Good morning, Believe Nation!
Today we’re going to talk about strategies on how to improve your productivity.
Rule number three is my personal favorite, and make sure to stick around all the way to the end for my take, and some special bonus clips as well, and as always, as you hear people saying something that’s really relevant to you, please leave it in the comments below, put quotes around it too, so other people can be inspired as well. Enjoy!
How much time does it take to have a good idea? Zero.
How much time does it take to be creative? Zero.
How much time does it take to be loving and present with your kids when you tuck ’em in bed at night? Zero, those do not require time, they require space.
If you’re wrapped up around a problem, an issue, you know, backlog of all kinds of things unhandled and inappropriately engaged with, very difficult to have creative ideas, be innovative, or be loving and present. You need room.
Oh, come on, Leonardo da Vinci had 24 hours. Mother Teresa had 24 hours. Johann Sebastian Bach had 24 hours. You know, I know he didn’t have WhatsApp, but he had 20 kids, take your pick. You need room.
“If you’re wrapped up around a problem, an issue, you know, backlog of all kinds of things unhandled and inappropriately engaged with, very difficult to have creative ideas, be innovative, or be loving and present. You need room.” – David Allen
Here’s how I want you to work through your day from now on. First, when you wake up, your goal is not to go to the computer and check your inbox. We’ve got to tear you away from the inbox, particularly if you are a senior executive, an owner of a business, a person who has major projects that you’re moving forward.
If you are a customer service person and your job is to check email all day, then hey, I get it, that’s okay, but for most folks, their real goal is not to check email all day, it’s to be productive and get things done, so unless it’s your job to be on the email drop, where you respond to everything within 10 or 15 minutes, then this is really about taking ownership of your life again, and I think those folks who are in that position will also find this to be very inspiring, and a wise guide to working more effectively.
“Begin your day with enthusiasm. Optimism is the magical formula that creates greater happiness in our lives.” – Brendon Burchard
So, let’s get to it. Here’s what I want you to do. When you wake up each day, let’s talk about productivity in general. When you wake up each day, the first thing to do is not go to the computer.
The first thing to do is go exercise, go for a walk, take a long shower, it’s to open your body and engage, and in doing that process, whatever it is for you, some people it’s a long run, some people it’s a longer shower, some people it’s a walk around the neighborhood, when you’re doing that, here’s what I want you to ask yourself, a couple simple questions.
First, I want you to ask yourself what am I excited about today, or could I create to be excited about today? So, what is it? I want you to begin your day with enthusiasm. Optimism is the magical formula that creates greater happiness in our lives.
To have something to look forward to. Steal away someone’s vision for a good future, and you quickly see them fall into depression, but when we have a great connection to something in the future that we look forward to, even if it’s just this day, that creates the charge within us, so walk around, take your laps, do whatever you have to do in the morning, but ask yourself, what is it that I’m excited about today, or could be enthusiastic about today?
Second, ask what am I grateful for in life today? You know, what am I so appreciative of having? You know, I know a lot of these videos I’m talking so fast at you, but as you get to know my work, I’m a pretty soulful guy, and I’m an incredibly grateful person for all that I’ve been able to create, all, you know, all the stages I get on, all the people who come to our seminars, the brands I’ve built, the opportunities I’ve been blessed to have.
Even the challenges I’ve been blessed to have, and I think that, coming from that place spiritually each day really opens you up to something magnificent in the universe, maybe you agree. And so, ask what can I be enthusiastic about, what am I grateful for, and then ask, third, what am I committed to making happen today, no matter what? If we start from those positions, then we’re in good, then we’re in a good space, then I want you to drink lots of water and have a healthy breakfast.
Lots of water, healthy breakfast. Now, we can start thinking about work. Deal? This is the secret to you performing better. We’ve got to get you in the right mindset in the morning, we’ve got to take care of your physical needs, of hydration and nourishment, then walk into the office, then get ready to work.
Choose Your Priorities
Point number two, you want to make sure you’re producing the right things. You could make a ton of decisions, check off a lot of email, make a ton of phone calls, and at the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of the quarter, the end of the year, not have accomplished all that much at all.
