5 One-Liners That Will Change Your Approach to Productivity : Under30CEO 5 One-Liners That Will Change Your Approach to Productivity : Under30CEO
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5 One-Liners That Will Change Your Approach to Productivity

| July 27, 2013 | 11 Comments


A Google search for “productivity tips” will return hordes of web pages loaded with detailed tips and guides that are supposed to help get you over the hump and out of a slump. However, actually incorporating all of this information into your daily business routine is easier read than done.

Time after time you find yourself reading about a new time-tracking or to-do list app that is going to somehow change your entire philosophy about work. It’s as if you’re searching for that one piece of breakthrough advice or software that will be the game-changing jump start you’ve been needing.

While tools and techniques can definitely simplify processes and boost productivity, the best way to really maximize your potential is to develop and reinstate positive habits. Recall the following short phrases during applicable points in your workday and you’ll start noticing a difference in your daily output in no time:

1. “Right Now I Will Stop Planning and Start Producing”

Thorough planning is an important part of any business endeavor, but too much planning can lead to a lot of wasted time and let-downs. When you repeatedly devise detailed plans and then fail to follow through with them it can be easy to become discouraged and develop a pessimistic mind-set. The fact is, most elaborate business plans do not pan out as originally intended because there are always sudden variables to account for and adjustments that need to be made. Once you’ve decided on a definitive first step in your plan you should get started on it immediately and worry about finishing/revising the grand plan later when you’re not working.

2. “I Need to Finish with Full Focus”

This is a perfect one-liner to recall when you feel yourself slipping into the “I’m almost done” mentality. Most people tend to start slacking when they’ve almost finished a task, rationalizing to themselves “well I only have a little bit left to do, so I can relax a bit now.” At this point it can be easy to get side-tracked and start focusing on another task, or revert to the “what am I going to work on when I’m finished with this” train of thought. To escape this trap you just need to remind yourself that the only thing that matters is finishing the current task with full focus because until that is done you simply cannot proceed.

3. “I Am Working with a Goal and a Purpose”

When you lose sight of your goals it can be easy to fall into a lackadaisical workflow. If you find yourself taking frequent breaks and devoting too much attention to extracurricular activities during work hours, take a minute to think about the most important goals in your life right now. Visualize in your mind what it is you’re working towards, whether it be a new house, a debt-free lifestyle, or a specific electronic gadget. Everyone has something that they really want or need in their life at any given moment. Remind yourself that the work you’re doing is directly related to the accomplishment of those goals and your sense of urgency should return.

4. “When I’m Done Working Everything Will Be More Fulfilling”

We all want to have fun and be entertained; it’s human nature. The problem is oftentimes the drive to have a good time overpowers the will to keep working, especially when you work an internet job, as the world’s entertainment is right at your fingertips. One hasty visit to YouTube or a curious click on a news headline could steal 15-30 minutes of your workday. If you don’t exercise discipline these seemingly small entertainment breaks will pile up and when you’re finally done working you won’t have time to really enjoy the finer things in life, like time with your family and friends. When you catch yourself deviating from work-related activities during work hours just remind yourself that every bit of entertainment will be more fulfilling and you’ll have more money to spend during your free time if you just “keep on keeping on.”

5. “I Still Have Many More Steps to Take”

Our minds are practically programmed to gain satisfaction from a sense of progress, even if that progress does not equate to the completion of a project or the accomplishment of a goal. While it is good to take things one step at a time, it is also imperative to continuously remind yourself that there are more steps to be taken. After you finish a task don’t think to yourself “well now that I’ve done that all I have to do is this and I’ll be done.” That type of thinking breeds laziness and procrastination. Instead, upon completion of a task you should think to yourself, “okay that is done, now I have many more steps to take” and immediately begin working on the next step.

As Managing Director for Real Business Rescue, Keith Tully has been dealing with insolvent businesses in the UK for more than two decades. Here he offers insight on productivity meant to encourage and motivate company directors.

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  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    This article really resonated with me because I’m a person who has a notebook full of one-liners that I jot down at numerous times throughout the week to remind myself of things like this. I think these type of lessons are really solid content that all our contributors could produce.

    Finishing with full focus is something I might have to start saying to myself more… lots of entrepreneurs love to start projects, but fully executing is the hard part.

    On the other hand, “Stop planning and stop producing” is actually the opposite of what I need to do. I always have a plan, but I forget to reflect on it, refine it, and review it… I always come straight out of the gate and hustle, hustle, hustle. Some entrepreneurs need to stop and look over the plan, before spending hours upon hours “working”.

  • cesar romero

    I really love this article Keith. Too much planning can lead to not executing at all. I think the most important thing is to plan the first step, execute, evaluate, and start the cycle all over again. I think we can call this planning iteration, where you plan one step, execute, evaluate; making adjustments along the way.

    Keeping the end goal in mind is a driver and motivator to keep going until you finish; it’s not only more rewarding but you end up with a sense of accomplishment building more momentum and setting you up for next step. Interesting enough, the mind can trick us into thinking “you deserve a break”, which we should after every accomplishment, but keeping in mind that it doesn’t stop there and there’s more steps to take.

  • http://www.softship.com/ Ava Cristi

    Planning and producing are two different processes. However, some overlap their plans during their work. Things might not end the way you wanted it to, so if you have to plan do it on an appropriate time, as it will affect your productivity level. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Keith!

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  • Justin Tan

    Good stuff here, but actually I’m a huge fan of planning before execution and think if anything, we need more of it. Today everybody’s rushing around to do things, but if we just take a step back and see the big picture, I’m sure we can get more done. I think what you’re getting at is delaying because I personally know how difficult it can be to take that first step and console myself by thinking “I’m not ready yet”. Either way great article though, keep up the good work!

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  • Mike Darche

    I’m loving this idea of planning iteration Cesar. I think you’re absolutely right- if you plan too much, you will get in the habit of planning instead of taking action. You might have everything brilliantly worked out in your head but when you actually get started, you often find that things don’t work out as you hoped. Breaking your goal down into these steps will definitely boost your productivity and bring you closer to that end result.

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  • http://www.famesbond.com/ aditya menon

    Thanks, I can see myself in many of those points. I’m really struggling to overcome this.