My favorite quote by Aristotle is “Excellence is not an act, but a habit”. I propose that productivity is not a singular act but merely a collection of habits you form every day that, when bundled together, ensures an above average level of productivity. I call this concept your productivity tempo. It is the rhythm of your day. It is the difference between a day where you consistently complete your tasks efficiently and a day where you procrastinate regularly or work at a slower, inconsistent pace.What is so special about mornings?Think of your mornings as the foundation your daily house of productivity is built on. If you start off with a strong foundation, then the tempo for the rest of your day will be steady. If you build it on top of a swamp, then you will have to take extra measures to turn your day into a productive one. People who claim to work better under pressure are overcompensating for their weak foundation by creating urgency. If those same people were to take the time to create a strong productive tempo, they would produce better results without the extra stress.Your mornings set your tempo for the day. It is quite a feat to turn a non-productive morning into an exceptionally productive day. In all my research, I have yet to come across a method to attain this. If you have found a way, let me know.There are three traits that give mornings a special place in our hearts. Trait One – It sets the tempo for our dayThink of the last morning you had where you accomplished something big. Maybe you finished a report, cleaned the whole house, or returned all your voicemails. How did the rest of your day go? Did you have any trouble staying motivated? Did you find yourself procrastinating? Chances are you didn’t. That’s because during the morning, you set a frame for that day. You created a productive tempo that you were able to follow for the rest of your day. Most of the habits in this book are dedicated to developing that tempo. In fact, I would say that 80% of productivity and time management techniques are dedicated to tempo. The other 20% would be planning, goal setting and elimination.Trait Two – A blank canvasEvery morning represents a new day of possibilities. When you first open your eyes, you are awakening to a day of endless opportunities. You can turn that day into whatever you want it to be. A productive day, a relaxing day, a procrastinating day, or any other kind of day that you want. Start each morning by outlining a portrait of productivity for yourself. By the end of the day, you will have a masterpiece. Trait Three – Less distractionsMornings represent a time of very few distractions. The earlier in the morning, the more true this becomes. This is the logic behind the common advice of waking up early. During the time of 5:00am – 9:00am, there are very few things that can pull your attention away from your tasks at hand. This uninterrupted time can be your most productive period of the entire day. The earlier you wake up, the more time you have in this window. Although I advocate waking up when your body wants to, I do not deny that there is no other time during the day that will allow you to accomplish as much. The next best time is between 11:00pm – 2:00am and that is only if your mind has not become worn down during the day.With fewer distractions comes less excuses for procrastination. Since no one else is typically awake during this time, there is nobody to pull your attention away from what you are doing. There are no phone calls to make, no urgent emails to return, and no fires to put out. It is just you and the task in front of you. It feels good just thinking about it.Through mastering your mornings, you will learn to master the rest of your day. Because of the way our minds work, the benefits of properly framing your mornings will show themselves throughout the rest of the day by creating new additional habits. These are called seed habits.After a less than pleasant visit to the dentist, I decided to start taking better care of my teeth, particularly through flossing. I committed to flossing every morning after I brushed my teeth. After noticing how much garbage was still between my teeth after brushing, I started flossing at night as well. That led me to brushing my teeth longer, which then led to me using mouthwash. Within a month, my teeth were as healthy as a dentist’s.By planting the seed of flossing once a day, my habit of brushing my teeth twice a day for 30 seconds blossomed into brushing for two minutes three times a day, flossing twice a day, and rinsing with mouthwash each time. This is how the mind works. These seed habits are small but in time will grow and blossom into larger, more impactful habits throughout your day. If you're interested in increasing your morning productivity, you can check out my book "Becoming The 1%: How You Can Instantly Supercharge Your Mornings". It's free for the next few days on Amazon. I would appreciate any feedback from the community.
Principle #1 – Time management is a choice No matter what anyone says, time management all comes down to one thing; controlling what you do next. That’s it! Good time management is simply your ability to choose between the important tasks and the unimportant tasks. To determine this, you must know your area of importance (AOI). All it takes to reveal your AOI is one question, regardless of what you do. The question is: “What do I do that has the biggest impact on ________________” If you are an employee, ask your boss “what do I do in my position that has the greatest positive impact on the company?” It allows us to determine whether a task is important or not. It guides all our decisions throughout the day. If you develop this skill properly, you will learn how to control not only your work, but your life. Principle #2 – There will always be more Here is a hard truth: you will never get caught up. Ever. Let’s test this theory for a moment. If you were able to cross everything off your to-do list for this week right now, do you think you would be able to come up with something else that you need to do? Perhaps work for the next week or the next month? Maybe something that you told yourself you weren’t going to do because you didn’t have the time? I guarantee you that you will always be able to think of more work for yourself to get done. That magical day where you complete every single thing you want to do will never come. No matter how productive you become, there will always be more work that you could have done. The majority of people are already working at over 100% capacity at their jobs. There is and will always be something else. This isn’t your fault; our brains have been programed to fill in that gap with busy work. This is why so many people have a hard time on long vacations. They are so used to filling in free time with work that once they our removed from that environment, their brains don’t know how to occupy the time and they start to feel anxious. Our society is slowly forgetting how to live outside of work! Let go of the thought of catching up and enjoy the freedom that the realization brings. The good news is that although there is not enough time to do everything, there is enough time to do the most important things. That is the underlining principle of this book. Focusing your time on getting the right things done. Principle #3 – Real work is the only work that matters There is always enough time in any day to get your real work done. What is real work? Your real work comes from your AOI. Everything you do that relates to AOI is considered your real work. Anything else is pseudo work. Pseudo work is a low value task that contributes little or nothing to your AOI. Being able to distinguish between these two types of work is the key to becoming more productive and the best at what you do.
People who develop this skill will far exceed their peers. 99% of the population spends most of their time on pseudo work, producing a cataclysmic amount of inefficiency in the work place. We all have more time than we realize; we just have to learn how to manage it properly. Master this and you will have officially joined the 1%. Now that we have reframed your view of time management and laid the foundation that this book is built on, let’s move on to three concepts you need to understand to increase your daily productivity. These are the critical areas that stop people from getting their real work done.
If you want to learn more about becoming more productive, you can check out my book Becoming the 1%: How to master productivity and rise to the top in 7 days. It is free for the next 3 days on Amazon.
To go along with the release of my new book, I am giving away a free Kindle Fire HD at random to customers who buy and leave a review.Details here