Late Nights with Trav and Los
Maximise your productivity with these 14 daily habits
Music used in the episode: https://soundcloud.com/beat-fatigue/1-beat-fatigue-optimus-jive
Pomodoro technique: http://pomodorotechnique.com/
14 daily habits for maximising your productivity
What to do when you are overwhelmed
In our lives we have moments where we are busy, moments when we are busier, and moments when we are the busiest. For the foreseeable future I will be in one of my most busiest seasons.
My wife and I have a third child joining the family, I’m tripling my efforts at work to make a positive impact on what I have influence over, and at the same time I am also doubling down on my maker efforts outside of work. Now, Maker, is a choice word here, because:
- It encompasses anything I make; the podcast, art, making a better self, making a safe home, making lasting relationships, making better choices, etc.
- A Maker is first and foremost, a maker, and then a sharer. We live in a society that is great at sharing and re-posting. I guess we can call ourselves the re-post society?! I simply want to make, more than I share.
So, in summation, I am busy person. and recently I have become a busier person, only this time I wasn’t prepared, and it was scary. I wasn’t prepared because, although you can foresee an arbitrary amount of it, the other, is unplanned, unexpected, and overwhelming.
This episode, is dedicated to all of you who are overwhelmingly experiencing a deficit in attention; whose root cause, is, being busy.
Some thoughts on busy-ness.
Being busy is ok. In fact, I don’t think I will ever “not” be busy. So how do we best manage busy-ness, such that, we are successful with our endeavours and focus? That’s what I want to talk about today.
Let me first tell you that, for the last couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve been walking in circles, not knowing what to focus on, or what to do next. I’ve had my moments of success, focus, and productivity, yet those moments were mostly fleeting.
Here is a small list of the feelings that have been overwhelmingly present:
- lack of control
- lack of focus
- feeling like a waste of time
So, What did I do?
I took some time to ponder the following question:
%%What are the moments in my life when I feel in control, productive, successful, focused, happy, eager, and motivated?
%%What is the common denominator for those moments?
Here is the answer: I was set up for success in all of those moments. The interesting thing to note here, is that, I took the time to set myself up for success. So how do you set yourself up for success?
I compiled a list of my greatest hits. This is a list of the moments in my life where I was successful in maximising productivity. This is a list of habits to protect as I take another stab at developing and nourishing them. I want to share this list with you.
Want to know something they all have in common? They are all habits that you can and should exercise daily.
14 daily tips to follow
Doing it now
- Do it now, decide it now, delegate it now, enjoy it now, finish it now, start it now. Whatever it is, get it done now. Getting it done now, rather than, later, has brought me the most success.
Monthly, weekly, and daily planning
- I have a Trello Board that I call the productivity planner in which I have monthly, weekly, and daily planning.
Relentless focus on one task at a time
- Multitasking is a lie, it is not possible. Sure, one needs to be flexible and able to shift one’s own attention from one thing to another, but the moments where I have been most successful, are the moments when I am able to block out distractions and temptations and focus on one thing at at time, and follow this most importing thing until it is done, handed off, socialised, published, shared, hung on a wall, etc.
- I use a technique called Pomodoro. I’ll link the technique in the show notes. In a nutshell, the idea is simple. You focus for 25-35 minutes on a task, take a 5 minute break, and then re-focus on the same task until it is done.
Starting with a task that will free up the most energy
- You have to start your day off with something. What is the task that will free up the most mental energy. That might be the scariest thing, the hardest thing, the easiest thing, etc. For me, this is how I measure what I work on first. “If this was the only thing you did today you’d be satisfied.”
- Doing this will free up the most mental energy to move onto your next task
Manage distractions and delay them
- When I am on my game, I have a running list of distractions on a piece of paper on my desk. At any point, when I am distracted, tempted towards distraction, or feeling a lack of energy, I jot them down.
- I let the list get to the point, where I think it’ll take about 25 minutes to manage the distractions. I’ll then focus on the distractions for 25 minutes and clear my list :)
Say no to the things that create little value and do not get you closer to your goals
- When things are going well, I am focused on the things that bring me the most value.
- When things are not going well, I am focused on the things that bring me the least amount of value.
- The goal is to create more value, you do this by growing your ability to say no to everything in your life that doesn’t move you towards your goals.
- Don’t say yes to low-value people and activities.
- Fanatically guard your time so you can exponentially advance towards your goals
Do one extra
- Make one extra call, send out one more email, design one more component, write one more line of code, one more sentence, etc. When you add up all these one-extras, they just might make the difference. It usually does for me.
Learn when to cut your losses
- If you are not getting what you need from a person, a strategy, a partnership, or a hobby, make the hard decision early so you free up your time to find something that will give you what you need.
A relentless dedication to your goals
- When things get tough, work through it, have grit, and persevere. The end result is always worth it.
Double down on what is working
- I have heard this before, if it aint broke, then why fix it?
- I’m telling you to do this, if it’s working, then double down your efforts on what is working. The outcome is better than if you let it alone.
- This one is simple, say what you say you are going to do. Be on time, finish what you said you would do. Do it all without excuses and even when you don’t feel like it because the more you practice it the better you get at it.
- Integrity attracts the best people.
Maximise your learning from your own life
- After a project, event, meeting, thought, interaction, ask yourself the following questions:
- What went well?
- What would I do different next time?
- What are the most important lessons for me to take from this experience?
- Doing this will help you get better each day.
End your day by identifying the MIT for tomorrow
- At the end of the day, make notes for how the day went, measure your productivity, and note what happened that caused your level of productivity for the day.
- Plan your day for tomorrow and set yourself up for success.
Wherever you are, be there
- Lastly, when I am maximising my productivity I am feeling successful. What usually accompanies this feeling is joy, growth, and peace of mind. As such, this is an outcome of intensely being present on your goals.
- So to follow that thought, I try to be 100% present wherever I am
- a meeting
- a project
- This last habit gets harder every day, attention seekers are everywhere, so when you are distracted, or your mind wanders and you are feeling a deficit, notice it, and bring your attention back to where you are and what matters most in the moment.