Let's be honest, productivity is an art form. Getting ANYTHING accomplished during this time of internet zombie-ism is almost impossible. Even when we feel ourselves making progress on the items that move the needle; we may also feel the magnetic pull to respond to alerts, notifications and constant DISTRACTIONS. Making it nearly impossible to be productive.
As multi-hyphenate creators/entrepreneurs it is imperative that we maintain a tight bubble of total focus in order to accomplish our BIG goals and live our dream. I am a full time Director at a national research institution, wife, mom, blogger, and full time entrepreneur. I have a fucking full schedule so I have to be extremely intentional about how I spend my time. Even when I carve out time it does not ensure that it will all get done. For this reason I've taken a lot of time to learn exactly what the "A-Players," do to maintain productivity. The list below are all apart of my personal tool kit. Nobody is perfect, including me. Even though these are my rituals, I still don't always get these done. When I do, I see a big difference.
Here's the list.
#1: Set your alarm. Wake up early. I wake up at 5am every single day. Even on the weekends. Because I have so many responsibilities, I have to wake up pretty early to have some time to myself.
#2: When I wake up, I wake up full of positivity. How you wake up will set the tone for the rest of your day. If you're going through a rough time, it may be hard to be positive but each new day represents a new opportunity. That alone is a reason to be grateful and positive.
#3: Focus on what is good in your life in the morning. Many times we tend to wake up full of dread. We complain that we have to wake up early, or that we have to wake up at all. We complain that we have to work. We complain that our kids woke us up or whatever the case is. We live in a universe of attraction. If you put out complaining and negativity into the universe, that is exactly what you will get back. As much as you can, focus on the good and watch how you magnetically attract good throughout the rest of the day.
#4: Instead of turning to the news, social media, email or texts in the morning, develop and practice a morning routine that you begin to look forward to every day. Personally for me, I spend my first waking hour to pray, meditate, journal, read the bible, and do something towards my personal growth everyday. Some days I'll read non-fiction self help book, listen to a podcast, or watch a learning module from a course I'm taking. I end off with exercising (Yoga or Pilates).
#5: Once your personal hour of power is complete, Write out your vision for your ideal day: This can also be done the night before if you have the opportunity. Of course it also saves you time. I personally like filling in my top to-dos at the beginning of the week (Sunday) so most my agenda is completed in advance. I do however, write in other to-dos and re-assess my agenda for the day to ensure it is still aligned with my vibes. I use the Lavendaire planner! I think it is perfect for entrepreneurs. It includes a positive thought, Most Important tasks, self care and even more. Every time I check something off it, reaffirms my self-worth and help me feel confident that I've done my part for moving the needle towards my goal.
#6: Make your bed. Maybe it seems silly to make your bed everyday, but there's something about making your bed that boosts productivity and dignity. Just because we work from home does not mean we have to work from bed, even though it's comfortable. And sure, working from bed is one of the benefits of working from home so some days, that's exactly what the soul needs. Maintaining a clean environment just does something special for your productivity on a chemical level.
#7: Get Ready. Whatever that means for you. For some people that means a full face of make-up and for others that means a shower and comfy loungewear. Getting ready, literally subconsciously gets you ready for action! Staying in your PJs is perfect for some days, especially the days you're not feeling so hot (another beautiful benefit of #wfhlife). Staying in your PJs every day can really lower your personal self-worth and when your self-worth is low subsequently, your productivity suffers.
#8: Put your phone away and do your best to limit distractions. I know that distractions are inevitable but there are some distractions that can be avoided. Turn your phone off and if you haven't already turn your alerts completely off and don't turn them on (ever again). Even though we live in an instant gratification does not mean you have to instantly gratify every notification in real time. We should carve out dedicated time to reviewing and responding to incoming alerts. That time and that time alone should be used for this. Gone are the days that we respond to every single text in real time. The best practice is to spend the early part of the day focusing on projects that need most of your mental energy saving things like responding to emails, texts and social media alerts. Every time we respond to an alert (email, text, social media or otherwise) we leave mental residue on that thing we respond to and we take time away from our current focus which should be a priority.
#9: Take breaks: Breaks are a vital component of productivity. From 5 minute breaks to 3 week breaks. Breaks provide an opportunity rest, re-energize and get re-inspired. Breaks are good. Many people under the work/grind culture believe that if you're not working every single minute of your life you're not moving the needle towards your vision. Rest is just as important as work. In fact, the more you rest the more productive your work. When we live intentionally, stop rushing, everything will happen in divine timing. Time when used intentionally is truly abundant.
#10: Before your day ends create space to jot down 3 wins for the day and 3 things you're grateful for. This is probably one of my weakest productivity hacks. But it is a beautiful practice that integrates rest, reflection and gratitude. I personally like to enter the "no phone zone," no later than 6:30pm. At that point I journal (in my planner) 3 things that brought me gratitude that day. Then I think about three wins that day. Sometimes these things look like the same things on my to-do list. Because, let's be real, sometimes just getting the things on my list done is a win (especially when it's something that moves the needle).
Bonus: Apps I have found very helpful in guiding my morning routine: