In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to get distracted and lose focus.
Guys, I’m not blaming you. I do it too!
I’ll start the day well and suddenly I hear my phone buzz. Sometimes I just can’t resist the urge to check that notification!
The fact is, it’s not just technology. Lack of sleep, poor planning and even working too much can destroy your productivity in a single moment.
Want to know what’s worse? A University of California study found it take, on average, 23 minutes to get back on track after just one distraction. That’s A LOT of time wasted throughout the day.
Don’t worry – I’ve got some suggestions to help you destroy those distractions.
In This Article, You’ll Discover How To:
- Eat The Frog First
- Make Your Task List Into A Game
- Plan For Things To Go Wrong
- Manage Your Time Intentionally To Improve Productivity
- Increase Productivity By Making Yourself Accountable
- Focus On One Goal Per Day
- Get Eight Hours Sleep
- Prioritize Your Daily Tasks To Increase Productivity
- Make “No” Your Default Answer
- Clear Your Desk For A Productivity Boost
- BONUS: Productivity Destroyers
1. Eat The Frog First
I don’t want you to eat a frog – it’s a metaphor, gents!
Imagine if you had to eat a live frog that was trying to wriggle out of your mouth. It sounds like the worst thing imaginable, right?
I bet there are tasks on your to-do list that feel a lot like that.
‘Eat the frog’ essentially means that you aim to complete the worst tasks ASAP. Ask yourself, “What am I avoiding? What do I not want to do?” Once you’ve assessed that, you’ll know what tasks you should get out of the way first thing.
This approach also helps you avoid feeling artificially accomplished. Starting the day with the easy tasks might feel like a success, but chances are you haven’t done a single IMPORTANT thing. Eat the frog and do those challenging tasks first – that way, you can guarantee progress throughout the rest of your day.
PRO TIP: I find it easier to make my to-do list the night before. I put the hardest task first, so it’s right there when I wake up.
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2. Make Your Task List Into A Game
Having a structure is key to productivity, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to turn your work schedule into a game. ‘Gamify’ your tasks by breaking them into smaller, more achievable chunks like a game’s objectives.
A lot of games feature time limits. Try setting some for yourself and sticking to them. Doing so could help you avoid spending hours on a single, minor project. Even if getting everything finished in time is unrealistic, it’s better to turn in a work-in-progress than not to turn in anything at all.
Finally, set rewards for yourself.
- If you beat your time limit, have a cookie.
- Go for a brief walk after completing tasks.
- Plan an exciting activity after work (a BBQ with friends, playing a game).
3. Plan For Things To Go Wrong
Life is unpredictable. That’s a fact, gents.
You never know when your kids will get sick, your grandmother will need a lift to the hospital, or a critical task will come out of nowhere.
Unfortunately, too many men forget this and design rigid plans with surgical precision that look good on paper but fall apart when it comes to the real world. Whether designing a Gantt chart or booking work into Google Calendar, most men draw a straight line from A to B with no room for deviation.
If you think this is foolproof, you’re sadly mistaken. It only takes one thing to go wrong, and suddenly everything is thrown into chaos. Your ruined schedule can have a knock-on effect on anything else you are working on.
Moral of the story? Expect the unexpected. Build a buffer into your schedule and give yourself time to work through problems.
4. Manage Your Time Intentionally To Improve Productivity
If you don’t manage your time, your time will manage you.
Create ‘time blocks’ for work, personal interests, AND for rest. After all, it’s crucial to schedule in time for yourself so that you don’t hit the wall and burn out.
My advice? Try the Pomodoro Technique.
Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. It was created by an Italian student with a tomato-shaped oven timer.
How does it work? Set a timer and give yourself a short block of time to work – like a sprint in the programming world. This artificial time limit is called a Pomodoro. The classic setup is as follows:
- 4x 25-minute Pomodoros
- 5-minute short breaks in between
- 15-20 minute long break at the end
The idea is very simple. Split up your time and schedule tactical breaks to allow your brain to refresh and be ready to continue working.
A carefully planned day looks a lot less daunting than a big block of work with no obvious breaks in between!
5. Improve Productivity By Making Yourself Accountable
In school, we’re always taught that peer pressure is wrong – that we should ignore it at all costs. That’s true – but only to an extent.
Used correctly, positive peer pressure can be a powerful motivator – which is where this tip for productivity comes in.
You need to make yourself accountable to someone!
Whether a friend or a family member, someone needs to know about your plans and your schedule. That way, when you inevitably lack the motivation to get a job done, they’ll be there ready to spur you on and get your lazy butt back to work!
6. Focus On One Goal Per Day
Less is more.
I know that sounds like a contradiction of terms, but it makes a lot of sense.
The fact is this: you have a fixed number of hours each day to get your work done. To avoid cutting corners and sub-par work, you need to be realistic with those time constraints.
Take a look at that mammoth list of tasks – there’s no shame in admitting it can be overwhelming to look at them all. So do the smart thing: pare it down, make a daily task list and try picking just ONE essential item for each day.
If you get that item done, you can always add more later.
When you set a clear goal and focus wholeheartedly on it, you naturally eliminate distractions from disrupting your work.
