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Productivity Hack: 7 Tricks to Steal From the World’s Top Performers

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Imagine this: you’re training a champion athlete or an actor to be the next Marvel superhero. Each day they arrive at your gym and have a killer workout, followed by the perfect post-training meal. Their productivity is envy-inducing. 

Then they go on vacation.

They fumble around the resort gym trying to figure out exercise replacements. Eventually, they give up and return to the pool bar for a round of margarita’s to ease the pain and embarrassment of failure.

The former is an environment built for proactive high-performance. The latter describes a reactive scene of struggle and loss.

Similar scenarios play out everyday in your quest for high-performance at work, in your writing, and for your coaching business.

If you are proactive, plan ahead, and follow the playbook of a high-performer, you can crush the competition and dominate every day.

But if you get soft and lazy, wing it, and wake up unproductive and reactive, you’ll struggle, kill your momentum, and end up joining the New York Jets down on Loser Street.

I’m here to save you and your clients from that fate (although sorry, we can’t save the Jets… I’m not a miracle worker).

Follow these 7 rules of high-performers so you don’t miss out on a single day of making massive progress towards your big goals and dreams.

1. Harness Your Champion Mindset

We’ve all been champions at one point in our lives. You might have been a state champion, a top bodybuilder, head of your fraternity or sorority, star of your school play, or the valedictorian of your class. Maybe you’ve had an amazing ‘before-and-after’ transformation or simply married out of your league.

Somewhere along the line, your plan came together and you rose to the top. That means you already have a champion mindset installed inside of you. Now, to get to the next level in life, you simply need to harness the power of your championship principles.

The winning principles in life are simple. I’ve seen them work time-after-time in many different industries for my thousands of coaching clients. I call them the 5 Pillars of Success:

i) Better Planning & Preparation Than Ever Before
ii) Professional Accountability (your ‘coach’)
iii) Positive Social Support (your ‘cheerleaders’)
iv) A Meaningful Incentive
v) The BIG Deadline

When you have these Championship Principles in place you can win the CrossFit Games, write your first book, or build a 7-figure coaching program.

Go back to a point in time where you had incredible success in life, look at what you did right, and apply those lessons to your life today.

2. Make Time Magic

If you’ve read my book, The Perfect Day Formula, you’ve heard the phrase “Magic Time.” This is the two-hour block of the day where you are three times more productive than usual. For many, like myself, magic time is in the morning.

Case in point: I wrote this 2000 word article in one shot between 4:05 and 6:15 a.m.

But at the Fitness Business Summit 2017 (FBS), John Romaniello challenged me on this principle. He said, “Screw Magic Time. Ignore Craig Ballantyne. Forget Bally the Dog.” Okay, he didn’t mention my dog (he’s not that cruel), but Roman did say that Magic Time wasn’t as effective as the power of a deadline.

At first I seethed with anger. Seethed, I tell you, seethed. (If you’ve never seen a Canadian seething with rage, just picture Mel Gibson in a 1970’s era hockey fight.) But after reflecting on what John said, his argument helped me modify, and improve, my Magic Time formula to make you an even more effective high performer.

There are multiple times of day when you can “trick” your body or your mind into performing at a higher level than you thought possible. It might be in your “Magic Time”, or it might be when you give yourself a hard deadline with consequences.

I still believe in the power of Magic Time. You need to find it in your day, and ruthlessly foster it and protect it from all the time thieves in your life.

And yes, as effective as Magic Time is, there’s nothing more powerful than a deadline.

I agree.

A deadline helps a high performer to get stuff done in record time for three reasons:

First, it spurs us to overcome the initial inertia.

Second, it keeps us going through the middle of a tough project knowing that we’re on the homestretch.

And third, it gets us to work faster and push harder the closer we get to the finish line.

3. Corollary: Make Time Your Bitch

“It’s not about the hour you get up, it’s about what you do with the hours that you are up.” – Craig Ballantyne

I don’t care what time you get up.

In fact, I don’t want you to get up at 4 a.m. One of the reasons I get up early is to avoid other people. So go back to bed and leave me alone!

High performers don’t worry about the clock. They focus on the concept of time and bend it to their will, owning their day and controlling their life. Let’s look at two extreme examples.

I get up at 3:45 a.m. seven days a week. It’s essential that I start writing at 4 a.m.

On the other hand, my good friend, Joel Marion has spent the last nine years dominating the online fitness and supplement industry working between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. He clocks out when I clock in.

The actual hours don’t matter. Forget where the hands are on the clock. What matters is that high-performers take complete control over time and operate on their own time.

We snub the convention of the world and work when it works for us. We make the world operate on their clock, not the other way around. If you want to work from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., then so be it. 

4. Today’s To-Do is for Tomorrow

One of the biggest mistakes potential high-performers make is waiting until the morning to create a to-do list.

But if you are making your to-do list in the morning, you are already too late. The list needs to be done the night before so you can wake up and get right to work.

Here’s a two-step plan for finishing your day correctly and starting tomorrow with a big win.

