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How Top Business Executives Increase Their Productivity By 500%

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In today´s busy world, the only way to manage your work, relationships, family, and health is to find out how to increase your productivity.

There are lots of time management strategies that work.

But, recently, in an ebook that I was reading called – 5 Steps to Finding Your Workflow from Productivity Game I found 10-year McKinsey study of top business executives that describes how to increase productivity by 500%.

In this article you´re going to discover:

  • What is the real definition of productivity.
  • What is the secret behind increasing your productivity by 500%.
  • What you should and what you shouldn´t focus on if you want to become more productive.
  • 5 additional tips to increase your productivity.

Definition Of Productivity

Most of us tend to believe, that productivity is getting more things done every day. That´s wrong.

If you complete 10 tasks today, but 8 of them are not related to your goal, you were not productive at all. Even though, you worked hard ´,  without a break.

Being productive means to do the most important things, with efficiency and consistency.

Being productive doesn´t equal being busy and being busy doesn´t equal being productive.

The Most Valuable Productivity Resource Of Yours

People believe, that in order to become more productive time is the most valuable resource. That´s not completely right.

Time is only as valuable as the attention you allocate to it.

When you spend 5 hours to make a power-point presentation, but 3 hours you´ve not paid attention, you were not productive at all. You just wasted 3 hours of your life.

The hour of focus work is much better than 3 hours of non-focused work.

The Secret Behind Increasing Productivity By 500%

A researcher from the University of Chicago named Mihaly Cziksentmihalyi did a 20-year-long study of top performers all over the world.

He found that these people performed the best when they were in an optimal state of human awareness and attention. He named it „Flow“.

Csikszentmihalyi’s definition of flow:

„A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.“

What Is The Flow

I am 100% sure, you already experienced the flow. Maybe, you called it differently, but you definitely know, how it feels.

  • You are completely engaged in a task,
  • you forget to eat,
  • you forget to drink,
  • and you definitely lose track of time.

Think about how productive you were, when you were in the flow. How creative, how focused you were. Maybe it was in your work, maybe you were playing sports or maybe you just spend time with your partner.

The key idea is to make sure your attention is 100% devoted only to a task you do.

You don´t care about the weather, you don´t care about any problem you´ve been facing, you don´t care what you need to buy, you don´t care where you should go on vacation. You care only about your task.

Concentration is the root of all the higher abilities in man. – Bruce Lee

In the next part of this article, I am going to show you what exactly you should do to get into the Flow.

1. Watch Your Energy Levels

Energy, the same as attention or time, is one of your most valuable resources.

When you feel tired, your work definitely won´t be productive. Not even mention your creativity.

Through the day, every person experiences more and less energetic times. To become more productive in life, you should find out these times for yourself.

Usually, energy levels through the day look similarly like that:

That means you should plan to work on the most important task of your day when you have the most energy (Right after your morning routine).

On the other hand, try not to plan anything that requires a lot of thinking, focus, and productivity in times, when your energy level is low.

This was an example of my energy levels throughout the day. Usually, it´s similar. But, I want you to pay attention to your energy levels in the next week and plan your days accordingly.

Related: How To Plan Your Day For Maximum Productivity And Success

2. Take Breaks

In today´s world, we face so many distractions. In the past, there was no Facebook, no Youtube, no Instagram. People were more likely to do focused work.

That´s the reason why it´s even more important today, to take some breaks when you work on something.

Let´s take a school for example. No matter how enthusiastically teacher speaks, no matter how interesting the subject is, after a while your attention drops.

Our brains and bodies work the most productively in smaller periods of time.

Try it. Next time you have a work for an hour, instead of working whole hour without a break, work for 15 minutes following with 1-2 minutes break (Yes, a 1-minute break is enough).

Use this break to recharge your batteries, don´t think about your work, meditate, go for a walk, drink something, but don´t care about the work.

Then, go back and continue where you left. I am sure, you´ll see yourself to be more creative, sharp and productive.

Related: How To Avoid Distractions, Focus More And Achieve More In Life

3. Just Start Small

The most important step to avoid procrastination and become more productive is to take a small action.

  • When you start to write a book, it´s intimidating to write 200 pages. But, to sit down and write the first paragraph is easy.
  • When you start to prepare for a marathon, it´s hard to run for at least one hour every day, but it´s easy to go out and start running a few minutes.

When you take a small action, you´re more likely to finish your task. And here´s why.

Zeigarnik Effect

Zeigarnik effect is the psychological term since 1927, that says this:

Once a task is started we feel compelled to complete it. 

The experiment consists of performing a number of simple tasks, where some students were stopped before they could finish tasks, while others were allowed to complete these tasks.

The researcher found that students who were stopped before finishing tasks recalled the details of tasks much easier and precise.

If you want to find more about this experiment, performed by Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, check it here.

This clearly shows that no action is too small. Every action matters and in many cases, smaller action, in the beginning, the better result at the end (But, more about this you can find in this article: How To Develop A Habit: Complete Step-By-Step Guide).

4. Block Time

In today´s world, we face a lot more distractions, than in any other time in history. That´s why you need to take precautions.

The best way to focus solely on a certain task is to block the exact time for it.

If your plan (to-do list) for tomorrow will be this:

It´s just a to-do list. You know what you need to do, but you have no idea when, where or how. It´s not specific, which makes you more likely to be distracted and you waste a lot of time through the day thinking…

What if, instead your plan for a day looks like this:

You may not perfectly fulfill all your plans in the exact minute, but you´ll be much more prepared to not get distracted and easier get into the Flow, which exponentially boosts your productivity.

5. Develop A Habit Of It

Consistently taking small actions at the beginning lead you to develop a habit.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. – Jim Rohn

With every next attempt, it become easier for you to get into the flow. After a few weeks, it´s become natural to you. You won´t need to think about it anymore. There will be no more „I just check this and then I start“.

You just start. And the reason for it is that you established a new habit.

Taking consistent small action at the beginning is the first part of developing a new habit. To understand how to crush all this process, check out my complete step-by-step guide on how to develop a habit.

Other Articles On How To Become More Productive

There are more ways you can ease the process of getting into the flow. The most important ones you discovered in this article.

But, if you want to find out more, check out my other related articles below:

Conclusion

There are lots of tips and trick on how to increase your productivity and get more things done. But, nothing can be compared to a feeling of „being in the flow“.

Remember, research showed that just getting into „the flow“ increased productivity of top business executives by 500%.

I hope, after this article, you´re gonna focus less on the time you spend working on a certain task and you start to focus more on the amount of attention you use.

  • More focused you are, sooner you get into the flow.
  • Sooner, you are in the flow mode, less time you spend working on a certain task.
  • Less time you spend on a certain (important) task, more productive you are.

If you´re going to follow all 5 tips I shared with you in this article on how to get into the flow, I believe you are going to be much more productive, less distracted, which I hope will eventually lead into becoming more successful in life.

Last, but not least. Many of the information in this article I discovered in already mentioned ebook 5 Steps to Finding Your Workflow. The great news is that ebook is available for free on productivitygame.com. If you want to increase your productivity, I highly recommend you to get this free ebook.

In which situations you experienced the flow? Leave a comment below!


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My name is Patrik. I live in Slovakia and I am owner of dayprov.com. Dayprov is about Everyday improvements in our lives. You will find here tips about success, motivation, personal development and anything you want. Your recommendations for new interesting blog posts you would like to read about send to patrik@dayprov.com.
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