By Joaquin Revello
Overview to a Productive 2019
In the past year, I have seen and realized that success and productivity can be achieved following these hacks/disciplines:
Prioritize the correct tasks
Amp up your energy
Rinse and repeat
This post will help you flesh out each component here to give you the most productive 2019 you could only imagine...
Before that, you might be thinking, that’s it? Yes, that is it. The truth is that we think that success and productivity are a very complicated system, made up of many grand, heroic actions like in all the movies. But the truth is: success has always been right in front of us.
Success is simple. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize how profound the simple things are. I always worship the people who are able to boil down complicated topics into simple ones. Why? It’s easy to go on a rant on talking about one thing non-stop. It is, however, a challenge to boil that down to something straightforward.
“As a society, we have become obsessed and focused on how long we worked on something and less on the results it produced.”
This post has been created to give you these results as quickly as possible. As I can imagine, you probably have 15 tabs open on your browser now, always busy, and perhaps that makes it impossible for you to find time for yourself. Regardless of everything you do, you might not be satisfied with your results. This post will solve that for you.
Removing Distractions The 2019 Way
You are being bombarded every day with news, alerts, and distractions. These pieces of media remove our focus from our goals and priorities.
The question is, are you still going to let it remove your focus from your goals?
For some, it is this need to always stay connected that has pulled them away from their life. Away from their goals. Away from their focus.
Do you know any people who are always talking about the latest sports scores? Or always watching TV? Or are, every minute of every day, glued to their phone? (I never understood what was so fun about Snapchat.) It’s as if they are slaves to that media platform.
Every time something happens on Facebook or Instagram, it’s as if they are being yanked by the collar towards that distraction.
Hey I’m not saying media is bad. I’m saying: Is a life of constant checking, posting and for some addiction a life you want to live? For many it is not, yet they still do it! That is the absence of clearly defined focus.
The super productive and (in turn) super successful have a set of clearly defined rules and principles in there lives that help them remove all the unnecessary distractions so they can stay focused on what matters the most in their life. For the most part, that does not involve constantly checking social media.
Did you know that on an average day, you pick up your phones 80 times (Apple)? Can you imagine that? If you sleep 8 hours a night, you pick up your phone on average 5 times an hour while awake. That's once every 12 minutes you’re awake.
According to a study by Indiana University, 89% percent of undergraduates had experienced a phantom vibration, which is when you think you felt your phone vibrate when it did not.
Around 54% of millennials check their phones in the middle of the night! Waking up and checking their media.
To solve this issue, understand that there are two different types of distractions.
If you are addicted to something, 2019 should finally be the year you get released from that distraction. Follow these simple steps to slowly (but surely) remove your distraction and gain back your focus to the tasks and people who are most important to you.
Remove the substance (phone, junk food etc) This instantly removes the will power you need to have when trying to resist any addictions. Making it easier to resist the game all together.
This is a very effective strategy for that exact reason, you are making it annoying to feed your addiction, removing your urge to play it altogether. Not only that but when the substance is not there, you are effectively decreasing the likelihood that you access it.
Why? Because you are making it difficult to access (ever wonder why you cannot go to the gym everyday? Mainly because you are making it hard on yourself to go to the gym. Do the same for any addiction you might have).
If you do not like the cold turkey approach listed above, and rather want to have a calmer and slightly more fun experience while removing your addiction or addictions, you can simply make a gaming schedule. Every day consume the substance a little bit less than before and start replacing it with the healthy substitution.
When you start to do this, you will begin to consume less and the substance. For example, you can check social media for 1 hour, then the next 55 minutes, then 50 minutes and so on. After 2 or 3 weeks, you will have whittled down your playing time while still playing a little bit.
The next category of distractions is called 'attention suckers', which are those things during the workday that distract you. Such as a phone call, a knock on the door or a notification on your phone.
The number one tip is to quit multitasking. In fact, you might not even realize you are multitasking, but constantly switching between projects or todos on your desk is destroying your productivity and your focus. So instead, focus on only one task at a time and single task.
Do only that one task and try as long as you can to only do that one task. It will be challenging at first to focus on only one thing, but you need to keep on focusing.
