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3 New Tricks For More Productivity & Focus (the song tip is my favorite)

I found a new productivity trick recently and was incredibly surprised by how well it worked. In this post I’ll share that trick as well as two others that will help you achieve more productivity and focus.

1. One song, again and again

In his interview with Tim Ferriss, Matt Mullenweg (basically, the CEO of the internet) talked about this little music trick he uses:

  1. Find a song you like.
  2. Play it over and over on repeat while you work.

He talked about the way a song can kind of turn into background noise when you do this.

Not just background music

Now, I'm used to the idea of music being in the background. I've always worked with music on. But it's always been a particular kind of music: music without lyrics.

Why? Because the lyrics are distracting. I start thinking about the lyrics, pausing to research things about the band, when the song was released, etc. This is ANTI productive.

This single song over and over again trick, however, is much different. It takes a few listens through, but soon the song is just embedded there in the background of your brain, providing some structured sound over the interruptions at the coffee shop.

If this was just a tip for getting some decent white noise going on in the background I'd just tell you to listen to some of the F*ck Buttons albums.

Here's what's really great about this single song on repeat thing:

  1. Once you've decided which song to listen to for that day (or week or month), you don't have to think about what to listen to. No more wasted brain power thinking about what album you should play.
  2. The song you pick creates a kind of vibe that you can quickly slide into. I get into "productivity mode" faster.
  3. Different songs have different attitudes. (More on this below.)

To illustrate the second point — I was working at a coffee shop for a few hours. It was time to break for lunch. So I turned off my song and switched to a podcast episode while I rode my bike to a favorite lunch spot. Ordered food, pulled out my laptop, and started back up my song for that day.

Because I had spent hours previously in "productivity mode," and because that song was working on my brain the whole time I was in that mode, as soon as I turned on the song my brain and body returned to that "productivity mode" extremely fast.

The song had created a kind of well-worn path into focus. I immediately knew what to do.

Your mileage may vary on this one, but I'm loving it. Been playing with it for a few weeks now.

So far I've got 2 songs I keep coming back to:

  • On my computer I open up Rdio, add Kendrick Lamar's The Blacker The Berry to play later and then put that sucker on repeat. Non stop things worth fighting for while I design.
  • On my phone, I put on Royksopp's Monument and press the cycle button until it has a little 1 next to it. Non stop futuristic deep vibes for writing.

Music has a kind of attitude. Different songs get you feeling and thinking different ways. Finding a song that puts you in the right mood for your different kinds of tasks can make a huge difference in your focus.

2. Pomodoro Technique

If you're unfamiliar with this technique, it's simple:

  1. find a timer
  2. set it for 25 minutes
  3. break down whatever you're working on to fit inside that 25 minute window.

Handling your email inbox? Set a 20 minute timer and try to get done as much as possible.

Writing a blog post? Set a 20 minute timer and see how far you get.

This will get you thinking about your tasks in a completely different way. It's a kind of outcome-orientation.

Here's a great overview video about it:

Click to watch a video of the Pomodoro Technique

Click to watch a video of the Pomodoro Technique

3. Productivity Journaling

I was suspect of this one. I mean, just the name, "productivity journalling," sounds tedious and lame… I'm resisting it already.

But, because we did a whole podcast episode about it, I had to give it a try.

Holy Sh*t. It's incredible.

If you want to learn it, listen to this episode of our podcast:

Click to listen to the episode on Productivity Journalling

Click to listen to the episode on Productivity Journalling

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“3 tricks for more focus (the music one is my favorite)”

Work Smarter

The point is not to do MORE stuff, but to do the RIGHT stuff. You know that, right?

Productivity is 10% how to work and 90% what to work on.

The tips above are about the how. They'll help you ship your work week after week.

But if you (like most of us) need help on what to work on, you should consider taking a quick course on Productivity Essentials.

Essentials of productivity online course from Fizzle

Start this two-hour course for free.

Productivity is about more than just how you organize your sticky notes (though, let’s be honest, that is pretty important) and in this Fizzle course Chase shares the essentials of productivity specifically for online business builders.

It will reinvigorate and supercharge your workflow.

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