I’ve gone over 2 YEARS of personal data and I want to share with you the 21 methods I used on my most productive, motivated and energised weeks.
We know it’s coming. It happens after every Sunday, but sometimes Monday just comes out of nowhere.
Maybe last week was so unproductive, difficult, busy, fast, lazy or slow that we weren’t expecting this week to hit us so hard.
I’ve pored over 2 years of diary’s, planners, calendars and workbooks to demonstrate the 21 repeated tasks that increased my productivity or motivation.
We’re going to look at the weeks, tasks and routines that I used to have weeks where I looked, felt and acted unstoppable.
1. Make a list of tasks
This is the easiest thing on the list and the hardest. Making a task list for the week. When I first started, I overestimated the amount of work I could do in a day. Over time I’ve got better at measuring and predicting what I can do.
If I didn’t write our a task list, my entire week would be pretty unstructured. I learned that “it’s in my head” or “if it’s that important, I’ll do it anyway” wasn’t good enough. I needed to write out a short list of what needed to get done and prioritise.
Pro tip: If you can get ONE task done a day, you’re doing well. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Result: If I wrote out a list of everything I wanted to accomplish that week, I usually did them. Anything that was missed was either picked up next week or not that important.
2. Eat the frog
The first thing I did, on a Monday morning, is write a blog post. I’m literally doing this right now. Eat the worst part of the meal on your plate first and the rest is easy.
At first, that was the hardest thing for me to do. It was on my list (and it’s easy to not put frog tasks on your list and just ignore them), and I decided I’d just get it done.
It’s the first thing on my list EVERY DAY and I love it. I love writing and I’ve got better and better at it over the months.
Recently, because I’ve started to enjoy eating the frog on my plate. So other tasks take the frog place. Taxes, invoices, processes.
Result: Each time I completed the task I was least looking forward to, the rest of the week got easier. I even started to like frog tasks.
3. List out 10 people to call
10 customers, leads, prospects, referrals. Whoever. Make a list of 10 people that you need to speak to.
Book out a 60 minute block in your week to bite the bullet and start having conversations with people.
Result: IMMEDIATE sales. I couldn’t believe how fast the results were. I was catching up with customers and leads. Asking them what they were working on and if I could help. I sent proposals, invoices and in one case, an instant PayPal payment received for £500 for coaching that day.
4. List out 5 people to talk to
Flipping that, I want to expand my network. I want to talk to the biggest names in the world. So, I made a list of the 5 people I want to have conversations with.
Ryan Deiss, Terry Crews, Grant Cardone, Sean Mize. I’ve having conversations with all of them. I made a list of influencers and committed to reaching out to the. You read how I did that here.
Result: I increased my network and have the kudos of talking to cool people. But the BIGGEST thing it did for me was prove how ANYTHING is possible. Anything is possible because it WAS impossible to talk to these guys. Now I’m doing it.
5. Leave your phone
Smartphones are the most counter-productive invention to the human race in the last 10 years. They are designed to distract you.
I know it sounds like I’m an old coot saying “things like social media, snapchats and apps are ruining our children!” (won’t somebody please think of the children!). But in truth I love my smartphone. I can call people in America, New Zealand or broadcast a message to thousands of people.
HOWEVER. Using my phone to check email, Facebook, Reddit, Polytopia (my current app of choice) is not productive. I have to put my phone away, out of reach, on silence if I want to get work done.
Same goes for email notifications, in browser notifications and anything else that tries to attract you away from your work.
Result: I don’t even miss my phone during work time now. The little voice in my head that told me “what if someone needs to contact you?!” died out. In 2 years I’ve had no emergencies where I didn’t have my phone on me.
6. Work in 45 minute blocks
That was at the start of the year. Now I work in 90 minute or sometimes even 2 hour blocks.
I started by blocking out 45 minute chunks of my day and smashing out a task. No phone, no distractions. If people approached me, I politely told them I’d be done in 45 minutes.
Even my partner, on family holidays or time away would understand that I needed at least 2 x 45 minute blocks per day to work. People are incredibly accommodating if you give them firm rules.
Result: More work got done than ever before. This was a real turning point for my business and work style. Now, I can work longer periods and I’m more effective than ever.