Second tip is to work someplace where people won’t bother you! Simply put, if you work at a library (without any family, friends or co-workers) as well without your phone and your email, you will experience incredible productivity.
This is because nobody will be able to reach you. Sounds like common sense, but many people get zero work done because they end up talking to their friends and anyone else at the office.
Last tip is to remove any pop ups and notifications on your computer and phone. Cmon it is 2019! If you still do not understand that your email and social media are the most distracting things in your work environment today, I don’t know where you’ve been for the last five years.
Don’t take my words, take this study by Microsoft, which concluded that we get distracted every 40 seconds when working in front of a computer screen. According to another study, 83% of the times we get distracted we don’t return back to the task we were just working on for the rest of the day! On top of that, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to that task after a distraction.
"It takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to that task after a distraction."
At a personal level, we waste on average 759 hours of our work time thanks to distractions (6). Surprisingly that is the same time as watching 314 blockbuster movies! Gone. During the same time you could be working (in your working hours) between the months of January to May, you could have instead been binge-watching popular movies!
That time gone! And people always ask, how could it be that I don’t have enough time?! And I yell at them back saying: “Because you are spending too much distracted time from work that matters!”
If you think this distractions level is only impacting you at a personal level, it’s also destroying the countries potential. A 2007 (imagine how much it has increased now) New Times article and study says that distracted employees, thus businesses, cost $650 billion dollars in lost profits per year? Not from the top, but from the bottom.
If we were to do the math, according to Statistaca, there are 153 million employees in the US (2007). On average, if we were to get around 650 billion dollars of wasted profits and divide that by the amount of employees, we would get around $4,248 of money wasted per employee. This means that in one year, an average employee is getting payed $4,248 of their salary not because of work, but because of distractions! What a waste of time!
"In the same time an employee spends doing distracted work (e.g. checking facebook, watching TV, looking out the windows), in five years he would have have saved enough money to buy himself a Mazda3 (roughly 20K)!"
Can you imagine paying someone $4,248 a year to be distracted and possible distract other people as well?
As a society we have become obsessed and focused on how long we worked on something and less on the results it produced. I need you to flip that. Focus more on the results you get from doing your work and significantly less on the time it takes you to achieve those results.
I personally believe that we live in the best time in history; for some, however, it may be the worst, due to how distracted they are. The fact is that we are living in a conundrum. These devices that we have created for ourselves is either helping the population or destroying it. The choice is yours to make.
Increase your Focus in 2019
We have already touched on this in the last section, but here are few more strategies to gaining back your focus when working.
The strategy I recommend is something I like to call productivity intervals but is also commonly referred to as the Pomodoro technique. You simply set an amount of time (for example, 50 minutes) on a countdown timer and work as focused as possible, non-stop, until the timer reaches zero.
You know those fitness programs of interval training? Where you got 100% for a relatively short period of time to prevent burnout? After that super intense work session you take a rest? Surprisingly, the same can be done in the workspace. Work for a specific period amount of time 100% (please notice this 100%) then take a break. Simple but profound!
100% focused does not refer to passively working on tasks, constantly distracted by things around you or trying to finish only the bare minimum required. Absolutely not. Have you ever had one of those days where something was due in a few hours, and you barely started? How did it feel rushing and finishing that task on time before you ran out of time?
This is 100% focused work (I imagine you didn’t watch TV or check facebook during those last precious hours). Luckily the Pomodoro timer can emulate that exact pressurized environment.
If you believe that you can work 3 hours non-stop and still get amazing results, good luck working those 3 hours focused. In fact, many articles specifically show how our mind cannot mentally work more than 50 minutes maximum at a time before our attention drops and we start getting diminishing results. I would suggest working for 30 minutes, simply due to the fact that many people have significantly shorter focus spans and suffer from attention atrophy, where they're distracted brain and attention stops them from focusing for long periods of tasks.
Remember that fact that once you get distracted it takes you around 23 minutes to get back into that state of flow? The goal of this exercise is to stay completely focused and do not stop working until the timer is done, or else you risk resetting and starting again from zero.
