10 Productivity Hacks for Freedom of Time at Work
"Do as little as necessary, not as much as possible. You can get almost everything wrong, if you get a few things right" -Tim Ferriss
I’ve always been a woman with a full life (And I resist using the word "busy"). More than one thing going on at once. I’m training for a world title Karate tournament, AND doing a full-time uni degree while working in my dream job. Travelling the world and exploring, AND running a business with a flowing, integrated schedule. Learning to surf, cook, develop properties, take care of my health, AND take my business to the next level by getting out of my comfort zone.
As a high performer, and being multi-passionate, I know it’s in having more than one focus, I can thrive. My paradoxic brain totally gets off on having more than one interest at a time. I can immerse myself in whatever I’m doing, and then when I need a break, immerse myself in something else exciting and keep my passion alive. But it’s no easy feat - and, done without a certain level of awareness, this lifestyle can easily lead to burnout. (And in the past, it has).
But over the past few years, I’ve managed to develop my own individual rhythm for living in a way that allows me to delve into all my passions in a nourishing way, and as I’ve shared this with my clients - whether they are high level corporate executives or women who run their own businesses - I’ve enjoyed watching them too, start owning their lives differently, and the effect it has on their overall happiness, and their performance at the task at hand.
Also, I’m not into multi-tasking, and I’m all for a good night’s sleep, every night. The Difference that makes the difference in productivity for high performers is not your ability to squeeze more in, but to work consciously, precisely, and mindfully.
In other words, your mindset is the big player.
Are you curious? Read on, and I’ll show you my secrets….
MY 10 FLUID TIME-HACKS
1. REST & MEDITATION
This is my highest priority, and makes the biggest difference to my entire day - and yet, it’s the one which gets the most resistance from those I share it with. I personally practise Transcendental Meditation, twice a day for 20 minutes. My uncle is a teacher, and I learnt how to do this during my time healing from Chronic Fatigue. 20 minutes of Meditation is like 2 hours of deep sleep - so you can imagine what kind of rested state you can create for yourself, as well as clarity, creativity, and energy from adding this practise to your day.
Rest, in my book, is an art. Back a few years ago I didn’t know what sitting still and doing nothing really felt like. It felt weird, sad, and uncomfortable to sit and do nothing. But today, I relish an opportunity to sit by myself, and stare at a wall. Just be. In fact, some my best ideas come when I don’t try to distract myself with exercise, or chores, reading, or anything, and I just sit and think. In fact, one of my great friends is a very successful businessman, and he once told me that even though it costs him $1000 to get his lawns mowed, he’s better off paying someone else to do it, and instead sitting and thinking - because in that time he can come up with a million dollar idea. How’s that for a new perspective!
IMPLEMENT: Even if you’ve never tried meditation before, set 2 alarms on your phone. One as a reminder after you wake up in the morning, to stop before you begin your busy day, and just be - even if it’s for 2 minutes. Take 3, big deep breaths. If that's all you manage, fine. Breathing connects you to your sense of aliveness. The second, at a time you know you can stick to consistently in the evening - perhaps it’s even in the car before you leave work, or before you enter your home at the end of the day. between work and evening time.
And as for rest, set your intention for one week, to allow yourself to sit, however uncomfortably, in any space you find yourself not needing to do anything. Don't pick up your phone and distract yourself with emails or social media, just sit and be. The some deep breaths, and over time, allow your imagination to wander. You may come up with some incredible ideas.
Your brain and body flows towards what it knows. Do you know you’re already really great at visualising? You do it unconsciously every single moment. In fact, where you are right now is exactly a result of your imagination, and visualisation. If you’ve ever felt anxious, it’s because you’re subconsciously visualising an outcome to go wrong, and feeling the feelings of it not going the way you want before the event has begun.
When you visualise something, your body doesn’t know the difference between weather you’re doing it, or just picturing it. The same neurons fire off in your body. So when you want to create a new reality for yourself, start visualising life, the way you want it. I like to practise visualisation multiple times a day, to start conditioning and programming myself to have the experiences I want, and to feel the way I want to feel. It changes up the way I show up in my meeting, coaching sessions, and when I'm inviting people in to my world.
