Elusive Flow

Think of the last time you had such a productive experience that you experienced Flow: A mental state in which you make massive progress on important goals, while time seems to disappear. Unfortunately, the Flow state is somewhat elusive, so trying to get in Flow may not be the best practical approach to consistently become more productive. Instead, I have found five proven strategies that will help you to systematically accelerate your productivity without relying on Flow:

  1. Focus on success, not perfection. This is the application of the 80/20 rule: 80% of all value will come from 20% of your effort. Where do currently spend too much to get marginal results?
  2. Apply Task to Time. Set aside a fixed time for each specific task. Commit to finalize the task within the given timeframe. You will find that the end result is almost always very good, and spending additional time on the task will not create more value. Which tasks on your to-do-list should be accompanied by a fixed timeframe?
  3. Triage your work. Especially when surrounded by opportunities, only pick activities which have a low risk and a high reward. This sounds simple, but be honest: What are some of the long shots you’re currently working on, which should be abandoned?
  4. Outsource your work to a system or process. A system or process creates predictable results with the least amount effort. Which recurring tasks are prime candidates for this approach?
  5. Leverage everything you do: Leverage means that exponential results can be obtained with the same amount of effort. For example: Build a database of all past client questions your have ever received, turn this into a Q&A document, and share this with all new prospects. This will avoid inefficient requests for support. What did you create recently which can be reused in various creative ways?

Time is your most precious resource and you might as well choose to be as productive as possible with the time that is given to you.

Walt Disney was once asked how he managed to build a theme park within 365 days. He dryly answered: “We used all of them….”

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