How to Finally Get Started on a Big Project or Idea

This One Tip Will Help You “Just Do It”

Starting can be tough. Especially on important and/or big tasks/projects/ideas. And the things that are stopping you from starting come in many forms. But their collective name is Resistance. I want to share with you a powerful quote about this phenomenon, which contains a simple formula for how to break through the Resistance and get started on a big project — or your big thing.

This is based on CrusherTV™ Episode 108: How to Finally Start Your Big Idea/Project, which was part of a series of Episodes revolving around what I call The Roadmap of Any “Big Thing” – whether that’s your book, your side-hustle, your major project at work, or just cleaning out that @#$%! garage.

The Roadmap consists of 4 Phases…

 

Roadmap for Any Big Project

The Roadmap for Any “Big Thing”: Each Phase has unique barriers to action.

In that series of Episodes I talked about the importance of understanding which of the 4 Phases of a Big Thing you’re stuck in. Because each Phase has its own unique barriers and solutions – and once you identify that Phase, you can choose the right mental solutions for breaking through to the next level – and onward to completion.

The Barriers to Get Started on a Big Project

How many projects or big ideas are sitting on your to-do list right now? Be honest — everybody has at least one. Maybe you have three – or thirty!

Barrier to starting on a big project Temporal DiscountingNo matter how many you have, I would bet that 90% of them are un-started due to one of three key barriers to starting – the three reasons we have so many un-started, unfinished ideas and projects lying around.

The first is Temporal Discounting (“Hey, it’s not due ’til next month, so, uh…”  Or worse, if it’s our own big idea, there’s no deadline at all!).

The second barrier is Fear of Failure. Quoting productivity guru Peter Bregman:

“We procrastinate on that big project precisely because it’s important. So important, in fact, that we’re too scared to work on it. ‘I’m afraid. Afraid that I’ll fail. That I’ll spend a lot of time on it — while other more immediate things don’t get done — and it’ll be terrible, anyway.’”   TWEET THIS  

But the biggest barrier on the bigger, more complex ideas, projects and tasks is Not Knowing Where to Start. We just think about starting it and, because it’s got a lot of moving parts or requires the help of others, we get a feeling of overwhelm and paralysis.

Barrier to start a big project Not KnowingAnd then we say, “Ah…Ya know what? I’ll figure it out later.”

Which is understandable, because a common characteristic of all “Big Things” is that their structure is big, complex and often, unclear.

But all three barriers – temporal discounting, fear of failure and not knowing where to start — tend to mix together in a powerful cocktail of Resistance: “I don’t know where to start. So I doubt I’ll have any success if I do start. But hey – I’ve got time. I’ll start it when I ‘figure it all out’ and my fear subsides!”

And that, of course, never happens. Which is why so many of our own big ideas sit in dusty drawers, and so many big work projects end up being slapped together at the 11th hour.

In Episode 108 I shared three solutions to beat procrastination and crush these barriers: A brain hack, a powerful tool you’ve probably heard of, and a no-brainer physical hack.

Right now I’ll serve up the brain hack with a quote from Steven Pressfield’s awesome book, Do the Work. I’ll share the full quote, but then we’ll circle back to dig in to some details – because there’s a lot of great procrastination psychology in it…

Start before you’re ready. Don’t prepare. Begin. Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is Resistance…our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”   TWEET THIS

Pretty powerful quote, and as I said, there’s a lot in there. Let’s take a closer look…

Start Before You’re Ready

How many times have you said to yourself, “Well, I would start on my book/app/side-hustle/project – but first I need to do X,” or, “First I need to figure out Y”?

If we really examine our thinking around getting started on something big, we’d see this is the case: we construct reasons why we CAN’T start on it right now. But if we knew we didn’t have to prepare – actually SHOULDN’T prepare — there’d be no excuse for not starting!

The quote goes on to talk about Resistance and I just want to dig into that a bit more, because it’s so important to understand this phenomenon…

The Enemy Is Resistance

“Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.”

Think about all those things: they are not reasons for not starting. They are excuses for not starting. They let us off the hook for taking action. That’s why “the enemy is Resistance…our chattering brain.” We manufacture these excuses to buy us time and ease our discomfort.

Starting on a big thing is UN-comfortable! And we as humans avoid discomfort. That’s why, “if we give it so much as a nanosecond, [our brain] will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we need to do.”