7. List your obligations
By starting my week listing my tasks, I’d get an idea of what I needed to do. I’d also list out my previous obligations to make sure they got done.
Dinner with friends, trips out, emails and phone calls promised. Anything that needed to get done which wasn’t a task that added to the business.
Result: My biggest fear about running a scheduled week was that I’d miss out on family, friends and hobbies. I now guarantee an hour of video games a week. I also get to see friends, have drinks, chill time with Liv and quality time with family. People don’t want 8 hours a day, they want a couple of good hours a week. That’s all you need to give.
8. Check your calendar
I also try to automate as much of my diary as possible. I use Calendly to book calls and coaching, which means my calendar gets filled without me knowing.
So, I’ll make sure to check my calendar on a Monday to see what the week ahead looks like.
Result: No more missed meetings, people thinking I’m busy and therefor in demand.
9. Remind yourself how you help people
What really gets me out of bed is when I remind myself, “I’m helping people sell products and services they’re obsessed with, in order to attract more income and live a life they want”.
I also have to remind myself of that every day and every week. It refocuses my efforts and confirms that learning a new app coding language probably isn’t going to add to that.
Result: When I remind myself what I’m helping people do, everything else becomes clearer and I can start being in charge of my time.
10. Remind yourself of the big vision
My big vision is living in a world where funnel builders and agencies are able to sell products and services that THEY want to sell. I want to help them, help more people than I ever could.
I need TV shows, books, movies, blogs, articles, videos, conferences, events, speeches and networks to do this. That isn’t going to happen without hard work, consistency and commitment.
Result: Seeing what I want and reminding myself every day gave me energy. Times when I didn’t see it, meant my weeks felt longer and harder (phrasing). Whenever I was lost or needed clarity, I’d remind myself of the big vision and ask what I could do to make it happen.
11. Say no to everything else
I noticed that with my vision, goals, how I help, tasks and obligations all written out. It was easier to say no to everything else.
“Can I pick your brains?”, “Can we get 45 minutes for me to show you something?” or “are you free for a chat?” became easier to turn down. I was busy again. I had precious time and needed to generate income.
If a meeting came up that I needed to attend, I’ve never had anyone get upset when I explained I was busy until next week
Result: Less commitments and fewer missed appointments. My prices INSTANTLY went up because I was in demand. The truth is that because I was in demand of my own time, the value of my time went up, even to other people and customers.
12. Check your emails ONCE
Biggest change in my life – I check my emails (and Slack, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, forums) at 12 pm every day. Only for one hour.
Result: People confuse reacting to inbound requests as being busy. It’s not. Deciding what to do and focusing on that is what makes you busy and productive. Don’t let other people dictate your times and tasks. What’s important to them isn’t important to you.
13. Stop meetings and phone calls
My voice mail says something like “Hey you’ve reached Mike Killen, do me a favour and don’t leave me a voice mail because I never check them. Send me a text to the same number or shoot me an email and I’ll get to it by the next midday.”
Meetings, phone calls, voice mails. I hate them all. As soon as I set expectations other people started to follow. Make life easier on yourself.
Result: Again, I was seen as busy and in demand and people respected that. Meetings are designed to CONFIRM and COMMIT. Not discuss options. Use calls as a way to confirm next steps, not talk about what’s possible.
14. Document ONE process
Every week I try to document one process. Even if it’s a daily task or a yearly one. It’s become so important to both Sell Your Service and MeBox that I record what we do.
We can then farm that out to outsourcers or hire new staff. But as we document processes it becomes easier to see what we can improve.
I had to get over the false economy feeling of “it’d be faster to do this myself”, and really commit to recording something. Even just a screen capture has changed the results we get with staff and hires.
Result: Better results from staff and more time for me. We’ve even started recording videos that hires and staff write up as a process and document.
15. Drink more water
If you’re hungry, tired, sleepy, irritable or unfocused, you’re probably dehydrated.
Result: Sleeping better, earlier mornings, more focused, better pee.
16. Stop watching TV/Netflix and read a book
“I don’t really have time to read/write/exercise/make calls etc. etc.”
