“Everyone has only 24hrs in a day.” Have you heard that phrase before? Or “24 hours is all anyone gets.” However, that doesn’t seem true. Why? Because there are people who do so much more than me it seems that those people have more than 24hrs in a day. You have most likely thought about how you can get more time in a day, I know I have, but no matter what you and I do, unless there is some field of quantum physics that has successfully overcome the limit of time, there is simply no way to get more hours, minutes, or seconds in a day. How is it then that some people can accomplish more than everyone else?
Some may say to get more done, sleep less. However, there are scores of studies and books that show sleeping less translates into doing less. Recently I completed a MasterClass lead by Matthew Walker a neuroscientist who studies sleep. His research shows that sleeping is critical to improved cognitive ability, physical recovery, and productivity. According to Matthew’s research, if you go without sleep for more than 19hrs, your cognitive impairment is equal to being legally drunk. Sleeping less is not the answer to being more productive or getting more done.
If the answer is not in sleeping less, then what? Without much research you and I know the answer. People who get more done or who are more productive spend more of their time on more productive activities. Their ratio of binge-watching seasons of Seinfeld to studying a problem or devising a solution is infinitesimally small compared to the average human being. The time they spend is also focused. They minimize distractions to maximize productivity. The question is how? How do more productive people overcome the natural tendencies we all have to do less valuable activities? How do they overcome the brain’s natural tendency to remain at rest? Do they have some superhuman ability to conquer complacency? No.
What highly productive people do lies in where they start and keep their focus. Every highly productive and stunningly successful person I have studied starts with a laughably small activity and focuses on completing it consistently. They do not focus on achievement which so often stops a person before they ever start. They do not focus on the peak of the mountain, but on the simple step they are taking to climb the mountain. They don’t dismiss the natural tendency to think that small activities done consistently will not make any difference. They don’t fight the brain’s desire to remain at rest they use it by saying to themselves, “after I do at least this one thing, then I will rest.” They don’t ask the question, “what can I accomplish today?” Instead, they ask, “how many days in a row can I do this simple thing?”
The highly productive person multiplies time by starting and completing at least the laughably small and putting their focusing on the consecutive number of days they complete the activity. What we found is that starting with the laughably small is like priming the productivity engine and when it gets going the time you would have spent on binging Seinfeld is spent instead in reading, writing, exercising, solving, seeing, learning, and doing.
Said in a simple sentence, if you want to multiply time, become highly productive, and accomplish your goals, start streaking.