So just to sum this up: The reason we haven’t started on our big idea is that our busy brain doesn’t want us to, and it’s handing us all kinds of reasons why:

“Oh, I need to do X first.”

Or “I need to talk with Y first.”

Or, “I need to prepare by doing Z first – then I’ll be ready to start.”

No!! Start before you’re ready.

To Get Started on a Big Project — Don’t Prepare. Begin.

And what’ll happen when you do heave yourself out of the Resistance and into any kind of action on your big idea or project, is that you’ll feel liberated. But just as importantly, you’ll start to get ideas on what to do next.

Then, you’ll start to develop a bias for MORE action!!

So…What big thing are you NOT starting because you think you need to do X first, or learn Y first, or talk to So-and-So first? Start…before…you’re ready!

More Tips to Get Started On Your Big Project/Idea

Want a couple more powerful solutions to help you beat procrastination on your big idea or project? I dedicated an episode of Crusher™TV to How to Finally Start Your Big Project/Idea, where I dig really deep into this common procrastination challenge. 

You can click the image below to watch the Episode Preview, which itself contains a brief description of the 4 Phases of a Big Thing that will surely resonate with you.

How-to-Start-a-Big-Project

Each Crusher™TV Episode is a well-researched “mini-masterclass” of evidence-based solutions on a specific productivity topic.

Description: We all have at least one big idea or project we want or need to start. But too often, they languish, un-started. I’ll show why you’re stuck and evidence-based ways to get going on your biggest, scariest idea/project.

Bless!

Alan

Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.

 

How to Break a Bad Habit

You Can Break a Bad Habit More Easily Than You Think

We all have a few bad habits — maybe you’ve even got a nasty vice or two (I’ve had my share, but that’s another story). And we all wish we know how to break a bad habit.

Break Bad Habits Word CloudThere’s no human on the planet who doesn’t have at least one bad habit they’d like to eliminate: they not only cripple our productivity and our health, but they push our personal goals farther out of reach.

Back in Crusher™TV Episode 98: Break Any Bad Habit in 5 Days, I shared a simple a 4-step process for crushing any bad habit. But the first of those four steps, on its own, can really “loosen the screws” on your bad habit.

Before I share that hack, a quick note on habits that’s important to understand to make the hack work well…

We Need to Understand Why We Keep Bad Habits!

I mean, just think about the costs of some of our worst bad habits: Video games, drugs/alcohol/smoking, overeating and junk food, excessive sugar or chocolate, gambling, negative thoughts and rumination, procrastination, wasting time online, impulsive shopping, crappy posture, multitasking, texting while driving.

All of these bad habits drain our energy, our finances, and our time — and could even seriously harm ourselves or someone else.

So why do we form these bad habits in the first place and why do we keep them around?

Well, cuz we LIKE them!! That’s right. We like the benefits they give us. We like their rewards.

All of the habits you have right now — good and bad — entered your life because they provided some benefit to you: physiological, psychological or emotional.

How Bad Habits — and Addictions — Are Formed

When you eat your first piece of chocolate or your first bowl of Cherry Garcia ice cream, your brain quickly creates a circuit that says, “That felt really good. Remember this food. Remember where we got it. Cuz we’re gonna do that again! Soon. Actually, how about right NOW!”

How to Break a Bad Habit Facebook PillsIt’s the same brain circuit that lights up with cocaine…and checking our Facebook feed — we get dopamine hits from all of these.

This is why we often indulge in one of our bad habits to cope with stress. When we’re stressed, or bored or sad, our frontal cortex goes offline, our cognition stops – we go “brainless,” and the automaticity of that reward circuit takes over and makes us do the bad habit to (briefly) feel better.

No wonder it can seem so difficult to eliminate them. No wonder simplistic advice like “just stop doing it” never works.

The good news is that there are simple, evidence-based hacks for breaking bad habits by breaking those circuits. And here’s that hack I promised…

Step One of How to Break a Bad Habit

Think about a habit you want to change: too much TV at night, too many cookies at night, negative rumination sessions, wasting time on your smartphone apps — whether games, YouTube or social media, etc.

How to Break a Bad Habit ChainIdentify the reward that you get from that bad habit: The #1 reason our bad habits persist is that we don’t question them. We’re aware of them and we might even often say, “I shouldn’t” this, or “I can’t” that, but we don’t dig any deeper than that. But you’ve got to understand the reward you’re getting from your bad habit. It may be something different than what you think.  Think about your bad habit and ask, “What do I get from it?”

