“Focus on being productive, instead of busy”
It is a great quote, from the author of the ‘4 hour work week’ and productivity expert, Tim Ferris. The problem is, it is easier said than done! We all live busy lives and the world constantly applies more demands on us than ever before.
How can we possibly become more productive?
This question has saturated my life. I am dedicated to becoming the best and most productive version of myself and if you want more out of yourself and your life, you will know exactly what I mean. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people appear to achieve so much… How do they do that?
I spent years studying this. Studying the highest performers in the world… business leaders, sports coaches, olympic athletes and political leaders and I have found that there are trends and strategies that anyone can follow, which will improve productivity 10 fold.
Focus on just one thing at a time.
Put simply, focus solely on a singular objective until it is completed or you reach a specific milestone, then move onto another task.
What I am saying is that multi-tasking is for losers – don’t even try! If you do it will make you less proficient and less productive.
Lots of you won’t believe me, so let’s test it – Get a stopwatch and time how long it takes to do the following: Firstly, multitasking – Do both of these activities at the same time – Count out loud to 100 while writing down the alphabet twice. Secondly, tackle both exercises separately, counting to 100 first, then completing the writing task… Which test produced the better work in the quickest time?
If you try to multitask you will progress slower and less effectively. Focus on just one thing at a time and you will move quicker and perform better.
Get more done, to a higher standard by focusing on one task at a time.
Scrap to-do lists
There have been many studies on this and overall the resulting statistics tell us that 41% of the average to-do list doesn’t get done. The facts tell us a story, to-do lists are not an effective tool for productivity!
The highest performing people utilise calendars instead. They attribute all of the days objectives into time blocks. What this does is allow you to stay true to focusing on one objective at a time. You know that you will spend time on everything you need to, so it frees up your mind to the task in hand, rather than worrying about all the different tasks for the day.
I have to be honest, when you first start, putting everything into your calendar takes time and it is difficult to maintain the discipline. However I can honestly say that this is the single most effective productivity strategy I have ever used. When it is blocked into your calendar it gets done… it really is amazing!
Never ever sacrifice quality time
This is so important. To be ultra productive you need to be at your very best. This means the quality time in your life is vital because it will re-charge your energy levels and freshen your perspective.
When returning to your tasks after quality time, you will be more energised, quicker-thinking and at you most productive.
Unfortunately most of us will sacrifice quality time because we don’t think we have enough time to deliver on our objectives. So the strategy is: More work and less play.
The problem with this strategy is obvious – The more you deny yourself the quality time you need, the less productive, less energetic and less creative you will be!
Give yourself quality time… You will deliver more, deliver it quicker and at a higher quality.
Only deal with email/social media once per day
Here is a fascinating statistic: People who access their email or social media within the first 40 minutes from waking up, are over 25% less productive that those that don’t.
“Email is nothing but a convenient organising system for other peoples agenda’s.”
Don’t let it! It will be ridiculously rare, impossible even, for an email or social media post to be dealt with instantaneously! If it’s an emergency people don’t normally contact you via email or social media!
Instead of continually spending the day checking your inbox or you phone, block out time on your calendar for email and social media. By doing this, you will literally save hours on your average day!
Have a positive morning routine
The highest performing people in the world… petty much all of them… have a morning routine that pro-actively and consciously sets them up for an ultra productive day.
You already have a morning routine. The question is, does yours set up up for a great day? If not, why not?
Morning routines of high performers vary. Some people meditate, others do exercise, many write positive affirmations for the day or a journal.
The routines are different, the desire is the same: create a positive and conscious intention for the day ahead.
When you prepare to have a great day and set positive intentions, the more opportunity you will have of delivering a great day.
I have tried a number of morning routines and have developed one that works well for me. This has been another powerful addition to my life and I recommend you experiment with this yourself.
Maintain peak physiology
The last strategy I can offer is the most basic and simple advice ever. Everyone knows it… but not everyone follows it.
The more energy you have the more productive you are!
Therefore the highest performers in the world focus on how they treat their bodies. Ensuring they eat healthy, drink lots of water, sleep at least 7 hours per night and take breaks to relax.
It is really simple advice, but it is often ignored. If you are tired, dehydrated, undernourished then you will not be in peak condition… If you want to be at peak productivity then you need to be in peak condition.
High performers know this and utilise this to their advantage.
Putting it Together
These strategies are utilised by some of the most productive people in the world and they have worked for me too! If you want to improve your productivity, try one or two of these tactics… it could revolutionise your life!