9 Tips to Increase Productivity (Book Review)

by Jun 30, 2019

Looking for ways to increase your productivity? Recently we had the opportunity to read Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt. A book focusing on how you can achieve more by doing less and maybe just right up your alley. Productivity can be liberating and freeing as it can help you be a better you. If your plate is always full, and you want to learn how to get it more done in less time, then this article is for you. There are so many golden nuggets in this book! I’ve narrowed my notes into some quick tips to help you improve your productivity and get the things done that mean the most to you.

Start Each Day with Clarity

Gaining clarity on your goals each day is a significant part of your well-being. Beginning your day with meditation, devotion, or focus helps to center you. Allowing you to start your day with purpose. What a precious opportunity in the mornings, to start your day off on the right foot!

For example, if you want to ensure that you are more positive during your day, then focus on positivity. How you may respond in kind during different situations through the day during your morning free-time. You’ll then find yourself already equipped with the tools you need to overcome situations should you find yourself in a negative situation.

Say Yes to the Things You Enjoy

We can only do so much within the 24 hours given in a day. It’s amazing how many things that we need to stuff and pack within each of our days it is generally very tough to find time to do it all. Is this you? Then you may need to rethink how you are working. According to Michael Hyatt, we need to find a way to focus our energies on things that we most desire. Living out our desires is an artful skill that those that want to achieve more will have to master.

What does freedom actually mean to you? Well, Michael positions himself against any freedom that requires us to do more stuff. He makes a stance in saying that the “true objective of productivity should be freedom”. So what does freedom mean to Michael? It means the freedom to:

  1. Focus
  2. Be Present
  3. Be Spontaneous
  4. Do Nothing

These four points can shatter your previous notions of freedom. Because why wouldn’t you create more space in your life to do more things? When you are aligned with these four facets of freedom, then you can make a choice that will ensure our fulfillment of true freedom. Living your life and being present doing purposeful tasks, can increase your productivity. Having the ability to be spontaneous or do absolutely nothing, inspires your creativity.

Find Your True North

Identifying what freedom is for you, allows you to really find out what you care about. Free to Focus has a way of identifying what you care about or what your desires are by helping you to identify your True North. Your True North is what drives you, your desires, what would you want to spend your time on if you are able. When we identify these we can make decisions that will line up to those areas which we called out.

Finding your True North also allows you to point your compass in the area that you want to be so that you can find your way back. Sometimes we get distracted and are doing other things that don’t support our True North. Knowing what our True North is can allow us to make sure that we can point ourselves in the right direction.

Overall, we should focus on the things that we want to develop, and the good things that we desire. When we do this you will find that you will be spending your valuable time in areas that you actually like and not in areas that you despise.

Rule of Fifty

A very enlightening rule in the book was the Rule of Fifty. Did you know that when you work over 50 hours, you could be decreasing your productivity? What a mind-boggling concept. For me pulling all-nighters to make ends meet on an important project or doing countless weeks of 60 hours can be the norm. To think that there is a study that is referenced in Free to Focus that shows that you are actually less productive after 50 hours of work! Organizations are already starting to decrease the number of hours that their employees work in a week to help improve their lives.

The study is very moving because it helps you to understand that working more than 50 hours in the office actually works against productivity, and can be counterproductive. The good news is that you should feel comfortable to stop working when you have reached the end of your high producing time and relax. It also means that you should then focus on recharging yourself so that you can come back full, and energized and ready to do it again.

Follow the Seven Basics of Rejuvenation

Self-care is expressed in Michael Hyatt’s book is a key way to become highly productive. Making sure that you do these core fundamentals will help you along your journey of being happy and productive. It is essential that you get over 7 hours of sleep, eat healthy, get exercise, make meaningful connections, have fun, reflect on your life, and just unplug when you can. All of these combined will help you to be refreshed, and enable you to think clearly, make decisions quicker, and enhance your life all around. Although we may know this already, it certainly is a good refresher.

  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Move
  • Connect
  • Play
  • Reflect
  • Unplug

When in Doubt, Automate

Looking at ways to automate can increase your productivity. Here are the different types of automation in which the book does reference.

  • Self Automation
  • Template Automation
  • Process Automation
  • Tech Automation

Knowing what types of automation are available to you, can be helpful when you find that you are expending your resources and not making any headway. Many times we are doing a task that can be self-automated or made into a routine. Other times, we may find we need to have a template created for things to go faster. Establishing a process can make a certain group of tasks more productive and might be a way to help you or your team. Finally, you may find that technology may automate certain tasks that you have and could lighten the load.

Learn the Art to Delegation

What was striking about the delegation section of this book to me was that there is an art to delegating to other people. The responsibility in delegation means that you need to ensure that the person has the skill set, attitude, and enthusiasm for the task. When these are not met, you might find yourself managing the task again.

Another important part of delegating is ensuring that you are clear about what your expectations are about the task. Make especially sure that the person doing the task knows if they need to report back to you in steps, come to you for approval prior to moving forward, or if you just want them to use their best judgment and complete the task.

Embrace Mega Batching

Finding unique ways to work can also help you increase your productivity. Allow me to introduce the concept of mega batching, which simply is doing several of the same tasks within the same time period. For example, if you do well with talking with clients in the mornings mid-week, then align your schedule accordingly.

You may find that having a day of no calls, and no interruptions are very integral to your productivity. However, you must set your boundaries by scheduling your time accordingly to ensure you have a free day of getting things done. As Michael Hyatt states, set up your schedule and then stick to it. Taking these small steps will help you become more aware of how you work, and how your schedule needs to work for you to be more productive.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Many people do not organize their desks and just take their task and work them as they come. However, working this way can be dangerous. You may never get done the items that are important to you and your role. So prioritization is important to ensure that the important tasks are completed first.

In order to help with this, the book Free to Focus describes breaking your tasks of the week into the Big 3. Pick three main tasks that you need to have completed that week. Throughout the week, you’ll do items that lead up to these tasks by breaking them down into mini-tasks each day. Each day has a Daily 3 to stay on top of your Big 3. Each week, review the tasks of the week to come.

I hope that these takeaways about the Free to Focus book really helped you as much as it helped me. Check out the Total Productivity System by Michael Hyatt if you are interested in learning more. His website for Free to Focus has other tools that are meant to use in combination with your reading of the book. Again, I really enjoyed reading it and can’t wait to dig into the next one! Have more specific takeaways that you would like to discuss about the book or productivity? Keep your thoughts going down below.


P.S. Want some more tips on how to increase your productivity? Check out this post on how to finish what you start.


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