The Most Practical Steps Towards Increasing Your Productivity

Posted on July 29th, 2013

Principles

  • You can’t manage time. You can only manage yourself and your attention.

  • People have and infinite capacity for self-deception.

  • If you want to add something new into your life, you have to remove something else first.

  • Know your resources: emotional, intellectual, physical.

  • Success is not a destination. It’s the trail you leave behind you. Want to be more productive? Don’t watch TV.1

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The Productivity Pyramid

High Dollar Per Hour Activities

  • Ring the cash register
  • Bring in sales

Low Dollar Per Hour

  • “Busywork”
  • Administration
  • Errands
  • Shopping
  • Repetitive tasks

Zero Or Negative Value X

  • Worry
  • Idle chatter
  • Distracting others
  • Most “news’

Attention and Energy Management

  • Create two lists: where are you wasting your time and what are you willing to give up?

  • Want to work less and get more done? Use small and achievable to-to lists to raise your baseline level of productivity. Early gains come from simply reorganizing your time and wasting it less rather than by working longer.2

  • Take a cyber-vacation every six months. Take a 7-14 days faction and unplug completely from the Internet and work.

  • Schedule a reflection day and put in your calendar. During this day, think reflectively, creatively, and strategically.3

How To Increase Your Productivity

  • To become more productive, redesign your environment and make your new habits more convenient to do and your bad habits less convenient to do.

  • Use feedback loops (evidence procedure) - how do you know that you are succeeding?

  • Think about your unproductive habits. How do you defend your habits? What are the secondary gains?

The Entrepreneurial Achilles’ Heel

  • Spreading ourselves too thin and working on too many tasks and projects simultaneously.

  • Ask yourself, where I’m spread too thin? What can I stop?

  • Starting new projects constantly but not getting anything done.

  • Controlling and “micro-managing” projects, details that we should delegate.

  • Ask yourself, what am I micro-managing? What can I delegate?

Procrastination

  • Procrastination is deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Procrastination can be described as having poor cognitive skills in predicting your future mental states and choosing between now or later. Dismissal of the better payoff diminishes over time.4

  • Later is an easy place to throw all the things you don’t want to deal with. Procrastination can lead to over-commit to future plans. It is easy to run out of time to get things done because you think in the future. You assume that some time in the future, you will have more free time than you have now.

  • Want to stop procrastinating? Outsmart yourself. Stop making empty promises by entering dates into your calendar. Stop setting deadlines for physical exercise. Stop overloading your future self.

  • Accept the possibility that the now you will not facing those choices in the future. The future your is a person who can’t be trusted. The future you will give in and will become the now you. Do what you have to do right now to benefit your present self and your future self.

Keep It Simple - Less Is More

  • Set Limits on your how much you use your email, daily tasks, projects, and blogs.

  • Focus on what really matters. What are your values? What are your goals?

  • What and who do you love the most? What or who is important to you? What projects, tasks, people, or services have the biggest impact?

  • Choose essentials which will have the greatest impact with minimal resources. Maximize your time and energy to focus more on the long-term projects.5

  • Know the difference between your needs and your wants. Identify your real needs.

  • Simplification is key to freedom. Which areas of your life are overwhelming?Limit your possessions, information you receive, and responsibilities you have. Review your life constantly (every month).

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To-Do List - 3-2 Rule

  • Acknowledge that you can do only 3 big things and 2 small things per day. Focus on completing them and call it a day! Use index cards or smartphone app to write down the three most important things that you can achieve the next day.6

  • You can also sit down ever morning and write 3 main things and 2 small ones.

  • Most important items should take from 2 to 3 hours. Minor tasks should take no more than 20 minutes.

How To Get More Done

Taken from Chris Brogan’s post on how to get more done.

Optimum brain functionality

  • Adequate rest - how many hours did you sleep last night?

  • A clear head - how fast did you reach for your phone to check email, texts, social networks?

  • Decent breakfast - the number of people who don’t eat within the first hour of waking up is staggering

  • Clear set of operating instructions - do you have any kind of template for how you’ll arrange your months, weeks, days?

How to Get More Done

  • Consistency is key
  • No screens or radio after 9pm 
  • No phone first thing in the AM 
  • No news or radio first thing, either 
  • Right before bed - notepad to jot nagging thoughts 
  • The willingness to try this for 7 days in a row

At 9pm

  • Have a glass of milk or almond milk or water
  • Very small snack - preferably a small handful of nuts
  • Go to bed no later than 10pm
  • Set your alarm for 6am - no snooze
  • Do not touch your phone, laptop, TV or radio

Morning

  • Upon waking, take the first 5 to 10 minutes and just breathe deeply

  • Get a light breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking

  • If you have the time, get in a 15-20 minute brisk walk or work out

  • Whatever your morning will allow, write down most important 3 tasks you want to accomplish today. At least the name of the projects you need to tackle. Not every task. Not your huge to-do list. Just 3 that you need to deal with in some way. You have 3 minutes (total!).Look for “fires” in your inbox

Positive Suggestions

  • Rest will give me competitive power and extra willpower.

  • Giving myself time for my own clarity will improve my processing power.

  • Shutting out the craziness of other people’s lives for a while will empower my own choices.

  • Knowing what matters to me and my day and also to those who I serve is a great first set of instructions to consider.

  • Breathing (maybe meditating) and moving my body are necessary (vital!) to juicing my systems.

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Questions or comments? Send me an email