Why the breaks? An article by Buffer explains how in order to achieve a higher rate of productivity and "enhanced focus" you must take short 2-5 minute breaks after interval sessions.
So how exactly do you work for 30 minutes non stop? You use a timer. Yes, a plain simple timer. Avoid using a timer on your phone as it will require you to have your phone near you and you will be unable to actively see the timer counting down.
Having the GetProductive Alpha in helping you with productivity because it stops the temptation to check your phone when you should be doing work. Remember that you need to physically see the time counting down for this technique to be effective. If it’s on your phone or your computer, after some work time, you might forget that it’s there. This will most likely decrease your motivation to do work, as you do not know how much time is actually left.
Prioritize the Correct Tasks
Here is the truth:
"You don’t have to do everything"
I know that might sound scary, but the fact is that there are thousands of different things you could be doing everyday that might make you think that you are productive. But different tasks have substantially different amounts of value and priority. The biggest mistake rookies make is that they think that every single task weighs equally in terms of priority, so they try to do everything.
For example, for one person cleaning windows seems like a waste of time (and is), but for another, it is a profession. The task didn’t change, but the reason why and the value of the task to each person respectively did.
I always see many people ‘work hard’ and get tired of the things that don’t have much value. Which is why I am always confused and skeptical when many of my classmates criticize me for not doing enough work and going to bed early. And the only thing I can do is chuckle.
Each task has different worth to you. If you’ve made this far into the post, you most likely already know the 80/20 rule, which states that only 20% of the tasks you do give out 80% of the results. However, I like to think of this strategy as somewhat basic, as in that 20% there are less than 5% of the tasks you do that give out not 4 times more value but up to 10 times more value.
The challenge however is to identifying these tasks and obviously spend as much time as possible doing them.
An easy way to do this is a strategy I learned from Brendon Burchard’s book High-Performance Habits, more specifically the section focused on productivity. It stated that to become more productive, spend the most amount of your time focused on what he called needle movers, which are those tasks that move the needle and move the agenda towards your goals.
In Darren Hardy’s The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, he states to find your ‘vital functions’, which are those tasks that give you the most impact to your specific career and field of interest. Then the goal from there is to spend as much time as humanly possible doing those things, and get to be the best at them.
"Remember that productivity has less to do with how efficient you can do something and more to do with what you do, which is why prioritizing is essential for results."
Fortunately, these can be done with priorities or specific habits you want to develop. Instead of spending all your time on trivial things that give you less reward, spend the time building habits that can help you build a skill that is designed to give you the most reward in the long run. Then what you want to do is track the amount of time you spend doing your VIP.
Track this in minutes using the GetProductive Alpha's stopwatch feature.
Since the GetProductive Alpha is only on Kickstarter, you might be chuckling now thinking: “You want me to walk around tracking the amount of time I spend doing important tasks using a stopwatch”? But here’s the truth.
The fact is that all the studies above are varying degrees on how much time people spend actually working in the office, so for you individually, for the most part, are unsure of how much time you are spending doing the tasks that give you the most value. I challenge you to make a wild guess of how much time you spend doing highly valued tasks; I can almost guarantee you that you are overshooting the actual amount.
"As human beings, we love overestimating short term goals and underestimating long term goals"
Because we love instant results. So to gain perspective, try out this exercise using our GetProductive Alpha for a week, tracking the amount of time you spent doing your VIP. How much time do you think you spend doing these tasks? Two hours? Four hours? Eight hours?!
Remember that what gets measured gets improved. If you don’t know where you are and have no indication of what you are doing, then it will be impossible for you to consistently multiply and improve your results.
"Without an indication of where you are, you won’t know where to go."
To show evidence of completion of your VIP, use the GetProductive App or set a goal for the amount of time you spend doing these tasks.
Then use something Jerry Seinfeld created. Something he calls his “ultimately productivity strategy”.
Don’t break the chain. It is a very simple strategy and discipline that will ultimately help you reap spectacular rewards in the long run. Either do this in a journal or in a massive calendar on your wall. You simply define your goal, and everytime you reach that goal give yourself a check. After a few days, there will be a stacking number of checks and the goal from there on is to never break the discipline of doing one of the task. Try this with the GetProductive Alpha.
