14 Best productivity courses online. Become your most productive self.
Essentially, to be productive is to create or to process. The quantity and the quality of what you put out will determine your value as a member of the workforce or as an entrepreneur. That said, being productive is not just about your abilities. Productivity encompasses knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
It is also about managing your time and being as effective as possible with the time you have to produce value. So how to learn it? In this post, you will get a tour of some of the best productivity courses online to help you become your most productive self.
Productivity Courses Online – Overview
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the importance of productivity lies in striking a more advantageous balance between input and output. In other words, to increase output without increasing inputs proportionally is to win at the game.
With growth in productivity, an economy is able to produce – and consume – increasingly more goods and services for the same amount of work.
On the other hand, your personal productivity is linked to your ability to live your best life and be your best self. Depending on what you want to do (produce), your plan of action will be made up of details that form a picture of your personal productivity.
These details will include how long you give yourself to complete your project, the tools and skills you need, and the process you will use. In terms of your personal input/output balance, the beginning of your input is mental preparation.
Below are now listed some of the best productivity courses online. Some focus on providing tips and philosophies and are rather short while others teach comprehensive strategies and systems and thus require a longer time commitment. Enjoy.
Best Productivity Courses Online – Top Picks
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*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.
Note: This round-up aims to give an overview of the best productivity courses online. It is not meant to be comprehensive as there are many other online classes available.
1. Become a SpeedDemon 2: Productivity Tricks – Udemy
In ‘Become a SpeedDemon 2’ (visit website) you will “learn productivity strategies and easy-to-use tricks to help you get through everyday tasks faster and more efficiently”. Instructor Jonathan Levi of SuperHuman Academy will help you with hacks and tips to improve computer-based productivity and become conscious about “time-wasters”.
He asks that learners come with an open mind, but no prior knowledge is required. This productivity course is version 2 of the original and very popular class. Tried by many, it could be well worth learning where and when to use automation and improve efficiency.
Indeed, some learners said the course was full of useful tools and mental tricks. On the other hand, some of the recommended solutions that are taught are not available for free. Apart from that, it is certainly one of the most popular and best productivity courses here.
Charismatic doctor and YouTuber Ali Abdaal (view course) started sharing productivity advice while he was still in medical school. He is a wiz at note-taking, review strategies and ways to lock information into your long-term memory.
He says: “Being productive is really just about understanding the productivity equation and then figuring out which bits we need to optimize to apply to our own lives”.
This is the first of a series of productivity courses. He breaks down the concept of productivity into principles, theories, laws and powers. By gaining a better understanding of productivity, he believes that we can all then work towards living more productive, happier lives.
Learners found Abdaal engaging and his content useful. Some found his anecdotes too specific to his own life for them to be useful to a wider audience. That said, this class will likely appeal to post-secondary students, especially if you are in graduate or post-grad programs. One of the best productivity courses on this platform though.
3. Modern Productivity — Superhuman Focus In A Distracted World – Udemy
Entrepreneur and Journalist Brad Merrill says you will “boost your productivity, reclaim your focus, and achieve your goals with this proven approach to personal productivity” In this course, you will learn to identify peak hours for productivity and use “the power of habit”.
Merrill touches on many core principles of personal productivity, including work ethic, self-reflection, procrastination, and goal setting. He promises positive results if you will put all of what he teaches you to action.
For some students, it was an eye-opener. Poor habits like social media distraction became more apparent to them in a way that made them want to put an end to it. While suitable for everyone, this productivity course particularly offers value for entrepreneurs and creatives.
Merrill apparently gives a product demonstration of the popular to-do list app Todoist. If you use this app and want to maximize it, you will get some extra value out of this course.
Thomas Frank is known for his website College Info Geek, which he created while he himself was a university student as a resource for other students. On it, he shares productivity tips and study strategies. This is one of his two Skillshare classes. He teaches “task management essentials”, as well as filing, note taking and email management.
This productivity course (view) targets professionals, employees, and students alike. Some learners found it ‘too basic’, implicating that the word ‘Masterclass’ in the title is a misnomer. Positive reviews, however, point out how the information was organized. This is one of the best productivity courses online for entrepreneurs and is easy for beginners.
Instructor: Thomas Frank. Skillshare | Level: All levels | Video Lectures: 10
Class Projects: 165 | User Review: 4.6 ★★★★☆
Info: View course. From $8.99/month. Get free trial and try all productivity courses.
5. Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less – Udemy
This National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) CPE accredited course is taught by productivity coach Alexis Haselberger. The subtitle offers you the opportunity to “Take control of your time, your to-do list, and ‘your overwhelm’”.
Haselberger will help you plan your work and goals out to save time. The fact that she shows you to use your own natural traits and tendencies to optimize your productivity and your time is encouraging. It’s a you-have-what-it-takes-to-win approach that makes this program customizable to and actionable for each unique learner.
Many learners found this productivity course full of useful material, while others didn’t get anything new out of it. Notably, it appears that Ms. Haselberger replied to every single review she received whether it was a 5 star or 1-star rating. Clearly, she is concerned about every learner’s experience. That’s a good sign!
