Get to Peak Productivity Fast

Get to Peak Productivity Fast

What makes an elite performer isn’t how you show up when Plan A’s working. What reveals a true superstar is the way you deliver when your best laid plans are falling apart.

These are messy times. Days of intense volatility. A period of immense uncertainty. And one of the dominant themes in work + life these days is distraction (a constant stream of activities begging for our attention that in the end amount to nothing).

So the fight we face as Leaders Without Titles and as human beings on a mission to express our absolute best talents is to block out the noise so we get real work done. Here are some of my best strategies to help you do this:

#1. Get Great at Reverse Engineering: Engineers working with technology startups are masterful at taking a competitor’s product and breaking it apart – piece by piece – from the finished version to its initial components. After study, they then make their own product even better. Truly productive people do the same thing with their most valuable opportunity. They know the final result they are after and maintain acute clarity on it. Armed with this awareness, they reverse engineer this big goal into a series of small and actionable steps that they then put into a 1-2 page plan of execution. This strategy works for them. And it’ll work for you.

#2. Abhor Distraction: I fiercely fight distraction in my own life and teach the teams I work with at companies like Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Oracle along with the billionaires I privately coach how to do the same. Everyone’s fighting for your focus. And too many people are stealing your attention. Don’t be so generous in giving it to them – unless it’s for something that truly matters. So, clean out the distractions in your workspace and personal life. I just read that special forces on a military mission are kept in isolation from other teams and denied access to TV/Newspapers/Internet. Why? To PROTECT their focus so they deliver perfection on their mission. Pretty great metaphor for you and I, no? So please remember: Distraction is the greatest thief of time. And time is a non-renewable resource.

#3. Stop Multi-tasking: A recent case report shared a story of a medical resident who was using her cellphone to input data about the dosage of a patient she was attending. She was interrupted with a text message from a friend inviting her to a party. The resident replied and started a conversation. The only problem was she forgot to get back to her patient who then began receiving a near-fatal dose of the medicine. Open-heart surgery saved his live. But the larger point is that so few of us are fully present to the work/activity in front of us anymore. I see people on airport runways checking their Twitter feed. I see taxi drivers reviewing their emails. A huge competitive advantage falls to the 1 in 100 performer with the brilliance to develop the skill of becoming massively focused on the one thing in front of them. Truly a game-changing move.

#4. Build Rituals: Ok, this is another valuable tactic to unleash your productivity. When I studied the lives of People of Great Output like Stephen King, Winston Churchill and John Irving, I saw that they didn’t leave their productivity to the fleeting winds of inspiration. Instead, they instituted precise rituals into their daily lives that allowed their creativity to flourish. Stephen King, for example, sits down to work at 8 am every morning, in the same chair, with his papers set in the same way. His belief is that this obsessive consistency sends a signal to his mind to focus and deliver serious results.

#5. Launch at Beta: So many of us procrastinate by waiting for ideal conditions to get big things done. Here’s what I’ve learned from some of the software enterprises we’ve consulted with: launch at beta and then iterate to perfection. What I mean by that is stop waiting for perfect conditions or the perfect product before you get to market. Yes, I stand for ensuring anything you offer is best of breed. But sometimes putting off a project until it’s flawless demonstrates nothing more than your fear of success. And we both know you’re so much larger than that.

#6. Practice Productivity: When I was learning to ski, my instructor taught me about muscle memory. He made me practice many tiny moves over and over again sharing “this is going to build your muscle memory”, meaning that if I practiced the technique relentlessly, a time would eventually come where I could perform it swiftly, elegantly and unconsciously. Same applies to your productivity. Practice doing work that matters. Practice sitting in one place for many hours focused on a single result. Practice running rituals and elite performance routines that will lift you into the realm of world-class. Because as I know you know: Genius isn’t so much about genetics as it is about work ethic and sheer practice.

I hope these strategies have been of service to you. The world needs you at your productive best.

Stay Great,

Robin Sharma

P.S. Please mark your calendar for TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18. I’ve created a powerful training video sharing some of my advanced productivity techniques that will be uber-valuable to you that I’ll be sending your way. With my best wishes. Speak soon.

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10 Responses to “Get to Peak Productivity Fast”

  1. naved says:

    thank you so much for sharing these great yet simple tactics :)

  2. Naved says:

    Awesome post as usual sir. Thanks a lot;)

  3. Vikas says:

    Thanks for the best…!
    I need such inspirational things at the moment…!

  4. Leon White says:

    Thanks, Robin. What you shared is what I have learned to practice. Thank you.

  5. Vijay Verma says:

    Thank you so much Robin sir, This post has really inspired me to work in a particular direction and to have a focused approach.

  6. satish Rao says:

    Excellent thoughts Robin.I just loved the muscle memory learning concept under practice productivity and looks like i knew it all along but never thought it in this way.Great stuff, simple but profound

  7. Arkhangael says:

    Reading about Steps 1 to 4 were like listening to someone say ‘Open your eyes and see”.
    Yes, I have results to produce and the reverse engineering technique could very well be what could help.
    Abhor distraction? Are you talking about my obsession to get online and open my twitter feed on my phone or check my personal mail, even for 30 seconds? Getting online on its own & launching apps take more than enough of my time.
    Multi Tasking. My job is demanding enough. oing the extra mile is wonderful, but maybe I should simply transfer some calls or stop doing other people’s tasks just to feel a great achiever.
    Build Rituals remind me of my youth. Yes, these used to work for me. I lost a part of that, I started to lose all of my efficiency. And I know exactly where it started.
    Step number 6: Yes, I should lauch at beta, start whatever I have to do when I feel I can start, not when the time is right. It’s ok to fail a few times.
    I am not sure about step number 6. Maybe I misunderstood, or maybe Tuesday’s video will be more helpful..

  8. Suresh N says:

    Good read but it’s more about you. In each of the six points, you have mentioned something about yourself, and your acquaintances with billionaires or the great companies you are associated with were not at all necessary when you were talking about distraction.

    Some points cannot be agreed and won’t work for all industries.

    First, the example you have given for multitasking is not actually multitasking, it’s distraction. Even if an argument is made for multitasking, the girl you are talking about is a bad multi-tasker, which doesn’t mean multitasking itself is bad. People who built million dollar companies up from nothing were multi-taskers. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, none of them were from affluent families and all their companies were start-ups and do you think they had employees for each task right from the beginning?

    Second, launching at beta works only with a software. What would you say if the next car you are going to buy is a beta version with a bad set of brakes, and medicine you are going to take after you meet with an accident in your beta car is not fully studied of side effects?

  9. Dinesh says:

    Awesome , as ususal from RS .
    One request Robin , to upload some “calculative table / formula” to check Self consistency .

  10. Marcus says:

    Launch at beta is incredibly good advice to those who struggle with perfectionism. I used it myself several times to beat perfectionism and it has worked flawlessly. Beautiful tips all of them, major thanks for keeping them coming!

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