Then ask yourself: “Is that really what I get from it? What do I really get from it?”

Here’s what I mean via a few common examples…

You repeatedly check your Facebook or Instagram to “feel connected” or to check in on your world. Maybe. But if it’s a habit, you’re probably doing it as a stress response or out of boredom, or as an escape from some difficult work.

You watch late night TV until after your ideal bed time because, well, you deserve to take a break and to be entertained – or you think it helps wind you down. Maybe. But if it’s a habit, you’re probably doing it out of a sense of FOMO, or, more likely, because the dopamine hits you’re getting from your screen are more satisfying than what you imagine to be the benefits of a longer night’s sleep.

You open your email inbox as soon as you get to work (or wake up!) to “make sure there’s nothing urgent I need to attend to.” Maybe. But if it’s a habit, you’re probably doing it as an excuse to procrastinate on starting some real work, or because it gives you the feeling of being productive (pseudoproductivity) – while in reality it destroys your productivity, divides your attention, and increases your stress.

So again, think about your bad habit and get really curious about its rewards. At the very least you’ll “loosen the screws” on it, but it might also be enough to kill it entirely.

Want to Know the Other 3 Steps on How to Break a Bad Habit?

I dedicated an entire Episode of Crusher™TV to How to Break a Bad Habit — Episode 98: Break Any Bad Habit in 5 Days, a special Facebook LIVE Episode where I shared the full 4-Step Process, plus more insights on bad habits. You can watch the FULL Episode by clicking below…

Crusher™TV Episode 98: How to Break Any Bad Habit

How to Break Any Bad Habit in 4 Simple Steps: Crusher™TV Episode 98, on Facebook LIVE. Learn more at www.CrusherTV.com

Posted by Alan P. Brown on Monday, January 29, 2018

Each Crusher™TV Episode is a well-researched “mini-masterclass” of evidence-based solutions on a specific productivity topic.

I think you’ll get a lot out of watching this one. (To access over 100 more Episodes on how to beat procrastination and overwhelm, get prioritized, manage your time, and more, you can become a member at Crusher™TV for a buck — $1! — and cancel any time you like).

Bless!

Alan

Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to accomplish more in less time with less drama. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.

 

How to Beat Perfectionism

We Don’t Have to Be Perfectionists to Suffer from It

Perfectionism is killing our productivity. Even a teeny bit of perfectionism slows us down, seeds doubt and fear, and drains joy out of whatever we’re doing. In this brief post, I’ll share two classic “Perfectionism Situations” and their “Perfectionism Slayers,” and show you how to beat perfectionism.

“I Don’t Need to Know How to Beat Perfectionism!”

Oh, you’re not a perfectionist? Hmmmm. Are you sure about that?

Do you ever feel paralyzed struggling to decide on which of your many to-do’s…to do?

When confronting a complex task or project, are you sometimes unable to figure out the best way to start it? So you…don’t start it?

Do you ever have trouble finishing a major assignment, even though you’re nine tenths the way there?

How to beat perfectionism scale

See? You don’t have to be a raving-OCD perfectionist to be getting hobbled by perfectionism. (Well, you may actually be a perfectionist, but more likely you’re just letting perfectionist tendencies eat away at your productivity and keep you stuck.)

There are hacks — what I call “Perfectionism Slayers,” that help us beat perfectionist tendencies, each tailored to the situation in which perfectionism may have us stuck.

Two Examples of How to Beat Perfectionism

Perfectionism, noun: “A disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.”

Yeesh — “anything short of…unacceptable”? That’s pretty harsh. And that’s why slaying perfectionist tendencies that keep us stuck is first and foremost about letting ourselves be a little vulnerable. Taking a little chance…to not be perfect – or even close to it.

As researcher Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” TWEET THIS

So with that important preamble, here are two of the most common perfectionism-prone situations and a Perfectionism Slayer for each…

Perfectionism Situation: You have to write a complicated email, or a speech or a presentation. You pretty much know what you need to say, what your point of view is, etc. But you just don’t know how to say it, in what order, with what emphasis, etc.

This is a classic writing rut. What we tend to do is try to put it all together up in our head first. “Ya, I’ll open with this thought, then, no, I’ll open with THIS thought, then i’ll….no…”

…and you begin to think whatever you write is gonna totally suck. Which of course sends you into perfectionist mode and mental paralysis.

