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In previous articles on productivity we've discussed your environment, your body chemistry, and ways to get into flow. If you've read (and understood!) those pieces then you're ready for the magic pill of productivity. You can take this pill as often as you need to calibrate your performance and productivity until you're satisfied. But it can only be taken by those willing to be fully honest with themselves about the real and honest priorities in their lives.
It is often said that we show our priorities by what we do, not by what we say. Two metrics we can use to track our priorities are by where we spend our time and money. Take out a sheet of paper and try to honestly quantify how much time you spend on:
While it's easy to say "lead by example" when it comes to productivity, it's also important to use tools to get your entire team moving in the same direction. These tools can help to create accountability, stoke desire, and encourage competition in your team. Used effectively, they can take your team's performance to an entirely new level.
There's a story from a business book that recounts how a business owner wanted to foster greater competition between his employees in a factory. The factory ran two 12 hour shifts, one for the daytime and one overnight. One day he wrote a number in chalk on the ground. "What's that?" some employees asked as they came onto the factory floor. "Oh, I think the day shift left that there. That's how many units they were able to put out, and I think they bragged that there was no chance the night shift could hit that number." "Oh, really?" was the reaction among the workers. Sure enough,...
Years ago you would have had to do a bit of explaining to someone if you threw around the word "flow" casually in a conversation. But more and more people have learned about this state of mind that leads to enhanced performance, so the question naturally follows: how do I get there, especially if I'm not yet in the position of working in something I am particularly engaged in? Here are eleven simple ways to help get you into a flow state faster:
So many people, like Tim Ferriss, have experimented with their own bodies over the last two decades (and come back to share results with their audiences) that terms like serotonin and endorphins, far from being the domain of medical students or nutritionists, are now commonly understood in at least a vague way. There are chemicals and hormones that our bodies release in order to make us feel a certain way or want to do certain things. What highly productive people do is use that knowledge to their advantage, taking care to load up on certain chemicals when necessary while also avoiding the possibilities of addiction to those chemicals.
Dopamine: this neurotransmitter sends messages between brain cells. It motivates you to take action and gives you pleasure when you achieve something. Rewards for achievement are good...until their too much of a good thing. As with anything pleasurable, humans can sometimes keep reaching for...
Success on Monday starts on Sunday night. Sunday night looks at three months from now. The vision of three months from now comes from looking at the year in advance. So it's not an overstatement to say that the success of one day starts with your vision for one year.
We should say there are a couple fallacies we want to deal with at the start:
When you search for help in productivity you'll often find tips on creating accountability, making better to-do lists, and managing stress. Those are helpful things to work on (we know, we wrote the articles about them!). But what many don't realize is that there are easy (but not obvious) fixes hidden in plain sight. In this article we'll discuss four of them which will help you become even more productive.
There are bills that need to be paid each month, that don't change in amount, and aren't really up for debate as to whether you will pay them. These include rent, electricity, internet, utilities, etc. These should definitely be set on some kind of autopay so that you don't have to dedicate any time or energy to dealing with them. Almost all the companies you pay recurring bills to will offer some kind of automatic payment mechanism. Take advantage of this free feature to get rid of some unnecessary time you've...
We love lists. It's a way for us to keep score, but also to keep track. There are wish lists, bucket lists, check lists, and of course, to-do lists. These last lists can give us anxiety, if we let them. They can be a repository of everything we have on our mind, if we let them. But these to-do lists should not ever be used in their raw form as a working document.
The obvious reality is that not all items on your list are created equal. Dropping something off at the dry cleaners or making a doctor's appointment are both errands, but they shouldn't really be on the "same" list as "plan family vacation" or "have conversation with daughter about dating." All of these are things that need to be done, but if they all simply live on a to-do list, not only will that list be very long (and hence disheartening), but from a getting things done perspective, it will be useless.
The phrase "measure twice, cut once" was...
One of the points that Chris Reynolds makes in our course on High Performance Productivity is the idea that "Your environment is stronger than your willpower." This is, of course, simply a variant on the ubiquitous "You're are the average of the five people you are closest to." If you are working in a messy environment, it's hard to turn out clean and pleasant work. If you're working in a pleasant and friendly environment, you're automatically predisposed to perform better. Obviously we can't always control every single aspect of our environments, but those elements we can control, we should, and should do so intentionally.
Your own personal workspace is the easiest place to start. Is it clean or is it cluttered? Are you going to make the argument that you can only work if it's cluttered? Or are you willing to clean up the space and put systems in place to keep it clean? What sort of distractions -- visual...