Be More Productive: 10 Tips From Robin Sharma

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 5 AM Club" by Robin Sharma. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to be more productive? What can you do to increase your efficiency and make the most out of your day?

Simply starting and ending your day well is not enough to stay at the top of your productivity game. To be more productive, you need to be smart about how you organize your working environment and how you time your working periods throughout the whole day.

Here are 10 tips to help you be more productive and make the most out of every minute.

10 Tips to Be More Productive

You have what you need to maximize the power of your genius with a strong morning routine and a supportive evening routine. But what happens in the middle is also significant. The following are 10 tips to keep your productivity safe from external distractions and internal doubts.

Tip 1: Surround Your Creative Space With a Force Field

When you occupy your mind with technology or managing the energies of negative people, you diminish your cognitive power, peace of mind, willpower, and inspiration. You need to protect your genius by surrounding it with a shield to ward off distractions. Within this insulated place, you have the power to decide what external elements and the type of people you allow in. If you recognize toxic energy from either of these realms, keep it locked out. 

To accomplish this force field of protection, create a space of mastery and leave all technological devices on the outside when you step into it. This should be a private space where you feel happy and comfortable and can focus on the important work ahead. Schedule your time in this special place so you can intentionally transform into your highest creative self when you enter. You can create this space for both professional pursuits and personal sanity by avoiding people who do not support your endeavors or tax you with negativity. 

Some ways to create this space include removing entertainment devices from your house or a specific room, avoiding the news, avoiding crowds and loud places, ending toxic relationships, and shutting down communication notifications. 

Tip 2: The 90-Day, 90-Minute, 1-Project Ritual

You have lots of goals you want to accomplish and responsibilities you need to attend to in your life, but mastery cannot happen when your focus is spread thin. Your most productive time of the day is in the morning, when your cognitive capacity is still full. You need to train yourself to focus on one important activity at a time to harness the power of this productive period and truly attend to mastering your unique genius.

For 90 days, commit to using the first 90 minutes of your workday to invest your energy in one project. Go into your solitary bubble to create a boundary from other ideas or distractions. When you concentrate all of your mental power on one thing for 90 minutes, you engage deeply with your focus and creative energy, which leads to legendary results. 

Tip 3: The 60-Minute On, 10-Minutes Off Ritual

High achievers don’t push themselves to the point of mental depletion or physical exhaustion. They switch between productivity and rest so they are always operating at full capacity when it’s time to work. Research shows that you are most able to concentrate and dive deep into your idea pool when you’re relaxed and energized. You can activate all of your mental powers by fluctuating between periods of deep focus and moments of recuperation. 

After your 90-minute period of focused work on one project, use the next 60 minutes to be unflinchingly productive on whatever you wish to work on. Find a comfortable position that you can maintain without movement for one hour, and work quietly and efficiently. Commit to doing your best work and producing at a high rate for 60 minutes. When the time is up, take the next 10 minutes to relax and reenergize. 

Take a walk, read something that stimulates your mind, meditate, listen to music, or daydream about your goals. When the 10 minutes are up, start your next 60 minutes of high-functioning work. You will be more productive and focused when you are in a rested state of mind. Continue this cycle throughout your workday. 

Tip 4: Make 5 Promises Each Day

You can create your future by setting mini-goals each day. It only takes a 1% improvement in any aspect of life, or micro-improvements, to create astonishing results. Then, celebrate each successful completion of those micro-improvements. When you intentionally acknowledge the small victories you make throughout the day, you safeguard your motivation, confidence, and willpower against self-doubt, fear, and criticism. 

You have a better chance of following through with your goals if you write them down. Therefore, during the reflection period of the Victory Hour, write five accomplishments you’d like to make that day in your journal. These are five things you need to do to feel like you’ve had a successful day. If you commit to five micro-victories each day, after a month, you’ll have accumulated 150 wins that make you feel valuable, accomplished, and confident. As you become more confident, the level of your micro-achievements will grow, and within a full year, you will have made 1,825 amazing strides toward your masterful life. 

Tip 5: Add Another Workout to the End of Your Day

You now know the amazing benefits that exercise brings to your body and mind, so why would you only tap into those benefits for 20 minutes? You can supercharge your mental processes and physical vitality by adding another focused period of exercise to your day. This second workout should come after your workday is over. Doing so helps you reset your peace, energy, and focus so you can make positive choices for how to end your day. You’ll also remove the evening cravings that hit the body when it’s depleted. 

Take an hour-long walk in the woods to gain another period of distraction-free solitude and further attend to your four internal empires of Mindset, Heartset, Healthset, and Soulset. Go for a bike ride or take an exercise class. Whatever activity you choose is fine, as long as you move for an hour. 

