Do you remember summer as a kid? Those lazy days running around with your friends outside playing, drinking lemonade, playing in the sprinkler, and blowing off all the responsibilities (i.e. chores) to run around the neighborhood and go to the pool.
Unfortunately, as adults, we rarely get the summer pleasures that we enjoyed in our childhood. For most of us, it is life as usual, except hotter. (Much hotter if you live in Texas like us!)
It’s like the sun comes out and I want to blow off work, go to the pool, and just relax. However, being my own boss means I am responsible for the outcomes of my client projects. #adulting
How can we be fair to ourselves (and have some fun) while keeping on top of work in the summertime?
Let me share some of my tricks with you and hopefully, these will help keep you focused and motivated the rest of the summer so you can go into fall feeling like a total winner.
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Work in blocks
I know this sounds silly but science shows that if you work in smaller chunks of time it will make you more productive overall.
By working this way you are training your brain to be highly efficient and output the best possible work in a short amount of time. One of the methods I have used to increase my productivity is the Pomodoro Technique.
The basic premise is to set a timer for 20 minutes and work on one singular focused task in that timeframe. When you do this you are allowing your brain to zone in on that one task, allowing it to be as efficient as possible. This method has done wonders for my personal productivity. I like to use the small 20 minute intervals as “batches of time” to knock out something that feels overwhelming or time-consuming.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
When we have a huge workload the temptation is always to try and sit down for longer periods of time to knock out bigger parts of the project. Unfortunately, this is exactly the opposite of how our brains work. Most people work more efficiently when they work on one task at a time, focused singularly on that thing.
Because of this, we often schedule large chunks of time where we don’t actually get to go out and do anything fun. My theory is that if we give ourselves rewards and goals we will be more likely to follow through with a rigid time schedule that will allow us more fun in our lives.
By getting outside to walk your dog, playing Monopoly with your kid, hanging out with a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time, or just taking time to read that book that you’ve been saying you would read, you are giving yourself permission to live life while still adhering to client deadlines.
Doing this can also help with your motivation. When you only do one task without taking a break you will find yourself getting depressed when you don’t see the results as quickly as you want. Our brains get bored too and they need a break.
However, if you take a break and refresh your brain you’ll be more creative and more productive. This can also lead to you having a great experience in life and leaving yourself open for balance and a positive mindset that will help you accomplish more in the end.
PRO TIP: Setting boundaries around when you reply to requests or get on social media will go a long way to increasing focus and productivity. It is hard but so worth it.
Choose your Big 3
This goes along with my tip in point #1. Basically, the premise is to pick the biggest 3 things that need your attention and tackle those 3 at the start of your day. I first learned about this method from a friend that had read the book “Eat That Frog”, which stated that anything that is difficult or something you are not looking forward to doing should be done in the morning. This is our most highly productive time of the day and it will help us to start off winning. This also allows your brain to remain focused on a task for a specific period of time until completion and when you are finished you feel more accomplished.
The temptation here will be to choose 3 super unrealistic and lofty goals like “solve world hunger”. #beentherredonethat 😳
However, if you can break your big 3 down into something smaller like, “create a script for my promo video” or “plan my next sales email” not only will you actually get your big 3 done, but you will also be able to actually feel like a winner.
Half of the battle you are going to face as an online entrepreneur is making time and space for creativity. If you get the hard stuff out of the way each day, you will find that creativity naturally flows from you and you will feel more productive and less behind the curve overall.
PRO TIP: If you fall behind on a specific project, focus on that one project for a whole workday. Most of the time you can move that project to about 85% completion in a single day and give yourself a huge win.