn't matter. I'm about to be homeless again within a few weeks, and have only myself to blame. I just don't care enough. I was in this position a decade ago, and will likely be in the same position a decade into the future. I just can't wait until this life is over. It's a failed one, but that's ok.

  49. Lindokuhle Zondi

    October 4, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks so much! This is so helpful!

  50. prettier than pink

    October 7, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    for me the BASIC QUALITY of a productive person is "not being lazy". and i don't really asssociate it to wealth. i mean a person can be rich/successful but lazy. maybe s/he is a wise person. it could also be due to company politics or worst sleeping with the boss. there are lots of factors. factors that vary on each individual like for instance not all people are cunning and people also have different moral standards etc. that's why i wanna simplify it! in other words in general, if you're NOT A LAZY person, then pretty much you're a productive person in my opinion and definition. i mean as what i mentioned not being lazy is the BASIC QUALITY of a productive person. some people say you can work smartly but working smartly can only do much in general. not being lazy is still the main key to being productive. 😊😊😊

  51. Rohit yadav

    October 15, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    habbit and schedule discipline

  52. Nouamane Bourdaoui

    November 1, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks a lot, you changed my whole mindset about studying, it's so easier now

  53. Nimit Nagpal

    November 2, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Brilliant! You marveled in summing up all that in such a short span of time. Well that's your PRODUCTIVITY.

  54. Simply Brittnie

    November 13, 2018 at 2:50 am

    I bet you whoever made this was procrastinating against doing it

  55. Míša Vu

    November 28, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Your videos are so educational I love them 🙂

  56. Miracle Schmidt

    December 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Watching this instead of doing homework.

  57. gabriel aponte

    December 10, 2018 at 6:01 am

    One of best videos 💪👍🏽👌🏽

  58. Sleepymoma

    December 18, 2018 at 9:00 am

    To lazy to watch…

  59. Dojo Detroit

    December 28, 2018 at 12:58 am

    this is absolutely brilliant. thank you.

  60. David Finți

    December 31, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Hi guys!
    Me and my boyfriend admire you two dearly!
    I'm curious if you know anything about how negative reinforcement would affect productivity and how would it be for someone that is motivated by wanting to avoid something bad from happening affect it?
    Keep it up! 🤗

  61. Justine Ramirez

    January 5, 2019 at 11:07 am

    This is what I need

  62. Audrey and Remington

    January 11, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    My list of things to accomplish tomorrow:
    Become President
    Finish all my homework for the year
    Do 5 back handsprings in a row
    Beat the world reccord for holding your breath

    2 days from now…
    Why can't I get anything done???

  63. WWZenaDo

    January 16, 2019 at 4:12 am

    @1:06 – Unfortunately an "elite musician" isn't like a construction worker, a building contractor, a do-it-yourselfer who is completely redoing a Victorian or Craftsman home. In such projects (which more realistically reflect the majority of tasks and projects that everyday humans face), there is a start, a goal in mind, and usually a schedule with multiple, complicated steps. There is the added pressure of needing to reach the bulk of the goal in order to have something to live in, to have a roof over one's head, etc. Then there's also the question of how to manage such projects when one aspect of the project (like the antiquated plumbing, for example) turns what was scheduled to be a simple task of a few days (install a new sink in a bathroom) into a monster project taking several months (the entire plumbing in the bathroom and all above the bathroom has been leaking for decades, causing rotten flooring and wall supports to weaken).
    Some help with remaining motivated and effective in the face of those sorts of epically difficult situations which devour far more time than they should, would be greatly appreciated.

  64. Swatantra Dhara

    January 19, 2019 at 4:11 am

    sometimes when you think you have to do this now. you feel a certain feeling that "I'm not ready now"
    how to face it? and defeat it?

  65. Aarav Nigam

    January 24, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Make a video to prevent social anxiety and also to cure it

  66. AerospaceAbby

    January 30, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    Or you could become ling ling and practice 40 hours a day

  67. Anne Sofie Merkistein

    February 17, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Watching this instead of doing what I was supposed to do

  68. ⓐⓨⓐ ⓗⓐⓓⓘⓛ

    February 17, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    – get started .
    – study short and smart not long , with breaks .
    – deadline .
    – write progress .
    – stop multitasking .

