Every now and then, I learn something that changes things in a big way for me. I like to share those life-changing things in the hopes that you might find them helpful, too.
Back in June, I made a basic change to my daily routine that has resulted in a doubling+ in the value of my working hours. Put differently, each hour I work now nets me the value of at least 2 hours worked using my old methods. This added productivity means I am now able to deliver more value to my customers AND be more present at home (my real objective behind everything I do at work).
I’m not kidding. This is real. And simple. (Aaaand no — I’m not selling a shady e-book or product — I really just want to share this helpful tip with you.)
For the record, this technique stems from a melding of other techniques I have practiced over the last decade running my company.
4 Simple Steps I Follow That Have More Than Doubled My Productivity:
- First, I make a list of clients/customers/projects that are critical to my business’ survival. I call these “Priority Projects”. (I have 3 “Priority Projects” at the moment.)
- Second, I make a list of times I am most productive & alert in life. (There is a 3-hour block in the 10am-1pm timeframe where I am able to showcase acute focus. I am also amazing for about 2 hours in the 7–9am timeframe. Anything outside of those two timeframes, and I am grinding…)
- Third, I take the list of optimal work hours from Step #2 and add those times to my calendar, assigning a specific Priority Project to each time block.
- Finally, kind of goes without saying… I follow the schedule I just created. (Rinse & Repeat every week)
- Monday, 9–11am: Customer A
- Monday, 1–3pm: Customer B
- Tuesday, 9–11am: Customer C
- Tuesday, 1–3pm: Customer A
- Wednesday, 9–11am: Customer B
- Wednesday, 1–3pm: Customer C
Rules for “Priority Project” Time Blocks:
- No interruptions or distractions. We are going to crush it during these “Priority Project” time blocks and can’t be distracted by stuff that isn’t a top priority for our business. I close my email, close Slack, mute my phone, and ignore other notifications (even calls from my wife — sorry, Lisa!).
- Celebrate increased productivity! (Sit back and sip your coffee if that’s your thing. Read a chapter of your favorite book if you’d like. You just crushed it for a solid time block, and you can take a little breather.)
A couple of notes:
- I know there are other things that must get completed in a day. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do those things. Instead, I am asking you to invest at least one solid, uninterrupted block of time a day on a Priority Project.
- The time blocks you choose need to be what’s best for you. For example, I schedule one, 3-hour “Priority Project” block every weekday. That’s it for me. You might do two 2-hour blocks on nights and weekends or four 1-hour blocks in the mornings. It’s up to you and your body to decide what’s best. The key is to schedule “Priority Project” time, work on only important stuff during that time, and de-prioritize the rest.
Why does it work?
The answer is actually more simple (and boring) than you’d think: Setting Priorities.
Instead of spending 8 hours chasing emails, answering phone calls, following up on low-priority projects, and pursuing shiny objects, I am focused on delivering at least one thing of real value to my business (and my customers) in a hyper-focused block of time.
Of course, this isn’t the only way to increase your productivity — just one way that has proven fruitful for me. Your mileage may vary depending on all sorts of factors.
Let me know how it works for you!
p.s. If you are struggling to make better use of your time and energy, send me a time and number I can call you at next week.