First, at the end of your workday, grab a scrap piece of paper and do what I call “a brain dump.” Write down all the crazy thoughts running through your head, such as all the things you want to do the next day, all the people you need to contact, and all the obstacles in your way.

Next, organize these thoughts into your to-do list. Prioritize your action items. Script your day. Cut what doesn’t matter. Insert your most important work tasks into clearly defined and defended blocks of time.

There you go. Tomorrow has been conquered today.

Planning ahead is a high-performers secret to success.

“Nothing wins more often than superior preparation. Genius is usually preparation.” – Kekich Credo #73

5. Feed Your Brain Rocket Fuel

This section isn’t a lecture on protein intake, organic foods, or staying hydrated. Gwenyth Paltrow can tell you how to do that. (Seriously, her Goop.com is one of my favorite reads.)

Besides, you most likely know physical nutrition inside-and-out. Instead, we’re going deeper and darker, and pushing the envelope with an edgy approach to fueling your mind.

You see, high-performers need a little extra. It could be caffeine, or it might be bourbon at 11 p.m. as you settle into a writing frenzy. 

Now I’m not suggesting you go full Hunter S. Thompson mode where you start your day with a line of cocaine at 4 p.m., but you need to give your mind whatever it needs to crank out content.

I initially resisted this idea. My father was an alcoholic, and it made me never wanted to become dependent on any substance in life.

For example, I would never go more than two days in a row consuming caffeine. I know you coffee drinkers can’t believe this. But I’m serious.

However, a little self-reflection made me realize that my best writing days were enhanced with a little rocket fuel for the brain (i.e. caffeine), so I loosened up and my performance went through the roof.

Keep in mind this is a calculated dose of rocket fuel, and you’re not being given permission to dose yourself willy-nilly.

Identify your rocket fuel. Dose accordingly.

6. Create an Insanely Clear & Concise Vision

High performers do this for every aspect of their lives; they create an insanely clear and concise vision of what they want. 

In my workshops and at my retreat, I take my coaching clients through an extensive two-hour vision creation process. It eliminates the clutter in your mind, and it gives you complete clarity on what matters in your life and how to achieve exactly what you want.

Once you’ve created your vision, only then can you start putting in place your daily high-performance habits that will bring you faster results in every area of your life.

Just like you can’t design a killer training program without knowing your client’s goals, and just like you can’t build a house without blueprints, you can’t get what you want without a vision.

7 . Model Other High Performers

This is not a definitive list of the rules that high performers follow, but it’s a good place for you to start so you can own your days and take back control of your life.

When you put these high performer habits in place, you’ll triple your productivity and start attracting more success and opportunity into your life. It’s a proven equation for domination.

But frankly, there’s so much more you need to install into your life in order to be the ultimate high-performer that you know you can be.

After working with over 5,000 coaching clients, I still see the need for greater self-confidence and techniques to overcome self-doubt, as well as better systems for eliminating temptations, obstacles, and external negativity that are likely holding you back in the first place.

That’s why I’d like to invite you to my Perfect Life Retreat on November 9-10th in San Diego.

You’ll join me, John Romaniello, Lewis Howes, Jason Ferruggia, Tucker Max, Bedros Keuilian, and over 200 other high performers across dozens of industries (from Hollywood actors to female entrepreneurs to The New York Times bestselling authors).

Over the two days we’ll do a deep dive into installing the Habits of High Performers into your life so you can finally achieve the success you deserve.

But this isn’t another seminar where you sit through lecture after lecture and leave with 40 pages of notes that you never end up implementing.

Instead, after we create the roadmap (vision) for your life, we’ll spend the rest of the time working through concrete action plans so that you leave with most of the work done-for-you and the snowball of success rolling down the hill and your momentum picking up speed.

At the end of our time together, you’ll walk away with a crystal clear action plan to achieve exactly what you want in life.

Plus, our team is doing something for you that you’ve never experienced at any other event.

As a recovering introvert, I know how difficult networking can be, even when you’re in a room of positive high-performers. That’s why our team is spending dozens of hours making your connections in advance.

We’ll give you a done-for-you list of who you need to meet (and why), so that you can make big-money connections easily and automatically. If even a fraction of the 100+ events I had attended in the past would have done this, I’d be exponentially more successful than I am today.

If you want to be a high-performer, if you want to install your champion mindset into every area of your life, if you want to meet the writers, coaches, and speakers that you’ve looked up to for years, and if you want to get a proven blueprint that gives you faster results, then you can’t miss out on the 1st ever Perfect Life Retreat.

Last thing… Roman’s twisted my arm and made me keep open my BOGO (buy one, get one) offer for his readers. That means when you register today that you get to bring a high-performer friend for free.

Click here to take advantage of this deal today.

About the Author

  • by using all these methods, anyone can clear the concepts about how to chase there goals..

  • Tyson Brown

    I feed my brain with two types of coffee depending on the week.

    If it’s a week without caffeine I use mushroom coffee.

    If it’s a week with caffeine I use Kimera because it’s got nootropics.

    These two things are my best brain fuel!

    Thanks Craig.

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