It’s February, and it feels as if we’re finally settling into the new year. After coming back from a 17-day sabbatical at the beginning of the year, I felt a slight unease at getting back into the swing of things. Victor, our assistant, and I sat down to really hash out new systems, content ideas, new services and a new genre opening up in our studio.
As with all planning and undertaking new tasks and endeavors, we became overwhelmed, or more I did. I decided to switch things up to become more efficient and get things done with less stress and more fulfillment. These are our 5 hacks to be the most productive and get fulfillment from the day:
1. The key is in the morning routine. There are so many studies out there that talk about how people are much more successful in tackling their tasks based on their morning routine. I am a huge testament to that. As a creative, the last 3 to 4 years before 2016, there were so many things to accomplish to establish our business. From website designing, branding, managing our social media as well so many non-glamourous-behind the scene things required so much attention and management. Having been diagnosed with a learning disability in college, I always knew that I’m easily distracted and can often lose focus on the more significant task at hand when working. Maintaining a morning routine by waking up at the same time each day (maybe a little later on Sundays) then meditating and praying, to cooking breakfast and prepping lunch, answering emails, going on morning walk and run with my dogs, then getting ready for the rest of the day has been so good for me. Victor also attests to a difference in my mood (what mood? I often ask, whatever could you be talking about?). I’ve seen such difference in anxiety levels and being able to stop and redirect myself towards focus and goals throughout the day. Maintaining the same morning routine each day has created a solid foundation for the rest of the day.
2. Writing it down. With so many apps and websites available for task and project management, I can’t get over the old-school way of just putting it on paper. We have created a system via another app (which we’ll touch on later) that has helped alieve all the writing and focus on the priority tasks for that day. I use the Day Designer by Whitney English for the last 4 years to really hone in on my day. I make sure that each line that I write (no matter how big or small) aligns with my vision for the overall year. There have been studies that say that writing it down makes it more probable to occur. I think Oprah says this too.
3. Listening to audiobooks and podcasts in the self-improvement department. As someone who frequently works alone in a beautiful space, sometimes, just having lively voices talking about topics for the betterment of the self can be so fulfilling. I feel challenged to think differently, to open up my mind to a new experience and new perspective. Just hearing the dialogue makes me feel I’m third-wheeling those meetings. Sometimes, the content trickles down to my everyday conversations with friends and colleagues. I’ve recently been tuning into Super Soul Conversations by Oprah Winfrey and was so inspired by her interview with Amy Purdy about the power of Visualization. She lost her legs at 19 and has a profound view on living life. Hearing stories and content like this can help improve your outlook for the day.
4. Having office/studio hours allows for more fun! For the longest time, we didn’t know when to stop. We found ourselves working until 11 pm and sometimes longer and starting work right when waking up by answering emails on our phone. Our hearts are always to serve people, and we believed this myth that by making ourselves available 24/7 fulfills that intention. I realized I wasn’t helping my family, my friends and people who are near and dear to me and even myself. Being able to have hours and to honor those hours rain or shine will help us serve even better during that time. I stopped bringing work into my bedroom and started falling asleep even more soundly. Our hours may be flexible but our time is not.
5. Asana! We love this app! We’ve tried numerous of apps and have tried to make it work, probably spend hundreds of dollars on subscriptions but never quite could find one that could make everyone on our team entirely on board. The interface is so much more intuitive than what we see in others. The easy integrations to other applications are also very convenient. Look into our entry about the 5 apps we use here. We find that Asana keeps track of everything and when combined with my Day designer, extremely useful. I love the feeling of checking things off!
We’re happy to say that entering our 6th year of business has given us significant insight into the shifts we like to see for this year. Maybe this information is not new to you, or maybe you have other things that streamling things for your business administration. With a lot of trial and error, these are things that we can rely upon all year to be the best we can be for our clients and families.
What apps have been helping you? We’d love to know!