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3 Steps to Have a Productive Day in Less than 30 Minutes


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Introduction

In today's world, time is one of the most valuable assets. Being a real estate consultant and the top productivity trainer in Northern Virginia, I understand the importance of time and the impact it has on our lives probably more than the average person. I think most people desire the ability to get more done to move toward their goals and dreams without sacrificing free time for their hobbies, their family, or just to relax. In this article, I want to share a simple three-step system to conquer each day and increase productivity.

The Value of Time

Time is the most valuable asset that we have in life. It is irreplaceable, and once it's gone, we can never get it back. In order to make the most of our time, I'll be sharing a three-step system to conquer each day and increase productivity. This is a system I use to this day to guarantee I'm moving in the direction of my biggest goals.  But why use this system? Years ago, I noticed that many people struggled to achieve goals. I was one of those people. As I tried to analyze the missing link that separated the successful from the unsuccessful, I noticed a common trend: Successful people have a more conscious understanding of their time and use it more efficiently.  



This idea blew my mind at the time. It sounds so simple. Yet, like many things, it was so simple and close to my face that it was nearly invisible. I understood almost instantly that how you structure and utilize your day is directly correlated to your long-term progress and success. However, there's a common misconception when it comes to time management, productivity, and success. Many people confuse volume with progress. It's possible to go into a forest and chop down 100 trees only to discover you never needed wood in the first place.  Time used on activities that don't progress you toward your long-term goals is, by definition, a waste of time. It's important to know what you're working on each day and work on the important tasks consistently. In this article, I'll show you exactly how I figure out what my top activities are so you can replicate my process, how to structure your day, and how to create momentum to achieve success in whatever it is you're striving for. 

Story of Stagnation

In college, I went through a brief period in which I wasn't taking classes. This was an enlightening experience as it made me introspective while allowing me to step back and really ponder the world around me. I noticed that most of the people around us stay stuck in a cycle of stagnation. Sure, they're doing things like going outside, getting groceries, talking to friends, etc. But they're not advancing toward something with any real purpose. There are no visions of where they're heading. There is no ideal outcome or version of themselves that they're choosing to pursue.  Most people are reactive. They go with the flow. Life happens to them instead of them happening to life. I realized that many individuals, as they progress in age, tend to repeat the same habits and make the same mistakes year after year without any advancement or growth. This led me to ponder the reasons behind this seemingly consistent pattern of behavior. My general thought process: as we age, we default to doing what's comfortable and familiar. As we have a fairly good understanding of the world around us, we try not to push boundaries as doing so can be a big risk. 

While I do believe that taking unnecessary risks is pointless, I believe that it's ideal to take controlled risks to perform. Benjamin Franklin is credited with the expression, "Many people die at twenty-five and aren't buried until they are seventy-five". I absolutely believe this. Try this test out for yourself. Do this experiment either on yourself or others. Have someone answer the following questions: 1) What new hobby or skill have you picked up in the past year?

2) What new book, educational podcast, or course have you consumed in the past year?

3) Have you made any massive changes in your life in the past year? If your experience has been similar to mine, most of the people that answer these questions likely haven't done anything new in the past year. Most people truly live unremarkable lives on repeat. I believe this is because they both lack a vision for themselves and/or lack a proper process to achieve that vision. 

As someone who's been a fitness enthusiast for nearly 10 years, I see the same problem occur at the gym. Most of the people in fitness studios or gyms simply wing it. They don't have an ideal version of themselves they're striving to become. Consequentially, they stay the same or barely improve.  Most people in America don't exercise. But out of the few that do exercise, the majority of people stay the same. They don't lose weight. They don't gain muscle. They stay in a state of stagnation. The problem is this: because they lack a specific goal, they lack the correct steps to achieve anything.



  If your goal is to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you'll need to train differently from someone that wants to be more flexible or someone that wants to by a gymnast. If you want to be relatively slim but have chiseled six-pack abs, your diet and training will look very different from someone training to be a powerlifting champion. Does this make sense? The goal predicates the process.

