I opened up a notebook of mine this weekend and my eye was stopped by an old quote that I’d recorded some months earlier…
“Work expands to fill the time alloted to it”.
Think about that…
It means that whatever work you have to do, will take up the amount of time you decide you will do it in.
If you decide you’re going to work 8 hours a day, whether you’ve got 8 hours worth of work to do or not – it’s going to take 8 hours.
What if you decided you were only going to work 2 hours today? Would that mean you’d fit everything you have to do into that 2 hours?
I got thinking about productivity again, had a killer morning of work today, and thought I’d share some tips…
Tip 1. Do the most difficult tasks in your day FIRST!
This one is big. You know those tasks you come to in your day and you think “uuuurrrrghhh I hate thiiiiiiis”
Put them at the TOP of your list!
For some of us it’s answering emails, for some, it’s writing content, for some, link building, etc. Whatever it is, do it first.
The reason is, and you know this is true… when you put the hard tasks off til the end of the day, by the time you get to them you feel like crap and you don’t have the energy to get them done. You put them off til the next day and start the cycle again.
What’s good about getting hard stuff done first?
The obvious answer is that it ensures they get DONE. The tasks you don’t want to do are usually the tasks you most NEED to do. Getting them out of the way first puts you one step ahead from the start.
Secondly, I find it makes you more motivated. If I’ve smashed through a few tasks that I normally hate, I feel powerful, and the easy tasks that come next seem SO much easier. You fly through them and have a killer day.
Tip 2: Find your productivity state.
If you’re into personal development, you’ll know what I mean.
You know how sometimes you feel like you can’t get ANYTHING done? You’re distracted, you’re unmotivated, and you find it hard to complete even simple stuff?
But you probably also have experienced times where you’re like “I can handle ANYTHING right now!” You work faster, talk faster, type faster, you juggle 5 things at once and knock down tasks like you’re on animal steroids!
The key is finding out what produces that state in you so you can recreate it at will.
Some elements that comprise my hardcore productive state are:
1. I decide not to be emotional: You know how when it comes to a task you don’t like, you get emotional? You think, aww no, I hate doing this, its so hard, it takes so long, I don’t think I can do it… That’s what you need to kill.
I decide to myself that for this period of a couple of hours, I’m going to be a robot. I’m going to work through tasks with no care for what they are, how hard, how frustrating, or how angry they might make me. I go from one to the next in the order they’re on my list – not moving from a task until it’s complete.
It sounds a bit scary, but it gets things DONE. As soon as you hear some thought arising like “ohh this is going to take forever” or “ohh I’ll skip this for now” I kill it quick. This is NON emotional time
2. I allocate a small period of time in which to finish the tasks. My goal is not necessarily to finish everything in this time, it’s just to trick my mind into working faster. Unless it’s a task that requires slow and precise thinking, I decide that I’m going to finish it in a small period of time. This makes sure that you don’t have any time to stop and let those crappy thoughts sneak in. This ensures you go from one task to the next quickly. It helps alot
3. Type Faster, Talk Faster, Think Faster – Get CRAZY! This is not for everyone, but I like to “Go Nuts” to improve my productivity.
- I type fast and hard, literally bashing the keys. I’m trying to get things done as quick as I can (without making errors of course). Speed requires energy, and the moreof it I put out, the more the momentum grows.
- I shout at the computer and talk to myself if I have to (hey you’re at home, who’s going to see you??) … Why?
A normal person can only work so fast, but a crazy person… They’re CRAZY – Who knows WHAT they can do!
10 minutes or so of this and I’m in the ZONE – you can give me the biggest problem in the world, the most difficult customer, the most mind numbing task, the most difficult equation, and I’ll do whatever the hell it takes to solve that thing. It’s a GREAT feeling!
Anyhow, the key is working out what creates YOUR productive state. You can do it by noticing the next time you’re in that state and asking:
1. What are you focusing on now? What thoughts are you having? What questions are you asking or what statements are you thinking about?
2. What are you doing with your body? How are you sitting, moving, breathing, talking?
Once you’ve identified the characteristics of this state, repeating it is a piece of cake. You do the same things, think the same things, and you get the same result. It’s inevitable.
The magic of it all is that once harnessed, you can turn your 8 hour days into two hour days – or if you’re crazy, transform your 8 hour days so that they produce 32 hours worth of work!
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