The ONE habit that will positively impact your productivity (and how to use it in your work and life)

In this post, you will discover the ONE habit that will have the highest impact on your productivity.

You will also learn a seven-step method to use this habit in your everyday work life.

This is a habit that most people have never heard about. In fact, when you first hear this you might dismiss this habit yourself.

Don’t.

This single habit is the reason why successful people get more done in a day. But they won’t tell you that. Not because they don’t want to — but because this habit has become a second nature to them.

They do this every day without even thinking about. And since they aren’t thinking about it — the can’t share it. They can’t point it out.

When you observe them you will notice this habit is front-and-center in their life. See what they are doing and this habit jumps out at you. It’s always there.

But before I tell you what this habit is… let me share with you how I came across this habit. And how I picked this up in the first place

A Harsh Lesson In Improving Your Productivity

Right out of college I got recruited by a ‘big-four’ accounting firm. My boss in the firm was a tough task master. He was known to abuse his subordinates.

I mean really abuse them. He would throw out files. Scream at people. Force them to work overnight with the threat of firing them.

He was a regular old bully. He didn’t care about HR — and he didn’t care how you felt.

All he cared about was the work. That’s it.

At the end of the first year, I was one of his favorite employees. So when it came time for a promotion, I knew that I had it in the bag.

That’s what you would expect if you were in my place, right?

WRONG.

He promoted someone else. I asked him about it and he said, “You’re not ready yet — talk to me in six months.”

Six months pass — I’m still one of his favorites so I know I have this one in the bag.

WRONG. AGAIN.

He promoted someone else, again. I asked him about it and he said, “You’re missing something, I’m not sure — talk to me about it in six months.”

Now I’m getting really upset. I’m a hard working. I get all my work done on time. My client billings are high. I’m producing results. What more did the guy want?

So before the six months are over I decided to ask him. (Yeah, I finally decided to ask him what was missing. I’m thick-headed that way).

“Riz, you’re a good worker. You get the work done. But work isn’t your priority. It’s something you do – that’s what’s missing” he said.

“What do you mean — work isn’t my priority? I’m here as much as the other guy. My billables are higher than others. I get my work done on time. What’s missing?”

“Riz — this is what I see. Work isn’t your priority.”

I didn’t understand what he meant by that. (Like I said, I’m thick-headed that way) and it took me another few years until finally, I understood it.

But when I did understand it — my results shot through the roof. I crossed the $100,000 income mark for the first time in my life and Fortune 500 companies wanted me to work for them.

Finally, I understood what he was talking about. I call it the “Red Zone Law.”

This is the habit that we’re looking at today. This is the habit that will have the highest positive impact on your productivity.

But before I tell you more about this habit and how to install it in your life

Let’s look at

Why You Must Use The Red-Zone Law In Your Life

If you don’t use the ‘Red-Zone Law’ you will spend your time doing non-productive things. The impact of your output will be low.  Even when you get work done, the results will be lackluster.

The real results that you’re looking for will elude you. In your own business and life, your results will be mediocre and you won’t be able to excel.

If you use the ‘Red-Zone Law’ you will discover how to break through the ceiling holding you back. Your output at work will improve. You will get the promotions that you’re looking for.

You will become an industry leader. The benchmark of doing things in your industry. Your friends and colleagues will look to you for guidance and instructions. You will be the ‘go-to person’ on how you did the things that you did.

You will have the love of your family and the power in your industry to make positive change.

Ultimately — you will become the success that you’ve always wanted to be.

So let’s look at

What Is The ‘Red-Zone Law’ 

First, let’s quickly take a look at what is the meaning of the red-zone.

Red-Zone means different things in different contexts. Such as,

  • High-Security Locations. The red-zone means restricted areas. Places where civilians or people without access aren’t allowed. Or
  • Active Combat Zone. The ‘red-zone’ is the unsafe area where military and civilian personnel will be under enemy fire. Or
  • Natural Disaster. The ‘red-zone’ is the areas which are temporarily closed to the general public. Or
  • American Football. In American Football the ‘red-zone’ is the area between the 20-yard line and the defensive team goal line. Or
  • In Marine Terminology. Being on high alert, ready to take down any opponent at the slightest movement.

For our purpose, we’re going with the American Football terminology.

nfl-red-zone

The ‘red-zone’ is the area between the 20-yard line and the defensive team goal line.

In Football, this is the area where both the offense and defense have to be at their best.

This is the place where the offense is able to score. And go for the win.

But this is also the place where if the defense can make a big play and stop the offense from scoring.

Games have been won or lost because of a stupid mistake made in this ‘Red-Zone.’

