When it comes to productivity is all about finding what works for you. What works for one person might not work for you, and that’s ok. It’s all about finding your formula, your magic trick. One great way to figure out what might work for you is to learn what works for others. I’ve reached out to some amazing boss ladies who were so generous to share their best tips on how they stay productive.
My top tip is to work with the end in mind and focus on actions you can directly influence. It’s overwhelming when you have a big project. What has worked for me is to work in every single step that will lead me to the end goal. Work backwards till you can’t go any further. This helps me find out where my bottleneck is. I also do a lot of sprints where I focus on just 1 project or goal for a short stretch. This helps me get more done within a short time span and actually finish the project. So, if you buy a new course or ebook, you’ll increase your chances of finishing it if you go through it at a stretch within the first few days. Binge through the lessons! That’s what I do so that no course goes to waste.
As a mama with a business, being productive can be a challenge. However, I’ve learned to follow that age old rule… sleep when the baby sleeps. Okay, not necessary that! But I’ve learned to plan in advance to batch work during times that I know I’m going to have uninterrupted work time. Once that time comes, I know what I need to work on and I focus on that one task. That means closing Facebook, turning on my music and setting a timer. Once that timer goes off, batch work time is done. You’d be surprised how much that helps a person stay productive, whether you’re a parent or not!
My greatest productivity tip is something I learned from my mentor, Melissa Cassera – take pleasure breaks! Taking scheduled breaks is super important for your creativity, focus and well being. That way, you’re setting aside time to actually work and get stuff done (rather than spending your time on Facebook doing “research.” Yep. We’re all guilty of that one!). I take pleasure breaks multiple times a day – they can range from 5 mins to 3 hours in length and include things like yoga, meditation, cooking up a healthy storm in the kitchen, binge watching Joss Whedon’s Firefly, reading Jane Austen, a solo cardio dance party, or going for walk. In fact, go to your Google Calendar right now and schedule a pleasure break – you won’t regret it!
One of the top productivity hacks I’ve come across as of late is to touch an email once.
I no longer open the emails until I’m ready to answer them! Nothing like having to go through a list of starred emails you’re dreading to reply to and find some in the queue for months.
I was inspired by this idea when I listened to a podcast with Myleik Teele interviewing Ryan Holiday (author).
I was stunned at how less anxious I was to tackle email when it was on MY time. As a bookkeeper, I get tons of emails from the same client daily. Waiting to receive all the emails and respond to one has reduced my stress of juggling clients, dramatically.
Now I go into my workday ready to do actual work THEN conquer my emails.
Another hack I use is Streak from Gmail. You can schedule your emails to reply during your “normal” business hours.
I love to answer emails early in the morning while drinking my coffee and schedule them at 9 am. The second time I touch my emails is right before lunch. Then finally, right before I schedule my next workday before heading out to pick up my daughter.
My favourite tool for keeping me productive is my Blog planning Bullet Journal! I can customise it and change it so it’s exactly how I need it.
Every day has an A4 page where I write my to-do list and Social Media sharing and have space to record income and expenses and events that are happening. I plan a week at a time which keeps me focused on the immediate priorities for my Business.
I have a monthly spread set out like a calendar and I record things like when I publish a Blog post, share to my Facebook group, add items to my shop and upload a YouTube video. I can see exactly which weeks I was being lazy and which weeks I was ultra productive. I find a visual record of the tasks I’ve completed really motivates me to complete them to keep my tracking calendar filled in! [You can see Laura’s bullet journaling in action via this post]
As a mum to two young kids, sometimes it is impossible to get things done! Traditional methods of like time blocking just don’t work, much to the chagrin of my Type A personality. Instead, I have had to embrace the chaos and now I ask myself the night before “What is my ONE task for tomorrow?” This must be a task that will move my business forward towards my goals. Then I get that done when I can fit it in – before they get up in the morning, during nap time or just when I magically find the toddler happy watching TV and baby is asleep.
Then I have a second list of little tasks. These are the bits that I can do between moments, they generally take less than 10 minutes. So instead of if I find a moment at the computer trying to figure out what to do, I can go straight in and tackle the next thing on that list.
At the start of every month I create ‘big picture’ goals for myself. Typically, these goals are grand and just out of reach so I always have something to work toward. Then, to stay focused on those goals , I create behavioral to-do lists for each week, which document all the day-to-day things I need to get done in order to achieve those monthly goals. Because my to-do lists center around meeting my big, grand, just-out-of-reach goals, it keeps me driven and motivated to work harder and stay focused. As far as tools go, I use Trello to keep track of all my outcome goals and behavioral to-do lists. It’s not fancy, but it’s effective and it’s worked well for me so far!
I hope this has given you some inspiration in finding your productivity formula. You can read more about steps to finding your productivity formula in this post.
Make sure to find out more about these ladies and all their wonderful resources by clicking on their website listed after their titles!
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