I’m guessing you currently have a task on your to-do list that you haven’t been getting done as fast as you need to…
It’s not a criticism. We all have it. In fact, my to-do list has more than one of them on it right now!
Anybody with ambition and who is doing a lot ALWAYS has more things to do than time to do them…
And sometimes, our biggest goals, ambitions, projects, and tasks start to pile up. To a point that we just want to go and hide under a rock, so we don’t have to face that damn to-do list.
If this struggle feels all-to-real, it’s because I know it as well as you do. Intimately.
And despite all my attempts to fend it off, it keeps coming back.
Whenever I’m challenging myself, fighting to get a lot done, and going after bigger and bigger opportunities… The resistance and struggles with knocking out important items on my to-do list only grows.
In fact, yesterday was a particularly rough time — even though I knew what I needed to do, and could absolutely accomplish it if I’d put my mind to it.
Today, I knew I needed to do something different — something to instantly jump-start my productivity…
And so as I was brewing coffee, I did a podcast search for “productivity,” hoping to find a podcast that would provide little one-per-day boosts of productivity hacks, tips, and motivation.
Believe it or not, such a thing exists!
I found the Optimal Living Daily podcast. Which has a really unique format. Justin Malik, the host, has teamed up with bloggers from across the internets, and gotten permission to read their blog posts (and book excerpts) as his daily podcast. Cool.
Well, one of the latest episodes caught my eye, in part, because its title was so close to my title from yesterday: The One Habit That Rules Them All: The 10 Minute Rule from Hustle by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, & Jonas Koffler.
The episode included an excerpt from the book Hustle. Which literally came out today on Amazon.
The excerpt was all about…
One little productivity habit that can help you get more done, faster — and boost your productivity in 10 minutes or less!
Now I have to admit, this isn’t the first time I heard this. There’s very little new under the sun when it comes to productivity or anything else. But it was a particularly good explanation, and hearing it again today reminded me of it — and the power it contains.
Here’s the thing.
Most of us don’t suck at being productive. Even when we feel like we do.
Most of us — when we’re not being productive — are failing at STARTING.
So here’s the 10-minute trick. Set a timer for 10 minutes. And start that thing on your to-do list that you need to get done.
You don’t have to commit to finishing anything. You don’t even have to commit to working long on it.
Rather, just commit to making progress on it for a mere and measly 10 minutes.
You’ll be shocked at how much more productive it makes you, almost instantly.
Why does this work so well?
Simple: if our productivity failure is because we’re not starting, this gets us started…
Once you’re 10 minutes into any task, you usually have what was missing in the beginning — momentum.
And we only need turn to turn to Newton’s First Law — yeah, some basic physics — to realize the power of this.
“An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
The 10-minute trick is an unbalanced force. You were the object at rest. It acts on you to get in motion. Then, you’ll stay in motion, and be productive.
You didn’t have momentum. Now you do.
And it becomes so much easier after these 10 minutes to continue being productive. In fact, you’ll probably even find it hard to stop! (Remember, “An object in motion continues in motion!”)
BONUS: The first thing I spent 10 minutes on can help you be more productive for the rest of the week!
As I mentioned above, yesterday was kind of a lost day in terms of my productivity.
What that meant is that I suddenly had even more to do for the rest of the week.
I’m currently using Asana. Plus Google Calendar. Plus the occasional written daily to-do list. All to manage all the projects and tasks I have going on right now.
But what was missing from that was a clear picture of all the things I need to do throughout this week.
Is that something I can do in all those other places? Sure.
But I wanted a big, in-my-face reminder of what I need to be working on each day — and one that would make it clear what I’ve have to carry over between days if I missed one.
Well, a while back I just so have happened to have gotten the perfect tool to do this. I bought a 4X8 sheet of dry-erase board for about $15 at Home Depot, and mounted it to my office wall.
(If you don’t have a huge dry erase board, you could literally grab a piece of paper and do this same thing.)
Here’s what I did with my first 10-minute block this morning to boost my productivity for the rest of the week…
Across the top of my wall-sized white board, I wrote and underlined M, T, W, R, F for the days of the week. (And yes, “R” is an acceptable abbreviation for Thursday!)
And then about halfway down the board, I wrote another row of M, T, W, R, F.
Then under each day, I started writing tasks in black, with due dates in green. (I have a few colors of dry erase markers — why not use ‘em?!)
This helps me prioritize tasks to get done today, what I need to do later in the week, and where I will have room to fit in other things.
Now I have a 2-week outline of pre-scheduled tasks and deadlines in an easy-to-see spot on my wall. As the week goes by, I will continue to use this for my daily to-do list.
When the week is done, I will erase everything from this week, rotate the second-week tasks to the first week, and add anything I have in my other project management and productivity trackers for the following week.
(Also: I have a few important unscheduled tasks written off to the side under a “Misc.” Headline.)
This system is a work-in-progress…
But combined with the 10-minute trick, it has helped me get back on track today, in terms of my productivity (and hit a deadline I couldn’t miss).
And, for the rest of the week, I have obvious tasks that will be staring at me from the wall, ready for me to grab that kitchen timer and set it for 10 minutes to get started.
Last week I wrote about constant monitoring, improvement, and optimization toward hitting any goal.
These are two great improvement and optimization measures — you can use them together or independently.
Either way, it’s the tasks you’re getting done and the work output you’re creating that will determine your success.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,