Original photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

How to Become Ridiculously Productive in 5 Daily Steps

Matt Sandrini

In my first business, I did it all wrong.

I wanted results fast, so I overworked myself through long days (every day), and hazy mornings. The results? I nearly burnt out, stopped training, and was too busy to have a social life. And I wasn’t even getting the results that I wanted.

Being busy was killing my results, even in business, until I realised that everything that matters in life is a marathon. And if you want to win, you can’t treat a marathon like a sprint.

Here are 5 unconventional principles that radically changed my life: from overworked and disappointed, to designing my own life in the process, and not waiting for some future outcome.

Here are the five unconventional principles that will make sure you squeeze the most out of your every day:

#1. Work out regularly

Physical exercise makes you feel alive. It also builds discipline and shows you an important life lesson: there are no shortcuts. If you want results, you have to show up every day, endure the burn, and have faith that at some point you’ll look in the mirror and see results.

This is the most powerful metaphor for anything that matters in life. Being active also makes you more confident, adapts your metabolism to create more energy in every area of your life, and releases chemicals that make you feel good and change your mood. All in exchange of 2–3 hours a week — I’m in!

#2. Sleep like your life depends on it

When you go for the “busy” lifestyle, you live under this constant illusion that the more you do, the more results you’ll have. That the more input you put in, the more output you’ll get out of your efforts.

It’s not about the hours. We all have 24 hours, from Jeff Bezos all the way to your laziest relative. It’s what you do with those 24 hours that counts, not how much.

When you sleep 8–9h a day, you gain the clarity and energy to get what matters done, fast. Instead of fumbling your way through todos that don’t get you anywhere, you can focus on what actually moves you forward. I recently worked with a CEO coaching client to help him structure a global product launch and stay high-performing under pressure: having a sleep plan helped him succeed under pressure (and make great decisions).

#3. Align your interests

When you see life as consisting of a lot of separate areas, you’re constantly juggling things — everything is in competition for your limited time. Do I see friends? Or go to the gym? Or go on a date? Or study? Or travel for a weekend?

To multiply time (and create amazing experiences), align your interests. Invite friends to share a workout. Or to visit you abroad. Or to read a book together, and then talk about it. Introduce people that should know each other (and ask for more introductions). Meet girls where you hang out (instead of dating apps), so you can get to know each other in an instant (and screen each other out if you’re not a good fit). When you align your interests and areas of life to support each other, your energy will multiply.

Your relationships will support your work. Your work will support your fitness. Your fitness will give you more energy for personal projects. Your personal projects will make you happier in your relationships. And more.

Working with a coach is a great way to get the accountability to take action when you don’t feel like it, and focus on the big picture instead of seeking more “tactics”. (If you run a business, you can book your free call on my profile).

#4. Use failure as your metric for success

Failure is scary, until you decide to see it as the only real success: you have to fail 10 times (or more), so you can give yourself the chance to succeed at least once.

When I started giving corporate workshops, I couldn’t control how many companies decided to buy my training. So I decided to focus on failures: I had to get at least 20 nos a week. That made the game so much more fun, and took all fear away.

When I deleted all dating apps and started talking to girls offline, I couldn’t control how many would agree on a date. So I decided to get turned down at least twice a week. If I didn’t get a rejection, I failed. That allowed me to focus on actually taking action, and finally become comfortable being myself in front of beautiful women I wanted to talk to.

Be like Michael Jordan: he missed over 9,000 shots, so he could be 5th top scorer ever in NBA history. The only true failure is not trying.

#5. Stop caffeine (and every other crutch)

When it comes to “productivity”, a lot of people use a ton of substances as a crutch. From daily caffeine to nootropics, they can’t function without them.

I’m not against any of these. I very occasionally use nootropics and cognitive-enhancing compounds to give myself a boost. But I have a rule: it needs to be a boost and not a crutch. My baseline can’t depend on anything else: I must be strong and grounded already so that I can occasionally get a purposeful boost to accomplish a challenging task.

Most people use external substances as a band-aid to cover up their lacks, and never solve the actual problem. For example, people use caffeine to cover up a lack of sleep, and alcohol to cover up social awkwardness. The problem is, you never actually resolve the problem, and depend on these substances instead of benefitting from them.

You are the tool, not the master.

Instead of depending on something external, make sure you get enough sleep as explained above. Once your baseline is stable, you can then experiment with other substances to boost you for a day or two, if you have something specific that needs extra attention.

#6. Plan your day in advance (bonus)

Here’s how to plan your day in 5 minutes, so you know exactly what to work on in order to win the day. Each day.

Step #1: select and eliminate

Look at your todo list and your tasks, and…eliminate the ones that won’t make a difference and the ones that are not time sensitive. Secondly, you only want to work on tasks that get you somewhere, not just make you feel busy. You want to see progress. Not directionless movement.

Step #2 — align your objectives

Look at your goals. What action can you take to get closer? For example, if you want to find 10 new clients by the end of the year, what can you do today that will directly get you closer to successs? We often use our todo list as a way to stay busy, so we don’t have to do the stuff that actually scares us (and actually will get us somewhere). That’s why goals and objectives are so important: they are a filter to know exactly where you want to go, what you want to accomplish, and how.

Step #3 — select the one thing that will make a difference

Lastly, choose ONE THING that will make your day a success. Then start from that one. If you complete that action at 8am, you will already have had a successful day before breakfast. Sit back and feel amazing (self-five allowed).

Instead of working on everything else and everyone else’s priorities, choose to focus on what will make a difference from the start and then do that. That is how you win the day.

When I work with a new coaching client, we often go through an inventory of the activities they take on in their business: usually, they are shocked when reality hits them about how little value their time is creating.

Follow these principles, and you’ll lead a productive life that is aligned with your core principles. And everyone will wonder how you get so much done (while they’re always busy). Help them do better: with great powers comes great responsibility.

Your turn now.

I can’t wait for you to take action. Let me know in the comments: what’s one way you will change how you leverage your own time? I want you to win.

– Matt

The Startup

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Matt Sandrini

Written by

⭐ Founder at Storypreneur and Business & Productivity Coach ⭐ Take my FREE 7-day productivity challenge at mattsandrini.com/productive

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +469K people. Follow to join our community.