Everyone wants to be more productive.
But in today’s busy world where every media outlet wants your attention, staying focused is harder than ever. When I quit my corporate job in 2017 to become a full-time blogger, I quickly learned how bad my productivity was.
There would be days where I worked 10–12 hours but felt like I got nothing accomplished. I was living and dying by my phone — constantly checking emails, and social media notifications.
I always a had a huge to-do list I would plan out the night before and the following night I’d only have 30–50% accomplished. Had I kept up this schedule, I’m not sure I would still be an entrepreneur or writer.
Luckily, my business coach James Wedmore referred me to a Harvard Business study about integrity and the effects it can have in your business.
Here is a quote from the study:
“I’m not talking about a 10 percent increase in output or productivity — it’s more like 100 to 500 per cent. At my organization [the Social Science Research Network (SSRN)] after three years of implementing these notions, our CEO Gregg Gordon will tell you that we’ve seen in excess of a 300 percent increase in output, with essentially no increase in inputs. And our people are happier.
Since adding integrity as a core principle in my daily routine, so much of my business has changed from the better without working more hours.
If you want to increase your productivity in 2021, make self-integrity a top priority. Once I did, everything changed in my life and business.
Here are three steps to help you stay self-integral so that you can get more done in less time.
Reduce Your Schedule
The easiest way to fall out of integrity is to overwhelm yourself by making an endless to do list. I did this when I was a struggling solopreneur and it made my life 100X more difficult.
When you have a to-do list of 15 things every single day, chances are you’re not going to get them all accomplished every single day. A lot of times I would get 7–10 things done (which is still a ton) then beat myself up for not getting through all 15 — despite already putting in 12 to 15 hours.
Here’s the thing, we only have so much energy throughout the day. You can’t expect to run like the Energizer bunny every single day. Burnout is inevitable (trust me, it happened).
Instead of scheduling so much, only have 1–5 things so that you can stay self-integral. As you get more done, you can always work on other projects but scheduling less will help you stay in integrity and increase productivity.
Over time, this will get you in the habit of getting things done and build serious momentum.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer
Say Yes to Less
How many times do you say “Yes” to something, only to not show up or regret your choice immediately after making it?
Not only is this choice putting you out of integrity but it’s killing your chances of success. Instead, boldly say no when you don’t want to do something.
Yes, you are bound to hurt some feelings along the way by saying no more often but your dreams are worth it. Stay committed to your goals and daily schedule so you can get more done in less time.
“Don’t say maybe if you want to say no.” — Ryan Holiday
Be True to Your Word
If you haven’t read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom I highly suggest it. The author, Don Miguel Ruiz, says that agreement number one is “Be impeccable with your word.”
If you say you’re going to do something — do it!
This doesn’t mean just showing up for others either. This means if you put your intentions outward, act on them. Don’t say you’re doing to do something and skip it.
When you do this enough, it’s hard for your mind to trust you to get stuff done. I don’t even write stuff down in my planner if I know there’s a 1% chance I’m not going to get it done.
So why do we to lie to ourselves so often?
I think it’s so that we can have more comfort. Most of the time, the stuff you don’t want to do is the hard stuff.
Whether it’s finally starting that YouTube channel, finally getting back to the gym, or cleaning the cabinets to stay on track for your diet. But you and I both know that over time, this will lead to negative consequences when your words don’t match your actions.
Quit procrastinating, speak with integrity, and be true to your word.
“Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” — Don Miguel Ruiz
Choose Your Company Carefully
You are who you repeatedly spend time with.
If you constantly hang out with individuals who lack self-integrity, it’s bound to wear off on you too. If you’re trying to quit smoking don’t go out with your friends to grab some fresh air while they inhale nicotine.
If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t go out with people who are always starting their diet the next week. Or those who silently judge people who are gym rats and make excuses to why they aren’t.
Sometimes you need to examine your relationships and question their motives. If you to choose to say no to something that will throw you out of integrity and are worried about what someone else will think, do you need them in your life?
Sometimes you have to get rid of the old to make room for new, better relationships too.
As you become a person of integrity, everything will change. As a Psychology Today article said,
“Creating integrity is not a forced march through life, and it’s not about not being better, trying harder, and following yet another should. It’s about self-honesty and having the courage to hear and accept what your heart and life are telling you so that you can more fully become who you already are.”
Use these three steps and make integrity a theme in your life to do more than you ever imagined.
Have the courage to make self-integrity a number one priority this year. I promise, you are worth it.