” Innovation is saying no to a thousand things” – Tim Ferriss
The way that I get around that is looking at my list of goals, looking at my list of priorities, looking at my list of to-dos, and asking myself which of these, if done, would make all of the other ones easier or unnecessary?
This is a great way to narrow your focus to the most important domino that, when flipped over, will then topple 20, 30, 40 others. One thing I keep in mind a lot, this is from Steve Jobs, innovation is saying no to a thousand things, and really, if you want to do anything impressive, anything incredible, you have to say no to 99% of what comes at you.
And that certainly applies to email, which is effectively everyone else’s agenda for your time. We all have the same 24 hours in the day, and if you’re like, “I don’t have time, “I can’t sleep, I need to cut back on sleep, “I need to do this, I need to do that,” if you don’t have time, you don’t have priorities. That’s it.
Create An Environment Of Total Focus
Your environment is so important, and if you look at B performers or C producers, they really don’t pay a lot of attention to their environment, and so they get very distracted, there’s lots of noises, their phones are going off, maybe there’s news in the background, maybe there’s messy environments all around them, maybe there’s toxic people.
What I’m suggesting to you as the second piece of technology to really 100 times your productivity is this: Install environments of tight bubbles of total focus. The way I run my work life on certain days I am very hard to reach, and I challenge you, with great love and respect, be very hard to reach during key times of your week.
” Create these tight bubbles of total focus” – Robin Sharma
I mean, I see a lot of people, and it’s not judging them, it’s just observing them, every time their phone rings, they check it, or they have, you know, these loud notifications, so they’re constantly being distracted, and we know what the research says, the research says we spend 2.1 hours a day in distraction. We spe-, and it takes 21 minutes to refocus your focus after you’ve been distracted.
So if you are being distracted by notifications, checking your phone, checking your Twitter feed, checking your Facebook feed, looking on Instagram, checking all the different platforms, that is going to destroy your focus.
So the second piece of technology is create these tight bubbles of total focus, and the way I do it is I have certain days that I label as creative days, and on those creative days, I actually go device free, and on those days, I’m very hard to find, and on those days, I’m in total solitude, and on those days, I go to certain places, I call them my Menlo Labs, just like Edison had his Menlo Lab, and these places are very minimalist, and there’s no one there, and that’s where I do my best work, so install these tight bubbles of total focus and create these Menlo Labs where you’re sort of, you’re completely distraction free, and then you will find your brain will drop from the beta state into the alpha state, where you will do your best work and get your best ideas.
Learn What Is High Impact Work
But I think one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make, especially as they grow their business, or in the beginning, when they’re crippled by this thought of quality work versus just doing it, you know, like, smart work versus just work, is when you start judging it too much, you start leaving yourself out of opportunity for serendipity, and upside that you can’t see.
There’s been a lot of things that, on paper, may look like busy work, going to, you know, just kissing babies and shaking hands, or just replying to everybody on Twitter, things that not everybody thinks is the best scalable use of my time, that has led to enormous upside, because it wasn’t obvious when you first did it, including a video sh-, including, 10 years ago, in a month, sitting upstairs doing a video show, where everybody’s like, “We needed you for that hour “to sell wine, or to reorganize our operations, “why are you putting a video on YouTube, “what is YouTu-,” like, got it?
“The biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make, especially as they grow their business, or in the beginning, when they’re crippled by this thought of quality work versus just doing it” – Gary Vaynerchuk
It ended up being the biggest, single biggest decision of my career up to this point, transitioning myself into a media property and a brand from just being an operator on this floor.
Wasn’t obvious, felt like it could’ve been busy work, and there’s been other things that I’ve done like that that have been busy work, you know, I’m trying to think of a good example, but like, a million things that we’ve stopped and started that didn’t become real, it happens with us every day in our team, so I think that, I think that you don’t always know.
I think you find out after the fact, and I think to have a long 40 to 60 year old professional career that’s successful, as long as you’re learning in year one, three, seven, nine, 12, patterns, start becoming more self-aware about yourself, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you start having less just busy work and more high impact work, and that’s what’s happened in my career.
Just Do One Thing
Stop multitasking. Like, I used to do so many different things, I used to actually work in different jobs, like, do this, do that, see, the problem about multitasking, some people can do it, but the problem is, like, whatever you’re doing, like, those different things, they’re going to suffer.
