6 Ways To Stay Productive and Create Sustainability In Your Work
So, over the past couple of months, it’s been quite busy at the Makewell office. Full-time entrepreneurship has really reminded me the importance of staying focused, staying on task, and staying on top of deliverables and deadlines. I can’t afford for an hour to go by without productivity. Sure, most entrepreneurs would argue that there are 24 hours in a day… but contrary to current culture, I didn’t pursue full-time entrepreneurship to work 80 hours a week. I fight extremely hard to work no more than 8 hours a day, to maintain a healthy work-life balance and ensure I’m giving my family the same attention as I am my work.
I’ve found myself looking for new ways to increase my productivity, as well as re-igniting some of my old tricks to keep me on task. I thought I’d share them with you and encourage you to share some of your productivity hacks and what works for you. I know there are a ton out there!
1. Turn Off Email Notifications
For me, I live and die by my Moleskin and my weekly “to do” list. I start each week by prioritizing meetings and projects to ensure I’m getting the things done that need to be done. What I don’t do is allow my email to dictate my “to do” list. I’ve found when I have email notifications turned on I tend to default to the most pressing item in my inbox or “react” and get off task extremely easy.
I actually turn OFF my email notifications on my iPhone and make a habit of only checking my email at the beginning, middle and sometimes (but rarely) at the end of my day. This allows me to stay focused on the task at hand. It’s amazing how just glancing at the notification, and seeing the first couple lines of an email can derail your productivity and focus. Put your day back in your hands, and control your productivity and to-do list by turning off email notifications.
2. Lock-In with Headphones
Now this one likely seems obvious, but, would you think I’m crazy if I told you sometimes I don’t even my headphones plugged in? Sometimes I’m not even listening to anything! Now sure, often times I can be caught listening to some spacey instrumental track, but more often than not my headphones are in, but playing nothing.
There’s something psychological that happens to me when I have headphones in. I feel locked into the task. My focus enhances. I feel unstoppable. Give it a try!
3. Set Boundaries On Your "Hustle"
As I mentioned above, I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to shutting off work and focusing on my family. Not only ensures I stay grounded in things that actually matter at the end of the day, but it also gives my mind a break to recharge creatively.
This goes against the grain where most entrepreneurs are obsessed with the “hustle”. But I’m convinced in order to be your absolute best, you need downtime. You need to make time for the things you love, to recharge and renew your mind. I recently had a conversation with a friend and he mentioned that the year he made the most money he had ever made was the same year his own Mother called him an ass-hole.
Sure, you can work 18 hour days just to get a little bit ahead. But, the real question is... at what cost?
"Sure, you can work 18 hour days just to get a little bit ahead.
But, the real question is... at what cost?"
4. Take Time to Reflect & Self-Fuel
I tend to start every day reflecting on my day, my week, my business, my marriage, etc. Sometimes this means I’m in the office a little later than most but I’m a firm believer that to be your best, you first need to fuel yourself. I know this because I often still struggle with this. The times I skip out on reflecting, praying, and giving thanks to start my day, are the days I feel behind, overwhelmed, or anxiety starts to creep in. I can be short with people or just plain off my game. Even though it may seem like a better idea rush off to start your day before anyone else starts, I guarantee you that is only sustainable for so long. So, take the first part of your day, and pour into yourself.
5. Exercise For Your Mind
This one kind of goes with my last point, and again something I’m still reminded every time I carve out the time to exercise… “why don’t I do this more often.” I’ve grown very fond of cycling and mountain biking, and some of my most creative moments have come during a ride or just being outside. But, even something as simple as walking down the street to my next meeting instead of driving has been enough to clear my head and get me back on track.
I’m sure there is a bunch of research on what exercise does for your brain, but it's been so clear to me what exercise has done for my mental health. Truthfully, this blog has been half-baked for a few weeks now and has sat in my drafts, unpublished. But, it took a run this morning to give me the motivation to sit down and finish it up. Funny how that works!
6. Office vs. Home Office
This point is especially true for nimble entrepreneurs, where overhead is something to constantly consider. But, one of the best things I did from day one with my business was getting an office. Having my own office has been an amazing way to create boundaries between home and work.
Let’s face it, the house is filled with way too many distractions. The dog has to be let out, the TV is right there, the grass could be cut. I've found to be much more productive when I can just head into the office and crush away. There’s no better feeling than packing up at the end of a productive day, heading home where you can rest, relax and recharge, spending time doing the things you love with the people you love.
I’ll also mention that there are so many great spaces now to find affordable office spaces. Spaces with common boardrooms, kitchens, etc. Keeping overhead low is king and I’m convinced there are so many ways to do it. Even if that means spending $2.50 at a coffee shop to go work for the morning. I still do quite often. I feed off of the white noise and buzz of a coffee shop.
I hope you’ve found a least one little nugget of helpful info here. I’m always looking for new ways to hack my productivity and create healthy sustainability in my life. I’d love to hear some of the tactics you’ve found to be successful in your own life!