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HOT TOPIC What Do Productive People Do?

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Productive people disable the snooze button.
 

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Reframing this question into “what do successful people do?”
I get that, however this thread came from me musing about all the “what do successful people do?” blogs and articles that are choking up the internet, and I realised there is one major flaw about them.

They all tell me what successful people do now, whereas success is a journey, so I want to know what those people did on their way to becoming successful. What did Bill Gates do on his way up, what he does now is interesting, however how much value will I get from copying that? Surely the value is doing what he did when he was just a student at Harvard Business School, or even before that.

This is why I tried the technique in the first place, for years I wanted to be tidy, I knew tidy people clean up a lot, however that wasn't enough to make me tidy. Now I have a guideline of what they do in each room of the house and for the first time in my life, I'm being tidy.

The point with all this is, all these things are obvious to people whom are naturally tidy or productive, however to people like myself they are not, so need to be broken down in this granular way.

One major trait of successful people is they're productive, which is a term without substance, ergo I'm trying to add substance to it.

It's just the way my brainbox works, there's no point in telling me to "just do it", I want to know how I "just do it".

Maybe I have a unique and special brain and only I will benefit from this approach... I think that's a statistical unlikelihood though :)
 
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Would love to get @biophase in on this, and of course @MJ DeMarco. Also @Fox strikes me as an extremely productive individual...
 

chuckypita

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I have recently been inspired by the book we've been discussing on the forum, Atomic Habits by James Clear. A quote that hit me in particular, was the one whereby Clear tells us that our identities are the trailing sum of our habits, ergo when we take on new habits, we are actually attempting to change our identities.

After reading I decided to start a little experiment on myself and my family. You see, we are pretty messy and untidy, I have tried over the past decade to change this, and to some degree so has my other half, all to no avail.

After reading Habits, and thereafter reading all the various thoughts on it in the discussion thread, I had a mini epiphany and in the last couple of weeks our house is being transformed from perpetual mess, to a state that could almost be considered tidy!

So what did I do?

I simply created a Word document entitled; What Tidy People Do. In the document I wrote down about 20 bullet points, (which I've since added to). I then gathered my daughter and my girlfriend and asked them if they wanted us to be a tidy family, to which they enthusiastically replied, yes.

So I showed them the document, printed it out, and stuck it around the house, that's it. So now when I'm about to leave emptying the dishwasher till the morning, or leave an empty coffee mug on my desk till later, I can see that those actions are not what tidy people do, and lo and behold, it's working!

A lot of the list I got from the common sense part of my own head, however I got a good amount of feedback from the tidiest people I know, for instance a friend of mine with four children and a much larger, and infinitely tidier house than my own.

So now I want to use the same technique to start doing what productive people do, and I figure a lot of up and coming fastlaners (and maybe some established ones) would be interested in trying out this type of modelling, or if you are already productive, perhaps you can add to the list.

I'm hoping to have a good list of bullet points that I can keep in sight all of the time, so that I can copy productive people and become like them too.

I try and tend to keep it to what they do, rather than don't do, as it seems that has more psychological resonance, though I understand if anyone wants to chip in with a what productive people don't do.

Plus of course, this is a learning experience for me, so if any of the points I've put so far, or in the future are incorrect, I am very happy to be corrected by real honest-to-goodness productive people.

OK, without further ado, let's kick it off and let the games begin!


Productive people use scheduling tools to map out their days.

Productive people find time to work without distraction.

Productive people keep track of their progress from one day to the next.

Productive people plan their internet time.
When are you going to sell me that document? $$$
 

chuckypita

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So as to keep this thread useful, as promised I'll list all what has been added, in some cases I will change the wording slightly. My reasoning for doing this, is to make an easy bullet point list that can be copy, pasted, printed, and pinned to the appropriate areas around your working environments.

I've also tried to take out the how, as this list is about focusing on the why, if that makes sense.

If I've changed the meaning of some of the original statements, or left out what you feel to be important, please correct me.

What Productive People Do

- Productive people use scheduling tools to map out their days.

- Productive people get rid of distractions before starting work.

- Productive people keep track of their progress from one day to the next.

- Productive people plan their internet time wisely.

- Productive people set deadlines, and then stick to them religiously.

