2019 is going to be a big year. Why?
Because you’re going to make it one.
As you go about planning what you’re daring to do in 2019, it’s likely you’ll need a robust system of routines that support your BLITZ. When implemented appropriately, these small alterations to how you do things will maximize your productivity, facilitate rest and recovery, and get your subconscious working toward the same goal you are.
Interested? Let’s go.
#1: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS
What are your top three goals for 2019?
If you can’t answer that question easily, you’ve got a problem. In order to truly blitz your 2019, you have to know what your priorities are.
Jim Collins said it best when he wrote in his book Good to Great, “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” In order to truly prioritize certain goals, you need to make them a priority. Simple as that.
If you’re struggling with this, visualize how you’d like to feel at the end of 2019. What would you like to have behind you? What would you love to be able to brag about?
For 2018, my answer to this was that I wanted to be able to say I completed a first draft of my book. I wanted to be able to brag about that. I wrote it down, worked hard, and am now pleased to say that I successfully accomplished that goal, and there’s no better feeling than that!
So before you continue reading this article, I’d encourage you to jot down your goals. Keep them to three or fewer. Once you have these set, the following behaviors will help you accomplish them.
#2: WAKE UP EARLIER
As simple as it may sound, the best way to blitz your 2019 is to blitz your day. Why? Because any major change you want to make will require several minor changes to your daily routine. Want to write a book? You’re going to have to write. A lot. Nearly every day, in fact. Want to ramp up your physique? You’ll have to hit the gym. Every day.
The best way to fit all the extra work into your day is to start it just a little bit earlier.
Even something as simple as waking up half an hour earlier than you do now can transform your entire day. Doing so not only allows you to fit in some intentional, uninterrupted work (crunches, devotions, or writing), but it also shifts your mindset and makes you more confident.
You’ve blitzed your day. You’ve gotten some important work in already. That feels good. So good, in fact, the rest of the day is just a little less daunting.
#3: DRINK MORE WATER
Seriously. This one may seem overly simplistic, but really, aside from all the major health benefits of staying adequately hydrated, being intentional about drinking water right away in your morning will dramatically reduce all that lingering sleepiness and get your body heading in the right direction.
Especially since you’re getting up earlier now, this one is critical. Of course, coffee and tea are awesome for kickstarting your day, and I’m by no means telling you to forego your cuppa jo, but I am saying that you should start with water. You’ll be surprised by how much it wakes you up.
Fortunately, drinking a glass of water isn’t a difficult habit to implement, but to make it even easier, keep a full glass of water in the bathroom so it’s ready for you every morning. Sip it down and your body will be ready for a blitz.
Our fast-paced culture has taught us to multitask and to reward those who do it well. While this has made us incredibly productive and efficient, it’s had its drawbacks.
Namely, we don’t know how to focus.
Most people think of multitasking as focusing intently on several different activities at the same time. But it’s not. Multitasking divides your attention, with each additional task further splintering your attention and dividing your focus.
While this is a great skill to have, the danger comes when you don’t know how to turn it off. In his article titled The Myth of Multitasking, James Clear says that while we are capable of doing two things at once, it’s impossible to concentrate on them both. What results is a sporadic redirection of focus and concentration.
Clear refers to this as “switching cost” and describes it as “the disruption in performance that we experience when we switch our focus from one area to another.”
Not only does this “disruption” significantly decrease our productivity (Clear suggests one out of every six minutes is wasted), but it rattles us psychologically, interrupting any “flow” we might have achieved. This can have devastating effects upon our work, especially if it’s of a creative nature.
So how can you minimize switching cost? Fortunately, the solution is simple. Do less.
Try to singletask as often as you can, especially when you’re working on important tasks or highly creative ones. Clear your desk of distractions, close your other tabs, put your phone on airplane mode. Then work at what is truly important. The rest can wait.
#5: HAVE A RITUAL
As the director of Lumerit’s Student Life Department, a father of six, and a leader within his local church and community, Jonathan Brush is a busy man.
His every day is filled with important decisions and intentional interaction. He’ll brainstorm, set goals, and execute strategies – all from his distraction-ridden home office or from the road while he travels the US as his job demands.
So how does he stay focused amid the chaos of remote work? Ritual.
For Jonathan, it’s as simple as brewing his loose-leaf Irish breakfast tea. Every morning, no matter where he is, how rested he feels, or what his day holds, he knows that he’ll have his tea. Not only will he enjoy a fantastic beverage, he’ll experience the benefits that come with performing a daily ritual.
You see, ritual automates activity. If you want to make sure you’re doing something daily, tying it to a ritual will automate it, allowing you to do it without even thinking or expending precious willpower or decision-making.
For Jonathan, his faith and relationships are what matter most to him. They serve as the foundation for why he does what he does. So, while he brews his tea, he may chat casually with his family. While he drinks it, he spends time in the Scriptures and in prayer.
Will there be off days? Sure, but they’re the exception and not the rule.