6. Essential Productivity Training – GoSkills
Freelancer and educator Francesco D’Alessio presents this training that helps you maximize free productivity tools, including Evernote, Todoist, Google Calendar, and Slack. You will learn how to select apps to use and how best to use each one.
In the description, D’Alessio asks the question “how many of us maintain the level of productivity we’d like to have every day?” It is a valid question for busy people for whom a successful to-do list is a seasonal event.
For anyone who might question the validity of a course that simply shows you how to use apps to organize yourself, D’Alessio says “Apps are a tool to your productivity like a shoe is to a runner.” That’s a hard analogy to argue against.
If you are into using technology to help you do live in other ways and would like to do so to increase your productivity, this class is right up your alley. It is one of the best productivity courses online for entrepreneurs, freelancers and corporate employees.
Instructor: Francesco D’Alessio. GoSkills | Certificate: Yes
Level: Beginner | Video Lectures: 34 | Study Time: 2.5 hours
User Review: 4.8 ★★★★★. View Course. Try for free.
7. Improve Your Organizational Skills – LinkedIn Learning
Dave Crenshaw, Gini von Courter, and Suzanna Kaye take turns covering Time Management basics, Using Outlook Calendar and To-Do Lists and Improving Your Focus in this course. It is actually a series of management, focus and productivity courses that can each be taken individually. Just pick the best.
As a collection, the program promises to help you “Boost your productivity by managing time more efficiently, creating effective to-do lists, and sharpening your focus on what matters most.” One key skill you will walk away from this productivity course is how to protect your focus from daily distractions. That is a must for optimal productivity.
Instructors: Dave Crenshaw, Gini von Courter, Suzanna Kaye. LinkedIn Learning
Level: Beginner | Learning Path: 4 Productivity Courses
Plans: View course. from $17.99/month annually. Get a 1-Month free trial.
8. Getting Things Done – LinkedIn Learning
A very simple title that emphasizes the point of productivity, Getting Things Done is taught by David Allen, a productivity and time management expert. In this course, Allen walks you through his five-step process. Allen clearly understands how busy people feel when they are trying in vain to be as productive as they can be.
The course promises to help you “stay on top of your work and avoid feeling buried by it while carving out space in your life to do more meaningful things”. The description gives the impression that you will walk away having a better idea of how to prioritize all the things that demand your attention and have a new sense of clarity at the end of the day.
This is one of the best productivity courses suitable for a wider audience and learning outcomes can be applied to all tasks, projects and goals.
9. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity
Offered by the University of California, this productivity course counts as part of the Career Success Specialization. Instructor, Margaret Meloni, has an MBA with a background in IT project management and runs her own corporate coaching company.
With such learning outcomes as delegating effectively, managing expectations and learning when to say “No” when appropriate, it is clear that Meloni is a productivity pro. In week one, she hits you with “Smart Work Habits Just Don’t Happen”.
Many found this course helpful and practical, while some found it too “elementary” for seasoned professionals. This may be so, but there is something to be said for going back to basics with the help of a great coach to build your productivity from the ground up.
Provider: University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education, Coursera
Instructor: Margaret Meloni | Complete in 5 hours.
Pricing: View Course. Certificate available for a fee. | User Review: 4.5 ★★★★☆
10. Effective Problem-Solving and Decision-Making – Coursera
Another UCI course and part of two specializations on Coursera, instructor and project manager Rob Stone targets your ability to think critically. You will learn to “use analysis, synthesis, and positive inquiry to address individual and organizational problems.” Stone will help you gain critical thinking skills that you will need “in today’s turbulent times.”
Reviewers liked the content and found it practical, even one who appears to be employed with the United Nations. One reviewer commented that the content covered is also available in business management degree courses. If that’s true, then this course presents an opportunity to get a BA education without spending thousands on a degree program.
One learner also said the instructor’s English was simple enough for non-native English speakers to easily follow. One of the best productivity courses online to get familiar with the topic, principles and strategies quickly.
Provider: University of California, Irvine | Instructor: Rob Stone
Complete in 5 hours. | Info: View Website. | User Review: 4.4 ★★★★☆
11. Workflow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives – CreativeLive
This could be one of the best productivity courses to help you build and implement your own productivity systems. Lisa Congdon, a fine artist, illustrator and author, will show you a workflow system, to-do list ideas and ways to manage distractions.
The time management strategy she shows you is known as “time-blocking”. Remember when you were selecting time blocks in advance for each thing you need to do every day? Did you know it was a thing?
Learners found Congdon generous, as the systems she shared are the very ones that helped her maximize her own productivity. She offers tools that will help with the practical application of the productivity systems she will help you construct.
12. The Science of Everyday Thinking – edX
“Learn how to think better, argue better, and choose better” says this University of Queensland Australia course offering’s description. A team of three instructors helps you explore such psychology as forming opinions, expectations, judgment and “why people believe weird things” using the scientific method.
