5 Daily Habits That Will Increase Your Productivity Levels

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“How can I become more productive?” is a question that will continue to always come up.

Everyone wants to get more done and feel a sense of accomplishment as each day comes to an end. There are a million different productivity tips out there, but here a five ways to increase your productivity levels that have worked wonders in my own life.

1. Arrive early, stay later

Living in a congested city such as Chicago, I have found that if I start my workday before everyone else, I can save time by beating traffic and getting to my most important tasks right away. Sitting in traffic will do nothing but frustrate you and set a negative tone for the rest of your day. The same goes for when the end of the work day rolls around.

Your ability to save these extra hours can not only increase your productivity levels drastically, but help you become one of the highest paid and most productive people in your field. Arriving early and staying a little bit later could make all the difference in the world.

2. Plan each day the night before

This is a total game changer. If you spend just 15 minutes before you go to bed the night before creating your to-do list and prioritizing it, you will have a head start on your day when the morning rolls around. After I create my to-do list, I pick the most important tasks and put a little star next to them reminding me that these are the tasks that need to be done to push me forward with achieving big goals.

3. Leave the office for lunch

This is something so small that can have such a powerful effect on how you work for the remainder of your day. Getting out of your work environment for lunch can ease stress levels, refresh your creativity and help you to re-focus for when it’s time to go back to work. I often take a short walk to clear my head and think about how I want the rest of my day to go.

4. Minimize distractions

This seems self-explanatory, but in this day and age, distractions are everywhere. If you work from a computer, as most do, there is the temptation to check social media and surf the Internet, among many other things. When it’s time to work, work! If possible, close your door and have a “do not disturb” sign hanging on the door so your co-workers know not to bother you.

Every company has those employees that love to talk about what was on TV the night before instead of actually getting important things done. Don’t let these average achievers hold you back. Set boundaries and try your very best to abide by them daily. Your ability to minimize distractions as much as possible can single handedly increase productivity.

5. Keep your goals in sight at all times

After setting extremely big and exciting goals that you want to accomplish, keep them in sight at all times. I keep a list of my goals in my phone, a note card that I carry in my pocket and in a spiral notebook. The main objective is to keep your goals in a place where you will end up seeing them many times throughout your day. When I glance down at my goals, my motivation levels to get things done goes through the roof.

Start to picture yourself as the most productive person in your field. How does it feel? What tasks are you spending the majority of your time on? What is your philosophy on personal performance? Be in competition with yourself to see how much you can get done. Have fun with it. Make it a game.

Always try to beat the person you were the day before. Keep track of your results and work every single day to be a highly productive individual and watch the small daily victories begin to transform your life.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The New Era of Time Management

One thing I have always been incredibly fascinated with is how the most successful people in the world manage their time. Recently, I sat down with one of the world’s leading thinkers on productivity and New York Times bestselling author, Rory Vaden.

We discussed that there are really three generations of time-management thinking.

Era 1 time-management thinking was all about efficiency.

It was predicated on the idea of doing things faster. All things being equal, efficiency is good, but there is a limitation to efficiency that gives it a point of diminishing returns as a time-management strategy.

No matter how efficient we are, in today’s day and age, there is always going to be more to do than we can ever get to. At one point in history the idea was to create tips and tricks and tools and technology to help us get our to-do list done faster so we’d have margin or space left over.

But that’s an incomplete strategy today. Because we all carry computers in our pocket, we are all working as efficiently as ever before and we are still never caught up. That’s because at the end of today’s modern to-do list isn’t more margin — it’s another to-do list!

Era 2 time-management thinking was about prioritizing.

Prioritizing time was about developing calendars and checklists to help us focus first on what matters most.

Prioritizing has been the pervasive paradigm of thinking in the world of productivity since 1989. We still refer to “prioritizing” as the cure-all for most of our time-management problems. While prioritizing is still a highly valuable skill and as relevant as ever before, it too has a very substantial limitation that nobody ever talks about.

According to Vaden, there is nothing about prioritizing that creates more time. All prioritizing does is put one thing in front of the other. It takes item seven on your to-do list and bumps it up to one. But it does nothing to help you get the other items on your to-do list completed and it does not create more time. Prioritizing is simply borrowing time from one activity to spend on another.

The modern era is all about multiplying time.

In the world today, a new type of thinker has emerged. They don’t manage their time and they don’t prioritize their time — they multiply their time.

Multipliers have figured out ways to actually create more time while everyone else is still living with the fallacy that time is finite. Welcome to Era 3 time-management thinking.

How in the world do you multiply time? Simple.

