Top 5 Tips to Make You Ridiculously Productive
Hi Team NESTA!
Let’s take a minute and be really, really honest with ourselves:
How much time do we actually waste each day with excessive email checking, non-business-generating social media browsing, leisurely internet surfing and let’s face it – outright procrastinating?
With the extraordinary financial and lifestyle development opportunities we have as industry-leading fitness professionals and health/wellness coaches, it’s critical that we do everything in our power to emulate the best practices of the super-productive.
Not only do we need to work smarter to build our business and personal brands, but we need to make more quality time for ourselves, our family and our friends.
Here are 5 powerful science-backed strategies for quickly transforming our biggest time wasters into our most high-value business and personal productivity generators.
What’s the number one strategy practiced by the world’s most ridiculously productive people?
They Strictly Focus on One High-Value Task at a Time:
According to Tom Ziglar of Ziglar Inc, the world’s most productive people clearly identify and prioritize the single most important, value-generating task for the day and then focus on it exclusively for one to two hours per day.
Their “MIT” or “most important task” is usually a “chunk-down” or sub-goal linked to bigger, clearly pre-defined and prioritized financial or personal success goals.
They create and protect an interruption-free-zone where absolutely nothing is permitted to interrupt them or interfere with their devoting 110% focus and effort to completing that high-value MIT for the day.
The super-productive generally carve out their MIT time in the morning when they know they’re at their peak potential for cognitive and creative performance.
And what’s one of the hands-down most effective strategies you can start applying right now to ensure you get the most out of every minute of your MIT each morning?
- No More Multi-Tasking
It may still be a popular buzz word people add to their typical job résumés, but the science is very clear on this one: Multi-tasking is an oxymoron!
Studies clearly show that constantly interrupting one task to add and start yet another actually reduces our ability to concentrate and sustain positive workflow.
The key word here is “interrupting.”
Bernard Marr, a renowned keynote speaker and business data expert, recently shared a brilliant strategy that may contain the ultimate behavioral science antidote to the procrastination epidemic in general.
Marr suggested using a timer to create 15-50 minute chunks of time and to focus on a single high-value task during each time chunk.
Once that time chunk is finished, you then take a break to do something less productive like “look at social media” for an equal time chunk, and then return to a high-value task.
What Marr’s describing here is what leading behavioral change experts call “positive reinforcement” to increase the high-value, on-task behavior.
In the jargon of applied behavior analysis, positive reinforcement is defined as any stimulus event that follows a behavior and leads to an increase in that behavior next time.
Learning how to quickly and effectively identify and harness your clients’ environmental reinforcement reservoir is arguably the single most powerful strategy at your disposal as a highly effective fitness pro and wellness coach.
The beauty of positive reinforcement is that by definition, it can’t fail to get amazing and often lasting results.
That’s what makes procrastination tasks so addictive: They have huge positive reinforcement value. You want to plug all that motivational energy into fueling your MITS.
You also want to set your timer for the longer 50-minute, high-value task chunks and gradually decrease the “reward time” that you spend doing things that you’d spend most of your time doing during out-right procrastination sessions.
Now here’s another procrastination-busting productivity hack, only it’s from the cutting edge in neuropsychology and applied sleep science. Do you know how to:
- Use Your Brain’s Delete Button:
The slogan “neurons that fire together wire together” has been gaining some fresh popularity recently among leading personal performance and productivity experts.
The basic idea here, of course, is that your brain is like a muscle, and the more you use it for certain cognitive processes, tasks and behaviors, the better you get at them.
This is because your brain builds fresh neurochemical connections and circuits to support those new behaviors.
What’s really neat is that the connections you don’t use or use less of actually get “marked” with a special C1q protein (among others).
When your brain’s natural neurological garden-weeders or microglial cells sense that synaptic marker, it triggers them to bond to that protein and to destroy and remove it.
This is how your brain shakes clean its neurocognitive etch-a-sketch to create the space it needs to build the healthy new replacement behaviors, habits and responses.
And as those of you who have earned our cutting-edge Certified Sleep Science Coach credential know, most of this powerful neurological deletion process takes place while you’re asleep.
What’s really neat is that the neurons in your brain actually shrink down to as little as 40% of their normal size to accommodate the whole glial-synaptic pruning and waste-cleansing process.
So how do you decide what gets deleted and what new neurochemical circuits are created when you’re asleep? Simple:
It all boils down to what is perhaps the greatest single blessing and gift we as human beings have been given – free choice! More specifically, it’s all about the choices we make during the day.
Those things we really focus on and struggle to achieve (like hitting a new fitness or personal performance millstone) sets the stage for strong new wiring, while our choice not to do certain behaviors (like multi-tasking or procrastinating) signals the brain’s natural deletion process for the underlining synaptic architectures that support those negative behaviors.
And being able to take full of advantage of your brain’s amazing neuro-behavioral delete button is just one reason why you need to know that:
- 4. Getting 6 Hours of Sleep May be More Harmful than Getting Zero Sleep:
So why more than 6 hours of sleep specifically? Yes, 8, and for some as much as 10 or more hours are optimal for overall health and wellbeing.
But it turns out that when it comes to optimal psychological performance, getting six hours of sleep or less may be as harmful to you as getting zero sleep!
These were just some of the eye-opening discoveries from a major sleep science study.
48 adults were divided into lab groups that were allowed to sleep four, six or eight hours a day over a continuous 14-day period. One sub-group was sleep-deprived for 3 full days!
It turns out people in the six-hour group experienced cognitive performance levels equivalent to those who stayed awake for 2 days in a row!
What may be just as bad is that the people in the six-hour sleep group couldn’t even tell that they were experiencing such a drastic cognitive decline.
- Doodle for a 200% Memory Increase:
Let’s say you’re attending a live event presentation by a world-class health and wellness expert or watching an amazing online digital marketing or public speaking training webinar.
It’s critical that you extract and remember as much high-value information as possible, especially if you’re paying for the learning opportunity.
What do most people do in this kind of learning situation? They take notes with a pen and paper or type them into their laptops.
Well, according to the latest research, you may learn and remember a huge amount more if you bring a doodle pad and pencil instead.
In the study, leading memory experts competed against each other using their best science-based memory encoding strategies.
What was the memory challenge?
Commit a list of 40 words to memory in the shortest time possible.
Common mnemonic strategies ranged from repetitive word writing to creating elaborate mental images and word characteristics lists, and were pitted against each other.
Another group was assigned the task of doodling or sketching a creative representation for each word. Can you imagine showing up to a major college exam with a full sketchbook?
The result was absolutely fascinating! Those who doodled or sketched the word list representations were able to recall twice as many words compared to those who used writing strategies. That’s a memory increase of 200%!
Why is doodling such an effective memory booster?
It turns out that drawing causes your brain to synergistically integrate different types of memory into one big cross-model memory consolidation process. This includes physical memory based on the doodler’s hand movements, semantic (cognitive meaning) memory and complex visual memory, all in one shot.
And another great insight from the doodle memory research: You don’t have to be a professional sketch artist to enjoy the giant memory boost. The level of each team member’s drawing talent hand zero impact on the amazing memory effect of doodling.
The research team is now beginning to look at the extent to which the doodle-memory effect can be applied to memorizing more complex or novel info-presentations than simple word lists.