I have certain principles in the areas of life I care about the most.
Each is formed after trial and error, learning a ton of stuff and seeing what works best for other people, and then for me.
Nothing is coincidence or just an approach I’ve added to my repertoire without testing.
While it might not be a game-changer for you, each of the items in the list below is for me. And I believe it will improve the quality of your life in the long-run if made a permanent part.
If it wasn’t for being more productive and understanding what true productivity was all about, I’d never be able to work daily and have enough free time to do anything else at the same time. Or to create an online business, feel good at the end of the day and complete any project I set my mind to.
Every single person who set out on a mission to change their lifestyle, build a business, become location independent, travel the world, write a book, create a product, or else, began by fixing his productivity mindset, ditching the bad habits that lead to wasting time, and then learned how to focus better and work smarter.
So here’s what I’ve found to work best over the years in terms of getting things done, and why it matters:
My Most Important Productivity Principles Revealed
1. Make your to-do list shorter now.
For a start, use a to-do list. It simplifies life like no other little habit.
But don’t add anything you can think of to it. I know there are many things that need to be done. What I’m saying is most of them just don’t matter.
Hard to admit, but it’s true for everyone.
Over time, if we aren’t tracking results correctly or if we keep ourselves busy, our lists get bigger and bigger and there’s less time left to actually live life.
Well, it’s liberating to know half of the stuff there needs to be removed.
You simply ditch it, and never do that activity again.
What makes it hard is that you’ve probably been doing it for months or years now. So all that time will feel like a waste if you just remove this and never look at it again.
Yes, it’s exactly like that. But that’s the only way to free yourself from doing unnecessary things. It will help you save tens of hours over the next few weeks. You’ll then have more time to do the work that matters and focus on what’s giving you results and taking you in the right direction.
So, what I want you to do today, is sit down and examine each of the items on your to-do list. Be honest when a few of these could be removed. Then cross them off, and never write them down again.
There’s a simple approach to also organize your to-do list better once you’ve removed the unnecessary items from it. Here’s a 1-minute video of that:
2. Work first.
I’ve talked about how we need to be ruthless with our time, goals and habits before. And I still praise this.
That means doing what you said you’d do first, because it’s part of your plan to improve your life and reach your next goal. To do that daily though, and thus see constant progress, you need to be saying no to every other single thing fighting for your attention.
It’s not easy if you’re used to being the good guy and can’t say no. But every time you let others take some of your time, you’re getting further from your dream life. Keep that in mind.
So, what I mean by including that one of the productivity principles is this:
Begin each day by doing your most productive and important work. That’s never more than 4 hours, but could also be 1 or 2. Good work doesn’t mean a lot of work.
During that period, nothing else will matter to you. Anything can wait, unless it’s urgent. But even if others think it is, it usually isn’t.
The first hours of the day are your sacred time, and they are dedicated to your passion project, new business idea, or else.
Do this first, then do anything else you feel like or have to after that.
This is how you prioritize. And by paying attention to your work and making such sacrifices on a daily basis, you’ll be amazed at the progress you see.
3. Work with gratitude.
If there’s one thing you can be, and you choose that to be ‘grateful’, everything else will be perfect too.
Gratitude helps us go through hard moments in life by appreciating all that we already have. And it also helps us live the moment fully by being aware of all the reasons we have to smile.
Take this approach to any area of life you want to improve, and the results will be surprising.
With productivity, for instance, you can do the following things:
When you get to work, take a few seconds to appreciate the opportunity to contribute by doing something meaningful, the chance to do what you enjoy, the fact that you have the mental and physical ability to do it.
That will make the next few hours way more pleasant and you’ll focus more easily and enjoy the process even more.
Remind yourself it could be worse, your job I mean. Or your business problems. That will get you back in the present moment ready to hustle and fix what you don’t like.
When the work is done, be grateful for that too. Feel good about the effort you just invested and be sure it will pay off.
4. Your to-do list should be your new best friend.
You’ll rarely find a millionaire, business owner, or just somebody you admire who’s crushing it in a certain field, who’s not writing down his tasks daily and then following this list.
It doesn’t matter what you use and how you organize it, as long as it’s a daily practice and the list goes with you everywhere.
What I love about the to-do list is that it helps in a few important ways:
- you don’t need to remember anything anymore as you can just write it down the moment it comes up;
- you don’t need to think about your daily schedule or wonder what’s next, as you can just take a look at the list and see what the next item is;
- a productive day means crossing everything off of it and that feels pretty good;
- you can go back to previous days and compare.
But the reason I want you to take it with you everywhere is this: if you think that when you’re out and you arrange a meeting with someone or think of something that needs to get done by the end of the week, you’ll write it down when you get back home, you’re probably wrong. By then, many other thoughts will be on your mind and this will be lost.
Just have it with you all the time and don’t worry about forgetting anything anymore, or not doing things on time.
There are many other productivity tips I can share, but these stood out as principles. If you do them, it will lead to other good things eventually.
What can you share about the way you get things done? What are your productivity principles?