The Musicality of Productivity, Part Deux

By: Martin Grunburg

It’s a myth that habit development depends upon daily repetition. It does not; it depends upon consistency of the behavior, over time. Beating yourself up because you haven’t done a behavior every day in order to develop a habit is a big mistake.

In last week’s article, we covered the important concept that when it comes to developing any habit, you can and should plan to skip days.

By following The Habit Factor’s P.A.R.R. methodology, you actually plan for missed days — you work within the daily and weekly rhythms of your life.

In response to these ideas and last week’s post, I received an email from Frank H.

I really appreciate the new perspective on habit.  And the fact that a “daily ritual” is not the same as a habit.

I’m reading a book about sales techniques.  And I give myself a target of 20 minutes every other day during the week, and Sunday morning.  Unless a circumstance arises, Saturdays are strictly for family and relaxation.  I find that I can get through the book as needed with just those 20 minutes.  Without nearly the stress I would put on myself if I expected to read it every single day.  And failed.

Today’s post is about taking the idea a bit further and incorporating something known as Theme Days. Theme days are a perfect example of applying “musicality” to enhance your productivity.

In The Seven Essential Habits of the Highly Focused Person (previous post), we reviewed that Habit #2 was understanding your energy patterns to enhance your focus.

When you combine these ideas — knowing your energy patterns, using P.A.R.R., AND incorporating theme days — you will realize significant leaps in productivity precisely because you will begin to develop associated habits.

Theme days really work because they address important concepts such as energy, rhythm and pattern.

Many sales professionals and organizations incorporate theme days. But the idea isn’t tied to any particular profession. Examples include blogging every Monday, emailing your subscribers every Tuesday, working on the website every Wednesday, etc.

And, while there  are likely to be dozens other “things” that must get done on any of these given days, the focus and energy is primarily focused upon just ONE core behavior that MUST get done on that day.

Here are just a few of the fantastic benefits created by applying theme days:

—The priority for the day is already defined.

— A rhythm is established from one week to the next.

Momentum is established in just a few weeks.

Sustained for long enough, the behavior will become a habit.

That habit (the recurring efforts) will begin to compound.

More: Upping the Tempo!

Within each theme day, the goal should be to block anywhere from 2-4 hours of quality focus.

However, to achieve that type of focus, be sure to break the time intervals into chunks; use a timer and know your minimum success criteria (an example of this is in Frank’s email above, “reading for 20 minutes”) while incorporating planned breaks. Even something like the Pomodoro technique is a perfect example of using rhythm to enhance focus and increase productivity.

Next Steps:

— Take a moment to identify your next 90-day goal/milestone.
— Ask what behaviors/habits would help you get there fastest.
— Prioritize those behaviors/habits by rating them 1-5.
— Identify the best days of the week for each behavior/habit.

Final thoughts…

If it’s truly the “silence between the notes that makes the music” then, similarly, by incorporating THEME days, your work and your productivity will begin to sing! ; )

Keep on trackin’!

See you next Monday!



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