Today I want to share with you a couple of my productivity tricks for creating insane, laser focus, conquering procrastination, and doubling your productivity.
In a bygone era, which actually isn’t too long ago, you could only be reached by phone, mail or an in-person visit. If you had a task to complete, you could shut your door and have your calls held. Today, we have dozens of communication access points and devices that are constantly interrupting our attention from our productive tasks—e-mail, texts, IMs, RSS feeds, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. That said, one of the WORST mistakes you could make is to search for the best productivity apps or productivity software.
The truth is… You have to take control and stay in control of your attention and focus. Here are a few techniques on how to be productive, that I use to stay focused and accomplish more in less time.
Take similar tasks and do them as a group. If I have to review articles, I save them until there is a group and then do them all at one time. If I have interview prep work or writing projects to do, I will knock out several at a time. If I line up an appointment out of the office, I try to schedule all of my outside appointments for that day. Grouping similar tasks is also why you should only check your email twice a day. Let it stack up so you can power through it more quickly, rather than allowing it to distract you throughout the day.
Now carve out chunks of time to handle your group tasks. For instance, I block out time on my schedule to process email, make phone calls, prepare for meetings, prepare for media appearances and presentations, and even manage my social media and networking. I also schedule blocks of time to just think about something. Now, when I am in a chunk, I don’t do anything else—just as if I were in a closed-door meeting. If something urgent comes up, when it’s done, I look at my calendar and see what chunk I am supposed to be in and get back to it.
This, I think, is one of the greatest secrets to high productivity. Whatever it is you are doing, the hardest part is getting going and then getting into a “flow.” My good friend Kyle Wilson reminded me of the Brian Tracy analogy of a plane getting off the ground. It takes more fuel (energy) to get the plane going 80 mph on the ground than it does for the plane to cruise at 400 mph in the air. Whatever you want to get off the ground and significantly advance, it is far better to go hard at it for a short but sustained period of time than it is to do it intermittently over a long period of time.
When I learned this principle, I would structure my goals around 90-day cycles. Depending on the goals I needed to accomplish, I would break the tasks into compressed chunks within the 90 days—three 30-day cycles or six two-week cycles.
As an example, when I was building a national distributorship, I would focus solely on recruiting for 30 days. Focused on this task alone and no other distractions, I could recruit more in 30 days than most people did all year. Then the next 30 days would be dedicated exclusively to training those new recruits. The the final 30 on sorting leaders, driving group campaigns and recognizing the top achievers. Once I finished, I would start another 90-day cycle.
By compressing key tasks into extended windows of time, I could fly at 400 mph, while everyone else spent most of their time in constant take-off mode, just trying to get off the ground. By the end of the year the difference in results were massive in comparison with everyone else.
How about you? Which of these was your favorite productivity trick that you’ll implement this week? Choose at least ONE and implement it immediately.