Just imagine you have a bank account that credits you with $86,400 every single day. You can use and spend this money however you like, but there is one condition—the balance doesn’t carry over to the next day. Whatever you don’t use or invest today will no longer be available tomorrow. There is no way to save it for another day. Knowing this, what would you do? You would use every dollar now, wouldn’t you? (Content is inspired from ‘Unlock It: The Master Key to Wealth, Success, and Significance’ by Dan Lok)
Well, each one of us has this bank account; it’s called TIME. Every single day you have 86,400 seconds deposited to your life, your time bank. You can use each second however you like, but whatever you don’t use or invest today is lost forever. You might have heard of the saying that “time is money”. Do you agree with it? Well, In my opinion, time is never money. Time will always be more valuable than money because once time is gone, it’s gone forever. You can make more money, but you cannot make more time.
For you to unlock maximum productivity and success, here is one thing you must understand: time is your most valuable commodity. We all have the same amount of time to work with—the same 365 days in a year, the same seven days in a week, the same 86,400 seconds in a day. We all have the same time as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mukesh Ambani, and Warren Buffett, but what separates them from everyone else is how they use their time.
The most successful and influential people today have mastered the art of maximum productivity. But what is productivity? It can be summed up in just five words. Productivity is the “maximum results in minimum time.”
Once we achieve one level of productivity in any activity, then further improvement gets registered only when we do the same thing in reduced time. We need to continuously strive to improve our productivity.
Time Management or Self-Management
Most productivity advice talks about “time management,” but when you think about it, can you manage time? Can you speed up time or make it slow down? Can you make time go backward? And can you deposit a few hours today and withdraw them tomorrow?
As we all have the same 86,400 seconds of time in a day, the secret to productivity isn’t time management but it’s self-management. You can’t manage time, but you can manage yourself. It’s not about getting more hours into your day; it’s about getting more results out of the hours you already have. You must always ask yourself the question as “How can I get the most results in the least amount of time?” Believe me your mind is powerful enough to provide you the clue each and every time. The clue may be any book, a YouTube video, a suggestion from your close friend or relative or mentor, etc.
Tips#1: Be Ruthless About The Outcome
There are so many productivity applications nowadays. Like calendar apps, note-taking apps, to-do list apps, project management apps, and all the other apps. Do these apps make you more productive? These apps help you become efficient, but do they help you become productive?
People say, “I’m doing the work, but for some reason, I do not see any results. What am I doing wrong?” If you ask them to show you their to-do list, they are ready with that. That list is filled with many tasks which are not moving them towards their goals. They want more success, more revenue, and more clients but are not having the desired task lists. The uncertainty and lack of clarity about the desired outcome are the roots of the problem.
Most people are so concerned with moving quickly, getting more done, and staying busy that they forget to ask, “Is this even the direction I want to go?” Remember, the definition of productivity is maximum results in minimum time. Notice the emphasis on results. If you don’t have a clear idea of your desired outcome, then how can you measure your results? It would be like playing basketball without a hoop; you can shoot all you want, but you would never score a single point.
“Busyness is a form of laziness.” – Dan Lok
If Your Goal is to Make $10,000 a Month
What can we do to become ruthless about our outcome? When the goal is too big or far away, action steps are less clear. That’s why it’s better to break down your goal into smaller actionable steps, so you know how to reach your outcome. For this example, let’s break down the goal of $10,000 a month. First, let’s see how much you would need to earn every week to hit $10,000 a month.
$10,000 / 4 weeks = $2,500 per week
And if you worked five days a week …
$2,500 / 5 working days = $500 per day
What does this tell us? If you want to earn $10,000 a month, every day you need to hit $500. Can you see how this gives you more clarity? If you are not hitting your daily goal, then you are not hitting your weekly goal. If you are not hitting your weekly goal, then you are not hitting your $10,000 a month goal. Instead of waiting until the end of the month to find out, “Oops, I’m off track,” you’ll know every day whether you’re heading toward your goal or not. That’s what it means to be ruthless about your outcome.
With the $500 per day goal in mind, you can ask yourself questions like:
- Am I moving toward making $500 a day? Or away from it?
- How can I increase the value I’m delivering?
- What am I doing right now that I shouldn’t be doing?
- What’s the most efficient use of my time right now?
- What’s the payoff of this activity I’m doing right now?
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll move closer to your daily goal, then your weekly goal, and eventually your monthly goal.
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” – Henry Ford
Tips#2: Stay Laser Focused
Have you noticed that it’s becoming harder than ever to stay focused? Daily your phone is bombarded with notifications, people are constantly emailing you, new movies are coming out, new shows are coming out, and new products are being released. The world is becoming noisier than ever. When was the last time you focused on one task for at least two hours without checking your phone or email? If you’re like most people, then you probably have trouble staying focused on one task for long periods of time.
Sniper Approach vs Shotgun Approach
Being busy has become a badge of honor for some people. It’s ridiculous. These people are constantly checking their phones, answering emails, and stepping out for “important phone calls.” They’re never present in the moment. These people are operating by what Dan Lok call the “shotgun approach.” They spray and pray. They do many things at once and hope one of the bullets lands. They’re frantic, scattered, uncoordinated. They live life at one hundred miles per hour.
Better preference can be the “sniper approach.” When you think of a sniper, what comes to mind? They’re cool, calm, and collected. They scout out their position, locate their target, and pull the trigger—one shot, one kill. The sniper believes that less is more. They believe in precision over power, focus over distraction, and humility over ego. Snipers understand that not all actions lead to results. They know that many actions are wasteful and counterproductive.
The 80/20 Principle
The 80/20 Principle states that approximately 80 percent of all effects come from 20 percent of the causes. To put it more accurately, the majority of effects come from a minority of the causes. 20 percent of your actions account for 80 percent of your happiness, income, and success.
What does this have to do with you? Well, when you find out which 20 percent of your actions create the most results for you, you can eliminate the other 80 percent. Instead of a “to-do list,” you can create a “not to-do list” and increase your focus.
Remember, being productive isn’t about adding on more work; it’s about taking away what is unnecessary and focusing on the few critical drivers for maximum results. Also, it’s not about fitting as many actions as you can into your day; it’s about focusing on the few actions that make all the difference. Know what needs to be done and eliminate everything else.