The Goal

The goal is what I recommend everyone start with. Define a vision for yourself. Take 10 minutes (or more if you need to) and ask yourself, "Who do I want to become?" This is what you must answer before using my system. Without truly defining the future version of yourself, you'll be wandering aimlessly. You'll be someone chopping trees in a forest with no need for wood. If you need help with this process, I've created a guide that you can find below that will help you consider your ideal version of yourself and redefine your identity. 



The 3-Step System to Have a Productive Day

Now, when it comes to conquering each day and increasing productivity, I utilize a very simple 3-step system that you'll be able to understand and utilize in less than 30 minutes. This steps of this system (also known as the 3P Method) includes Planning, Prioritizing, and Producing to ensure a successful and productive day in less than 30 minutes.


Step 1: Plan Your Day

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Step 2: Prioritize Your Tasks

Step 3: Produce Objective Results

 


Step 1: Plan Your Day

In order to have a productive day, it's essential to plan your day meticulously. I'm a massive advocate of organization to maximize productivity. My number one weapon to vanquish the war against procrastination is disorganization--the planner. While it may seem like a simple tool, I've found that using a planner in an effective manner is the ultimate tool to structure your days perfectly in a manner that guarantees you make progress on your goals. By designating specific tasks and activities for each hour of the day, you can ensure you're making the most of your time.

When planning your day, it's important to start from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Allocate time for each task, including work, personal activities, and leisure time. By organizing your day in this manner, you can set clear goals for what you want to accomplish and ensure that you are utilizing your time efficiently.

Furthermore, it's crucial to prioritize your tasks and activities. Identify the most important tasks that will contribute to your goals and focus on accomplishing them first. This ensures that you are making progress towards your objectives and not getting sidetracked by less critical activities. Typically, when working with a client, I recommend people new to structuring this day focus on doing just one big project each day that moves them toward their goals. Nothing more. Nothing less.  The reason I suggest this is because structuring you day and properly executing the plan you've created is a muscle. It takes time to get a feel for a routine and your brain will do its best to keep you tied to old habits even if the habit is detrimental to you. Your brain is designed to keep you safe by seeking comfort and familiarity. Easing into this new routine is, in my experience, the simplest way to break your brain's negative hold on you. Much like you shouldn't go to the gym for the very first time and lift the heaviest weight possible, you shouldn't try to cram a million activities in a single day. This is a fast track to burnout. 

By implementing this planning method, you can set the foundation for a highly productive day. Remember, planning your day is the first step towards achieving your goals and making the most of your time. I usually recommend people plan their day the night before to ensure they have a head start on the following day. Planning your day the day of inherently means that you're falling behind. Also, I tend to find that planning your day in the morning makes it easier to miss key activities that need to be completed. Planning your day should take less than 10 minutes.  Step 2: Prioritize Your Tasks

Once you have planned out your day, the next step is to prioritize your tasks. This is essential for ensuring that you are focusing on the most important activities that will lead you closer to your goals. I typically suggest imagining your day is a glass jar. Throughout the day, you must fill up the jar with activities and tasks in the form of rocks, sand, and water. However, there is an order of operations that will lead you to success. Fill the jar with water first, then sand, and finally the rocks will cause everything to overflow. This is the equivalent of doing the wrong tasks first in your day, which will lead to you having no room for the important activities. Instead, the correct way to fill the jar is to put the big rocks in first, then the sand, which will fill into the spaces left by the rocks, and finally the water, which will soak into the sand.

Identifying the big rocks, which are the most important tasks, should be your top priority. These tasks are the key activities that will significantly impact your progress and success. Once you've identified the big rocks, you can then include smaller tasks, such as sand (less critical activities), and water (additional activities that can be done if time allows).

Prioritizing your tasks allows you to allocate your time and energy to the activities that matter most, ensuring that you are making progress toward your objectives. By focusing on the big rocks first, you can ensure that you are setting yourself up for a highly productive day. Again, if nothing else, focus on doing one big rock per day while you're first starting off. This will guarantee you're creating momentum and making at least a dent in your goals.  Prioritizing your day's activities should take 5-10 minutes.

