To Increase Your Productivity up to 200 Percent, Ask These 3 Questions

Change is automatic, but progress is not. Progress is about making the changes that get you closer to your desired outcomes and by asking these 3 questions daily, your outcomes will become more focused and deliberate.

 

As I continue my personal transformation via Tony Robbins, I’m totally digging hisTime of Your Life Rapid Planning Method. There are several themes from this work that I would like to share with you, my fellow entrepreneurs. These ideas are simple, powerful, and can increase your productivity anywhere from 25 to 200 percent, according to Robbins Research International. Here are just a few of the key insights I’ve picked up from Day 1 of the RPM Life Planner:

To increase productivity up to 200 percent, ask these three questions constantly:

  1. What do you really want? Or in other words, “What is the specific result that I’m committed to achieving?” Most people don’t know what they really want, and this is why “success” is elusive. Goals like “to be successful,” “to make millions of dollars,” or “to lose weight” are vague and therefore rarely get accomplished. Getting deep and specific around what you really want is the first step to achieving it. It also will help you focus, and this is where most entrepreneurs fall short. There is so much we want to achieve that we end up managing our lives through to-do lists, which has the opposite result of what we want: more time, more productivity, higher rates of success, and better results in our lives.
  2. Why do you want to do this? “Why” is usually more important than the “what” or “how” questions. “Why” gets to your true purpose. Do you know what your true purpose is? Do you know what your company’s true purpose is? Answering these questions will help you deepen your focus and clarify what’s important in your life and for the growth of your company, all of which further removes you from the busywork of your typical to-do list.
  3. How are you going to achieve it? As Tony Robbins says, “Reasons come first, answers come second. With big enough reasons, we can figure out how to do anything.” The irony is that most entrepreneurs focus on the “how” before they ever answer the “what” and the “why” — which is backwards. When you start a business, you typically focus on a business plan that lays out exactly “how” you’re going to achieve success. Rarely do you include the answers to the first two questions, and that’s a real problem. As Simon Sinek says in his powerful TED Talk, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The answers to the “why” questions inspire you, your team, and your customers.

The questions you ask yourself control your outcome and your thinking.

Most people ask the wrong question each and every day they go to work. You know the one. We all ask it: “What do I need to get done today.” The answer is usually on some form of a to-do list, where we incorrectly perceive “urgent” items as important. When we ask the three questions above, we quickly realize that much of what’s on our to-do list is not moving us toward the ultimate outcomes we seek.

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, who said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Tony Robbin’s version of this is, “Questions are the controlling force of your thinking. If you focus on what you want and why you want it, you can get just about anything.”

Depending on whom you believe, the average 4-year-old asks between 100 and 400 questions per day! When you’re a child, you ask questions constantly. As a toddler, you’re taking life in and enjoying every minute of it, but you have tons of questions because you are in a peak learning state. At some point, however, we stop asking the right questions and begin focusing on our to-do lists — and this is where our productivity really begins to suffer.

Tony Robbins’ favorite question is “How can I make it better?” This is the question that keeps him focused on continuous improvement even after he’s built several highly successful businesses. He’s learned from the billionaires around him. Bill Gates, for example, asked, “How does Microsoft become the intelligence that runs all computers?” At one point, Microsoft Windows was on 85% of the world’s computers.

Change is automatic, but progress is not.
Most people answer “I don’t know” to these three most important questions. Unfortunately, that’s the worst possible answer — not only because it’s not true, but it’s what Tony Robbins calls an “in-can’t-ation,” versus an “incantation.” That is, the more you tell yourself that you don’t know something, your brain, in an effort to align with your conscious mind, starts to believe you and make it so. Rather than focusing on “I don’t know,” trust that you do know the answer to all three questions, and spend 10 minutes writing down the first things that pop into your head. The more you focus on knowing the answers, the faster they will come to you.

Progress is about making the changes that get you closer to your desired outcomes. With daily focus on these three questions, your outcomes will become more deliberate. You can begin to say no, to help your business grow, and that will move you beyond the typical to-do list, where “urgent” items are often mistaken for being “important.” Every person and business changes automatically, but progress requires vigilant clarity around these three questions.

Here’s to increasing your productivity by as much as 200 percent — just by asking the right questions and focusing on the outcomes you wish to achieve. I also highly recommend ditching your email. I’ve done it and it’s given me as much as 50% of my day back. Before you say, “I could never do that,” go back to the same three questions and ask yourself if the current state of your inbox is really moving you toward the outcomes you desire.

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