Building a ritual is easy and highly personal. For example, Jonathan also has an evening ritual, consisting of turning off all screens after dinner, making sure all projects are wrapped up by 9:30PM, and reading (fiction or non-fiction) for at least an hour before bed. Once you know what actions support your goals, automate doing them daily by tying them to a ritual.
#6: BUILD WHITE SPACE INTO YOUR DAY
Focus and ritual have their limits, however, and sometimes the best way to blitz is to zone out.
Productivity expert and self-help writer Benjamin Hardy solves some of his biggest problems and has his most monumental breakthroughs on a daily walk or drive in the car. Why?
Because white space is powerful.
For creative work and problem-solving especially, white space can be a game-changer. Between your blocks of focused work time, give your mind a chance to catch up and take a breather.
This can be as simple as a quick walk at lunch or a quiet drive home from work at the end of the day. The important piece is that you keep this time stimulant free.
No music. No audiobooks. No podcasts. Just let your mind wander and work.
A wandering mind invites inspiration, so by limiting inputs, you’re giving your mind room to maximize its outputs. So go for a walk, take a drive, or simply sit back and think in peace and quiet and see what your subconscious comes up with.
#7: MAKE A REQUEST OF YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
Another way to put your subconscious to work is to ask it politely.
I’m not kidding.
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious,” Thomas Edison used to say. But how does that work?
First, find a few quiet minutes directly before going to sleep and identify your problem or task. As a writer, I am always looking to resolve plot-holes, so I try to identify the one that is giving me the most trouble.
Once you identify your problem, think about. Dwell on it. Let it fill your mind. Ask questions about it. If you want, you can write all this down, but I find it’s easier to just lay in the darkness and think very hard about it all. Then, let yourself drift off to sleep.
When you wake up in the morning, expect an answer. Unfortunately, this is the part most people miss. They’ll wake up and forget about what they’d asked the night before. If you wake up though, and think back on the problem that needed solving, chances are good your subconscious will have some answers for you.
Take 5-10 minutes to jot down your thoughts. More than likely, you’ll have major developments to take into your day.
#8: GIVE AWAY YOUR SECRETS
As you go about achieving your goals, you will learn.
Not only will you learn more about your craft, industry, or occupation, you’ll also learn about yourself, how you work, and how to maximize your time. Especially if you work hard at your goals every day and strive to improve your methods, in no time at all, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal.
Counter-intuitive as it sounds, as you amass your knowledge, give it away. That’s right. Not just to someone in a different field or industry.
To your competitors.
Get together with them and give them – in detail – your secrets to success. This is powerful because it forces you to teach what you’ve learned. And the best way to learn something fully is to teach it.
Giving away your secrets also makes friends of enemies. If you are assembling your top competitors and giving them quality information or advice, you’ve shown them you care about their success and that will change the way you interact forever.
In the end, the major benefit to giving away your knowledge is that you’re raising everyone’s game. You’re creating a growth culture in which knowledge-sharing is the norm and growth is rewarded.
It may even allow you to collaborate, and collaboration changes everything.
#9: CURATE A BLITZ CULTURE
Even more powerful than collaboration between two competitors is collaboration amongst friends. Especially when friends who share a common passion but possess different talents come together, collaboration changes the world.
Unfortunately, these relationships don’t always come easily. Once you’re blitzing your goals and living deliberately, you’ll find that there are two types of people in the world: those who help you achieve your goals and those who distract you from them.
The hard truth is that the vast majority of people don’t want to see their friends becoming anything more than average. This may stem from comfort, laziness, or even jealousy.
They’ll try to get you to cheat on your diet or take a day off “just this once.” They may tease you for being so strict and committed to your goals. Sadly, they may even accuse you of being selfish or “holier than thou” when you refuse to deviate from your plan.
More often than not, there’s no convincing these people otherwise. The blitz life isn’t for everyone.
When people you care about react like this, it’s hard not to cave on your convictions. But even if you do stick it out, it isn’t enough to simply put your head down and get back to work. You can’t do it on your own. You need community, and if your current community isn’t helping you achieve your goals, you need to create one that will.
This isn’t to say that you should abandon your friends simply because they think you work too hard. Definitely not. But don’t rely on them to spur you on toward your goals and make sure you guard against becoming complacent or discouraged when you talk with them.
So how do you create a community that empowers you to do what you know you have to do? Honestly, there are plenty of ways you can do this, but one of the easiest is to get to know a few Unbounders who are interested in similar things as you. They’re already blitzing their education and doing life differently, so they’re more likely to understand where you’re coming from.
They’re also some of the hardest-working people I know and are more likely to be holding themselves to a higher standard than the majority of my other friends. They have big goals, ruthless tenacity, and a collaborative spirit. What’s more, they’re probably looking for someone like you to come alongside them, too, as they blitz their goals.
APEX: THE UNBOUND BLITZ is a perfect place to meet, get to know, and collaborate with these sorts of people. For five days, people just like you – people looking to accomplish big goals – will come together to rejuvenate, celebrate, and re-focus. Why not join them? Registration launches on January 7th, but in the meantime, you can sign up here to stay up to date.