We’ve all had those times when we wish there were more hours in the day. Unfortunately, that’s not possible but there may be ways we can better use the time we have. Looking to become more focused and get more done? Let’s get started…
Tim Ferriss’ Morning Routine
Tim Ferriss is the king of productivity and best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim has kindly shared his morning ritual which helps him boost his focus and productivity (and it’s not as insane as Mark Wahlberg’s).
1. Make Your Bed
You can only control what you can control so stop worrying about those things you can’t. One thing we can all control is making our bed so start each day by accomplishing this minor task which should only take up a minute or two of your time.
2. Practice Mindfulness Daily
Doing this first thing in the morning helps set the tone of your nervous system for the rest of the day. Tim recommends 10-20 minutes of meditation but if you can’t manage that a few minutes is fine too. Here are some techniques for you to try out.
3. Do 5-10 Reps of Any Exercise
Doing exercise as part of your morning routine will help to wake you up and prepare your body for the day ahead — it’s like an all-natural cup of coffee. I like to do push-ups but you can choose any exercise you want and do this every day or mix it up.
4. Take a 30-60 Second Cold Shower
Taking a cold shower in the morning can help to increase alertness. The shock increases our oxygen intake and heart rate which releases blood and gives us a natural dose of energy for the day. Despite all the benefits, I’m still not ready for this one yet!
5. Replace Coffee with Titanium Tea
There are lots of different recommendations for drinks as soon as we wake. I’m an advocate of a large glass of water to rehydrate but Tim favours something that has been dubbed “Titanium tea”.
The concoction consists of one flat teaspoon of Pu’erh black tea and one teaspoon of Dragon Well green tea. He adds some turmeric and ginger shavings and brews for a few minutes.
6. Make a To-do List
Tim will take his titanium tea and sit down for 5-10 minutes writing down what he wants to achieve that day. Creating a to-do list will help you focus on what matters that day.
Tim admits he only gets through every part of his ritual 30% of the time but there’s at least one that we all can complete daily. See how many you can do and discover if your day and productivity improves as a result.
Eat a Frog!
One thing that I’ve found really beneficial for my productivity is getting out of the habit of checking emails and social media first thing.
Tim Ferriss describes checking emails as a “mind killer” and suggests that instead you spend an hour doing your most important or uncomfortable to-do for that day — in other words eat a frog!
The eating a frog metaphor originally came from Mark Twain and was the subject of a productivity book by Brian Tracy.
The Pomodoro Technique
To keep himself on task, Tim Ferriss uses the Pomodoro Technique which was has been popularised by many apps and websites.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by software developer and entrepreneur, Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. He named the system after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used to keep himself focused and productive when studying at university.
Planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualising are fundamental to the technique.
Here are the six steps in the original technique:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple but effective way to manage your time and improve your productivity. Breaking your work down into smaller chunks helps you stay focused on tasks that require long periods of concentration.
Cut Back on Social Media Time
One of the easiest ways to get more done in your day is by cutting back on your social media usage. We’ve already mentioned that checking your social media first thing isn’t a great idea. You’ll also sleep better if you avoid your phone for an hour or two before bedtime.
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on our screens but it’s not surprising as social media has been designed to be addictive with the release of dopamine hits when we get notifications.
So how can we overcome this?
Consider setting specific times that you’re allowed to check your social media and try hard to stick to these times. Try putting your phone in another room or into Airplane mode when you want to get focused.
It’s entirely up to you how much time you want to spend on social media but it’s worth considering if you’ll be on your deathbed and wishing you had spent more time on Facebook and Twitter.
In his book, The Efficient Executive, Peter Drucker talks about getting the right things done and avoiding what is unproductive. To be productive and successful we need to focus on doing the right things (efficiency) versus doing things well (being efficient).
Managing time and setting the right priorities are two practices which Drucker states are essential for those looking to succeed in business. One thing that can help with both is Tameday’s project management tool and it’s entirely free to get started!