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How to Be Productive and Stay Productive (The Real Golden Rule) #12

the-golden-rule

Do The Most Productive Thing At Every Given Moment
(Inspired by Tom Hopkins)

This is the latest installment in "Good Looking Loser's Success Principles"!

I know -

Another success post.

Yawn.

And For the record -

I don't even like reading (let alone writing) about this way-too-often generic 'success' stuff.

It bores me to death and only do it because I feel obligated because there's certain fundamentals/mindsets that you need to know to achieve beat your potential.

This is a good one though.

It's potentially life-changing if you really apply it and try to live by it.

It has been for me and it's virtually second-nature now.

If you adopt nothing else from our Success Principles, if you get this one down - you'll pretty much achieve all your goals that are genetically possible (and then some).

If I could do it over, this principle aka the "Golden Rule" would replace "The Secret to the Universe" as our #1 Success Principle.
(Taking Action is obviously the most important key to success, this is pretty similar though)

Anyway, enough hype...

We'd discussed this concept before, it comes from 1980's "success guru" Tom Hopkins who earned a ton of money in sales before selling his own products.
(That is one reason I was willing to listen to Tom; he was successful at something prior to selling a 'how to be successful' book)

He wrote a best selling book in 1982 called "The Official Guide to Success".

Parts of his book are what 'Get Success' in Lifestyle by Good Looking Loser/My Life are based on.

I really follow a lot of it, as I discuss in the video on this page - it's basically the only book that I can say that I consistently apply to my life.

You probably haven't heard of it though.

I only came across it because it was in one of Tom Butler Bowden's books.

The Productivity Concept - Golden Dozen
(The Key to Being Productive is to STAY Productive)

Hopkins calls his productivity concept the "Golden Dozen" because it's 12 words long.

The concept says -

I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.
(you can see the entire section of the book - here)

Read that again please -

I MUST DO

THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE

AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT

Maybe you see how this works.

But maybe you are a bit confused.

Don't read too far into it.

Just repeat that sentence over-and-over to yourself during the day.

Also, the Golden Rule calls for you to put up signs that say "I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT" in all of your rooms.

When I started trying to apply this concept, I put signs everywhere -

Bedroom.

Office.

Kitchen.

Everywhere.

Bathroom.

I was sharing a house with a bunch of people too. They didn't mind.

I had a little note card too.

With the Golden Rule in your head and often right in front of your face, you will constantly remind yourself -

I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.

productivity notecardThis wasn't my original productivity notecard.
I lost that one long long ago.
I was actually pissed off that I lost it.

What This Actually Means

Go ahead and read pages 6 through 11 in "The Official Guide to Success", Tom explains what this is and what it means in his own words.

In a nutshell (directly from the book) -

  1. Tell yourself, "I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment."
  2. Decide what the most productive thing is.
  3. Do it.
  4. When you've pushed the thing as far forward as you can right now, go back to step (1) and start over.

That means, whenever you don't know what to do, find yourself off-task or are "bored" (a sign that your priorities are not that important to you), you tell yourself -

I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.

By default, you will figure out what to do, get yourself back on-task or STOP BEING BORED.

Works every time.

The biggest question that some of you guys have is -

- So does that mean I'm WORKING all the time?

No, it doesn't.

Sometimes, the most productive thing is to take a nap or get to bed early.
(so you can be rested to work on your #1 priority) 

Sometimes, the most productive thing is to take a break and eat some food.
(so you can have energy to work on your #1 priority)

Sometimes, the most productive thing is to follow "Good Looking Loser's Life or Death Test" and schedule something fun to do at least once every 15 days.
(so you can remain emotionally/socially healthy to work on your #1 priority)

Whatever the 'MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE' is -

It is meant to benefit your #1 Goal and keep you focused on your #1 Priority.

What The Golden Rule Actually Does
(Practical Living, My Experience)

In real life, the Golden Rule does two main things for me -

  1. Kills my desire to 'multitask', get off-task or procrastinate. Which are all the same thing. (short-term)
  2. Keeps me more focused on my primary daily goal(s). (long-term)

That alone yield huge dividends over time.

Anytime I ask myself -

What is the most productive thing at this given moment?

If I'm off-task, I also automatically ask myself -

Why am I doing [whatever I'm doing]?

- Why am I flipping through Facebook to see how a cute girl I hooked up with 2 years ago has gained weight?

- Why am I spending more than allotted 20 morning minutes on my fantasy basketball team?

- Why am I reading customer reviews on Amazon of items I'm not going to buy?

- Why am I reading random Wikipedia entries about things I don't care about?

I will usually be right back on-task by realizing that I'm in "garbage time".

I consciously lived by the Golden Rule, everyday, for about 4.5 months back in late ~2009. 

At the time, my main priority was still hooking up with girls and my secondary goal was to secure 5 private training/nutrition clients that paid me $1000/month. 

It was the most consciously productive period of my life.

