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What the Military Can Teach Us About Productivity

Whether or not you agree with the intense training the military employs, they know how to get things done.

The physical and mental training employed by the world's militaries is specifically designed to create formidable warriors and effective leaders. But it's also transferable to non-combat situations, helping to improve CEO leadership and employee productivity in any industry.

With this in mind, we read and listened to numerous members of the military to extract some key lessons that can help make anyone better. productivity.

1. Make your bed

Making your bed each morning is the first piece of advice Admiral William H. McRaven offered to the University of Texas during his 2014 commencement address:

Tim Ferriss learned the same lesson from a Sri Lankan monk, but also notes that "This is a common belief among many high-performance military tacticians."

Making your bed isn't just a small catalyst for completing larger tasks. No matter how terrible your day is, this small success helps you "keep one hand on the wheel of life." That's also why “tackle your biggest task first ” is Bad Productivity Advice 4 Popular Productivity Tips to Ignore 4 Popular Productivity Tips to Ignore Some of the productivity ideas being sold to us are sometimes unfounded and often wrong. We're going to debunk some of these productivity myths by showing that the opposite can be true. Read more . Smaller tasks are much better for building a productive drive, and much easier, too.

2. be more stoic

Admiral McRaven also explains:

The effect was known as sugar cookie .

The purpose of the drill was not to learn how to pass the uniform inspection. The instructors were Never I'll let you have a perfect uniform..

What the Military Can Teach Us About Productivity

The point is that “sometimes, no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform, you will still end up a sugar cookie…if you want to change the world, stop being a sugar cookie and move on.”

The idea of ​​moving forward despite discomfort dates back to ancient Stoics, such as the emperor and military leader, Marcus Aurelius. The main thing is to keep moving through the chaos and stress. Don't let failure and discomfort stop you from working on what's important. It's just part of the process. Tomorrow will probably be better.

3. Find your battle rhythm

In an interview with The Hudson Union, General McChrystal spoke about the importance of fitting into his daily run first thing in the morning:"You have to do it when you're not competing with other things.." Otherwise, as soon as he arrived to the office, he found himself buried in a busy job.

Field Marshal William Slim, commander of the British Army in Burma during World War II, agreed to this kind of strict routine. In his memoir he talks about the importance of establishing a “battle rhythm”. His own battle rhythm included plenty of time to sleep, read, and exercise, although it is different for each person. Trial and error is key.

What the Military Can Teach Us About Productivity

Whatever routine works for you to get ready for the day or recover from the day before, put this on his schedule and stick to it ruthlessly. The productivity benefits will far outweigh the small amount of time it takes to maintain your routine.

4. Tackle small tasks right now

During their training, US Navy Soldiers learn that if a task takes five minutes or less, do it now . This is a habit carried through all levels of the naval hierarchy. A small task completed now can prevent a larger task in the future.

What the Military Can Teach Us About Productivity

Plus, to get you back on track, checking off these small tasks builds momentum to help you tackle bigger tasks later.

In the immensely popular GTD productivity system, David Allen takes a similar approach. In his book Working Things Out , he advises that any task that takes two minutes or less should be tackled immediately. It's not worth adding to your to-do list after all, and it really helps you stay on top of the details 10 ways to get yourself off the to-do list 10 ways to get off the to-do task a list of endless tasks is a fear common to all of us. The cure is available. Here are ten ways to get your way back. Read more about everyday life..

5. keep going

Winston Churchill's famous quote (“If you're going through a storm, keep walking”) sounds little more than a cliché, but in the military, that mentality is tested to the limit.

Let's go back to Admiral McRaven's commencement speech for a minute. If, during any Navy SEAL training exercise, he does not meet the required standards, he will be invited to Circus :

What the Military Can Teach Us About Productivity

During the training period. everyone went to the Circus . What was interesting, however, was that those students who were routinely invited to the Circus got stronger and faster:

Through Hardship and Self-Discipline Why Self-Discipline Is The Best Productivity You Need Hack Why Self-Discipline Is The Best Productivity You Need What's the secret to doing deep work? Is it motivation or is it discipline? If you can't focus and get your work done, here are some habit tips to help you accomplish more. Read More This new wiring helps you push harder even when you feel like there's nothing to give. The soldiers who were invited to the circus already felt that they had given their all. Somehow, they still managed two more hours of grueling calisthenics.

The lesson here is that no matter how strongly you feel like you have nothing left to give, there is always a little more fuel in the tank. If you want to increase your productivity, the best way to increase your productivity? Work less! The best way to increase your productivity? Work less! Wouldn't we all like to work fewer hours? Studies show that working long hours can lower your productivity. We'll show you what you can do to get more done in less time. Read More Re-powering your brain to keep going when everyone else has quit is what helps (as serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk puts it) "separate the successful from the unsuccessful."

Increase your productivity

In the military, staying productive rests mostly on a tough mindset. A self-discipline that forces you to act even when you don't want to.

Fortunately, it looks like you can learn that mindset.

It's telling that the military's approach to productivity (showing up and getting the job done, no matter what) is very similar to that of many artists and writers. While General McRaven tells us that he just keeps going , Ernest Hemingway exhorts us to simply meet day after day, and bleed on the typewriter.

The consistency of advice across these different industries shows that there is something universal that we should not ignore. Something that can be applied to practically any situation, by anyone..

Which of these productivity tips do you think you'll find most useful?