Would you like to know how you could be so productive that in two hours you could get done what takes for most people a whole day?
I have always been interested to discover “long-term shortcuts”, shortcuts which will keep me productive and healthy for years to come! Sure, there are short-term shortcuts like drinking huge amounts of caffeine, using drugs, pills, energy drinks, cigarettes, but these things will seriously mess up your health and well-being in long term.
Do you know story about hare and tortoise – “Slow and steady wins the race”? That’s right I don’t want to be hare, I am all about boring and un-sexy rituals which will make all the difference in long-term! If you are looking for magic bullet or get quick rich scheme you should go somewhere else.
Long-Term Shortcuts outlined here will get you ahead of everybody else, they will help you to get tasks done better, faster and with less effort! That’s what you call best work!
We all have the same amount of hours in the day, but not all of us use our time the same way! Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be able to do impossible – run huge companies, have an amazing family and stay fit & healthy at the same time? And why some people never seem to be able to get ahead in their lives, do significant changes?
Let’s find out how we can get more out of our twenty-four hours in the day! This is where science meets rituals, habits and human psychology!
You should read this article if:
- You want to get ahead of your competition and become a true linchpin!
- You want to feel happy, productive and fulfilled every day!
- You want to spend less time working and more time doing your hobbies, spending time with your family.
- You simply want to understand why super achievers are so successful!
- You want to know why most of your friends fail to fulfil their dreams!
Article basically is split in two parts. In the first part you’ll learn some simple actionable tips you can immediately test and incorporate in your own daily routine. These are the tips I have tried myself and found to be key to my happiness, productivity and success! I don’t want to pretend I am expert, most of these tips originally were borrowed from successful leaders and personal growth experts.
In the second part you’ll get further resources if you want to go deeper down the rabbit hole!
Few thoughts before we start..
You need to understand that while some tips work for one person, it doesn’t work for other. You need to promise me to be open minded, actually try these techniques and after week decide if you want to keep them or not in your daily routine (it takes 21 days to make a habit though). Don’t make any assumptions! Our body and mind will fight us, because it is used to old habits – but if you will resist, results will be life-changing, I promise you that!
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
I would say morning is the most important part of day. If you start the day with blast it will be easy to keep going. If you start morning with TV, game or emails – you will set yourself for yet another ordinary day and that’s not what we are looking for, right?
Here are several great rituals you can start doing in the mornings – try one or few at the time!
The Holy Hour: Invest in Yourself
This is one of the big gifts I started giving to myself after Robin Sharma recommendation. Holy hour means you are waking up at 05.00 AM every morning and giving time to yourself. In this hour you split time in three 20 min chunks:
- 20 mins to exercise. Do anything you enjoy to wake up your body – take a walk, run, do 7-min workout, anything will be great.
- 20 mins to study and learn something new, to get your creative mind going – read a book, watch motivational video, find motivational quote.
- 20 mins to plan and invest in your spiritual part – say mantras, affirmations, meditate, write journal, express gratitude, plan the day.
I like to experiment with this technique and mix it up. One day I will say affirmations, other day I will meditate. One day I will workout at home, other day I will run for 40 minutes and listen audiobook while I am running. If you prefer to stick to one routine and it’s working, do it. If you get bored of it, mix it up with new routines.
9 Questions To Ask Yourself To Wake Up With Smile and Meaning
I got this tip from Roger James Hamilton, while taking one month entrepreneurship training in Bali. I started doing this ritual six months ago and I am still doing it. It’s simple, easy to do while being around people or traveling, just put questions on your mobile phone so it’s always with you. Do it every morning, shortly after waking up to get increased sense of mission, happiness and excitement!
As you are waking up, preparing breakfast, dressing up – ask yourself (in your head) these questions:
- What am I grateful for?
- What am I excited about today?
- Who do I love?
- Why am I so happy?
- What am I most committed to?
- How committed am I?
- What is my intention?
- What is my wish?
- Why am I here? My purpose on this planet?
Meditate Like a Pro (even if you are absolute beginner): All in One
Have you ever wanted to meditate, but never got started? I was the same way – whenever I tried meditation, I fell asleep. Now this meditation sums up 6-phases in just 21 minutes (download audio, listen to youtube video, or download Omvana app on your phone):
- connection with universe;
- expressing gratitude;
- remove yourself from negative charges;
- creative visualisation intentions for the day;
- receiving blessing from universe.
I got this meditation track while I was in Awesomeness Fest in Bali which is one of the biggest personal development conferences in the world. And I know for fact this meditation is widely used by my entrepreneurial friends and many millionaire entrepreneurs around the world! So why don’t you try it?
Complete Your Most Important Task
Have you ever written down what would make your day GREAT? After reading this Noah Kagan article, I started asking myself this question every day – What is the one thing I need to do today to feel great? Usually it’s something simple, but a little uncomfortable to do. Make sure that task can be completed in less than 2 hours.
I cannot stress enough how much this simple tip helped to increase my happiness! After I have completed this most important days task I feel great and I know anything else I do, will be extra!