In fact, this next sentence is the entire core premise of Vaden’s new book that comes out in January (Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time).

You multiply your time by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that create more time tomorrow.

You don’t just think, “what are the most important things I have to get done today or this week?”

Instead, you ask the question, “what are the things that I could do today that would free up more time tomorrow?”

Vaden says, “When you ask yourself that question, you will find that you immediately feel less pressure to only focus on the urgent things that are pressing today or this week and you instead gain a perspective to start thinking about what you can be doing now to make a positive impact on the future. You give yourself permission to do the significant things that matter for the long term.”

That is what multipliers do.

He goes on to say, “They get outside of their to-do list of short-term priorities and they realize that the real key to creating more margin in their life isn’t about working faster, or somehow ‘prioritizing’ better, it’s about learning to think differently.”

To be a multiplier you must stop living urgently, and start living significantly.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Create a Binding Agreement With Yourself, Just for Today, and Defeat Complacency

Imagine how much you would be able to get done if you had an agreement with yourself that you had to produce to the best of your ability and give maximum effort — just for today. If you didn’t accomplish the core basis of what was in the agreement, that particular day counts as a big loss. No one likes to lose.

You see, so many people put off living their absolute best life and putting forth their best effort because there is always the thought of, “I always have tomorrow.” That mental attitude is a recipe for mediocrity.

Think about this for a second. Why is it that a professional athlete will get the big multi-million dollar contract and then lack urgency, focus and production compared to when he didn’t have the big payday? On the other side of the spectrum, why is it that a Wall Street broker approaches each and every day like it’s their last?

The reasoning is simple. When an athlete receives a big payday, more times than not, that money is guaranteed. That creates a sense of security. A Wall Street broker is only as good as their last trade. There is no guaranteed 10-year stay with a particular company. You have to produce every single day and maybe, just maybe, you might have a future with the same company. However, that’s only if you produce day in and day out.

A wonderful book I just finished reading is the One Day Contract by the University of Louisville’s well decorated basketball coach Rick Pitino. In the book, he describes a one-day contract he created for himself and his team before the start of their championship season last year. I thought the idea was terrific.

The whole purpose of the one-day contract is to add value to your life every minute of every day. Even though I don’t call it the one-day contract, I have been incorporating something similar into my own life for the past five years with the same concept in mind.

The benefit has been substantial. The binding agreement I have with myself is geared towards helping me to think about maximizing my potential and life just for today. When you truly begin to focus all of your energy, effort and focus into making this very day a masterpiece, the results will completely blow you away.

I see it all the time. I walk into a corporation and see employees slacking off, chatting with their colleagues, and surfing the Internet without a care in the world. There is no urgency. They have their salaries. They have health insurance. There is a sense of security for them that creates an atmosphere of complacency.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t just happen in corporations. This happens in the government, school boards, professional sport teams and every job market you can think of. A very small percentage of people are approaching each new day with a mindset of “all or nothing.”

The binding agreement with yourself not only creates a fierce sense of urgency to spend your valuable time working on high-valued tasks, but takes motivation levels to a completely different level. Here is an example of a binding agreement with myself:

(Today’s date)

I, Matt Mayberry, abide by the terms of this contract. I vouch to give my very best towards everything I put my hands on. I will uplift and encourage everyone I encounter. My time will be spent wisely while directing all of my focus and energy on my most important tasks. Everything that is placed on my “things to do” for today will be done passionately and quickly. I will learn something new and grow somehow, someway. Just for today, I will be great.

Have some fun with yours. Mix things up and explore different methods. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. The only thing that matters is that you create something powerful for yourself that will prompt you to live like today is your last day here on earth.

Create a sense of urgency to get moving on creating the life of your dreams!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

20 Ways to Make Today Amazing

Make today amazing

As entrepreneurs and business owners, it can be very easy at times to fall into a rut and get in the habit of having just average days where we seem to not get much of anything done. Here are 20 ways that will hopefully rekindle that passion of yours and help make today ridiculously amazing.

1. Engage in consistent action.

2. Constantly picture yourself beyond your current circumstances. Dream enormously big and hold that dream deep within your mind, body and spirit.

3. Spend time in solitude to just think and visualize.

4. Write your most important goal on a note card and look at it five times a day. Say it out loud and believe with a deep conviction that it will become a reality.

5. Drink tons of water. It’s impossible to operate to the best of your ability and tap into your full potential if you are dehydrated. Our minds and bodies need water in order to perform at an extremely high-level.

