In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of Lessons for Hannah, I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
Lessons for Hannah are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
Ok, so here goes…this week’s Lesson for Hannah.
Hannah Sweetie, I want to talk to you about how to be more productive and accomplish more. As you grow older, you will find that time becomes more and more precious, so your ability to be productive and accomplish more with the time you have is a blessing. But, how do you do that? There are tons of books and strategies written about how to be more productive and accomplish more. Most of the time, it is the same advice. Focus, plan for your success, don't multi-task, turn off email, etc.
All of that is great advice and works. But, I have found a few additional methods alongside the more standard ones that really make a difference.
First, you've probably read a million times that you need to plan your day or plan for your success. There is a reason for that. It works. But, one trick I have found that has made a big difference is to plan in two ways. First, each Sunday, I sit down and write out my “to do” items by day for each of my different businesses for the upcoming week. You’ve been watching me do this since you were a kid and know that it takes me about 20-30 minutes. The reason this is important is because it gives me a bigger picture and view of what I have on my docket and what I want to do, instead of looking at things from the microcosm of just one day. Once I am done, I can see where I need to make changes or move things around to maximize productivity. Second, each day, I the make my daily "to do" list from the weekly list. What is nice is that each day, I can also see what is to do for the rest of the week and if I think I will have time, I can start working in say Thursday tasks on Tuesday. One very, very important secret with my daily planning is this. Write your daily “to do” list the night before. At the end of the day, take a look at what you have for tomorrow and also do a “brain dump” of things you know you need to do as well. Things are fresh in your mind at the end of your day, so writing your tasks for the next day is much easier, clearer, and keeps you from forgetting things. I used to write my to do list each morning for the day and since I started doing it the day before, I have noticed a considerable jump in productivity and am getting more time with you and mommy in evenings and on weekends.
Next, a habit I started doing years ago is what I call the morning prime and my three to thrive and succeed. This takes less than 10 minutes each day. I write down 3 things I am thankful/grateful for. A lot of times it has to do with you and mommy, but doing this does two things. First, it allows me to start my day with gratitude and come from a place of thankfulness. You'll be amazed at how this makes a difference in your attitude and thus your productivity. Second, it gives me perspective of what is really important in life.
Once, I've done that which takes 4-5 minutes, I look at my to do list for the day and pick the top 3 items from that list that will make the biggest impact in my life and businesses that day. I ask myself, "If I could only get 3 things done on this list, which would be the most impactful." That's my "three to thrive." I write those down or circle them on the “to do” list and focus only on them until they are done before moving on to the rest of the list. In fact, creating this message for you is one of my three to thrive for today.
Lastly, is what I call my secret weapon. From tracking my productivity, I have found a secret weapon that when I do this vs. when I do not has proven to make a difference. That secret? Listening to music with noise cancelling headphones. But, not just any type of music. It has to be instrumental only and of 3 genre: Piano, Chill Type Music....and surprise, Movie Music Scores.
I know this sounds crazy, but you have to try it. I have experimented with a number of music types and those 3 work the best. Depending on what you need at the moment, each can help you in different ways. For example, in the morning when things are quiet and I am just getting going, I like to listen to Chill Music. It drowns out all of the thoughts going in my head as the day begins and I start on my three to thrive keeping me focused. If I am feeling anxious or overloaded, Piano Music works every time. And if, I need inspiration or motivation, Movie Music Scores. Hans Zimmer's are the best. You can just jump on the web and type what you are looking for in and find it. As of the date of this lesson, Youtube works best.
The last thing I would say to you sweetie is that doing any one of these by themselves will make a difference in your ability to be more productive, but if you combine them, planning your week/day, having a daily prime/three to thrive routine and doing your tasks listening to music, -you'll be insanely more productive.
I can’t wait to see you put these in action in your life and for you to figure out your own ways to increase your abilities and productivity. Here’s to your success!
I love you, daddy…
Best Quote: “One very, very important secret with my daily planning is this. Write your daily “to do” list the night before..."