"I work 14 hours day"...
I've heard this so many times. Then the guy proceeds to sit at his computer for 8 hours surfing and searching while his actual time worked is more like 4-6 hours...
That's how most people claiming to work 'long hours' actually operate...
It's silly. It's a fake badge of honor.
What matters is what you accomplish, not how many hours you put in.
It's working smarter and harder. If you can get more work done in less time, then extend that time, that's the ideal.
Thus, what we're really after is deep work - focused, quality work without ANY distractions.
A guy who only does deep work will out perform a guy who 'dabbles' in work for long hours - even if the guy doing deep work only does 4 hours and the dabbler does 14.
You could say I've been studying deep work for a decade or more.
The reality is I've read a few great books on the topic - Deep Work, Flow to name a couple - and I've tried different tactics to improve how much work I get done, the quality of that work, and how purely focused I can be in a work session.
That is, to work and only work while working.
The goal: more work completed overall, at a higher quality, while working 8-12 hours a day, not 14, and taking at least one full day off per week.
Which feeds the larger goal of creating a great company, building something truly great, and using my time for a purpose...
I need to be great at the first thing to get the second thing - any great goal can be broken down into actionable habits.
Dabbling, in any sense, is useless.
I don't just want to remove it from my work life, but from my social life, training life, any area of life where being present improves the situation (which is pretty much every area of life).
So, re: work, what works?
Depending on your kind of work, this will vary, but this is what works for me (it's super simple):
Focus protocol #1
Shot of espresso + Man Brain
I'll have a shot of espresso an hour after waking up - which is an hour into work - and pair it with Man Brain to help improve focus, memory, and recall.
Adding them together helps me extend my work periods while also focusing more intensely, and Man Brain contains theanine, which removes the jitters and frantic energy you can get from caffeine.
I'm a big fan of the idea of nootropics, but I couldn't find any that have full doses of the ingredients in Man Brain, which are carefully selected for their short and long term benefits for cognitive health and performance, so I created Man Brain.
Focus protocol #2
Noise cancelling headphones + white noise (from youtube)
Try this, trust me. If you do creative type work, white noise is awesome, you don't think about any notes or words, it's just blank, and it helps block out everything going on around you so you can focus on one thing and only one thing.
Focus protocol #3
Kitchen timer set for 90 minutes (not phone timer)
Trying to focus all day is futile.
But we can focus on creative work for 90 minutes - and if you're not there, build up to it. Start small.
I use a cheap kitchen timer to time my work sessions because I don't want my phone anywhere near me when I'm working, it's a tempting distraction that I just don't have the willpower to avoid completely, so I remove it from my reach and put it on silent.
Focus protocol #4
Active work breaks.
If you want to do great work, you need to do your best to keep your brain fresh as well as your body.
When my timer goes off I go workout, take my dogs for a walk, take them downstairs to wrestle, or just do some push ups.
I've found that a work break that isn't physical isn't optimal.
Reading, then, isn't a work break for me but an enjoyable activity outside of work.
So, there you have it...
I've tried everything under the sun, and that's what helps most.
Here's something to remember:
Don't be overconfident with your willpower, actually, be the opposite.
Don't think you can avoid any kind of distraction.
Sometimes that means closing the blinds even on your windows, putting your phone in a different room, shutting off the internet while writing.
I mean, I use cheap noise cancelling headphones from Amazon and play white noise that's loud enough shut out all other noise!
I don't trust myself to be able to avoid every distraction, so I remove every distraction I can remove.
Remove the temptation.
Hopefully this helped in some way.