Like, you’re going to do lots of different things really badly. So when I make videos, Infinite Waters, I’m just doing this, like I do consultations, I just do that.
“To become more productive, just do one thing, and do it well, or just have fun doing it, whatever you want to do.” – Ralph Smart
I don’t do a whole lot, but I have a lot of concentrated focus on one thing for a sustained period of time, which is why we bloom and blossom, baby.
But you don’t want to do that, do you? You’re like, “I want to open up a gym, Ralph! “A restaurant, too! “Now I’m takin’ my kids for a walk, “then I’m going cycling, then I’m going to the beach, “then I’m doing this, then I’m doing that, “then I’m doing, oh my goodness gracious.”
You’re giving yourself way too much to do, you’re making it harder than it has to be, and that’s why you lose the enthusiasm for what you want to do, so you don’t end up becoming productive at all. So to become more productive, just do one thing, and do it well, or just have fun doing it, whatever you want to do.
Evan: So I have a lot of thoughts on productivity, I’ve talked a lot about it on this channel, whether we’re talkin’ about bringin’ on a team or chunkin’ your days and doin’ different things on different days, or not checking email, or not having a phone, and some of the crazier things that I do to stay productive and do as much work as I do in both my businesses now, but today I actually want to talk about mindset.
“Set up that proper mindset every single morning.” – Evan Carmichael
I think that mindset is super important, is extremely critical if you are thinking about how do I be productive, ’cause you have had really productive days, you have had days where you’ve watched a video or something set you off, or you had a conversation, or you read a book, or something happened, and you were on fire for the rest of the day, and then you wake up the next day and that’s, that feeling is gone, I mean, you’re not as productive, and even if you follow all the strategies, you’re applying the tactics, you say you’re going to do this this day, you say you’re not going to check your phone, you say you’re going to bring on a team, you say you’re going to apply this schedule and chunk your time, all of these ideas, you don’t always go and do them.
Because you have the wrong mindset, because you’re not in the zone, and so, for me, what I want to do, and what I try to do in my life, and I encourage you to do in yours, is set up that proper mindset every single morning.
And I’m actually touching on this in the next book that I started writing, is creating that morning routine, creating that morning ritual that gets you alive, every day.
So instead of randomly comin’ across it, maybe you watch this video and you get inspired, that’s great, but what do you do every single day? ‘Cause I don’t want it to happen on 4:00 on a Friday afternoon, I want it to happen at 7:30 every morning, every day, so that I’m set for an amazing productive day every single day, you can design that, instead of just reacting to what comes into you.
And so one of the things that I do is I have a daily reminder, and I wrote myself a quick note on what I want to feel every day, and where I may hold myself back, and my own limitations, reminding me to play a bigger game, and I’ll read it to you, this is what I read to myself three times in the morning before I go off and start everything else that I have to do.
Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. This is mine: Today, I will push myself to be my absolute best, to believe more, care more, and try harder, I vow not to let distractions, scheduled changes, or fear prevent me from being great. I will make every minute count because my time is running out, I have the ability to change the world and it’s my responsibility to do so.
Three times, I read that every morning, and then I put on my music, and then I, you know, do a whole bunch of other things that are part of my morning routine, but it gets me set up, and that’s what I want you to think about.
“Set yourself up for an amazingly productive day every single day, by design, with intent, with purpose, to create something amazing.” – Evan Carmichael
Think about what you do every single morning, ’cause you don’t wake up pumped and energized, right, that alarm clock went off, you’re waking up with the sun, or whatever you’re wakin’ up, most people don’t wake up super pumped and energized, even if you have a passion for what you’re doing, and you’re looking forward to the day ahead, you still have to get out of bed and go do something, and I want you to figure out ways to change your state, and to go from that sluggish start into productivity as soon as possible, and so, thinking about what are the emotions that you want to be feeling, whether it’s calm, whether it’s excitement, whether it’s happiness, whether it’s ambition, like, what is it that you want to feel in the morning that you want to carry through to the rest of the day, and then what do you need to do every day to feel that in the morning? Whether it’s listening to a podcast or reciting some daily reminders, listening to some music, reading a book, watching a video, schedule that in for yourself so you set yourself up for an amazingly productive day every single day, by design, with intent, with purpose, to create something amazing.
