When navigating our hectic and ever-changing work environments, particularly as business owners, it can become difficult to know how to make the greatest possible impact on your customers. What are the best strategies to maximize sales, what is the most efficient way to remain innovative amongst intense competition, and how to manifest a presence that supersedes your own previous successes? Anders Ericsson, author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, breaks down how to become one of the “Great Performers,” after having studied them in a variety of settings. One key aspect of these “Great Performers” is that in all settings, they worked in deliberate 90-minute time blocks, 4.5 hours per day on average, and Ericsson has broken down how you can attain this status.

Streamline Your Focus

Very few people have ever gotten anything done without focus. A strong ability to focus is paramount when structuring and running your business. This much is obvious. However, it is the way we maintain this focus that can present a challenge. When working shorter 5-hour periods, maintaining focus is crucial, and doing so requires training, the same way you might train for a competition or marathon. Focus your energy in sets and repetitions through your workday and when you are in between sets, maximize your break periods. This means clearing your mind from emails, text messages, phone calls, Facetimes, all of the above, and never underestimate the benefits of meditation to both rest and strengthen your mental capacity. 

Up the Urgency

Cal Newport, author of Deep Work and one of the Great Performers Ericsson studied, emphasizes the value of both time and intensity when working on productivity. As you go about your workday, keep both of these components in mind knowing that if you remain intensely focused for shorter spans of time, you will get significantly more work done than if you choose to multi-task over a longer period of time. This reinforces the idea to actively avoid distractions, and keep your attention geared in a single direction. If properly adhered to, the variables of time and intensity of focus have the potential to significantly escalate your productivity – and gain one month back in your year!

Keep it Consistent

Here it is, the hard part. Creating and maintaining consistency in this new work practice. So how is this done? By taking small steps one at a time. Start in small time blocks, and once you have installed the practice once, work up to 3 X 90 minute intervals. To help make this interval set a habit, create “if/then” algorithms as a means of reward, for example “If I make 60 calls by the end of the work day, then I can focus on time with family once I am home.” Figuring out your rhythm can prove to be challenging, but once this is accomplished, you will find that you are able to check more boxes by the end of the day than you had been able to previously, not to mention you’ll be in the ranks amongst “The Greats.”