In college, I use to walk to class with my earphones blasting the latest Drake or J. Cole lyrics. Sure, it’s a pretty cool party trick to know all the bars to a Cole verse, but it doesn’t add much value to life aside from that.
As I’ve progressed through my 6-year college journey, I’ve started to move away from the rap jams, and started to spend more and more of my walking time listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
Now that I’m in Salt Lake City, walking through the parks with my latest Audible download is one of my favorite things to do.
Granted, it’s not as effective as a Drizzy song to seductively whisper sweet psychology studies or productivity tips into my girlfriend’s ear… but my new habits have led to a happier, healthier brain.
Recently, I was listening to a podcast by the incredible Amy Porterfield and she had Todd Herman on as a guest. Todd is a top tier coach in business and sports psychology. He was speaking about a subject that I have been obsessed with for the past few years:
How can I be more motivated, have more energy, and be more productive throughout my day?
How can I stay away from HotNewHipHop.com, ESPN, and Chipotle long enough to knock out a blog post and create a new program?
This dude was dropping insight bombs.
I have found and practiced a few strategies that work for me in the past, but this interview was the icing on the cake.
After listening and implementing some things in my own life, I came up with the PRODUCE Model. I didn’t come up with tactics, but I did filter though and experiment with so many ideas over the years, and here are the 7 that absolutely have worked for me and you may find it helpful as well.
P – Producer Mindset
My sister Jill constantly talks about switching from a consumer mindset to a producer mindset. In a world constantly filled with distractions and information, we must become a producer. Whether you want to be an internet entrepreneur, an employee who wants a promotion, or a student who wants a job, you have to change to a producer mindset.
The consumer is the person who reads 74 blog posts, watches cute wildcat videos, and reads every single one of the 57 Ridiculous Thoughts A Guy Has When A Girl Isn’t Texting Him Back on Elite Daily (please don’t.. just.. don’t.).
The producer creates the content people read. They come up with brilliant models that can help others (like PRODUCE :-)). They add skills to their repertoire.
Not that there is anything wrong with a good wildcat video. I love those little guys.
The problem with the consumer mindset is that it’s draining. It sounds silly, but being a consumer zaps your energy. That’s why when you watch a movie, all you want to do is watch another movie. It’s why we “shop til we drop.” It’s energy draining. So stay away from Facebook, Television, and shopping, and move towards creating, sharing, and inspiring.
How can you add value to other’s lives? What are 3 activities you can do less of during the week?
R – Routine
One of my favorite books is The Power of Habit. My man Charles talks about how building habits and routines takes conscious thought and decision-making power away from the brain. Whereas, when your actions become automatic, they take little energy to perform.
This is important to productivity because energy and willpower are limited resources. Any activity that requires conscious decision-making or intentional energy will dip into that energy bank, and pull some out. This is why after a long day the only thing that sounds nice is a large pepperoni pizza, four beers, and a Revenge marathon on Netflix.
Tai Lopez, entrepreneur and creator of the 67 Steps Program, says that it takes approximately 66 days for a new activity to become a habit. Pick one, impactful action that if done everyday, would make an impact on your productivity and life. Would it be 8 hours of sleep? Would it be meditation or visualization exercises? Would it be 100 push-ups upon waking up?
O – One Task
In Amy’s podcast with Todd Herman, he addresses the multitasking myth. This is something that I consistently focus on. I try to do one thing at a time. But it’s tough…
I know that for me to write a blog, I have to set aside time, shut down my phone and Internet, open up Microsoft word, and not move until I write every last word.
Otherwise I won’t get shit done.
Todd asks the question, how much time do you have if you are spending your time on one project? The answer, of course: 100% of your time.
Now, how much time do you have if you are working on two projects at one time? Obvious answer: 50% of your time for one task, and 50% for the other. Wrong! You’re wrong! Absolutely wrong!
What Todd points out is that we do not calculate for the cost of context switching. Context switching is the time it takes to move back and forth between activities. Whether that is regaining the thinking process you had, finding your pen, finding the tab you need from the 4,672 tabs open on you Internet browser, etc.
And if you’re working on five projects at once? Like doing schoolwork, email, watching cute wildcat videos, texting your best friend, and eating string cheese, you can lose up to 75% of the time in your day..
Here is the fix Todd provided:
The night before your day, write down 5-6 things you must complete. Put them in order of priority, and when you wake up start with task one. Do not move onto task two until #1 is complete.
Read: The One Thing by Gary Keller
D – Do something
My favorite blogger, Mark Manson says “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it.” Like brushing your teeth, grabbing a cup of coffee, or putting on your pants, action is a habit that can be formed. Not only that, action creates MORE action.
The more you act, the more you act. Wait, does that make sense?
The problem is that we wait until we feel motivated to act, but that rarely comes. Action works inversely to what we think; It’s not motivation that creates action. It’s action that create more motivation. The more I write, the more I “feel like” writing. The move I eat Chipotle, the more I crave Chipotle.
So the point here is to do something, anything. Stop watching Netflix, stop eating pizza, and take one tiny step in the direction you want to go.
U – Under 90 day goals
Another stand out point from the interview with Todd was that our brains are not wired to look 10 years, 5 years or even 6 months into the future. We can visualize a future far off, and that is certainly beneficial and positive. However, as far as goals go, we should never set our goals beyond 90 days. Our brain has a tough time making goals in the far off future concrete.
When we set shorter, 1-3 month goals, we are much more likely to see the steps we have to take to get there, and we feel that sense of urgency. When you have a 20 year plan, it’s easy to put it off into the “I’ll do it later” category. When you have 15 days, it’s a much larger kick in the ass.
My brothers and I have a monthly Google hangout called the Accountability Circle to keep each other in check and set monthly goals to complete. It has been extremely helpful.
What is something you’re going to accomplish in the next 30-90 days? Pick a goal, pick a time table to complete it (no more than 90 days), and write it down!
C – Cause
Why do you do what you do? When your brain is asked a question, it goes looking for answers. And when you have an answer for “Why?” you’re much more likely to follow through on tasks, get your ass out of bed in the morning, and pass on the burger and fries.
Why do you want to get in shape? Why do you want to start your own business? Why are you waking up in the morning? Purpose propels action. When we know why, the what and how are easy.
Read: Start With Why by Simon Sinek
E – Eat The Frog
“Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin. There’s nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task.” ~ William James
From the well-known book, Eat The Frog, the idea is to eliminate procrastination by doing the most difficult task first. Remember that list of 5-6 things you made last night? Put the most difficult things at the top. Remember, your willpower and energy are limited, so if you save your most difficult tasks for the end of the day, it will be much more difficult to complete them.
Use these tools to kick this week’s ass. Let me know if you have any tips and tricks that help you!