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How to get 4 hours of focused work a day

estimated reading time: 2 min 

Tobi works for two companies at the same time. Taking care of both of them comes with a lot of different responsibilities and tasks. He always got distracted by subtasks and it was hard for him to stay focused. Furthermore, he was interested in how much time he is spending on each project, that’s why he wanted to try out Timeular.

Mornings with yoga, meditation … and Timeular

He starts his day around 6:00 am with a session of 8 min Tabata, 8 min of Yoga and a short meditation. “Throughout that procedure, my mind is completely focused.” After that he quickly prepares a healthy shake for breakfast and starts writing down his daily plan.

Tobi’s day is structured in 2 big tasks, one he has to do and one he wants to do. “This keeps me motivated working in my  ‘zone’.”

“Discipline is most important. In order to push this I work with 20min ‘tomatoe timers’ and binaural frequencies (and classical music).”

As activities, he tracks the tasks within his companies and the ones he does for external partners. “A good structure of how you spend your time is the most important thing for self-employed people. Basically, I pick the activities according to the people I work with.”

Now: 4 focused hours a day

Tobi now has 4 hours per day to remain in the “zone” which was not possible for him before. He also really likes the physical Tracker. “I forget to start or stop the timer less ;)”

Tobi’s tip: find your own personal morning routine

“Try to find your (personal!) perfect morning routine (including nutrition and sport), learn to find your way how to structure yourself, there are many options and techniques, handwritten or digitally.”

Tobi would start by looking for what others are doing to get some inspiration. “There are big speakers and mentors like Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins and Hal Elrod – these are more for bookworms. Alternatively, you can speak with successful people in your environment, who have similar mindsets.”

“It’s like a puzzle. First, you need to find the right pieces, then you need to try and see what happens and if they fit.”

Therefore it is important to have the discipline or your own system to keep you accountable and to make it a habit/routine.


Tobi Deckert is the CEO and product developer of ShredRack and tronature. He helps others to achieve their ultimate adventure during travel and sports throughout the right products.

11 Ideas To Improve Your Time Management

estimated reading time: 4 min 

We have so many distractions nowadays. Social media, updates, news, messages, calls and so on. Not to mention that family life and responsibilities are still not outdated. It seems like we don’t have time for anything.

It’s barely possible to stay productive. As a result, we are often rushed and distracted. We do a poor job. So, how to stay productive?

You need to learn a few time management practices.

1. Set goals

What do you want to achieve? One of the first steps of successful time management is setting the right goals and knowing what you want to achieve. You need to be clear about this and do as much as you can to contribute to the achievement of that goal. Sit down, turn off the distractions and think about where you want to be. Then, write it down and set it somewhere so it can motivate you. This will drive you every day – your passions, dreams and goals.

2. Do something

Don’t wait for Monday or the Monday after that, don’t wait for anything to happen so you can get started. Just do something right away. You have set your goals? Great! Now sit down and make a first effort to achieve something. Maybe it’s just 1% of where you need to be but it’s one per cent further than where you were. Always aim to perform one task, one action, learn one thing every day that will help you arrive at your destination.

3. Don’t be lazy

We have all faced laziness at some point in our lives. However, it’s how you fight it that matters. You should improve your techniques for combating laziness. Here are some simple tricks:

  • Use the Pomodoro Technique – Work for 25 minutes and then have a 5-minute break.
  • Start planning your actions and breaking them into manageable pieces.
  • Get others to keep you accountable — a friend or partner that will remind you of your plans if you don’t stick to them.

Different hands over a table full of laptops

4. Eliminate distractions

Since it takes 23 minutes to focus on the task again, it can be pretty hard when you face interruptions every three minutes. So, turn off your phone, notifications on your computer, block social media pages (unless it’s a part of your job or current task), tell everyone not to bother you for a select amount of time and so on. Work in a quiet place as well.

5. Don’t do several things at once

Multitasking can be useful but it’s still one of the enemies of productivity. A multitasking mind is a distracted mind. You can’t focus properly on multiple things at once. We can only dedicate so much of our minds to this. So, when you are multitasking, your brain has to quickly switch between tasks and it impacts your efficiency negatively.

6. Set deadlines for yourself

When you don’t set any deadlines, you’ll just keep putting it off. “Of course, make those deadlines reasonable so you don’t get discouraged, but make sure that they are tight enough so you don’t procrastinate,” says Julianne Sophers, a journalist at 1day2write and Australia2write.

7. Avoid checking email

Checking your email all the time makes you seem productive and like you are doing something that matters but you are creating a huge distraction for yourself. Responding to dozens of emails a day isn’t really productive. Instead, open your emails twice a day, at scheduled times. No one is going to die if you don’t respond within three minutes.

8. Clear your inbox

When you check your emails, just delete the ones that are not relevant. Respond to emails that are and clear all the ones that aren’t. “Clutter in your emails or in your life is an enemy to your productivity. Get your email box to zero. The lack of clutter is inspiring,” says Josephine Myers a project manager at Writemyx and Brit student.