Tip 6: Schedule Two Deep-Tissue Massages Weekly

Science has proven that deep-tissue massage invigorates the body in several ways, including stimulating brain activity, reducing stress, providing pain relief, and elevating mood. Massages decrease cortisol levels by a third and increase levels of dopamine and serotonin by a third, as well. Regular massages that are more about relaxation do not get deep enough in the tissues to stimulate these responses. Your massage should hurt a little if it’s going to truly help. 

Schedule two 90-minute massages each week to gain these physical advantages. You may think that’s a lot of time and money to account for on a weekly basis, but the joy, calm, focus, and improved overall health are worth it. The cost of providing your body with this gift is less than the negative repercussions of an unhealthy body and mind. 

Tip 7: Commute Wisely

You likely work out of the house, which means you must commute every morning and evening five days a week. Whether that commute is 20 minutes or two hours, how you spend that time affects your ability to achieve optimal cognitive functioning. If you drive, you may listen to the news or talk radio, which fills your mind with superfluous or negative information. These influences can erode your cognitive capacity before you even start your work. If you are on a form of public transportation, you may sleep or play games on your phone. These activities are deenergizing and mind-numbing. 

Use your commute time to continue your life-long commitment to educating yourself. Listen to audiobooks or meaningful podcasts that enrich your knowledge base about life or your specific field. Listen to programs about new topics you may know little about. You never know where inspiration is going to strike, but if you don’t remain curious and put forth the effort to continue learning, you guarantee it never will. 

Tip 8: Be More Productive by Delegating Responsibilities

Even the best athletes have a personal team of professionals to help them with all aspects of their training beyond the performance of their sport. They’re able to rise to meteoric heights because they can focus on their gift without distraction. You can also increase your creativity and productivity by outsourcing tasks beyond the scope of your talents to other professionals. You won’t waste precious time and mental energy on things that don’t support your mastery of your gifts if you ask for help with the trivial things. And focusing fully on only what you love to do will help stabilize your psychological and emotional states. 

Hire a trainer to create a suitable exercise routine, a chef to help prepare meals each week, an assistant to worry about your schedule or write communications, or a counselor to help you deal with difficult relationships. Get help with whatever areas of your life zap your energy and take your focus from what’s important to your soul and progress.

Tip 9: Create Your Week in Advance

You already have many tips and instructions for how to be more productive and reorganize your life to tap into your creative genius, but don’t leave the success of your routine to chance. Ensure your success daily by taking the time to schedule your weekly activities in advance. Spontaneity and surprises throughout your days are wonderful, but if you want to be more productive, don’t drop the ball on your responsibility to shape your life specifically to support your strength, willpower, and happiness. 

Each Sunday, take 30 minutes in the morning to write out a blueprint for your week. Make a ritual of this process to emphasize its power and your ability to stick to it. Start by acknowledging everything that happened over the past week, celebrating the micro-accomplishments. Write down any insights you gained over the week. Then, create an hour-by-hour plan for each day of the new week starting at 5 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. 

In your weekly schedule, chart time for the 90/90/1 and 60/10 rituals and your second workout. Mark times for both solitary and social activities or any other activities you need to accomplish that week. Nothing is too insignificant because if you write it down, you’re more likely to follow through. Each week will be lived with purpose, which will build to enriching months and years over time. 

Tip 10: Schedule 1 Hour for Learning Daily

You’ve already been told to enrich your mind during the grow period of the Victory Hour and during your commute to work. But to truly become an exceptional producer and leader in your field, you need to make learning part of your daily activities regardless of these additional times. You will become formidable in your field and influential in the world the more knowledge you gain about life and your work. So few people take the time to be lifelong learners that you will set yourself above the competition if you continue to push the boundaries of your knowledge. 

Create a “student hour” in your daily routine for deep study. Whether through books, podcasts, videos, online courses, or in-person courses, take in whatever information you can to maximize your professional prowess and expand your natural gifts. The more you learn, the higher your foundation of knowledge grows, and you continue to build on it by gaining more sophisticated and significant ideas that set you apart. You might also find it useful to study your progress in your journal or find a mentor to work with. Whatever you choose, approach the work like a student thirsty for knowledge. 

You now have the tools you need to reshape your life into that of an elite performer. With the rituals and tips provided above, you know how to optimize your willpower, be more productive, and tap into your creative genius to take your work from ordinary to extraordinary. You’re all set to hit the ground running to make it to legendary status, but to become a legend in your field, you have to maintain your high level of performance over time.

Be More Productive: 10 Tips From Robin Sharma

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  • What the Victory Hour is and how it can change your life
  • Why an early morning routine activates your creative and productive potential
  • Why the first hour after you wake up is your most productive

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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