Today I wanted to share some of my most powerful productivity insights and tools with you…
…so you become The Bono of Your Craft, The Jagger of Your Field and The Drake of Your Game (ok–Drake’s not a rocker but you get my point 😉
Let’s dive right in…
#1. Get Your Routines Right
Ultra-productive producers focus less on using their willpower and a lot more on building their routines.
Stephen King starts writing every day between 8 and 8:30 am, whether he’s motivated or not. He has his vitamin pill, sits in the same seat and plays the same music.
This ritual triggers his imagination. And kickstarts his inspiration.
A while ago I was at a Yankees game in New York City. A major financial player was seated next to me. He shared that he’d recently brought NBA legend Magic Johnson to speak to his corporate team.
Magic spoke of the fact that during one season Larry Bird dominated him when it came to free throw success. And so, Magic vowed that the next year, he’d show Bird his own mastery.
For the next 6 months, Magic built the following morning routine: he’d wake early and go down to his home basketball court. And he wouldn’t leave until he’d make 100 successful free throws. In a row.
Some days, Magic would be done by 7 am. Other days he’d still be shooting at noon. But he never left before making his 100 daily consecutive free throws. It was a dedicated routine.
The next year, Magic Johnson beat his rival Larry Bird in free throws.
I also adore Maya Angelou’s daily routine. She says she can’t work in pretty places like her home. So after she wakes up at 5:30 am each morning and has her coffee, she drives to a spartan, gritty motel room that she rents.
The rough nature of that environment pushes her to her creative edges. And provokes her greatest work.
She starts writing at 7 am and keeps at it until 2 pm. This is how she gets exceptional things done.
So get your routines right.
And please remember that inspiration isn’t some random event. No, it’s an organized result.
#2. Enjoy Being Disliked
Look, I get it. Part of being human involves a need to be liked. To fit in. To avoid conflict.
This neurobiological need served us when we lived on the savannah hundreds of years ago. If we strayed from the herd, we’d be eaten by tigers. Or die of starvation.
But now we’re in a world without the same threats. And with a staggering array of comforts.
Yet we still work and live in a way designed to sustain the approval of all those around us.
Here’s my real point: you can do world-class work. Or you can please everyone around you. But you can’t do both.
The very nature of being massively productive and creating masterful output means you’ll have to block out all the emails asking for immediate responses, turn off your mobile demanding your attention and say no to a ton of social obligations that only serve to distract you from the body of work that will raise you to iconic.
And this means people will be unhappy.
But the full expression of your gifts, talents and genius into the world is more than worth the disapproval you’ll attract. Actually, your mastery demands it.
#3. Value Suffering
I know this one won’t be popular with most people. But whoever said you’re playing at “most people level”…
We live in a society that sells us easy.
Anything that seems hard or uncomfortable or messy is called bad.
And the quick-fix, pleasurable and fast is considered good.
But here’s the thing: every master suffers. And to become the single most productive person you know, you’ll have to accept some pain along the path.
Van Gogh remained mostly anonymous his entire life, only reaching fame after his death. Yet, he kept on producing his art.
Steve Jobs was considered a misfit, eccentric and oddball. Yet, nothing stopped his monomaniacal pursuit of world-class.
JK Rowling couldn’t get Harry Potter published. And still she persisted and persevered until one editor got the brilliance of her concept.
I guess what I’m suggesting is that every visionary is initially ridiculed and later revered.
Every artist, chef, manager, athlete, entrepreneur and scientist committed to mastery faces criticism as they pursue originality, cynicism as they hunt their passion and condemnation as they chase their commitment.
And so they suffer for their dream, knowing that…
…the thing that’s easiest to do is rarely the thing that’s the best thing to do.
#4. Do Real Work Versus Fake Work
Really important distinction here….
Average producers confuse activity with productivity.
They think movement equals effectiveness.
And they get trapped into spending the best hours of their best days climbing mountains only to realize that at the end of the day they scaled the wrong ones.
Peter Drucker said it beautifully: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which shouldn’t be done at all.”
Checking email first thing in the morning, pushing paper, doing senseless meetings and engaging in administrivia when you should be creating remarkable value are all examples of doing fake work…
…the kind of work designed to make you feel like you’re getting big things done but actually dig you deeper into the hole of mediocrity and overwhelm.
But for now, please allow me to share The 90/90/1 Rule that has created huge breakthroughs for so many of my beloved clients…
…for the next 90 days, spend the first 90 minutes of your workday on your #1 opportunity.
Just stop doing any fake work first thing in the morning. Check your email after lunch. Make your phone calls in the afternoon. Surf the Net in the evening.
#5. Be an Incrementalist
Massive productivity isn’t the result of one revolutionary act.
Instead, it’s actually the result of supertiny daily wins.
5 little acts of progress on your key plays every day delivers 1850 wins in a year.
“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules,” observed British novelist Anthony Trollope.
So please remember: the things you do regularly are 100X more important than those things you do rarely.
#6. Understand that Elite Productivity without Deep Refuelling Causes Dramatic Depletion
Try carrying a heavy load for a long time and you’ll be forced to stop in a short time.
But take rest breaks every little while, and you can go farther than you’ve ever dreamed…
Old-school performers think that the best way to get more done is to work harder. But research shows that’s actually the way to get less done.
Pushing yourself relentlessly without regular periods of renewal has actually been proven to deplete your key assets of focus, energy and productivity over time.
The smarter move? Work in intense bursts of total focus for 90 minutes and then take 10 minutes to rest, refuel and relax. Run these cycles through your workday and watch your energy and overall performance rise to breathtakingly great levels.
#7. Know The Power of The 3 S’s
Here’s a valuable idea: exceptional creativity and uncommon productivity need a space to present themselves.
Ordinary producers are always so distracted and busy being busy that there’s no opportunity for their best ideas and performance to come out and play.
Ultra-productive performers get that time alone allows the brain to shift from the left side into the right side–the realm where your personal genius resides.
With quiet time, your brain waves shift into alpha state. And you receive the insights and reflections that truly can move you to change the game within your industry and inside of your life.
I learned The 3 S’s from my work as the private advisor to some of the most successful business-builders and entrepreneurial titans on the planet…
…the best of them understand the value of a period of daily Solitude, Silence and Stillness. They’d carve out time to think, plan and visualize. Every 24 hours. Without fail…
And ironically, by making the time to reflect, the actions that followed were vastly more focused, productive and excellent.
By “doing nothing”, they achieve everything.
#8. Practice Spectacularity
Ok. I made up a word here. Forgive me.
But the principle is this: practice being spectacularly productive long enough and being spectacularly productive will become your way of being.
Recent science confirms it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of acting (super important idea here).
So by behaving like the most productive person you know (for 66 days says the habit-installation research of University College of London)–even when you’re not there yet, you’ll rewire your brain patterns to the point where world-class productivity soon becomes automatic. Your default. And your new normal.
And this is my great wish for you.
Ok. So there you go Rockstar…
…8 of the best tactics for seriously amazing productivity that have helped so many of my clients produce epic results and become legendary within their fields.
Be great. Bye.