There are many things in this world that I most certainly am not. I’m not good with tools. I’m not good with stupid people. I’m not patient. I’m not artsy. And as my mother would testify, I’ve never been particularly tidy. One thing I most certainly am, though, is productive. At the expense of modesty I outwork, outperform and outlast almost anyone I can think of. I get more done in a month than most people get done in a year. Your response to me saying that will be one of three things. If you don’t believe me then you simply don’t know me. If you’re getting angry then you suck but you’ll never change. But if you’re curious, if you’re interested in finding out exactly how I do it, then I encourage you to read on.
Life Lesson Number One: Your Time is an asset
You’ve all heard the old adage that ‘time is money’, and well it’s sort of true. But I prefer to think of it as ‘money potential,’ or rather to substitute for the phrase ‘time is value.’ If you have no time you have no value. You could literally have an idea so amazing that you’re sitting on a fortune, but if you have no time to pursue it then your idea has no value. If you work a standard 9 to 5 job but you have to commute two hours each way and work alternate weekends, you have no value. If you want to get shit done you have to have time, which means that you have to fiercely guard your time against yourself and others. Marketing and Copywriting Guru Dan Kennedy writes a book on the topic called The No BS Guide to Time Management. It costs around £10. Buy it, read it, and you’ll never look at your time in the same way again.
You can also check out this infographic for a whole host of ways to maximise the use of your time
Life Lesson Number Two: The 6 P’s
Pretty Poor Planning = Piss Poor Performance
I’m pretty sure this is an old army acronym, but it’s definitely one that can be applied to civilian life. If you don’t plan properly then you cannot target your activity. And if you cannot target your activity you cannot maximise your productivity. You need to plan your actions.
A simple way to do this is to use a 2 page book or planner. On the page on the left you’re going to write your longer term goals. What do you want to create? Who do you want to interact with? Where do you need to go? From this you’re going to make a list of activities that are specifically designed to get you to those long term goals. On the right hand page of this planner you’re going to write the days of the week (or rather 6 of them - you’ve got to rest one at least one day!) You’re then going to assign the activities you drew up to a specific day of the week, as well as assigning a minimum and maximum time expectation for each of those tasks. Lastly, and most importantly, you’re going to actually do each of these activities.
The magic of this system is that as well as knowing exactly what you’re going to be doing each day (which allows you to guard your time) you’re also constantly being reminded of your bigger goals, which helps keep you motivated.
Life Lesson Number Three: Talent is over-rated
Give me a choice between a naturally talented individual and someone with a great work ethic and I’ll choose the latter every single time. Talent only gets you so far. I may have only been around for 23 years but I’ve met a bunch of talented people. I come from a working class midlands background and yet I can hold my own in a conversation with Oxford graduates. And as if Oxford wasn’t clue enough I’m a massive geek, yet I can still hold my own against some incredibility talented Powerlifters, Olympic lifters and Sprinters. People may be smarter than you, they may be faster or stronger or they may have better connections, but they can never outwork you. Will Smith put this beautifully when he said that the difference between him and any other guy is that when you put him on a treadmill ‘either the other guy’s stopping first or I’m dying on that treadmill.’ It’s hard to argue with that level of commitment.
And that, my friends, is that. You write a detailed plan, attack it with consistent effort and ruthlessly protect your time against those that would stop you. If you can do all three of those then absolutely nothing can stand in your way, and if anything tries to…you’ll bulldoze it!
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