Please be unproductive. Ha! Has anyone ever said that to you? I certainly haven’t received that luxurious request. Quite the opposite in fact. Google “how to be more productive” and you’ll get over 200 million results!
We all want to increase productivity because we think it will help us be successful, make an impact and have more freedom. If we could just be more productive, we’d finally be able to finish that project, get that promotion and do everything we’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. Right?
This probably hits especially close to home if you’re an entrepreneur like me. We’re always looking for new ways to optimize how we use our time—it’s not easy to grow a business while maintaining some semblance of a life outside of work! As a result, we often push ourselves way past our limits, sacrificing our well-being in the process.
Look, I’m all for being driven as long as it doesn’t drive us into the ground. But between the pressures coming from our work hard, play hard society AND the high expectations we have for ourselves, we simply create more than we can process. So we’re left wishing we had another hour, day, week, month, year… life.
Hmmm, there’s obviously something wrong with this picture.
Remember—we’re humans, NOT conveyor belts! Whaddya say we take a step back and look at productivity from a different angle? It’s meant to simplify our lives after all, not make them more exhausting and stressful.
The 5 practices I’m sharing today have helped me accomplish everything from simple daily tasks to building a thriving 7-figure business, all while maintaining a good work/life balance. They’ll help you use productivity to make space for pursuing your deepest desires and doing what makes you happy. Because what’s more important than that?
Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- How to be more productive at work AND at home—you can apply these tips in all areas of your life!
- Simple ways to maximize time and headspace for better focus, faster results and more joy.
- Why it’s even more essential than you might think to get clear on your priorities (and how to do it).
- What time off and self-care have to do with productivity.
- How to build in time for the unexpected challenges so they don’t throw you off course.
- How paying people to take care of themselves supercharges your own productivity.
Ready to discover these surprisingly simple, joyful productivity tips? Let’s dig in!
How to Be More Productive: 5 Stress-Free Tips
1. Design your ideal week.
If you want to learn how to be more productive, you’ve gotta start by examining how you manage and use your time. Because even if you have all the time in the world, it’s still possible to be unproductive.
When I say design your ideal week, I’m talking about more than just blocking off space in your calendar (although that IS part of it!). It means looking at the week ahead holistically—including your responsibilities and commitments, AND the stuff you do to support your mental and physical health—then laying out a schedule that optimizes the time you have.
Ask yourself these questions when designing your ideal week:
- What times do I want to go to bed and wake up? (A consistent schedule can help improve your sleep, too… win-win!)
- What days do I want to work, and what should my stop and start times be? (This one is especially key for all of you entrepreneurs and self-employed folks out there!)
- What existing commitments do I have that I can’t change? Are there any I can adjust to make room for new priorities?
- What does a productive day usually look like for me? When do I usually feel most alert and focused? When do I tend to get tired or have more trouble focusing on more complex/creative tasks?
- Where in my schedule would it be most beneficial to have breaks? What should my breaks look like (taking a walk, meditating, stretching…)?
- What tends to distract or pull me off task? Is there anything I can do to avoid or better manage those distractions?
- Where am I most productive? How can I set myself up for success with my work environment (consider lighting, noise, decor, how you sit/stand at your desk and so on).
Put together a first draft of your ideal week and try it out. Stick with it for at least a couple of weeks before you decide something needs to change (change often causes discomfort, so give yourself a chance to adapt). Then, don’t hesitate to make adjustments if something isn’t working or your needs change.
Remember, this is YOUR ideal week, not your boss’s, partner’s, kid’s, etc. It won’t always be perfect or easy, but it should be in alignment with your natural flow. Following your routine should give you a sense of security and freedom. *Queue deep sigh of relief… ahhhhhh.*
2. Take a “less but better” approach to your to-dos.
In our quest for productivity, we often end up piling more onto our plates before we’re able to metabolize what’s already there. Tell me if this sounds familiar: One day, you get a lot done and feel great about yourself. The next day, your list barely budges and you feel sucky. I think we’ve all been there.
Or maybe this scenario sounds more like you: If you have three things to do and you manage to accomplish them all, you feel awesome and do a happy dance. But if you have 15 things and only get those same three done, you feel like a bum who can barely make a dent.
You’re not the problem here, toots—it’s your to-do list. Forcing constant accomplishment is like expecting yourself to be an assembly line. So let’s talk about how to be more productive with a less but better mindset.
This practice is based on a concept from Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (which I highly recommend, by the way… it changed my life!). He talks about doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution.
Keep your to-do list short and sweet, it’s that simple! Rather than loading it up with a mess of tasks you can’t possibly complete, focus on the stuff that really matters and moves the needle on your Big Sky Goals. A more manageable list = less stress = more energy for productivity in the areas you care about!
A less but better approach is about aiming for the big wins that create a domino effect in all areas of your life and/or business.
And if you need some help getting your priorities straight, you’re gonna love my new ebook…
Do you have dreams you want to explore (hobbies, side hustles, going back to school…), but can’t seem to find the time or headspace?
Do you have a full-fledged business idea that sets your soul on fire, but you think it’s too risky, too hard, too far out of reach?
Or do you already have a business, but you feel stuck and don’t know how to reach your ultimate potential?
If any of these sound familiar, you’re going to LOVE my new ebook, How to Build Your Business without Burning Out: 10 Keys for Avoiding the Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Make. And you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to benefit from it—this resource is for anyone with an idea they want to pursue (no matter how big or how small) while balancing a day job, family commitments and staying well.
This free ebook covers the most critical lessons I’ve learned during my 15+ years of owning and operating a thriving business, including…
- How to overcome fear of failure so you can finally take the leap and start the business or project you’ve been dreaming about.
- What to focus on in the morning so you can prioritize the work that actually impacts your bottom line (and sideline the tasks that don’t!).
- How to grow your audience and customer base without breaking your back OR the bank by understanding what they really want and need.
Do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes. The world needs you to share your magic… I can’t wait to see you shine even brighter than you already do!