Productivity is something I am always thinking about and trying to learn more about because I know that it is crucial to growing my business. So in this episode, we’re talking about how to find new productivity hacks for yourself.
But let’s be honest, sometimes we, as bloggers, get bogged down in the weeds instead of doing the things that will take us to that next level.
That’s why I invited my friend and MiloTree community manager Paula Rollo back on the podcast, where we are talking all things “productivity.”
We’re sharing what works for us, the things that don’t work, and where we are winging it in our own businesses.
Before we jump into our discussion though, I have to say that I have been having loads of fun over in my Facebook group. I am in there all the time, chatting, going live, and helping you build your business. And the group is full of other bloggers, encouraging each other and answering questions.
If you haven’t joined us yet what are you waiting for? Come on over today and introduce yourself. We’re all waiting on you in the MiloTree Mastermind Group!
Okay, are you ready to be more productive? Let’s jump right into my discussion with Paula…
Table of Contents
Balance Is a Myth
One of the biggest issues with productivity is the old comparison trap.
We think that everybody else is more productive than we are. But it’s not true.
We all struggle with the number of things on our plates, and I’ve never met a blogger who was satisfied that everything was getting done.
My own mom reminds me frequently that balance is not a state that you achieve; rather it’s something you move in and out of.
There will be days when you plow through your to-do list like a ninja, and days where it feels like you are walking through molasses.
So, don’t get too hung up on trying to find that elusive balance. Let’s shoot for productivity instead.
When Are You Most Productive?
So, rather than comparing myself to Susie Blogger over there, I need to look at my own life and how my days are structured.
When am I at my best? When do I accomplish the most?
And I’ll be honest, I am at my best from 3:30-5:30 p.m. If I have some deep work that needs doing, that is the time when I can really dig deep and focus.
So, pay attention to your own rhythms. You will notice the time of day when things come easier to you.
If you are trying to get stuff done and you feel that you aren’t doing your best work, move on to something you can do easily. Save the heavy lifting for when you are in the right mindset, even if that’s late at night.
Another tip is to do those easy mindless tasks when you aren’t at your best. This will give you a boost because you’re accomplishing a goal, instead of just wasting that time on social media.
Using the Pomodoro Technique
One of the tricks I use to increase my own productivity is called the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is simply a system where you work without stopping for 25 minutes and then you take a 5-minute break. I use the online timer at tomato-timer.com.
You repeat the 30-minute cycle 4 times and at the end of the third or fourth round, you take a longer break.
(Tomato-timer allows you to set the length of your short and long breaks, as well as the length of your focused work session.)
If you say that you are going to work for several hours straight, you may goof off for a lot of the time. You may get distracted, you may feel bad about how little work you’re doing, and you may only actually work for 25 minutes of that 2-3 hours.
But, if you can set that goal of 25 minutes and really focus, you will get more work done in those 25 minutes than you will sitting at your desk for 2 hours but wasting the majority of it.
Be Intentional About Breaks
Breaks are necessary when you work online. Your eyes need time away from staring at the computer screen.
The trick is to use that break time to actually do something away from the computer. If you use your break time to scroll through Facebook or Instagram, it won’t feel like much of a break when you switch tabs to get back to your work.
During your break, use that time to walk around, get a drink of water, step outside for fresh air, or talk to a friend or family member. Stop to smell the roses every so often and you will find yourself more productive when you sit back down to the screen.
Breaks aren’t optional; you will be more productive with well-timed and regular breaks than you will if you sit there and try to press through for hours.
Scheduling Software and Paper Planners
As someone who runs several businesses, you would think that I am the most organized person on the planet, that my planner is scheduled to the half-hour every day.
And I’ll admit, a good schedule is not optional when you are a business owner. We also use Trello in our business and we love it.
However, I want to be completely transparent and let you know that I am just like most of you and I wing it a lot.
The system that I actually use more than any is Post-Its. My desk is covered with Post-Its.
I love that they are something tangible that I can write on, and then see in front of me as I accomplish my goals.
Paula works for several clients and uses both Trello and BaseCamp. But personally, she can’t live without her Erin Condren paper planner.
Working In Advance
One of the best ways to increase your productivity is to work in advance.
My assistant and I use a calendar to schedule our posts for Catch My Party. We write out what the posts will be about and we schedule those a couple of months in advance.
We post on that site 3 times a week as follows:
- New content, usually focused on a trend we are noticing
- An updated post
- A highlight of our 4 favorite parties of the week
As you know, because you are reading this post, I also release a blog post every week based on the podcast for those who would rather read than listen.
This blog post also allows us to rank for SEO and it provides a place for listeners to grab any links we mention in the podcast.
One thing to notice is that you may be more scheduled and more productive than you think you are. Going through this exercise showed me ways that I am being more productive than maybe I would have said I was.
When the Work Feels Hard
While I’m sure that there are some incredibly organized people who seem to have it all together, most of us are still kind of winging it and that’s okay.
It’s okay to decide how scheduled you want to be and when you need to say, “Enough!”
But, if you don’t want to do something, think about what it is worth to you financially.
That post you don’t want to write? Why are you writing it?
Is it because you’ve got a family that depends on the income that post will bring in? That right there might be all the motivation you need to get off Instagram and finish the post, even when it feels hard and you just don’t want to do it.
At the end of the day, you are running a business. Typically, the harder you work, the more money you make.
If you want to have the freedom to do what you want, you need to put in the work necessary.
Find the System that Works for You
At the end of the day, you have to know who you are and what works for you. You need to know how you function best and what type of schedule brings out your best work.
No one else can tell you what is right for your business and your mental health.
If you aren’t as productive as you need to be, ask yourself why you haven’t gotten your work done. Take the time to ponder what rhythms would work better for you.
Everyone has their own unique rhythms, their own schedules, so I challenge you to figure out how you function best. You get to decide what your days look like and what productivity means for you and your business.
If you enjoyed this episode, I hope you’ll share with me what works for you. I go live on Mondays at 3 pm in my Facebook group and I’d love for you to join me and let’s chat all things productivity!
Read the transcript for “How to Find Productivity Hacks That Work for you”
- 1:46 Balance Is a Myth
- 2:48 When Are You Most Productive?
- 7:57 Using the Pomodoro Technique
- 12:00 Be Intentional About Breaks
- 16:54 Scheduling Software and Paper Planners
- 21:31 Working In Advance
- 25:00 Mixing Up the Schedule
- 30:29 When the Work Feels Hard
- 33:17 Find the System that Works for You
TOP 4 TAKEAWAYS
- Balance is a myth; some days you will slay your to-do list and some days it will slay you. Stop trying to achieve balance and focus on increased productivity instead.
- Pay attention to when you feel at your best and do the deepest and hardest work during those times; save the mindless tasks for when your brainpower is lowest.
- Be intentional about taking breaks; use break times to take a walk, talk to a loved one, stretch, or anything that involves stepping away from the screen.
- If the work feels too hard and you just don’t wanna, remember why you’re doing it. Knowing that your family depends on the income can make it easier to press through.
- Bonus- Don’t depend on somebody else’s system to work for you. Find the best times and schedules for your unique set of circumstances and please don’t compare what works for you with what works for others!
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