What might happen if you could supercharge your productivity? This episode explores three strategies that may significantly change the way you pursue your next great beginning.
Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest novelists off all time, wrote this epispode’s Inspire Me quote:
“The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life.”
Leary and Armin discuss productivity and why it’s important to practice it intentionally. Becoming more productive is not the same as becoming more proficient. You can become proficient by simply repeating the same task over and over again. To become more productive requires you to break old habits and systems of working and installing new ones.
Leary shared three strategies from his e-book (see below) that can supercharge your productivity:
- Arrange work according to your energy level. All of have a single tank of willpower. It’s restored when sleep and depleted by every decision we make throughout the day. Find ways to restructure your day to capitalize on your peak energy cycles. Leary shares how he restructured his days a few years ago and it’s made a huge difference in his output. Because our willpower reserves are strongest in the morning, that’s the best time to tackle the most challenging tasks we have. As Nicholas Chamfort said, “Swallow a toad in the morning and you’ll encounter nothing more disgusting all day.”
- Always know what to do. List keeping is not just for the forgetful. It serves an important purpose to quiet the brain. Leary describes the Zeigarnik effect which is what keeps us on high-alert to remember things we haven’t written down and robs of us the concentration we need to work more effectively.
- Work in 20 minute blocks. Regardless of how long your project is, Leary suggests working in sprints rather than marathons. Sprinting in 20 minute Focus or Freedom blocks keeps your energy level high and your mind engaged. He also described novelist Raymond Chandler’s approach to beating procrastination: the Nothing Alternative. Use boredom to work for you by telling yourself that you either can do the task you need to or nothing at all.
In the Challenge Me segment Leary suggests implementing one of these strategies this week. Armin chose to try the Nothing Alternative and report back next week.
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- 10 Strategies to Get More Done, Leary’s ebook on productivity, available for free when you subscribe to his blog (for a limited time).
- Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, Roy Baumeister & John Tierney, an excellent resource on understanding willpower from one of the industries leading experts. Read Leary’s review.
- Getting Things Done, David Allen, The productivity guru’s method for managing a to-do list and more.