Productivity: What's Working For Us
As per usual, we’re not even going to sugarcoat it: sometimes we get to 5PM and we aren’t sure if we actually accomplished anything throughout the day. Some days there are just so many small fires to be put out that you’re left feeling a little bit like you’re running on a hamster wheel - plenty of work, but you’re just not really getting anywhere.
Productivity is definitely not synonymous with working hard! So, if you’re hitting your mid-week plateau and feeling like you’re just not getting it all done, we’ve got a few tips for you.
You’re going to love that our first piece of advice hinges on you waking up an hour earlier! We just know it!
Ok, great, now that you’re done rolling your eyes like we did the first time someone suggested this to us - try and stay open-minded here. I don’t know about you, but as a working mom my mornings always teeter somewhere between a hot mess and a full-blown s@#t show. It’s a terrible way to start the day and definitely bleeds into the productivity of my mornings at work. There’s an entire book on this topic, so we won’t bore you with too many details, but this is what has actually worked for us: wake up an hour before you usually do and take some time for yourself.
Yep, you read that right, you have permission for some serious self-care! We like to break it up into six 10-minute chunks of activity that help set the tone and intention for the day. Ten minutes of silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading, and journaling will leave you feeling like your morning started with a mini-retreat and will help fuel you to conquer all the things long past 8AM!
We are 100% certain that not a single one of us was created to sit at a desk and grind out work for 40 entire hours a week. Nope, sorry, not doing it! Going into work with an all or nothing mindset is a great recipe for getting to that “nothing” stage - yah know, when it’s 4:30 and suddenly you realize you’ve been looking at pictures of baby otters for the past hour and a half.
Distractions are fine and our brains need the mental breaks! Instead of falling into distraction without a plan, schedule your distraction time into your day. It’s ok if you need 15 minutes around mid-morning to check on the Kardashians (seriously - who knows when the next pregnancy confirmation will break!) and by scheduling that time into your day those 15 minutes are less likely to turn into your entire afternoon.
Create a Priority List
You know that feeling when you have 500 things to do...so then you just stare at your computer and do none of them? Yep, been there and done that more times than we would like to admit! When you’re busy it’s hard to mentally divide up your energy towards all of the things so just break it down item by item! Write out a list of must-dos, can-dos, and will-dos. For bigger projects and tasks it can even help to break down all of the steps necessary to get the job done. Not only will this keep you focused, but your brain gets a little hit of dopamine every time you cross something off that list which helps with encouraging you to keep going!
Log The Heck Off
The easiest thing to do when you’re not feeling unproductive is to just click over to Facebook for “for 5 minutes” - then the next thing you know you’ve scrolled all the way back to your summer camp bunkmates trip to Puerto Vallarta in 2014 and you’re about to click on a quiz that will tell you if your astrological sign is compatible with your dog’s. Automatically being logged onto these platforms makes it way too easy to fall into their productivity sucking traps! We would even recommend to go a step further and turn off all of the push notifications on your phone for a few hours of undistracted time a day. Log off and set a rule for yourself that you can’t log back in until half of your to-do list is completed - we promise all of your notifications will still be waiting for you when it’s time to log on and zone out!
Phone A Friend
None of us are as good as all of us, it takes teamwork to make the dream work, and any other number of cliches all point to a universal truth: you can’t do it alone! Find someone to help keep you accountable for your productivity goals. In a coworking space, this is a great opportunity to chat with the person at the desk next to you about your specific goals and hold one another accountable for them. Having a friend to keep you accountable for your goals is a real game changer!