The first two years of getting our business off the ground was crazy! Every moment my eyes were open I was working, but inside, I knew I could not keep this up forever. Nor did I want too. I also knew that my family and friends could only handle so much of me “working all the time”. I knew I was doing this to spend more time with them, so why was I working more then ever before.
The first answer was, it takes a lot of time, determination and dedication to get a business up and running. This is so true!
But then at the two year mark my husband walked into our home office, it was about 9pm at night, he looked at me and said “I miss you.” My heart melted, my stomach knotted up and my shoulders hung low. With all the excitement of starting our business I lost touch with my one true love. Even though we were rooms apart, he missed me. I was ashamed, angry at myself and guilty of putting work before our marriage.
The truth was, we were up and running, so why was I still going going going. Each morning I began to say a prayer, “God help me to prioritize my life and work, help me to get organized and help me return to the reason I began all of this. Help me to spend more time with family, friends and live an amazing life.”
This prayer has led me to learn so many productivity tips over the years, which I have also shared with Brandon and he too implemented when he was in ministry. Below our some of our favorites.
- Block Schedule Baby: We used to make the dreaded “to-do-lists” and we would go into each day with the hope of getting it completed. However at the end of the day our “to-do-list” seemed to be longer rather then shorter. Then we learned about block scheduling. A block schedule simply means that you create several smaller to-do lists each day instead of one really long one… and then you tackle each of those smaller to-do lists during different “blocks” of time throughout the day. We plan out each week on a block.Here is a sample of what our block schedule looks like + one to download! BLOCK SCHEDULE
- Time Yourself: Studies show that only around 17 percent of us are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. Well… there is this awesome little app called Rescue Time, and this little bugger will letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps. Yep, no running or making excuses it keeps you honest. The reason why it is helpful is because you can use this app to keep your block schedule on track. It will also point out any areas you need to work on to keep you productive during your day. Like staying off social media. And if you find that you have a smart phone addiction there is an app for that called Break Free .
- Turn Off Those Annoying Notifications: No one can be expected to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification. We suggest turning off your notifications to break that addiction.
- Breaks – Break Me Off A Piece Of That Kit-Kat-Bar: I know it sounds counterproductive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve creativity, focus and performance. It will also help to relieve stress and bring more joy to your work day. We like to take the dogs for a walk during our breaks, reward our selves with chocolate or grab a hot tea or coffee.
- Multitasking Is A No No: Science has proven that none of us are good a multitasking, although we like to think so. Instead, commit to a single task before moving on to your next project.
- Set Specific Times to Answer Emails + Phone Calls: It is so easy to get caught up with answering emails or phone calls all day long and in the end getting no work done. What we found works best is starting the day off by responding to emails and return phone calls within a scheduled block of time. Once the time block is over we move on to the next task. We then set aside another time block just before the day is over to revisit any emails or phone calls.
- Intervals, Can I Get A What What: Researchers at Florida State University found that athletes, chess players, musicians, etc. whom work in intervals of no more than 60-90 minutes are more productive. Those who work 90 minutes-plus… not so much. Also, and this is a huge bonus, the top performing subjects tend to work only 4.5 hours per day. Sounds like heaven to us!
- Last But Biggest, Minimize Interruptions: We all have that friend who loves to call, text or pop in to “chat“! Chatty Cathy. Unfortunately this does drop productivity quite a bit. Minimizing this may mean having a heart to heart with Cathy. But in the long run you will get work done faster and then have uninterrupted quality time to give Cathy.
Today at 2:30pm on FB live via the group Faith + Work = Prosperity we will discuss these further and answers questions. See you there!