  69. Renso Valencia

    March 3, 2019 at 5:40 am

    1. Dont use fb, email, instagran
    2. Work 90 minutos after do other thing
    3. Planing your task
    4. Stop multi tasking

  70. Amit Carbyne

    March 5, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    tips for productivity
    1) start the project or next task – once you start it your brain wants to complete the task – zeigarnik effect
    2) don't spread your work in small pockets over the whole day – instead focus for 90 min – then take rest for 20min
    3) set deadline in your calendar
    4) make a accountability chart — write time gap — then what you accomplished in that time
    5) don't multi-task
    6) pre plan you task , to do list in the night for next day
    7) break your task in small tasks so that you get more dopamine release which keep you motivated to continue doing the work.,

  71. Landon Turner

    March 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    But disciplined scheduling requires willpower….


    March 19, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Imagine a world without homework and you could actually relax once your done with 7 hours of school
    I can’t imagine it either

  73. Ritika Rajan

    April 2, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Tomorrow my school is starting omg I am so nervous


    April 26, 2019 at 8:00 am


  75. Nisa three

    April 29, 2019 at 8:42 am

    To be motivated say:
    We can do it
    We will do it
    Iam unique

  76. Augusto Calixto

    April 29, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the info! Really concise and acessible.

  77. Threelly AI

    May 8, 2019 at 10:17 pm


  78. Amanda Zhang

    May 12, 2019 at 6:56 am

    i start with full confidence, i find it too hard, and procrastinate 🙂

  79. TheOmnipresent12

    May 12, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    hmmm, women have been bragging about their natural & far superior ability to multi-task for many years now. 
    Most men on the other hand (also more naturaly) focus on one task at a time. Review at 2:19 ladies lol.

  80. L. Francesca

    May 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    "Willpower can be exhausted"
    "The biggest barrier to productivity is just getting started! Just start and it will usually go well!"
    Me, looking at my empty barrel where I used to keep my willpower "Okay. How do I start? What do I use?"
    Also Zeigarnik effect doesn't work on my brain. Been midway through several books and stories for years. Progress is slow.
    Diagnosis? Depression. I'm just royally boned by brain chemistry. Thanks.

  81. Study With Karan

    May 19, 2019 at 10:09 am

    I Multitask All The Time. End Up Having An Headache With Work Incomplete And All Jumbled Up.

  82. Thot Police

    May 26, 2019 at 4:10 am

    Haha loser I practice piano 40 hours a day.

  83. Parijat

    June 2, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Video Summary-
    1) Just START your task
    2) Shorter work periods with allocated breaks- more effective (90 mins work; 15-20 mins break)
    3) Be aware of all your deadlines
    4) List down what you've accomplished- analyze whether you have actually been productive
    5) Make an action plan beforehand
    6) Plan things out in bite-size actions

  84. g 1

    June 4, 2019 at 7:08 am

    We are not machines. Machines are 'productive', we are human beings

  85. matie leyretana

    June 7, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    How to do perfect your job proffesion?

  86. I Like YouTube.

    June 10, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    It's always hard to be productive in something especially if your a master procrastinator then also Willpower can get deplited if your unmotivated and lazy lol so much work.

  87. תומר פילו

    June 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    This isn't helping me!

  88. scaslx

    July 5, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    The subtitle is locked. Please unlock it so anyone can correct it!

  89. Srijana V S

    July 6, 2019 at 5:06 am

    The title doesn't serve the content!?? I wanted the actual science behind,not the things I need to do!!

  90. Cybernetic Butterfly

    July 21, 2019 at 8:02 am

    The people who need this video are the people who, like me, can't make the accountability chart because the act of getting motivated enough to actually making a chart is too hard. Let alone stick with and revisit it.
    I have never seen any helpful tool that can help me with my inability to revist it. My brain has no memory of my desire to use the tool after the day i start on it.

  91. Cybernetic Butterfly

    July 21, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Conscientious tasks like notes and schedules won't ever help those who truly need these videos. If me and other desperate people who need productivity and motivation actually were able to do these tasks, tasks that conscientious people find second nature, we woudln't have our problems of lazines, loss of focus, loss of motivation, to begin with.

  92. Cybernetic Butterfly

    July 21, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Even things like reminders just becomes something that I reject in disgust and so become anti-motivational.

  93. mohammad mazhariroshan

    August 1, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    i've been unproductive for so many years. and i know ill forget about fixing it as soon as i finish watching this video. iget so distracted. i feel like i should give up.

  94. getMotivatednow

    August 3, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    best time management and productivity course available in the market 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  95. my first crappy video Billy

    August 5, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Employers don't care about productivity, they care about popularity.

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