The Four Fastest Ways to Boost Productivity and Reduce Stress
You might think that CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have got it all figured out. After all, they are in charge of some of the biggest companies in the world. But I’ll let you in on a little secret, even they sometimes struggle when it comes to the concepts of high performance, productivity and stress.
I’ve studied from (and with) some of the top personal development speakers and productivity experts in the world for over a decade now. One thing I’ve learned is that productivity isn’t some mysterious secret known only to the few, but in fact, most of us actually know the techniques. The problem is we don’t use them, or understand how to get the most out of them.
In my One-Bite Time Management System, I tried to take the greatest ideas out there along with my own experiences and scientific data to create a program along one basic concept – simplicity. I’m all about getting results fast. Even back in high school, I was always looking for an easier, faster, more effective way to get things done. I’ve never accepted the idea that this is the way we should do it. True entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are always on the lookout for ways to improve the status quo. They don’t accept the way things are, they are constantly testing what could be. I don’t begin to compare myself to such giants, but I do apply their mantra to everything I do, and that of my clients.
With that in mind, here are some of the fastest ways CEOs can get control of their time, boost productivity quickly and reduce stress that I share with all my clients.
1) Garbage in, garbage out.
I’m old enough to remember when computers first became a household item. Back then there was an expression, garbage in, garbage out. Computers can only output what you put in. The same is true for our mind. If you want to improve your levels of productivity, start by giving your mind ideas to mull on. Create a steady diet of nutritional “food” for your mind. Stop feeding your mind junk food in the form of gossip columns and news. Instead buy some inspirational books written by authors such as some of my mentors – Brian Tracy, Jim Stovall, Robert Kiyosaki or those influential people in your industry; ie. Warren Buffet for finance, Tom Hopkins for sales. Not a reader? Fear not, most of these people have fantastic audio programs we can shove on our iPhone and listen to whenever and wherever. There’s a reason we say things are “food for thought.”
If you’ve ever seen Tony Robbins in person, or watched him on TV, you’ll remember him for being a larger-than-life character and his boundless energy. It was his book, Awaken the Giant Within, that taught me the importance of physiology and how we can hijack our mind and body simply through movement. Activity is what stimulates blood flow, hormone release and all sorts of good stuff for our body. Inactivity does just the opposite. We all know that if we tied our arm to our body and didn’t use it for two months, then we’d never be able to use that arm again. Activity is where it’s at.
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are famous for wearing plain black T-shirts. Their reasoning – it’s one less thing they have to worry about. The older I’ve gotten I’ve found that there is great power in simplification. Complexity is just the opposite, it hampers productivity and eats time. Anyone having to deal with red tape can attest to this. In Marie Kondo’s best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up she talks about the importance of getting things we no longer use. Being a student first, I decided to give it a shot, the results were nothing less than astounding. Having less means less to organize, which leads to less time wasted looking for things.
4) Baby Steps.
Too many of us are set in our ways. Over the years we’ve developed a number of habits; some good, some not so good. Those habits, in no small part, make us who we are. Our study habits, sleeping habits, TV habits, weekend habits, health habits, diet habits (or lack thereof) impacted our lives greatly. So if we find ourselves struggling to handle the rigors of our life, our habits are a great place to start. I believe in starting small. Those easy things we can fix without too much effort give us confidence to change other areas of our lives. Here are a few habits you may want to start implementing immediately:
a. Walk for 20 minutes a day alone (no phone) – take the time to free your mind.
b. Brush your teeth for 2 minutes – it’s amazing how many people shortchange their own teeth. If you aren’t taking care of your teeth, I’m sure there are other areas of your life you are also struggling with.
c. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier – Work on building this up to 7 hours. You’ll find an incredible shift in your ability to focus and handle stress.
d. Water – dehydration affects our ability to focus. Drinking water cleans our system of toxins and replenishes our energy. In case you’re wondering, we should be drinking between 4 and 6L of water a day.
Productivity and high performance aren’t complicated, in fact, quite the opposite. The problem is most people are looking for quick fixes that require little long-term effort. That’s just not going to get it done. It’s all about the consistent application of simple ideas over the long haul.
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