We all want to be more efficient, more productive, to get more out of our day, and free up our time to do the things that are valuable to us.
The best way to do this is to break down the systems we already have in place, and to make them more effective.
Reduce the steps, reduce wasted movement, reduce time, and increase output per-time-invested.
It can seem pretty simple, but it is actually rather complex.
Usually this means completely re-thinking our habits, our common actions, and our unconscious routines. What I mean by our “unconscious routines” are the things that we carry out on a day-to-day basis without really ever thinking about them thoroughly.
By fixing these little routines, we can create a huge productivity shift over time.
So, here are a few ways you can be more productive, immediately!
1. Improve your health by getting the most out of your work outs!
Using one of the most simple forms of working out, but also scientifically proven to be one of the best workouts per-time-spent, you can get some serious fitness gains in just 4 minutes a day!
Using an app that is aptly called “The 4 Minute Workout” you can do pre-organized workout drills using what is known as Tabata Intervals.
A Tabata Interval is a 4 minute workout split up in to 8 sets, broken down by 20 seconds of intense workout, and 10 seconds of rest, pulled back-to-back to break even the baddest of athletes.
Tabata Intervals have sometimes been referred to as “The 4 Minute Miracles” due to the results of such high intensity cardio spiking workouts. In only a 4 minute workout, one Tabata Interval can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, resting metabolic rate, and burn more fat than a 20 minute run, or a 60 minute workout.
The Tabata Interval was invented in the 70's for Japanese Olympians, but don’t let that intimidate you.
The beauty of a Tabata Interval is that it can be as intense as you want. The point is to try to break plateaus wherever possible, so you should still be trying to push the limits.
The “4 Minute Workout” app makes the process simple by giving you a bullet-proof, baseline Tabata workout completely free on your iPhone. By integrating push ups, jumping squats, burpees, crunches, mountain climbers, and other body-weight workouts, you can get a hard workout that will spike your metabolism and increase fat burning in 4 minutes flat.
You’ll probably even want to take a second round.
If you want to take it to a new level, download the “Tabata Pro” timer, which is basically just a Tabata timer, without the workouts.
This is when it gets fun.
See what you can make of a 4 minute Tabata Interval!
Have you always wanted to be better at push-ups? Set a Tabata Interval for pushups and see how many you can knock out in those 8 sets. Pace yourself throughout and try to rack up your mean score (meaning how many you can do in each set, the number in your lowest set being your end score).
If you really want to give yourself the workout of a lifetime, set the Tabata Pro timer and just go for unadulterated sprints. 20 seconds of sprints, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds of sprints, 10 seconds of rest. This is seriously one of the most insane cardio experiments I have ever done.
2. Improve your cash flow by managing your expenses differently!
Money management has been pretty straight-forward for a long time.
“I have this much to spend every month, I should only spend X on shopping, Y on groceries, and Z on entertainment.”
But there’s a problem with this, it’s all kind of a boilerplate, and doesn’t really give you real-time information to work off of, but most of all it doesn’t set the right psychological anchor.
When looking at a normal budget that scales upwards, showing you’ve spent $250 out of your $300 budget, it kind of desensitizes the cap at the top of that budget.
In comes “Level” the smarter money meter.
Essentially, you put in your income, what your budgets are, like normal, but then Level’s true genius comes to life.
Instead of telling you what you’ve spent, Level tells you what you have left to spend.
This really puts a different psychological turn on managing your money.
Instead of feeling like you have enough to toss away, you feel attached to it, like you’re stealing money from yourself if you spend over the allotted amount.
Level shows you how much money you have left to spend:
- By day (awesome to check at lunch)
- By week (great to plan your week)
- By month (nice to give you a psychological jarring if you’re over-spending)
Level even helps you save, by making you feel good about keeping money in your “spendable” column, and setting up auto transfers for saving goals.
It’s a simple, new, more eloquent way to manage your money.
3. Improve your routines by connecting the dots on the data you’re already gathering from your “quantified self” gadgets!
Okay, so if you’re into tech gadgets, which you probably are, you most likely have at least one item that could be referred to as a “quantified self” gadget, right?
I thought so.
A Fitbit, a Jawbone UP, or even an iPhone could be called a quantified self gadget, using Foursquare to gather location data, or Twitter to track your engagement with your network.
Here’s the thing, are you doing anything with that data?
Are you making sense of it in any way?
You’re already paying for it, or accumulating it regardless, wouldn’t you want to know if say, you’re more happy when you only tweet once a day? Or you sleep better when it’s colder outside?
There’s an awesome little startup called Exist.io that pulls all of your data together and gives you the lay of the land.
This handy tool shows you exactly what your data means in your life.
- When you usually go to bed.
- What trends were happening when you had your happiest date-range period.
Essentially it puts the data that you’re already collecting to work for you, instead of trying to make sense of it on your own.
By integrating multiple platforms, Exist.io is able to pick up these trends on a cross-platform basis, and give you more detailed feedback than any one of these services could on their own.
Now you can really start thinking about radically improving your routines, and what is best for you on a day-to-day basis to be more effective, and happier.
So what are your favorite ways to trim the fat, be more efficient and move the needle forward?
What are the ways you cut out the fluff, improve your routines and get the most out of your day?
Shoot me a tweet, I would love to know!