[contextly_auto_sidebar id="yOCg2gH9YkMPDT7ItRJbGU91BxRejUtN"]I read hundreds of articles a month in my relentless quest of new efficiency insights and strategies, and more often than not, I find one secret missing in every productivity tip ever. Most of these articles share an app or an approach that solves a specific problem.

This is like using a box of small bandages to stop a big gash from bleeding.

One tiny bandage isn't enough to cover the wound, so you keep adding small bandages. By the time you've covered the wound, the first bandages are already saturated.

Eventually, the wound gets covered in a pile of bandages, many of them too small or ineffective to be useful.

In hindsight, it would have been far more effective to treat the gash with materials most appropriate for the unique size, shape and severity for that gash, and wrap it in a manner that will hold as long as it's needed.

That's how I feel about workflows and optimal long-term effectiveness.

Instead of looking out into the world for apps and tools and quick-hit strategies, we must look into our own energy and focus patterns.

We've got to identify the ebb and flow of our energy throughout the day and use it to temper how we prioritize, when and how we communicate, and when we work on high-focus activities.

Without having and applying this intel, even the best productivity strategy won't last long-term.

I have a three-part system I call Track, Hack and Attack™ to do this. It consists of three main parts:

  • Track: Chart your energy over the course of the day, for several weeks. Use this data to look for patterns and discover high-focus and low-focus periods.
  • Hack: Use your Track data to reverse-engineer your daily schedule. Work on mission-critical tasks during high-focus periods and use your low-focus periods for restorative, recharging activities.
  • Attack: Gamify continuous improvement to crank up your effectiveness while making work fun.

The Track, Hack and Attack™ approach can accommodate every productivity tip or strategy -- so long as it's effective for you personally.

Without gathering data on your own performance habits, and using that data to proactively construct the foundation of your day, every app and approach is just a temporary bandage that, once saturated, will fall off and let the bleeding continue.

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