Here are Tim’s 6 tips:
- Manage Your Mood
- Don’t Check Email in The Morning
- Before You Try To Do It Faster, Ask Whether It Should Be Done At All
- Focus Is Nothing More Than Eliminating Distractions
- Have A Personal System
- Define Your Goals The Night Before
Below are six tips Tim offered, the science behind why they work, and insight from the most productive people around.
1) Manage Your Mood
Most productivity systems act like we’re robots – they forget the enormous power of feelings.
But when we wake up and the fray is already upon us — phone ringing, emails coming in, fire alarms going off — you spend the whole day reacting.
This means you’re not in the driver’s seat working on your priorities, you’re responding to what gets thrown at you, important or not.
2) Don’t Check Email In The Morning
To some people this is utter heresy. Many can’t imagine not waking up and immediately checking email or social media feeds.
I’ve interviewed a number of very productive people and nobody said, “Spend more time with email.”
Why is checking email in the morning a cardinal sin? You’re setting yourself up to react.
An email comes in and suddenly you’re giving your best hours to someone else’s goals, not yours.
You’re not planning your day and prioritizing, you’re letting your objectives be hijacked by whoever randomly decides to enter your inbox.
3) Before You Try To Do It Faster, Ask Whether It Should Be Done At All
Everyone asks, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?” But the answer is stunningly easy:
You’re doing too many things.
Want to be more productive? Don’t ask how to make something more efficient until after you’ve asked “Do I need to do this at all?”
4) Focus Is Nothing More Than Eliminating Distractions
Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and bestselling author of Driven to Distraction, says we have “culturally generated ADD.”
Has modern life permanently damaged our attention spans?
No. What you do have is more tantalizing, easily accessible, shiny things available to you 24/7 than any human being has ever had.
The answer is to lock yourself somewhere to make all the flashing, buzzing distractions go away.
5) Have A Personal System
I’ve spoken to a lot of insanely productive people. You know what none of them said?
Not one. Your routines can be formal and scientific or personal and idiosyncratic — but either way, productive people have a routine.
6) Define Your Goals The Night Before
Wake up knowing what is important before the day’s pseudo-emergencies come barging into your life and your inbox screams new commands.
The word “productivity” sounds like we’re talking about machines. But the irony is that much of being truly good with time is about feelings.