The Art of Getting More Done requires one to be in a particular state. Athletes call this state 'the zone'. So many people feel overwhelmed and as if there aren't enough hours in the day. How would you like to focus so intently on your task at hand that distractions don't hinder you? Would you like to get things done with ease, creativity, and minimal effort, whilst remaining relaxed? This state I speak of is what Tony Robbins calls 'Peak State'. Peak State is a flow state - it's where you are working, doing, and being - where you have clarity, creativity, focus, motivation, inspiration, are productive, energetic / pumped up, but also relaxed (not stressed), and are fully in control. You get stuff done!
I have found that most daily stress comes from a combination of inappropriately managed time and lack of clarity. You may think you don't have enough time in the day, but what if it weren't about time? The reality is this: we all have the same 1,440 minutes in our day. Some of us are more productive than others. Why? It all boils down to time management, self discipline, clarity, and the elimination of procrastination. Ahh, is procrastination an achilles heel for you? It won't be after you read this article! People don't procrastinate due to lack of clarity on what needs to be done, rather, they procrastinate due to lack of clarity on one/two things: how something needs to be done and the end goal. Obtaining clarity requires decision making - and that requires a burst of energy. You have to decide what to do, when, how, and why. Clarifying your needed outcome is one of the most powerful tools for getting more done.
I'm excited to share with you the hacks I've learned that will help...
Prevent Decision Fatigue
People like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have famously worn the same clothes everyday. Many others, considered some of the world's most successful people, also wear either the exact same outfits, or will limit themselves to a particular color (usually black, white, or gray). A few of these people are: Albert Einstein (bought several versions of the same gray suit), President Obama (limited himself to only blue and gray suits), Johnny Cash (the Man in Black), and the most ironic of all..... Michael Kors (fashion designer), Carrie Donovan (fashion magazine Vogue, editor), and Karl Lagerfeld (fashion designer). Many Presidents and CEOs of large corporations do the same. So what do these people know that the rest of the general population doesn't - and it must be SO powerful that it attracts the likes of some of the most famous and successful in the fashion industry (the one place you don't wear the same outfit twice)?
It's to prevent Decision Fatigue. They don't want to waste their brainpower on choosing threads everyday. We constantly make choices everyday from hitting the snooze on our alarm (or not), when to brush our teeth, what to eat, what to wear, when to leave for work, where and what to eat for lunch, what to do at work (or at home with the kids) in the afternoon, when to exercise and what to concentrate on that day, what to do after dinner, to what time to go to bed. Exhausted yet?
Each time you make a decision, you expend mental/brain energy. Making too many decisions in a short amount of time leads to Decision Fatigue and you drastically reduce your ability to make decisions (at least good ones anyway).
Remember... less is more in fashion. Most people find value in an expansive wardrobe, but as you now know, it's not the most intelligent decision. Be like Steve and the others I mentioned - find a few articles you love and buy multiples of them, or stick to a color scheme so whatever you put on will look great. Ditto with shoes.
K.I.S. & Get Organized
Keep it Simple. Write out all the things you do on a daily and weekly basis. Create a calendar of what you're going to do, where, and when. When you create your daily calendar, list things in order of importance, and enter things by the minute. Studies show that the most successful people are those who schedule their daily calendar by the minute (not in 15 minute or half-hour increments). Swallow the frog in the morning - meaning, do that one task you don't enjoy and get it out of the way so you're free to do everything else without the dread hanging over your head. Map out your weekly and monthly calendar. Review your calendar daily and tweak as necessary.
Set Aside 2-3 Hours For Your Morning Routine
Schedule 2-3 hours first thing every morning to prepare you for the day and get your most important work done. Eliminate as many distractions as possible, don't check emails or phone during this time, and focus on the task at hand. Finishing the most important things first thing frees you from stress, you get more done, and it helps boost your creativity. A few morning routine ideas: prayer, meditation, exercise, stretching, journaling, quiet time for yourself, cup of hot tea or coffee.
Do what I call a Brain Dump. Grab paper and pen, and write down everything you need to get done, both now and later, big and small (or create a list on your phone in Notes, or an auditory recording). I prefer pen and paper. Do this daily and at least once weekly for larger goals. If you have a bunch of ideas or to-do's swimming around in your mind, you don't have a clear mind - this prevents clarity, creativity, and the ability to take appropriate action. After you complete your brain dump, take it a step further and put those items on your calendar to ensue productivity and success (see tip below called Trash Your To-Do List).
Keep An Idea Notebook
When you think of things that need to get done or have ideas (outside your official brain dump), immediately log it in your notebook (physical notebook, notebook app in your phone, or auditory recording). Check your notes at the end of each day or at the beginning of the next, and put them into action: put to-do's on your calendar, set the meeting, etc. I have a hardcopy notebook on my desk where I jot ideas down as they come to me, and while I'm out and about I use the notes app on my phone. Once a day I transfer the list from my notes app to my hardcover notebook. This little notebook is also where I conduct my Brain Dump so it's all in one place.
Trash Your To-Do List
Put things on your calendar instead. I've been doing this for a while and have been amazed at how much more productive I am, I get things done faster, waste less time, stress less, and end up with more free time. I start with a written list (my Brain Dump), then put them in order of importance, and add them to my calendar at appropriate times.
Schedule exercise on your calendar, what days and what you'll concentrate on, then allow your calendar to tell you what to do. This eliminates one more decision you need to make during the day.
Create a weekly meal plan, all ingredients necessary for each meal, grocery shop once a week from that list, and stick to your meal plan. This saves time, food waste, money, and brain energy - and you'll find yourself eating healthier.
Take Care of Your Body
Don't skip nutritious meals. Hydrate with plenty of water (half your body weight in pounds converts to ounces you need to drink in water: if weight is 150lbs, drink 75oz water daily). Meditate (I love Priming by Tony Robbins, found on YouTube). Prayer. Exercise daily, even if it's a quick 20 minute walk for fresh air and body/brain oxygenation), and grab 10-15 minutes of daily sunlight.
Schedule Time For Email & Social Media
Schedule 2-3 times per day to check and respond to emails and do social media work (if your job requires social media, otherwise, allow yourself to check it once or twice daily at specific times and for a specific amount of time). Scheduling this time is freeing, manages your time better so you're more productive, and reduces stress.
Have Daily Connection
Make time daily for family or friends. This helps ground , support and connect you. Connection is vital for a balanced life. Put this on your calendar if you must.
Do yo have any tips that would be beneficial? Please share in the comments below so we can learn from you!
Go get more done,