So that’s my take, I made this video because BestyouPRO asked me to, so if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover in the next edition of Believe Life, leave it down in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d love to know what you took from this video, who had the most meaningful message, what you’re going to immediately apply to your life or to your business, leave it down in the comments below, I’m going to join the discussion.
If you also want to add your own productivity hacks that we didn’t cover in this video, please share it, I’m sure it’ll be extremely valuable for the entrepreneurs watching this episode.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout out to Jay Kahn, Jay, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and posting that picture, the tribute picture to your Instagram account, I really, really, really appreciate it.
So thank you guys again for watching, I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is, much love, have an amazing day, I’ll see you soon.
How do you create room? Well, one of the things I uncovered over these 35 years in developing, really, just unfolding this methodology, is that you get control with five stages, or five steps, and there are six horizons that we have commitments, that the more clarity you have at all those six horizons, the more you’re going to trust your judgments about what you do, and your priorities, I couldn’t get it any simpler than this.
Those five steps, pretty simple, actually. I didn’t make these up, I recognized them. All right, this is how you get your kitchen under control, you get your company under control, and you get your consciousness under control.
Doesn’t happen by itself. Any of you ever had your kitchen out of control? Anybody ever come home and it looked like your kitchen had been attacked? Oh my God, and you got friends coming over in an hour, and you’re supposed to cook spaghetti.
Oh no, what’s the first thing you did besides drink or call out for dinner? First thing you did was you looked at what was not right. You identified something that’s not on cruise control in that environment or echo system.
That’s, you noticed what had your attention, right? Then what did you do? You decided, “What does that stuff mean? “Ooh, that’s a dirty dish, oh, that’s a spice, “oh, that’s a clean dish, oh, that’s good food, “oh, that’s bad food.” You clarified exactly what those things are that are not on cruise control. Then what did you do? You organized them where they go.
You put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, you put good food in the fridge, et cetera. Once you determined what it means, you parked it where it should go, then what did you do? You looked at the whole scene, you stepped back, reflected on the whole gestalt. Looked at the time, pulled out maybe a recipe, and then you pulled out butter and started to melt it.
Now, that’s how you get your kitchen under control, but that’s also how you get your consciousness under control. If I were to sit down with you and you said, “God, things are feeling, oh, overwhelming!” First thing I’m going to do, capture everything that has your attention. That takes one to six hours, by the way, for most people, just to identify what’s got your mind.
Then we’re going to go through each one of them and decide what’s the very next action step required for that thing, and what’s the final outcome that you’re committed to finish about it? The clarification step. Then we’re going to work with you to customize, how do I keep track of the calls I need to make, the errands I need to run, the stuff I need to talk to my life partner about, where do I put those things so that my head is not trying to do it? By the way, your head is a crappy office.
Anything you’re trying to manage just in your head, believe me, you will over or underreact to it if it’s just there. And that’s one of the things that’s happened in the last 15 years since I wrote the first edition of Getting Things Done, is how much the cognitive scientists have now validated the fact that your head is for having ideas, but not for holding ’em.
As a matter of fact, if you’re trying to hang on to more than four meaningful things in your head, you’re toast. So building the external brain requires that you capture the stuff that has your attention, clarify actions and outcomes, organize the results of that in some external trusted system so that you can then step back and reflect on all of that, and then decide to have a beer instead of any of it.
But that’s a high performance beer. I’m not voting for alcohol as a way of life, I’m just self-disclosing, I love good beer. Poland’s a great place for that, I’ve discovered. So that’s, those five steps, by the way, are how we basically work with people, what we train people about, and most people, even though these are simple, have a huge improvement opportunity in terms of making sure that you externalize your commitments at multiple levels, so that you can see ’em from where you need to see ’em.
Evan: So what do you think holds people back? They, they, they know what they want to do, but they just can’t keep the habit, they do it once, and then they fall off the train, and then next month they do it again, and they fall off the train, how do you make that consistent?
Well, you just keep, you just keep working at it and working at it, the best way of all is to plan it in advance; instead of sitting down, never start work without a list, and never start work without prioritizing your list.
