9 Daily Steps to Be More Productive and Get Shit Done
Everyone and their mom wants to be more productive and get shit done. How many times have you heard “I wish there were more hours in the day?” Too many, IMHO. Rather than wishing there were more hours—create that you use the hours you have better.
Eric Thomas (an incredible motivational speaker if you don’t know him already) drills into people that everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Oprah, Richard Branson and Gary Vaynerchuck all have 24 hours every day. All of us have a full 24 hours.
(Oh, random… not so random side note—if you like motivation & hustle, this episode of #askgaryvee has both Gary Vee and Eric Thomas and is awesome ;-))
How then, do these successful people get so much shit done!? Clearly, they use their time more effectively. They literally get more done, and extend their time through others to do so. You may not be at the place where you can hire on a crew to follow you around and help you get shit done. However, you can certainly make better use of your time.
If you’re looking for some straight motivation to hustle, move faster, and do more—watch this Youtube playlist: You Are In Control of Your Life.
#1 Wake Up Earlier
Eric Thomas says time and time again in his videos that most CEOs and notoriously successful people wake up at 3am. He said they were all talking about the 3:00am news, and he didn’t even know the news came on that early.
I’m not saying to wake up necessarily at 3:00 am. Think for a moment though, what you could get done with another 5 hours every day. What would you do!? Most of these people literally have an additional 5 hours every day to get shit done. That’s almost 2 full working days in the day.
Gary Vaynerchuck always brags about working 18 hours every day. Think about it for a moment. 18 HOURS. When was the last time you put in a full (all shit aside please) no-bullshit 8-9 hour day. Most people don’t. The average person goes to work, slacks off for the majority of the day, does a little work in the morning, maybe sits in meetings, goes to lunch, gossips at the coffee stand in the kitchen and procrastinates for the rest of the day.
I didn’t believe this (or at least didn’t understand it) until I started working in corporate America. And yes, I can tell you it’s actually legit. My co-workers spend the majority of their time either complaining, chatting or messing around on their computers trying to look like they’re working. That’s the average. Now think of Gary and ET putting in 18 hours—twice that of the average person. They’re each like 2 people.
Plainly, wake up earlier.
I know it can be tough—I was a clear-as-day night owl. After doing loads of research on the body, I can tell you that there’s actually no thing such as a “night owl.” If you’re inclined to stay up really late, it’s more because your hormones are imbalanced causing you to not feel tired at night.
#2 Ditch the Sugar (Most Carbs) and Caffeine
There’s nothing less productive than eating or drinking something loaded with sugar, and feeling that unmistakable crash an hour later. Then to recover from being so exhausted from the crash, people reach for more sugar, carbs and caffeine. This blows out your adrenal glands and makes you sugar-dependent.
Now, I don’t necessarily care that much except for that these elements make us ridiculously unproductive. It almost feels like your fighting ADHD… but you don’t actually have it. You just have an addiction to sugar.
(Sidenote, yes sugar is addictive. In fact, sugar is 8X more addictive than cocaine.)
Caffeine over extended periods of time actually blows out your adrenal glands. When you pump so much caffeine into your system (such as most of our society does) your adrenal glands stop producing adrenaline when they usually would throughout the day to give you energy. Instead you become reliant on caffeine to give you the energy.
Caffeine causes a spike in your adrenaline pretty much on demand. As such, it goes against the normal homeostasis that we have in our bodies. Our bodies aren’t meant to be spiked with caffeine every couple hours. Consequently, it has a negative effect on productivity.
Adrenal fatigue is a chronic problem in American society. Here are just some of the symptoms and effects. My guess is you’re probably suffering from it like the majority of Americans. Awareness though, is such a gift. Turn on your learning game and get your adrenal glands healthy and back on track!
If you’re open to ditching the caffeine addiction, I highly recommend it. I did, and for the last 2-3 weeks it’s been easier for me to fall asleep at reasonable times, and easy to wake up early in the morning. I don’t feel tired in the morning even with less sleep that usual. When I was drinking loads of tea and coffee waking up was a task and I would always feel tired, and sluggish.
#3 Exercise at Least 10 Minutes Every Day
Exercise has loads of productivity benefits and obviously is great for your body. If you exercise 10 minutes in the morning it begins to wake you up naturally. Exercise produces endorphins that can keep you focused and productive all day long.
If you’re not into working out 30 minutes to an hour every day, I recommend HIT training. It’s “high intensity training” and involves easy exercises back to back with high intensity. You can do it in 10 minutes a day in your living room.
Exercise gets your blood flowing, oxygen to the brain and releases endorphins. These are all things we need to be productive.
#4 Create Focus Days and Power Sessions
Focus days are a few times a week where you decide to “power up” and get more done than the other days. It’s where you create multiple 90 minute focus segments with breaks in between. Remove all distractions, and set a 90 minute timer. Crush through your work for the 90 minutes. Ignore any distraction, close down your extra web browser tabs, log out of Facebook, your email etc. Just spend the time working on whatever task you have at hand.