A man writes on his laptop and next to him a notepad

9. Focus on priorities

Having a to-do list is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to organization and time management. Create a reasonable to-do list. List only the most important tasks in it. Focus on priority tasks – several things that you need to do in order to get closer to the goals you have set. Do the most important task first and then complete the rest.

10. Don’t mistake urgent for important

You need to realize that there is a huge difference between important and urgent. Let’s say that you want to start your own company but you are an employee at another company while you gather resources. Your employer needs a task done quickly, and you are writing down your business plan. The task you are doing for your boss is urgent but your business plan is important. Think about your priorities.

11. Write it down

Having an old-fashioned journal or planner where you can write things down is crucial. You memorise things better that way and you get a better grasp at what you need to do.

This post was written by Katrina Hatchett.

Katrina Hatchett works as a manager at Academic Brits. She has been involved in various business projects, where her main aim is to define project problems and propose solutions, as well as improving overall communication effectiveness. Also, she writes for PhDKingdom and Origin Writings, academic service.

Finding Productivity in an Unproductive Meeting

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting and thinking about all the other things you could and should be doing. Unfortunately for most employees, this often happens with reoccurring meetings.

But there are instances where a meeting is essential. For example, a health and safety training session would probably be useful for all employees, while a business development meeting might only be relevant to those that it directly affects.

Going back to basics, a meeting happens to gather ideas, solve problems, gather feedback, and move projects forward. Yet it’s become commonplace for them to be utterly superfluous. And research suggests that most staff members consider them unproductive and a hindrance to overall performance.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why a meeting might become unproductive. Plus, the steps you can take to improve the outcome.

Reasons for Unproductive Meetings

  1. No purpose
    The problem with unproductive meetings is that there’s no clear purpose or objective. It might be a good idea to go over the reason for the meeting and if it requires the attendance of all those invited. If everyone doesn’t really need to be there, consider sending out company updates and other internal communication via email to update non-attendees.
  2. Inadequate time management
    A team meeting can quickly become unproductive due to poor time management. Make sure you have ground rules that ensure each topic discussion has a slot in the agenda.
  3. Actioning
    Meetings are bound to go off the rails when there’s no clear procedure to guide the debate points. Try assigning an attendee to guide and prioritise discussion topics, as well as to make a plan for implementing tasks that need completing.
  4. Attendees
    Meetings are likely to become unproductive if there’s a large number of irrelevant attendees. It’s important to identify the key members of the team that can attend the meeting and then pass down the information to their colleagues.

How to Improve Meeting Productivity

  1. Keep an agenda
    Keeping an agenda ensures that your meeting is purposeful and that it achieves your desired objectives. It’s important to set the expectations of the meeting and to remind attendees of what they are. You can achieve this through proper preparations before the event. Send out an agenda beforehand detailing required meeting materials, aims, and desired outcomes. With this approach, staff members are aware of the requirements involved in attending.
  2. Feedback
    Asking for feedback is an effective way of improving the productivity of your meetings. Employee feedback can help reveal areas of concerns within an organisation, employees are then made to feel valued. Offering your employees, the opportunity to voice their concerns can increase engagement.
  3. Saying no to a meeting
    As employees, it’s sometimes hard to say no in the workplace. Partly out of fear of alienating yourself from your colleagues. However, if you receive an invite for a meeting you feel is counterproductive, then there are ways to decline the meeting without seeming rude or lazy. To avoid attending a meeting you feel would be unproductive, you can consider turning the meeting into a phone or conference call. This approach means you can save yourself some time. In turn, you can transfer this over to your other priorities. In cases where you feel your expertise isn’t required, you can either pass the invite onto a relevant colleague or hand it over to your boss. Finally, if you can’t recommend an alternative you can turn down the invite. You can provide honest feedback, such as suggesting your skills or time aren’t required for the meeting.

The key to good time management

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

The key to good time management is planning. Without it, our brain feels overloaded and puts us in ‘overwhelmed’ mode making it almost impossible to get difficult work done.

I would suggest you start with this system and tweak it as you go along to figure out what works best for you:

When should you plan?

To be most effective, planning needs to be done daily. Each evening, before you finish work for the day, spend ten minutes doing the following:

1. Review:

Look at your To-Do list. What was completed and what still needs to be done? Your To-Do list should include a section for work and a section for personal tasks. If you’re looking for a great app, I use (and love) ToDoist.

2. Prioritize:

Assess and prioritize each task (low-medium-high, 1-2-3, yellow-orange-red…whatever system works for you). What really needs to get done immediately? What big projects do you need to start making progress on?

3. Estimate:

For each item on your To-Do list, estimate how long you think it will take to complete. Be generous; most things take longer than we expect. At first, your estimations might be off, but over time you will become pretty precise, especially on repeating tasks.

