My Top 10 Best Productivity Tips…Ever!

It’s 2017. Ten years ago, I took a leap of faith and quit my upwardly-mobile corporate job to become a professional organizer.  If you watched HGTV or TLC at the time, you probably saw a dozen shows about people cleaning up their houses.


I wanted to clean up businesses.  Kind of like the Niecy Nash of Corporate America.


You see, I was not born organized.  By every test known to psychology, I am a spontaneous scatterbrain who thinks calendars are for wimps who can’t remember stuff.


But, as you can expect, those personality preferences of mine were not serving me well in my job.  I was working longer and longer hours to get the same stuff done as the people who left at 5:30.


So, in my mid-20’s, I realized that I needed to find the proverbial way to “work smarter.”  I embarked on a journey of self-discovery that took years – seven years to be exact.  I read everything Stephen Covey wrote.  I attended every class available to me to learn how to manage my time.  I eventually started leaving at 5:30 with all the other productive people.


It shouldn’t have taken me seven years, folks.


When I quit my job, my new company’s mission statement was to help my clients to learn what took me seven years to grasp in much, much less time.  I wanted to help workers feel better about work, and themselves.


If you’ve done the math, ten years ago was the beginning of the Great Recession.  I quit my job two weeks before the markets collapsed.  However, I was successful thanks to a wonderful company who kept me busy for the first 18 months of my new business.  I will forever be grateful to Dan J. and Susan W. for giving me a chance to prove myself and build my entrepreneurial muscle.


Here we are ten years later.  It has been the ten best years of my career.


To celebrate, I have scoured my videos and blog posts to come up with the list below.  I analyzed my website visits to bring you…


My Top 10 Productivity Tips (2007 – 2017):


  1. How to Turn Procrastination To Your ADVANTAGE! Video (34,182 views)
  2. Are Franklin Planners a Dying Breed? Video (12,107 views; 35 comments, most from angry people)
  3. The Psychology of Being Organized Video (5,503 views)
  4. Paper Planner Systems – A Review Blog/Newsletter (3,191 views)
  5. Drag-and-Drop Features in Outlook Blog/Newsletter (3,123 views)
  6. What’s In a Name? Blog/Newsletter (2,418 views)
  7. Automating Repetitive Actions in Microsoft Outlook Blog/Newsletter (1,851 views)
  8. Finishing Well Blog/Newsletter (1,635 views)
  9. Mind Map Your Way to Productivity Blog/Newsletter (1,584 views)
  10. My 3 Favorite Features of Microsoft Outlook Video (1,505 views)


If I were giving an acceptance speech at the Tony Awards, the music would be playing right now to tell me to wrap it up and get off the stage.  However, if I were to pretend to be Bette Midler, I’d ignore the music and say what I wanted to say anyway.


The path of entrepreneurship has been the biggest challenge of my career, perhaps my life.  I am so grateful for my husband who always encouraged me to look at the right metrics of success, my daughter who became my marketing assistant at the age of 12, and my son who, to this day, is still not sure what I do for a living.


I have had countless professional mentors and advisors, but none so ever-present as Jen Dangelo, my coach and encourager.  Thank you.


I started this blog as an email newsletter with 19 subscribers.  Today, thousands of you care to read what I write.  It makes me so happy to picture you in my head when I’m writing.


So, thanks for a great 10 years folks.  Here’s to the next 10.





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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.



  1. Kathy Jordan

    Congratulations on 10 years! It was an honor to know you when you first got started…miss seeing you around.

    • Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.

      Thanks, Kathy. You were a huge help during my work at BCBST. I appreciate you!

  2. Jen Dangelo

    I am so very proud of you, and I count myself blessed to have learned from and with you as we have taken this journey!

    My new favorite productivity tool is a Bullet Journal! I have become obsessed with it to keep me on track at home and at work for all the to-dos I normally try to keep in my head (I know, I know, a no-no!). There is just something about checking things off as I get them done that motivates me to find other things to write down and check off!

    • Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.

      Jen, my favorite productivity tool is a great adviser and accountability partner! 🙂

  3. Janet Barclay

    Congratulations, Melissa! Maybe the things that take us the longest to learn will stick with us the longest. That would be good, eh?

  4. Janet Schiesl

    I also started working on my personal organization in my twenties. My stuff was organized but I needed a lot of work on time management. I took it slow, reading books to learn. Slowly but surely I gained skills to help me.


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