How to Use Artificial Constraints to Supercharge Your Productivity

We’re often busy, but not really productive.

So how do we change that? 

What if there was a better way to supercharge your productivity? 

I’ve given this a lot of thought and applied some of these techniques to my own work. Here's what I recommend...

Upgrade your capacity for speed.

Parkinson’s law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the British historian and author who made this statement, was qualified to make the observation. He worked in the British Civil Service and saw first-hand how bureaucracy could impact productivity.

In fact, you’ll see this in action in many office environments today. There is still a notion that we should be “working harder” rather than faster or smarter. Research suggests that given the standard eight hour workday, most of us are only productive for around three hours!

So, if we’re simply making our work...

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6 Steps to Make a Career Change


Have you reached a point where it’s time to make a career change?

If you’re contemplating a change, you’re not alone! 

Most researchers generally agree that people change careers between three and seven times in their lifetime. That means questioning your path is perfectly normal.

This is where most people find the next big hurdle - you’ve decided you’re ready for a change, but now what? How do you know what to do next?

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the weight of the decision that you go around in circles.

Now, change is almost never comfortable - it’s much easier to cruise along with what you already know. But mapping out a decision-making plan can build your confidence as you consider whether it’s the right time to switch careers.

The right decisions tend to be made with good planning. Have you planned out your decision making strategy?

Here are some key steps or milestones for that journey:

Craft your...

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Inbox Zero: The Zenith of Productivity?

“Inbox zero” is a concept that effectively triages your inbox so that you can achieve better productivity.

No more “675 unread emails” for you! Here’s how it works:

Get my list of email tools to improve productivity here

What is inbox zero?

“Inbox Zero” is a term that was coined by productivity evangelist, Merlin Mann, who gave a popular Google Tech Talk on the subject in 2007. Since then, there have been several different methodologies proposed for achieving inbox zero, so you can choose the method you prefer.

What is inbox zero? It’s a system for organizing and filing email messages quickly. You label and triage emails so that you reach and maintain the coveted status of an empty inbox every day.

It’s important to note here that Mann’s premise isn’t to fanatically keep your inbox at zero, but the term refers to the amount of time an employee’s brain is in their inbox. 

From Mann’s...

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Checklists Make You Smarter and Faster

Checklists are not just for uber-organized people.

Rather, they are tools to dramatically increase your speed.

There’s something satisfying about checking off the items on a checklist. Beyond the sheer satisfaction though, what if using checklists could actually make you smarter and more productive?

Smarter and faster? Here’s how that works:

Free download: How to create your own useful checklists

Checklists reduce mistakes

One of the common uses of checklists in workplace situations is for complex tasks. In his book The Checklist Manifesto, author and surgeon Atul Gawande explores the use of checklists in daily and professional life.

He points out that even the most basic mistakes can have a cumulative effect, leading to something more serious later on. And that’s one of the reasons airline pilots rely on checklists before every single flight.

It doesn’t matter if an airline pilot has flown the same route in the same aircraft hundreds of times, they...

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The Fear of Ancient Things. Journaling for Peak Performance

Uncategorized Apr 13, 2019
 
Deep truths are often hidden from conscious thought.

Yet their influence moves through your imagination when you’re not paying attention.

 

In this way, we can gain glimpses of insight that are quite useful to our daily lives. Essentially, you get a feeling that you “know something,” but without knowing exactly why.

 

That knowing comes from processing ideas and mental associations at a volume far too great to hold in conscious thought.

 

When you take a shower, wash the dishes, or drive home while listening to music, your mind may be processing a problem even though you have let go of the conscious effort of deliberate thought.

 

Your mind wanders into what neuroscientists have begun calling “the default network.” It’s a mode of thinking based in imagination, discovering loose associations, and processing nuances of your social world.

 

The number of associations your brain cross checks against other ideas, hopes,...

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How Your Peer Group Influences Your Productivity

Who influences your productivity “set point?”

