We spoke to performance coach Chris Brown who has helped thousands of individuals to get the most out of their 24 hours. Hosting sell-out workshops and 121 sessions, Chris has worked with individuals of all different career paths, from executives working 14 hour days to young entrepreneurs and performance coaches themselves, aiding them to be more productive in their daily lives.
Being productive at work can be difficult. Managing your time in ways conducive to productivity is critical, but one of the most common problems is knowing where to start. Chris’ key advice is that you need to be on point with managing those 24 hours each day, no matter who you are.
Rule 1 – Plan tomorrow, today.
It’s essential to bookend the day, spend 15 minutes preparing and planning for the day ahead. If you’re in a spontaneous role where you don’t know what your day will look like, focus on the things you can control, systematically removing as many barriers as possible.
For example, get you’re running items ready by the foot of the bed for when you wake up or write down your to-do list for the next day. Think about any friction points that may occur in the morning and eliminate them ahead of time, removing any obstacles that could take valuable time away from your morning’s work. This way, you open the way for creativity and clear your mind of those thoughts of mundane tasks, allowing a stronger focus from the minute you wake up.
Rule 2 – Sleep is your number one productivity hack.
Set a reverse alarm one hour before bed to power down all tech, opt for a book instead of blue light and avoid anything that can stimulate your brain as this can have a significant effect on your sleep.
Have a consistent sleep and wake up time; by establishing a sleep routine, you restore your cardiac rhythm. We expect children and babies to have solid sleep routines, but not ourselves…think about how erratic children are when they miss their bedtime. An excellent cardiac rhythm controls the daily ups and downs of biological patterns, including body temperature, blood pressure, and the release of hormones, which all affect your productivity.
Rule 3 – Your calendar is King.
Chris’ main advice is to categorise it into chunks of time rather than tasks and activities. Your calendar should become your template for how you live your week, and your activities should slot into the pieces of allocated time. For example, the first hour of the day could be assigned to ‘client time’. Slot your client calls and catchups into that hour and no more. Let your clients know that if they need to get in touch with you, that’s their time. This goes for personal time, date night, gym and family time.
Context switching is one of the most productivity sapping things to ever do to your day; a scatty schedule is costly to your productivity.
Work in sprints if needed; the Pomodoro technique is one of the most popular productivity hacks invented. For every project throughout the day, budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically. You work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break before starting another 25-minute sprint. It is ideal for many types of work, including writing, coding, design, and study. The technique also works if you have a lot of repetitive tasks, such as getting through a busy inbox.
Rule 4 – Don’t underestimate the power of meditation.
We go to the gym for our bodies, but where do we go for our minds? Meditation teaches the ability to focus; it’s the ideal hack if you have a job that requires thinking, decision-making, and stress. Stressful minds will never be productive. Regular practice of meditation will increase your concentration power which leads to an increase in productivity. If you are meditating regularly, you will do more work in the same amount of time. It’s no coincidence that the most successful people in business carve time out of their day to meditate.
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