4. Degree of Difficulty:

It is helpful to rank the degree of difficulty for each task. You can create your own scale or simply use 1 to represent easy, 2 for medium, and 3 for hard.

time management calendar pink with flowers

How should you plan?

This is where it all comes together!

6 steps to super-easy planning:

  1. Each evening, look at what needs to get done. Each task should have an estimated time assigned to its well as a degree of difficulty. Update the list for new tasks and adjust the estimated time and degree of difficulty, as needed.
  2. Take out your calendar and be sure to schedule. Fill in meetings (or classes if you’re a student) and other ‘fixed’ variables. Then, look at your list of tasks and decide which need to get done immediately. By prioritizing your to-do list every day, nothing will fall through the cracks or be forgotten. Your calendar is a great tool and will serve as your road map each day.
  3. Include your personal ‘fixed’ items (an exercise class, pick-up basketball Wednesday evenings, etc.)
  4. Consider the times during the day when you are most alert and attentive. Everyone has windows of peak performance. Put simply, it’s the time of day when you find it easiest to focus and get your most difficult work done. Schedule your harder tasks during these times but be sure to allow for regular breaks. If you find yourself tired and sluggish in the late afternoon, be sure to plan easier work to be done during that time.
  5. Allow for regular breaks. Our brains can stay focused for up to 90 minutes. It’s important, especially if you are switching tasks, to let your brain relax and reset. Five minutes will do the trick (but be wary of taking a five-minute social media break; it’s amazing how quickly five minutes turns to fifty!)
  6. The Pomodoro method. This method of time management was created in Italy in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique suggests using a timer set for 25 minutes of concentration followed by 5 minutes of relaxation. You can use this as a guide or adjust the 25 to 20 minutes if that’s your optimal working time.

Why should you plan?

Your calendar will serve as your road map each day. Scheduling a specific time to get work done will enable you to get your work done more efficiently and you should find that there is also time to do things you enjoy (dinner with friends, exercise, movies, etc.)

Blocking out time in your calendar for the personal things you enjoy will protect that time so work does not creep in.

Following a system like this helps you sleep better at night knowing what to expect the following day.

That being said, we often wake up to crises that need us to change our plans. Having a plan in place makes you more resilient and flexible in addressing surprises and handling stressful situations.

If you are a student, you can apply the same concepts (substitute classes for meetings, etc.)

This post was written by Sharon Feldman Danzger and first appeared on her blog.

Sharon Feldman Danzger

Sharon Danzger is the founder of Control Chaos and author of ‘Super-Productive: 120 Strategies to Do More and Stress Less‘. Her firm helps clients improve personal productivity and performance through corporate training programs and individualized coaching.


Why A To-Don’t List Is As Important As A To-Do List

Time is finite.

We all have the same amount of hours each day. You can’t store time, borrow it, or save for later use. You can only decide how to allocate it, spending it on activities of higher rather than low value. Time management is a game of choices: projects to pursue, tasks to complete, routines to follow.

Adopting good time management techniques in your life isn’t about squeezing as many tasks as you can into your day. It’s about simplifying how you work, getting things done faster, and doing things better. By doing so, you’ll have more times for play, rest, and doing the things you love. Don’t try to work hard, invest in working smarter.

“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends. “ — Brian Tracy

A lamp, plant and clock on white background.

The To-Don’t list

In Mathematics, there is a problem-solving technique called inversion. You start with results and work backwards to calculate the causes. Inversion is a powerful tool because it forces you to uncover hidden beliefs about the problem you are trying to solve. You need to think about how to minimize the negatives instead of maximizing the positives.

Let’s say you want to improve productivity. Thinking forward, you would list all the things you could do to be more productive. But if you look at the problem by inversion, you’d think about all the things you could do that would diminish productivity.

Enter the To-Don’t List.

Create your own by writing down all the habits you want to quit and activities you wish to eliminate from your life. Think about your possible workday — long meetings with people you don’t like and boring repetitive tasks — and work from there.

Create a To-Don’t list with all the habits you want to remove from your life. Use it as a guideline of what you don’t allow in your life.
Here are a couple of examples:

– Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night
– No morning meetings
– Don’t say yes unless you’re 100% certain you can deliver
– Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon
– Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

The reason why inversion works is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” — Steve Jobs

This post was written by Daniel Silvestre and first appeared on Quora.

Daniel Silvestre is the founder of where he shares productivity hacks. At his blog he writes about personal developmentproductivity, self-ownership through psychology, optimization, self-education, philosophy, health, finance, and improving your thinking.

The Best Time Management Tips You Need To Know

All of us strive to get the most out of life. Here are my Top 10 time management tips on work, life hacks and life lessons which helped me to start two companies, build 4 top 100 apps in different categories, have my articles featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Fortune and Inc and write a book on Amazon that hit #1 in the resumes category with over 40,000 Kindle downloads.

1. Say no to 1 hour meetings

“I love 1 hour meetings,” said no one ever. 1 hour meetings are often unnecessary. You can usually accomplish in 30 minutes what you thought you needed an hour for. 30 minutes will force you to be concise and on point.

