10 Ways to Focus and to Function Flawlessly

Uncovered are 10 not often spoken of productivity secrets that are both fundamental AND will have a massive impact on the amount AND quality of the things that you get done…

These points are not taught in conventional educational institutions… so, focus, and listen up!

1) Meta or “Bettah” Planning by Advantageous Perspective

Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying:

“A problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking in which it was conceived”

He is talking about going meta: moving to a level “above,” it, or, changing perspective to one outside or above, to see the problem from a vantage point that gives advantage to solving it.

For example, effective leaders of a community can stop operating at the level of the social group (the individual relationships between the people) and spend more time operating at a level ABOVE their community, whereas the members of the community spend the majority of their time existing within the business system. It’s always best to stand back from the canvas of your issue or problem, so that proper perspective can be attained. Can’t fix a problem, if you can’t correctly identify it. The saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees,” makes more sense, when you think of it from this context.

Albert suggests that you spend at least 15 minutes at the start of your day… going meta.

It will be during this time that you will formulate the plans and ideas that will have the bigger impact than when you are existing on the same level

2) The Grey Zone is a Dead-end Zone

Everything that exists must include, somewhere within it, its polar opposite.

  • Day/Night
  • Darkness/Light
  • Love/Fear
  • Ying/Yang

And most interestingly… Focus and Non-Focus.

We all know that to achieve what we want to achieve… we must focus. People THINK they can focus for 12 hours a day without rest. As mentioned above, one experience must also have its polar opposite, so in order for you to effectively focus, you must also effectively not-focus, or rest.

Therefore, if you try to focus for 12 hours straight, without rest, what you will actually be doing is spending most of your time in the “Grey Zone,” as explained in Tony Schwartz’s book: The Power Of Full Engagement. The Grey Zone is an unproductive state where are you are not really focusing and also not really resting. This is a state that all of us should try to avoid being in, but, which all of us find ourselves in, much of the time.

Once you understand this… you can schedule in focused blocks of time AND blocks of rest time, minimizing the amount of time you spend in the Grey Zone.

3) Nurture and Nourish or Neglect Yourself and your Output

This one may seem unexpected…

People are more productive when they balance both work and play. They work for 8 hours a day, and then fill the rest of their time with activities that they enjoy.

Do burn out with 80/90 hour weeks because it often leads to days of inactivity.

This can also work on a micro basis…

E.g. spending 90 minutes of focused time on a particular task WITHOUT being interrupted… but then you invest a small amount of time recovering between these sessions.

This will enable you to perform more of these sessions effectively.

4) Decision Fatigue is Exhausting!

  • Why does Mark Zuckerberg wear the same clothes each day? Or, is this a myth?
  • Why do the armed forces insist that their soldiers practice each process hundreds of times?
  • Do I delegate as much decision making to my team members as I should, or too much?

Everyday, you have a certain amount of decision making thinking to use. Once this is gone, that’s it. It is not replenished until you wake up the next morning. And the problem is that MOST people waste this most precious resource on overthinking decisions that do not radically improve their productivity.

For example, should I wear the black dress with white shores, or the white dress with black shoes… or the black dress with the black shoes…… OR the white dress with the white shoes, today?

What to do about this?

You need to become aware that with every decision you make, you are less likely to make effective and productive decisions later in the day, because you will be “thought” out.

The solution?

Become aware of the little decisions that you are making each day that are currently depleting your will power… then ritualize them.

For example, one of my founders Tom has the following morning ritual:

  • Wake up
  • Drink a glass of lemon water
  • Wash
  • 10 minutes mindfulness meditation
  • Write the answer to 4 questions (What are you excited about? What did you do well yesterday? What are you grateful for? What are you afraid to lose?)
  • Write out affirmations
  • Move through 4 visualisations
  • Exercise

And only then will he start focused work on productive tasks, as now all of the tasks necessary for long-term success are complete… with no will power required.

Humans, unlike computers, make better complex decisions. Don’t waste this ability on futile decisions that have no impact on the lives of yourself and others.

5) Don’t allow White Space to Draw You from Your Priorities

Many of the small, relatively inconsequential daily decisions need to be automated OR all made ahead of time. This will enable 100% focus on priority tasks that create the most value for your business/other people. The simplest way to ensure you spend your time fully in priority-mode is is to plan your day, down to the nearest 15 minutes for ALL activities, but also allowing that an unexpected disruption can come along anytime and change your plans altogether. Accept the fact that it’s best to plan in detail, but allow the unavoidable all the time it needs to happen, especially since we can’t usually do anything about these unwanted interruptions.

Try to schedule non-priority activities, such as eating, sleeping, exercising, AROUND doing our priorities, allowing for a change to occur that’s out of our control. So long as our priorities are our priority, and we try to schedule the rest so we don’t allow our priority to lessen in priority, we will be operating at a higher level of effectiveness in achieving our objectives.