- Productive people define the activities they want to do in a day, or a work session, and then they adhere to what they've defined.

- Productive people get up in the morning when the alarm goes off, even if they don't feel like it.

- Productive people set and enforce boundaries. If they say they're going to dedicate two hours to a task that's going to take three hours, they set the timer and stop at the two hour mark.

- Productive people allow themselves reasonable breaks, but when they're working, they work hard with intense focus and maximum effort.

- Productive people create win-win relationships that leverage the productivity of others.

- Productive people automate their business processes wherever possible.

- Productive people use website blockers to keep themselves away from waste-of-time websites such as Facebook etc.

- Productive people have a morning routine that sets their minds and bodies for the day.

- Productive people plan their days, either the night before, or first thing. They do not leave their days to chance.

- Productive people are certain what they want the day's outcome to be, and then concentrate on achieving it.

- Productive people use a system to track their work.

- Productive people use work tracking systems that are flexible enough to dump new tasks into all day long. This is another form of automation.

- Productive people work when they are working, and don't work or think about work when they are not.

- Productive people take full breaks so that when it is time to work, they aren't dreaming of taking a break.

- Productive people primarily use their phones to place and receive phone calls/texts.

- Productive people do not neglect life itself. They make sure every week they are checking in with friends and family, and also themselves (leisure time).

- Productive people know what they are trying to accomplish. They are focused on the result.

- Productive people complete top level tasks that achieve goals.

- Productive people schedule focused time for large scale tasks that achieve goals.

- Productive people block time, ditch distractions, and complete top level tasks.

- Productive people schedule blocks of focused distraction free time to complete large scale top level tasks to get shit done to achieve goals sooner.



- Productive people always begin with the end in mind

- Productive people put first things first

- Productive people seek first to understand THEN to be understood...

- Productive people are consistently looking for new ways to be productive.
Productive people always begin with the end in mind = HOME RUN
 
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Productive people always begin with the end in mind = HOME RUN
Hmm, others have said similar, I'm not sure I agree. Everyone starts a project with the end in mind. It's like when people say you'll get what you want if you really focus and want it. Every single athlete in the Olympics wants to win gold, every football team wants to win the cup, every business person wants success. However only some make it...

I'm thinking productive people understand about focusing on the process, the little things that move them forwards...

Thoughts?
 
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What productivity tools do people use?

I'm trying to get into Google calendar, however it's clunky and annoying. I just want a simple and quick calendar with a shallow learning curve.
 
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In the spirit of productivity, I have just mapped out my week, inspired by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work.

Cal's productivity tip is to set yourself up so that you don't waste a single second of each day. So I've mapped out my entire week.

Red = Deep work time (At least 2 hours of uninterrupted work, whereby nobody is in the house, or they're asleep)

Purple = Semi deep work (More than one, yet less than two hours of uninterrupted work).

Yellow = Me time (gym, mealtimes, dog walking, menial yet necessary tasks, phone calls, emails, etc.).

Green = Family time

What's interesting is how little red time I can make in the week. My goal is to make at least another 8 hours on the weekend, which will almost double my deep work time.

As I posted above, I think I'd rather use a different tool than Google calendar, however this is the best I can do at the moment.


Any thoughts, suggestions, observations, are most welcome.

weekly_work_schedule_one.PNG
 

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Hmm, others have said similar, I'm not sure I agree. Everyone starts a project with the end in mind. It's like when people say you'll get what you want if you really focus and want it. Every single athlete in the Olympics wants to win gold, every football team wants to win the cup, every business person wants success. However only some make it...

I'm thinking productive people understand about focusing on the process, the little things that move them forwards...

Thoughts?
I dont agree, the problem with just focusing on just the process is that you will get clogged up with tasks that are not 100% necessary for the end result.

For example you could spend the hole day cleaning up your workspace so that you are more "productive there" but this task will do 0% to the end result of your one thing.

So I think its very important that you keep the end result in mind so you wont be distracted by tasks that are not relevent to the end result.
 

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I dont agree, the problem with just focusing on just the process is that you will get clogged up with tasks that are not 100% necessary for the end result.

For example you could spend the hole day cleaning up your workspace so that you are more "productive there" but this task will do 0% to the end result of your one thing.