Something strange but helpful will happen when you start to track your priority time. You will realise how little time you are spending doing the tasks that matter, and become shocked at how little time you are spending doing these tasks compared to how much time you think you are doing these tasks. The bridge between your expectations and reality is truly massive.
I know this because when I started tracking my time, I worked all day from 9-3 and throughout that entire day I tracked and worked less than an hour on the tasks that give me the most value. It wasn’t that I was not focused or not working, I did all of that. It was the fact that I was spending the majority of my time doing the tasks that do not necessarily give me the most value from my time.
In 2019 it is finally time to change that. This year identify what gives you the most value and go around tracking that time.
Amp up your Energy
When people come up to me and say they are too busy or that they don’t time it drives me nuts! I say, how can it be you don’t have time when everyone on this planet has exactly the same amount of time? We all have 24/7; no race, culture or geographically location has more or less time. So the problem can’t be that you don’t have time.
Look. Unless you’re Doctor Who, Doctor Strange or Marty Mcfly with the Delorean, contrary to what most think you can’t manage time.
Time will go on with or without you no matter what you do, thus the term time management is quite misleading.
One way to instantly feel as if you magically have more time and energy is to remove all the media you consume everyday, such as TV, social media and news if possible to increase your focus in your work. Ever since I quit posting and checking social media (on my personal account), more than a year ago, I instantly felt as if I had more time on my hands.
The second thing you can do is to make a morning routine. I love morning routines for a few reasons. The first is how in the morning there is no one. It is that magical part of the day when there is absolute silence. The world still hasn’t awakened.
Have you ever drove in the early morning when there was no traffic? How does it feel? Feels like freedom right? On the contrary, how did it feel stuck in a massive traffic jam during ‘rush hour’? Productivity is the same. There are certain periods during the day where there is no one calling to you, sending you emails, annoying you at work, and that prime time is in the morning. No traffic.
According to Science Direct, waking up early has also shown to help you with your persistence, cooperation, and agreeableness.
The key is to wake up early, do your productivity interval session, and do it consistently towards your VIP using the all the techniques we talk about above.
Rinse and Repeat
The biggest challenge you are going to experience in 2019 is staying consistent to the important habits you are trying to build.
If you look at the super successful, the pinnacles of our society, you will realize that the majority of their success comes down to the accumulated effect of their actions, and how overtime that has shaped their results and behaviors.
So how do you turn a discipline into a habit so you can start reaping these rewards? There are a few simple tripping points people make when crafting their habits. If you can identify these, it will be much easier and less problematic when you start creating your habits.
The first habit tripping point is starting unrealistically big.
Let me tell you that there is very little point in making a massive change, mainly because it requires a significant amount of motivation and is hard to adapt to.
"Remember that success is a marathon, not a sprint"
You do not become the healthiest person in the world in one night by making a herculean effort. You just can’t. Instead, you must start small, so that you can build the routine up; or the action of doing your habit.
Then from that, you can simply scale up. A habit is a routine. Doesn’t matter how big it is. It is just a routine; without a routine, it is not a habit, no matter how big your ambitions are.
Second, you keep on trying to add more and more habits, with little to no success. In our busy, distracted and overworked world, more in habits is the not the secret, less is.
Here’s the truth about habits. We think we can just add in habits whenever we want, without realising that we are most likely have already scheduled something in the same time slot. And what do you think will replace your habit during that time? Yes, that is correct, whatever was there before, especially if it easier to do.
Finally, the last habit killer is that you are seeking the result, not the routine. Understand that habits are a set of accumulated daily actions, they are not a result.
“A habit is not bigger muscles, more money, or a happier life. Yes, it has the potential for that, but a habit is something you do routinely to ultimately help you achieve an end result.”
Go Big this Year
Now with all of these productivity strategies, it is now your turn to effectively plan out your year and achieve any and every goal you set for yourself.
To help you along the way, check out our productivity increasing device, pack in with all these features at a limited time 25% off. Check it out on Kickstarter at:
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