 

Step 3: Produce Objective Results

Now that you've planned out your day and prioritized your tasks, it's time to take action and produce objective results. This final step is crucial for ensuring that you are making progress toward your goals and achieving productivity in less than 30 minutes.

Implement speed and take imperfect action to get things done. Remember that it's better to take action and make necessary corrections over time than to take no action at all. By prioritizing your tasks and focusing on the most important activities, you can ensure that you are setting yourself up for a highly productive day. I enjoy reading and learning about historical figures. In the video that this article is based on, I reference Alexander the Great, who implemented a unique military strategy at the time that enabled his army to set up and break down camp extremely quickly. This ability to use such speed in their common activities allowed them to easily gain upper hands on their opponents.  Imagine you hear an enemy approaching. It might take them 15-25 minutes to find your camp. The group that needs to take 20 minutes or more to break down their camp is forced to be caught off guard, caught at a disadvantage (due to not having all of their equipment prepared), or they'd be forced to flee and leave valuable items behind. This is the cost of moving too slowly. Now, imagine the exact same scenario. An enemy is approaching. But you can pack everything in less than 5 minutes. How much of an advantage would you be? You could flank your enemy. You could even evade your enemy altogether. The ability to reach and move quickly was a massive advantage. Another figure I recently learned about is the Antarctic traveler, Ernest Shackleton. He also utilized a similar method of speed where he'd pack light and make fast decisions. Considering the dangerous nature of his voyages, taking too long to make a decision could easily lead to death. However, by moving quickly and acting as circumstances changed, he managed to make multiple voyages to the Arctic with a crew and prevent any casualties even under the most unpredictable and dire circumstances. What's the key takeaway from these figures and their success? It's to move quickly and implement Speed of execution.

Utilize Speed and Avoid Perfectionism

george patton quote on a good plan


Speed is a key factor in productivity. Similar to how historical figures like Alexander the Great used speed to protect themselves and get the jump on their enemies, you should also implement speed in your life to attack your goals and get the jump on them. Take action quickly and don't be overly concerned about making everything perfect. It's better to take imperfect action and make necessary corrections over time than to take no action at all. Progress Over Perfection

Don't strive for perfection. Instead, focus on progression. Every idea starts with flaws and imperfections. It's through action and iteration that improvements are made. Be willing to start imperfectly and make adjustments as you go. The key is to keep moving forward and making progress towards your goals.

By implementing speed and avoiding the trap of perfectionism, you can ensure that you are taking concrete steps towards achieving a productive day in less than 30 minutes. The Dangers of Procrastination Procrastination can have detrimental effects on productivity and success. Many individuals fall into the trap of delaying important tasks, leading to stagnation and lack of progress. 

By procrastinating, individuals miss out on valuable opportunities to make progress. They become stuck in repetitive habits and fail to take the necessary action to move forward. This cycle of inaction can lead to feelings of frustration, lack of accomplishment, and a sense of stagnation.

Furthermore, procrastination often stems from a desire for perfection. People may delay taking action because they want everything to be flawless before they start. However, this quest for perfection often leads to inaction, missed opportunities, and a lack of productivity.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you've found my three-step system for conquering each day and increasing productivity to provide a valuable framework for individuals to improve time management and achieve personal and professional success. By planning, prioritizing, and producing, individuals can optimize their daily routines and ensure that they are making the most of their time.


 

  If you want to learn more about productivity tips from books, check out some of the other articles on my website.

headshot of the top productivity trainer leviticus rich

Leviticus Rich is the premiere productivity expert and productivity coach located in the DC Metro area within Northern VA. 

Leviticus has helped thousands of people improve their time management, focus, and productivity by offering some of the best, science-backed advice and techniques in the modern era. 

P.S. If you need help managing your productivity and destroying procrastination, click the link here to sign up for free productivity coaching. 

 

If you want more resources or guides on how to boost your finances, fitness, or lifestyle, click the link here.

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