Do These Two Things to Significantly Improve Productivity and Success

When I have felt the most productive and successful, there are two things I was consistently doing.

Rise early

This one changed my entire life and I’ve never looked back.

There is something so incredibly powerful about early morning time – its focused, you literally get extra hours to work with and you start the day off on a strong foot (which has a huge impact on how you move through the rest of day).

For me, getting about three extra hours and balancing that time between myself and work is key. The holy grail (again, for me) looks like this:

  • 4.30 – 6.30 – two hours focused ‘me’ time
  • 6.30 – 7.30 – shower, eat and get to work
  • 7.30 – 9.00 – 1.5 hours focused work time

I know 4.30 seems crazy early, but I’m naturally an early riser so is doesn’t feel so crazy to me. 🙂

I got in the habit of doing something similar to the above a while back and I was on fire. I’ve let that slip and it’s noticeable how less productive I feel – so I’m going to work hard to get back to it over the coming weeks.

Try it for yourself. If you aren’t used to waking early, go about it slowly. Start with just rising 15 minutes earlier than you are used to for a week and make good use of the extra time – and slowly increase it from there. Figure out what works for you as it could be that simply an extra one hour of focused time in the morning is best for you.

I can guarantee that once you become an early riser, you’ll never look back.

Also, check out The Unfair Advantage – Achieve More Than Others Do The Entire Day – Before Breakfast! for a fantastic and short read on rising early.

Plan out the day

Taking the time to consciously map out what you will do for the day is SO powerful (incidentally, getting up early gives you the focused time to do this).

I used to just jump into the day and start ‘doing’. I would find myself being dragged into all sort of things – many of them urgent, but not necessarily important. When you think about it, it’s the equivalent of a business having entirely no strategy and just doing a bunch of slightly random things each day.

Nowadays I take at least fifteen minutes to think quietly about what I want to achieve for the day. What are the items which will make the biggest impact and allow me to move significantly forward – try and think what is important to do, not necessarily urgent.

I think about what things to do, how long each will take and in what order I should do them and that translates into a realistic plan for the day. You should be able to look at this and know that if you achieved it, you would feel awesome at the end of the day.

Having such a plan puts you in a great position to be able to make conscious decisions about your priorities throughout the day (you’ll find yourself starting to say no to things more).

Lastly, be flexible. Most days it’ll be unlikely you get everything done, perhaps less than 50% some days. This is because we tend to be unrealistic with what we can do in a given day and secondly because you will undoubtedly come across things which rightly deserve to be a higher priority than what you set out at the beginning of the day. And that’s ok, because you’re now making a conscious decision on priorities.

Again, play about with daily planning and figure out what feels right to you.

Having some structure to hold onto before you set out will put you ahead of virtually everyone else. Try it and see 🙂

Personal Reflection

It felt good to write about rising early and daily planning.

It’s been rattling about in my head for a few days and lately I have strayed from how disciplined I was in these areas. I got more clarity on why they were important and I’ll be making moves next week to start getting back to where I used to be with these habits.

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