As I said in the introduction to this series, we all get 24-hours every day. What we get out of each day depends on what we do with the time we have. Here are 3 things to do which can triple your productivity:
Tip 1. Use the Ivy Lee Technique
To-do lists, of course, are not a revolutionary concept, but how you approach this daily task, in my experience, makes all the difference in the world. For me, the best approach out there is The Ivy Lee Technique. Mr. Ivy Lee was an early Twentieth Century productivity consultant hired by Charles Schwab to maximize the efficiency of his team. Ivy was so confident in the power of his technique that he initially provided his services free of charge, telling Schwab only to pay him what he thought his approach was worth after 90 days of implementation. Three months later, Schwab wrote him a check for today’s equivalent of $400,000.
Why this Works:
The Ivy Method works because it forces you to prioritize and focus; two things that are absolutely crucial for true productivity. In my eyes, being productive doesn’t simply mean getting a lot of stuff done. True productivity requires getting important things done consistently and well. When you implement this technique, you’ll be shocked at how easily and consistently you’ll complete critical tasks and earn the reputation of being the go-to person for consistent and quality outcomes.
Tip 2: Take Frequent Breaks
If you want to maximize the quality of your work, and make sure your energy and focus persists throughout the day, then you’ve got to give yourself frequent mental breaks. Trust me on this one. Often times, the difference between good and great is dependent upon the sharpness of your mind while you’re completing the specific task at hand. So to stay sharp all day long, you must build in regular intervals for mental relaxation. Simply set a timer for a block of time to focus your attention on work (30-90 minutes max) and when that timer goes off, STOP! Get up! Go for a walk. Listen to music. Take a 10 minute nap. Something! The point is, you need to completely disconnect your mind from what you were doing in order to return to it with a fresh perspective and renewed vigour.
Tip 3: Use Fridays as Your Planning Day
To be clear, I’m not saying Friday should be a day fully devoted to planning. Not at all. Just like every other workday, on Friday you want to work through your list of prioritized tasks like a BOSS! But when it comes to determining what your priorities should be for the week ahead, guess what, Friday is the day to do it.
This gives you the ability to review what worked well and what fell short over the course of the week. You can then take the time to prioritize the week ahead and start the weekend having resolved any lingering questions or disappointments about that week’s agenda and with a plan in mind for how to move forward the following week. Come Monday, you can hit the ground running, knowing exactly what the week’s priorities are, and exactly what you need to do to move the ball forward. You’ll be surprised how much of a momentum-booster this simple scheduling change will make and how it helps to reduce the fear of the often dreaded ‘Monday morning meeting’.
In summary, carve out time on Fridays to review and assess the progress you’ve made throughout the week. Determine what worked well, what didn’t, and why. Then develop new goals for the following week and have those goals migrate (in the form of tasks) to your daily Ivy List accordingly.