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Want to do 160 Productive Hours a Month? You Need Systems, Not Goals

Systems vs. goals

  • If you do something every day, it’s a system.
  • If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.

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Want to do 160 Productive Hours a Month? You Need Systems, Not Goals

Want to do 160 Productive Hours a Month? You Need Systems, Not Goals

https://medium.com/personal-growth/want-to-do-160-productive-hours-a-month-you-need-systems-not-goals-9d87b1091b1e

medium.com

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Key Ideas

A system is...

  • Something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of success regardless of the immediate outcome.
  • A collection of goals, tools, habits, and methods is not the same as a purposeful system.
  • A working system allows you to reduce your tasks to a manageable set of inputs and outputs, and establish some predictability.  

Systems vs. goals

  • If you do something every day, it’s a system.
  • If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.

James Clear

James Clear

“When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.”

To build an effective system...

  • Take yourself mentally from step one all the way to the final step.
  • At each step, ask yourself what tools, resources, information, or people you might need access to.
  • Put them in a designated space or build in the easiest possible method for getting what you need when you need it.
  • As part of the system, plan a regular time to restock the consumable resources that the system requires.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

17 hours of productivity weekly

People work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive.

Tim Ferriss's tips for productivity
  1. Manage your moods: If you start the day calm it's easy to get the right things done and focus.
  2. Don't check email in the morning.
  3. Before you try to do it faster, ask whether it should be done at all.
  4. Focus is nothing more than eliminating distractions.
  5. Have a personal system; most productive people have a routine.
  6. Define your goals for the day the night before.
Don't check emails in the morning

If you check your emails first thing in the morning, **you're setting yourself up to react.

You're not planning your day and prioritizing, you're giving your best hours to someone else's goals, not yours.

Having No Routine

Having no routine or structure is so much more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than any routine could ever be.

Why You Need a Routine
  • It gives you structure, builds forward-moving habits, and creates momentum that will carry you on the days when you feel like you don't have the strength to carry yourself.
  • Following a daily routine can help you establish priorities, limit procrastination, keep track of goals, and even make you healthier. 
  • It lowers your reliance on willpower and motivation.
Start the day with a mantra

... to get you into a positive mood for the day ahead. Put your mind in a good state right away, because left unchecked it will try to tell you the things that are wrong.

Pick a phrase or question that resonates with you. It could be as simple as smiling and saying "thank you" out loud, acknowledging that you have been gifted with another day.

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Focus on Systems Instead of Goals
Focus on Systems Instead of Goals

Most goals are out of our control. We have limited control to reach them. In a system, your focus is on all the parts that you do control. And system is a fancy word for “repeatable process”...

Leverage the Compound Effect

When you focus on developing systems and work every day, your work compounds over time, developing exponential growth. 

The more advantages you create, the more your next advantages pay off. A 1% gain every day compounds to almost 38x increase over a year.

Measure Output, Not Input

Systems are the best way to progress since they reward effort and we control all the variables. However, we need to have a sense of direction in those efforts, to know what we are trying to accomplish

Writing daily with no objective is just practice. If you want to achieve something, you need to commit to a certain output, like publishing a post on your blog weekly. At the end of the day, a system is a way to control how to achieve an output.

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Write It Down

Uncompleted commitments take up psychic energy, each one making you just the tiniest bit more tired, more distracted, and therefore less productive.

The first step to managing your life an...

Get a Head Start

Before leaving your workspace, or before going to bed, take 10 minutes to look over the next day’s commitments.

Decide what you’ll do first. Look at that to-do list and decide whether any tasks on it can be delegated to someone else or crossed off the list altogether.

Do Your Most Dreaded Task First

Every one of us has one or more tasks on our to-do list that we dread doing.

Do it first thing. Writer Michael Hyatt talks about slaying your dragons before breakfast—there’s nothing more motivating for the rest of your day than crossing that monster off your list first thing in the morning.

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Getting Things Done: the basics
  • Capture. Write down everything you need to do.
  • Clarify. Break down each task into an actionable next step. 
  • Organize. Move each of those actionable ta...
The 2-minute rule
If a task takes less than 2 minutes, then do it now.

If the effort to keep remembering a task is more than just getting it out of the way now, then do it.

Fixing small tasks
  • Fixing things is empowering. Our confidence increases or decreases based on our ability to make progress. 
  • Any progress builds momentum (and your mood): No matter how small the task is, crossing it off your to-do list gives you a boost of momentum and enhances your mood.
  • Small steps turn into habits: When a task is easy to do and quickly completed, it’s much easier to turn it into a habit.

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Productive vs Efficient
  • Productivity measures how much you do or produce within a given timeframe.
  • Efficiency is about being productive with less effort.

To be more productive in a w...

The Right Questions

When companies have more work than they can handle, they tend to ask, "Who will do this work?" But the better questions are:

  • How should this get done?
  • Is this the best way to do this?
  • Is there a more efficient way to do this?
  • Should I be doing this?

Identify what can be automated, delegated or be replaced in favor of something else. Even if it only saves you a few minutes, it will add up over time. 

Broad-Strokes Efficiency

Efficiency is not limited to how you perform specific tasks. Consider how the general way you work impacts your efficiency.

  • Work in a way that complements your internal clock.
  • Find out how to get yourself into a flow state when you need to do deep work.
  • Take more and better breaks, so you'll be more refreshed and focused throughout the day.

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Failure Is Inevitable

Most of us fail in our endeavors at some point in our lives, whether it's a New Year's resolution or a health goal you are working on. These setbacks make us human, not a failure.

Our will...

Schedule Your Habits

Schedule your habits by giving them a specific space in your daily waking hours. You can put it in your calendar, or link it to your current behavior patterns. 

Create a system around your existing life to incorporate the new habit.

Stick to Your Schedule

Even doing something small towards your goal can help build a daily routine.

Example: Instead of skipping the morning jog entirely due to lack of time, one can jog for a few minutes.

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Using a productivity system
Using a productivity system

The idea of a productivity system is to organize the stuff you need to do.

There are many systems out there. But you may have no idea which system to pick. You may start we...

The purpose of using a system

There are only three different kinds of systems:

  1. The system of other people: You respond to the time pressures of other people.
  2. The system of feelings and moods: You might work a lot when you feel creative.
  3. A system of your own design: Moods and outside pressures still matter, but they're not the only guiding factor on what to do.

Building a habit of a productivity system is about creating a buffer between you and your temporary emotions or external pressures.

Your system needs to fit your work

Any system is designed using a particular set of assumptions about your work. The assumptions need to fit your situation.

For instance, the weekly/daily goals system works well when you have a number of concrete tasks to complete. But if your tasks are open-ended or contain only one task, then the system doesn't fit the task.

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The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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Stephen King
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Stephen King
Don't just wait around

You must challenge yourself to take action sooner rather than later.

Planning and strategizing are important parts of the beginning of a new project, but be careful not to lose yourself indefinitely in these steps.

Don't play the blame game

Blame is nothing but an easy way out of taking responsibility for your own outcomes. It’s a lot easier to point a finger at someone or something else instead of looking within yourself. 

Blame is not constructive; it does not help you or anyone else.

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