There are tons of articles written about how to be more productive and accomplish more. Most of the time, it is the same advice. Focus, plan for your success, don't multi-task, turn off email, etc.
All of that is great advice and works. But, over the last few months I have been experimenting with a few additional methods alongside the ones listed above to see if they would help accomplish even more. After trying a number of things, I have found a few that really have a made a difference.
Plan - But With a Twist
You've probably read a million times that you need to plan your day or plan for your success. There is a reason for that. It works. But, one trick I have found that has a made a big difference is to plan in two ways. First, each Sunday, I sit down and write out my to do items by day for each of my different businesses for the upcoming week. This takes me a out 20-30 minutes. This gives me a bigger picture view of what I have on my docket and what I want to do, instead of looking at things from the microcosm of just one day. Once I am done, I can see where I need to make changes or move things around to maximize productivity. Second, each day, I the make my daily "to do" list from the weekly list. What is nice is that each day, I can also see what is to do for the rest of the week and if I think I will have time, I can start working in say Thursday tasks on Tuesday.
Doing this has made a huge difference. I am accomplishing more faster and am getting more time with my family in evenings and weekends.
Morning Prime and Three to Thrive
Another thing I do each morning is take 10 minutes (Just 10 minutes! So don't say you can't do this) and do what I call my morning prime and three to thrive. I write down 3 things I am thankful/grateful for. This does two things. First, it allows me to start my day with gratitude and come from a place of thankfulness. You'll be amazed at how this makes a difference in your attitude and thus productivity. Second, it gives me perspective of what is really important in life.
Once, I've done that (4-5 minutes), I look at my to do list for the day and pick the top 3 items from that list that will make the biggest impact in my life and businesses that day. I ask myself, "If I could only get 3 things done on this list, which would be the most impactful." That's my "three to thrive." I write those down or circle them on the to do list and focus only on them until they are done before moving on to the rest of the list.
The Secret Weapon
Along the way, I have found a secret weapon that from tracking my productivity when I do this vs. when not has proven to make a difference.
The secret? Listening to music with noise cancelling headphones. Not just any type of music though. It has to be instrumental only and of 3 genre: Piano, Chill Type Music....and surprise, Movie Music Scores.
I know this sounds crazy, but you have to try it. I have experimented with a number of music types and those 3 work the best. Depending on what you need at the moment, each can help you in different ways. For example, in the morning when things are quiet and I am just getting going, I like to listen to Chill Music. It drowns out all of the thoughts going in my head as the day begins. If I am feeling anxious or overloaded, Piano Music works every time. And if, I need inspiration or motivation, Movie Music Scores. Hans Zimmer's are the best.
Here are some of the best ones I have found and go to regularly by genre. I pretty much just use Youtube for these and look for ones that are at least an hour long. I hope they help you as they have me!
Floating Away - Chilled Beats Mix
Dawn - Beautiful Chill Mix
Beautiful Spring - Chillstep Mix
Ludovico Einaudi - Essential Einaudi (I love this guy, just awesome how he arranges his music)
World's Most Breathtaking Piano Pieces Vol 1
Movie Music Scores
Best of Hans Zimmer - All Time Greatest Soundtracks
Best Epic Soundtracks From Movies That Will Give You Chills
I've bookmarked about 50 more or so one of I've came across, but find I go to these a lot. Give them a shot.
Lastly, it's not that doing any one these by itself makes a big difference, but couple them together - planning your week/day and a daily prime/three to thrive alongside doing the action listening to music, and you'll be insanely more productive. Here's to your success!