So I think its very important that you keep the end result in mind so you wont be distracted by tasks that are not relevent to the end result.

Your example highlights the difference between being busy and being productive.

Cleaning up your workspace, sending emails and a whole host of other things can be classed in the busy file.

However being productive is about doing the things that actually move you along, so for instance if you're writing a book, then sitting down and writing it is being productive. Spending two hours looking up different character names is being busy.

So when I say focus on the process, I mean focus on the things that move you along, in fact we could just simply shorten this to:

Productive people identify which are the most important tasks within a given project, and then focus on completing them.

Now you might say, yes but that is the same as focusing on the end result, both I, and James Clear from Atomic Habits disagree.

Focusing on the end (goal), is just another form of procrastination, and it can actually keep you from that goal.

For instance, this entire thread was made because instead of focusing on being tidy (the end goal), me and my family started focusing on what tidy people do (the process). Obviously we want that end goal of a tidy house that stays tidy all the time, however we've tried that and it didn't work. Now we focus on the little things that move us towards that, and it is working.

So whilst I might want to be productive and organised, I have always wanted this, yet it doesn't ever seem to happen. Now I'm taking Clear's advice and forgetting about focusing on my goals, now I simply acknowledge them, and spend my time focusing on the little things that get me there.

Of course as you point out, it is an ongoing process whereby you have to make sure that the things you concentrate on, are the best ways to spend your time.
 

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Ok this is kind of funny two books contradict each other in this regard (the one thing vs Atomic habits).

I must say im far from an expert iv just read "the one thing" and a few random threads here about the topic.
My best guess is to try and error this shit and see what works best for you. (what you have aready done:))

And otherwise just pick up the gold bits from both books and put them together in a way that works.

I have yet to read atomic habits but its on my list.
 

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It's just the way my brainbox works, there's no point in telling me to "just do it", I want to know how I "just do it".
Agreed. Having a concrete, tangible picture of what it looks like--instead of generalities--makes it clearer to see how I can apply it, specifically, in my own life.
 
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My best guess is to try and error this shit and see what works best for you.
Bingo!

If there was one solution for everyone, then we wouldn't even be debating it!
 

chuckypita

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When you start with the end in mind.... I feel like it gives you an end goal and then you can break it down.

For example:

"I'm going to create a painting company that I can turn around and sell for $5,000,000 in 5 years"

Now that you have the end in mind... $5,000,000 in 5 years - how do you get there?

$125,000 in profit per month in sales to get $5,000,000 for company.

How do you get $125,000 in profit per month?

Cost breakdown, labor breakdown, how many sales do you need, etc....

Starting with the end in mind and working backwards let's you focus and drill down further and further so you can take action and get the desired results.

If you don't start with the end in mind.... well, you're just Alice in Wonderland....
 
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In the spirit of productivity, I have just mapped out my week, inspired by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work.

Cal's productivity tip is to set yourself up so that you don't waste a single second of each day. So I've mapped out my entire week.

Red = Deep work time (At least 2 hours of uninterrupted work, whereby nobody is in the house, or they're asleep)

Purple = Semi deep work (More than one, yet less than two hours of uninterrupted work).

Yellow = Me time (gym, mealtimes, dog walking, menial yet necessary tasks, phone calls, emails, etc.).

Green = Family time

What's interesting is how little red time I can make in the week. My goal is to make at least another 8 hours on the weekend, which will almost double my deep work time.

As I posted above, I think I'd rather use a different tool than Google calendar, however this is the best I can do at the moment.


Any thoughts, suggestions, observations, are most welcome.

View attachment 23649

I like this system because I've identified ahead of time when my deep work moments are, and so I can simply drop tasks into this template.

So for instance I know that 10 am - 12 pm everyday are two hours whereby I won't be disturbed, ergo I put my most important tasks there.

I know that in my green times, I will be distracted by family stuff, so then I can send emails, do light admin, and even post on social media.

My purple times are good in the morning, I still get deep work done, however I know my girlfriend will wake at 6 a.m., and so I will be distracted as I greet her good morning and possibly talk about stuff for the day that we need to be in sync with.
 