It is said that productivity starts in the mind. The rationale of this course appears to be that if you can make better decisions, your productivity will improve. Skills that will turn you into a more logical thinker can empower you to produce value more effectively.
Figuring out that you are impulsive, and knowing what a handicap that makes a big difference. Actually targeting that as a foundational move towards becoming a better you is an investment that will return you big dividends. It is one of the best productivity courses online if you look for a university-style teaching approach.
Provider: University of Queensland, UQx. edX
Level: Introductory. | Instructors: Emma MacKenzie, Jason Tangen, Matthew Thompson
Duration:: 12 weeks. 2-3 hours/week | Pricing: Free. Certificate $89
13. How To Create A Productivity System – Highbrow
This is a course that can help you to develop a “productivity system that allows you to get more done with less stress”. Productivity blogger Paul Minors teaches you how to manage your time, energy, and attention, to become a more effective person.
Learners found it useful for helping to overcome procrastination, as well. The course description promises a step-by-step guide through using tools and apps to organize tasks and plan your time more efficiently. The lessons come by email every day for ten days. This might be one of the best productivity courses if you plan to subscribe to Highbrow.
Instructor: Paul Minors. Highbrow | Level: Beginner
Format: 1 email lesson/day| Study Time: 10 days. 5min/day.
User Review: 88% recommendation ★★★★☆
14. How To Make Better Decisions With The Matrix – Highbrow
Known as the “in-house productivity expert” in her own workplace, instructor Kari Beaulieu brings you one of the most accessible and practical productivity courses online.
The class description, along with the header image of a man covered in sticky notes, speaks directly to those of us who feel like we are drowning in “to-dos”. Often, with so much to do, you are still not as productive as you can be.
Beaulieu welcomes you to the Matrix. In the second lesson, she presents the Eisenhower method to prioritize. The 34th president of the United States may not be around anymore, but Dwight D. Eisenhower’s tried and true method for decision-making endures with four simple quadrants that provide you a very effective prioritization tool.
Instructor: Kari Beaulieu. Highbrow | Level: All
Format: 1 email lesson/day| Study Time: 10 days. 5min/day.
User Review: 93% recommendation ★★★★★
How To Choose The Best Productivity Courses Online
Some of these online productivity courses are geared more for full-time post-secondary students for whom the biggest productivity challenge is in their academics.
Others are designed to help people in their everyday lives or will be more helpful to people with careers or interests in specific fields.
For the most part, the key to choosing the best productivity courses online is to look at the instructor’s background. Once you’ve found a class of interest look for a match between you and the instructor. Their personal bios give you enough to go on terms of their experience, their personality, and their target audience.
The consolation is that there is probably someone out there who has overcome the plight you are facing now. When you discover that instructor, you have found the right course.
Best Productivity Courses 2021 – Verdict
Here it is, our list of best productivity courses online. To summarize, I’d like to emphasize again that productivity is directly connected to purpose. Without purpose, life can certainly feel empty and people make poor choices due to a lack of direction.
Or, as personal development coach Carthage Buckley says: a highly productive lifestyle begins as a mindset. He identifies seven characteristics, including having a clear vision, living your purpose, and being focused.
A more widely known route to personal productivity is taken by those who ascribe to Franklin & Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Individual values such as being proactive and putting first things first are almost cliché, but when practiced well, they can improve a person’s contribution.
Improving your own productivity can help you become a contributor to the collective productivity of your community. Productive people usually encourage others around them to be productive. This makes you an asset to your family, your business, and your workplace. On a larger scale, think about how your personal productivity could positively impact your city, your country and your world.
Collective productivity is critical for sustaining communities, cities, and nations, but personal productivity is essential, too. The latter is critical for a meaningful, fulfilling life. It is the key to deciding how one should spend the numbered days each of us has.
If done well, productivity courses focused on equipping people with skills and information to increase their personal outcomes can be pivotal for many. Whether you believe you need a productivity course or not, you should see what’s out there. There is always room for growth in this area.
Best Productivity Courses 2021Coursera
- Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity
- Effective Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
- Improve Your Organizational Skills
- Getting Things Done
- Become a SpeedDemon 2: Productivity Tricks
- Modern Productivity — Superhuman Focus In A Distracted World
- Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less
- Productivity Masterclass: Create a Custom System that Works
- Productivity Masterclass – Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity
- Workflow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives
- Essential Productivity Training
- The Science of Everyday Thinking
- How To Create A Productivity System
- How To Make Better Decisions With The Matrix
What are the best productivity courses online 2020? Let us know in the comments below.
Best Ted Talks Productivity
Here are some suggestions of the best Ted Talks on productivity. I don’t aim to offer a comprehensive list. I have chosen them because I like them.
Tim Ferris – Smash Fear, learn anything.
Arianna Huffington – How to succeed? Get more sleep.
David Autor – Will automation take away all our jobs?
Yves Morieux – How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done
Anthony Goldbloom – The jobs we will lose to machines, and the ones we won’t.
Rainer Strack – The workforce crisis of 2030 — and how to start solving it now
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