How We Stay Productive
Listen, It doesn't matter how much you love your career, on a 90 degree Tuesday in August the last thing on your mind is "being productive". You want to lay out with an adult beverage, summer food and hear the waves crash. Don't lie to me, I know the truth.
Personally, summer is especially hard for me to focus because I wait for this season's weather and activities all year long. I just want to live all three months of pure bliss and zero responsibilities. *bills and commitments enters chat*. So how do I (or we because I know you're in this with me) manage to still produce quality work while our minds are wandering off?
Our lovely founder and CEO Hannah O. aka "Han" and I put together what works for us. I'm not promising any of these will work for you right away but with a bit of trial and error, you can find your rhythm in productivity.
Write It Out
Han suggests making a daily to-do list along with a ongoing one. It's the micro and macro approach which helps you to think "What do I have to accomplish this week or this month?" but also "What do I have to accomplish today to contribute to the bigger picture?". For example, if you want to finish a book that has 15 chapters, you can write that down on your ongoing list for the month of August. Then on your daily to-do list, you can write; "Read at least half a chapter."
In my house we had a strict rule around lists; "if it's not on the list, it doesn't exist". This was true for groceries, Christmas gifs, back to school shopping etc. This method works well with productivity because distractions are everywhere and if you don't get laser focused on what you wrote down, you'll waste a lot of time and accomplish very little.
Another one of Han's suggestions is; phone on do not disturb. I'm really bad at this and she's really good at it.
Whenever I text her, It says "delivered quietly" and it reads "Hannah has notifications silenced". This means that once the text goes thru, her phone won't ring or vibrate, so she's not distracted from whatever important task she's currently on. As I'm typing this I'm realizing how amazing that sounds and how much time I lose by picking up my phone every time it vibrates. Sometimes it's not even a real text, it's some retail store telling me about a sale!
I'm not the inventor of this and I'm sure this isn't the first time you're reading about it but it works so I couldn't leave it out. Time blocking is simply the art of separating time for a specific task and not doing anything else during that time (not even picking up your phone if it vibrates). However, time blocking only works towards productivity 20 minutes at a time.
For example; I sat down to write this blog and I set my timer for 20 minutes. During these minutes, I don't do anything else other than write and research for this blog. Once my timer goes off, I take a five minute break to do something unrelated. Usually get water, use the bathroom, do a quick text/social media peek, rub my dog's belly etc. You get the point right? This has saved my productivity life and has helped me stay employed (half kidding).
If you're an email hater raise your hand. Okay now listen to me. There are ways to hate emails and emailing less. *enters smart Han suggestion*. Email templates for consistent inquires and questions are a time saver. If you're in a similar business to ours, you understand follow up and how much time a day we spend on it. It's truly 90% of my day. So if you're asking the same question over and over again but just changing minor details, do yourself a big favor and set a template so next time a five minute activity can turn into one. If you multiple that by 50 emails per day...RIGHT!
This is the common denominator for Han and I. We both walk. She walks walks like miles while I do three laps around my condo complex. It's still a walk okay? Judge less. We often hear about the importance of sunshine and fresh air for our mental health and I'm here to tell you; don't overlook it. Being in nature clears our mind and help us to organize our thoughts in a way that sitting on the couch won't do it. Whether you take this walk in complete silence or you listen to your favorite album, it doesn't matter. Just do it and you'll come back to your
to-do list feeling brand new.