2. Do the Steve Jobs walk

Steve Jobs often did some of his most important meetings while going for a walk. I do this all the time. First, doing meetings in conference rooms can feel very stiff. Second, getting people outside of their everyday environment may get them to see things from a new perspective. Third, being physically active during your meeting could help you think more clearly. So open the door, get some fresh air and go for a walk.

Shoes walking on a street

3.  Visualize your success

Imagine 3 groups of basketball players.

*The first group would practice shooting free throws 20 minutes a day.

*The second group wouldn’t practice free throws but would visualize themselves making free throws.

*The third group would not practice or visualize at all.

What are the results? There was a significant improvement in the second group. In fact, they were almost as good as the first group. By the way, this is a real experiment that was conducted by Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson.

So if you want to get that new job, imagine yourself prepping for the interview, nailing it and signing the job offer. Visualize what you want your future to be.

4. Listen first before speaking

Seek to understand first. How can you make an intelligent remark on something if you haven’t taken the time to observe what’s happening first? You have two ears and only one mouth. There’s a reason for that.

5. Give credit where it’s due

People can’t stand it when someone takes credit for something they didn’t do. Don’t be that person. Recognize others when they do an awesome job. It creates trust among teammates and will you further as a company.

6. Set goals

If you don’t even know where you’re headed, how will you create the plan on how to get there? Set your destination first and then set sail.

7. Celebrate progress

The journey to your goal could be a long one. So make sure you take the time to celebrate your progress along the way. Eat a nice dinner. High five your teammates. Strike a gong. Do a fist pump. Yell out from the rooftops. Because success is worth celebrating.

8. Figure out your why

It’s a such a great question that isn’t asked enough. Why does it all matter? Figure out your why and that’ll be the fuel for your motivation. Whether it’s supporting your family or making an impact on the world, figuring out your why is critical to taking your work to the next level.

9. Understand your strengths and amplify those

You’ll be naturally talented in certain areas or you’ll practice a skill enough to become an expert at it. Therefore, focus your energy on amplifying those strengths rather than trying to be mediocre at everything. Better to be an expert at a few things than a mediocre jack of all trades!

10. Work smart

Why are we doing this? Does it have to be done this way? Is there a better way to do it? How can I get a better return in less time? Keep asking questions like this.

Working hard is great. Working smart and hard is even better. #WinningCombo

This post was written by Nelson Wang and first appeared on Quora.

Nelson Wang is the founder of  CEO Lifestyle where he helps entrepreneurs build a profitable, sustainable business. He founded 3 companies, traveled to over 100 cities, 19 countries, written an Amazon resumes bestseller, built 4 top 100 apps in Lifestyle, Business and Entertainment and his writing has been featured on Forbes, Inc., Business Insider, Fortune, Time, The Huffington Post, PopSugar, Thought Catalog, LifeHack and Quartz.


10 Ways To Increase Your Productivity

If you want to increase your productivity and achieve more in less time, read on for 10 hands-on tips that you can start implementing today:

1. Prepare before you get started.

Productivity doesn’t just happen “in the moment.”

It happens long before you even sit down and get to work. The more you prepare ahead of time, and get clear on exactly what it is you want, need, or should do, the easier and faster you will move once you start.

The reason why so many people struggle with “being productive” is because they skip this step, and when they sit down, they expect to start flying even though they haven’t even decided where it is they want to fly to.

2. Turn off all distractions.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that every time your phone buzzes, your e-mail pops up on your screen, your office door opens, your train of thought is ruined.

We like to believe we can both participate in a group chat via text and write our best-selling novel, but the truth is, we can’t — and to think we can is wishful and naive.

Your best work comes in silence.

It’s why people retreat and take vacations away from the busyness of life — to distance themselves from distraction.

3. Make your expectations flexible.

The hardest part about “productivity” is that we want it to exist on a static playing field.

We want there to be one formal definition for “being productive” and we want that definition to mean we got from point A to point B. But, depending on what you’re working on, sometimes you have to take the scenic route.

Sometimes the most productive thing you could possibly do right now is to brainstorm a million random ideas, play with a few of them, watch them fail before your eyes, and then come to a more refined conclusion of what it is you’re actually trying to build or “get done.” In many cases, people would see this as an afternoon failure. But on the contrary, it is necessary in order to better understand whatever it is you’re doing.

Don’t fight yourself when that happens.

4. Measure, measure, measure.

“If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.”

This is something my own mentors have gone to great lengths to teach me, and rightfully so. If you can’t measure it, you don’t know how to improve it — or worse, you spend too much time on the “scenic road” and you never actually reach a point of conclusion. Measurement doesn’t always have to do with time, or money, or something tangible.

Sometimes, the best way to measure is to simply look back at old pieces of work and see how and where you’ve improved stylistically. But be conscious of measurement, so that you can tweak as you go along and see where you can become more efficient.

