How to be productive? Let’s see how Albert Einstein did it!


The year was 1915. Albert Einstein was in a bit of a pickle. Three years of arduous work were about to dissipate into thin air. His equation was flawed. For the cherry on top, one of his students was approaching the same concept with improved equations.

Instead of evading the problem looming ahead, Einstein did what he was best at. He approached the problem by focusing on one task at a time and worked until it was complete.

For months, Einstein focused vigorously on his equations. He worked on each problem in complete isolation.

This example spanned extremities, but this shows Einstein’s ability and willingness to focus and concentrate on one task at a time and stick to it until it was successfully completed. Most of us don’t need to isolate ourselves to get things done, especially with tools like TaskQue which can help you get things without burning your resources.

When Einstein died in 1955 in the New Jersey hospital, reporters gathered at his home to get the first glimpse of Einstein’s study table. His workspace was littered with tobacco pipes, dirty Coffee mugs, and a flurry of papers all over the place.

While science reveals that a messy desk depicts a genius mind, there are other productivity lessons we can all learn from Albert Einstein.

1) Adopt a minimalist lifestyle

Albert Einstein wasn’t one for hoarding his fortunes. In fact, he gave away most of his Nobel prize money to his wife. He adopted a minimalist mindset. When a group of students waited to greet him, he emerged from a third-class train compartment.

Do you think Einstein could not afford the small things? Yes, he could but he preferred a minimalistic lifestyle for a reason.

how to be productive - Minimalist-Life

Einstein believed that by focusing on things which really mattered, he could declutter his mind and put it to better use (which he did).

The key takeaway is that with minimalism, Einstein was able to focus his efforts on only a few things and made a conscious choice to ignore everything else which was not significant.

2) The daily ritual

When Einstein started teaching at Princeton University, he was already well-known by the public for his theory of relativity. He used to pick people off the streets and explain to anyone who would listen. Of course, this is something extreme and you cannot do this these days.

But, what you can do is to follow the daily ritual of Albert Einstein. Rituals and especially morning rituals can help you stay productive throughout the day.

Mason Currey in his best-selling book, Daily Rituals shares the daily routines of highly successful people. A stroll in the park, leafing through a book, or even lounging idly on the couch like Einstein can super-charge your productivity.

Of course, it is difficult for some people to be the creatures of habit, but successful people know that rituals are important, and they boost productivity in unimaginable ways.

For Albert Einstein, sticking to a daily routine allowed him to tackle the torpedo of scientific ideas raging inside him. As we’ve learned earlier, for Einstein it was all about the messy desk and the act of living a simple lifestyle which allowed him to accomplish great breakthroughs in the field of science.

3) The Pomodoro Technique

Multitasking is a myth and we all know it well. Leave all the multitasking woes behind. Einstein might not even have realized it at that time that he was following the Pomodoro technique to accomplish his important goals.

In the Pomodoro technique, a timer is set for a period and in that time, we only focus on one thing at a time, no distractions whatsoever. Einstein was adept at this. He had an uncanny ability to laser-focus his efforts on a single task and solely on the task at hand, never letting his mind astray even for a split moment.

Some people would frown upon the idea of disavowing multitasking and focusing on one thing at a time, but this is how the most successful people used to reach where they are today. Einstein was known for devoting a major chunk of time deeply immersed in thinking and introspecting. Without eating or talking to people, he used to spend all his energy on the task on hand. Want to daydream? Why not? Set the timer and spend some time observing the birds and trees outside your window. This time of reflection was critical to Einstein, as he keenly understood that his ideas had extraordinary value.

To wrap it all up

What makes Einstein so relatable is his ability to try something, failing, and trying something else to achieve the same result. When we look at the rituals of people like Einstein, we can learn how to become more productive and successful in our daily lives. Messy desks included.