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One Simple Method to Boosting Your Productivity
Do you sometimes feel like the clock is working against you?
You set your mind to finally getting that one thing done but as you sit down to get to work, something gets in your way.
Before you know it, you look up at the time and the day is almost over!
Sound familiar? We've all been there.
Here's your problem: you're most likely running into one of the 3 most common killers of productivity (hint: one of them is probably sitting right next to you).
If you really want to start boosting productivity and making better use of your time, you're going to have to manage these productivity killers.
You will also need to COMMIT to routinely following a system that makes it EASY for you to get tasks done.
So in today's post, I'll show you a way to help you stick to a productivity schedule (it's a method that's been used by high-performance experts for a while now) so you can get more stuff done each day.
I'll walk you through:
- The 3 most common killers of productivity that you need to AVOID
- How to use a kitchen timer to be 50% more productive (it really works!)
- How to schedule your week so you actually stick to it
Let’s first start by looking at the 3 most common killers of productivity...
3 Most Common Killers Of Productivity.
There are 3 major productivity killers that end up ruining your time management:
According to this study by Mckinsey, workers spend 28% of their time at work dealing with emails. You’ve almost certainly spent some time staring at your email inbox waiting for a new email yourself if not compulsively checking your inbox 5,6 or 7 times a day.
The truth is you probably don’t need to check your email as much. If you want to take it a step further, you probably don’t need to have email on your phone or check email on the go.
Be honest, when was the last time you received an email about your Kajabi business that you absolutely HAD to respond to within the next 2 hours or face serious consequences? Chances are not many, but we get used to checking our email when we are bored, or distracted and those little chunks of time add up to about 10 hours being wasted in the course of a 40-hour week.
An easy solution to this problem is to set two times a day to check email as recommended by Tim Ferriss.
2. Social Media
It’s been estimated that almost 650 billion dollars in productivity is lost each year due to employees using social media.
While you may need to use social media to promote your Kajabi business, you have to draw the line between using social media productively and mindlessly going down a YouTube rabbit hole or refreshing twitter for 30 minutes.
Similar to email, you will want to make sure that you don’t check social media more than 2 times a day - a lot of the situations you perceive as being really urgent, like responding to fans or posting links to new content, can wait a few hours.
Be honest, how far away is your phone from you right now? Chances are it’s within 3-5 feet because we are all addicted to being on our phones.
In fact, the average person will check their phone an average of 85 times a day!
The study also found that people spend 1/3rd of their waking hours on their phones and almost twice as much time on their phones as they realized! You have to limit your phone time as much as possible and the easiest way to do that is to simply put it away.
In a little bit I’ll teach you about “productivity sessions” and a good rule of thumb is to put away your phone during any productivity session.
How A Kitchen Timer Can Completely Change Your Time Management Habits!
You’re probably wondering how a simple kitchen timer can change your time management habits. To explain we have to go back to that wonderful time of greed, pinstripes and high hair the 1980s.
It was in the 1980s that Francesco Cirillo was a distractible student at Guido Carli International University when he had an idea.
He thought that if he could study for 10 minutes without interruptions he’d be able to get through his reading better.
He recalls, “ So I decided to give myself a challenge: study without interruption for 10 minutes.”
To keep track he used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato.
The system worked and eventually Cirillo shared the system with the world calling it the “Pomodoro System” after the Italian word for tomato.
The Pomodoro technique is key to mastering time management in your Kajabi business!
Let’s look at the 5 steps of the Pomodoro Technique:
- Decide on the task to be done
- Set the Pomodoro Timer
- Work on the task with no distractions
- Mark one completed session
- Take a break
Let’s look at each step in a little more detail...
Step # 1: Decide on the task to be done
It's important to select tasks that you can either complete in your assigned amount of time or that you can make a good amount of progress on.
One of the mistakes a lot of people make when they start the Pomodoro technique is that they don’t break tasks down into multiple “productivity” sessions.
If you have a task that’s going to take awhile, like writing a blog post or creating a video, be sure to break it into 2-3 pomodoros. That way you won’t end up with a half finished project because you only schedule 1 session.
Step # 2: Set The Pomodoro Timer
In the original Pomodoro Technique book, Cirillo recommends setting the timer for 25 minutes and then taking a 3-5 minute break.
While this is good for beginners, you’ll eventually want to work your way up to 33 minutes and eventually 40 for maximum productivity.
You can use an actual kitchen timer or simple set an alarm on your phone. The key is to set aside time to work on this task and only this task.
Step # 3: Work On The Task With No Distractions
The key to making productivity sessions successful is to work on the task with complete focus.
