If you want to know how to stay productive and focused (especially working from home), the Rocks method might be just what you need.

Have you ever had so much to do that you just do nothing? It happens to me ALL the time. It just seems too overwhelming, and it makes me want to get back into bed because I know that it will still be warm and it’s never looked so cosy. Damn me for buying those amazing linen sheets. Ok, stay focused Ginny!

That reminds me of a tip from the “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. She says that by making your bed, “I start the day feeling efficient, productive, and disciplined.”

You see how easy it is to get distracted? I am here to talk about the Rocks methodology and to share some tips from Gino Wickman’s book “Traction” on how to stay productive. Who is this guy I hear you ask? He is the founder of EOS Worldwide and the author of many books to help small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. He knows what he is talking about guys! So, let’s delve in and explore…

What Is This “Rocks” Thing?

Let me explain… if you have a glass which you need to fill with sand, pebbles, rocks and water. What happens if you first put in the sand? Then the pebbles? Oh dear, yep we are definitely running out of room for those rocks.

So, here’s what you do – you start with the biggest item (the rocks), and then you put the next biggest item on top of the rocks (the pebbles). The pebbles fill in some of the gaps making more room for the sand. The sand fills in the rest of the gaps and the water then absorbs into the sand. And there you have it- a full glass!

How Does This Relate to My Business?

Gino says, that once you get the biggest task out of the way, the rest is easy! We tend to get distracted by doing a lot of the little tasks that make us feel productive. When in fact we aren’t moving very far in the grand scheme of things and we still have the big task at the back of our minds, keeping us feeling a little stressed.

Brian Tracy wrote a book “Eat that Frog” that uses a similar methodology- “Do the worst first”. He based his book on the quote by Mark Twain. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”.

You can view more on this theory in this Youtube clip: “Eat That Frog”

Here are some useful tips from Gino Wickman and Brian Tracy (with some awesome tips from our very own Troy Dean thrown in there too):

1.    Set Your Rocks

  • Write out the goals that you want to achieve in this next year.
  • Break these goals down into 3-7 quarterly goals. These are your Rocks.
  • Each week, write your to do list and then break that down day by day. With of course the hardest tasks taking priority.

2.    Have Clear Goals

Procrastination = Confusion

It’s simple as that people. If you don’t have a clear step by step guide of what needs to be done and how you are going to achieve your end result, then you procrastinate. Therefore, your goals need to be very specific.

Your Rock may be one that you can’t get done in just a day. So, break this down into smaller tasks with deadlines that are achievable over the week or even the quarter.

3.    Plan Your Day the Night Before:

Every night before Gino goes to bed, he plans the entire next day. He is then able to sleep soundly knowing that his subconscious is already working on what needs to be done the next day. You can wake up with a purpose and get going!

Gino delves more into this topic in this interview on Youtube:


4.    Eliminate Distractions

We all know what happens when you’re in the middle of a task and a notification flashes up on your screen with an email subject that spikes your curiosity. Flash forward an hour and you’re back on that task but struggling to get back into it.

This one is an obvious but great tip: SWITCH OFF!

Turn your phone on aeroplane mode and shut down your Outlook.

5.    Nurture Yourself

I know, I know! You’re sick of those self-help articles telling you to get some sleep, eat healthily and do yoga to solve your life problems. And you’re like “C’mon! I don’t even have enough time to scratch my nose!”

Well, think about it like this – procrastination also comes from being tired and drained with not much left to give to your work. The results of your work will be average, lacking in creativity and you could end up with burn out.

6.    Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Troy mentions in our Facebook video on this topic that “your Rock should be the thing that is scary work”. This will get you out of your comfort zone and move you forward. Make sure you are always doing something productive to bring in new clients.


7.   Tools to Help You Stay Focused:

Momentum Chrome Extension: This is free and a handy tool to help you with your Rocks! It replaces your homepage with a personalised dashboard where you can enter a to do list and your “Rock for the day.”

How to stay productive

You can also change the settings depending on what you want on your display.

how to stay productive


Trello: WP Elevation and some of our members use Trello which is a cool free tool to help you manage your tasks and deadlines. Troy likes the Kanban board visual set up of Trello, but some people find it a bit cluttered.

how to stay productive

So, there you have it, folks. Some simple yet highly effective advice. Now stop procrastinating and get going on your Rocks!

Hang on!

Before you do that, make sure you leave a comment if you have another strategy to help us all stay productive. We'd also love to hear any feedback if you have tried any of the above tips!

Need More Productivity Inspiration?

Check out these highly effective reads on the WPE blog…


Gin McInneny is head of Customer Happiness at WP Elevation. She has experience in website development, digital marketing, videography, and education. Gin brings these skills plus her unique enthusiasm to the wonderful world of WP Elevation.