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By Eric Barker
September 30, 2014
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

1) Be a Machine

The secret to getting more done is to make things automatic. Decisions exhaust you:

Build routines and habits so that you’re not deciding, you’re just doing. When you first learn to drive it’s 1000 activities like steering, shifting, checking mirrors, braking — but with practice you turned it into autopilot and it’s no stress at all.

2) Sleep is king

Get enough sleep:

3) Checklists are magic

Use checklists. Yeah, everybody says that. And you probably don’t consistently do it.

Harvard surgeon Atul Gawande analyzed their effectiveness in his book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. What happens when you consistently use checklists in an intensive care unit?

What makes for a good checklist? Be specific and include time estimates.

4) Beat Procrastination

The two secrets to overcoming procrastination are dashes and precommitment devices.

Dashes are:

Precommitment devices take the form of:

These scale powerfully and work well.

5) Mood Matters

Happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful.

As Shawn Achor describes in his book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

And don’t be confident — be overconfident. Overconfidence increases productivity:

Thinking about what you need to do, Rocky-montage style, is more powerful than envisioning how good it will feel to be done. Progress motivates you more than anything else.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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