Showcase doll with measuring tape

5. Share what you’re working on — for feedback.

For the longest time, I never wanted to share or talk about anything I was working on.

I thought it was “bad luck” or would take me out of my flow. And I’ll admit, there are those moments when your ideas are best left to ruminate in your own head, but you should not be hesitant to share what you’re working on. Feedback is extremely important, and a lot of time can be saved by a single conversation where someone points out, very clearly, something that isn’t “working.”

It might not be easy to hear at the moment, but you will be thankful for it later.

6. Practice In public.

When we talk about productivity, we often think of ways to seclude ourselves in our bedroom or office, alone, in the dark, with only the light of our laptop to keep us illuminated.

But sometimes that approach actually ends up getting a poor return on your time investment because you aren’t getting outside feedback. Find ways to practice in public.

Use the digital tools we have access to, like social media, to release test versions of whatever it is you’re working on: Whether that’s a book, an album, a startup, a comedy sketch, anything.

Practicing in public gives you feedback, and feedback speeds up the learning and development process.

7. Caffeine.

Need we really explain the productivity benefits of a black coffee with an extra shot of espresso?

8. Music.

To some, this would be a distraction, but I have always found light instrumental music in the background (Beethoven and Mozart, especially)to be quite the productivity booster.

As long as it isn’t filled with catchy melodies that take you out of the task at hand, music can be like that whirring fan in the background that acts as a subtle cue to your subconscious to stay on the task at hand.

9. Take Breaks.

Again, being “productive” does not necessarily mean sitting still for eight straight hours.

You might be able to swing that for a day or two, but you are not a robot. You will burn out. Productivity is all about flow. It’s about knowing your limits and being conscious of how to move within your own constraints.

Maybe you need to take 10-minute breaks after every 50 minutes of focus.

Great. Do that.

Or maybe you can work for four hours no problem, but then you need to take the afternoon before diving into another four-hour work session at night.

Great. Do that.

Do what works for you, and you only.

This isn’t about being productive based on someone else’s habits or way of doing things.

This is about knowing yourself and using your habits to your advantage.

10. Create a routine.

It is said the best musicians, athletes, innovators, etc., follow a daily routine that trains their subconscious to know when it is time to work and when it is time to relax.

There is absolutely something to be said for always practicing at the same time, or always going to the gym at the same time, or always writing at the same time, every day. You train yourself to know, as soon as that hour strikes, to fall into that mode of focus required to do your best work.

Trying to be productive when one day you are working in the morning, the next day you’re working at night, the next day you’re working in the middle of the day, it gets exhausting. Routine is extremely helpful, and inherently removes the distraction of adjustment to something “new.”

Consistency is what you’re after.

This post was written by Nicolas Cole and first appeared on Inc Magazine.

Nicolas Cole is an author, Top Writer on Quora, and the founder of Digital Press. His work has acquired over 30 million views online, and has been published in Time, Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, and more. He is best known for writing about creativity, entrepreneurship, productivity and personal growth.


10 Uncommon Ways To Work Smarter Instead Of Harder

When I was 21, I used to work incredibly long hours as I thought that would fuel my career success. Boy, was I wrong. Sure, I was productive over the short term. But then something funny happened.

I started to get really tired all the time. I couldn’t focus anymore during the late nights. I began to make mistakes. I wasn’t as polished in my presentations. I realized most people didn’t even care that I was putting in the extra hours.  Then I burned out.

Over my 11 year career, I’ve learned to focus on working smarter. I’ve taken detailed notes from some of the top individual contributors and executives from companies like MTV, VMware, Cisco, Box and Optimizely. In those 11 years, I went from being a labor foreman to now being a VP at a fast-growing startup. I’ve also started a motivational website called CEO Lifestyle that has over 9,000 subscribers in just a few months.

So what did I learn?

Here’s the secret:

Optimize your work life so that you maximize your results.

I’ve put together a list of the top 10 ways to optimize your productivity.

Here are the top 10:

1. Pull a Mark Zuckerberg

Did you know that he wears a grey t-shirt all the time? Here’s his explanation: “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. I’m in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.” (This quote is from this article: Why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same clothes to work everyday) Here’s my point: simplify your life. Reduce the amount of trivial decisions you have to make every day so that you can focus your energy on the really important ones. Pull a Mark Zuckerberg. Oh, did I mention that Steve Jobs does this too? Just saying.

2. Use the 20 feet rule

Let’s say you’re working on a project at work. Have you ever stopped to check your phone randomly to look at Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat? If you’re doing this multiple times within an hour, it might be hurting your productivity. If your cell phone isn’t absolutely critical to your job, put it somewhere that is 20 feet away from your desk. This forces you to do quite a bit of walking to check your phone and helps you to focus on the work at hand.

3. Use the “Top 3” rule

To make your day ultra-focused and productive, ask yourself, “What are the 3 key things I really need to accomplish today?” Before you do anything else, make sure you crush those 3 objectives first. Prioritize ruthlessly.

