Want to be more productive?
Of course! Who doesn’t?!
From the rituals of accomplished writers to Jerry Seinfeld’s daily procrastination killer, here are some excellent productivity tips.
Get an Early Start
Legendary copywriter, entrepreneur, and business builder Mark Ford (known by his pen name, Michael Masterson) gets up early, goes to work early, and does his most important tasks first. He does his BEST work then — with no interruptions and distractions.
“Doing first things first. It is a very simple discipline. Yet its transformative power is immense. It can change your life — literally overnight,” Ford says.
“By the time most people start their day, I’ve done at least an hour and sometimes two hours of work that’s helping me achieve my most important goals.
“That’s how to begin a very good day!”
Assign Blocks of Time
Craig Ballantyne, who succeeded Masterson as editor of the self-improvement e-letter Early to Rise, scripts his day in advance the night before. He simply …
- Decides what he wants to get done
- Assigns blocks of time to it
- Gets it done and sticks to his time limits
Take a Nap
New York Times best-selling author Michael Hyatt boosts his productivity by consistently scheduling a 10 to 30-minute daily nap sometime between noon and 4 p.m.
He declares that when midday slumps slow him down, naps restore his performance and alertness. Hyatt cites a 2002 Harvard University study that shows how 30-minute naps return productivity to beginning-of-the-day levels.
American writer, consultant, and teacher Clay Shirky warns about the dangers of multitasking. He contends multitasking “moves the pleasure of procrastination inside the period of work.” We believe we’re getting things done when we’re really dragging them out.
For instance, you’re writing an email but pause to check Facebook, click on an incoming email, refill your coffee, and then return to finish the email. All those little interruptions add up, diminishing your productivity.
The key, he asserts, is to stay focused on the task at hand.
Don’t Break the Chain
Jerry Seinfeld, among the most successful comedians, writers, and actors of his generation, performs, writes, and entertains at a high standard. Consistently. Year after year.
When a young comedian asked Seinfeld how he could become a better comic, Seinfeld told him he needed to create better jokes and the best way to do that was to write jokes every day.
He then told the young comic to get a big wall calendar containing a whole year on one page, hang it prominently, and put a big red X on each day he writes.
“After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. Your only job is to not break the chain,” Seinfeld said.
So how can writers use this “procrastination killer”?
Pick a meaningful task you want to do every day — consistently. For example, spend 30 minutes marketing yourself. Exercise 10 minutes to energize yourself for greater productivity. Or, devote two hours to your most important task.
Just don’t break the chain.