“Each of us starts with the same twenty-four hours in the day. How we utilize those hours determines the quality of our lives.” -Peter H. Diamandis
At our current moment, it seems everyone wants to over complicate things. They want you to believe that productivity is about using apps, deleting emails and ticking off to-dos.
However, that’s far from the truth. In fact, productivity today is actually very simple and likely governed by many of the same principals that our grandfathers used. As Jim Rohn has said,
“There are no new fundamentals. You’ve got to be a little suspicious of someone who says, “I’ve got a new fundamental.” That’s like someone inviting you to tour a factory where they are manufacturing antiques.”
Indeed, you need not be distracted by the shiny and the new; the old will do.
Hence, the following article discusses a few simple strategies I use to make my days more effective as a full-time blogger and content writer. Here we go.
I Rotate My Environments
Research has shown that you aren’t likely to get more than two to five hours of highly focused and deep work each day, but rotating your environments is how you stretch that out.
Whenever you begin to lose focus or start purposefully distracting yourself, you need to step out of your environment. You need to get away from your work and take a break before resuming in a different environment.
Personally, I rotate between sitting at a desk, sitting on a couch or standing at a table. Whatever you do, switch your environment and clear your mind. When you resume, your energy, creativity, and clarity will spike!
I Remove Choices
Too many choices leads to decision fatigue. Decision fatigue leads to mindlessly and reactively reverting to your default choices. You start to act based on impulse and addiction rather than doing what’s truly best for you. Not good!
I don’t make many choices. Rather, my routines make them for me. I go to the gym at the same time each day, eat the same foods and wear the same clothes. It’s bland but effective. And effective is how you get more done.
“When you build a habit, you don’t have to waste mental energy deciding what to do.” -David Kadavy,
I Don’t Get Notifications
Notifications are how you live on other people’s agenda rather than your own.
It seems that many people have forgotten that their smartphone and other devices exist for their convenience — not for the inconvenience of other people sporadically interrupting them throughout the day.
I’m purposeful about not being available. I’ll contact you when it suits me, not when a notification comes in. Most things aren’t urgent; they’ll wait.
I Work to Achieve Results Rather than to Pass Time
Just because you have 8 hours to do a task, doesn’t mean that have to use the whole 8 hours to get the task done.
Five minutes of work can probably be squeezed into one minute. According to Parkinson’s law, a task only takes as long as you want to take. Thus, the shorter your timeline, the shorter a task need to take.
When you make this switch from seeing how little you can do in an hour, to how much you can do, your days become a whole lot more effective.
I Take Time for Rest and Recovery
“Although it may seem counterintuitive, rest and recovery are actually the most important aspect of success.” -Benjamin P. Hardy
If you spend 8 hours in the gym but then don’t get the right rest and nutrition, your muscles will not grow; you won’t get any fitter or stronger. Rather, your body will deteriorate. You’ll become increasingly tired and ineffective.
Indeed, the harder you push yourself, the longer you need to recover.
Thus, if you want to do important and impactful work, you need to deliberately carve the time where you detach from your work and let your mind wander.
You need to step away from the noise and engage in the other beautiful areas of your life.
To quote Cal Newport,
“Only the confidence that you’re done with work until the next day can convince your brain to downshift to the level where it can begin to recharge for the next day to follow.”
I Spend Lots of Time Getting Clarity
“Those who are working the most aren’t those who are DOING the most. A sharp saw will do far more in a few strokes than a dull saw will in many. Because most people lack clarity, they aren’t even sawing the right tree.” -Benjamin P. Hardy
It doesn’t matter how many trees you’re chopping if you’re not even chopping the right tree; you’re still not going to get your desired result.
Yet, this is how many people act on a daily basis. Wrote Ryan Holiday,
“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.”
Slow down to speed up. Ten minutes of journaling and self-reflection will be more beneficial than ten hours of distracting yourself by being “busy.”
When you know where you’re going, you realize just how unimportant most things are.