Anything that can help mitigate distractions will allow you to increase productivity while also avoiding burnout. It’s all too easy to become a workaholic these days.
7. Get Eight Hours Sleep
It may be tempting to shave off a couple of hours of sleep so you can finish up a work assignment or project, but is it worth it?
If you make a habit of this, you’ll eventually face burnout, resentment, or physical exhaustion that will undermine and override any marginal gains made from working longer hours.
Sleep is crucial in relaxing your mind, resting your body, and rejuvenating your energy for the following day.
If you cannot manage the other 16 hours in your day to get your work done, you should focus more on managing those hours instead of reallocating your sleeping hours.
If you want to increase your productivity, you need to sleep.
8. Prioritize Your Daily Tasks To Increase Productivity
Not everything is urgent.
It only takes 15 minutes to prioritize my tasks for the day using the above priority matrix (also known as the Eisenhower Matrix). Super important tasks go in the ‘urgent’ field, tasks I want to complete soon go in the ‘schedule’ field, and so on.
Doctors in warzones triage their patients: they treat them based on the severity of their wounds.
This is something I do every morning without fail. I think about which of my ‘patients’ are in most urgent need of care – i.e. which of my daily tasks need to be done first.
Sure, it’s not perfect every single time, but it gives me a much better picture of the challenges on any given day – and how I can overcome them.
PRO TIP: It’s never too late to go back to basics regarding productivity. Putting pen to paper every morning might help you prioritize when everything is a priority.
9. Make “No” Your Default Answer
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Take a step back and consider the value of your time.
This may all sound pessimistic, but saying ‘no’ can be a great way of increasing your productivity.
Most of us already have a full plate. When you have work and a family to take care of, saying yes to everything is almost entirely impractical.
Instead, embrace the power of NO.
Your time is valuable, and I’m not just talking about your office time either. I’m talking about those precious moments you get to spend with your wife and kids. Think about the hours you might miss with them if you never say ‘no’ at work.
Be more open to saying ‘no’, and every ‘YES’ will be infinitely more valuable.
10. Clear Your Desk For A Productivity Boost
Your workspace doesn’t need to look like you're ready to quit at a moment’s notice. There’s nothing wrong with boosting your workspace with a family photo or a lucky charm from your girlfriend.
Once you’re finished each day, tidy your workspace and file everything away.
Chefs call this mise en place – which means ‘everything in its place.’ They clean and tidy everything before they start cooking and after they finish.
Think about it. Gordon Ramsey is famous for succeeding as a chef with his ‘take no prisoners’ mindset. If you walked into the kitchen of one of his restaurants, do you think all the surfaces are covered with junk or are they clean and clear?
Do this so that, when you come back into the office, there will be no clutter to stop you from jumping straight into your work to increase your daily productivity.
BONUS: Productivity Destroyers
It’s all well and good knowing how to increase productivity – but that’s useless if you allow yourself to get side-tracked by everyday distractions.
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s important that you guys understand some of the basic distractions that could be devastating your productivity throughout the day.
Check it out below.
Mobile phones have slowly integrated into our daily lives.
While they are essential for communication, they also play a considerable part in distracting men from their work.
Phones put a ton of stress on our productivity simply due to the number of distractions they carry. Calling and texting is one thing, but it gets even worse with social media.
These kinds of apps are designed to be incredibly addictive – they feed our tendency to socialize and keep up with people while also appealing to our curiosity and need for validation.
We all know that familiar ‘PING’ of a notification. Apps go out of their way to constantly remind you of various things at all hours of the day.
Are you looking to increase productivity? Great – then DECREASE your screentime!
Here are some tips on how you can achieve this:
- Remove unnecessary apps from your home screen.
- Disable notifications on apps that don't contribute to your work.
- When charging your phone, put it out of reach as you’ll end up forgetting about it until you need it.
A huge cause of daily distraction is spending a lot of time overthinking.
The internet has given us unlimited resources on demand, creating a culture of searching for everything and anything. This creates doubt in people and forces them to search for things to confirm what they already know.
While being sure of something isn’t bad, fact-checking everything does not mean you will be more productive.
The average person – searching for an answer to a question – will open multiple sources only to read the same thing, written differently.
The amount of ads and suggested links popping up doesn’t help us here either.
Instead of trawling through search engines – reduce distractions, avoid ‘going down a rabbit hole,’ and find one credible source that will become your go-to.
Reading the news is a very popular way of passing the time. For hundreds of years, men have read the news to keep up with current affairs and start their day.
Now I’m not saying that you should cut yourself off from the world – reading the news is a good way to keep up to date. It’s just that you’ve got to be careful how much of your time you are dedicating to this activity.
The best idea is to pick one news outlet and set some time aside each day to read through the latest headlines. Once that time is up – that’s it. Avoid news websites altogether to ensure you stay on track with your work.
Pro Tip: Turn off notifications for the news apps on your phone. That way, you won't be distracted by a ‘PING’ and a banner that reads ‘Breaking News!’
Here’s a challenge for you gents – spend a whole week using the priority matrix to plan your work. It’ll change your life! Click here for our free priority matrix template.
Click below to watch the video – 9 SIMPLE Items That UNEXPECTEDLY Makes You 500% More Productive