A little while back I wrote a post “The No BS Guide to Productivity“, but being productive is a topic that I feel deserves regular attention and regular work. I’ve found some productivity hacks that have worked for me, but without regular maintenance, they just fade away and leave me back to where I was before. For me, I don’t believe there is one answer, or one fix that will increase my output indefinitely. If that’s the case with me, I’m assuming that at least some of you are the same way.
There are some great tools out there for helping you operate at a new, higher level. These tools can be worth their weight in gold, but without the proper shift in mindset, they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on. Everything we do comes down to purpose. There’s a reason behind everything we do, all day every day. You eat because you’re hungry, sleep because you’re tired, wake up because you have to go to work, work because you need money, you need money to pay bills, you need to pay bills so you continue to have a house over your head, you want a house over your head to stay safe and comfortable, you want to stay safe and comfortable in hopes to have some sort of happiness in life, and so on and so on. Here’s the thing, if you’re working because you need money, and need money to pay bills, your subconscious mind is going to give you just enough drive to just be productive enough to pay your bills. Why would your subconscious push you to exert more energy than needed for your purpose? It wouldn’t.
You may be thinking “I do want more than to just pay my bills, who doesn’t?” and that’s not the point. You’re right, who doesn’t want to have a few million dollars sitting in the bank. The point is, most people aren’t operating with the purpose of having a few million dollars sitting in the bank. They’re operating with the purpose of taking care of their current needs, to get by until next week or next month. The focus is on the bills due, the car needing new brakes, possibly a vacation. However, for the right purpose, you have the ability to operate on such a high level of productivity that you wouldn’t even recognize yourself. If we’re all being honest, I’m guessing you know plenty of things you could be doing each day to be more productive and more successful. Those things you hate doing, the ones that you convince yourself aren’t necessary or that you can do tomorrow or next week. Those things that you don’t have time to do anyway, because by the time you check your email every five minutes, go talk to somebody about Game of Thrones, get another cup of coffee, and get stuck on the phone with one person for 45 minutes, you’re all out of time. You were going to follow up with that prospect, but the day just got away from you. Listen, I’m not judging you one bit. I only know all of this because that’s me! It’s time to get honest with ourselves for the sake of getting ahead, way ahead.
The one thing that is so incredibly important to do in order to start increasing productivity is to create goals, and write them down. Not wimpy goals, not “make another $10,000 this year”, not the goals that seem reasonable to you and that others wouldn’t criticize. I mean those goals you really want, the ones you dream about, the ones you can get really excited about. I don’t care how far out there it is, if you want it then that’s your purpose. If your goals aren’t aligned with you deepest desires then they’re garbage. Don’t be afraid, pretend you’re eight years old and write down those larger than life dreams. Don’t worry about how you’re going to achieve them, you don’t have to know that yet. We’re just setting goals here, not planning yet.
Ok, so unless this is the first thing you’ve ever read about productivity then this isn’t the first time you’ve been told to write down your goals. If you’re like me, you’re not quite productive enough to even write down your goals. You intend to do it, but it just doesn’t get done. Maybe you wrote them down once or twice, lost the piece of paper and never wrote them down again. I’m going to help you out with that, too. These goals need to be top of mind, all the time. If you’re going to remember to even write them down then you have to be thinking about them. So there you go, think about them. Think about them all the time. Day dream, talk about them, find somebody with dreams as big as yours and talk to them about your goals. Lay in bed thinking about them before you go to sleep. Think about them as if they’ve already been accomplished. Feel that feeling of reaching them. Instead of just scheduled times each day to write down goals, write one down whenever you think about them. You’ll probably have numerous goals, but just write one down when you think of it and another a little later when you think of it. Carry around a $0.99 notebook you can keep in your pocket or purse, or cram some sticky notes or scrap paper in your pocket. Have the shortcut to the notepad app on your phone on the home screen so you see it all the time and write them down in there. Remember, “It take the same amount of energy to think small as it takes to think big.” – choose any one of the business or life gurus who have repeated that as their own and insert name here_____.