Perfectionism Slayer: Stephen King’s mantra for writing is, “Write with the door closed. Rewrite with the door open.” I learned this same trick from a writing coach early in my advertising career. And it is a huge perfectionism slayer – it definitely altered my career trajectory.

Barf it Out to Beat Perfectionism

My term for this hack is, Barf It Out! Just spill whatever’s in your head into the computer or onto the paper. Don’t read that barf, don’t re-order that mess, don’t polish that turd in any way! Just barf it out there!

This is what King means by writing “with the door closed.” Nobody gets to look at it, not even you…until you have pooped everything in your head onto the paper. Then, open the door and start editing, reordering and polishing. Your turd will turn to gold out only on the paper or the computer screen — never in your head.

It’s helpful also to remember the words of Ernest Hemingway: “The first draft is always sh*t.” Let it be so. (And sorry for all the scatology.) Here’s another common…

Perfectionism Situation: Your project or task is done. Your email’s been sent, your presentation is over. And you find yourself being just a tad self-critical on something – whether a mistake or a missed deadline or it just wasn’t as good as you thought it should’ve been.

This is a terrible place to dwell. It keeps us from moving on with confidence and closure. It also sets us up to be even more perfectionist next time we take up a similar task. But here’s your…

Perfectionism Slayer: Give yourself a freakin’ break! We tend to count our “failures” at three times the rate at which we acknowledge our successes. Talk about self-defeating behavior that keeps us from moving forward, exploring new ventures or just starting a new project!

Give Yourself a Break from Perfectionism

And as Brené Brown says, “You can’t do anything brave if you’re wearing the straitjacket of ‘what will people think?’” And that includes YOU – what YOU think. Ultimately, here’s what this Perfectionism Slayer — giving yourself a break — is all about…

Carl Richards, writing for the NYTimes, asks, “What might happen if you took all the energy that goes into judging your work and put it right back into the wellspring of creating the work instead?” TWEET THIS

A Closing Thought

We all want things to be done right, to be excellent. And perfection is indeed a desirable goal. But for most of us, “Perfectionism = procrastination + paralysis.”

Using these and other basic perfectionism slayers can not only help us to move forward and get stuff done, they help us find more joy in our work, more willingness to experiment, take chances, even screw up!

Want More Tips on How to Beat Perfectionism?

I dedicated an entire Episode of Crusher™TV to beating perfectionism — Episode 87: 5 Ways to Beat Perfectionism, where I share more classic “perfectionism situations” and their “perfectionism slayers.” Including how to beat perfectionism that results in procrastination, and how to beat the perfectionist tendencies that prevent us from finishing tasks.

Plus, my Guest Expert in the Episode is Dr. David Sitt, a clinical psychologist who shares his own unique approach for how to beat perfectionism.

Each Crusher™TV Episode is a well-researched “mini-masterclass” of evidence-based solutions on a specific productivity topic.

I think you’ll get a lot out of watching this entire episode of Crusher™TV (you can become a member for a buck and cancel any time you like), and you can watch the Preview of it here.

Bless!

Alan

Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to accomplish more in less time with less drama. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.

 

How to Practice Self-Compassion: One Powerful Intervention

Self-Compassion: An Evidence-Based Solution

If the term “self-compassion” sounds a little hokey or new-age to you, think again. The research — and there’s lots of it — shows that self-compassion can mean a world of difference for your well-being and productivity. I’ll share why, and I’ll show you a simple intervention to leverage your self-compassion.

How Self-Compassion Works

I’ve written previously about how simple self-compassion interventions are shown to decrease the odds of depression, increase general happiness, help smokers quit, dramatically boost the success rate of obese dieters, and more.

But how?

Self-Compassion-HeartFirst of all, it aligns with our evolutionary wiring: Kelly McGonigal, a top self-compassion researcher, notes that being compassionate toward others is part of human nature — you see a friend or child mess up, and you give an encouraging word.

And when you administer compassion to someone in need, you support them not only at the emotional level, but at the neurochemical level — helping restore their base levels of key neurotransmitters responsible for mood and stress.

And that benefit can accrue to you when you administer a dose of self-compassion. That’s why those with more self-compassion are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, self-criticism and unhealthy perfectionism. They are happier, more optimistic and less prone to anger.

Secondly, self-compassion sets you on a stronger psychological footing, which does your productivity good: self-compassion correlates with less procrastination; the ability to recover from setbacks; and to be more proactive.

