In only two minutes a day, one simple tip could increase your productivity by 100%, 400%, or even 1,000%.
I know that sounds like an informercial, but it’s really just taking advantage of the most powerful, yet the most underrated, productivity technique you have.
At the end of every day, take two minutes to focus. Shut down your computer. Turn off your phone. Lock yourself in a closet – whatever it takes.
Just think for two minutes about ways you could improve.
The Millionaire Store Owner
My father often told me a story about a hardware store owner. (I’ve never been able to confirm the story’s true, but that doesn’t really matter.)
Every evening, the owner would think of one small improvement he could make as he closed down his store. Maybe it was moving a display of nails or changing the price on a tool set.
The store owner ended up doing incredibly well and credits this evening ritual with his success.
True or not, the story stuck with me – and the principles can have powerful results for our productivity.
Each improvement on its own may or may not be drastic. But if you did this six days a week for an entire year, these small changes would add up quickly.
If you could improve your performance by one half of one percent (just 0.5%) every day for that time, you would be over four times as productive at the end of a year. Improve your performance by 1% and you’d be 22 times more productive at the end of a year.
The key is to think deeply about things you could improve.
At first, you may see a lot of “low hanging fruit” – obvious ways that you could easily improve.
Over time, the gains will come with more and more thought. Not only will you improve your productivity, but you’ll get better and better at the process of examining yourself during these two-minute sessions.
Do you need to be more focused?
What distractions could you eliminate?
Do you need to take more breaks? Fewer breaks? Quicker breaks?
Would it help to rearrange your schedule?
What was a waste of your time?
What was the best use of your time?
Were there any small chunks of time that were squandered?
Were there any contexts that you weren’t maximizing?
Did disorganization slow you down?
There are thousands upon thousands of questions to ask yourself. Don’t skimp or rush through the process. The greatest benefit will come when you get quiet and dig down deep.
Not Just Utilitarian
The great part of this method is that it isn’t restricted to just knocking things off a to-do list or accomplishing goals.
You can think of the spiritual dimension as well.
Are you chasing the approval of man?
Are you trying to legalistically earn God’s approval?
Are you truly motivated by the gospel to serve others?
Is your work tainted by selfishness?
Are you leaning on your own self-sufficiency?
Are you being obedient in all of your time responsibilities?
Take two minutes to think right now. What are some ways you could improve?
Photo Credit: Paul Reynolds (Creative Commons)
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