I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with some pretty successful people, Forbes list billionaires, CEO’s of publicly listed companies and many other “top 1% performers”.
I noticed they do many things differently to the rest of society, and I always wondered if that was the secret to their success.
After trying many of their strategies, I found there were 3 things that worked consistently.
So here’s the 3 best things you can do every morning to start amplifying your results.
#1 – Focus on Your Priorities, Not Other Peoples
Your inbox is your enemy.
Usually its full of other people’s priorities. Requests for your time, information and resources other people need to achieve their goals.
If you analyse your inbox, you’ll be shocked at how little those tasks move your life forward.
If you start your day with email, you’ve already declared other people’s priorities to be more important than your own.
Successful people do 2 things differently when it comes to email:
- They only check email once their most important task of the day is done
- They check their inbox at scheduled times during the day
A “Most Important Task” (or MIT) is the task that makes your day a success, even if you do nothing else at all. An MIT takes 3-4 hours on average and most people do their MIT first because that’s when they have the most energy.
Personally, I do my MIT’s from 9am until lunch and only then check my email.
Bonus Tip: Define your MITs at the start of the week (by looking at your goals and then scheduling time to work on them). More on that below.
By doing this you’ll ensure the things that matter to you get done and your life moves forward. If you feel like you’re working hard but not getting anywhere, making this one change could take your life in a more positive direction – give it a try this week!
#2 – Results Focused Strategic Planning
The top 1% performers I met spend time on strategic planning. Its simple but effective and they do it because they know this:
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives. you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!”Brian Tracey
The type of planning they do is results focused – which means they’re focusing on the outcome they want.
Before you can achieve anything, you have to know what the finish line looks like and then plan backwards.
By doing this, they know which tasks are critical. These tasks become their “Most Important Tasks”.
I do this on Sundays. Here’s my process:
- Define The Outcome: Look at the outcome you want, for example 10,000 visitors to your blog this month
- Define The Gap: If you’re currently getting 5,000 visitors a month, the gap is 5,000
- Define The Action: Ask yourself “what would I need to do this week, to get closer to the goal?” To get double the visitors, you might need double the content. 25 blog posts needs to become 50, so you need 25 new blog posts
- Define The Timeline: If the month is 30 days, you need to hit the goal by day 30
- Define The Daily Actions Required: 25 blog posts divided by 30 days = 0.8 – You need to write 80% of a blog post every day to hit the goal. To simplify you’ll make it one blog post per day
- Define The Daily Time Required: Estimate how long it takes to write and publish a blog post. Perhaps its 2.5 hours
- Schedule The MITs: Block out that time on your calendar everyday for the rest of the month. As this is your “Most Important Task” it goes first on your calendar
- Do The Work: Now all you have to do is show up each day and get the work done! If you miss a day, you have to catch up the next day
By doing this, your calendar is filled with high-priority actions that help you achieve your most important goals for the month.
Consider what happens when you don’t do this. Your calendar gets filled with other people’s priorities, and you work just as hard, but you don’t move forward.
That’s the definition of a ship without a rudder. Getting blown wherever the wind wants to take you instead of going intentionally where you want to go.
Unfurl your sail my friends.
#3 – Shut Out The World
To get your Most Important Tasks done, you need to be able to shut out the world.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so how do the top 1% get so much more done? The truth is, they don’t.
They just say no to 90% of requests and defer the other 10% until their most important actions are complete.
To get those tasks done requires focused time where nothing but those priorities receive attention.
Some of the smartest people in history knew about the power of seclusion:
Long unbroken periods of time are required to focus, to plan, to dwell on a problem and to create
Cal Newport talks about this at length in his book Deep Work:
“The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
How you do this is up to you. I do it with my noise-cancelling headphones, so I can work anywhere, even busy coffee shops or airport lounges.
However you do it, this is one of the easiest, but most important strategies you can add to your morning routine.
Here’s how you can power up your productivity this week:
- Carve out some time to do your Results Focused Strategic Planning
- Block out your calendar to make space for your Most Important Tasks (do them first)
- Set up your environment to kill distractions. Phone on silent (face down), headphones on, email closed and get to work for the full duration of your “deep work” block
I think you’ll be surprised at how much more effective you’ll be with just these 3 small changes.
If you tried it, I’d love to know how it worked for you – let me know in the comments below.