The Golden Rule has made me more productive on a daily basis and therefore - a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

Pre-Planned Golden Days & Golden Nights (These Days)

Although I no longer deliberately practice the Golden Rule on a DAILY basis, subconsciously, in the back of my head (or from the signs in my office) I'll be thinking -

I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.

Practicing this on a daily basis is fantastic but eventually you want to reach autopilot and not have to constantly remind or correct yourself.

These days, I mainly apply the Golden Rule when I lose focus or "don't know what to do now...".

Both are pretty rare. 

I do, however, have full days where I consciously practice the Golden Rule for the entire day.

For the sake of this discussion, I'm calling them -

Golden Days

Basically, it's a marathon work day, no less than 16 hours of short-term goals/tasks.

It's meant to knock off A LOT of work. 

I have a pre-written checklist of small goals that I wrote the night before. 

I take Modafinil (or Ritalin) in the morning and small amounts (3-6 grams, every 120-180 minutes) of Kratom throughout the day.

I take caffeine via Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Dr. Pepper, etc. throughout the day.

My appetite is DEAD because that's what this combo does. 3 meals will usually be fine.

I knock my goals out ONE by ONE by ONE.

Checking them off ONE by ONE by ONE.

The only breaks I take come when I finish the task or 90 minutes, whichever comes first.

Needless to say, I'm highly productive.

The biggest obstacle is wanting to go play instead of doing work.

When the "You're in a good mood! Let's go outside and play Chris!" idea comes over me, I'll think to myself -

I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.

And Get back to work.

Sometimes I'll go for a jog or go to the gym (combo is amazing for the gym), but these 'Golden Days' are really meant to get 2-3 days worth of work done in just 1 day.

I will only schedule a handful or less of these "Golden Days" a month.

lucky-charms-7Don't eat this crap, see why on this post.

Worthless Distractions and Unintended Unproductive Habits

The Golden Rule also helps knock out worthless unproductive distractions and unintended timewasters.

If you are truly trying to do the most productive thing possible at every given moment, rationalizing inefficient habits such as these will be difficult -

  • Randomly checking your social media every 25 minutes (if not for business)
  • Texting (a high inefficient way to communicate - get SIRI/voice activated texting)
  • Smoking cigarettes daily
  • Watching the news / Doing "research" on things that have no effect on your life
  • Anything that takes your focus off your #1 Priority during work time

Texting a friend on and off for 2 hours is a great way to waste 1/8 of your possible working hours.

No, it's not something that you HAVE TO DO to be a friend.

There's so many other examples both of us can think of too.

If you are rationalizing these habits as part of "I'm being more productive" and not designated "relax time", you don't have enough action in your life and I suggest you take a look at this post.

Simply by repeating/subconsciously reinforcing the Golden Rule, you can eliminate 75% of the minutes wasted on unproductive distractions. 

distraction sign

How to Apply the Golden Rule

There's two ways that I suggest to apply it -

  1. Make the signs, repeat the concept, make the commitment and try to live by it on all your weekdays.
    It would be great if you were able to simply apply it to all 7 days of the week, but that is not practical for most "help me be successful" people.
    If you are able to be 25% more productive and 25% less off-task, consider it a growing success.
  2. Add it as a 13th habit and start "30 Days of Discipline".
    This will be a real challenge because that program isn't exactly easy, especially if you are a recovering slacker.
    If you apply it everyday, for 30 days, if will be pretty easy to maintain after that if you are serious about your life.

Here's another hint -

START TODAY

JUST TRY YOUR BEST

DON'T DECLARE FAILURE IF YOU FIND YOUR OFF-TASK

The Golden Rule is to shift your focus back on-task, as much as it is to prevent you from going off-task.

Pour Conclure

So there's an applicable way to become more productive.

Theory with an actionable step behind it.

Remember -

You will never be 100% efficient.

But you don't have to be.

Eliminate just 25-50% of your "garbage time" and you'll be ahead of 100% of people.*
* 1% margin of error

Do you understand how unproductive most people are?

Do you really?

Most people can't even "find the time" to work on their own projects, have fun that isn't in front of the television or "not be obese".

Remember also -

It won't go perfectly. It might be hard.

Old habits die hard and new ones grow hard.

You might 'find yourself' talking to your stuffed animals when you should be working.

Or you might 'find yourself' texting a friend pointless stuff when you should be sleeping.

Just keep the concept in mind, make your signs, practice it as best you can and watch yourself become more productive and conscious.

There's not much more to it than that.

References:

All the credit for the concept goes to Tom Hopkins, the sales/original self-improvement genius -

Printable Productivity Signs to Hang Up
(save image or right click, copy image url into a separate window for full-size version)

You can make your own or print these out.

Don't worry if an underachiever thinks it's weird.

Of course it's uncommon.

Success is uncommon.

GOLDEN RULE PRINTABLETO PRINT - Open Image in New Window for Full Size

PRODUCTIVE SIGN 2TO PRINT - Open Image in New Window for Full Size

productive-sign3TO PRINT - Open Image in New Window for Full Size 

Spartan Entrepreneur by Victor Pride (Free)
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Comments (129)

  1. KingKratom

I feel like this post was written explicitly for me- I could have used this awhile back. I've accomplished all of nothing over the last few months. I'm laughing about it right now, but it is was quite pathetic really.

