A common belief amongst entrepreneurs is that ‘hustle’ is synonymous with success. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place in the early stages of every business’s lifecycle when hustle is a necessity. In reality, it’s the only way to gain enough momentum to get the wheels in motion and ultimately the plane off the ground. The problem arises once you are in flight… because what got you to where you are is not going to get you to where you want to go.
In this scenario, most resort to what they know – the grind. They work longer, harder hours. Initially, they see a slight increase in production which causes them to believe it’s working. What happens is they burn out or they recognize that something must change... The entrepreneurs in the latter category are the only ones who even have a chance at becoming successful.
The shift begins when you recognize that entertaining the hustle and being productive are two completely separate states, and urgency is hardly ever correlated with importance. To tell you the truth, they are most often inversely related to each other and cause most to confuse time spent for progress achieved… which is a recipe for disaster.
In this article, we’re going to shift that belief and you’ll learn how to increase your productivity, double your profits and effectively simplify all areas of your life. If that sounds like a win, win, win to you then keep reading because we’re going to cover the following:
- Productivity vs. Efficiency… What’s the difference?
- Understanding Outcomes: You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure
- 5 Unexpected Ways to Track and Measure Your Productivity
- Outrageously Productivity: What Does A ‘Day In The Life’ Look Like?
- A Checklist for C.A.N.I (Constant And Never-Ending Improvement)
PRODUCTIVE / EFFICIENT... ARE THEY THE SAME?
To begin, you must understand the difference between productivity and efficiency. The outcomes expected of either are dramatically different and without clarity, you’ll feel as if you’re moving forward… just unintentionally taking the long route.
If you’ve been around me long enough, you know the level of importance I place on the proper use of language. Your language dictates your thoughts, your thoughts dictate your beliefs, and your beliefs dictate your destiny. This is why an acute awareness of what you say, when, and why is of the utmost importance.
Let’s define the two:
Productivity (prō,dəkˈtiv,ə,dē) - The level of focused inputs in relation to the sum.
Efficiency (əˈfiSH,ənsē) - The level of useful output in relation to the total expenditure.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to notice that the primary difference between the two also happens to be the result or the desired outcome from your work. Meaning, productivity is solely concerned with the number of focused inputs. The sum (total number) of all inputs only acts as a comparison from which you can quantitatively assess your productivity… aka, the number of times you were able to stay focused and complete a task without disruption.
Interestingly enough, hyper-productive entrepreneurs can often become addicted to their focused inputs as it’s in essence a meditative practice. Meditation is a prolonged single point of focus. You’ll notice the same effect on everyone from mechanics to rock climbers and everyone in between.
Efficiency on the other hand is aimed at producing the highest quantity of useful (above the quality control threshold) outputs which is determined by examining the total number of actions. I.e. Someone who creates 10 outputs in an hour could be extremely efficient or horribly inefficient, there isn’t enough data without the total number of actions (inputs). 10 out of 10 quality outputs would be perfection, but if the total number of actions was 1,000 it’d be a different story entirely.
The important lesson here is that you create awareness surrounding the outcome(s) you want in your life… because if you don’t know what you want, how do you expect to achieve it? Once you understand the what (and most importantly, the why) you can evaluate how productively and efficiently you’re spending your time. As a visionary entrepreneur, you must hold yourself to a standard above the rest… that is if you want to achieve greatness. A thoughtful, recurring analysis of where you’re spending your time is one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make.
“A jack of all trades is a master of none… but still always better than a master of one.”
OUTCOMES: YOU MUST MEASURE TO IMPROVE
In our modern society, it’s extremely common to find people who are operating unconsciously, navigating life in some haphazard way, and unsure why they lack fulfillment. To you, this might seem blatantly obvious, but I can assure you that it’s surprisingly not for most. To effectively combat this passionless, purposeless, and unfulfilling life you must begin to measure what matters and optimize for your desired results.
What you’ve probably heard of before is the S.M.A.R.T. approach to setting and measuring goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely… all of which, from a logical perspective, are extremely important. What this process doesn’t focus on is why you want to achieve the goal in the first place which is arguably the most important part. The desire to obtain an outcome or achieve a goal must have enough emotional intensity to carry you through to the finish line despite the trials and tribulations that will arise (if they’re not, you’re not setting big enough goals).
In Viktor Frankl’s profound book Man’s Search For Meaning, he proposes the idea that anyone can persist through any ‘what’ as long as they have an extraordinary ‘why’ (a driving purpose). A profound and productive discovery made from his time in Auschwitz during World War II, and one that came at an exceptionally high cost.
The alternative does not replace the S.M.A.R.T. process (diehard fans don’t you worry). It’s an alteration to the sequence of your goal setting events… and like all great processes, it too is an acronym.
I first discovered the Results-Focused, Purpose-Driven, Massive Action Plan from the #1 Life & Business Strategist in the world, Tony Robbins who originally created it for himself to replace a ‘living off of a to-do list’ mentality. The primary driver is the sequence in which you go about creating meaning in what you do. Rather than first thinking about what or how you’re going to do something, you start with the result, the outcome.
