The first thing that you have to come to grips with is that there will never be enough time. You will never have enough time to earn an income during the day, work on your passion at night, exercise in the morning, sleep for a solid eight hours, go to church on the weekends, read an hour a day, spend time with your friends, cook healthy meals, and everything else that you want to be doing, but can’t because there’s never enough time.
The good thing is that you can make time for the most important tasks, and by focusing on doing what’s most important, you can make incredible progress towards your goals by eliminating all the less important tasks. What’s even better news is that as you get farther and farther along in achieving your goals, you can develop an addiction to completing tasks, which will be a natural force pushing you forward with energy rather than wearing you out.
There are a lot of experts out there talking about to hack productivity, but when it comes to productivity tips, Brian Tracy is the best. He spent 30 years of his life studying and teaching psychology in the workplace, especially how it relates to productivity. Throughout his career he wrote 70 books that have been translated into dozens of languages and he has produced more than 300 audio and video programs teaching others about what he’s learned.
His world famous book “Eat That Frog” is a quick read that you should read yourself, then make everyone else on your team read it as well. These principles alone have been able to double, triple and even 5x the productivity of thousands of individuals. This book alone sold 1.5 million copies worldwide.
Before we get started let’s get one thing straight. Odds are that you read this article, try out a few tips, then go back to your old ways. That’s the reality of human nature, but if you really want to make an impact on your life, you need to decide right now that you are in this for the long term.
After 50 years of research, Dr. Edward Banfield from Harvard University found that, “long-term perspective” is the most accurate single predictor of upward social and economic mobility in America. This reiterates how any massive achievement like starting a company or writing a book takes hard work over a long period of time to succeed.
You also need to accept that the easiest way to work hard over a long period of time is to put a little bit of work in every single day until it becomes a habit. Once a habit is developed, your body will become addicted to the endorphin rush of meeting your daily goals. This switches your physical reaction to working hard from resistance to addiction, which makes the journey a lot more fun and exciting.
Now let’s dig into the most effective productivity hacking advice you’ll ever get...
Follow these steps in order:
Gain Absolute Clarity - One of the most harmful things that you can do to your personal productivity is to be vague about what you want to achieve. If you aren’t crystal clear about what your motives are, you will lack the motivation to work hard and quickly. To overcome vagueness decide on a goal, write it down, and set a deadline for achieving your goal.
Make a Master List - Now break down every task that goes into achieving that goal and write it down into your master to-do list. Anytime that something comes up that you need to do, also add it to this list. This will make sure that you never forget about something that needs to get done.
Organize Your A-B-C-D-E Lists - Identify every task on your master list that is both urgent and important and mark the letter ‘A' next to it on the left hand column. Anything that’s important, but not urgent, mark ‘B’ and anything that would be nice to get to, mark ‘C’. Finally, anything you can delegate, mark ‘D’ and anything you can eliminate mark ‘E’. The key to getting the most done is put as much as you can in the ‘D’ and ‘E’ boxes and focus only on the few tasks that you must do yourself.
Arrange In Order of Importance - Now number every task on your A, B, and C list in order of importance. The rule is, if two tasks are equally as urgent and important, do the bigger, uglier one first. Now your master list should be broken down so that every task has a letter and a number assigned to it (ex. A1, A2, B1, B2, etc). Don’t start working on a less important task until all the other more important tasks are finished first.
Begin Immediately - Get started on your first task immediately (A1) and don’t stop until it’s done. Taking breaks in the middle of a task will drop your productivity up to 500%. There’s a lot of wasted time when you have to go back and figure out where you left off. Get started immediately and don’t stop until you’ve crossed that first task off the list.
You’ll notice that once you get started and start crossing goals off your list, each following goal gets easier. Since you’ve listed them in order of importance and you’ve started with your biggest ugliest goal first, you will get the wheels spinning faster and faster in a spiraling force making you addicted to getting past that first hump.
One more important tip is that you should write down your entire list of what needs to get done and order them the night before you get started. By thinking about what needs to get done for tomorrow you will often wake up with additional insights about how you will be able to complete those tasks more efficiently. You’ll also be able to wake up and get started immediately when your energy is at it’s peak rather than spending your valuable morning hours working on planning the day out.
Now stop what you’re doing and write your goals down on paper right now!