How much time do you THINK you spend watching TV or Netflix a day? An hour? Two tops?
5 hours a day is average. I even thought I hardly watched TV or Netflix until I recorded it.
It was closer to 4 hours a day. 4 HOURS A DAY!
That had to change. Even just making it 2 hours a day would give me 2 hours back. That’s 10 hours a week. Enough to read a book a week.
We think that we want to watch TV to unwind. But really what’s happening is our brains are being fed a slow steady diet of sugar water. Dopamine drips into our cerebral folds and turns us into passive spectators.
It’s a bad habit and that’s all. You want to watch TV out of habit. You tell yourself that you need it “just to unwind”, because that’s your dopamine addiction taking over. You don’t need it.
People relaxed perfectly well (and slept better) without a TV screen.
Result: I still veg out and binge an entire movie series. But during the week, it’s book time. I’m almost at one a book a week for the year and my self improvement game is strong. You can find time, just stick to it.
17. Forget the time you wake up, work on what you do in the morning
People who wake up at 5 am or super early treat it like a super power. I’m still goaded by a few family members who think I wake up late.
However I’ve quickly learned that it’s not when you wake up, it’s what you do when you wake up.
Rising at 5 am to read the paper, wander about and fall asleep on the chair isn’t productive.
Getting up at 8 am, having breakfast, stretching and writing a blog post IS productive.
Result: I find that 7 am is a great time for me. I can go for a run, work out, eat and read all before the regular day starts. Sometimes I’ll do 6 am, but I don’t punish myself for the occasional lie in. I make sure that the routine is more important than the time.
18. Create a habit
Habits are what create massive, unstoppable forces of power. Small, repeated tasks every day compound into overwhelming results.
A simple habit, every day of writing or reading and sticking to it, creates a chain that’s harder and harder to break. Writing content, reading, going to bed early, running, going to the gym.
Make it a habit and it WILL become the favourite part of your day, because your brain loves routine and loves habit.
Result: The law of accelerated results meant that every time I wrote a new post EVERY DAY for weeks on end, amplified the results of the posts before it. Eventually it becomes addictive and my favourite part of my day.
19. Take one step at a time
Don’t try to do too much at a time. The first few weeks in my diary’s and planners were packed with work. Tasks, plans, epic ideas, workshops.
At the end of the 2nd week I couldn’t handle it. I was overwhelmed. I hated running every day and eating right and planning my days and weeks and hated meetings and writing blog posts and videos and coaching and on and on.
So instead, don’t do what I did.
Pick a few tasks and habits and commit to doing them. Build up to it rather than taking on everything at once.
Result: Slowly I built up a list of tasks that add mad value to my business and life. It happened faster than I realised and I create a habit of creating habits.
20. Reflect on last week
Really important this one. I noticed that if I reflected on the previous week, the next week would be better. I go over my wins, lessons learnt and what I could do better.
I also measured how effective I was. I noted the number of tasks I wrote down vs. the number completed. E.g. 15 tasks down for the week. 12 completed.
That gave me an effectiveness percentage. I always wanted to be over 70%. 12/15 gave me 80%, so a good week.
Result: If I was under 70% I’d look at why I was failing. Where the tasks to big, did I lose focus? It only took me a few minutes to work it out and reminded me that I did have a good or bad week.
21. Go easy on yourself, hard on your results
Finally, on weeks where I did NONE of these things, or had an effectiveness % of less than 70%, I’d go easy on myself.
Every day you have a new chance to do better. I’d rather look at the NEXT thing I’m going to do and strive to do better. Than think about how bad I’m doing.
The next blog post, the next morning, the next meal, the next meeting or call. It doesn’t matter what I did, I can only do better this time.
Result: Honestly? I sleep better. I look at where I’ve fallen and I’m thankful for another chance today.
Change is scary
I get it, no one likes looking at a list of things like this. They’re new, hard to imagine.
But this is 2 YEARS worth of work. 2 years of habits and tasks that I now do on auto-pilot and even then I miss them.
Pick one, keep the others in the back of your mind. You don’t have to do it all now.
Which of these are you going to work on next? What do you do when you have a killer week? Let me know in the comments below.