10 Ideas to Work Less and Increase Your Productivity
I probably hear this question multiple times a week: “Do you ever sleep?”
Yes. I sure do. And I probably sleep a lot more than you do! At LEAST 8 hours a night… sometimes 9 (or even 10 on the weekends). I swear it! Here is a picture of me….NOT working.
My phone goes to ‘Do Not Disturb’ every night at 9pm until 7am the next day. Period. 7 days a week. (No, I don’t sleep from 9pm – 7am….but my phone sleeps…which means I am not looking at it).
I am a natural “Type-A” person. I was born that way. I have an innate ability to get a LOT done in a short amount of time…and I work hard. And you know what? That ability caused a LOT of problems…for a really long time. Bottom line, I have actually worked myself so hard that I ended up in the Emergency Room…more than once. And I am NOT proud of that. I put my health at risk.
So, over the last year, I have been hyper-focused on getting more harmony in my life. And by harmony, I mean less stress. And by stress, I mean less SELF INDUCED stress. All that pressure….all those expectations…all the to-do lists….I created them all. Me. No one put that on me…I did it to myself.
So, today I am going to share with you my Top 10 Productivity Tips. These tips will allow you to work less…and get MORE done. And they are likely NOT what you are expecting!
Top 10 Tips to Avoid Burnout and Increase your Productivity:
Recognize your guilty pleasure…and indulge it. Yup. Indulge it…in moderation. If “This is Us” and chocolate make you happy, then carve out time for both. Those are two of my top favorites. So, I set aside 45 minutes each week (I save 15 minutes by watching it recorded), pour a glass of wine and a grab small piece of dark chocolate. And I watch “This is Us.” All. By. Myself. It makes me happy…and it allows me to escape to another world and relax (and often times let out a good cry).
I don’t work every night any more. I pick two nights a week I am willing to work after my daughter goes to bed…and only two. Then, I communicate with my husband what those two nights are ahead of time. I schedule all of my training webinars and work calls into those two nights. Period. He is happier…and so am I. My non-working nights are when I re-fuel.
I guard my calendar like a hawk. At the start of each week, I make sure I have multiple chunks of time on my calendar with NOTHING on it and I keep it that way. Those hours are reserved for whatever is most urgent at that time. Things always pop up…and if I don’t have time aside to deal with them, I start to get overwhelmed and stressed out. This way, when tasks start to pile up, I can just remind myself that in two days, I have 4 hours reserved with NOTHING scheduled. And then I take deep breaths.
I have stopped saying YES to everything. You may have seen my word of the year for 2019……LESS.
I know what times of the day I am hyper-productive and attentive..and what times I am not. I plan around that. Mornings are my jam. I am NOT a night owl. So, I book my labor intensive, brain power tasks for the morning. I hunker down and focus…hard. Later afternoon and evenings are when I do more mindless, creative, easy to knock out work (or just rest).
My amazing business partner and I communicate….a LOT. We are honest with each other about our workload and our current rhythms. We respect each other and what makes each of us tick. We speak up if we are feeling overloaded…and we adjust.
I have learned to ask for help…and not resent it. I ask my husband, my daughter, our employees, and my friends. I hire out work that does not come easily to me. I am creating my tribe of amazing people and I thank them….a LOT.
I always have something on the calendar to look forward to. It may be a date night, an afternoon out, coffee with a friend, shoe shopping or even a big trip or vacation. This way, there is always a “light at the end of the tunnel”….some type of reward for getting through the next set of tasks.
I prioritize exercise. And, my definition of a “work out” has changed the older I get. I am learning that a 25-minute run is better than nothing. If I feel like I don’t have time, I find a way to multitask while I work out. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a breathless voice message or Voxer message from me, you know what I am talking about.
My Monday – Friday morning routine is sacred. I recently read a Forbes article where they said that the one thing highly productive people have in common is a sacred morning routine. They vary from person to person but they are set in stone. One note on that….packing lunches and taking kids to school is NOT the morning routine I am referring to (although I still have to do that, too). The morning routine I am talking about is the one that is for ME…that is not serving others. This routine happens BEFORE my family wakes up and I turn into “Mom” and “Megs.” One thing and one thing only will keep me from my morning routine…and that is a sick child. All bets are off then…..and that is totally fine with me.
I am learning that by doing less….that by controlling my calendar instead of letting it completely control me…that by reserving time for me and setting NON working hours….this allows me to actually produce MORE than I ever have before. And, I am rested, happy, and healthy…..most of the time :).
The next time you hear a fellow network marketer, direct sales rep, or entrepreneur tell you how they “never watched TV or read a book for 2 years to focus on their business”, do some serious self evaluation. That may have been great for them….but what do YOU need in your life to achieve harmony…and happy YOU?