Do you ever feel like you have WAY too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it?
Do you find delight in putting off all those important things you know you NEED to do … but can’t seem to get yourself started on?
Well, today I want to share with you an easy-to-implement tool I learned from my mentor and business partner Eben Pagan.
It’s going to help you make procrastination and overwhelm a thing of the past. You’ll finally feel “in control” of all your projects and tasks. And you will no longer feel like you’re constantly having to play “catch up.”
But first, I want to explain why if you DO procrastinate and can’t seem to focus …
It’s NOT Your Fault!
We live in a completely distracted society.
Most people can’t hold their focus for sustained periods of time.
It’s gotten so bad, Time Magazine recently reported that a GOLDFISH has a higher attention span than the average person!
In the article, Time Magazine reports that “people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.”
Think about that …. The average person can only hold their focus on just one thing for 8 seconds, without getting distracted.
It’s no wonder why most people today are overwhelmed and constantly feel stressed.
But scientists are also beginning to find that it’s not because we’re inferior to humans that lived before us.
It’s Because Of The Digital Culture We Live In.
For example, scientists have found that our brains are malleable or adaptable. It’s a phenomenon called neuroplasticity.
And Nicholas Carr wrote a great book on this, called “The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing Our Brains.”
And in it he talks about how technology is impacting our brains. One surprising thing he mentions is that research shows millennials are now more forgetful than seniors.
And it’s because we don’t focus. We’re always distracted. So our brains aren’t able to form strong memories of the information we’re taking in. It literally goes in, none of it gets retained, and then it goes out.
The result of all this is that we’ve become a “snacking” culture …
We flip through channels and only watch a portion of a show before moving on to the next …
We don’t listen to entire albums or even songs anymore … now we just listen to our favorite parts for a few seconds and move on…
And instead of eating a solid, healthy and nutritious meal, many of us just “snack” throughout the day mindlessly.
So how do you combat all this and actually get stuff DONE and make progress on all your most important projects?
A Powerful Idea That Will Change The Game For Your Productivity
Peter Drucker wrote a great book called “The Effective Executive.”
In that book, he shared a powerful idea that will change the game for your productivity:
He advises us to, “Work in focused uninterrupted blocks of time working on your highest value producing tasks.”
The key takeaway here is to schedule focused, uninterrupted blocks of time where you work ONLY on the highest-value producing tasks.
Eliminate Distractions And Interruptions
So the first thing you’ll need to do is focus on eliminating ALL those things that interrupt your “flow” or end up distracting you and wasting your time.
That means putting your phone away or on “airplane mode” while you’re at work so you’re not constantly getting “dings” that distract you from your work. Close out any social media or email tabs on your browser.
And let those around you – especially if you’re working from home – that you’re not to be distracted while you’re working unless it’s a life-or-death emergency.
Extreme? Maybe. But you’ve got to reclaim your focus.
Set Aside Two Focused Blocks Of 60 MInutes
Now that you’ve taken care of interruptions and distractions, it’s time to turbocharge your productivity with the “60-60-30” solution.
So this is basically working for two focused blocks of 60 minutes and then taking a 30 minute break.
That means you work for 60 minutes. Work another 60 minutes. Then do something that rejuvenates you and energizes you for the next 30 minutes.
Then you rinse and repeat.
This is powerful because the 60-minute chunks are long enough to get alot done, but it’s not so long that it feels like it’s going to be torture.
And then the 30 minute break is timed so that you get to take advantage of the body’s natural rhythm of focus and then relaxation.
We have a rise in energy and then we have a dip in energy and that’s where the 30 minutes comes in.
So you can do a little mini rejuvenation after you’ve worked so hard and this gives your mind a break and it gives it the ability to recover it’s all important willpower.
It’s a big mistake to try to just power through a day and not take breaks.
What a lot of people do is they work for a couple of hours and then they start to feel tired. Instead of taking a break and relaxing and rejuvenating, they just work harder or they eat some candy or drink some coffee and they wind up burning themselves out.
This is why I recommend to take a break every 90 to 120 minutes because your body naturally experiences a dip in energy. It’s a cycle.
So you want to make sure you honor that.
This is why the 60-60-30 solution is so effective.
One More Thing You should know …
For your 60-minute work sessions, actually make them 55 minutes and then take a small 5 minute break in-between sessions.
So what you actually end up doing is: Work for 55 minutes. Break for 5. Work for 55 minutes. Break for 5. Then take 30 minutes to rejuvenate/recharge.
Grab yourself a simple kitchen timer and use that to track each focus block and break. I recommend using the kitchen timer instead of your phone, so you don’t get distracted my anything on your phone by mistake.
The most important thing about the 60-60-30 solution is you stick to it.
That means when the timer goes off, you stop whatever it is you are doing, and honour the time block. Even if you are in the middle of something really important and on a roll, stop!
I know that might be hard to do at times, but it is how you will keep the integrity of the 60-60-30 solution and keep it from turning into 45-80-35, or some other combination that will completely throw things off.
The consistency is why this works so well.
One final tip:
Do Your 60-60-30 First Thing.
Do it early in the day, instead of coming into your work situation and checking email and messages and getting on everyone else’s agenda, finding out what they have for you.
Instead of that do two 60 minute chunks working on your highest value activities (that you identified using the Productivity Pyramid I told you about in a previous article). If you do just that one thing, you’ll probably double your productivity.
By organizing my work blocks like this, I have become so efficient and focused, I have been able to get more done by lunch time than most people get done in the entire day. Make sure to start doing this in your own life right away.