Alright, now we’re going to bring it all together. You have goals, goals that are making your heart race and your mouth water. If that’s not the case, read the paragraph about setting goals again and make bigger goals. Let’s say your goals are to make $100,000,000 and have a $30,000,000 yacht to cruise around the world in. How do we get from where you are now, to having $100,000,000 and a super yacht? You’ll need a plan, and that plan will probably change numerous times as you have to make adjustments, learn what does and doesn’t work, etc. In order to make that kind of money you’re most likely going to have to invest into something. Before you can invest into something you need to make more money, so we’ll start there. This is where you start operating at a whole new level of productivity! If you’re in sales, you have to sell more. To sell more, you have to talk to more people and become a better closer, in that order. Priority #1, talk to more people. Priority #2, be better at selling. At night, before you go to bed or commit to binge watching a tv series, you need to sit down with a notebook, or a daily planner. I highly recommend the 10x Planner from Grant Cardone. (No, I’m not trying to sell for him)
Write down your goals, the big ones, as if they just happened. Instead of “I want to make $100,000,000” write “I made $100,000,000. It’s some sort of subconscious mind trick. Just do it, it works. These aren’t the daily goals, but the big ones. The ones giving you purpose.
Write down your targets for the next day. These are your daily goals. What do you need to get done to sell more? Follow up with Mr. Jones? Get a signed contract from Mrs. Smith? Make 50 phone calls? What things, that if you accomplish, will make you more money? Write these down in list of priority. This is also where you write down things you need to learn, or get better at. Remember, talk to more people AND get better at selling.
Plan your day accordingly with the above targets, based on the priority of them. Remember those tasks we all know we need to do, but don’t? It’s time to do them, and write them down here. If getting that contract signed is the most important thing you can do tomorrow, make that the first item on your list. Get it done! I recommend planning your day in three hour blocks, instead of strict times on a calendar. (6am – 9am – I need to do A, B and C – From 9-12 I need to do X, Y and Z) If you need to get a signed contract, you’ll have to call Mrs. Smith, or go visit her, or whatever else you have to do to get it done. When are you going to do that? Write it down. Fill your entire day, write down more than you think you can possibly do. It’s better to not get it all done than to run out of things to do. Don’t just stick with work things, if you’re going to the gym in the morning, write it down, and definitely do not forget to plan time for learning and developing.
Do you normally wake up and 7am and start your day at 8am? Write in, on the first line of your plan for the day, “Wake up at 6am”. That’s right, give yourself an extra hour in the day to get more done. When you start operating at the level this technique will have you operating, you’ll need it. If you’ve tried to wake up at 6am for months but it just never worked, writing it down before you go to bed will make it a lot easier. When you have this exciting of a purpose, and a plan to make it happen, you will be excited to wake up at 6. When I started this, I would wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 and be disappointed that it wasn’t time to get up yet.
Wake up and open your planner. Write your goals down again, first thing in the morning. Start your day with your purpose in mind. Once you write down your goals review your daily targets. If there was anything you missed from the night before, or something new, write it in. Everywhere you go, all day, keep that planner with you and keep it open. Mine sits open on my desk while I’m in the office and in the passenger seat of my car when I’m out. If I go into a meeting I bring it with me. As I finish a task I go right to the planner to see what to move onto next. If you’ve ever had moments when you’re sitting at your desk wondering what you should do, this is going to cure that.
Does any of this sound fun? Probably not. However, once you get started and experience what it feels like to operate on a new level, you’ll love it. You will see that you can do it, and that is going to give you that much more confidence that you can achieve amazing amounts of success. You’ve always known that the ultra successful operate at massive levels of productivity, so when you see that you can operate in the same way, those goals start to look a lot closer. As I said in the beginning, this isn’t a one time fix. You will fall off, and have days where you start to slip back. Don’t get hard on yourself or feel defeated. Be aware of it, push through, and live to fight another day. The number one killer of this, is forgetting the goals, the purpose. If you find that you haven’t been thinking about your goals, or talking about them, throw a new goal in there. Take some time to write them out in more detail. Get online and start looking at yachts, or private jets, or mansions, or whatever it is you want. Get excited again. Keep coming back to the purpose, this all hinges on it.