Think about this… only 20% of your actions actually drive 80% of your results. This means that slogging away at your business simply isn’t the right road to success.
In fact, the most productive AND successful people know how to work short, focused hours, and then take some time off.
There are 5 productivity secrets that you should really know and use, in order to move forward with your business, in a way that feels good for both your business and your life:
Hack #1: Make friends with time
No matter how strange this might sound, stop competing with time. Just think about how often you catch yourself saying “There’s not enough time to..”, “I’m running out of time..”, “Days are too short”, etc.
If you are setting a negative relationship with time, then you’ll always struggle with it. All day. Every day. It’s as simple as that.
How many times have you felt great about an enemy? The answer is probably: Never.
The same thing happens with time. If you take time as your enemy, it will turn it into a continuous source of pain and frustration in your life.
So, instead, just change the mindset: Time is your friend, as long as you treat it with respect, and embrace its value.
In the end, your problem is not the lack of time, but your current approach to it. So, start from there and consider using Stephen Covey’s time management matrix to determine the important vs the urgent in your business and life. Stop counting all the things you do and start doing all the things that count.
Hack #2: Ditch the multi-tasking myth
Look, I get it, we were lead to believe that multi-tasking is a great quality of intelligent and skillful people. But, guess what, it’s not. Multi-tasking is one of the biggest illusions of our modern society. The most recent studies show that multi-tasking makes people much more stressed and much less effective.
The psychologist and computer scientist Gerald Weinberg has conducted a research that famously busted the multi-tasking myth. His study shows that, when you work on a single project, that project gets 100% of your time. But, when you work on two projects, in parallel, each one gets only 40% of your time, while 20% is lost in the context switching process.
And, when you work on 3 projects, in parallel, guess what? Each one gets only a maximum of 20% of your time, while 40 % of it is just lost. Basically, this means that, if you have three projects and eight hours to work on them, then in actual terms, you are only productive for less than 5 hours, and you have lost the rest.
When you switch between projects, the brain needs time to reassociate, recalibrate and refocus to where you left off. So, the time-waste caused by project switching is real, and it is huge.
Conclusion? Working inside of a multi-tasking model just means working inside of a broken model. Instead, take one project at a time, follow through with it and only after get to the next one.
Successful people don’t multi-task, they focus.
This simply means that, when you know what is important, treat it as top priority and deal with everything else later. Just ignore invitations, emails, news feeds, and basically any distractions that come your way.
This is a discipline muscle that can be developed in time, to make sure that nothing can take you off track from your self-imposed deadlines and goals.
Social media are the biggest time sink nowadays. The average American spends 3.2 hours on social media each day, which means 21 hours per week. The only chance for your productivity is to disable all your social media notifications and use apps like News Feed Eradicator for your computer. This new wave of apps will block your access to your newsfeed and remind you to get back to work.
The second biggest distraction is texting / messaging. How many times have you started by just answering a single message and then roped yourself into a never-ending unproductive conversation? Just switch your phone on the airplane mode or at least use the silent mode and exile it in a corner of your desk during the working moments.
One condition to train this discipline is to get clear on each day’s top priorities and focus on the real work, that moves you forward.
Hack #4: Set up a non-negotiable morning routine
Research shows that jumping out of bed and heading directly to email cuts 30% out of your daily productivity. You are practically offering your day to be run by other peoples’ agendas, and this puts you in an unproductive state of reaction.
Now, the secret of taking back control of your day is to set up a morning routine. Develop a small collection of things you do for yourself before you start interacting with the rest of the world. This could include drinking a glass of water, meditating for a few minutes, cuddling with your kid or exercising.
Just choose habits that can boost your energy and fire you up for the day. Like this, you can start your day centered, and focused on your mission, priorities and goals so you can swiftly navigate through the day’s distractions and stay on top of the real work, the one important for your business.
As simple as this might seem, these small habits will set you up for success on physical, emotional and mental levels. So, just create your own morning routine and make it non-negotiable.
Hack #5: Exercise
It’s very hard to be physically and mentally alert when you feel heavy, fatigued and tight. When our body doesn’t feel well, we get tense, uncomfortable and grumpy, and these sensations boil up into our emotions and ultimately into our results.
Obviously, exercise plays an important part in maintaining good physical shape, which improves your overall work ability. And it also boosts the mental health, curbing feelings of overwhelm or anxiety, and helping you better deal with stress.
But the most important way that exercise can boost your productivity is by increasing your alertness. Your blood flow to the brain gets accelerated and this sharpens your awareness and focus on your work.
Dispel the illusion that you don’t have enough time and take 30 minutes each day to exercise, to stay in the sunlight, or to offer your body fresh air and new energy to stride through the day.
If you don’t have 30 minutes for yourself, you don’t have a life. So just set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and give yourself the energy boost that you need.
As a coach, you are naturally ambitious and tend to take on more than you actually have the time and energy for. But all your small decisions add up and the way you approach your work day in and day out determines how well the whole year goes.
Nevertheless, it is always possible to hack your way so you increase your productivity. Just always aim to outclass the person you were the day before. Celebrate your small productivity wins and allow them to turn into a routine and transform your life.