After reading hundreds of books and thousands of articles – here are the 10 laws to becoming a Pro at Productivity
1) Take A Break – Pomodoro
If you work non-stop beyond the 25th / 30th minute, your performance starts to dip drastically. And it a slide downhill on productivity. So, this is what you should do – Work in 25-minute intervals. Take a break for 5 minutes and do something fun – call a friend, talk to a child, speak to a parent or roommate, enjoy some music – something that is the reward for the 25 minutes of hard Work. Now go back to the next 25 minutes slot and finish the task. Keep repeating, and you will be amazed by this magic! Your efficiency is near 100% consistently. Most people work longer and longer without a break, and they do not realize that their productivity dips rapidly to even 20%. Hence, they now take much 5x longer and make much more mistakes. The frustration and exhaustion only compound. All this without their knowledge. So, the trick is simple – keep a timer/ work for 25 min/ take a break for 5 minutes/repeat.
2) 80-20 Pareto Principle
This Pareto principle says that 80% of results get done with 20% effort. So, it would help if you had figured out that 20% is the driving agent of your 80%, and you can ignore the rest. Practising Pareto consciously allows you to focus only on the critical 80% in a short time.
3) Newtons First Law – Start Somewhere – Keep Moving
Newton’s first law of motion says that an object is at rest or in uniform motion until an external force act upon it. So why not kick off something into kinetic action and START doing it? The momentum will take off. For example, if you want to start running for 45 minutes each day at 7:00 am, all you need to do is have the discipline of wearing your running shoes at 7:00 am. Automatically your momentum takes the song for the next 45 minutes. On the contrary, not wearing the shoe will build inertia and send you might not even step out for the entire day.
4) Sleep Well
Oh, well, you may belong to the 5 am club. Or maybe you belong to the Night Owls club. Or you may pride yourself on sleeping 3 hours a day for months. And still, you are busy. Well, one of the reasons why those = who do 18-hour workdays are not productive is that they do not sleep well. Sleeping well, say 6-8 hours is what the body needs to function optimally and be productive. Mounting evidence suggests that a good night’s sleep seriously boosts productivity. Sleep deprivation leads to “significantly lower productivity, performance, and safety outcomes”. Well, this one should be easy to sleep well, well enough to recharge and nourish your mind and body.
5) Buridan’s Ass -You Can’t Do Two Things at The Same Time
Buridan’s ass refers to a hypothetical situation wherein an ass (donkey) equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. Since the paradox assumes the donkey will always go to whichever is closer, it dies of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision between the hay and water. We often do nothing because we cannot choose what to do first. We want to do both simultaneously and cannot decide what should be. Start –pick any choice and keep moving. You will have finished the task.
6) Do Important / Not Urgent Things First – The Q2 Quadrant
We do a lot of things every day. Do the laundry, cook, clean, email, and make phone calls. Each day you check everything off your To Do. That is efficient. Great. But to be ‘effective’, you need to do essential things. You may not do as many things, but you do one thing that makes a substantial difference. The Q2 quadrant is about doing things that are Important but not Urgent. This is where you should spend most of your time—planning, prevention, capability improvement, relationship building, recognizing new opportunities, etc. Spending time on these important things should lead to an unclouded vision, balanced life, discipline, control, and fewer and fewer crises.
7) Work Expands to Fill Time
Work expands to fill them if you want to get things done in a sustainable fashion here\. Parkinson’s law says Work expands to fill the time we allocate to it, so if you get something attractive giving us less time, allocate less time to it. Try to time-box it into smaller and smaller time capsules instead of giving yourself a liberal ‘evening’ or ‘post launch’ to do your task – slot yourself 230-255p or 415-440p. You will see the Work magically take a short time and contracts into that time.
8) Tame Your Mind Towards Infinite Leverage
We live in an age of infinite leverage. Your actions can be multiplied 1000-fold by writing helpful content, podcast, investing capital, having people work for you, or writing code. The impact of good decision-making on what can give the best multiplier effect now is that you can influence thousands or millions of people – through your decisions, your code, and your start-up. So, clear your mind to better judge the ‘infinite leverage’ you do with your mind. You will also be happy and calm with better decisions, peak performance, and outcomes. You must learn to tame your mind just like you train your body.
9) Visioning with Absolute Goal Clarity
Why do you see your car everywhere after you buy it? Science has an answer for this, and it involves the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. There has not been an increase in similar cars around you — you rarely noticed it before.
Your subconscious can be quite powerful and yet be selective in what it gives attention to or ignores without you realizing it. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, more commonly referred to as frequency illusion, triggers your brain into a goal-seeking function. Where subconsciously, it will nudge and strive towards your goals. Now imagine visioning your definitive version of what you want multiple times; you will subconsciously start achieving the same.
10) The Magic Formula
Yes, the 10th is just consistency and following the above – take a break, follow 80-20, start and keep moving, sleep well, do not get stuck like a Bourdain’s ass, do important things first, time-box your Work, tame your mind for infinite leverage, follow visioning with absolute goal clarity, repeat.
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