The Secret To My Extreme Productivity

It’s safe to say that I’m a busy guy.

Between investing, writing, speaking, and producing the AIP podcast in multiple countries, I balance a lot on a day-to-day basis.

One of the most common questions friends and colleagues ask me is, “how do you manage to get all of this done?”

It’s a fair question and one that I’m always more than happy to answer.

First, it’s important to remember that there is a significant difference between being busy and being productive. Everyone is busy, but few are consistently productive.

I’ve developed three strategies that have enabled me to get more done than I ever thought possible. They’ve worked for me, and I’m confident that they’ll work for anyone looking to achieve extreme levels of productivity. After all, anything is possible.


Learn To Embrace Essentialism 

The concept of essentialism can be traced back to Aristotle and Plato’s works and holds that a given entity has a few core traits that define its very existence. There can be many additional traits, but there are always a few representing the entity’s core.

You can and should apply the essentialist framework to every task you encounter.

When I feel overwhelmed by a task, my natural response is to procrastinate. Procrastination, however, leads to stress, anxiety, and feelings of being completely overwhelmed.

I’ve learned that the solution to this is to analyze the task, identify its essence, and develop a plan to attack it. When you apply an essentialist framework to tasks, you’ll quickly find that the anxiety surrounding its perceived complexity melts away.

The truth is that the things we undertake feel more extensive and more complicated than they are. Don’t let your perceptions limit what is possible. You are capable of more than you realize.


Don’t act like the goldfish 

Now, I’m not sure if it’s biologically accurate, but there’s an old saying that goldfish grow to the size of their tank. The larger the tank, the larger the goldfish.

The same principle applies to our lives. The more room we allow ourselves for any given task, the longer that task takes. If you assign a task to a person who isn’t particularly busy, they tend to stretch it out as much as possible.

The key to not becoming a goldfish is to impose strict deadlines and requirements on yourself for every task you undertake. You have to treat everything as though you’re under the proverbial gun. This makes it significantly easier to clear things off your to-do list with ruthless efficiency.


The obstacle is the way 

Of course, no matter what you do, you will still run into challenges that can halt your productivity in its tracks. We all encounter such obstacles in our lives, but they don’t have to be limiting. The truth is that such obstacles can make you more productive.

We must remember that we alone control our emotions and reactions and possess the ability to turn the obstacles we face into opportunities.

As I work through my intense workload, I find myself returning time after time to a quote from Marcus Aurelius, the great Stoic Philosopher King.

“Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

We would all be well-served to remember that what stands in our way becomes the way. When it comes to productivity, we must run headlong into our challenges and tackle our most dreaded tasks. We have to embrace them, relish the process, and attack them with a ferocity that robs them of their power over us.


Lean on your team

My last and perhaps most important tip is to cultivate a team you trust and lean on. No one can handle everything by themselves, and having an A+ team on your side is essential.

They’re a force multiplier, helping you do more faster. Most importantly, however, good teams know when to step in and push back. When aligned teams challenge you, it forces you to grow and expand in ways you might not have otherwise considered.


You’re capable of more than you realize

The secret to extreme productivity is to cultivate the proper mindset. The first step is to avoid becoming a goldfish and apply constraints to the projects you take on.

The second is to embrace essentialism, identifying and pursuing the core elements and underlying purpose of the task at hand.

The third, and perhaps most important, step is to adopt the Stoic philosophy that “what stands in the way, becomes the way.”

These three strategies have worked wonders for me, and I’m confident that they’ll be helpful for anyone who has the desire to achieve a state of extreme productivity.

IMAGE SOURCE: Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash