We all want to be more productive.
We all want to get more done in less time so we can enjoy more freedom and leisure.
The only problem is most of us were never taught how to tap into GSD mode and actually accomplish more in every hour of our day.
We learned about the Pythagorean theorem, covalent bonds, and the signing of the Magna Carta…
… But never about how to improve our performance at work so that we can rise to the top in our respective fields.
Today, that changes.
I’m about to teach you five research-backed tips that will help you increase your productivity by at least 176% starting as soon as tomorrow.
Equipped with these five simple lessons, you’ll be able to get more done, make massive progress towards your biggest priorities, and accomplish in 90 days what most people accomplish in a year.
I thought so…
1. Sleep At LEAST 7 Hours a Night
By far one of the most important habits you can adopt to increase your productivity, boost your energy, and become a goal-crushing machine is–quite counter-intuitively–to get more sleep.
Ignore the so-called gurus telling you to sleep on 4 hours a night and hustle 20 hours a day.
That’s not only a recipe for failure and burnout, but for an early grave.
Don’t believe me?
Then consider the thousands of studies that have irrevocably linked sleep deprivation to:
- Impaired Cognition and an Increased Risk of Preventable Accidents
- Not to mention, an increased risk of infections, cancer, and overall mortality
The worst part?
While you are stuck in the clutches of sleep deprivation, you aren’t even aware your performance is being inhibited.
You erroneously think you’re fine. That you’re “just a little tired”. And that it’s “No big deal”.
But in reality, you are crippling your ability to perform and all but ensuring your best work never sees the light of day.
Now, consider the inverse.
Studies have shown that individuals who consistently sleep 7+ hours a night experience:
- Improved memory
- Lower systemic inflammation
- Improved immune function
- Elevated mood
- Learning and problem-solving abilities improved
Sleeping more–quite literally–makes you smarter, happier, and healthier.
And for those of you who think it’s impossible to succeed while sleeping 8 or even 9 hours a night, consider the dozens of hyper-successful entrepreneurs who attribute their success to the number of hours they sleep.
Neil Patel sleeps 9.25 hours a night while running three multi-million dollar businesses.
Arianna Huffington is such an adamant believer in the importance of good sleep she literally wrote the book on it.
James Altucher, multi-millionaire investor, hedge fund manager, best-selling author, and top ranked podcast includes “Sleeping at least 8 hours a night” in his top keys for success.
The bottom line is that you need to start sleeping at least 7 hours a night and you need to start now.
Because until you are showing up to your business or career fully charged, energized, and ready to take on the day, none of the other tactics I’m about to share with you will make a darn difference.
2. Meditate for at Least 10-Minutes a Day
At this point, I probably don’t need to present you with another barrage of peer reviewed studies confirming the efficacy of meditation for improving your mood, focus, and general well being.
But.. I promised these tactics were backed by research and so research is what I’ll give you.
Although there aren’t any (convincing) studies that confirm the direct correlation between meditation and productivity, there are a number of other ways meditation indirectly increases your ability to GSD and become a productivity machine.
Namely, meditation is proven to: (source)
- Lower blood pressure.
- Alleviate insomnia (which is kind of a big deal as we just discussed)
- Reduce chronic pain
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Rebuild grey matter (yes, it makes your brain bigger!)
In addition, many other studies–like this one which was conducted at a Fortune 100 company–have shown a very compelling link between a regular meditation practice and increased employee performance at work.
And the best part?
These results were achieved in as little as 10 minutes a day!
By simply sitting down, shutting up, and following your breath for a few minutes everyday, you can increase your productivity, become a happier person, and reduce any symptoms of depression and anxiety you currently experience.
Or, if you struggle to stay focused during your early sessions (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us) you can download an app like Headspace or Calm and use guided meditation tracks to help you breathe your way to a more productive life.
3. Take More Breaks
One of the more counter-intuitive ways to increase your energy and boost your productivity is to work less and take more frequent breaks.