6. Eat to win. If you don’t want junk results stay away from junk food. The bottom line is that we are what we eat.

7. Get your sweat on. One of the best productivity tools that you can utilize is to get a workout in at some point throughout your day. Whether you go to the gym or at home, make the time.

8. Pick up a book for 15-20 minutes and get lost in it. Just as our bodies need physical exercise, our minds need to stay mentally fit.

9. Spend your time around those who lift you up and encourage your vision, not belittle it. We are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. Pick your company wisely.

10. Make time to grow. Carve out 30 min to an hour and find ways to personally and professionally grow.

11. Turn off the music in your car and listen to an audiobook. Most of us spend hours in a car daily, utilize that time to better yourself and learn.

12. Keep a journal. Record your thoughts, ideas and strategies. We have roughly 20,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Don’t let an idea or strategy go to waste. Never rely solely on your memory.

13. Think of five things you are grateful for right this second. It can be something as simple as how beautiful is mother nature or how wonderful your family is. Be grateful for what you have and you will eventually end up having more.

14. Snack on almonds. Great source of protein and other minerals and vitamins that will increase your energy levels and keep performance in peak state.

15. Say “I love you” more often. Don’t let a day go by where you don’t tell those you love how much they truly mean to you. Life is short and by simply saying the words “I love you” will bring you an immense sense of satisfaction.

16. Treat others how you want to be treated. In business and in the game of life, people matter. If you want to truly win in both, make every person you come in contact with feel important.

17. Have a green smoothie. Instead of turning to caffeine turn to the power of mother nature and blend yourself up a delicious, energizing and healthy green smoothie. One of my favorites is two handfuls of organic spinach, one apple, juice of one lemon, three stalks of celery, and ginger root. There are plenty of recipes available to you online.

18. Take a post-it-note or note-card and write down some quotes that move, inspire and empower you. There will be times throughout the day that might upset you or discourage you. Constantly feeding your mind with words that inspire and empower you will instantly get you back on your feet ready to hit the ground running.

19. Cut off all distractions. When it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to relax, relax. Discipline yourself to stay off Facebook and other social media sites when you are working on a computer. If you are in an office, hang up a “Do Not Disturb” sign if possible. Focus completely on the task at hand.

20. Take full and complete responsibility for your life. Own up to your mistakes and never fall into the trap of playing the ever-so-popular blame game.

Adopting winning habits is one of the surest ways to get to where you want to go. What we do on a daily basis determines the results that we end up with. If you don’t like what you have been producing up to this point, then change what you do daily. It’s my hope that this list of 20 ideas is of extreme value to help make today utterly amazing for you.

Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com

10 Ways to Become the Most Productive Person Around

Have you ever come across someone who just seemed to get so much done and was by far the most productive person you knew? Why can’t you be that person?

Here are 10 ways to become the most productive person you know.

1. Eat to win.

We really are what we eat. The “eat to win” mentality is fully understanding that what we put into our bodies greatly effects our focus, energy and well-being throughout the course of the day. A junk food diet will lead to a junk performance. When we start our day by consuming foods that increase our energy, focus and well-being, we instantly set ourselves up for a productive day.

2. Start your day with a green smoothie.

There is no better way to feed our mind and bodies than consuming an alkalizing drink such as a green smoothie first thing in the morning. One of my favorite recipes is as follows: 8 ounces of water, 2 handfuls of organic spinach, 1 apple, 2 stalks of celery and a juiced lemon. This drink is high in fiber, which will help rid the body of toxins and provide us with the vitamins and minerals needed for world-class energy levels.

3. Plan your day the night before.

Take 10 to 15 minutes to plan your day the night before. Adopting this habit yields phenomenal benefits. Lack of sleep mostly comes from thinking about all you have to do the next day. This makes the mind restless, and it becomes much more difficult to get a good night’s rest. Planning your day the night before should crush this problem right away. When we plan our day the night before, we wake up ready to hit the ground running knowing exactly what has to get done.

4. Write a productivity creed.

This has been an absolute game changer for me. For example, my creed is written on a note card that reads, “I, Matt Mayberry, am the most productive person I know. I dominate my day and move quickly from task to task, accomplishing things that matter most.” This simple creed has worked wonders and I carry it around with me everywhere I go. When I catch myself in a funk, I glance down at my creed and get right back to work. I look at this creed at least 10 times throughout my day.

5. Jumpstart your day with a workout.

I say it all the time. Fitness is the best productivity tool you can ever invest in. Find a routine that works best for you and work that routine into the ground every morning. By starting our day with a workout, we get the blood flowing and rid ourselves of the morning blues with the release of endorphins. Not only does a good workout release stress and increase energy, but you will feel super charged and ready to conquer the day.

