Whether you’re a savvy business owner, working professional, solopreneur or modern marketer we all share one thing in common – the proverbial ‘balancing act’ to success. This often entails the exhausting act of trying to accomplish several action items at the same time.
Every day we struggle with a multitude of tasks at any given time. The difficulty with multi-tasking is that inevitably something ends up suffering.
Sometimes it’s our household chores and less than glamorous meals. The laundry may pile up and our family may end up eating pizza and noodles a couple of extra nights a week. We have no choice but to just let some things go.
Best business productivity hacks for professionals
Health and wellness
Some things, on the other hand, like our physical health and wellness are often the first to go. We rationalize with ourselves that will double the extra effort tomorrow to make up for it when in truth we know that will not happen.
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Eating well is another area we tend to let go first. You end up rewarding yourself with some extra unhealthy treats and snacks late at night while working away. You do this as a reward or merely as a means to get through a few more items on your list for that day.
This only hurts us in the end as our brains need a number of essential nutrients for optimal functioning.
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Did you know that sugar can actually reduce productivity? That temporary boost of energy from foods made of refined sugar can actually be worse for you in the end. Sugar slows down your brain and makes you more easily distracted. Yikes! That’s the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.
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Get enough sleep
The other thing often to go is sleep. Although sleep feels like a waste of time for all of you savvy business owners, working professionals, solopreneurs and modern marketers. Sleep is essential to our health, productivity and survival.
Consider this informative infographic on how sleep and the lack of it can affect performance on the job.
Notice the positive in your day
According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review research suggests thinking positive about events throughout your day can be healthy. Stress levels declined during the day and even better the stress didn’t follow them home impacting other aspects of their life.
Further to the previous infographic on sleep deprivation, the Harvard study supports the simple act of thinking positively can improve sleep, alertness and mood. These positive emotions also spurred creativity and innovation which ultimately enhanced productivity.
Understand your psychological triggers
Many successful professionals understand their own psychological triggers. You know that feeling when you get into that ‘groove’? That mindset where everything seems to fall into place. You feel like you are producing 10 hours of work in 2 hours? When that happens its called flow and finding your flow is essential to your work and productivity.
What helps stimulate that flow are triggers. In particular, psychological triggers that we are conditioned to within ourselves according to Steven Kotler in his article 3 Psychological Strategies to Increased Productivity based on the research of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
These psychological triggers are unique to every person but according to researcher Mihaly he identified the most critical as:
- Clear goals
- Immediate feedback
- Challenge/skills ratio
What it comes down to is focus. When you hone in on it you’ve got it. What triggers have you found impact your flow and productivity?
Don’t check your email in the morning
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
In other words do the hardest thing first in the day. The biggest issue and lack of success in a day is lack of commitment or distraction. If you allow yourself to get caught up in emails you could derail your intentions for the entire day.
For most people your best work happens first thing in the morning. While many of us are connected more than we’ve ever been, the simple act of checking your email first thing in the day could be the worst thing you do.
Mark Twain’s quote while funny is right on the money. When you’ve got a plan and strategy in place the best thing you can do for yourself is tackle the hardest thing first thing in the morning. This would preferably be right after your morning exercise routine for the best chances of success.
Have a plan, strategy and know your why
You won’t be able to understand your psychological triggers, your focus or even your flow if you don’t have a plan or strategy in place first. Without the basic foundational pieces in place you will be working hard but not smart.
Knowing your ‘why’ with a plan in place allows you to work smarter and more strategically.
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For instance, in marketing if you don’t know your target audience and what visuals will trigger them then you might as well be throwing spaghetti against the wall.
You will want to create smart goals with a plan and strategy in place that will allow you to better prioritize your day. Building on that, you will also want to create a baseline in order to measure your success. This is essential before you can move forward with any tactical plan.
When we build marketing plans we always go back to the basics. Before you can create a call to action for others to follow you need to know what your call to action is.
Strategy planning often means making difficult decisions. Wouldn’t it be easier for you to make those decisions early on? The more time you’ve invested (wasted) the more challenging it will be to let the things go that are not supporting you in your why and your plan.
Create a schedule and set boundaries
In Arlene Dickenson’s book ‘All In’ she shares a number of her own personal tips and struggles with building a marketing business. While not everyone reading this blog post is an entrepreneur building a business, many of you are in management ‘running your own show’. There are differences but each comes with a high set of demands.
What I really enjoyed from reading Arlene’s book were her own personal stories she shared. She also shared those from other professionals in a common effort to survive and thrive in business.
She also shares the emotional struggles and demands that come with that level of responsibility. Sometimes the boundaries between work and personal often get blurred.
Many lessons and wonderful insights can be gained by reading her book. One of the big takeaways I got was ‘you need to run your own life and not let it run you’. Create a schedule, set those boundaries and stick to it as much as you can.
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Embrace productivity tools
To succeed in business in today’s day and age we must embrace technology to improve efficiency. If we do not, we run the risk of becoming outdated and obsolete.
For example I use tools like OneNote, Trello, Freshbooks, Hootsuite, Snooze tabs and Google Drive to help me stay productive in a day for a multitude of purposes. Among these I also use many more to help give me more of what I need to be as efficient and productive as I can in a day.
If you’re one of the lucky few who have it all figured it out definitely share some of your tips with us. We are always on the lookout for some of the best productivity hacks in the market.
Diana Davies-Harju, Partner, Marketing at InnovaMap
InnovaMap – we use the science of marketing to connect you with your target audience.
Contact us to learn more on how to start integrating techniques for engaging the brain into all your marketing strategies.