I am finding that the more that I continue in this journey towards our personal success, that I find mentors and guides that speak to me in ways that make sense. One of these people is Darren Hardy, who was the editor of Success Magazine. I have been watching a series of videos by him that teach a great deal about time and how to use it in the most effective manner. This series has taught me some things that I want to share with you.
The first lesson I learned is how to get a massive amount of productivity done in a very short amount of time, practically creating time by magic! The very first step to this process is to focus. This is easily the most important step here and one that I miss much too often. When I set time to do something,I need to do that thing and only that thing to the exclusion of others. Don’t check emails, don’t hang out on social media, and don’t even pay attention to the phone. Take that scheduled time and focus only on the thing that needs doing. This turns intense focus into a laser sharpness of attention on the activity and production increases dramatically in that short amount of time over how much gets done when I let my attention wander.
This thought bleeds into the following concept here and that is to schedule time for activities. This step has multiple layers. First off, we schedule for the activities that we each need to get done. This is quick and easy right? We always make time to do what NEEDS to be done. But here is the tricky part, when setting those schedules, try to create almost impossible deadlines for each activity. What this does is that it forces a sense of urgency and kicks us into a high gear that allows us to out produce ourselves. Here is an example Mr. Hardy shares: Imagine that it is Friday and you have the entire day to pick up the laundry, hit the bank, and do the grocery shopping. Somehow, this small amount of activities ends up taking up your entire day. Now imagine that it is Friday and tomorrow you leave for a 2 week vacation. This time you have a list of 30 activities to get done. What happens? I know for me that I get those activities done so that I can forget about the rest of the world while on vacation. I bet you are the same. Now why are we able to get all those things done in the same timeframe that we get only a couple activities done in before? It is because we give ourselves a firm deadline in either case. The difference comes in that the second example kicks us into high gear and makes us far more productive than the first example does. Imagine how much of our day we would gain if we only gave ourselves three hours for doing the laundry, bank and shopping. We gain at least half a day for other things.
Finally, we need to get ourselves into flows. When we schedule our time to do something, create a schedule that combines all the same activities into one time frame. Since we are already focusing on the task, this gets us into a flow or pattern where we can be far more productive. Some athletes call this “in the Zone”. Instead of doing one of the activity, then moving to something else, and finally coming back to the do another repetition of the first activity and being forced to start all over, we can fall into a pattern and burn through all the activities of the same type in far less time since we are not having to get off the ground. here is another great example to illustrate. When a shuttle takes off to head into space, it takes a phenomenal amount of energy to get that shuttle started and headed out of the atmosphere, but once it clears into space, it takes very little energy to keep itself moving. Doing activities is the same. Starting the activity is the portion that takes the most energy. So, given that, wouldn’t it be better to start the activity only once and get it all done rather than starting, stopping and having to restart again?
For xiaoyi, she edits each of my blog post before they go live. So one day a week she sits down for 90 minutes and lets herself fully dive into editing all the posts I have written. I am amazed at how she breezes through these. But she only gives herself 90 minutes and she waits to do it once a week instead of doing it each time I write a new post. For those 90 minutes I cannot get her to turn her attention to anything else. She tells me she is in “focus mode babe” and I think the house could catch on fire and she would politely tell the fire that she is “in focus mode” and the fire would wait until that 91st minute before continuing to burn because of the attention she brings and how NOTHING is allowed to stop her once she gets started on that. Ok, well maybe I am exaggerating a little bit about the fire.
So now I know how to focus and get more production out of the time that I have scheduled for an activity. Tell me what you will be doing to increase your own productivity!
Life’s too short to have bad days! What are you doing to make today FANTASTIC?
I am learning how to compress my successes into shorter times.