“I may not be there yet, but I get closer every day” – Unknown
So what is one task you need to do today to make your day GREAT? What is one task you need to complete to get you one step closer to your big goal?
Write Yearly Goals Every morning
This advice comes from Brian Tracy, one of the worlds leading personal development coaches. If you can keep going with this exercise, it will mean your goals are really important to you and magic will start to happen. However if you cannot even invest 3-5 minutes to write your goals every day – how can you hope to be able to invest days, years for you to reach your goals?
Technique looks like this – get a notebook and keep it with you at all times. Every morning write down your 10 most important goals in the present tense without referring to your previous list and do this day after day.
Here is my example goal: “I have built an extraordinary office I and my team don’t want to leave by September, 2014”. It’s positive, present and personal!
If you want to understand why this technique works and get more details about exact steps to follow, read more here.
Use Affirmations To Get Rid Of Your Limiting Thoughts
If your goals are mostly financial like mine, I recommend using this declaration worksheet by T. Harv Eker. I use this worksheet every morning, I read it out loud while looking myself in the eye in the mirror. Good affirmations are the ones that stretch your mindset and by repetition you make your mind believe anything is possible!
Example: When I say loud: “I have built an extraordinary office”, voice in my head says: “Who do you think you are? Why do you think you will succeed when so many have failed?”. When my mind says: “You cannot”, I repeat “Yes, I can”. Key is not to listen to your mind, and keep repeating empowering affirmations. Have you heard saying – “You are what you eat?”, well, what about this – “You are what You think about”?
I have used similar mirror and affirmation exercises to increase my confidence, to increase my social skills – to do things I never thought possible. My friends and girlfriend thinks I am weird, but I don’t care – this technique works! Find out why here, and get more ideas for positive affirmations!
Read Quotes, Watch Motivational Videos and Listen To Energising Music
I discovered this technique on accident. If you find yourself feeling discouraged to do anything – read some empowering quotes, listen to energising music or watch a motivational video! Effect is like energy drink to your mind!
- Technique: Find one motivational quote and post it somewhere (hard drive, Pinterest) every day.
- Warning: Make sure you only give this exercise around 10-15 minutes. When browsing around web or Youtube, it’s easily to get distracted and waste time. Stay focused on motivation.
Here are some motivational videos I constantly watch (if you know more – please let me know):
- Motivational Alarm – outstanding video to get you up in the morning!
- Mateus Z motivational videos – this guy creates the most professional motivational videos you’ll ever see! There are 9 great videos on his channel with more coming.
- Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address – three quick stories from Steve are life changing.
- Secrets of success – Eric Thomas is an excellent motivational speaker, he will motivate the heck out of you every time! Get more videos on his YouTube channel.
- The First Day of Your Best Life by Robin Sharma is a cool motivational video filled with quotes and great thoughts! Get more videos on his YouTube channel.
- Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen – simple, yet powerful video to let you appreciate good things you have in life. Be grateful about time you have.
- Wake up without caffeine – try the magic of binaural beats, helps if you have nice headphones (20mins)
- Pop Danthology & mashups – mashed up and remixed motivation playlist to get you going. (40mins)
- Workout Motivation Music – at least for me workout music proves to be very motivational. (1h16mins)
Use Pomodoro Technique: Secret Sauce To Superb Productivity
This is a very popular productivity and time management technique based on the idea that regular breaks improve your mental agility.
What you do is break your day, todos in 25 min increments, taking 5 minute break after each pomodoro (25mins) has passed. This forces you to focus and finish task faster, 5 minute break helps for you to relax and mentally review your work. Here is simple video explaining Pomodoro technique, and you can read this article to learn details.
Moosti is nice web app to get started with, but I suggest to download an app either on your phone or tablet and keep it besides you. Having separate screen with timer running out really helps to focus and get more done.
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” – Salvador Dali
Plan and Review Your Day In Previous Day
“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my ax.” – Abraham Lincoln
After productive day in order to set foundation for even better tomorrow, write down your next day goals before going to home, before you stop working. Something magical happens when you plan what you want to do in previous evening – your mind subconsciously starts working on best solutions on how to complete tasks you need to do!
- How did I do today?
- How can I do better tomorrow?
Further Recommended Reading :
Few more trusted resources I recommend if you want to go deeper in the rabbit hole and explore even further!
The Return Path to Joy, Happiness and Bliss by Yanik Silver
In nutshell, here are main takeaways from this article:
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
- Be grateful – Being grateful is one of the biggest secrets to being truly happy. Don’t think about what you want to get, think about what you already have! By looking on world from abundance perspective you’ll be happier and will appreciate more the little things! Write handwritten notes to your clients! Writing process will make yourself happier and make your client feel special and grateful in the same time!
- Move – Our bodies are designed to move! If you don’t want to spend much time on exercise and get on with your day, check out this The Scientific 7-Minute Workout using only your body weight. No excuses.