4. Learn to batch tasks

For tasks that are not urgent, batch them. For example, how many times do you check your email every day? A lot of people will click refresh on their inbox and then respond to emails as they come in. If your job doesn’t require an immediate response on those emails, batch and check them every 3 hours throughout the day. This way, you won’t be constantly reacting to every email that comes in and you can prioritize your activities for the day.

5. Don’t let email run your life. #OperationInboxZero

Leverage the team – We get it. You want to be the hero. You want to be the one to deliver on that big project. You want to get the applause. After all, who doesn’t love the recognition? You absolutely want to work hard. You absolutely want to do a great job. What you don’t want is to burn out. Make sure you leverage the team to get the job done. If someone else is more talented and skilled than you in a certain area, collaborate with them to drive better results. For example, when I was working on our iPhone app, I tried to design it myself in Photoshop. Did I mention I suck at Photoshop? It turned out terribly. So what did I do next? I tapped my friend on the shoulder for help (he’s a rockstar designer) and within one day we had an amazing design that was ten times better than the original. By the time we went live with the app, we had a design that was amazing. Want proof? The app hit the top 100 in the Lifestyle category. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.

6. Virtual assistants are your best friends

Not literally. Well, unless you’re really good at building friendships over Skype. Then it might be possible. Anyway, virtual assistants can help to take on a lot of the administrative tasks that you may be overwhelmed with. Whether it’s data research, writing or language translation, there’s a ton of skills they bring to the table to help you scale your work.

desk work smart

7. Get rid of paper

If you don’t have to have a paper copy, create a digital one and store it in the cloud. There are a ton of cloud providers that offer a large amount of free storage like Box. For example, for my business receipts, instead of keeping the physical copies in a cabinet, I’ve created a folder in Box for all of the digital copies. I can then search for a specific receipt if I need to. It makes life so much easier. Here’s another great example: when I want to show someone marketing material, I’ll have it available on my mobile phone through the Box app. This way, I can look at it with them and I can also share it with them afterwards by sending a link right away. That’s productivity!

8. Work on what you’re passionate about

Life’s short. Do you really want to work on stuff you don’t enjoy? When you work with passion, your energy will be better, your focus will be more intense and you’ll have a sense of purpose in what you do. It’s a game changer. Don’t underestimate the power of happiness in work. Right now, I’m literally typing this article with a huge smile on my face and bobbing my head to music on Spotify. I’m so passionate about writing that I can often write multiple articles in a few hours. And it feels great too. It doesn’t even feel like work! It feels like a mission. A calling. A journey. Do what you love.

9. Constantly test

Your ideas are just that: ideas. Don’t spend too much time trying to come up with the perfect idea. At the end of the day, the only way to know if it’ll work is to test it. The data will tell you if it’s a good idea or not. Want to know how many apps it took for me to make 4 top 100 apps? 14 tries. When I first started out, I thought all of them could be big hits. That’s why it’s critical to test.

10. Have a “user” centric approach

Whenever people run into a tough challenge, you’ll often hear a couple of different suggestions on how the problem can be solved. One of the best ways to solve hard problems is to ask yourself, “What’s best for the user?” Having a user-centric approach as your guiding force will often drive you to the best answers. Put yourselves in their shoes. How do you make their lives better? How do you bring a sense of delight into their lives? How do you bring a huge smile to their face?

Bonus tip: Surround yourself with inspiring, sharp and positive people. Want to know why? It’s simple. Awesomeness is contagious.

This post was written by Nelson Wang and first appeared on Quora.

Nelson Wang is the founder of  CEO Lifestyle where he helps entrepreneurs build a profitable, sustainable business. He founded 3 companies, traveled to over 100 cities, 19 countries, written an Amazon resumes bestseller, built 4 top 100 apps in Lifestyle, Business and Entertainment and his writing has been featured on Forbes, Inc., Business Insider, Fortune, Time, The Huffington Post, PopSugar, Thought Catalog, LifeHack and Quartz.


Episode 20 – Juan Felipe Campos

Juan Felipe Campos (@juannikin) is the host of the Productivity Masterminds Podcast. He serves as VP of Tech and Partner at Manos Accelerator via Google Launchpad. He has graduated his company NomadApp from the largest accelerator in the world, Plug and Play, and the Go Silicon Valley program. Juan helps run the largest digital marketing community in Silicon Valley with over 20,000 members. Juan’s companies have been featured in major publications including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes.



  • You’re not just managing your time, your managing other aspects of yourself as well: your attention, your intentionality, your energy, and finally your time. Managing time is just the beginning – managing all of the 4 aspects is super powerful.
  • You shouldn’t manage your time until you’ve asked yourself where you’re going. Intention without attention is powerless and attention without intention is aimless. Start with a big picture in your mind and then take the baby steps to get there.
  • You are mortal and your time is limited. If you don’t protect your time, other people are happy to waste it for you. Every activity comes at the cost of another one that you could have done instead.
  • Your time is valuable. Your time is depleting. It matters more than money because you can’t get it back. You can only enjoy it, learn from it, and do better.


