#286 Having to get things done can either be the best or worst thing for productivity. Some perform well under the gun, others not so much. If you’re in a habit of waiting til the last minute, in other words, you’re probably a perfectionist, here are 3 tips to help you get things done easier without the cortisol-escalating adrenaline rush that may not produce your best work.
You’ve got programs and workouts to write. You’ve got blogs, articles, videos to create. You have follow up emails, or cancelled appointments to reschedule. When does it all happen? Well, some things have to happen at the optimal times and others can happen whenever. Once you figure out when you’re most creative so you can schedule the things that require the most brain power, then these will tips come in handy.
I’m sharing what I’ve learned and how I cope when my attention-span wanes. You can’t go from 0 to six-figure months randomly getting things done. Here’s how I did it.
The absolute worst thing for productivity to do is to open another word document and start a new idea thread.
And I try to do it all the time. It’s usually an equally important or urgent task, so I can justify it. So, if I don’t keep a list of what I need done and when and then translate that into blocks of time weeks before that I will focus on that thing, I’ll get to the last minute with too many things on my plate and nothing gets done. Even though I know I do this, it still happens.
So, here’s how I handle it. The publishing calendar I create for myself has a block of time every week to work on something due at the end of the month. When I get started on it weeks before I’m the most creative.
Be Ready for Resistance
If you’re a creative like I am, I resist doing the work I’ve put into my publishing calendar sometimes because it feels like I’m backed into a corner. I have to remind myself that I can still have latitude with the treatment of the topic, and what I use to engage my audience.
A creative mind- like so many entrepreneurs have – hates to be put in a box and told to do a certain thing! I never work well like. You know when you go to meetings and people are put into groups or individuals are asked on the spot to come up with something? I don’t perform well during those! I need to go away, get quiet, play with the ideas and then come back to it. Then I love to share. But I’m often a blank for my own work.
We Can’t See the Nose on Our Own Face
That’s why hot seats work so well for me and others! It’s why we do 12 of them in the accelerated 12-week Build Your Business mastermind course. You and I can see someone else’s problem so much more clearly than we can see our own. So, instead of saying, here – work on this and then share your answer during sessions, you just present your problem/challenge/question and other’s brains can go to work on it. That ends up freeing your ideas too. It’s a win-win-win. Everyone involved gets something from hearing the problem, hearing answers from others who aren’t emotionally attached to them, and you get to put them all in your pot and let them marinade for you.
The second worst thing for productivity is to make myself work through a longer block of time than my brain wants to focus.
Your brain will wander at about 90 minutes and your productivity takes a nose-dive if you don’t take a break. A productive break is an exercise break. Clear your head, increase circulation to your brain.
The Western world has done this forever. Those 8-9 hour days and 10 and 12 hour shifts, really do not lead to more productivity. You know how we most-recently know? The pandemic proved to companies that when people are allowed to work at home (most likely with more breaks) they got more done! People were happier. Many companies considered not bringing people back in, or doing so only in limited capacity and allowing people to choose.
Sprints vs Marathons
While it (at home) doesn’t work for everyone, if you have a job that requires creativity, problem-solving, it most likely is best to work in short sprints of focus and then leave a project and come back to it.
Here’s how I avoid the #1 worst thing for productivity – I take myself out of my environment. I do it in two ways:
- I work in the dark. Not kidding. I can get more done working 4am-6am than 9am to 11am.
- I literally go somewhere else. I’ve not done a lot of this but plan to keep it in my arsenal. Pre-covid, I went to Maui to watch my son golf, and had extra days to work and relax. The two for me shouldn’t be isolated but instead exist together. Last year, I went to Sedona for two nights and got filled with hikes and inspirational views and then worked early mornings, mid-day after I’d come back. This last week I did the same in Colorado. I hiked every day – after and before I spent blocks of time creating the content for the new accelerator mastermind for next year and touching base with our Flipping50 community.
Worst Thing for Productivity May be Too Much Forced Productivity!
This kind of “white space” is sometimes missing from trainer’s days. It’s an old cliché that you’ve got to work on your business, not just in your business. Meaning that you can’t just schedule your training sessions all day and leave no time to develop the business plan and systems.
You’ll sink fast. You’ll paint yourself into a corner so busy with clients that you are “too busy” to focus on scaling. You can’t scale one-on-one sessions. Unless you can keep raising rates to $100 and $150 and $200 per session, and get clients to pay it, at some point you’ll be aiming at too small a pool to make that work.
When do you work best? When are you most creative? When can you think and focus best?
For me – and most- thanks to cortisol, it’s morning.
So, I’ve made two changes in my business life over time.
- I don’t work out right away anymore. I work for 3-4 hours first. Because I will workout, but I can’t force that creative time. And building and growing my business was the way I discovered the foundation behind menopause fitness science. So, never forget, you should walk the walk your clients walk. The more like them I am (with jobs and families and a desire to be fit), the easier it is to relate. They imagine fitness professionals just workout all day. Couldn’t be further from the truth if you truly run a business. You would never suggest a customer exercise 4-6 hours a day… you can’t do it either.
- I don’t allow calendar appointments until Noon. So, I am working, I’m working out depending on the day, and responding to emails after 9 or so when I first open a browser.
Productivity an Issue for YOU?
Is it that you don’t know which tasks are the highest priority?
Or is it that you can’t focus due to too many distractions?