The Morning Routine Experts Recommend For Peak Productivity
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
1) Stop Reacting
Get up before the insanity starts. Don’t check your email or anything else that is going to dictate your behavior.
Most of us get up and it seems like things are already in motion. Gotta race to something. Emails coming in. We’re already behind.
So of course you aren’t achieving your goals. You immediately started with what the world threw at you and then just reacted, reacted, reacted as new things came in until the day ended or you were too exhausted to do what was important.
You need to wake up before the insanity starts. Before demands are made on you. Before your goals for the day have competition.
2) Decide The 3 Things That Matter Today
Cal Newport is so productive it makes me cry. He’s a professor at Georgetown, cranks out academic papers, has written 4 books, and is a dad and a husband. And he’s done by 5:30PM every day. What did Cal have to say?
All tasks are not created equal. Most of us deal with two fundamentally different types of work, Shallow and Deep:
Shallow work is little stuff like email, meetings, moving information around. Things that are not really using your talents. Deep work pushes your current abilities to their limits. It produces high value results and improves your skills.
Shallow work stops you from getting fired — but deep work is what gets you promoted. Deep work must get priority.
In his book The ONE Thing, Gary Keller applies the “Pareto principle” to the workday:
Most of us get 80% of results from 20% of the work we do. So focus on that 20%.
What really creates progress vs treading water? What gives disproportionate results? Do those things.
And don’t be vague. Specify what you need to get done. Research shows having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control.
People who construct their goals in concrete terms are 50 percent more likely to feel confident they will attain their goals and 32 percent more likely to feel in control of their lives. – Howatt 1999
(For more from Cal on how to stop being lazy and get more done, click here.)
3) Use Your “Magic Hours” For Your 3 Goals
Just like all tasks aren’t created equal, all hours aren’t created equal either.
Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist at Duke University and the New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.
Dan says you have 2-2.5 hours of peak productivity every day. You may actually be 30% more effective at that time. Here’s Dan:
…it turns out that most people are productive in the first two hours of the morning. Not immediately after waking, but if you get up at 7 you’ll be most productive from around from 8-10:30.
But does this really work? In studies of geniuses, most did their best work early in the day.
Those are the hours when you should be working on your 3 goals. Designate that part of your day as “protected time.”
Maybe you know that you’re a night owl. Fine, then protect thosehours. The important thing is to do your key tasks during your key hours.
(For more on the schedule the most successful people use every day, click here.)
4) Have A Starting Ritual
Charles Duhigg is a reporter for the New York Times and author of the bestseller The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. What did he say about fighting procrastination and getting things done?
Finishing things isn’t as much of a problem as just getting started in the first place. Here’s Charles:
One way to use habits to fight procrastination is to develop a habitualized response to starting. When people talk about procrastination, what they’re usually actually talking about is the first step. In general, if people can habitualize that first step, it makes it a lot easier.
Maybe getting that cup of coffee is the signal that you’re getting down to business. Or do you have a spot where you’re usually productive? Go there.
Wendy Wood, a professor at USC explains how your environment activates habits — without your conscious mind even noticing.
Habits emerge from the gradual learning of associations between an action and outcome, and the contexts that have been associated with them. Once the habit is formed, various elements from the context can serve as a cue to activate the behavior, independent of intention and absent of a particular goal… Very often, the conscious mind never gets engaged.
(For more on the fun way to be more successful, click here.)