Table of Contents
Are you struggling to be productive? Follow this advice to dominate with what needs to be done.
Finding the right things to work on
Write a list of the things on your mind. This can be:
- things you know you need to do
- things that you would rather die than do (the real magic)
- things that are irritating you, amplifying anxiety inside of you (which you can then take action on)
- things generally floating across your mind, taking up mental or emotional real estate
- or things that you want to do
If these items aren’t actionable, make them actionable. If it was an irritation for example, what might be the next step to alleviate the irritation?
Bonus: If they’re too big but not getting done, step them out into smaller tasks. If they’re too small and it’s irritating, combine them into a bigger task.
Now from that list, select the top 3-5 priorities and order them accordingly. To discover those priorities, ask yourself, what are the key actions that upon completion will make the other items easier or completely unnecessary?
We’ll come back to this list in a second. But first, it’s time to put you in the mood and get you going.
How to get you going and create a flow state within your work
Drink some black coffee or caffeinated tea, paired with a tbsp of oil to ground the high. I like coconut oil with a bit of salt to make it taste like butter. While I don’t recommend coffee/caffeine as I don’t believe it’s a sustainable practice for productivity, I think it’s cool to have it here and there, especially in situations like this where you’re struggling to get things done. If you’re not into caffeine (W), consider doing some breathing exercises to pump oxygen into your brain or even just eating a spoonful of organic honey to jumpstart you.
Stay in a fasted state. Don’t eat any food. Technically, oil breaks the fast a little but it’s worth it to ground the high. The key thing here is to not have food that upon eating, your body would need to allocate energy to digestion, and thus take away from your brain power. An empty stomach is critical to keeping a sharp mind.
Drink lots of water. Not only does hydrating feel great, but it helps compensate for the dehydrating effects of caffeine. Being properly hydrated and having a constant intake of water is amazing for extending flow state and keeping your brain working even more effectively.
Breathe and breathe deeply. People forget to breathe and wonder why they’re so stressed. Before you begin, take 3 slow, big belly breaths. Then as you go about your session, remember to breathe — catch yourself and consciously breathe with your stomach. A big breath in through the nose, your stomach expands. Then release the breathe through the mouth, your stomach contracts. Also, don’t engage your shoulders here (moving them up and down) as this is saved for emergency situations when your body is in fight or flight, and can communicate to your body that you’re in danger when you’re not.
Establish good posture. This matters a lot to keeping yourself in a good state and will absolutely effect your thinking. Find a chair, wall or even couch that has a good back support for you so you don’t have to think about it. And once you’re seated, don’t slouch. You can also stand up like a badass, but I like sitting while I work. A good rule of thumb: imagine you had a string in the top of your head pulling your upper body up. Or imagine the whole world was looking at you — how would you want your posture to be?
Put on a music playlist of your choice. My go to is my soundtrack playlist, which is essentially scoring your life as if you were the main character in a film. It’s a great state to be in. My main recommendation here would be to listen to something that you have a 1. positive association with 2. inspires, motivates and energizes you 3. has little to no lyrics, such as soundtracks, piano or lo-fi. But the choice is yours as everyone’s tastes are different.
Getting to work and staying with it
Now that you’re ready to go, start on the top priority and attack it at full force. Create momentum, then once you’re done the first, continue working on the rest of the list.
To get started easier and keep going longer, utilize time blocks and breaks. If you need to, you can utilize a time management system like Pomodoro (25 minutes on, 5 minutes off, 30 minute break after 4 work sessions), 50m/10m or 1h20m/20m, so long as the breaks are spent smartly. That being said, sometimes these are just great to get you started, then once you’re going, you can ignore “breaks” and stay in flow as long as you can.
Set an optional end time. A man can do anything, so long as it’s not forever. There are many ways to apply this, but having an expectation of how long you intend for this burst of “getting shit done” to last creates urgency and allows you to do challenging things for longer than you normally would because you know it’s not going to last forever. This could be 12 hours, 8 hours, 5 hours or even 2-3 if you really know how to be effective. You can also break your day up into segments if that works better for you, breaking in between to recharge. Just be sure to use this breaks smartly, avoiding energy sucking things like scrolling on social media, filling your mind with garbage or having stupid conversations.
Change what qualifies as a win. With your action list, while I know you want to finish everything today, you don’t need to finish the whole list for it to be a win. Focus on the most important thing, then repeat when it’s complete. Far more important than completion on everything is working on the true top priority and repeating that over and over again, knocking off the most important things.
Enjoy and celebrate. Once it’s done, celebrate and acknowledge yourself after for what you did, even if it’s as simple as looking yourself in the mirror and saying “great work, John”, giving yourself a celebratory air fist pump.
If this didn’t work for you, here’s why
If for whatever reason, you applied all this and you still found yourself to be unproductive, there is a very strong chance you have deeper work you need to do. It might be that your self image needs updating, because you see yourself as the type of person who can’t get things done, no matter what. You also might be so resistant and so chaotic on the inside that it makes it impossible to work — and I get it, I’ve been there too.
People are obsessed with finding the right apps (life hacking, strategies and sometimes literally apps lol) while their hardware is broken (their mind, self image and energy field). Few focus on the root cause, because it’s less sexy, can take much more work and requires feeling things you don’t want to feel. But then people wonder why they’re spiritually “broke” without doing any spiritual “work”.
But if you do work to fix things at the root cause, all the life hacks and strategies in the world stop being so important because you’ve addressed what’s really limiting your potential and you can go forward freely and do what needs to be done, with more flow, enjoyment and effectiveness.
Working at the root cause and clearing the energy is a major focus of my consulting program, as that’s where the challenge really exists. If freeing yourself from your limitations and blockages is something that’s important to you, consider securing a free session with me today.
Productivity is yours for the taking. Let it be simpler than you think it needs to be. Everything I listed above will make things easier and more effective. You have more than enough tools to get the right things done and use your time wisely.
Now it’s up to you to go forward and maximize your work and life.
All the best. You’ve got this.