A friend of mine told me “Dustin, you are crazy.”
I asked him “Why”.
He replied, “You wake up everyday at 4:30am. That’s crazy!”
I agreed with him that it can be a little crazy to some but not to me. Waking up at 4:30am did take some getting used to but has changed my life.
Nothing comes easy in life. The harder I work and push myself, the more productive I am. The more productive I am, the more I accomplish. The more I accomplish, the more successful I am.
It was not over night that I built up my passive income business to replace my income. It took years of hard work and dedication.
What I have done is not a get rich quick scheme. Nor is it something that will fade away. I have built lasting wealth with real estate and intellectual property.
To answer my friend, yes I am crazy for waking up at 4:30am. But it is for a purpose AND many other successful people before me do the same.
Each day, I wake up and make the day intentional. I don’t go about the day without purpose. I know my end goals and I go after them.
How to be productive is doing what other successful people do.
How to be Productive
1. Productive People Focus on What Truly Matters
The measure of your productivity doesn’t matter how much you get done on your to do list. Those who are productive not only get things done, they get the right things done. Productive people focus on what truly matters and they put their energy in the things that give them the biggest return. They focus on achieving their goals and doing the most important things that makes those goals attainable.
In the book “The One Thing” Gary Keller writes about the Pareto Principle or what is more commonly known as the 80/20 Rule. The rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Also, that 80% of the things we do only produce 20% in results. Instead of being spread thin having too many projects and ideas going at the same time, productive people focus on the things that bring them the greatest return for their time and energy. There is no reason to focus your energy on the things that don’t produce any results.
The question you should ask yourself is;
What is the one thing I can do today that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Every time you look at your to do list, think about this one question. Cut out the things that are not necessary and or take your time and energy but produce little results.
2. Their Time Is Never Wasted
Productive people are also successful people. No matter what they are doing, they plan ahead and utilize the time in their day to get things accomplished. Even during downtime, they focus on accomplishing tasks that are necessary. Their daily commute is used to learn from podcasts, audio books, recorded sermons, and the like.
While they’re waiting for the next meeting to start, they knockout some random email they’ve been needing to send or even look through their to do list to find the most important they need to do next. I personally look for a new investment property on www.zillow.com while they are waiting for the next item on my agenda.
3. They Plan Their Day, Even Their Downtime
Just like setting a budget for your money, budgeting your time is what productive people do. Dave Ramsey says “If you don’t budget where your money goes every month, you will wonder where it went.” The same thing goes for your time. If you don’t have a plan for your day to utilize the time you have, at the end of the day you will wonder where the time went and why you didn’t get much accomplished.
Your plan for the day doesn’t have to be packed with every minute accounted for. People need downtime from being productive in order to recharge their brains. The longer you push yourself to focus on a particular project, the less capacity you have to accomplish your work. An occasional break in a project will allow your brain to rest and get you back to work effectively. After your rest, whatever it is, you will have a ready mind to tackle the issue you are faced with.
4. They Say “Hell No” to Everything that is Not “Hell Yes!”
No matter what decision you make with your time, think of it as a decision that will take your time from other more important decisions. It is called “opportunity costs.” Opportunity cost is the cost of passing up the next best choice when making a decision. An example would be if you decided to go to an event with your friend instead of going to work. Your cost was what you would have earned if you had went to work instead of the event.
If you are asked to go to an event that serves no purpose for your goals or desires, run the decision through this one principle. Are you so excited about doing whatever it is that you are able to say “heel yes”? If so you are 100% bought in and have full desire to say yes. If it is a decision where you think “maybe yes” then think of it as an “Hell no.” Your time is precious. Only spend it on the things that you are 100% bought in and can say “Hell Yes!”
5. They Have They Have Routines That Make Their Days Productive
Routines do not have to be boring they just have to be effective. Productive people use routines to help them plan mundane aspects of their day so they don’t have to waste brainpower making decisions on things that don’t matter. What you are going to eat for breakfast, going to wear for the day, what time you’re going to go to the gym, etc. are things that can all be planned out ahead of time.
Most people are most alert in the morning and their brains function best at this time rather than at night. Before you go to bed, plan your next day, what you’re going, wear, and even do. It would not take more than five or 10 minutes before you go to bed but you save precious brainpower for more important things that demand your attention in the morning.
I personally exercise five days a week doing CrossFit at 5 AM. I wake up at 4:30 AM grab my bag that’s already packed head out the door and do a one hour workout that is programmed for me. I literally have no decisions made and yet have many things already accomplished before the day has even started for most people.
6. They Wake up Earlier Than Everyone Else Every Day
Benjamin Franklin would go to sleep at 11 PM and wake up at 4 AM every day. He only needed five hours of sleep each night which I know is not enough for most people He, on the other hand functioned well on 5 hours of sleep. In doing this, he realized that the earlier he woke up, the more he would get done before anyone else started the day.
Hal Elrod wrote a book called the Miracle Morning. In it, he shares the secrets to a morning that sets the day off in the right direction to help you be most productive. Here is a quick list of the key principles to a miracle morning:
- Read for 10 minutes when you wake up
- Exercise using your body weight for 10 to 20 minutes
- Go through positive affirmations about yourself
- Practice being silent (meditation)
- Visualize the days tasks and imagine yourself completing them
- Write into a journal three things are grateful for
7. They Are Organized in Their Own Way and Can Find Anything
Organization to one person may look totally different to another. One person may have piles of papers all over their desk and another may have five file cabinets full of documents. Neither organization style is better than the other.
Whatever works for you in keeping your life organized should be the way to do it. Just as long as you are organized in a way that you can find the things when you need it is the main priority.
Evernote is where I keep all my notes, to do lists, etc. in one place where I can access it from any device that can connect to the internet.
Dropbox is an online cloud based storage system that stores all my documents, pictures, spreadsheets, etc. I can access them from anything that has a internet connection.
They say that a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. What does that say about an empty desk? In either case, as long as you get the information you need when you need it, style of organization doesn’t matter.
8. They Leave Room for Ambiguity and Are Flexible
Making sure that you are able to move on from a task before it gets finished is a key trait of productive people. They know when things are good enough and can finish the product at a later time.
Perfectionism can be a good thing but to productive and productive people it can get in the way of progress. Software companies release their products for they are finished and perfected for number of reasons.
- The product is never finished
- Get the product to market to start making money
- If you wait until the product is perfect you will never make any money
- The sooner you get the product in the hand of customers, the sooner you know what you need to change in the product
- Your customers will find the bugs in the product for you
- Get the product to market before your competitor does
Productive people are intentional people. They make sure they accomplish their goals and they figure out ways to accomplish those goals.
What do you think about these 8 habits and how to be productive?
Leave me a comment below.