As McGonigal sums it up, self-compassion puts us “in an optimal mindstate to do our best.” TWEET THIS

Self-Compassion Helps Productivity

Learn how to practice self-compassion and you’ll thank yourself with a big hug.

The Foundations of Self-Compassion

Dr. Kristin Neff defines self-compassion as “extending compassion to the self for one’s failings, inadequacies and experiences of suffering.”

In more practical terms, it’s grounded in three things:

ONE. Being kind to yourself. It’s like the golden rule with a twist: Treating yourself as you would treat others.

TWO. Remembering that EVERY SINGLE member of humanity has the same foibles, faults and failures as you. That’s right – you ain’t so special. Like, 7.4 billion people worth of you-ain’t-so-special. (OK, you are kinda special — but you know what I mean.)

THREE. Mindfulness – just bringing awareness to the bad feelings and emotions arising from whatever you’re judging yourself about. Letting yourself experience, and NOT ignoring, those feelings.

The more you can make these foundations of self-compassion into habitual mindsets, the less you’ll burn time, energy and spirit on BS. And the more proactive and powerfully ready to crush whatever’s in your way.

But to really benefit from the power of self-compassion, I urge you to try the following “intervention”…

A Simple Self-Compassion Intervention

There are many self-compassion interventions you can do to boost your mood, confidence, productivity and more. My favorite is based on that “golden rule with a twist: How do you treat a friend who’s down?

Self-Compassion-Hug-HeartTake a few minutes to write down the answers to these questions…

How do you typically comfort a friend who’s really down on herself or struggling with something?

What do you do, what do you say and what’s the tone in which you say it?

Seriously — write those down!  Next, write the answers to these:

How do you typically respond to yourself when you’re feeling really down or struggling with something?

What do you do, what do you say, and how do you say it?

Then, look at the differences between these two sets of answers. If you’re honest, there will be a difference.

And finally — and this is the biggie — ask yourself why you treat yourself differently than you’d treat a friend. (Hint: You likely find ways to blame yourself when things don’t go well…then you get down on yourself a little…or a lot.)

If you’ve done this honestly and completely, this exercise raises your awareness of how you reflexively help a friend in need – so that you can more automatically help yourself in need — with the same compassion.

A Closing Thought

To paraphrase Dr. McGonigal: Which self do you want to be tomorrow: the one that screws up, doesn’t meet your high expectations and doesn’t deserve compassion? Or the self that is your friend, who’s imperfect but ultimately wants to, and will do, the right thing?

Be the friend. And remember, whatever’s in your way is yours to crush!

-Alan

Hey — Want to Learn More Evidence-Based Self-Compassion Interventions?

I dedicated an episode of Crusher™TV to The Power of Self-Compassion, and below is the preview of that episode. Click the image to check it out.

If you like the Preview, you’ll get a lot out of watching that entire episode of Crusher™TV where I dig deeper into this topic and provide those additional interventions. (You can become a member for a buck and cancel any time you like.) It’s Episode 57, and you can preview that episode by clicking the image below:

Power of Self-Compassion Play

Each Crusher™TV Episode is a well-researched “mini-masterclass” of evidence-based solutions on a specific productivity topic.

Description: You think self-compassion is a bunch of “woo-woo” silliness? I’ve seen the research. It’s more like, “Holy cannoli, that’s POWERFUL STUFF!” It is – in terms of your well-being and your productivity. I’ll show you how, and how to leverage it.

Bless!

Alan

Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.

When You Really, Really Need to Be Productive and Focused, Try This

J.K. Rowling, Carl Jung and I Have This in Common

Intensive Work Trip to VegasRight now I’m sitting in my suite in Las Vegas. Not here to gamble or party or even have so much as a drink (though I may have a nice vino after dinner). But to get productive and focused.

I flew in two days ago from San Diego to think and work. Intensely. For three days.

See, there are a number of important projects I’ve been putting off a bit or just haven’t had time to focus on. They’re not urgent, but they’re big, important.

So I did what J.K. Rowling did when she couldn’t muster the focus to write the final book in the Harry Potter series. She checked out of her home office and checked into a posh hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland for two weeks…and banged it out.

It’s called The Grand Gesture: Making a radical change to your environment, coupled with a significant investment (of money or effort or both), to force yourself into a more productive and focused state.

Pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung did his most import thinking and writing only in the turret of the castle-like home he himself built, expressly for the purpose of productive and focused work.

