We’ve all had the experience of working on a task that requires an hour or two of deep thought and concentration, only to find ourselves derailed by the whirlwind of the day. In the end, we find that the task takes more of our time than it should have. A text message here, an email check there, and before we know it we’ve lost sight of what we had set out to do. We know our world is filled with distractions. Does that mean we should resign ourselves to less productive work hours? No, of course not. Productive work is elusive, but certainly not impossible. Here are the suggestions I gave to my team for more productive work:
- Wake up at the same time every day… which means that you need to get to bed at the same time too.
- Don’t rely on others to wake you up – own it!… a baby is not an alarm clock.
- Schedule two 30-minute blocks to reply to emails, respond to texts and calls. Think of it as a depository for things that will otherwise distract from focused craft.
- You are a craftsman. An artist at what you do… think of an artisan blacksmith on a cellphone… it doesn’t work. Think of a great NFL coach texting during the middle of the game or even sitting down…
- As a person at the top of your field, win the day by the morning call: Your momentum from the day has to be set by the time the rest of the world is clocking into the office. Mediocrity starts thinking about work when it is imposed… Is reactionary, not proactive.
- Set appointments to go deep into relationships. Personally and professionally. The most important appointments get on your calendar the same time every week… at least. Think church and coaching relationships of almost any type.
- If you are unhappy or stressed, it’s very likely you don’t know what tomorrow’s deep relationships will entail or how your craft will be focused upon; when they will be; if they will happen. Take custody of your time at a high level and the results will show up.
- Read about the virtue of order. Some suggestions: Deep Work, by Cal Newport and The One Thing, by Gary Keller.
- Your competition will not do these things.
Below you’ll find a quick video that I sent out to my team on the same subject – Enjoy!