The Powerful Productivity Technique that Saved Dan
Dan was exhausted.
He was working late nights, reaching office painfully early, even slogging through the weekends, yet this crucial project seemed far from getting finished on time.
While he was already behind schedule on THE project, he had additional duties to take care of and everyday new demands piled up.
Emails had to be sent, numbers had to be crunched for the boss, the kid had a soccer lesson – shoot, he had forgotten all about it (for the third time!).
If Dan messed up this project, it would not only mean months of efforts down the drain, he didn’t know when another opportunity to be promoted to Vice President would come his way.
When Dan came to me he was desperate to find a solution.
He was already putting in 10 plus hours at office, excluding the two hours of commute time. After returning home he was squeezing in another hour or two of work every night.
His doctor had just told him to keep a check on his rising cholesterol levels.
It had been months he had read a bedtime story to his 8-year-old or gone on a dinner date with his wife.
The last straw had been when his 6 month old daughter looked at him as if he was a stranger!
“What am I doing wrong?”
Dan simply couldn’t figure out why he wan’t able to handle his workload, no matter how hard he tried.
How similar is your story?
I am guessing Dan’s story isn’t too different from yours.
You probably have more work on your plate than you are comfortable with.
You probably have goals or tasks you are putting off – at work and at home.
You probably want to do more with your life — professionally, as well as personally — but can’t seem to find enough time or energy to do it all.
In early January, Dan and I sat down to discuss his specific challenges and chalk out a solution.
It’s March now and things are going very differently for Mr. Soon-to-be-vice-president Dan.
He is well on his way to finishing the crucial project…on time!
He’s no longer overwhelmed with too much work and he doesn’t need to spend extra hours in office.
How did he pull it off?
I guided Dan to implement a productivity technique that helped him skyrocket his output.
I will share that technique with you in a bit, but first a question…
Why was Dan unable to handle his workload?
A Misleading Belief.
Dan suffered from a fundamental misconception about being productive.
He believed (like most of us) that productivity is a function of time. The longer you work, the more you get done.
This is not entirely true. There’s another key ingredient to the productivity formula.
Georgetown University Professor Cal Newport, the bestselling author of the new book, “Deep Work.”, has defined the productivity equation as:
High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)
The intensity of focus is the extent of concentration you have when doing a task.
To get more done, you don’t need more time, you need more concentration.
If you have less concentration, you end up taking longer, make more mistakes or produce less quality work.
State of Flow
True concentration is the state of flow that athletes, martial artists, ballet dancers, musicians, writers and meditation practitioners experience when they are completely in the moment.
Unfortunately, this high level of concentration is rarely seen in the workplace.
The no 1 culprit: distraction.
“Can I have a minute?”
Concentration is a rare commodity at office because most of us keep getting interrupted several times in a single hour – by people or devices.
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the typical office worker is interrupted, on average, every three minutes and five seconds.
According to Basex Research, interruptions cause a loss of $588 billion a year to the US Economy!
Do you think that interruptions cost you only in terms of time?
They are far more damaging than you imagine! An interruption breaks your chain of thought, disrupts your short-term memory and wrenches you out of a state of focus.
If that happens too often, it prevents you from even reaching a high level of concentration.
This is how it happens:
Let’s take an example of a 70 minute work session.
Deep concentration doesn’t happen immediately. It takes our brains around 15-20 minutes to climb to higher levels of concentration. If you don’t face any interruptions, your brain will have the opportunity to reach a very high state of focus.
Now look at scenario 2 in the blue line graph below. Let’s assume that you get interrupted twice. First after 10 minutes, then after another 10 minutes. These interruptions will cause your concentration to fall both times.
These interruptions prevent you from even reaching the high levels of concentration.
Therefore you are completely losing the opportunity to work at deep levels.
And you know the scary part?
You don’t even realize it!
You simply take your existing (lower) levels of concentration for granted!
You don’t even know how much better your concentration can be, and how much more productive you can become!
The Huge Rewards
Deep Concentration is the first step in:
- Developing a heightened state of awareness that leads to deeper levels of creativity
- Lets you see solutions to problems that seem impossible
- Recognize massive opportunities
Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet understand the importance of this heightened state of awareness and take concrete steps to create it. As a result, they have been able to build multi-billion dollar empires.
Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King have used this state to write books that have captivated the hearts of hundreds of millions of fans.
What can you Achieve?
What opportunities and solutions are you not seeing, because of a lack of deep focus?
- Perhaps you can get a big promotion quicker than you think. Or that dream job.
- If you are an entrepreneur, maybe you can find a way to double your earnings this year.
- With your increased productivity, you could finally write that book you have been planning for years.
The Good News
There is a method which makes it possible for you to access this state of intense concentration.
So what is it?
When I explained it to Dan for the first time, he was so skeptical he laughed.
That’s because it sounds ridiculously simple! Now Dan swears by its effectiveness.
It’s a method I usually reveal to my clients and close circle.
I will let you in on that simple-yet-highly-effective method in my email tomorrow. It’ll take some explaining and I don’t want to rush you.
Because the method seems so simple, people end up making lots of basic mistakes. We’ll discuss all potential pitfalls, how to look out for them and how to avoid them.
So watch your inbox for my email tomorrow.
By the way, I am soon opening up spots for my one-one productivity coaching sessions.
Over the past few years I have coached leaders across levels from Fortune 500 companies, millionaire entrepreneurs, small business owners and writers to become more productive and accomplish their goals faster.
Want to know more about this productivity coaching program?
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Peter ‘Secret Technique’ Banerjea