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How to Supercharge your Productivity the Richard Branson Way

How to Supercharge your Productivity the Richard Branson Way

    Tim Ferriss wrote in his book The Four Hour Body about an occasion where a group of people were assembled on Richard Branson’s private island to brainstorm growth options for Branson’s Virgin Unite project. Branson was posed with the question, “How do you become more productive?”

    Branson leaned back and thought for a second. Then he said, “Work out.”

    He said that working out gave him at least four additional hours of productive time every day.

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    Benefits of Exercise

    We are all familiar with the multitude of benefits that exercise can bring into our lives. Regular exercise can control weight gain, improve health, prevent illness, improve mood and reduce sleep problems. Doctors also say it leads to a better sex life. Need I go on?

    But Branson has reminded us of a further benefit: Working out can assist us to become more productive. It increases our energy levels, reduces stress and improves stamina (and not just in the board room). But if you are already working out regularly what else can you do to become super-productive this year?

    Vision

    Having a clear vision for the future is a strong motivator when it comes to getting things done. If you have a plan, have set goals and know what you are working towards, it is easier to know what your priorities are and what you should be working on daily. One of the biggest problems when it comes to productivity is not that people don’t work hard enough but that they spend too much time working on the wrong things. Having a vision can reduce the chances of this occurring.

    Awareness

    Leadership expert Robin Sharma says:

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    “Better awareness leads to better decisions, which leads to better results”

    Knowing where you are now, how you currently work and how you currently spend your time can help you to make informed decisions about which tasks can be eliminated and which tasks you need to focus more on. When you know what you want to achieve and you understand how you time is best spent, the next step is to have a system.

    Systems

    What’s a system? Most of you who hang around Lifehack know what a productivity system is. David Allen has dominated the space with GTD (Getting Things Done).

    But systems are not just about organizing your work.

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    Having a system for organizing your clothes, your life and your dinners all assist in making life easier and reducing stress. Minimalism has become a fashionable system of late. So instead of trying to organize your life, why not simplify it? Eliminate all that is unnecessary and your life will be simpler and easier to organize.

    Technology

    Technology has become an enormous benefit to productivity. It can help us to do our work more quickly and efficiently most of the time. But we must choose our programs wisely.

    Firstly, we need to understand our personal requirements and then spend time understanding the programs we have chosen to help us. Spending time familiarizing yourself with your new programs can end up being a time waster, so choosing wisely is crucial. Technology is a great benefit — but can also be a huge distraction and a challenge to focus.

    Eliminate Distractions

    Social Media. It’s fun,  and can be beneficial for marketing and networking. But it could also be described as “public enemy number one” when it come to productivity.

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    Far too easily we get sucked into the flirtatious 140 characters, the unmissable articles that would prevent us from living a fulfilled life if they were to remain unread, the friends that can’t live without knowing what we did on Saturday night. We must take control and decide how much time we are going to spend on social media and then stick with it. The world won’t end if you resist to digg, stumble, tweet or post for a couple of hours each day. Turn off all message notifications — including email alerts — on both your phone and your computer. Remember to stay at the helm and not allow the waves to take control of where you go.

    Conclusion

    All of these tips can assist you in becoming more productive, happier and more successful, but remember it’s not sustainable to try too much at once.

    So, if you were to change one habit this month then maybe it should be to work out more. The abundant benefits are undeniable — and if Sir Richard Branson does it…well, what more can I say?

    (Photo credit: Jet Climbs After Taking Off via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

    Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

    Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

    Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

    It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

    • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

    • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

    • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

    In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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    Different Folks, Different Strokes

    Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

    Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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    Productivity and Trust Killer

    Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

    That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

    Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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    A Flexible Remote Working Policy

    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

    There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

    Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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    It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

    What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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