productivity booster

Productivity Booster: The High Performance Loop

Have you ever been stuck in “planning mode” without being able to take action and execute your plan?

Or have you ever been so unbelievably busy that you are unsure if you are making progress or just going because you are either used to it, have no choice, or don’t know what else to do?

I sure have been there, in both scenarios, many times.

It’s hard to take action on your plans. It’s even scary sometimes. It’s even scarier to be working hard all day long, but have internal doubts if you doing enough or if you are doing the right things.

Let’s solve both of these problems once and for all!

Introducing one of my favorite productivity boosters: the “High Performance Loop”:

Planners vs. Executors

There are two types of people: those like to plan and those who like to execute.

Planners like to plan. They like to learn. Unfortunately they rarely take the first step, the one beyond their planning. They don’t execute their plans.

And there is usually a simple reason for it. When you plan, when you’re studying, your brain does actual work. At the end of the day, your brain feels that you’ve done a lot of work, when in reality you haven’t taken any action. As far as your brain is concerned, you did “work”. But in real life, if you plan, if you just learn new information, but never take action, nothing really changed. That’s not good.

On the other side, you have people who like to execute.

They go, they’re always busy, doing something 24/7, they never have enough time, but unfortunately that’s not good either, because these people just go and do.

The purpose of your life is not just to get everything done, it’s to get what matters to you done.

There are activities which bring you results, and there are activities which are a complete waste of your time. The goal is never to achieve everything. The goal is to become happier. The goal is to achieve your version of success, not just be busy 24/7 just because you can, or just because you’ve been doing it for so long.

To sum it all up: on one side, you have the planners who never execute and on the other side you have the executors who never plan.

Which one are you? A planner or an executor?

You fall in both categories!

We all do.

Sometimes you get stuck in “planning mode”! You plan, you plan, you plan, but you never take the first step for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t know what the first step is. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe you think it takes too much time or too much effort to actually execute on your plan.

Other times,  you can get stuck in “execution mode”. Life gets busy and you just go, go, go, do, do, do, and you don’t have the time to just stop and say, “why am I doing all this?”

If you are stuck in one “mode” how do you get yourself unstuck, how do you get to the next phase? How do you go from planning to executing and vice versa?

Enter “The High Performance Loop”

The High Performance Loop

On one side, you have the plan. You have a purpose, you have a goal. Where are you going, what are you doing, why do you want to get there?

On the other side, you have the execution. Once you have the plan, how do you actually make it happen? How do you ensure that whatever you are working on is part of the plan?

You need both concepts in order to be truly successful. The plan leads to execution, and the execution always needs to go back to the plan – this is the “high performance loop”. The never-ending loop between planning and execution.

It sounds all very nice in theory, but how do you put it into practice? If you’re stuck in planning mode, how do you get yourself to the execution? And if you’re in execution, how do you put yourself back into planning?

Here’s how:

How To Easily Execute Your Plans

Whenever you make a plan, whether it’s a big one for the next 5 years, or a small one for the next one week, here’s how to make sure your plan becomes a reality: take immediate action. Take the first step!

It does not have to be a big one, or a time-consuming one. It can be as easy and putting your plan in your calendar, or sending an email, or calling someone. Just take a first step.

It sounds super simple, but people rarely do it. As soon as you finish a plan of any kind, you feel good, you feel accomplished, your brain is high on endorphins so there is no real need to take action as you already feel good about your plan. You walk away, head held high, patting yourself on the back. Then when it’s time to execute, you hesitate or even worse, procrastinate.

Taking immediate action after you are done planning, even the smallest one possible, solves the problem.

Taking that immediate first step changes your mindset. You go from “planning” to “doing”. It becomes real. It becomes possible. It becomes easy. All you have to do is just take that first step.

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As soon as you are done planning, put the plan on the side, fire up your computer and get cracking. Send an email. Write the title. Draw the first line. Open a new file and give it a name. Just get that first step done.

If you turn this simple technique into a habit, it will revolutionize your productivity. You’ll never again be stuck in planning mode, unable to transition to the action side and get the job done.

Just take that first step, immediately.

How To Make Sure You Are Always Working Towards Your Goal, Not Just Being Busy

If you’re in execution mode, how do you make sure that what you are doing is helping you get closer to your goals? How do you close the loop?

Here’s how: before you take any action, big or small, ask yourself (mentally) this simple question: what’s the purpose?

When you open your e-mail, ask yourself, “Okay, is this part of the plan? Does it bring it back to the goal?” If your goal is to make a million dollars, or to write a book, is checking your e-mail right now helping you get there, or pushing you further away?

Always loop back to the plan.

Get into the habit of asking yourself to verify the point of whatever you are going to start doing. It might be hard at first as you need to ask yourself this question all the time, but once you do it a few times it will become automatic. Once it does, you’ll be surprised (I for sure was) at how many actions you take during the day that bring you no closer to your goals.

This “mental check in” will save you a lot of wasted time and effort and ensure that your always working towards making your goals a reality, not just keeping busy for the heck of it.

Your Turn Now

That’s how the “High Performance Loop” works. On one side, you have the plan, and then you get into the habit of always taking action which moves you to the execution phase. And before you take action, always ask “is this part of the plan?” which loops you back to the planning section.

Plan, execute, plan, execute. The plan always needs to lead to execution, the execution always needs to make sure it’s part of the plan. This seemingly simple concept will change the way you do things.

Now, it’s time to do something, execute. You learned something new here so take the first step, right now. Even if it’s super tiny, make it happen. Go do it!