People sit down and they say, “Well, before I make “a list, I’ll check a little email, check a little spam, “send something to my friend, see what’s going “on YouTube,” and so on and so forth, and then they look up and it’s 10:00, and they haven’t done anything of value.
So what you do is you have to s-, is say, you know, “Well,” you know, what do they say, if you start it right, it’ll work out right, so start it as, on your most important task, and do that until it becomes a habit, and here’s an interesting thing about checking email is when you check email, it triggers the release of dopamine in your brain, dopamine is a drug, and by the way, there’s all kinds of books and articles and scientific studies on this, and dopamine is the same drug in cocaine, and what it does is it’s triggered every time you have a shiny object or something new or different or interesting or sparkly.
If a telephone rings next to you, you go “Bing!” your brain releases endorphins, and you can’t hardly wait to see what it is. So you’re talking to somebody, and you could be talking to somebody about something very serious, and your telephone goes off, “Bing!” Your whole mind goes blank.
The middle of a conversation stops, so you grab for you phone, you pick it up, you look at it, you check it out and everything else, and then you come back, if you’re working on a task, it takes an average of 17 minutes to get back to the task, and then there’s another distraction, so another 17 minutes. Average adult is checking their email between, and their phone, between 95 and 145 times a day.
Which means they are like Attention Deficit Disorder dogs, they’re just literally running around, back and forth, the whole day, at the end of the day, they’re exhausted.
“Just keep, you just keep working at it and working at it, the best way of all is to plan it in advance; instead of sitting down, never start work without a list, and never start work without prioritizing your list.” – Brian Tracy
By the way, USA Today and Harvard have proved that you lose one IQ point for every hour that you leave your email on, at the end of the day, you’ve lost 10 IQ points, you actually become stupider throughout the day, dumber, and here’s a, I ask this of my audiences, I say, “Have you ever finished a day where “you don’t think you’ve accomplished anything, “you get on email, responding to bings and beeps “and rings and so on all day, and at the end of the day, “you go home and honey says, ‘What do you want for dinner,’ “and you say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t care, anything. “‘I just want a drink.'”
Because you’re so exhausted, you cannot even decide sit there and basically like you’ve just been, you know, punched in the side of the head, because your brain, your brain is dead, and you lose 10 IQ points, you get stupider throughout the day, you’ve got to turn that darn thing off if you want to remain sharp. develop a habit, you say, “I’m going to develop a habit, and I’m going to give “myself my reward, and my reward will be to check “my email after I’ve finished my first task.”
So, all of success in life is task completion. Let me repeat that, I just had a long conversation with an entrepreneur, he almost fell of his chair. I was coaching him, and he said he’d never heard that before, and then I spoke to, with this group I was telling you in Japan, I told them the same thing, and they were just flabbergasted. Is, the key to success in life is task completion.
If you don’t complete tasks, you have no future, and so, if task completion is the key, then what you do is you complete more and more important tasks, and if you start every day by completing the most important task, your brain actually releases endorphins.
“All of success in life is task completion.” – Brian Tracy
Now, endorphins is another chemical, and it’s only released when you do something that is life enhancing, and what that means is when you do something that is good for you, that enhances your life, that furthers you, it makes you happy, it releases energy, it raises your self-esteem, I sort of say, “If you want to be a winner, how do be a winner, “well, you win, and winning means you cross a finish line.”
So if you start and complete a task, you’re actually winning, and you get a feeling of being a winner, which gives you a suffusion of energy, and inspiration, and it drives you and motivates you to want to get that feeling again, so how do you get that feeling again? You start to complete another task.
So I’ve developed a habit, and people who are successful developed a habit of starting and completing tasks, so my wife comes in and says, “Dinner’s in five minutes,” so I look at my list and I say, “Okay, there’s a five minute task,” and I get ready to start and complete a five minute task.
And each time you complete a task, you get a burst of endorphin, the bigger the task, the more endorphin, the more endorphin, the more quickly you become addicted to starting and completing important tasks, and every single successful person has a reputation for starting and completing important tasks. You want the job done, give it to him or her.
You want the product served on time, you want the product completed, you want the product manufactured, shipped, delivered, give it to him, give it to her, give it to that company. ‘Cause they always deliver. That’s the best reputation you can have if you want to get rich.
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