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Become More Productive

(How to INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY)

2 years ago I started looking into techniques that would help me become more productive.

I used to constantly struggle with distractions, I kept multitasking and at the end of the day, I didn’t get anything done.

My days would consist of waking up, giving in to the distractions of my smartphone and then going to sit at my desk to face even more distractions.

I think I spent around 3 or 4 years living like this.

No wonder I couldn’t get anything done.

The funny thing is that at the end of the day I had no clue where my time went, it’s like I didn’t even realize how much time I spent being distracted.

Luckily I implemented a few productivity improvement techniques, which I’m going to share with you today.

What is productivity?

We first need to figure out what we’re trying to accomplish.

In the most simple terms, I can say that productivity is a state of flow. A state of flow is a feeling you experience when you’re submerged in work.

Flow is a deep enjoyment you experience when focusing intensely on ONE task.

So in order to become more productive, we need to get into the state of flow. But how do we accomplish that?

Focus is a LIMITED Asset

As we mentioned before, the state of flow only requires 1 thing.

It requires the ability to focus.

Think of focus like an asset.

Focus is an asset that each and every one of us has, it’s a resource we can use to ACHIEVE big things with, or we can waste it on unimportant stuff.

It’s up to you.

Think of focus like a fuel tank. Each night, this focus fuel tank fills up to 100%, your focus is at its peak when you wake up.

But then it starts to drop down. It starts to drop down with every single choice we make.

become more productive

The Dangers of Distractions

Focus is a resource only we can control. No matter what happens, it can never be taken away from us. Unless we give it away willingly. And we do that way too often…

Think of your morning routine, what does it look like?

Mine used to look like this:

  • Wake up,
  • Reach for my phone,
  • Check Social Media,
  • Check email,
  • Check the news.

Then I would get ready to start with work, just to repeat the same process when I got to my desk.

‘’Okay, Benjamin, we get it. Smartphones are a big distraction.’’

Sure they are, but that’s not my point. Let’s take another look at what my morning routine used to look like.

Now imagine my ‘’fuel tank of Focus’’ emptying with every distraction.

Check Social Media, -20%.

Check email, -20%.

Check the news, -20%.

Let’s say that the numbers are real, think about it.

You get to work and find out you only have 40% of your Focus left in ‘’the tank’’.

In essence, it means that a task will take you two times longer to complete or it’ll be completed with half the efficiency.

But why does this happen?

 

5 Types of Distractions and How to Eliminate Them

1. Social Media

The enemy of focus, social media. No matter how much you want to focus on the task at hand, if you opened up social media prior to it, you won’t be getting the same results.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are platforms created to get you hooked. Open it once and you’ll want to do it again as soon as possible.

Solution:
While I do recommend you quit social media, I realize that we live in an age where that just won’t happen. Here’s an alternative.

Instead of deleting your social media accounts, dedicate 15 minutes, AT THE END of your workday.

In the dedicated 15 minutes, make it your mission to check all your social media. Most of the time you’ll find you didn’t miss anything important.

2. Mobile phone

If someone keeps calling and texting you, it definitely won’t contribute to your ability to focus. The more often your phone rings, the higher the chances of inefficiently completing the task at hand.

Solution:
Airplane mode is great. No texts, no calls, no notifications. Just you completely focused.

Guy with distractions in an office

 Attention Residue Slows You Down

If you read the book ‘’Deep Work by Cal Newport’’, you’ll be familiar with the term attention residue.

But if not, let me explain what it means.

In his book, Cal explained that Attention Residue is the time it takes your brain to switch from one task to another.

Let’s say you finished checking your email and now facing a task.

But you’re not facing the task with 100% of your focus/brain power.

You see, a portion of your focus is still stuck on the previous task (email).

On average it takes between 15 and 30 minutes for your brain to completely focus on the task at hand.

That’s what Cal Newport calls attention residue.

But what happens after (inefficiently) working on your task for the past 30 minutes?

Most likely you’ll open up email again, therefore you’ll never be able to fully focus on the task at hand.

Here’s how to fix that…

 

5 Types of Distractions and How to Eliminate Them

1. Social Media

The enemy of focus, social media. No matter how much you want to focus on the task at hand, if you opened up social media prior to it, you won’t be getting the same results.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are platforms created to get you hooked. Open it once and you’ll want to do it again as soon as possible.

Solution:
While I do recommend you quit social media, I realize that we live in an age where that just won’t happen. Here’s an alternative.

Instead of deleting your social media accounts, dedicate 15 minutes, AT THE END of your workday.

In the dedicated 15 minutes, make it your mission to check all your social media. Most of the time you’ll find you didn’t miss anything important.

2. Mobile phone

If someone keeps calling and texting you, it definitely won’t contribute to your ability to focus. The more often your phone rings, the higher the chances of inefficiently completing the task at hand.

Solution:
Airplane mode is great. No texts, no calls, no notifications. Just you completely focused.

Social media distractions

3. YouTube Suggested Videos

If you like listening to background music while you work, I don’t blame you. I love listening to music while I work too, it helps with ideas and makes work easier.

But here’s a trap. YouTube constantly tracks you, they KNOW what you’re interested in, what you like and what you’d want to see.

They’ll keep recommending you videos that you’ll certainly want to click.

Remember, watching YouTube videos also takes away from your focus.

Solution:
Download a Chrome plugin called ‘’Distraction Free for YouTube’’. It’s an excellent plugin that allows you to HIDE all suggested videos, comments, and playlist.

4. The News

If you use Google Chrome as your mobile browser, you’ll notice that they always show you news you might be interested in. They know you well and they know what you want to see and read.

The News are a similar distraction to YouTube, if not worse.

Solution:
Hide the News on Google Chrome by pressing the ‘’Hide’’ button. At the same time, try not to use your phone at all until your work day is finished.

5. Interruptions from others

If others keep walking into your room, asking you questions, they’re similar to smartphone notifications.

They’re constantly distracting you and taking away your ability to focus.

Solution:
Talk to them, ask them not to interrupt you from 8 to 12 o’clock (for example).

What to Expect After Limiting Distractions

You’ll suddenly find yourself a lot more productive.

You’ll have more energy, willpower, and focus.

You’ll perform difficult tasks better, faster and more efficiently. It might not seem like a lot now, but remember…

It’s the long term that counts. If you perform every single task 20% better, you’ll reach astonishing results over time.

In the long run, you’ll be MILES ahead of the competition, because of one sole reason.

You didn’t give in to your distractions and you deployed your focus wisely.