We all wish there was more time in a day – and let’s face it, whoever came up with the 24 hour plan was clearly never involved in a startup. For the past few weeks, as Rival IQ activity increased, I was at war with the clock.
The clock was winning.
However, I’m not one to succumb to defeat so easily! Nay, I was determined to fight back and find a way to regain control of my workday. After perusing the web for the best productivity hacks, I’ve found a combination of “best practices” that have made the past workweek less stressful and much more enjoyable. I encourage you all to take charge and give these productivity hacks a shot.
Plan Out Your Day
We’ve all experienced that feeling of doom that accompanies long to do lists and strict deadlines. Past Danielle would have spent time being anxious and flustered, resulting in even lower levels of productivity. The new and improved Danielle plans out her day down to the hour.
Here’s an example of what yesterday’s schedule looked like:
- 7 a.m.: Make/eat oatmeal, watch a few Youtube videos
- 8 a.m.: Edit companies
- 9 a.m.: Work on guest blog post
- 10 a.m.: Meet with Doc to work on metrics
- 11 a.m.: Work on metrics
- 12 p.m.: Make/eat lunch
- 1 p.m.: Fill Buffer for FB, Twitter, G+, and LI
- 2 p.m.: Edit companies
- 3 p.m.: Optometrist appointment
- 4 p.m.: Send/respond to emails
- 5 p.m.: Go to gym
- 6 p.m.: Make/eat dinner
- 7 p.m.: Edit companies
- 8 p.m.: Watch movie with Gabe
- 10 p.m.: Shower, read
- 11 p.m.: Go to sleep
By listing out a strict, hourly schedule for your day, you’ll be happy to see how relaxed and in charge you’ll feel. Simply seeing on paper that it’s humanly possible to accomplish all the tasks on your to do list eliminates most of that unnecessary anxiety. Additionally, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you actually have time to spend doing fun things you enjoy. Just be sure to stay on task, and to set realistic goals and timeframes to accomplish each task.
Schedule Times to Read Email
It’s easy to fall into the habit of compulsively checking emails. Whether it’s in between writing blog posts, or while you’re hanging out with friends, obsessively visiting your inbox is a killer to productivity and your social life.
Earlier this week, I had a mammoth of a blog post to write. I’d come to learn that checking my email always gets me off track and, in turn, makes the writing process way longer than it needs to be. With this in mind, I emailed the Rival IQ team to let them know I’d be offline for 3 hours, and to text me if anything was important. I like to call this being in airplane mode. My phone is off, my email is off, and my internet is off. I’m happy to say that I finished the post in record time. Success!
Work is important, but so is your social life. Don’t let email interfere with the time you set aside for your friends and family. Chances are an email that lands in your inbox isn’t a “ticking time bomb.” Give people the courtesy of undivided attention, your email will still be there when you get home.
Take a Break!
Back in college I was the queen of all nighters. Like most college students, I’d convinced myself that I worked best under pressure. I’d plow through my lecture notes, absorbing tons of information and feeling really positive about my progress. However, like clockwork, the second 3 am rolled around, I’d find myself reading and rereading the same paragraph of my unbelievably boring Microbiology book. I’d reach a breaking point and no matter how hard I’d try to push myself, nothing would stick.
The same can be said for a regular work day. There’s only so much your brain can handle. Sometimes not being productive for 10-20 minutes is the most productive decision you can make. Take breaks, refuel, stretch, go for a walk, hang out with your coworkers, and then dive right back in to where you left off. Learn to be OK with taking a break.
Now It’s Your Turn
I can honestly say that after trying these three “productivity hacks”, I’ve been more focused, more productive, and less stressed. I encourage all of you to try to incorporate some of the tips I’ve covered into your daily routine.
I’d love to know what helps you stay productive throughout the day. Let me know in the comments below!