Hi! It’s Thanh here. Do you struggle with personal productivity? One of my passions is increasing productivity, and Brian Tracy is one of the biggest guys in personal development and productivity. Pearls of wisdom flow with every word he writes.
Over the years I’ve read many books and I’ve listened to tons of audio programs by Brian Tracy. Learning from the experts really makes a huge difference. Here are ten of Brian’s best pieces of advice on how to improve productivity. Let’s get right into Brian’s top ways to increase productivity!
1. Eat That Frog
One of my favorite techniques from Brian Tracy to increase productivity is called eat that frog. It’s simple. Each day you start off by doing something you dread doing the most so you get it out of the way first. He got it from the saying, “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” In other words, if you start your day with completing the task you hate the most, everything else you do will feel easy in comparison.
If you don’t know what your frog is, make a list of things to do and then prioritize based on things you don’t like to do, but know you have to do. The one at the top of your list is your frog – Eat the Frog First.
Book==> Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
2. Plan Your Day
Brian Tracy writes a lot about the power of our subconscious. Even though scientifically it’s very hard to prove, the subconscious plays a very important role in goal setting and thus your personal productivity. One easy way to utilize your subconscious is by planning your day the night before. When you do this right before going to bed, your subconscious starts to work with the things you need to do the next day. By the time you wake up, you know right away what to do and you will be super motivated.
By letting your subconscious work on it throughout the night you get a sense of direction when you wake up. It’s just a simple thing to do but very powerful. So plan for tomorrow in the evening and eat that frog first.
3. 10/90 Rule = Plan 10% / Act 90%
The 10/90 rule is simple: plan 10% of your time but execute 90% of the time. A little planning will help you effectively do the right things and it will make it easier to get thins done. This simple rule also helps you prevent procrastination even though sometimes it doesn’t look like it. Procrastination is sometimes called analysis paralysis – you analyze and prepare more than you actually do things. This is a great rule to beat perfectionism.
Perfectionists want everything 100% perfect, but good enough will do the trick. The majority of your time should be spent on executing and you can make revisions along the way.
4. Single Task, not Multitask
Ironically people think that by doing multiple things at the same time they get more work done. In reality, instead of increasing productivity, the amount of work done and the quality of it goes down. Here’s a simple trick to illustrate the ineffectiveness of multitasking.
On a piece of paper, write down the numbers 1 to 5 down the page
Next to each, down the numbers spelled out.
You should have
- 1 One
- 2 Two
- 3 Three
- 4 Four
- 5 Five
Now do the same thing again, but multitasking. Write 1 then one, 2 then two, 3 then three, etc.
If you do this you (and have timed yourself) you would notice that multitasking is slower than the first method – even though the outcome of both are exactly the same. This illustrates that multitasking is a lot slower than single tasking.
When you mentally have to make those little switches it will cost you a bit of time and focus. Rather than trying to do more than one thing at a time, you should put full focus on one thing at a time. It’s much more effective and will improve your efficiency and personal productivity. Brian’s book Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals is well worth a look if you are having issues with focus and want to increase productivity.
5. Remove the Bottleneck
Every project you work on has a bottleneck – that one thing that is holding you down from taking the next step. The key to efficiency is to determine then eliminate bottlenecks. Sometimes it is something you are waiting for or the method you are using is not as effective. Whatever the case may be – identify the bottle neck and eliminate it as soon as possible so you can move forward.
6. Your Energy Levels Mean Guaranteed Increased Productivity
Sometimes the bottle neck is you. While everything around you might be ready, if you are tired or stressed it’s very difficult to be productive. That’s why you really have to pay attention to your energy levels. Here are a couple tips to nurture your energy levels and increase productivity from other posts on UR:
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Practice breathing exercises and meditation.
- Take frequent breaks throughout the day and week.
Time management is also self-management. You’ll be more productive when you take good care of yourself
7. Focus on Your #1 Task
Here is a simple mindset that will help you. Once you have determined what your number one task is, increasing productivity is about knowing that everything else is relatively unimportant.
This allows you to focus at the task at hand knowing that all other stuff coming your way is of no importance to you. What is important is the task you are working on right now. It’s a simple mindset but a very effective to combat distractions.
We often get distracted because we think something else might be more important. For example, you might be writing an article, your phone goes off and your first tendency is to pick up the phone. When you have a #1 task, distractions can be dealt with later on. The other person will call back later or get a hold of you one way or another if it’s important. The same idea goes to text messages, email notifications and any other outside distraction. One of Brian’s best books: Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible
Keep it in mind – increased productivity comes from Focus on one thing at a time.
8. Know the Consequences
Tony Robbins is famous for saying that we as humans either move away from pain or towards pleasure. Both types are very strong sources of motivation and you can utilize this to increase your personal productivity by using visualizations.
Everything you work on either has positive or negative consequences. By visualizing those consequences you can motivate yourself to start working. Let’s say that if you would complete project X, you would be a multimillionaire. Would that motivate you to start working? Or if you didn’t start working on project X, you would let your family down. Would that motivate you to start working? For most people, the answer to both is yes.
You can do these visualization exercises every day and each time you feel you’re not in the mood to work. Just take out five minutes, close your eyes and visualize the positive and/or negative consequences. Usually right after you will have the motivation to get to get started.
9. Procrastinate on the Little Things
In a perfect world you would never procrastinate. In reality, everyone does it once a while. It’s just a fact of life. But if you have to, then procrastinate on things of insignificance. Another way of seeing this is to always work on things that matter (like your frogs) so what is left is stuff that is unimportant which you have little time for.
Here are some things you can procrastinate on:
- Cleaning your inbox
- Articles to read
- Youtube videos to watch
10. Know Your Purpose for Increasing Productivity
When you start to effectively manage your time, you are able to spend more time with people you love and care about.
Start being in the driver seat of your life and know where you are going. If you have a purpose in life then your personal productivity and time management will be much easier. Your clear purpose and new skills will allow you to spend time with the people around you that you care about with less worry and stress.
- Eat that Frog (worst necessary task) first.
- Plan the night before
- Then act act act
- Avoid the temptation of multitasking
- Determine and eliminate bottlenecks every day
- While keeping your energy levels high by looking after yourself
- Always know your #1 priority
- And what will happen if you don’t achieve it
- Ignore the distractions
- So you can achieve your purpose in life
One of Brian Tracy’s best books is basically his blueprint for success. Click below to grab a copy.
+Thanh Pham is a productivity nerd and enjoys writing on time management. When he is not traveling the world with his gadgets, he is reading and writing on business, personal development and increasing productivity.