“What is it I actually want?”
Once you know your desired outcome, how you had initially planned on achieving it often becomes a waste of time. The reason being is that we fall into past patterns of doing things and get lost in what Robbins calls “The tyranny of how” which is the focus on the action, instead of what really matters… the outcome. The second piece to R.P.M. is where Mr. Frankl would be proud… discovering the true purpose of the outcome in question.
“Why do I actually want this outcome?”
The purpose is what gives your life meaning, and while it’s wonderful to think from a completely logical perspective… the truth is that humans are emotional beings. To neglect that part of ourselves is to not fully understand the human experience. Understanding the why behind what you want will not only amplify your drive and determination, it will also turn your subconscious on and put it to work in finding solutions to your deepest desires.
The final and equally important piece is your massive action plan because if you don’t make a change, you can’t expect change. This is where you can reimplement your S.M.A.R.T. approach to setting goals… one that now has a crystal clear outcome to work towards and a much larger purpose.
What I’ve found that works best for creating a powerful plan of action is to:
- Write Down Everything You Think Needs To Get Done
- Group Similar Actions Into Categories
- Number Categories By Level of Importance
- Create Constraints (i.e. I Will Let This Take (x) Amount of Time)
- Schedule Time Blocks In Calendar with Category Numbers
- Start… NOW!
If you plan your upcoming week like this every Sunday you’ll be in the top .001% of ultra-achievers in the entire world… and that will bring a level of success you didn’t know existed.
“You can't improve what you don't measure.” - Peter Drucker
5 absurd ways to measure productivity
1. Analyze Wearable Technology
There has never been a better time to be alive, both from a quality of life outlook and from an ability to grow exponentially. Like everything in life, there are 3 sides to every coin. The technology that connects us can also divide us… or you can use it to your advantage and leave the rest.
When it comes to wearable technology, the primary players in the space are Whoop & Oura Ring. I personally don’t wear much jewelry or any rings (I used to wear rings and one night at a bar in Bogota, Colombia I almost lost my finger playing the bongos… the ring bent and cut off circulation) so I decided to go with the Whoop and I’ve been a happy Whoop*er ever since. So much so that I even include my Sleep & Strain scores in my Personal Productivity Tracker that I complete every day.
2. Track Revolving Creative Hours
If you’re my people, you’ve probably already read or at least hear of Atomic Habits by James Clear… it’s a staple in the productivity space and was the #1 Book of 2021 on Amazon. One principle discussed in the book is to reverse engineer your goals all the way down inputs (inputs being the actions you take daily). I agree, but I also disagree with this reasoning because it can be misinterpreted (as is what happened to me when I first read the book) which is why I started the blog with R.P.M.
The thinking behind this is that if you deconstruct your desired outcomes you’ll eventually get to a place where you know exactly what needs to be done daily to achieve your goal. You can then forget about the goal and focus on the process. (I.e. Goal = 5 Sales/Week – If you close at 20% and have an 80% show rate you’ll need to focus on taking a minimum of 32 calls per week)
If you’re in a position where the creation of something drives your success, tracking revolving creative hours may be a great place to start to increase productivity. This is also an element of my PPT with the goal being 1,000 creative hours (minimum) every revolving 365 day period.
3. Create Constraints & Honor Your Commitment
This is a big one for a lot of people because they think that they must do more in order to have more… when the opposite is actually true. Here’s the kicker - most of the people who are further ahead than you are just NOT doing things that you are doing.
I know, it blew my mind too, but you can do 1 thing at 100% or 5 things at 20%. Which do you feel will get you to your goals faster?
By creating constraints you’re using Parkinson’s Law to your advantage – which is that work expands to fit the time constraints it is given.
4. iPhone Screen Time Don’t Lie
Here we go again… utilizing the technology that connects us to our advantage. Your devices know exactly where you’re spending your time and how to reel you back in. Attention is the most valuable currency there is (apart from energy), and the first step in any change is awareness.
Once you become aware of where your time is going you can consciously make a choice to change it. Failure to look at the data is choosing the path of ignorance and preventing you from taking control of your time. When I do this with clients who consider themselves productive then soon realize they check their phones 150+ times during work hours and it’s baffling to them as they can’t even remember the last thing they did on the device.
Technology connects us, but it can also control us if we’re not careful. If you haven’t seen The Social Dilemma yet, it’s a MUST for anyone not living under a rock.
6. Utilize My Personal Productivity Tracker (PPT)
I’m obsessed with optimizing all areas of my life and that’s why I created my very own Personal Productivity Tracker. Inspired in part by Jim Collins, what the PPT does is combine qualitative and quantitative data giving you the ability to rate, sort and filter that which lights you up from what pulls you down.
You can not manage or improve that which you can’t measure, and it’s this level of explicit detail that will give you an extremely competitive edge over not just your competition in business, but in everyone truly engaged in the game of life maximization.
