No lollygagging!: How I became three times more productive
In just one day I became three times more productive. Just as it sounds. I did it by applying a small strategy everybody can apply.
There’s no product here to sell: No book, no seminar nor obscure FB group where we share our success, nothing. Just my story and I become three times more productive by following a simple plan and how you can do the same
Do you want to learn how to do it?
- My story
- Step 1 — Plan your week and day
- Step 2 — Carry on
- That’s it
- When to rest
When I was a kid, I was always up to something. I was always reading, breaking something to see how it works or exploring.
I always had the drive to do something. Even my mother bought me to the doctor to see why I was like that.
It turns out I was hyperactive.
But after time, I lost it. I lost my ambition and the desire to do something. I just didn’t care about almost anything. Sometimes it came back but after days or even hours, I lost it again.
I tried to play the guitar, drums, bass, Kung Fu, basket, Karate… a lot of things, to just drop it in months at best (sounds familiar?)
And after time, I wanted that drive back.
Introducing: The 10X rule
Last Sunday I started reading the book ‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone (I’m not gonna praise him nor bash him: I like some things he says, I dislike some other things he says) when something I read hit me hard.
To simplify it, Grant Cardone proposes that if you want to be successful you have to set your targets ten times greater than what you believe you can achieve and to do so, you have to take action 10 times greater than what you believe you can do.
Sure, you can always fall sort, but it is not better to achieve the 80% of the 10 things you wanted to do than do just the 80% of the only thing you wanted to achieve?
(The book is more than 240 pages long and he explains more in detail how it works. Here’s a summary if you are interested.)
Until now, my daily routine was 1 hour of Flutter and one article in this blog every 2 or 3 days. Somewhere in the future, I wanted to learn again Scrapy (a Python framework to extract information from websites), maybe fix some old posts to improve the SEO and maybe, someday, start recording my Python Tutorial videos again.
I was doing 2 (productive) things daily and I wanted to do 5. So what I did?
Decided to do 7.
Starting Monday, I was going to spend 1 hour a day learning Flutter, fix, extend and improve my old posts and write one every 2 days, do 1 hour of Scrapy, learn Django with WebSockets, record a video each day, read more than 1 hour and do a bit of exercise.
Also I self-imposed not watching TV nor playing video-games before 22:00.
I was biting more than what I can chew? Maybe
I would be more productive than before? 100% sure.
Step 1 — Plan your week and day
Now it was time to plan the week and by that, what I was going to do each day.
One of my last posts was about Fighting Procrastination, where I explained a set of techniques to fight it. The third one was Track your progress where I recommended you to create a timetable, using a ruled index card, with each day of the week and what to do.
So I did it:
As you can see, for each day of the week I have 7 tasks to do. When I finish one of them, I crossed it out of the list. When I don’t, I write a horizontal line to remember of my failure.
That pushed me from doing 1 hour of Flutter, fix one old post and write a post when I feel like it, to do each day more than 1 hour of flutter, fix/improve/extend a post, do more than 1 (and 2!) hours of Scrapy, record a video each day, reading more than 1 hour each day and start doing exercise.
Not too shabby, right?
Today, Wednesday, I started my routine at 9:30 by fixing 2 old posts, then doing 1 hour of Scrapy, send an email to fix a problem I had (and finally fixed it), read more than 1 hour, recorded a video and do a bit of exercise.
I also did household chores as cleaning/sweeping the kitchen, throwing the garbage and a little more.
Everything before having dinner at 14:30
I never imagined I could do that.
Besides that, every 2 days I have extra work related to this blog, writing a new post (like this one).
Sure, I haven’t started with WebSockets yet (I’m waiting to finish the book in two days and record all videos I need to free up some time), but I’m doing more than 8 hours of work on my vacation.
Instead of playing video-games and saying “Well, I’ll do it later, in the afternoon. 18:00 maybe, or 20:00”, pushing later and later and half–assing what I had to do.
Step 2 — Carry on
Once everything is planned, when you know what you have to do each day… just do it.
As simple as that. As hard as that.
But it is pretty easy. Just do it.
Instead of doing mental gymnastics thinking “I can do this after dinner, this other thing on the afternoon if nothing happens (and if I don’t nap)”, just do it.
Start after having breakfast or when you come to your house after work. Wake one hour before to do what you want.
I cannot stress this enough because it was my downfall so many times: You have a series of tasks, start doing them. Recreation time will come later. No TV series is more important than the goal you have set. That video-game can wait until tonight or the weekend.
Work becomes first, recreation later.
This seems hard, but becomes easier after a few days.
On paper may sound hard but at night, after seeing that you have put enough work as 5 of your normal days in less than 24 hours, that you have done everything you put the last week to your “Well, I can do that bit the next week”-list, you want to do it again.
Because now, you can see what you can achieve what you want.
That programming course that would take you 2 months now you can complete it in just two weeks. You can read that book in 3 days. You can write all your posts for 1 month in 2 days.
And you will want to keep doing it.
When to rest
We are not machines, we need to rest. But…
Why no adapt your rest to do more tasks?
For example, one of my daily tasks is to read a book. Instead of reading whenever I feel like it, I did it between doing one task where I was learning how to code, and another one when I was coding too.
I took a break between two tasks related to coding, to read more. And also completed another task.
Think what do you like to achieve and add another task you can do while resting.
Maybe you can read a book about soft skills (learning how to interact with your boss, workmates, clients, etc), or maybe you can learn a new language. Maybe you can take a walk and listen to a podcast of your interest (learning how to do business, how to talk to people, etc).
You can rest, and keep learning at the same time.
Today after dinner I had to go to a family gathering, but I had 35 free minutes. I was tempted to binge-watch Youtube or playing a video-game.
What I did? Read another chapter of the book.
I took 30 minutes without nothing to do, to do more tasks. If you watch what you do every day, I’m sure you can find opportunities like this.
And that’s it. That’s all.
As I stated at the start of this post, there is no occult and dark knowledge here, just plain, old-fashion hard work. Just something everybody can do.
Let’s recap what we have learnt today about how to increase our productivity and become more productive:
- Think about what you can achieve in one day.
- Set an unrealistic plan.
- Push yourself to do it.
- Fall short but acknowledge that you did way more than what you would do if you planned “wisely”.
- Enjoy all the hard work you did today and reflect on how much you have done.
That’s is. That’s how I become more productive from one day to the next.
No tricks, no shortcuts: Just the opposite. Planning, hard work and action.
Thinking does not help you achieve your dreams. Only action do.