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Show notes

[00:49] Hello and welcome to another episode of Productivity Masterminds. Today we have a very special guest. It’s me. I can tell you that running this podcast has been a huge learning experience for me and I just love to share with you what have been the biggest highlights and lessons learned on this season and what those things have been for me. My background is in tech entrepreneurship. I’m based in Silicon Valley and work with VC funded startups and I meet a lot of smart people every day who are pushing themselves to the max on productivity and time management, but if you want to manage your time like some of the top performers we’ve had on the podcast, like Yotam Cohen, who raised 30 million for his company or Jessica Chen, who is an Emmy award-winning content producer, or even like a top-notch productivity expert like David Allen, who is the author of the international bestseller “Getting Things Done” or Stever Robbins who hosts the get-it-done podcast.

[01:48] If you want to manage your time like these guys, you need to get on this totally new level of consciousness about the topic and the number one lesson for me has been: you’re quite simply just not managing just your time, you’re managing other aspects of yourself as well. You’re managing your attention, your intentionality, your energy, and your time. So let’s break it down. So again, you’re not just managing your time. You have to manage your attention, intention, energy, and time. On episode one, Mike talked about productivity and he says that

Productivity is the interplay between intention and attention.

So if you have an intention and attention, you’re productive. He says, if you have an intention, so a reason for doing things, okay, you have an intention, a reason for doing what you’re doing, but you don’t have attention than it’s powerless, right? Because you have all of the intentions, but you’re not taking action. So it’s powerless. It’s like a plan without action. But he says actually, that a lot of people have attention. They’re paying attention day in and day out, hustling and bustling, but they have no intention, no bigger picture, no plan. So it’s aimless. Uh, Sam Huber, on episode 14, he says that he starts with the big picture in mind, so he questions direction and purpose, and then finds the smaller baby steps to get there. That way he can be confident every day that he’s getting one step closer to the end goal because he has an end goal. He has an intention behind his actions. So that’s about attention and intention. But what about the other two? Right? What about energy? And of course time. Well, Manuel Bruschi, the Timeular CEO talks about energy management on episode 11 and how important it is to have the energy you need at the time you need to take care of the scary things and he has a good framework for it, by the way, on episode 11.

Finally about time management on episode five, Matt Kohn talks about tracking your time so you can see what tasks are taking up, what time, and you can be smart about creating processes so you can automate, delegate, or eliminate tasks, and he’s found that you can create 5, 10, 15, or even 20 hours extra per week if you just simplify and systemize non-mission-critical tasks so you can focus on getting in flow and operating in your genius zone. Okay, so those are the four different ones, right? We have attention, intention, energy, and time.

My conclusion again is that time management by itself is for beginners. The best top professionals are managing all four aspects: attention, intention, energy and time. These elements when combined are super powerful.

[04:38] My second big lesson has been that you shouldn’t manage your time until you take a first quick step and I’m about to tell you what that step is. Basically. Let me explain. If you just manage your time, two things are going to happen. Okay, so you get a tool or a product that manages your time because you were overwhelmed and you just start managing how you’re spending your time. Right? Day in and day out, you’re going to get to results. Number one is you’ll get a retrospective receipt of how you spent it so you look back at the end of the week, thanks to the tool that you’re using and you’ll realize that you didn’t do a good enough job at sticking to your ideal myself. So then you’ll try again the following week and the following week and time will go on and you’re not really fixing things quickly enough because you’re always looking backward at the receipt of how you did spend your time.

[05:26] So it always feels like you’re busy and you’re not actually making the impactful changes quickly enough. So if you just manage your time without managing the other things, you’re just pretty much always going to be busy and then that’s number one. And then number two, as you’ll be moving really quickly in the wrong direction, and this is, this has been the big lesson for me, is you shouldn’t manage your time until you fix this aspect. You may be moving really quickly in the wrong direction. So Stever said on episode two, he talked about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, and he says,

Efficiency means using little energy and resources to accomplish a task

So if you’re doing it quickly, it means you’re efficient, or if you’re using very little energy, if you’re using very little resources, you’re being very, very efficient,

…but effectiveness, on the other hand, means you’re doing the right thing.

[06:19] And think about that for a second, like what’s better? Doing the right thing slowly or doing the wrong thing very, very quickly. And that’s the point here. If you just manage your time, you run the risk of not zooming out far enough to understand whether or not you’re moving in the right direction. You may be moving quickly and it may trick you into thinking there’s momentum, but if you stop and think and zoom out, you can be both a strategist and an executor of your own life. Schedule your priorities in advance and then start managing your time to hold yourself accountable to speedy progress made in the right direction. I always say that

You can’t find the shortcuts if you don’t know where you’re going.

So by understanding your direction, you can understand what all these amazing guests understand, which is that time management should work in service of life goal management. I’ll say it again, time management should work in service of life goal management.