This means putting your cellphone on silent, turning off the ringer on your office phone, shutting all your internet browsers, chat programs and any other distraction and work.
If you need it you can use a program like Freedom, which will block apps and websites for a set period of time and make it impossible for you to cheat.
Step # 4: Mark 1 completed session
After you complete a session you’ll want to mark it down, then based on the number of Pomodoro sessions you have completed you’ll take either a short 3-5 minute break or a longer break.
Step # 5: Take a break!
Rest is an important part of productivity - even a 30 second break, can increase your productivity 13%!
As part of the Pomodoro method you’re going to take a break to “reset” your focus and willpower after every session. If you have completed less than 4 sessions you’ll take a 3-6 minute break before going on to the next session.
If you have completed 4 sessions then you can take a longer 15-20 minute break.
After you finish your break you set the timer again and go back to step # 1.
Tips For Using The Pomodoro Method
A few other tips for using the Pomodoro method to increase your productivity and help you manage your time better.
1. Don’t try to do too many sessions in one day.
Ideally you’d start with 2-4 sessions a day. If you try to start with 8-9 sessions you’ll end up missing out on stuff and getting discouraged. Remember that willpower is a muscle and the more disciplined you are, the more disciplined you will become in the future.
2. Make sure it’s something you can accomplish alone.
Nothing is more frustrating than scheduling a pomodoro session only to be de-railed by a co-worker who doesn’t show up or isn’t prepared.
3. Use breaks to review your work.
While you do want to take a break to relax before starting the next pomodoro session it’s a good idea to give what you just finished a quick once over.
Now that you know how to manage your time DURING your workday, let’s take a look at how to plan out your work week for maximum efficiency and time management.
How To Plan Your Work Week for Maximum Efficiency
The first step to planning out your week is to write down a to-do list.
But before we can even start a to-do list we need to break our weekly activities into a few different categories.
Let’s look at the typical Kajabi teaching business: you probably have some creative work to do each week, things like writing blog posts, creating videos, editing, designing courses, and more.
You also probably have some business tasks you need to do each week things like website corrections, networking, setting up joint ventures, using social media etc.…
And you probably have some real life stuff you have to do like picking up your kids, taking your car in for repairs, going to the gym.
So for the sake of simplicity we’ll start with those 3 categories:
- Creative Tasks
- Business Tasks
- Personal Tasks
Now that you have those 3 categories defined, it's time to make up a to-do list!
Tip: I like to go old school and use a single subject notebook with wide ruled paper and a Pilot precise V5 rolling ball pen. For some reason writing things down on paper works better for me productivity-wise than using a to-do app, or a word document, but do whatever works for you. I will say the feeling of crossing something off your daily to-do list is quite delicious though.
When you’re creating your to-do list, you’ll want to make sure you get at least 15-20 things on your list depending on how sessions you’re going to be doing each day.
Once you’ve got your list it’s time to create a schedule!
I like to number the list in order of importance and start with the most important things I have to do first thing Monday morning.
Another way to do your scheduling is to create a split schedule where certain days you focus on creative tasks while other days you focus on business.
For example you might have to do 5 creative tasks and rather than spread them out throughout the week... You could batch them all by doing 5 productivity session on those creative tasks on Monday.
You could repeat the same batching pattern with business tasks on Tuesday and personal tasks on Wednesday then use Thursday and Friday as days to finish anything left undone or edit your work.
Whether you choose to batch your tasks by days or spread them out throughout the week, once you have these pomodoro sessions on your schedule it’s important to TREAT THEM LIKE REAL APPOINTMENTS!
The biggest problem that people have when trying to adopt this style of time management is that they do not treat the Pomodoro sessions as real appointments. Meaning that they push them back or make excuses not to do them rather than acting like they are actual appointments with clients or prospects.
If you get into the habit of treating the Pomodoro sessions as real appointments you’ll find yourself becoming more productive within a few weeks!
Let’s now recap everything we covered in this article.
We started out by looking at the 3 most common killers of productivity:
- Social Media
- Your Phone
After that we discussed the Pomodoro method and how you can use a simple kitchen timer to become a master of time management.
If you forgot the 5 steps of the Pomodoro method are:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set The Pomodoro Timer
- Work on the task with no distractions
- Mark 1 completed session
- Take a Break
And then lastly we talked about how to schedule your week by breaking your tasks into 3 or more separate categories and then adding sessions to your calendar either through batching or spreading the task out throughout the week.
You’re now ready to take your time management to the next level.
You'll find that not only is your productivity going to shoot through the roof, you'll start seeing real tangible results in your Kajabi business AND you'll see huge improvements in your life - give these tactics a try today!
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