I’m not going to tell you to turn your phone off
And I’m definitely not going to tell you to “just be more productive” or any of the other amazing tips to increase your productivity that have already been blogged across the interwebz ad nauseum.
In this article I’m going to share with you 8 helpful and time tested tactics that will increase your productivity right now.
And I mean right now.
How Do I Know These Productivity Boosting Methods Work?
I started my first business when I was 20 and at that point I knew I wanted to accomplish 2 major things:
- Help as many people as I possibly could by giving them the best training, nutrition, and fitness information in the world.
- Have the ability to travel the world, working solely from my computer, while doing number 1 (above) exceptionally well.
Fast forward 4 years and I’m doing, well, pretty much exactly what I set out to do.
By 24 I’ve worked with hundreds of fitness enthusiasts all across the globe, had my work featured in numerous mainstream publications including CNN and The Huffington Post, and travel whenever and wherever I want.
Now, I’m not saying this to impress you.
Rather, I’m saying this to instill within you the knowledge of what’s truly possible and the power to believe that you can accomplish anything and everything you want.
Back to my story…
As my business grew larger and larger I was forced to develop systems that allowed me to create more content, work with more people, design more programs, and essentially just be more productive.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Out of necessity I’ve come up with countless strategies and tactics to increase my productivity at the flip of a switch, and that’s precisely what I’m going to share with you today.
Ready to get started?
Let’s do this.
8 Time Tested Tactics That Will Increase Your Productivity Right NOW
1. Listen to Audio Books (at 1.25 speed)
Several weeks ago I found myself seated in the front row of a Southwest Airlines flight next to none other than business mastermind and co-owner of the world famous MLB training facility, Cressey Sports Performance, Pete Dupuis.
Pete and I have known each other for years, but sitting next to him on a 3-hour flight dramatically changed the dynamic of our relationship.
Without hesitation, before our seat belts were even buckled or our seats returned to the upright position, we immediately started chatting about business strategies, marketing, writing, coaching, and pretty much anything and everything two fitness entrepreneurs get giddy over.
Of course, any conversation about the business of fitness is incomplete if Eric Cressey (the worlds leading strength coach & business tycoon) isn’t brought up at least once so, naturally, we found ourselves talking about Eric quite a bit.
At one point, Pete offhandedly mentioned that Eric listens to audio books at about 1.25x the normal speed so he can absorb more information in less time.
Best. Decision. Ever.
I no longer have to wait to be in a comfortable, quiet space with the right lighting just to read my latest book for 20-minutes before I inevitably doze off.
Now I can listen to my books while walking to work, driving around town, running errands, and cleaning up around the house.
Talk about efficiency.
And if I’m really in a hurry, I can bump the talking speed up to 1.25x the normal pace and get through the book even faster.
Plus, now I don’t have to worry about lugging books around everywhere I go because I can store an entire library directly on my phone.
Which Audio Player Should You Get?
I use the Audible app on my android and love it.
It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and the customer service has been phenomenal.
Regardless of which audio player you choose (there are tons of options) this is unquestionably one of the single best things I’ve ever done to rapidly increase my productivity.
2. Define Your “Commanders Intent”
In their extraordinary book, Made to Stick, authors Chip & Dan Heath discuss the role of “commanders intent” (CI) and how it affects the decisions you make and their subsequent outcomes.
Briefly, CI is a military term that’s used to succinctly describe whatever constitutes success for the current operation.
You see, the best military leaders have come to understand and appreciate that plans rarely pan out the way we expect (or hope).
No matter how detailed, precise, or well thought out your plan is…there’s simply no way you can foresee and adequately prepare for everything that could possibly happen.
From a military perspective, whether it’s a severe rain storm that ruins the terrain and botch’s your plan for a swift ground strike, or an unforeseen counterattack from the opposing troops, “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy“ is a famous quote that holds true from a productivity perspective as well.
How Do Great Military Leaders Succeed?
They define their CI.
They clearly and succinctly define the end-goal of the operation and let that end-goal be their guide for strategizing along the way.
“Rain day? Shit, O.K. let’s hit ’em from the air instead.“
“Counter attack? Sneaky bastards! Tell our ground troops to set up a blockade and we’ll cut ’em off before they have a chance to make any headway.“
See what’s happening?
