So, you did it! You took the leap into the journey to turn your passion into your dream business…and now there are exactly 47.3 million items on your to do list, and that doesn’t include all of the household, life, social, family, other, etc. ones that were already there. The overwhelm is setting in, and you’re already having days where you think about backing out. I feel you! I still have those days sometimes but not nearly as often as I used to because I realized at some point along the way how important taking the time to plan for productivity really is. I know it can feel like a waste of your valuable time to stop everything when you’re already swamped just to think about how and when you’re going to get it all done, but that’s a surefire recipe for overwhelm.
That’s why I’ve created a four part series about how I juggle my household, my marriage, a remodeling project, six fur babies, and a degree program (also at one point an internship) while running my business in its most crucial stage without completely losing my mind or giving up, and before we get into all the shiny tools and systems, I want to cover the basics. While this part may not be as flashy as how my Trello boards work (which I will cover in extreme detail), it’s the foundation of all of the other working parts I’ve put into place, and without these basics, my other efforts would be wasted.
So, here we go, the true essentials to my productivity…
I practice acceptance.
I know it doesn’t sound like it fits here, but it is literally the first step toward being more productive. If you can accept that things will never go 100% according to plan, you can learn to establish safety nets and backup plans and eliminate the time it takes to panic and figure out how to regroup when it doesn’t. If you can accept that you don’t function exactly like anyone else, you can establish unique routines that help you function at your most optimal level. And if you can accept that imperfect action is better than nothing at all, you can reschedule or eliminate tasks and move on with your life without taking time out to beat yourself up over every little thing. The best part about practicing acceptance is that you just do it organically. Every time you see an opportunity to accept something and adjust for it in the future, work on reminding yourself to do it. It will become easier and more natural every single time, and eventually, you will find yourself looking for opportunities to be prepared and to forgive yourself.
I batch my tasks.
Batching tasks simply means that you group similar tasks together. The purpose is to keep your mind from having to switch gears between different types of tasks multiple times a day which wastes precious mental energy and takes around 20 seconds out of your day every time you do it. I go into more detail about how I use Google Calendar in another post in this series, but one of its most important functions in my productivity plan is serving as a visual representation of where my tasks go throughout my week. For example, I create my social media posts and schedule them one Saturday a month for the entire month, and I write content for my blog and videos all at the same time. When I don’t do it this way, my content suffers, and my audience doesn’t get my best. Plus, I spend my week freaking out about catching up on undone tasks. Batch your tasks!
I leave room for change.
I used to be the world’s worst when it came to being too rigid, and my husband might argue that I still am. When I get a mental picture of how something is going to go or how it will be done, it’s a struggle for me to change that vision, but unwillingness to pivot or adjust can be disastrous to productivity because there are just too many variables in life. So, even though once a week I put my tasks into their little batched slots (more on that in a minute), I also review my tasks each day and make adjustments based on my time and energy levels, and I’m not afraid to reschedule something that isn’t urgent or delete something completely if it is no longer valuable or moving me forward.
I maintain a routine.
If practicing acceptance is the most important piece of my productivity puzzle, routine is a close second. Take it from a rebel who just has to test rules even if they’re my own, when I try to attack the day without my routine, it doesn’t go well! For me, this routine looks like getting up much earlier than I start working, or beginning work much later than I wake up…whichever way you prefer to look at it. Either way, it involves easing into my day with reflection, meditation, and physical activity, but my brain won’t allow me to do those things without knowing that everything is set for the day. So, in addition to batching my time far in advance and planning my tasks a week at a time, I also review them first thing each morning. This is when I make those adjustments I was talking about before. Then I’m free to execute the rest of my 3 hour morning routine in peace, and finally give myself another hour to check email and engage with social media before I jump into my days work. Which brings me to my next point…
I incorporate self care.
I try to find ways to include self care in every aspect of my life by way of things like learning to be comfortable saying “no” and making things like my nail care routine part of my video process, but more specifically, I include concentrated self care in my morning routine. After I’ve squared away my task list for the day, my mind is free to turn to journaling. My intentions when I journal in the morning are is to identify my current feelings and then explore them. If they are negative, I attempt to reframe them, and if they are positive, I work through ways to perpetuate them throughout my day. I also record my mood and track my sleep. Next, I engage in some type of enriching activity (reading a blog, reviewing saved Facebook posts or emails, etc.) for about 30 minutes, and I follow it up with at least ten minutes of meditation before I do 30-40 minutes of cardio and shower. This combination makes me feel ready to face the day, but you may find something different that works for you. Side note, I, personally, like to do all of this before my family wakes up because I enjoy the solitude. So, for me this means early mornings usually, but that may not work as well for you. It’s worth the time it takes to explore different routines to start your day!
I take productive breaks.
Really, any short breaks throughout the day are productive. You can’t be effective without a change of pace and scenery here and there. Even if it’s just standing up to stretch or walking to the mailbox, taking periodic breaks throughout the day gives your mind a chance to refresh itself. I like to take mine a step further though. I like to remain productive during my breaks while still giving my mind that opportunity to reset by taking small steps on projects that don’t take a lot of thought. This week, for example, I’ve been painting the trim in my house for five or ten minutes every hour or so. It’s physical. It gives me a minute to step away from my business tasks, and the bonus is that before you know it, you’ve completed a completely separate project with minimal effort!
I leave my work for the day.
Unwinding and recharging is as much a part of productivity as crossing items of of your task list. Burnout is a very real thing, and when it hits, you are guaranteed to wish that you had just taken breaks before you were forced to take an extended one. There is nothing that can fix or prevent burnout besides just stepping back. So, it’s much better to do it regularly for a short period of time than to be forced to do it for an indefinite period of time. Whenever I resist leaving my work for the day or taking a break, I think of the time that I saw a post in a Facebook group where someone was sharing about a time when they experienced burnout for nearly two years! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have two years to take away from my business and my life. So, choose to take the time now to do the things that will help you continue to show up as your best self in the long run.
What are some tactics you’ve developed for maintaining your highest level of effectiveness? Are there areas not covered here that you could use some help in? Drop a comment below, and be sure to share this with all of your biz besties so that they can get a win too!
I am just so excited for you to take this information and use it to make such a huge stride in building your dream business. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments, and definitely drop a comment to share your wins! I always love that, and hey, if you are picking up what I’m putting down and you want more, don’t forget to subscribe to the SLCtv channel and use the form below to join the tribe!