I like to do this 2-4 times in the day for my focus days. In this amount of time, you get so much more done than you usually would! You don’t have to do them every day (may not be super sustainable) but definitely do it at least 2 days per week.
If you don’t have the time/focus to do a full day—just do one focus power session. Sit down for 90 minutes and crank—distraction free.
#5 Do Your Most Creative and Important Tasks in the Morning
We are most productive in the morning. After a full nights’ rest, your brain has the most capacity and energy. That’s the time to do the most important and/or creative aspects of your day!
First thing in the morning (after I run through my morning routine) is to start writing. I write for the first 90 minutes of the day. In fact, I’m writing this article at 8:00 am pacific time. In the morning I have the most creative juices flowing, and the least amount of distractions. No one is calling me this early. No one is vying for my attention. No one is asking anything of me.
It’s the perfect time to sit down and crush through teaching you guys marketing!
Whatever it is for you— do your most creative tasks in the morning.
#6 Know What Your Motivation Is —Keep Motivated
Motivation and inspiration expires. We’re motivated and we use it up, and then we’re not. Then we expect the motivation just to show up the next day… and it doesn’t. Motivation is like showering. If you didn’t shower for days you’d stink. If you don’t fuel up on motivation every day or two—you’re missing purpose and drive.
The simple fix is to know what motivates you.
There are a number of levels to feeling motivated. If you can plan a daily activity around being even just a little motivated you’re on the right track. The easiest way for me to get motivated fast—is to watch motivational videos on Youtube.
Want my personal mix?
Here’s the EXACT motivational playlist I watch and listen to—to hype up.
I skip around the list depending on how I’m feeling for the day.
Visit the Be Motivated Youtube Playlist.
#7 Be Specific with What You’re Looking to Achieve
You can’t accomplish any sort of goals without first setting them. Take time to create your daily goals either the night before, or early in the morning. Know what you’re looking to accomplish for the day and create a set list of tasks that you can accomplish.
Don’t make it too big! People usually get overwhelmed with big lists.
Create a list just for today. Place anything that is on back burner or just needs to get done at some point on a separate “ongoing projects” list. If you’re looking to crush through your business and personal life through the rest of the year and want some help— download your free goal setting workbook. It’s interactive too so you can do it all on your computer 😉
Also, don’t be afraid to remove things from your lists. Sometimes we think we can do more than we can. The extra time spent on one project and letting go of another can be freeing. Food for thought.
#8 Master How You Recover & Speed Up Your Recovery Process
Mastering your method of recovery is incredibly important. Recovery is just as important as your ramp-up for the day. I used to spend all my energy for the day in several “ramp-ups” and completely would neglect recovering. Want to know where that leads you? Burn out—that’s where. It’s not worth the constant burn out even if you’re accomplishing great things.
We have great physical bodies as humans that can give us what we need.
The thing is, just like anything else you must learn how your body and mind work together. Take the time to learn how your body recovers. Hint… it’s not sitting in front of the TV watching America’s Got Talent for 90 minutes in the evening. What I’m trying to say, is that “vegging out” isn’t recovery. It’s actually a symptom of burn-out.
Everyone recovers a little differently. Think about what activities that you do when you slow down and that seem to give energy back to you (rather than drawing it away). Depending on your personality type, you may recover from social atmospheres, or reflective environments (extroverted vs. introverted). Either way, learn what helps you recover.
For example, I recover quickly by meditating, drinking tea, placing zen music on, learning, or being creative (personal creative projects). Any combination of these things helps me recover pronto. Like anything else, you can hack your brain for success. I’ve created set patterns for myself where I feel relaxed with zen music, tea and meditation. Now, if I use any of these elements separately I’m instantly transported to “relaxed-land” (a relaxed state) without working at it.
#9 Rest Up! Get Your Sleep and ZZzzzzs
I cannot stress enough how important sleep is. I used to think it was a joke and would frequently either not get enough sleep, or sacrifice the quality of my sleep for other things (like working late at night).
My motto in high school and college while taking 25-credit semesters was “I’ll sleep when I die.” I’m sure if I kept it up, I would… die, lol. Aside from being dramatic, I was sleep-deprived and working ridiculously hard. Now I just work hard.
Once I started investing in my sleep I saw a massive up-tick in the amount of energy I had during the day.
First, it’s worth researching what it means to be on a circadian rhythm for your body. Essentially you go to bed by 10:00 pm. I get that’s going to kill your nightlife, but it will propel your day-time productiveness. If you’re set on the night life, allow yourself to do it once a week and spend the rest of the week going to bed at 10:00pm.
There are loads of studies and research that proves that you’re going to want to go to bed at 10 for optimal recovery benefit. Your brain and body go into serious repair between 10:00 pm and 12:00 am. Get to sleep early to get the most optimal benefit!
Okay, now that you’ve made it through this awesome blog article, get goin’! It’s time for you to go get shit done.
Oh yea, and download your free goal setting workbook here. I really think you’re going to dig it… hard. (In a good way obviously).
Cheers to you getting shit done!
Have more to add? Let us know in the comments!
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(Photo Model: Tatianna Morales)