Time is the raw material of productivity. Time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Invest your asset carefully.

Build a system to protect it.

“You can’t let other people set your agenda in life, ” says Warren Buffett.

There are 168 hours every week. Let that sink in for a moment.

That is a monumental amount of time. Where could it possibly go? Or better still where are you spending all those hours?

Start and end your day on purpose. Jim Rohn said “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” If you have clarity of purpose every morning, your focus will change.

Stephen Covey once said: “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically — to say “no” to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.”

Manage your energy. Your brain consumes 20% of the body’s energy even though it only uses 2% of the body’s volume. This means that when your body lacks energy, your brain will suffer too.

Concentration is like a muscle, it needs to rest to be able to function, and it shouldn’t be overworked, otherwise, it’ll simply burn out and take longer to get back into the swing of things.

Building time in your day to take your mind off your work will help to rejuvenate your brain.

Work in sprints. Break up your workday into segments with 20 minutes in between each segment.

Your brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes at a time. Afterward, a 20–30-minutes break is required for you to get the renewal to achieve high performance for your next task again, according to research.

Taking breaks is biologically restorative.

It’s only when you come to appreciate and accept the ebbs and flows of your body that you can really start to deliver maximum results.

When things start getting overwhelming, take a break.

While you’re on break, talk to colleagues, take a walk — better yet, go outside. Allow your mind to wander and give your brain the opportunity it needs to connect ideas better.

Starting today, reclaim your ability to focus, be mindful of what you are doing, and you will create meaningful accomplishments every week.

The more focused you are, the higher the quality of work you’ll do, and the more you’ll get done.

Working for long periods of time can be detrimental to your level of engagement with the certain task.

Work with purpose.

Purposeful working isn’t a new notion — a similar and popular technique is The pomodoro technique.

Build a work system for yourself. A system makes your goal real. It’s concrete. It gets you moving. It helps you focus on long-terms gains, instead of short-term wins.

A focused work rule is important for peak performance.

When you are in control of what to do, what is being done, and what has been accomplished, you will be in total control of your day. Work will be meaningful and fulfilling.

A daily or weekly routine, a consistent application of even small habits, will transform your life more effectively than striving for an overwhelmingly large goal without a consistent routine to achieve it.

Use your peak time carefully. You want to be solving problems, getting answers, and making decisions in your most productive time.

Use your peak time, when you feel alert and excited, for tasks that involve problem-solving, complex thought, and critical decisions.

Writing, deep thought processes, and strategizing all come easier when you are focused and alert.

Productivity has more to do with leveraging your energy, not your time.

Cal Newport recommends building a habit of ‘deep work’ — the ability to focus without distraction.

Newport also recommends ‘deep scheduling’ to combat constant interruptions and get more done in less time.

Visualise your work.

In his book, Personal Kanban: Mapping Work — Navigating Life, Jim Benson says, work unseen is work uncontrolled.

“Visualising work reduces the distractions of existential overhead by transforming fuzzy concepts into tangible objects that your brain can easily grasp and prioritize.” says Jim.

Embrace the one task at a time approach.

The basic principle of success is to focus. It is what makes the difference between those who are successful and those who are not, regardless of how much talent, resource, and energy that they have.

“….Most worthwhile achievements are the result of many little things done in a single direction” says Nido Qubein.

According to Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Faster Better, reminding ourselves of how a small action fits into a bigger objective makes it easier to link our small efforts to more meaningful aspirations.

Determine the three most important tasks you need to do tomorrow, today. Write them down. Rank them on your list and assign priorities.

Charles Dickens once said, “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”

Take time to analyse how you work and how productive your strategies have been over the week.

Can you do better in fewer hours?

What is not working and why is it not working?

What are you doing wrong?

Do more of what works and less of what steals your time.

Spend your last 20 minutes every day to reflect, process, and prioritise for the next day. End your day on purpose.

Before you go…

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Originally published at medium.com