“Productive” is one of the most overused buzzwords in business. We’re obsessed with being more productive (seriously, just google this article title and see how much comes up). The problem is that usually, we want to be more productive in order to just produce more.
As ladypreneurs, it can be easy to fall into the trap of the 24/7 startup cycle, of working all the time, of never feeling like we’re being productive enough. (Hint: if you feel this way, you probably are–and then some.)
This obsession with productivity defeats the purpose of a productivity hack. The purpose of a productivity “hack” is not to produce more but rather, to get better at what you’re producing so you actually have time to have coffee with a friend or read a comic. Put simply: improve the quality so you can cut back on the quantity.
Here are five tips to maximize your day and help with your work/life balance:
Make your to-do lists the night before, when you can think about the day ahead without feeling like you’re already playing catch up. That way, you can start your day with your list in hand. For the extra-organized, divide your list by time of day, type of task, or order of importance.
If you haven’t discovered this genius tool of organization, now is the time. Use it for personal business, shared projects, and–yes–even to-do lists.
Side note: Trello is also a great way to look back and see how far you’ve come. When you divide tasks into “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done” lists, it can be really rewarding to see the “Done” list stack up. For ladypreneurs who are constantly second-guessing how productive they are, this can be a handy mental check.
Feeling stuck? Take a break. Research shows that we work most productively in increments. Taking a break is literally good for you. Get up and walk around or grab a cup of coffee. If you’re in a private space, try stretching or doing a simple yoga inversion, like resting on your back with your legs up against a wall. Yoga instructors say that a thirty-second inversion can change your whole perspective on the day.
It’s hard to have a good idea on an empty stomach. Eating well is key to energized and efficient thinking. Afternoon snacks like bananas, berries, yogurt, and even dark chocolate all have major health benefits–and are delicious.
Women are socialized to be, well, sociable! For those of us who are people pleasers, learning to say no is one of the hardest lessons in life. However, saying no is absolutely key to increasing your productivity in the areas that matter most to you and your business. It will bring a new, utterly energizing freedom and confidence to both your business and your life.