When players are in this ‘Red-Zone’ they need to be at the top of their game. They need to put everything out there.

On each play. They can’t think about anything else but the game. Not only that — they can’t think about anything but the play at hand.

If they lose focus for even a split-second they could lose the game.

That’s the importance of the Red-Zone.

So how does this apply to you and your work?

The ‘Red-Zone Law’

… is a mindset that defines this habit.

When you’re close to the goal line you only focus on one thing. You get that thing done before you can focus on anything else.

When you’re in the ‘Red Zone’ there is nothing else.

You don’t worry about what’s cooking at home.

You don’t think about the concert you’re doing today.

You don’t even think about the celebration you’re going to have if you win.

You’re in the Red-Zone.

The only thing that matters is giving your best when you’re in this zone. Making the play. That’s the only thing on your mind.

But successful teams take it one step further. They treat every play like it’s in the ‘Red-Zone’.

This is the gist of the ‘Red-Zone Law’.

  • When you’re in the Red-Zone – focus on the play.
  • You’re always in the Red-Zone

But why is it a law?

Because you can’t break it. Ever.

If you break this law your productivity will go down. If you uphold it — it will have a positive impact on your productivity.

When you adopt this two-part ‘Red-Zone Rule’ your productivity will skyrocket.

“When you’re in the Red-Zone focus on the play — and you’re always in the Red-Zone.”

What this means is that every time you do something — put all your focus on it. But also remember that each day, each hour, every minute — you’re in the Red-Zone.

There is someone out there who is your competition. They are looking to beat you. They are looking to win. If you lose focus for a second, they will get you.

But if you focus, if you stay in the game, if you keep taking action you will win.

Another way to put this is what my John Carlton calls, “business before pleasure.”

The Red-Zone Law isn’t something that you can focus on for 10 minutes of the day and then move on.

It’s a philosophy that you must adopt with all your heart and in every aspect of your life.

I’ll show you in a minute how you can adopt this in your work and life — but let’s look at a few examples first.

In everyday life, this law means that you do what is necessary first before you focus on anything else.

It forces you to go for the jugular every time. To do those tasks first that will bring you the biggest return. To focus on ‘results’ and not getting the work done.

Let’s Look At A Few Examples

If a report needs submitting, you don’t update your computer software. You submit the report. You submit the report first, then update the computer software.

Sounds obvious — but I’ve done it the wrong way before — and I know others who do it, also.

Here’s another example.

If you have to make a client call, and get the mail. Do the client call first. Even though getting the mail is easier.

The client call will move you to your goal faster. The mail will be there even after the client call.

One more, everyday life example.

If you’re out to get groceries — get the baby’s milk before you buy the bottle of wine. If you forget the wine — it won’t matter. But if you forget the milk, that’s the end of play.

Game Over.

Before we look at how to install this in your work and life — let’s break this down further.

How Does The Red-Zone Law Apply In Everyday Work/Life

First – Understand that being in the red-zone isn’t optional in business or life. Whether we accept this or not — we’re always in the red-zone.

We’re in the Red-Zone at work because there is someone out there looking to get our customers. Our competition is always biting at our heels.

They will do anything to get our clients. And we must do everything to get theirs. To grow our business — we must remain in the red-zone at all time.

Remain alert. Not only to opportunity — but also focus and force ourselves to work on the highest result task first.

Second — The Red-Zone applies to everything in life. If you’re spending time with your family on vacation and thinking about work — then you’re dropping the ball.

This means that we need to understand where we are. If we’re at a family dinner — the red-zone is being present there. Not thinking about work.

It also means that being available to do the things that need doing —  to have a great time at the family dinner.

Not to sit back and someone else takes the ball — but being the person who is always ready for it.

Third — The Red-Zone gets redefined based on the task, situation, and place you’re in. In that particular moment the Red-Zone Changes.

Your job is to understand what the important task is in that moment is — then be the person willing to do it.

Whether it is at work, on vacation, at home or anywhere else.

Having this mindset of being the ‘go-to’ guy. The person who gets the right things done — no matter what. This mindset gives you a confidence that will shine in your work and your life.

You will become unstoppable.

Even if it means taking the trash out once in a while at home. Not because someone asked you — but because you saw that it had to get done.

Not expecting a ‘thank-you’ in return — but because you’re the person who gets the ball to the goal line. Who gets it done. Period.

No questions asked. No answers necessary.

Okay. Let’s look at

How To Install The Red-Zone Law To Impact Productivity At Work & In Life

Here are simple steps you can take in your life to install the Red-Zone Law to your work and life.

By following these steps you will dramatically impact your productivity. Both at work and in other areas of your life.