The CI (a clear end-goal) provides you with the opportunity to make changes on the fly, adjust as you go, and constantly work towards that end-goal.
What Can You Do to Start Being More Productive Right NOW?
Establish your CI, quit spending so much time making detailed plans, and just freakin’ start!
No matter how much time you spend devising the “perfect plan” (which doesn’t exist, by the way) you’re eventually going to be faced with an entirely new set of challenges that you had no clue were even a possibility.
So put down the pen and paper, stop trying to come up with the “blueprint for success,” and just take action.
3. Hang With Chickens’n You’re Gonna Cluck…
In the past few we’ve been to New Orleans, Colorado, Florida, and we’re soon going to NYC, Miami, and then out of the country.
When people ask about our travels, we inevitably get responses akin to:
“I wish my job was as easy as yours!“
“You two can do whatever you want; you don’t even have bosses!“
And while Garrett and I are exceptionally fortunate in that we both love our jobs and the opportunities they provide us, people don’t see what goes on outside of the occasional Facebook post or Instagram update.
They don’t see Garrett and I waking up at 4am every day to write for 2-hours before we coach our in-person clients.
They don’t see us when we’re on vacation and waking up at 5am to answer e-mails and create training programs for our online clients.
And they don’t see us researching, studying, and developing strategies for 12-16 hours/day to improve our coaching programs and client success rate.
Here’s Our Secret
Garrett and I hold each other accountable.
When I’m tired and don’t feel like getting up early, she’s right there [literally] pushing me out of bed and encouraging me to get my ass in gear.
When she’s not sure what project to start next or where to begin, I’m right behind her to offer advice and support her every step of the way.
When one of us isn’t sure we’re on the right track or making the best decision, the other one is there giving reassurance and guidance until we regain our footing.
The Right People Motivate You to Be Your Best Self
Living and working with Garrett makes me more productive.
With anyone else it’d be easy to hit the “snooze” button and sleep in until 8 am.
With anyone else it’d be easy to say “I’ll do it later” and procrastinate on writing a new article.
But when you’re hanging out with the right person (or people) on a consistent basis, simply being in their presence will motivate you to be your best self.
4. Establish Your “Bright Lines”
“Bright lines” is a concept I picked up in the New York Times Best Seller (and one of my all-time favorite books), Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.
What Baumeister and Tierney found is that clearly defining certain rules (“bright lines”) with zero ambiguity or room for misinterpretation makes it significantly more feasible for you to stick to a plan.
I use this concept every day with my nutrition clients to help them stay on track during tricky situations.
For example, when they go on vacation, rather than ordering them to “limit your alcohol consumption,” we’ll agree on a specific set of guidelines such as, “I will limit myself to an absolute maximum of 3 alcoholic beverages per day. Only 1 of those beverages can be sugary while the rest must be clear alcohols. If I don’t get at least 45-minutes of physical activity then all 3 of my alcoholic drinks must be clear, no sugar.“
Pretty straight forward, right?
No room for misinterpretation.
You Can Use Bright Lines to Increase Your Productivity
If you want to start waking up earlier, don’t just say “I’m going to wake up earlier from now on” because that’s not going to last.
If you want to wake up earlier then establish a bright line like, “Starting tomorrow I’m going to wake up at 6:30am Monday – Friday. Every week I’m going to get up 5-minutes earlier until I’m waking up at 5:15am on a daily basis.
This is the exact bright line that I used to eventually work my way down to waking up at 4:00 am every single day, Monday – Friday.
Want to write more articles?
Don’t just say “I’m going to write more.”
Come up with a clear cut plan like, “I’m going to write a minimum of 2 articles every month. To ensure that I don’t forget, every morning from 6-7am will be devoted to writing – nothing else. Not e-mails, phone calls, laundry, etc. Every day, Monday – Friday, from 6-7am I will write and work on a new article.“
5. Use the Reverse Pyramid Method of Productivity
Personally, it’s one of my favorite training strategies (especially during fat loss) that my clients and I regularly use with extraordinary success.