- Master yourself – Say “NO” more often to things that doesn’t contribute to your well-being and give yourself more credit for doing things that add to your integrity and self-worth
- Start journaling – It has been scientifically proven that expressive writing is making you happier. Write about anything – write down your takeaways of the day, write down your ideas, draw. (I looked back to understand what made me happy in past and it turned out writing at 1stWebDesigner was one of the keys to my happiness! I also found my purpose and bigger meaning – to keep constantly learning and growing and sharing these lessons with you!)
- Ask questions – Questions dictate your answers. Instead of saying “I cannot afford this, I will never be able to live like that”, ask yourself – “how can I get this? How can I live like that?”. Make your mind work, don’t take no for answer. Questions open up possibilities. To back up this theory, here is the book digging deeper – Thought Revolution.
- Give and Receive – Do random acts of kindness to get more pleasure and happiness in your own life. Ask for help – by receiving we allow others to be mentors and give, people appreciate helping when you ask. Think how you can be a mentor and mentee.
- Create something every day using this little hack – the great copywriter Eugene Schwartz (highest paid copywriter in the world) used to write in 33-minute focused spurts. Eugene wrote for 33 minutes and then took break for 10-15 minutes, he did this cycle six times every day. For freelancers this would mean to code or design for 33 minutes and then take rest. I am big fan of Pomodoro technique which is 25/5 minute cycles. Use this web app to challenge your productivity and focus!
- Check worksheet to find out Divine Nine activities you should strive to accomplish every day to feel fulfilled!
- Find out what are some fields you are talented in! Talent plays an important role and to become a true master you need to choose path of least resistance. Good tip on finding what you are talented in is to go to bookstore and find topic you would be willing to read 500 books about.
- Study the history – any area you want to master you need to study history, the biographies of the prior leaders, prior designers, the successes and failures of those who went before you. Learning from others is the fastest way to move forward.
- Persistence creates luck – there is a saying “The Harder I work The Luckier I Get”. Don’t let anything stop you!
- 5 Unusual Ways to Start Working Smarter, Not Harder, Backed by Science – You gotta trust science, excellent tips to get most out of your day! You might as well subscribe to BufferApp blog, they have lots of excellent life-hack articles.
- Beginner’s Guide to GTD – Getting Things Done is the most effective productivity technique to use in my opinion, worth learning!
- Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More by Jason Womack – excellent productivity book I totally recommend.
- Preventing Burnout: A Cautionary Tale – excellent story about how you could go to being too productive and too driven actually hurting yourself. And of course subscribe to 4HourWorkWeek blog by Tim Ferriss for more hacks!
- FinerMinds – awesome source of ideas for personal growth, spirituality and happiness
- Bulletproof Exec – Excellent message and scientific experiments of life hacking – Supercharge Your Body. Upgrade Your Brain. Be Bulletproof.
- Greatist – Health. Fitness. Happiness. – I love this website because advice is backed up with deep studies and science.
Reader Feedback: Bonus Tips From Fellow Freelancers
- Simpleology for planning out my day/what tasks to work and focus on. Workflowy as a notepad just to jot down quick ideas. For permanent notes I use , but Workflowy is much faster and I like how it can create unlimited lists and sublists and internal lists which is good for brainstorming. “ (good friend, excellent freelancer and copywriter): “Simpleology and Workflowy –
- : “Listening to good music while I work. It helps my productivity.”
- : “I know this might sound weird, but working in my pajamas makes me the most productive. If I start my morning with a cup of coffee and get straight to work, I get much more done than if I start out with a shower and getting ready. If I’m clean, dressed, and presentable, I’m more likely to feel the need to go out in public. If I’m not presentable, I’m encouraged to stay put and work. Strange, I know. I warned you. LOL”
- Spotify and I use Wunderlist to manage tasks.” : “Ditto, music always helps. Typically
- Samantha Justine: “I use binaural beats for meditation. Meditation helps a lot. Emptying your mind with too many thoughts will help you focus on what needs to be done for the day.”
- : “I like to use pomodoro technique to manage my time & tasks.”
- : “I make sure I start each day by spending a minute or so playing with the dogs before I get up.”
Use Standing Desk
I haven’t used myself standing desks before, so as responsible citizen I did my research. Many people mention standing desk benefits because of health reasons, but when checking out Wikipedia about this topic it turns out it isn’t that easy. Studies done so far do not directly answer whether or not using a standing desk provides more health benefits than risks.
There are some benefits to standing like:
- Burning Calories – A 2013 study showed that using a standing desk caused the heart to beat an average of 10 beats faster per minute than when sitting.
- Mortality – A 2009 study of over 17,000 Canadians concluded that physicians should discourage extended periods of sitting. To live longer you should sit less than 3 hours a day.
- Prolonged sitting has been proven to be bad for you.
Personally I would suggest to have both standing and sitting options, in fact I am going to build this in my own office. Decide on your own, and check this study on standing desks as good starting point.
Back to you: What are your most effective tools, rituals you use to get more done during day, stay happy and motivated ?!?