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Instantly Make Your Day More Productive

John Assaraf posed this question on Facebook the other day:

“When your vision is in place for your dream business or life goals, it’s important to keep the big picture you’re working toward in mind at all times and not let the hundreds of details distract you.  Do you have a successful task management system that works well for you – software, a note-taking strategy, or something else?  Please share!”

In this world of overwhelm and ever-increasing complexity, its critical that we keep our eye on the prize without getting bogged down in the details.  But how to do?  HOW TO DO?  John’s question was so important that it inspired me to write this post and share with everyone.

Just so happens, as a facilitator of Success, I know such a strategy.  I call it the Instant Productivity Maker and it’s incredibly simple.  The system I’m about to share is so deceptively simple that it’s easy to discount and NOT do anything.  And yet, this is the same technique handed down to me personally by my friend and mentor Bob Proctor, the very same one handed down to him by Earl Nightingale, who had it handed down to him by the legendary Napoleon Hill…the Father of Personal Development.  And from where did good ol’ Napoleon get it, pray tell?  From none other than Andrew Carnegie…the second wealthiest man who ever lived….EVER! (Pop Quiz: who was the first? Enter in the comments).  It’s told that wee Andra Carnegie got it from a business associate named Ivy Lee who was so convinced of its worth that he didn’t want anything for it up front.  Instead, he said if Carnegie implements the strategy and it produces dividends, to pay him what Carnegie thought it was worth.  As a man of action, Carnegie did implement it and he found it so valuable, he did pay his colleague for his insights.  The sum?  A cool $25,000 at the turn of the last century, circa 1901.  That’s over $16 MILLION dollars in today’s currency, and now it’s my turn to offer it here to you.  In return, I only ask that you make an earnest effort to actually DO this and pay it forward.  That’s it.  A 16 Million dollar strategy for nothing except your promise and your sharing.  What do you have to lose by trying except the very thing you define as Success? If you’re serious about it, then state in the comments on what date you will start this strategy, then share this blog post.  OK…..ready?  Here it is:

Before you go to sleep each night, write down the top six things you need to do tomorrow in priority order.  Do #1 in it’s ENTIRETY before moving on to #2.  Do #2 in it’s entirety before moving on to #3.  Repeat until the list is done.”

What?  That’s it?  You’re joking right?  Ummmmm….no.  Absolutely not.  As crazy simple as this sounds, there are several key elements woven into this timeless piece of tactical wisdom:

1. Timing – The timing of when you do this is critical.  For maximum effect, this needs to be done right before you go to sleep.  Why?  Well, for several reasons:

a) It let’s you clear your mind of the days’ toils.  Any troubles, fears, frustrations instantly dissolve when you focus on your highest goals and the tasks to achieve them, especially if they  are in alignment with your core values.  Worry falls away when you think about that which excites you! Stress diminishes. If you’re striving for a huge goal in attainment of your ultimate vision, the mental images in your mind allow no room for troubling thoughts, only ways to achieve the goal.

b) If you’re free from stress and worry, you sleep better!  Plain and simple.

c) Tasks and associated goals seep into your sub-conscious while you sleep.  You may not know how to reach a goal, but you don’t have to!  You only need to know the what.  Studies have shown that we only use about 10% of our brain.  Let the other 90% go to work while you sleep.  It’s often in the alpha state, or moments when we’re in deep relaxation, or when we’re NOT thinking about a problem when those AHA moments come.  Have more of them through this method.

2. Writing - There’s a reason why writing down your goals and tasks work:

a) It forces clarity. When you leave it to your memory, too many things intrude and the message gets distorted or lost altogether.

b) Writing means pen and paper.  It does NOT mean capturing the thought digitally through a keyboard, touch screen or voice memo.  Sure you can gain the clarity by typing or recording it, but consider this – If you believe that thoughts are things and they can manifest into reality (someone had to think up the chia pet before it came into being right?), the act of physically writing actually speeds up this process by helping your thought become an actual thing in the real world.  When you write your thoughts on paper, you instantly bring the intangible (your thought) into the tangible (the paper). What’s a blueprint after all but a paper representation of an architect’s thought that turns into a skyscraper!

c) Further, the brain is hard-wired to remember and act upon the written word rather than the digital one.  We’ve been writing for thousands of years but the practical computing tools to digitize our thoughts are in their mere infancy.  We’ve evolved to think the way we write and write the way we think.

d) If you are true to this method and its timing, it means your note pad is right beside you on the nightstand, so you can capture those AHA moments when they do come.

3.  A REASON to get up! – In the morning, you hit the ground running because you’ve already thought out the most meaningful actions to do that day and you can start immediately.

a) So much time is wasted by starting your day inefficiently…that is, not knowing where to start.  By the time you figure it out, you’ve hit the snooze button twice, needed 3 cups of coffee to get you going, you’ve wasted a couple of hours on Facebook or email hell answering to someone else’s agenda because you didn’t have a clear direction to your day, and before you know its lunchtime.  Half the day gone.  Sound familiar?  Hmmmmm…..then you wonder why you get frustrated about getting nothing done (see 1a – this tool allows the day’s toils to become less because you accomplished more).  Start your day with YOUR agenda instead!

b) Because you’re excited about your tasks moving closer to your value-centred goals as you use this consistently, you’re also energized. You’ll get a natural high just from the momentum, daily progress, and sense of accomplishment you feel.  You won’t need those 3 cups of coffee in the first place.  This takes you to a more natural state of being instead of a caffeine –induced one (or worse stimulants).  Most people are stuck in mediocrity simply because they fail to plan.  How does that saying go?  “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.”  Instead, plan your work and work your plan!

4. Instant Productivity – this is the reason you’re reading this in the first place…how to become more productive.  Think about it.  If you stick to the plan and put your highest, most important (not urgent) activity at the top of the list and accomplish nothing else for the rest of the day, you’ll have done the highest-priority item at the day’s start and you can be happy by the end of the day even if the other things are still there.  No biggie…just carry them forward to the next day.  Life happens, but when it does, most people react to the urgent, not the important.  The most important thing to do is often the hardest, or the scariest, and that’s why people leave it til last, thinking it will go away.  It won’t, so why not get it out of the way in the first place!  This is the biggest stumbling block for most people.  Don’t be most people.  Put first things first and the rest of the day will seem easy by comparison and be a huge confidence booster.

This technique is so important it bears repeating:

Before you go to sleep each night, write down the top six things you need to do tomorrow in priority order.  Do #1 in it’s ENTIRETY before moving on to #2.  Do #2 in it’s entirety before moving on to #3.  Repeat until the list is done.”

Simple. Succinct. Successful → That’s what you’ll be when you do this. Don’t let this time-tested wisdom pass you by. You CAN change the World with it. If you’re serious, then I urge you to act: publicly declare your intent to implement this strategy in the comments and by when, then share this post.  Easily implement this with the 30-Day Habit Formula. Put it out there, act NOW, and let’s Dance!

Live Life LARGE
Dave