Business owners have a tendency to want to achieve the most productivity they possibly can. Do more. Make more. Gain more. But rest and productivity are such a delicate balance.
You really can’t have one without the other. And as the holiday season quickly approaches, how can you ensure you’re not only accomplishing goals but doing so sustainably.
By redefining productivity (and implementing a few new techniques).
What is Productivity?
By definition, productivity is the output per unit of input, and in today’s hustle culture, one is praised for running themselves to the ground to meet quotas and financial goals.
The work from home environment is quickly becoming a normality whether you own your own business or have a 9-5 job, and with it have come some interesting side effects.
According to a study done by the American Psychiatric Association, over the course of the last few years, people have experienced mental health impacts such as loneliness, isolation, and a difficulty getting away from work at the end of the day.
And when we think about it, it makes sense, right?
Being at home can feel like being at the beck and call of employers, clients, and customers.
“But you work from home?” Have you ever been asked this question? Perhaps by a family member?
Being at home gives people the impression you are ready and available at any given moment. And that productivity shouldn’t be a problem because you’re in the comfort of your own home.
But here’s the thing about productivity… If you don’t find YOUR best productivity methods, then it doesn’t matter where, how, or when, you work.
As a small business owner, you’re at an advantage. Employees don’t always get the ability to redefine productivity because they are responsible to their employer, but you… You are your own boss.
And no matter the reason for you becoming an entrepreneur, you can set productivity goals how you please.
How can you go about redefining what productivity means to you?
Consider these questions:
- Where do I see myself in one year from now? 6 months? 1 month?
- What do I want to prioritize while getting there?
- What am I willing to sacrifice?
- What are my non-negotiables?
- What habits can I change or add to make my life easier?
- What will my schedule look like?
- What does rest look like for me?
- What are my goals for this holiday season?
Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, it’s important to consider HOW you’re going to go about achieving them because I can almost guarantee you don’t want to be working around the clock come turkey time.
And it will take more than just redefining productivity to inspire real change.
So, how can you accomplish Black Friday goals while enjoying much needed rest during the holidays?
By finding a productivity method and routine that fits your personality.
Productivity Methods and Routines
No matter the season, it’s a good idea to figure out your unique productivity method and routine because this will ensure you get the most out of your day without feeling drained and defeated by the end of it.
First, let’s talk about productivity techniques.
The Pomodoro technique
This technique is all about incremental work with breaks. First, select a task you’re going to focus on and set your timer for 25 minutes. Once time is up, you’re to take a 5 minute break. After about 3-4 work periods, you can take a longer 20-30 minute break.
This method can be great for those who find themselves distracted easily and want to build their focus muscle.
You’d be surprised how much faster you work when you’re up against the clock. For those who work well under pressure, this method gives the illusion of pressure by having to beat the clock.
And if you find yourself in flow when the timer goes off, then feel free to jump straight into another 25 minute session. All of these methods are yours to implement how you see fit.
This method doesn’t need to be used for JUST work related tasks. You can use it for getting things done around the house or for leisure activities such as reading, painting, or whatever hobbies you want to add into your day.
Time-blocking is all about dividing your day into several blocks where each is focused on a particular activity.
- Inbox management
- Sales and marketing
- Wellness / leisure
You can make the blocks your own. This method is best for people who like sticking to schedules and like to see it visually laid out in their calendar.
The Eisenhower Matrix
This method splits your tasks into categories:
- Urgent and important
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent or important
By putting your tasks in categories, it can help you see what truly needs to be done and what can wait until later. It can relieve anxious feelings in your headspace, so you can put focus and attention on what matters most.
This method is great for people who feel their to-do list is never ending, and helps prioritize tasks.
This law states that work expands to fill the time we give it rather than the time it actually takes to complete it.
For example, if you allot 2 hours to clear your inbox, more than likely it will take the entire time, but if you give yourself 30 minutes to clear it, then you may be able to finish in that amount of time.
Imagine what you could do with that extra hour and a half?
There are many types of productivity methods, but what about routines?
Again, as a business owner, you have the ability to create routines that work best for you.
Consider these questions:
1. When do you work best? In the morning, during the day, or in the evening?
Waking up at 5AM has become something people are awe-inspired by, but if it doesn’t work for YOU, then what’s the point?
If you’re not ready for optimal work at 5AM, then it’s just going to take you longer to get tasks done.
2. If you do your best work mid-day, then how can you prioritize yourself in the morning?
Instead of jumping straight for your computer, maybe instead you do something that fills YOU up. Whether that means getting in a great workout, taking a walk, reading a book, learning something new, meditating, etc.
3. When am I least willing and able?
Just as it’s important to find the times you’re ready to tackle your to-do list, it’s also important to find out when you’re completely unable.
Finding a routine that works for you might take some time. Especially if you’ve been used to one routine for so long. But after some experimentation, you’ll be able to build a routine that helps you prioritize your responsibilities and proper rest.
While you can use these methods year-round, it’s especially important to consider them during the upcoming months.
What’s your fall season going to look like?
About The Author
Rachel Gogos is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with a strong desire to help people by creating strong personal brands and businesses. She’s personally launched dozens of books, e-products, and services; and hundreds of products and services with her clients. She started her career at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, where she helped create the look and feel for the organization’s first website.
Today, in her current role running brandiD, Rachel channels over 15 years of marketing and communications experience into each and every website for brandiD’s clients.
And check out her book, Build Your Brand: The Distinctive Guide to Soul-Based Marketing. It will help you uncover your personal brand.