Being productive doesn’t mean getting up at 4am to get more done. It doesn’t mean burning the midnight oil until your To-Do list is fully checked off. And y’all, I am so sick of seeing this bull spread all over social media. Seeing coaches and other folks going on and on about how their key to productivity is getting up at the ass crack of dawn and slugging back gallons of coffee so they can check off more on their list, hearing how folks sacrifice sleep, health, and family time to hustle hustle hustle to their dreams drives me up the wall and creates so much frustration for me, and clients.
Also, can we all just make a pact to say death to the word hustle? And instead give life to the words productivity, mindfulness, and sustainability?
So, no, no fucking thank you to the hustle lifestyle just to get ahead and achieve goals and tick items off my list. I love my gallons of coffee, but I am not about to sacrifice a healthy, good nights sleep to check off more piddly items on my lists. I’d rather get some rest and wake up feeling refreshed and focused. I understand deadlines and needing to get items off your plate so you can move forward in life, but I also understand that you cannot effectively work and be productive if you’re mindset is in the gutter (not in *that* way) and you’re exhausted. I understand late nights need to happen sometimes, but I also know sometimes a quick nap is the best thing my head and soul need to feel refreshed and ready to go. PSA: This is your reminder that what works for other doesn’t always work for you and you should always find what best fits for you without apology. So sleep in, or get up early, but #youdoyou and find a system and routine that works for your mental and physical health and to do list
So what is productivity/time management if it isn’t early wake up calls and late nights?
Productivity is not about killing yourself to get up insanely early, or staying up insanely late, just to get some shit done while your responsibilities (ie: family, coworkers, etc) sleep. And sometimes to get more out of your waking hours, you can’t get up at 4am because if you do you become groggy and grumpy (*raises hand* Hello, me). I could never get as much done in a day as I do now by waking at 4am, no amount of coffee and morning yoga could make me able to be up that early, and I would be less productive if I did get up that early constantly just to check more items off my list. If I did what so many others say to do to increase productivity, I would spend the next few hours of my day just attempting to function and then come 7pm I’d be fighting to stay awake. Productivity is simply getting the right things done in the best way possible
5 Common Sense Steps To Better Productivity
- Find your best sleep schedule and work your hardest to keep to it. What time do you need to go to bed/wake up in order to feel fully refreshed? For me, I function the best when I can sleep until 6-8am (unfortunately my day job prevents that most days). Those are my core hours where I know it will take me roughly 1 cup of coffee and a good 30 minutes to be able to wake up and kick ass. And I can then stay up until 10 or 11 (10 is pushing it for this sleep loving girl) and get shit done while those 4amers are already asleep. I’m not slugging around wishing I was napping while trying to type up some work with heavy eyelids.
- Before the day begins (or before bed the day before) schedule time blocks for your home, business, and work life. Planning Tip: Invest in a damn good planner that works for you– whether it is digital or paper (I use Google calendar for my big life planning, and my Desire Map Planner for day-to-day planning) you need to find a planner that works well for how you think and what will keep you organized. Remember to focus on the *must do* items first, then make time for the rest on your list. Personally, I know I start to feel the wind down of energy about 2:30 and I schedule my tasks that require less attention, urgency, and thought toward the end of the day.
- Commit to the time blocks you set out as much as you can (hey we all know last minute meetings or emergencies happen) and focus just on those things during that time block. Multi-tasking has proven to make you less productive, to cause tasks to take longer, and to heighten the chance of errors/mistakes, and to cause increased frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed. Set your mind on ONE task at a time until completion (or maybe not completion, but until you hit a designated benchmark) and then move on to the next item on your list.
- Schedule “brain breaks” if you have a brain that can only concentrate in small intervals (*raises hand* Hello, is it me you’re looking for?). With my way my creative brain functions every few hours I need a 15 minute “brain break” to play on social media, chat with a friend, or do something mindless so I can adjust my focus and reset. If I don’t do those time blocks and brain breaks I’ll spend all day fiddling and getting half done with projects because I am feeling distracted, frustrated, and annoyed. Also, brain breaks can be used as a sort of ‘reward’ system. If I am dreading doing some task (anything too technology related or math/accounting related) you best bet I am more likely to sit down and commit to getting that task done if I know I am ‘giving myself’ a 15 minute break to on Instagram or a Netflix episode afterward.
- Mindset. Mindset. Mindset. Like I said, productivity doesn’t mean just doing shit on your list to check it off. You’ve gotta be in the right mindset to be productive and get your to-do’s done effectively, properly, and efficiently. If you are forcing yourself to work on items that you are not in the right mindset for or able to concentrate on, you’re going to spend double or triple the time getting that task done than if you would have just waited until your mind was in the same place as your to-do list. This is the permission you don’t actually need to step back from your checklist, work on your mindset, get your head in the game, and THEN go tackle your list. Trust me, when you step back for a moment and get your head on straight, you’re going to fly through your list of tasks.
My challenge to you: Spend this week doing the above five steps. Figure out how you can squeeze the best kind of sleep for you into this week, time block and plan out your week/day, schedule brain breaks if you need, and commit to a bit of boredom.