IMPLEMENT: Before you start your meeting, picture yourself going in there and aceing it. Visualise yourself at the start of your day going through the day with ease, and showing up however you want to feel - everything going perfectly. Notice if there are any points in your visualisation you’re having trouble getting it “right”, and keep going with it slowly until you can picture the scenario going the way you want. Before you go to sleep at night, take a moment to breathe deep, and connect to something inspirational you'd like to attain - even if you think it's impossible. Allow yourself to feel the rush of feelings of having it wash over you. Practise makes perfect.
3. DINE WELL
You are what you eat. When you fuel your body with healthy, sustainability-inducing foods, and drink plenty of water, you naturally, and easily have more energy, vitality and clarity.
IMPLEMENT: Pre-plan what you are going to eat either a day, or a week before, and be prepared. Shopping while hungry and tired is not a great idea, nor is taking your lunch break late with no idea of what you’re going to eat. Scope out healthy lunch and dinner restaurants around your home and work, and know where you can go at a moments notice if you weren’t able to plan accordingly.
Take a sexy water bottle with you everywhere, and have it ready to go. You don;t always have to drink out of it - you can pour it into a glass at your destination, but keeping yourself hydrated keeps you alert and happy.
4. BRING THE PLEASURE
Sometimes when I don’t feel like working and I have a deadline, instead of pushing through I take a moment and ask myself what would make it more pleasurable. I’m not going to ditch what I said I was going to do, but if I’m not feeling’ it - it’s my responsibility to get it done and pour as much love into my work as I can.
IMPLEMENT: Simply ask yourself, how can I make this task more pleasurable? Listen to some music, or change up your playlist, go somewhere new and do it if you can, switch up inside for outside, or vice versa, clean up your desk, pop some flowers and a candle on, promise yourself an awesome reward for finishing afterwards, or wear some lipstick and dress nice.
5. PRESENCE PRACTISE
Remember my friend I told you about earlier, and his million dollar ideas? I would say this guy is an expert at being present. When it’s time to think, think. When it’s time to mow the lawn, mow the lawn and do a great job of it. When it’s time to work, switch everything off and work. Presence isn’t doing one thing at a time, it’s also thinking one thing at a time.
Being mindful and present opens up so much energy to fulfil your tasks to your best ability, and allows you to deepen your skills as you go - because when you’re present, you’re highly aware of more detail within the task, and able to get things done within a state of non-distracted flow.
IMPLEMENT: Try this. When you’re reading emails, read emails. When you’re working on a report, turn off everything else, and work on it. When you’re cleaning, clean. And along with one of my earlier tips, when you’re not doing anything, Do nothing. Allow yourself to fully feel the effects of your body twisting open and living in alignment with simplicity and focus.
6. USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Be a master of your tools. Technology is a wonderful thing when used correctly, and to allow of more automation, and flow. It’s when we twist our behaviours to align with new technology we experience that feeling of being trapped and snowed under.
There are 2 apps that I do not go without recommending to people I care about who want to understand what being organised and present truly looks and feels like. But these are specifically useful for me, and what I am here to do. I'm sharing them with you in case you're curious.
1. Self-Timer App - a pomodoro technique where you can set a timer to deliberately stay focused on one task at a time, with timed breaks.
2. Omnifocus. This app is for mac users, and is based on a modern-day appropriation of the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Within the app you can brainstorm, and organise projects into action steps, length of time taken, starting dates and due dates, and you can even repeat tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. I put everything in here, and sync it up to my computer and iPhone. Including my grocery list.
IMPLEMENT: You don’t have to go out and get yourself new technology. My point here is to ask yourself what you do on a daily basis and start getting curious, and exploring ways you might be able to automate this, or make it a little easier, using technology.
7. SCHEDULE LIKE A PRO
One of my mentors Marie Forleo says “If it’s not scheduled, it’s not Real.” and I love this quote. Mastering your schedule will change your life.
Often we don’t give ourselves time to rest in our schedule. We don’t block out holidays, we aren't specific with what we are doing with our time in each allocated allotment, and we don’t break our tasks down into small enough chunks to digest.