For all intents and purposes, your first (heaviest) set is the most important as that’s where you achieve the highest training intensity and neurological stimulus.
And while each subsequent set is obviously important in that they provide numerous benefits (greater training tonnage, more practice reps, increased hypertrophic stimulus, etc), the first set is functionally the most important which is why you do it when you’re fresh and not fatigued from previous sets.
How Does This Relate to Productivity?
Save your most important and mentally intensive tasks for when you feel your best.
For me, writing is currently the most time consuming and mentally intensive aspect of my business.
I love writing and consider myself very lucky to get paid for doing what I love but, as any writer will tell you, no matter how good you get…it never gets any easier.
For that reason, nearly every single day begins with creative writing. Sometimes that means I’ll be writing a new article, other times I’ll be creating a new e-book, and other times that entails developing a new learning sheet for my clients.
Regardless of what exactly I’m writing, I feel my best in the morning so I know my day needs to start with writing because there’s no way in hell I’ll be able to create high quality content late at night.
That way, as the day progresses and I get tired, I can do “easier” tasks that don’t require as much energy (answer e-mails, listen to audio books, etc) while still being highly productive.
6. Spend Less Time Calculating Calories (Fudist Does That For You)
Keep in mind, I’m always hesitant when it comes to fitness apps and products because, well, they usually suck.
But Fudist is amazing.
And if you count calories you know how much of a hassle eating out at restaurants can be. Even if you’re a calorie counting pro, plan extremely well, and “save” a bunch of room for a large meal…eating out at restaurants can be a tricky obstacle to overcome.
Fudist Is Your Meal Recommendation Engine
Before Fudist, you’d have to go on the internet and scroll through hundreds of menu items while searching for the ideal calorie/protein combo to see what fits best into your daily guidelines.
The best part is Fudist is ridiculously easy to use.
All you need to do is tell Fudist your calorie and macronutrient goals and it will immediately provide you with every single meal combination at countless restaurants that fits your needs.
That’s it. Simple as that.
You Don’t Need to Be a Calorie Counter to Use Fuidst
Even if you don’t count your calories, Fudist will help you make smarter and more informed decisions just by giving you a quick and accurate overview of your options at various restaurants.
One of my personal favorite apps, Fudist is remarkably convenient and one of those “indirect productivity boosters” that can dramatically improve your work output and I highly encourage you to check it out HERE.
7. Lunch Time is for Lunch
Why waste an hour of productivity when I could just eat at my desk and keep on working?
It sounds like a great idea. But in practice it rarely works out well.
I quickly realized that working through lunch led me to create a false sense of productivity. For example, anytime I ate lunch at my desk I spent entirely too much time scrolling through Facebook and, eventually, the majority of my lunch hour was spent at my computer doing absolutely nothing productive.
Ironically, even though I didn’t accomplish anything worthwhile, I still felt like I had been working because I was sitting at my desk and intermittently contemplating – but not acting on – the countless projects I had in the pipeline.
Essentially, I tired myself out of work by thinking about it but not actually doing anything.
Talk About a Waste of Time and Energy…
Finally, after reevaluating my work performance and productivity, I decided “lunch time is for lunch” and promised never to work through lunch again.
Rapidly improved productivity.
Having spent an hour completely away from any and all work, enjoying my food, and taking a much needed mental break…when I came back from lunch I was more motivated than ever to dive right back into my projects.
8. Use This Massive Database of Exercises and Video Tutorials
I have. And it sucks.
But that’s why I created my brand new Exercise Video Database.
I was tired of wasting time and energy searching the internet for exercise videos that, in all likelihood, were going to be poorly done anyway.
And considering I hadn’t seen anyone else in the entire fitness industry come up with a solution, I decided to create this fully stocked exercise video database with hundreds of exercises and video tutorials clearly explaining perfect form.
Not only that, but every exercise is categorized by body part (upper/lower), movement type (push/pull), and load vector (horizontal/vertical) so you don’t have to spend hours searching for the drill you need.
Tired of Spending Hours Searching the Web for Exercise Videos?
My exercise database has saved my clients and me so much extra time and unnecessary hassle, making it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If you want to download your copy, you can get it HERE.
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Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.