Interestingly Gates, Buffet, Jackson, Jordan and You have the same amount of hours in a day, but some are able to accomplish far more than the rest. There is literally an art and science to managing yourself to produce more in the same time allotted to every one of us.
I once heard Eben Pagan say something along the lines of this:
“The term time-management is a misnomer, we need to manage ourselves, not time”.
And I cannot agree more.
Below I will show you five practical concepts that I personally use to become more productive as an entrepreneur.
1. 50 Minute Mind Bathroom
I wish I could recall, who first introduced me to this idea, but unfortunately I cannot. Actually, I think it was Dean Jackson. Well, the 50 Minute Mind Bathroom is a simple yet very powerful exercise to get instant clarity and focus in the midst of feverish day-to-day activity. Hence the name “Mind Bathroom”.
- Take a blank sheet of paper
- Start writing down in bullets, everything you have on your mind. By everything I mean every task that you have on your mind that needs to be done
- Keep writing for a minimum of 20 minutes. (This is key, without this, the exercise is a waste)
When you are done, you will have a list of things that you have to get done. Next, you can prioritize tasks and set deadlines on the important ones.
2. Eat That Frog
The definition of laziness in the entrepreneurial world is: “Not doing the things that create the most impact”.
As humans, we naturally tend to stay within our comfort zones. But it is worth noticing that the best things that ever happen to us happen when we are out of them. Similarly we tend to put off important tasks and place them on the back-burner just because we are afraid to operate out of our comfort-zones.
Eat That Frog is an amazing thing to always remember. Do those tasks first thing when you start work (before you open your email), that create the most results and you have been putting off for a long time. Refer to your 50 Minute Mind Bathroom list to identify those Frogs. Usually you will know your Frogs intuitively.
3. Night Before
I am guilty of not consistently practicing this one. But it works like a charm.
Night Before simply means to create a list of things you want to accomplish right before you go to sleep. Identity your Frog in that list and make an active effort to eat it first the next day.
Why create the list the Night Before? Well, experts say that the unconscious and the subconscious mind are the most profound portions of our brain. We do more than 85% of every task subconsciously in a specific unique fashion and effortlessly – this is simply because of our subconscious mind. When we plan our day the night before, our subconscious mind is still at work in our sleep. This helps prepare us for the next day and our day becomes more productive as a result.
4. Week On Paper
This one works like a charm. I use the 50 Minute Mind Bathroom and right after that, I do the Week On Paper. This makes my whole week rocking and super productive. Here is how this is done:
- Take a blank piece of paper A4 or 8.5” X 11”.
- Fold it into half and then fold the half into half again.
- Unfold the entire paper fully, now you have two creases across the paper (one horizontal and one vertical) creating four natural boxes on the paper. Four in the front and four in the back.
- Title each box with a day of the week and put in all tasks that you wish to accomplish under each day.
This plans your entire week and you can visually and realistically see what you will possibly accomplish each week. I do this exercise each week. I tend to almost always do the 50 Minute Mind Bathroom first, and then transfer over the tasks from that list to my Week On Paper boxes.
5. 2-Hour Time Blocks
Every body that inhales, has to exhale. After day there has to be night, and after work there has to be rest for optimal performance.
We know after a few seconds on inhaling air, that we have to exhale,
We know God has set precise times for the Sun to set after its rise.
Now here is the trick question: How do we know when to rest, and how much to rest to produce the maximum quality work?
If you review your daily production and match it with the amount of time you spent working, most of you will be surprisingly disappointed. In today’s busy lifestyle, we have a lack of focus in our work days. We can literally accomplish more in two hours of uninterrupted focused time than an entire eight hour work day.
For entrepreneurs with longer projects, I highly recommend to work in two hour uninterrupted time blocks. Eliminate all distractions and use a timer. Set it for 60 minutes twice. Unplug entirely, walk away from your desk when done for a minimum of 15 minutes, and resume after if necessary.
Usually when I am almost done and need an extra ten minutes to finish a task after my two hours are up, I will give myself those extra ten minutes, since I am in the zone.
You will be amazed at the quality of the finished product when you apply 2-Hour Time Blocks. For some people, this might mean actually accomplishing things as apposed to being all over the place.
I will say it. It does take conscious effort to become more productive, and we are not always in a mood to consciously control our behaviors. But the great part about the above concepts are that they are so amazing at making me productive that I actually enjoy doing them. I enjoy the exercises and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I review my weekly production.
I hope they work for you as well.
Aziz Ali Signing out.