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There is no such thing as a behavioral vacuum, so if your goal was to exercise, or work on your fastlane business and you didn't, that means you were doing something else in that space of time. Thus:

Productive people eliminate distractions as if it were a disease.

Productive people work first, and play guilt free later. (it's nice to indulge later in the day after you've invested in your long term plans without feeling guilty 'gosh, I didn't work on my fastlane idea today')
 

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Productive people delegate.

Something that really helps me, but I don't actually do it regularly enough (habit!) is to start the day by planning the day, rather than diving right in. Certainly not a new idea, but I find if I plan my day before starting then I get more done.

I also agree with the reverse engineering comment, if you know where you want to end up / what you want to achieve you can work backwards far easier and more focused than just doing busy stuff..
 

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Awesome post.Currently reading the book right now.Its really enlightening.Thanks @Roli.
 

Brendan8450

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I dont think productivity is based on our 24H clock system and a time.
Our personal bursts happen at diff times. And we should not feel guilty for making our lives align with that

To be productive within that time slot..
imagine...
A gun to your head...or see your children hungry

Find your own metaphor. .or use
 

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Brendan8450

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Lot of posts to file through.
Productivity is usually inspired by a bigger picture first.

Make a cake...inspired? Probably not. But why bother?
NOW...
It is your little nephew's bday. Same cake.
Watch you make it

That is if you value it.
You could be the drunk Uncle.

You know what you need to do..you just get distracted..and the state of being in the zone has been lost

Bigger picru
 

Brendan8450

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That made some sense. Sorry again.
Bigger picture...
This operation means back to health
This risk means i find out quicker what works
Clocking your day is a chore. But finding your own emotional trigger will ride you through

And yeh it can even be vanity...if that gets you to the gym.
 
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They get to work. Don't believe the hype that Forbes, Inc tells you about morning routines, books to read, people to hang out with etc.

Make a list. Get it done.

Do the work.

Yikes, why wouldn't they believe in reading books, morning routines, and building a useful network?

I have almost every one of my clients do those things, and they work well in the entire picture.

The real story is, there is a reason you aren't getting things done. That issue can be in any part of your life. If you have a significant other and you had a big blow out fight this morning, are you likely to be as productive and focused as you can be? Probably not.

Struggling with money... your more likely to focus on things that solve that immediate problem and not the things that are really making an impact and solving the issue as a whole in the long term.

Does reading books and waking up with a morning routine itself make you productive? No, nothing makes you get work done outside of your own mind. So you have to set out each day to get yourself in the right mindset with the correct vision of what you are working on and why, and the working part becomes much easier.

I know a lot of very successful people.... they do each one of those things every day. In fact, guess who "Forbes" interviewed for those articles? Likely successful people. Not saying there is a trend buttttttt..... jk yes I am.

Sanj, I am definitely not trying to put you on blast here, but these things are absolutely part of a larger picture.
 

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Yikes, why wouldn't they believe in reading books, morning routines, and building a useful network?

I have almost every one of my clients do those things, and they work well in the entire picture.

The real story is, there is a reason you aren't getting things done. That issue can be in any part of your life. If you have a significant other and you had a big blow out fight this morning, are you likely to be as productive and focused as you can be? Probably not.

Struggling with money... your more likely to focus on things that solve that immediate problem and not the things that are really making an impact and solving the issue as a whole in the long term.

Does reading books and waking up with a morning routine itself make you productive? No, nothing makes you get work done outside of your own mind. So you have to set out each day to get yourself in the right mindset with the correct vision of what you are working on and why, and the working part becomes much easier.

I know a lot of very successful people.... they do each one of those things every day. In fact, guess who "Forbes" interviewed for those articles? Likely successful people. Not saying there is a trend buttttttt..... jk yes I am.

Sanj, I am definitely not trying to put you on blast here, but these things are absolutely part of a larger picture.
I'm not saying it doesn't work - it does help and I use it but most of these articles are positioned as "10 things you need to do to be successful...". Like that's it, that's the blueprint.

If success was that easy - Silicon Valley wouldn't have a 75% failure rate. They'd do the 10 things and smash it out of the park.

My problem is the hype - a good example of this was an article I saw recently with the headline: "All successful people wake up at 4am" to which JK Rowling tweeted: "Oh, piss off".
 

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