Here’s what I’ve noticed. The company you keep is a good predictor of how productive you are.

Let’s explore:

  1. How your peers influence you and…
  2. How to harness that influence for good:

If you’re in a hurry, grab my list of hand-picked resources that can upgrade your productivity through the exposure-effect.

How do your peers influence your productivity?

Let’s begin with a quick story. Holly was a skilled developer who was hired into her dream job - working for a well-known Silicon Valley company.

She quickly immersed herself in the busy work environment and was impressed with how the team pulled together to efficiently tackle projects.  Everyone was dedicated to their work.

Seeing this, Holly worked harder. She was chosen for some key projects and found that as her reputation grew, she was offered more challenging projects.

She described how this group thrived on both teamwork ...

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Next Level Productivity Hacks for Business Owners

There’s one secret shared by the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met.

  • It’s the secret that allows them to scale a business infinitely.
  • It’s the secret to producing results for their customers.
  • And it’s the secret to increasing profit even when it seems there’s no room for growth.

Here’s what the most successful entrepreneurs do differently… 

They repeatedly identify and remove bottlenecks. They focus 90% of their attention on just two things:

  1. Gathering data to discover where the bottlenecks are in their operations, and
  2. Designing creative solutions to remove those bottlenecks.

As a productivity coach, this was a rather embarrassing lesson for me to learn. Because I thought I was the solution to their productivity goals.

 I thought that if I could just get the business owner to be more productive with their own time, everything else would fall into place. They would be so overjoyed with my services that they would...

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Is it Worth it? Weighing Risk vs. Opportunity

business opportunity risk Mar 17, 2019

In my daily life, I often work through decision-making processes with clients. One of the common issues is uncertainty about making potentially risky decisions, especially in business.

One thing we usually discuss is that there is really no such thing as business opportunity without risk. Have you ever heard an enthusiastic startup claim that they have a huge opportunity with hardly any risk or competition? In my experience, this isn’t usually accurate.

The general rule with any business is that either you have a strong market for an idea, therefore you probably do have competition, or you’re headed into murky waters without a clearly defined market. Either way presents a risk. Essentially, risk and opportunity are two sides of the same coin.

So how do you decide which opportunities are worthwhile?

Need a practical framework for decision-making? Get my suggestions here

The psychology of risk

The nature of entrepreneurship is that you often enter into situations that...

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Super Compression. Why Working Fast Leads To Less Stress, Not More

They say stress is the constant affliction of the hurried.

I believe that, because I’ve experienced it myself. And I hate feeling stressed.

But in this article I’m going to show you how to work faster without increasing your stress.

Upon closer examination, I’ve realized that hurrying itself is not the problem. In fact, I enjoy working at a fast pace. I like breaking speed limits to get more done in less time.

So that raises the question, if hurrying is not the cause of stress, then what is?

Well, here’s what I’ve noticed.

Stress is actually caused by the prospect of not finishing something on time. It’s the natural response to the perception that there is a potential failure looming in your future.

It’s the feeling that something matters to you but you don’t have enough control to guarantee it’ll turn out the way you want.

The more you care about something, the more it stresses you out when you are behind schedule.

And if one...

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Considering a Business Partner? Farsighted Warnings and Principles for Success

The health of business partner relationships can make or break a business.

Most of the time, your business partnership begins full of optimism. You have hopes for building a wildly successful business and you see many possibilities.

However, there will always be ups and downs in business and this is where those partnerships are truly tested. It’s easy to work harmoniously while things are going well, but business or personal challenges can cause relationship strain.

It's easy to find examples of very public falling-outs between business partners. In fact, data suggests the business partner “divorce rate” is as high as 80%! 

Ideally, you don’t want to be in a position where there are “irreconcilable differences,” so it’s important to work on building healthy partnerships in the first place.

Free download: Get my quick guide to business partner red flags here

What makes a “healthy” business partnership?

Talk to any...

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