jamm session 2017

Every year I do something I call ‘jamm week.’ Simply put, it’s a several days devoted to working my personal projects, such as artwork or some entrepreneurial business projects. I wake up just as early (or earlier) than normal and I work into the night. I’ve found that by having this concentrated time, it dramatically increases my productivity and output of results. In businesses and organizations, they’re usually called ‘offsides’ or ‘retreats.’ The trick here is to make it all about your personal goals and making huge gains on them.

This year I decided to focus on several business ideas, from making a podcast to opening a coffee shop to creating a newsletter. Below is the agenda and which ones I actually accomplished.

Here are a few rules and tips:

  • You must make a plan before you start – And I’m not talking the morning of Day 1. I’m talking about a month ahead of time as you start mentally preparing for your jamm week, start jotting down notes as they occur to you what you want to accomplish. As time gets closer, arrange all those thoughts into an actual agenda or schedule. This will keep you on track and not stagnated.
  • No interruptions! – This is an important time for you and you’ve taken the time to do this, so do it right. Limit the cell phone interruptions and social media checking. Use only your breaks to keep up with the news and emails. Absolutely no app games!
  • Tell people you’re doing this. – Your friends are awesome and they’ll check in with you to see how it’s going. That’ll keep you accountable to come through in what you said you’d do.
  • Go somewhere to jamm – Don’t just do it at home, unless you have a nice office and used to producing at home. Instead, go to a coffee shop, bookstore, or library to gain extra energy or inspiration from the new stimulus of a different environment.

“Ignoring the small stuff isn’t an option, but living in a state of continuous partial attention won’t cut it either.” – Cal Newport (Computer Science professor at Georgetown University and the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)

This year’s jamm session, for me, had better than anticipated side effects. Not only did I make significant headway, I enjoyed a “productivity high” for several days later that I carried into other parts of life. Great!

So, try it out for yourself, and if you, send me a note on how it went for you. Good luck!

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