Countless studies have shown the human brain, much like the rest of the body, functions in cycles.
In the same way your energy levels wax and wane throughout the day, your brain’s ability to focus has been shown to fluctuate over 90 minute increments.
Once you work on one task for longer than 90 minutes, your productivity begins to drop dramatically.
So how can you leverage this knowledge to increase the number of tasks you accomplish in a given day?
Take more breaks!
Specifically, I encourage you to build your days around 50-90 minute blocks of work followed by 10-25 minute breaks to recharge and reinvigorate your brain.
However, to make the most of this tactic it’s important to note that how you spend your breaks is just as important as actually taking a break.
You can’t mindlessly scroll through your Instagram feed or watch 15-minutes of cat videos on YouTube and expect your productivity to skyrocket.
Instead, you should select one of the following activities to help clear your mind and increase your creativity for your next block of work.
- Practice meditation
- Walk outside
- Eat a light snack (celery and almond butter is a great option)
- Do some light calisthenics
- Talk with friends
Test out different cycles and activities to determine what works best for you but do NOT try to plow through your day without giving yourself adequate time to rest and recover.
Trust me, you’ll be far more productive by placing restraints on your time and working just a little bit less.
4. Eradicate Inbox Overwhelm
Because I’m about to share something some readers might find disturbing.
In the United States, the average employee spends more than 28% of their day–or 13 hours a week–responding to emails.
That’s more than 650 hours a year which are largely wasted on unproductive and unnecessary correspondence that does nothing to move your life or business forward!
Over the lifespan of the average employee–who works 45 years–this equals more than 29,250 hours or 3 years spent deleting and responding to emails.
Now I don’t know about you, but that does not sound like a formula for a lasting legacy and real success.
But the question remains… what are we supposed to do about it?
While there have been plenty of great books and articles written on this very topic, I like to keep things simple.
If you have the option to hire a virtual assistant to offload the clutter of the inbox, then I absolutely encourage you to do so.
Otherwise, I recommend you:
- Check email only twice a day and setup an autoresponder informing people of this boundary.
- “Touch it once” and either respond to it, delete it, or archive it but never leave it in your inbox.
- Keep your emails to 5 sentences or less to reduce unnecessary back and forth.
- Take an “email vacation” and inform your co-workers or employees you won’t be responding to emails until you accomplish your biggest project (I promise, no one will die and you’ll be far more productive).
With these simple tasks you can add an extra 8-10 hours of productive or free time back into your calendar each and every week.
And once you begin cutting back on the necessary evil that is your inbox, I promise you will never go back.
5. Just Say “No”
Ok, so technically, this tip doesn’t have a mountain of research behind it.
I’m a big fan of doing things because they WORK, whether or not there is evidence to support them or not.
And after more than five years of working with and for some of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs in the business development industry, I’ve found the #1 trait they all share is a willingness to say “No” to 95% of the opportunities with which they are presented.
Out of the dozens of emails, ideas, and recommendations I send to Craig on a weekly basis, he moves forward on maybe 20% of them.
This isn’t because he doesn’t think they are “good” ideas or because he’s too busy. Rather that he understands the importance of prioritizing the MOST valuable opportunities and saying “no” to everything else.
If you want to do more you must start by committing to less.
When faced with the myriad of low-priority obligations and impositions on your time remember what they taught you about drugs in high school and “Just say no”.
You only have a finite number of hours in the day and they can only be used productively when you ruthlessly eliminate every activity and task that doesn’t serve you at the highest level.
Throughout the day, constantly ask yourself, “Is this the most valuable use of my time right now? Is this activity the most important thing I can do to reach my big goals?”.
If the answer is “No”, then cut it out.
End of story.
There you have it!
With these five simple tips, you’ll be able to double (maybe even triple) your productive output so you can accomplish more each week, enjoy more free time, and live your perfect life.
Do you have any productivity “hacks” you’ve learned over the years that didn’t make the list?
Let me know in the comments below!
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