Now, before you yell at me about not being able to build your own turret or to zoom off to Scotland or Vegas, let me first answer this question…

How Does the Grand Gesture Make You More Productive and Focused?

The radical change in environment is part of the magic. I talk a lot about the restorative power of “venue change” — a simple productivity hack where you just switch work locations every hour or two. Even from one chair to another, but ideally from one room or building to another.

But when you combine that change of environment (what I call Venue Change — see more at bottom) with an appreciable investment (could be money, but effort works just as well)…

ONE. You create an invisible contract with yourself to stop procrastinating and do the work you set out to do there, and…

TWO. You are therefore much less vulnerable to distractions, busywork (pseudo-productivity) and lollygagging (e.g., futzing around on YouTube).

How to Be More Productive and Focused

Get ultra-productive and focused with even a little radical change.

So whether you can get away for a few days or just a few hours, making a grand gesture can get you away from the “tyranny of the urgent” — and focus hard on things that are critical to your career or business, but that may not be screaming at you right now. (In other words, those “Quadrant II” things that are important but not urgent.)

As Cal Newport puts it in his book, Deep Work, the Grand Gesture helps you mitigate distractions and “wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual ­capacity.”

Now, back that question of cost…

Hold On! I Can’t Afford to Go to Vegas…or Edinburgh!

I definitely put more effort than money into my three-day Vegas jaunt: I’m in a huge suite near The Strip that costs $36 a night (Vegas rooms go begging in summer, when it’s over 100F/38C), and the flight was $80.

But most importantly, you don’t have to go very far at all to get the benefits of the Grand Gesture. For instance, consider…

Working in a conference room (preferably with glass walls so people can see you working — that “body double” effect will keep you more disciplined and focused).

Working at a coffee shop instead of your office — and maybe not the same one you always go to. Try a different one, in a different neighborhood.

Working in a park, or in your back yard or on the roof — literally, if possible. Chris Ducker, a famous entrepreneur and author, has a chair at the very top of his house that he only sits in when he’s doing his biggest thinking. That’s his Grand Gesture chair.

As some of you know, I do a mini-Grand Gesture several times a week by getting in my truck and driving to the ocean or to a park — or even a parking lot — and working from the passenger seat for several hours.

These are all enough to be considered Grand and to provide some disproportionately productive and focused work sessions.

Venue Change: Maintaining Energy Throughout 3 Days

Productive and Focused DeskI change where I work up to seven times a day. Each change provides a psychological and physical “fresh start.” It’s a great productivity hack. Here’s how I used it in Vegas.

7:00am-9:00am: Grab Starbucks from hotel lobby and work in room. (Desk was rearranged to look out window — not at a freakin’ wall!. Research tells us that sunlight as well as looking at sky/nature while working help with focus, mental stamina and clarity.)

Productive and Focused at Pool9:00am-12:00pm: Head to pool and work there until heat becomes unbearable. Again, sky and trees and fresh air provide brain fuel.

12:00pm-1:00pm: Have a solid protein lunch and head back to room for a 15-minute power-nap and/or meditation and/or exercise.

1:00pm-2:30pm: Another work session in room until 2pm — then treat myself to 15 minutes of news headlines and email checking.

Productive and Focused Conference Room

2:30pm-5:00pm: Find an empty conference room in convention area of hotel (check out the one I found empty!) — and work until my brain won’t go no more.

And at the end of the day, I find some form of recovery (power nap, exercise, just “being”) so I might have a shot at another little burst of work after my (protein-rich) dinner.

Of course, I might also call it quits and hit the blackjack tables or the wine bar. Hey — I worked for it!

Interested in more productivity hacks like this?

I dedicated an episode of Crusher™TV to productivity Power RitualsClick the image below for the Episode Preview.

Power Rituals for Productivity and FocusEach Crusher™TV Episode is a well-researched “mini-masterclass” of evidence-based solutions on a specific productivity topic.

Description: Imagine if you could power through your day, thinking more clearly, getting more top priority tasks banged out, and actually having reserves of energy at quitting time. This is the power of Power Rituals. Not hard. Just need to do ‘em. I’ll show you how.

You can watch over 100 full Episodes of Crusher™TV as a Member by joining for just $1 (cancel any time you like) at CrusherTV.com. Crusher™TV is one of the largest libraries of evidence-based productivity and quality-of-life videos in the world.

Bless!

Alan

Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.