With proper focus, you can get more things done in a day than you ever thought possible. It’s the difference between passing an exam, consistently crushing your sales goal, and the constant remarks by friends or colleagues – “where do you find the time to do all of this?”

Many people think, in order to succeed, you need to work 16 hour days and take sales calls while you’re on the toilet.

When in reality, in order to succeed you need unrelenting focus. You need to be able to discern whether certain tasks are essential and not stray from doing tasks that make you uncomfortable.

Far too often, people fool themselves by living busy lives. They feel satisfied when they check off a box on their to do list. It’s instant gratification that makes us blind to long-term achievement. Because people seek “checking off of the box” they tend to do the easy things.

Days like this:

  • Respond to customer service emails – CHECK
  • Organize filing cabinet – CHECK
  • Ask my boss for an extra vacation day – CHECK
  • Proofread document – CHECK
  • Update text on website – CHECK
  • Attend meeting and complete notes – CHECK

Sure, you checked off a lot of boxes. However, all of this could have been done in an hour and you managed to waste your entire day on a list of tasks that didn’t advance your career in the slightest. Don’t be fooled. Being busy is not being productive.

To do the hard stuff, you need focus – and a lot of it.

These tasks:

  • Complete market research report and rehearse pitch – CHECK
  • Make 200 sales calls – CHECK

As opposed to this day. Much less things checked off, but much more of a productive day.

If you want these days – EVERY DAY – then please follow these steps.

1) Start Every Day Like This

Start your morning productive. Immediately.

As simple as this sounds, it’s a powerful lesson.

It’s the exact lesson that made this book so popular. Millions of copies sold.

This book illustrates just how important making your bed is. Not because it looks nice for your guests, but because it’s the first thing you do in the morning.

Your morning starts productive, which is a catalyst to how the rest of your day will go.

However, I like to take this one step further.

After waking up, immediately make your bed. Then do all of the other stuff you need to do – go to the restroom, take a shower, brush your teeth, eat. And then, the most important part…

Plan the rest of your day.

Sit down, take out a piece of paper, and write exactly what you want to achieve that day – and stick to it.

2) Make it your mission to avoid distractions

Avoid distractions like the plague. Seriously. Avoid them at all costs.

Chatty Cathy sitting next to you? Noise cancelling headphones or white noise.

Screens giving you a headache? Special glasses or get a blue-light screen blocker.

Squeaky chair? Throw some WD 40 on it or buy a new chair.

People constantly talking to you? Tell them you’re too busy to talk.

Constantly getting phone calls or notifications? Put your phone on do not disturb and put it out of side. Just because a call is important does not mean it’s urgent.

Always feeling tired at work? Stop eating In N Out every day and start doing cardio daily.

When you’re at work, you work. The cat videos, back in forth texts from your significant other, and Instagram can wait until you’re home.

3) Be Deliberate

I can’t stress this one enough.

Your time should be spent extremely deliberately.

You need to be able to discern whether or not something is worth doing. If it’s not going to advance you closer to where you want to be in 10 years, then don’t do it.

People far too often use their time as if it’s this unlimited resource.

  • “Sure, Suzy, I’ll talk to you about the issues you’re having with Mike”
  • Checking my email 50 times a day because every email I get is urgent.
  • Spending 45 minutes in the bathroom on Instagram because I’m bored.
  • Keeping my favorite TV show playing in the background because it helps me multitask
  • Taking 25 walks to the water-cooler.

Really? When you see it all laid out like this, it just seems silly. And the worst part, A LOT of people do these things.

Spend your time as if it’s a finite resource…which it is.