Step 1. Pick a crucial area first

Implementing this Law in your work and life is hard. So to begin — pick the one area that needs your burning attention.

It could be at work, at home, with friends, with family — whatever you think needs your burning attention.

This area is the one that will give you the highest measurable return.

In my experience, if you use this at work first it’s easier to install in the other areas in your life.

Step 2. Choose a time of the day

Since this is a tough strategy to use in all area of your life — we won’t use it out of the gate.

Instead, we’ll use it for 2 hours of the day to begin. We’ll treat those two hours as the ‘game time’. We’ll focus on being in the red-zone in only those two hours.

Which means that for those two hours we’ll focus on the crucial tasks first. Not the one that is the loudest — but the task that gets us the highest return.

If it means making a phone call — that’s what we’ll do. If it means completing a project — that’s what we’ll do.

But only for the two hours. In the two hours — no idle talk, no water cooler gossip, no checking the scores online.

It’s game-time, baby — and we’ll be in the red-zone for these two hours.

Once the two hours are up, we can go back to anything else we want.

In my life, I’ve discovered, that if I do the first two hours at work in the Red-Zone — the rest of my day zooms with results.

Step 3. Write Out “I’m In The Red Zone”

Write out on a sticky note, a piece of paper — “I’m in the Red Zone” and paste it next to your computer or workspace.

This is a reminder to you that you’re in the Red-Zone. Each time you get distracted — the paper will be there to tell you that you’re in the Red-Zone.

This will help you focus on what is the crucial task at hand.

Step 4. Repeat to yourself “I’m In the Red-Zone”

During this two hour period every time you goof-off — repeat to yourself — “I’m in the Red-Zone.”

Our habits don’t happen to us. We don’t wake up one day with a new habit. It takes time and repetition to develop a habit.

Good or bad.

This repeating to yourself will help you adopt this habit — of being in the red-zone.

The more you remind yourself that you’re ‘In The Red-Zone’ — the faster you will be able to adopt this as a habit.

Step 5. Test this ‘Red-Zone’ for the next 21 days

It’s hard to form new habits. And we are trying to form a major habit. The habit of staying in the Red-Zone.

So test this ‘Red-Zone Law’ for the next 21 days.

Why 21 days? Because research shows that it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit.

If you use this technique for the next 21 days chances are you will re-wire your brain to stay in the Red-Zone.

The more you’re in the Red-Zone — the better your results. The higher the impact on your productivity.

Step 6. Expand It’s Use

Once you’re used this for 21 days and are ready to expand your habit. Install the ‘Red-Zone’ in other areas of your work.

Instead of having one red-zone time slot — add another.

Do that for 21 days. Then add another.

Step 7. Stack time blocks at a time

Before you go all out — install one time-block first. Then add another. This is what takes me to the next part.

A Word Of Warning!!!

As you’re starting to use this — don’t overdo this. If you take on too much to start — you will fail.

Because the change will be too massive to adopt and accept. So take small steps.

Implement it in one area, in one time-slot first. Then as time passes and this starts coming naturally to you — add other time slots.

Then add other areas, until you become a natural at this.

Keep adding more and more ‘times’ when you’re in the Red-Zone. You’ll notice your productivity skyrocket.

Your impact will increase. You will get the results you want. And you will get to a point where everything in your life will be in the Red-Zone.

You will be focused on producing the highest value first. Then looking at other areas in your life.

When you’re with family — your will be there. Your focus will be with your family.

When you’re at work — you will be producing high-value results. Your business will grow, and you will earn more.

When you’re with friends — you will have fun. You will be riveted to the activity — without having a glazed look on your face.

This is the single biggest habit to having a positive impact on your productivity. Both at work and in life.

Quick Recap

In this post, we looked at

The single biggest habit that you can install in your life. Which will have the highest impact on your productivity

What the ‘Red-Zone Law’ is — and how to use it to your advantage

The mindset shift that will get you to focus on the task that brings the highest results in your business

Action steps

  1. Pick the highest impact area of your life
  2. Choose the most productive time of the day
  3. Write out “I’m in the Red Zone” on a paper
  4. Stick this paper to the monitor where you’re reading this
  5. Test this strategy for 21 days
  6. Then use it for another time of your day
  7. Stack it one at a time

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn.

What did you take away from the ‘Red-Zone Rule’?

How will you use this philosophy in your work and life?”

Leave a comment below with your biggest ‘aha-moment’, and let me know if this connected with you.

I love to hear from you and am usually quick to reply to comments. So leave a comment below with your thoughts on today’s post.

I love to hear from you and am usually quick to reply to comments. So leave a comment below with your thoughts on today’s post.