The way the tracker is designed to be used is at the end of every day (it must be done daily or your numbers will be skewed) you categorize, examine and rate everything you did that day. This allows you to turn your positive and/or negative emotional engagement and fulfillment levels (qualitative data) into data that can be analyzed (quantitatively). In addition, I track my total creative hours (with the goal of having 1,000+ cumulative hours every rolling 365days) alongside my Sleep & Strain score from my Whoop, and lastly I rate my day on a scale of -2 to +2.
I can go much deeper into the science behind my analysis and how it’s allowed me to bring to light the best and worst areas of my life in the name of optimization and growth, I think what may work best is to allow you to copy my tracker and take it for a spin yourself.
Reasons you’d want to start using the Personal Productivity Tracker are:
- If you feel like your days get away from you with little or no progress
- If you know you could do more but not sure where or how to start
- You have large emotional swings from day to day and you don’t know why
- You understand that those more successful than you are just NOT doing things you are
- You’re a high-achiever looking to create a large gap between you and your competition
The Personal Productivity Tracker than has helped me 3x my output, 2x my revenue all the while dramatically simplifying my life, tap the image below to get your own copy complete with a ‘How-To’ instructional video.
“Those who are more successful than you are not doing more than you, they’re not doing things that you are.” - Alex Hormozi
My outrageously productive Schedule
I’ve often found it extremely helpful when looking to create successful systems, strategies, and new routines to begin with examining the equivalent in someone who is already where I want to be. As Tony Robbins puts it, “Success leaves clues and if you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want, copy what they do and you'll achieve the same results.”
I can only speak from personal experience, and while this is ever changing and evolving, here is what my daily routine looks like currently:
4:10 - 4:30a // Wake Up, Out of Bed In 5 Seconds (5, 4, 3, 2, 1), Water, Bathroom & Priming
4:30 - 6:30a // Deep Creative Work (Writing Blogs, Ads, Emails, Strategy, Automations, etc.)- *Only blue LED light in the morning
- Lights on a timer. At 6:30a they shut off alerting me to get leave for the gym.
- This removes the risk temptation by notification & need to check my phone completely.
9:00 - 10a // Big Decisions (How Bezos Makes Decisions), Deep Work or Strategy
12 - 1p // Prospecting - Currently Maintaining A Singular Focus on Sales Until $300k/mo
10:30 - 12p // Block #1 or Meeting - Using R.P.M.? Schedule Primary Task #1 Here
12 - 1p // Prospecting - Currently Maintaining A Singular Focus on Sales Until $300k/mo
1 - 2p // Lunch, Walk My Dog & Exercise Round 2 (Cardio + Audio Book/Podcast)
2 - 3p // Block #2 or Meeting - Using R.P.M.? Schedule Primary Task #2 Here
3 - 4:30p // Block #3 or Meeting - Using R.P.M.? Schedule Primary Task #3 Here
4:30 - 5p // Admin, Review Day & Fill 90% of Personal Productivity Tracker
5p - 8p // Personal Time & Dinner (Whatever I Choose, Often Based on PPT Data)
8 - 9p // Prep for Bed, Read & Release (No Phone or Backlit Screens After 7pm)
There are some variables from day to day, but as a general rule of thumb, this is what my day consists of with a 1 - 2 hour planning session on Sunday afternoons. To see how my calendar is structured, see the image below.
Again, this is what is working best for me currently and changes constantly depending on projects, workload, clients, you name it. Everything is flexible except for the following 4 MUSTS:
1 - 7 Hours of Sleep (Minimum)
2 - Strenuous Exercise 1x / Day (Minimum)
3 - Time Blocks NEVER Longer than 90-Minutes (Ultradian Rhythm)
4 - I use my Personal Productivity Tracker
What I recommend is you become extremely inquisitive around why you do what you do and how it makes you feel. There is no right or wrong when it comes to creating an amazing routine, but what matters is that you seek Constant And Never-Ending Improvement (C.A.N.I.)... which brings me to the final part of this article.
A Checklist for C.A.N.I*
*Constant and Never-Ending Improvement
While there is no universal set of attributes in becoming an ultra-high performer, there are a few constants one must explore daily to ensure they’re on track and they are:
- Physiology - the science of how you use & move your body.
- Focus - energy flows where your attention goes.
- Language - how you speak is how you think.
I would love to give you a one-size-fits-all checklist, but that would be doing you a disservice because it’s not about what you achieve, but who you become throughout your journey. What I’ll leave you with are two questions through which you must examine all of your beliefs.
The first being, ‘If there was a way, what would it be?’
I love this question because it removes ‘impossible’ from your dictionary and forces you to find a solution. The only limit in life is your own imagination… put it to work for you.
The second, “What am I valuing that leads me to believe this to be true?”
After having the privilege of spending a significant amount of time around guys like Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, Ray Dalio, Paul Tudor Jones, Howard Marks, and more, the smartest in the world know that they can’t be certain so they prepare so they can’t fail.
Rule #1 and #2 in business, investing, and in life… never lose any money.
“The quality of your life is the quality of your questions.” - Tony Robbins
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