The Key to My Productivity as an Entrepreneur
When I started my own business, I realized that there was one of two ways I could run it: working all hours of the day, frazzled and feeling like my To-Do list is never-ending - or sustainably stay in the flow.
The latter is much harder than it seems.
And, you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to feel that. In our always-on culture, it seems like we are constantly pulled in a million different directions. With emails coming in at all hours of the day (and night - let’s be honest), meetings that seem to drag on forever, and this mythical “self-care” idea floating somewhere in the very far future - it seems like “sustainable” and “work” could never fit in the same sentence.
After realizing that this idea of work-life balance would never come to fruition on its own, I knew I had to do something about it. Even though I was working my “dream job” it seemed like I was more burned out than ever.
So, I came up with a couple of tried-and-true practices that have helped not only myself, but dozens of my clients + the On Adulting crew live happier, healthier and more productive lives.
Here they are:
Morning time is sacred time
Seriously - no phones upon waking up! I feel like a broken record saying this, but after I started keeping my phone in airplane mode my day started off more relaxed and less stressed than ever. And, science proves this out - when you start your day scrolling (which majority of us do - 89% in fact) it has a ripple effect on the productivity of your day.
So, keep your morning rituals sacred - and try (try!) not to check emails or social media within 30 minutes of waking up.
Batch your tasks for maximum productivity
Batching is an engineering term that means connecting like-with-like as to avoid unnecessary repetition. Think about your life right now: how often do you get sidetracked because of checking email randomly throughout the day, or pausing for a quick scroll through Instagram?
Our brains aren’t meant to multitask. So, it’s important to connect similar types of actions together to avoid the switching costs, which decrease productivity. For me, that means keeping certain days only geared towards meetings, others geared towards creative and strategic tasks like writing blog posts or planning social content; and others for more mundane tasks.
You can see an example schedule for one of my clients here:
So, think about what schedule works best for you - maybe it’s batching tasks across days or hours. Everyone is different. But, no matter what - check on how it makes you feel.
Schedule in rest
Free time doesn’t really mean much in our world today. But, time “off” is oh-so-necessary for our health, happiness and sustainability. Working hard isn’t always smart.
So, I’ve found it extremely effective to literally pencil in free time. Whether that’s taking myself on inspiration date, scheduling a yoga class or simply getting outside - I literally add it as a reminder on my calendar and take it just as seriously as a meeting. That last part is key. Treating ourselves as important (or more!) as clients, bosses or deadlines seems simple, but radical.
So, no matter what your schedule looks like - remember that you can’t give your best self unless you take time for yourself. And, being “productive” doesn’t mean churning out 1 million emails a day.
How do you work smart - not hard - as an entrepreneur or otherwise? Share your ideas in the comments below!