When you start each day, you’ll have made all these plans and decision (preferably the night before), so that you can jump right in and use ALL your energy of the new day to do the tasks that matter most, or are of the highest priority. Always know what you are going to do, in priority, the night before, if possible.

6) Leverage A Global Talent Pool

Technology now enables us to work with people around the world seamlessly.

Therefore…

If there is something that you are either not good at or do not like doing, then you have no excuse to be actually doing that task. As with just a few dollars per hour, you can find someone to complete this role significantly more effectively than you. If I was a gambler, I would be placing money on the possibility that you are spending time doing things you shouldn’t.

For example

  • Are you covering your customer support 24/7?
  • Are you completing your competitor research?
  • Are you stuck scraping websites to generate leads?

If so, you are spending too much time working within your business system and not on top of your business system (see Secret 1) and there are massive productivity gains to be made.

7) No Notifications! Non-essentials can wait.

OK, so I think we should definitely move fo —- BING wait a second….

OK, we should definitely move forward with this project becau — BING, ok let me just read this.

Yes, this project is importan — BING.

Does this look familiar?

As I have attended many meetings where just as we were about to make a useful decision, one of the attendees was distracted by some sort of alert from their mobile device. Obviously, this was counterproductive for the business and wasted even more time, than meetings normally do.

Let’s take a quick look at why this is happening…

Humans have evolved to look out for changes in our environment, especially those that could notify you of a negative event occurring (e.g. being eaten by a sabre tooth tiger). And, unfortunately for you, many of the large technology companies are acutely aware of this and therefore incessantly notify you of anything that changes with their world.

Are they doing this out of the kindness? Maybe… who knows.

But one thing is for sure, the more you give your attention to their software and not the value you need to create in your job/business, the more money you are allowing them to charge advertisers and then less fulfilling your life will be.

8) Clean Your Desk/Desktop

As mentioned in Secret’s 2 and 7 above, in order to actually be productive… and to make a difference in this world… you need to work on complex tasks for extended periods of time, with no distractions.

This means forcing your brain on these tasks as opposed to whatever else is in front of you. And the easiest way to do this?

Make sure that those tasks are the only thing that are in front of you, both in the physical world and the virtual world.

  • Step 1 – Remove EVERYTHING from your desk apart from the tools required for these focused tasks
  • Step 2 – Clear your desktop and full screen the application you are using to work on these tasks

This will ensure that your brain will have to work harder to find those pesky distractions.

9) IIR – Issue, Impact, Recommendation for Resolution

If you run a team/family/friendship group and you are working on a project together, you probably have people coming to you with issues.

This is understandable. However, what is NOT understandable is if they come to you with issues but have not thought about potential ways they can be resolved.

This is where IIR comes in…

  • Issue – What is the problem?
  • Impact – What is the impact of this problem?
  • Recommendation for resolution – What should we do about this problem?

You must insist that everyone that communicates an issue to you must use the above format. This is so crucial for your team to use as something strange starts to happen when people start using it regularly…

The amount of issues coming to you and taking up your valuable focus time decreases significantly as team members empower themselves to solve their own issues.

10) Meditate to Clear Out Mind Clutter and Learn to be in the NOW

You may be asking, “how could sitting down, clearing our thoughts by being still and breathing methodically possibly help to become more productive?”

But first, we must understand a little more about meditation: We all do it, but, do we do it purposely and with intention?? Spacing out – or, daydreaming of nothingness – is a form of “meditation,” but, without the intention, it just leads to nothingness and a waste of precious time.

It’s all about learning to be in the NOW.

Meditation is intentional focusing of the mind, but on “mundane” “now” things, such as breathing or counting. And when you are able to train yourself to do this for extended periods of time through repetition… Your ability to focus your mind on difficult to focus in-the-now things that have no easy or predictable pattern increases dramatically, thereby making you able to think more effectively about complexities, such as problem solving, which happens all day in business.

Being in the Now means no longer expecting your next Facebook notification or Whatsapp message, but being able to become deeply immersed in tthe process of being fully engaged in whatever task you are doing – NOT expecting.

Which of course, will lead to MUCH higher productivity.

BONUS – 11) Productivity and Focusing Tools

Here are a few lesser known robots that you can use to increase your productivity even further:

 

EPILOGUE

It doesn’t matter what business Or task you are trying to do effectively, without effectiveness, you will be spinning your wheels more time than you need to, and, we all know, spinning our wheels is not productive nor time well spent. Do what matters most first. In marketing, what I have done is to have spent time to find the right program to work in the first place, then, focused on doing it effectively with the little time I have. If you want to learn exactly how I did it and why I’m happy about it, contact me. I’ll help you make a similar decision, and help you to focus on how to succeed on a program worth working. Thank you for reading!

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