Do you feel like you’re struggling to be productive? Whether in your work or your studies, are you finding excuses to do anything other than what you need to do?
You’re not alone.
For all the talk of hustle and grind, it can feel downright impossible to be as productive as we’d like to be, especially when it’s something we don’t feel like doing.
Luckily, there are two proven ways to maximize your productivity, ensuring you get more done in less time.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of productivity, and how to be more productive in your day-to-day life.
Why is Productivity Important?
Jocko Willink, a famous podcaster, author, and Navy SEAL, says that “discipline equals freedom.”
Productivity goes hand-in-hand with discipline. You have to be disciplined to be productive, and you need productivity to stay disciplined.
Being productive can give you more time in your day. After all, when you create a productive schedule that works for you, you don’t overload yourself with meaningless work.
You make time for what matters most; those tasks that are really going to move the needle. In the end, you can improve your career, you relationships, and your overall life.
Jordan Peterson said it best:
“Make a damn schedule and stick to it!”
Peterson also stresses that you shouldn’t be a tyrant against yourself. You should create a day that you actually enjoy. One that is productive for both your career and your inner self development. That doesn’t mean 12 hours of straight work.
There are two proven methods for increasing productivity: the STING model and the Pomodoro Technique.
Both of these methods can be used to make you more productive in your business and studies as well as your social life and rest-and-recovery time.
How to Increase Productivity: The STING Model
STING is an acronym for a type of productivity hack that removes all distractions and utilizes the concept of timed focus.
Select One Thing to Focus On
First, select just one thing to work or focus on. Giving yourself one task to complete will help you to focus, reducing the noise from that pesky monkey brain while clearing up your thoughts and reducing procrastination.
I believe it helps to write things down on paper, so I would recommend writing down the specific assignment or task you’re going to tackle.
Set a timer between 30 to 60 minutes and use this as your work period.
Knowing exactly what you’re working on and giving yourself a time limit will help you hyper focus on what you have to achieve.
This part is absolutely crucial: You MUST eliminate all distractions including your cell phone, unnecessary website tabs, television, etc.
Have ONLY what you need to get the job done right in front of you.
With that said, some tasks might require your phone or website. If you can, download an app that restricts your use of certain websites like Instagram and Facebook.
Some examples of these apps include Freedom, Serene, and Cold Turkey Blocker.
You have your assignment, the clock is set, and your phone is out of the room, so it’s time to get started. The catch is that once you start, you don’t stop. There are no breaks until after the timer goes off.
The idea here is to eliminate everything that can break your concentration and result in less productivity. Not allowing yourself to take a break is one more thing you don’t have to worry about until you hear the timer.
Give Yourself a Reward
Once you have completed the task, it’s time to reward yourself. You didn’t think this was all stick and no carrot, did you?
This can be anything you want, although we highly recommend something that is healthy and will help you move the needle forward in your goals.
For example, you can spend some time doing one of your favorite fitness activities such as rucking or kayaking. Physical activity after mental effort can help to alleviate anxiety, frustration, and work-related nervousness.
You can also read a book that’s been sitting on your shelf collecting dust, or you can spend quality time with a productive circle of friends.
How to Increase Productivity: The Pomodoro Technique
If you listen to podcasters like Jocko Willink, Tim Ferriss, or Joe Rogan, you might already be familiar with the Pomodoro Technique. It’s another productivity hack that is very similar to the STING Method. In fact, it uses the same steps, but there’s one crucial difference: how you dedicate your time to a task.
When you set the timer, you will set it for 25 minutes. Once the timer goes off, you take a quick five-minute break, reset the timer for 25 minutes, and start again. You’ll complete four rounds and then take a 10-to-20-minute break.
The Pomodoro Technique schedule will look like this:
- 25 minutes: Round One
- 5 minutes: Break
- 25 minutes: Round Two
- 5 minutes: Break
- 25 minutes: Round Three
- 5 minutes: Break
- 25 minutes: Round Four
- 10-20 minutes: Break
After that final long break, most people will jump back into another cycle of the Pomodoro Technique. The average productivity hacker will strive to complete three cycles per day.
The benefit to the shorter work span is that it immediately forces you into a hyper-focused state. You don’t have the luxury of an hour to daydream – You MUST get done as much as you can within that 25-minute span of time.
Use Productivity for More Than Work
It’s important to revisit the point that while productivity is an essential part of accomplishing your goals, it should be used for more than your work.
Schedule time for yourself. Do things that help you relax and hit that mental reset button. Want to play a video game but you don’t want to get lost in it for hours? Use the Pomodoro Technique. Play for 25 minutes, take a five-minute tech reset, then jump into something related to your work or development.