Combining my love for Omnifocus, using my Digital Calendar, and pre-deciding how I’m going to map out my days and the way I pulse bursts of work with rest, I have specific time allotments to get things done in a day. My tasks are broken down into how long they will take and in what order they need to be done in Omnifocus (my project organisation tool of choice), and then I simply schedule in which tasks need doing first right into my calendar, within the periods of time I have chosen to work. Sometimes things take longer than I originally expect - but they get done, and they get done well, and at the end of the project - I'm rested and ready for the next one. Winning.
IMPLEMENT: Weather you have your own business (and therefore control of your schedule) or not, you can learn to schedule your days in order of priority. Perhaps your entire day at work is devoted to work, but around this, your can prioritise (in your schedule), rest time, exercise time, and social time, and block it out to make it happen in book-ends before and after work. Your happiness outside of your work will completely elevate your performance.
8. UPGRADE YOUR BELIEFS ABOUT TIME
Your beliefs about the world dictate your entire experience of life. If you find yourself consistently saying things like “I don’t have enough time”, or “I’m never going to get this all done” and combining that with a feeling of overwhelm or anxiety, I promise you - the experience will suck, and feel tight.
Did you know you can warp time with your intention? You’ve heard the saying ”time flies when you’re having fun", right? Well, when your mental bandwidth isn’t partially taken up by a feeling of strain and a script running in the background about not having enough time, you have more dedicated focus on what you’re doing, because you’re more fully present.
Most of the time these scripts are so unconscious we have no idea we’re even running them. If you have negative feelings while you’re completing your tasks however, it’s a tell-tale sign you’re running a script that isn’t serving you in this moment.
IMPLEMENT: Contrary to popular belief, if you want to slow down time and get more done, you yourself have to slow down. Practise deep-breathing, and becoming present, and slowly doing all of your tasks with a bit of grace and ease. Watch how much more you get done, and how much more enjoyable it is.
To help you with this, Start affirming and backing yourself through the day with phrases like, "I’ve got this covered”, “There’s always plenty of time to do the things that are important”, and, my favourite, “I always have more time than I need”.
If you want help with this, or you have no idea what the scripts you’re running are, get in touch with me and let’s have a discussion to see if The Fierce Salon is a fit for you. (I promise you it will change your life).
9. PRIORITISE & RE-PRIORITISE
With an abundant ease of distraction, developing a habit of always remembering was is most important to you can not only salvage your productivity efforts, but re-ignite your relationships, your creativity, and your sense of playfulness. Which always in turn elevates your performance.
"What’s most important right now?" and "What do I need right now?” are two frequently asked questions as I pulse through my day. Sometimes it means changing up where I’m working, taking a break to have a cuppa, or changing the order of a task and getting what’s most important to done.
IMPLEMENT: Take a moment to ask yourself what your highest values are in life,and even put them in order. Knowing this will help you to prioritise your life outside of work. Then, while you’re working, keep a post-it-note on or beside your desk with the top 1-3 things you’re working on that day - and make sure you’re consistently circling back to keeping your priorities front of mind.
10. LEARN TO SAY "NO"
In her book “The top 5 Regrets of the Dying", my local Byron friend Bronnie Ware shares her experience of what she learned caring for people who are at the end of their days, on their death beds.
Their top regret?
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself. Not the life others expected of me."
No matter what you believe about what happens to you after you pass on, there is nothing truer than the reality we face at the end of our days, that physically in this world, our time is limited.
Stop living your life on someone else's terms. Nobody else is going to give you permission to go for what you want, and create the life you deserve. The world owes you nothing. It's entirely up to you.
Learning to say no, means you'e also learning to say yes to you. This can save your entire life. Start doing it now.
Now, it’s time to take some action. If you’ve taken the time to read this article, you’re ready to start living with a bit more flow and energy. So lets get it happening for you. Tell me in the comments below, which one of these hacks resonated with you the most? Then, let me know which one (just one), you’re going to start with today.
I can’t wait to see what a difference this makes for you.