6. Drink up!

Instead of rushing to grab a cup of coffee every time you feel sluggish or tired, drink some water. Our bodies need proper hydration to perform at our absolute best. It’s a natural tendency to look for an instant “pick me up.” These methods of energy are very short lived. The human body is made up of over 70 percent water. More times than not, when you are feeling sluggish or tired, you are dehydrated. Water is a fundamental aspect of high performance.

7. Do not disturb.

How many times throughout your day has someone come into your office and interrupted you just to talk about nonsense? Chances are you are getting interrupted via text, phone or email throughout your day. If you work in an office, set up a “Do Not Disturb” sign when it’s time to get important work done. If you work from home or outside of an office, set a policy so people know not to call or interrupt you during certain time blocks. If you are able, completely silence and stow your phone away so there is no distraction or urge to stray from the task at hand.

8. Take a walk or eat lunch away from the office.

Instead of eating lunch at your office, find the nearest place where you can step away and enjoy yourself. A great way to rejuvenate and be prepared to attack the rest of the day is to take a lunchtime stroll. Eating lunch outside of your regular work place or going for a midday walk helps to clear your mind of clutter and distractions from earlier in the day. This should recharge you for an even more productive second half of the day.

9. Hour to greatness.

This is one whole hour first thing in the morning that is dedicated to preparing my mind, body and spirit for the day ahead. This routine consists of reading an uplifting book for 15 to 20 minutes, rewriting my goals while visualizing the achievement of each one, meditating on my productivity creed while looking over my to-do list for the day, and finally, flooding my mind with positive and motivational messages via audio. This alone can drastically skyrocket productivity levels. Instead of watching all the negativity that’s on the news or in the newspaper, indulge in preparing your mind for a phenomenal day.

10. Decide.

To actually become the most productive person around, you must first decide to do so. Don’t beat yourself up over how unproductive you’ve been or relish over how productive someone else is. This will never get you to where you need to go. Making the decision is half the battle. Once you’ve made up your mind, you will begin to challenge yourself to see just how much you can accomplish any given day.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

What the NFL Taught Me About Being a Motivated Entrepreneur

Let’s face it, entrepreneurs and business owners deal with more stress, challenges and setbacks than most. As the going gets hard, motivation levels tend to decrease drastically.

The experience and amount of hardships that come along with entrepreneurship is a lot like a roller coaster. Things start off slow, then, in a blink of an eye rapidly shoot out the gate, offering up plenty of twists and turns along the way. Hopefully, at the end of the ride your arms are high in the air in complete satisfaction.

That said, those twist and turns are trying times where pressure and frustration may have you second guessing what exactly it is you got yourself into. That’s why it’s very important we take control of our emotions and find ways to fire ourselves up.

As a former professional athlete, I had to constantly program my mind and motivate myself even in the midst of some of the most difficult times in my life. These are the exact same strategies I have been implementing into my everyday life for the past ten years which have helped me achieve some audacious goals as an entrepreneur.

Here is what I have learned along the way about staying motivated all day long.

Carry a ‘trigger card’ around with you everywhere you go.

I call it a “trigger” card because one glance at this notecard should have you fired up and ready to take things to the next level immediately. It consists of writing your two most important goals on a notecard in the present tense as if you already accomplished them. On the flip side of the card, pick two to three quotes that really move and inspire you. Whenever you are feeling down or unmotivated, pull your trigger card out and read it over a few times.

Talk to yourself like a champion.

Thinking positive and empowering thoughts is one thing but talking to yourself like a champion, reconditions your thought process in an instant. With power and conviction, repeat phrases such as, “I am the greatest at what I do,” “There is nothing that I can’t do when I fully commit myself,” and “There is nothing ordinary about me. I am a champion.”

Rewrite your goals at some point throughout the day.

It is important to pick a time (or two) during the day to rewrite your goals. From my experience, I have observed that a majority of people have goals wandering around in their head, yet, only a small percentage have clear, written out goals and an even smaller percentage rewrite their goals daily. Throughout our hectic day we become very susceptible to fall off track and forget about what we are striving towards. This alone can take motivation levels to the next level throughout the work day.

Search for ways to grow and invest in your personal development.

This is a complete game changer. Constantly feed your mind with material that will uplift your spirit and help you grow in your line of work. Try turning off the music and indulging in a good audio book during your commute to work. Read for 10 to 15 minutes on your lunch break. Reach out to a friend or mentor who always seems to leave you in a more positive and motivated place.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

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