I'm going to write this...

I feel like this post was written explicitly for me- I could have used this awhile back. I've accomplished all of nothing over the last few months. I'm laughing about it right now, but it is was quite pathetic really.

I'm going to write this down on some cards, and place it as the background on my phone and laptop. Right on dude.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    KingKratom

Thankx Chris

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  1. Florian Ulrich

Great post, thanks Chris -

I introduced one change into my daily routines yesterday - no listening to iTunes music or podcasts while working. It causes some "withdrawal symptoms" right now, but it does get me more productive. If only because I...

Great post, thanks Chris -

I introduced one change into my daily routines yesterday - no listening to iTunes music or podcasts while working. It causes some "withdrawal symptoms" right now, but it does get me more productive. If only because I want to FINISH my work so I can move on and enjoy some REAL entertainment at the end of the day.

I had a friend in Grad School who preferred to do his work while standing, not sitting down, to not get too comfortable. Same principle.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Florian Ulrich

I eat food, play videos game(rarely) while standing.

Yeah I stopped listening to D&P podcasts while working, too distracting and its hard to focus on the podcast too

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  1. DirtbagDakota

Golden just like your all content , i personally changed my whole life philosophy based on the stuff you preach in success principles and do what you want but i feel like all these success principle articles deserve a video series to help more...

Golden just like your all content , i personally changed my whole life philosophy based on the stuff you preach in success principles and do what you want but i feel like all these success principle articles deserve a video series to help more guys and plus every time you make a video or podcast its like music to my ears since your really just a powerhouse of meaningful and effective knowledge, experience, and motivation . Just an idea keep up the great work tho Chris, you're the most brutally honest ,no bull shit, and helpful self improvement blogger/guru by far . Seriously. Oh and by the way you should make some of those GLL shirts as a hoody that would be the perfect workout hoody lol .

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  1. Good Looking Loser    DirtbagDakota

Good call dude. I'll talk to Victor about Hoodies.

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  1. Aaron

Yo just wanted to comment saying that I do the exact same thing with "Golden days" (although I never thought to call them that, good name). A few times a month (at most) I will take modafinil, caffeine, make my lunch the day before, and plan out...

Yo just wanted to comment saying that I do the exact same thing with "Golden days" (although I never thought to call them that, good name). A few times a month (at most) I will take modafinil, caffeine, make my lunch the day before, and plan out every minute of the day as well as a huge to-do list and knock the things off it in order just like you said. Often I'll plan to go to the gym but sometimes won't because I am on such a roll with the work. It is exactly like getting 2-3 days (2-3 good days by normal standards) of work done in one day, it's awesome.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Aaron

No doubt, I actually look forward to those days. I did them WAY TOO OFTEN last year at this time because Kratom can keep you focused and working for 20+ hrs straight

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  1. AJ

Really useful post thanks Chris. Ill be printing this off and trying to apply it too. If it eventually becomes habitual then that would be amazing!

I guess I can apply this to meeting girls too? If I see a really cute girl in the shops then the...

Really useful post thanks Chris. Ill be printing this off and trying to apply it too. If it eventually becomes habitual then that would be amazing!

I guess I can apply this to meeting girls too? If I see a really cute girl in the shops then the most "productive" thing I can do at that moment is go and speak to her.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    AJ

you got it

it aligns you 24/7 with your #1 priority

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  1. Zuberi

What I personally struggle with is that I'm so focused on achieving certain goals (graduating this year, building my site) that I actually have to schedule 'relaxation' time. It's tough, it's almost a disorder, in my mind I have to be doing...

What I personally struggle with is that I'm so focused on achieving certain goals (graduating this year, building my site) that I actually have to schedule 'relaxation' time. It's tough, it's almost a disorder, in my mind I have to be doing something productive 24/7 , which, obviously, is a lie.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Zuberi

That's par for the course man. You are living right.

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  1. Saide1978

This is DAAAAMN GOOD

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Saide1978

Thanks Saide

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  1. Anthony

Hi Chris I am currently a student in college.(1st year) this will really work to increase productivity for students!

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Anthony

its especially important to put the signs up in college... theres so many distractions

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  1. MichaelJ

Hi GLL,
am posting for the first time at your site.

I appreciate the content details. Full of information that really has a practical value.
I remember this quote (I think from Sally McGhee’s book on Productivity),
“Productivity is not getting...

Hi GLL,
am posting for the first time at your site.

I appreciate the content details. Full of information that really has a practical value.
I remember this quote (I think from Sally McGhee’s book on Productivity),
“Productivity is not getting More done, but getting right things done!”

I'll come back to your web place again and again.
Keep posting good stuff.
Kind regards.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    MichaelJ

Thankx a lot Mike

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  1. Plack1979

great tips Chris – The Official Guide to Success really opened up my eyes to how much time I wasted thinking I was busy.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Plack1979

Thanks Plack

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