The third and last big lesson learned for me by recording season one of the Productivity Masterminds podcast is my favorite. It’s that you are mortal and your time is limited.

If you don’t protect your time, other people are happy to waste it for you.

Nicolas Cole talked in episode seven about opportunity costs and seeing every decision in life as an opportunity cost of doing something else. So an hour of watching Netflix – okay, that’s an hour that you’re not working on your goals. Time is limited. Every activity comes at the cost of another one that you could have done instead. Omar Khateeb explained in episode six, how to say no to time wasters by knowing what it is that you want out of life so you can more confidently defend if things are a yes or a no immediately by becoming binary.

[08:05] Yuval Rechter on episode four, he defines just three things to get done each day and goes all in on those. Everything else is a distraction or everything else gets done only after those three things have been done. John Trabelsi finds just one VIP task every day that will get done no matter what. So in the end, here’s the punchline.

Your time is valuable. Your time is depleting. It matters more than money because you can’t get it back. You can only enjoy it, learn from it, and do better.

So there you have it. Productivity masterminds directly from your host who has enjoyed about a dozen amazing conversations. My highlights, again, our number one, you’re not managing your time, you’re managing other aspects of yourself as well: your attention, your intentionality, your energy, and finally your time. Number two is you shouldn’t manage your time until you’ve asked yourself where you’re going. And number three is that you are mortal and your time is limited.

So here’s to much more productivity and fulfillment in your lives. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, I just ask for one thing and that is that you leave a five-star rating and review on your favorite podcast APP. You can find me on Twitter @juannikin which will be linked in the show notes, all the best Juan Campos and the Timeular team.

The biggest and most unusual deadline of the year

Every year before New Year we realize and wonder that a year has passed without really noticing it and very likely without having spent as much time on the important things as planned. In fact, 80% of New Year’s resolutions don’t last.

New Year is a deadline with an unusual dynamic. It’s not like all the other deadlines where we speed up and start getting done 5x as much stuff to meet it. Instead, we slow down, we look back, we recall all the exciting plans that we’ve made at the beginning of the year and wonder how few we’ve actually achieved.

And then that little sad voice in ourselves asks:

“Why did I not take care that much about my health, played with the kids, followed my passions or spent time exploring the world?”

Interestingly, the simple answer is to say that we did not have the time. But why? Well, almost always we go like: “I was too busy working”.

Turns out this is the #1 reason why as kids or elderly we have plenty of time but in between it’s a rare thing to have.


Don’t get us wrong. Work is a good thing, but the common work culture is not. When it comes down to decide between work and life, we almost always opt for work and there are good reasons to do so. Work pays the bills, gives us safety and makes us feel good. However, we at Timeular really believe, that if we do it right, we can still achieve great things at work and have a great life too.

The first thing we have to change is how we judge our performance

It’s not about how many hours we work, it’s about what meaningful outcome we achieve within those hours. It’s about saying no to all the distractions and fake-urgent things and focus on the really important tasks instead. In sports we all know that training a huge amount of hours a day is counter-productive, so why do we keep pretending it’s good at work?

We at Timeular want to change this by helping you to spend more time on your important things and keep being successful at work. We support you to understand where your time is going and to improve from there.

Imagine you could stop after 8, 7, 6 hours working very productively, then recharge by enjoying the other beloved things in life and come back the day after full of energy. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

We like to say instead of working harder and play harder, we have to work smarter and live healthier. It’s easy to be busy and it’s super hard to be not because you have to say no to many things, but believe us, once you get there, you’ll enjoy a much higher quality of life.


The #1 way to get there, is to start taking control over your precious time and prioritize how you spend it. It’s time to find out what you are spending most of your time on and what to change. The key to success here is to change one thing at a time. It’s a step by step journey where it will be easy to fall into old habits and to avoid that we need to start with only one goal. One! Sorry, we can’t stress it enough.

If you want to make 2019 better, apply this loop:

  1. What’s currently your number one important thing you want to spend more time on? Trust your gut. How much time does that require per week? Common examples are doing sports twice a week, playing with the kids at least 1 hour every day and cooking a healthy dinner every day.
  2. Measure where can you take the required time from and how e.g. you find out that you spend 3h per week in unnecessary update meetings which could also be done via email and asynchronously. Time to change that.
  3. When you know that, start shifting time from that one thing to the other step by step. After you’re done start over with 1. again.


If you think it’s not possible to shift time because other things are more urgent and important, just look back at 2018 and at how often you or your boss thought something is super urgent and important and looking back as of today it was not.

What’s important to you personally should be your highest priority and if you manage to spend more time on those things you will see that next year in December the unusual thing will not be the New Year dynamic again. Instead, it will be you having a happy smile on your face because you and your life have both improved a lot.

And if it was us that helped you to do so, we will be smiling with you, because we want to make your time count!



P.S. If you want to increase your chances to succeed, share this article with your team members because you can’t change your team’s work culture alone.