To make these tips easier, remember I organized them in a helpful acronym: ENERGY. Productivity all comes down to harnessing your energy at its best. Here are some helpful ways I have found to do so.
Evenings and Sundays.
At the end of each day, I make a priority list for what I need to do the next day, and each Sunday, for what I need to do that week. This allows me to wake up in the morning and already have a jump-start on the world by knowing what I need to accomplish. Super critical to the success of this tip, however, is ensuring that your list is realistic. I usually organize my list into things that must be done, that I would like to get done and that should get done but likely won’t. Then, and this is most important, I block out the time on my calendar that it takes to actually do each of those things. Only those that t in the hours of the day end up on the nal list.
No email or phone notifications.
“Ding! Ding! Ding! No wonder we can’t get anything done! We live in a world of instant notifications of, well, basically everything. By turning off all notifications on your phone, and only checking your phone when you are ready to pay attention to the information in it, you can dramatically improve productivity by giving yourself the opportunity to focus. Contrary to popular belief, single-tasking is much more productive than multitasking and leads to better work product. Imagine trying to have a conversation with 10 friends at the same time—impossible! We are doing the same thing to ourselves at work.
Early and often.
Human beings love the feeling of accomplishment. Productivity leads to more productivity, so get yourself in the habit of accomplishing early and often. This begins when you wake up. Accomplish something right away. Make the bed? Yes! Complete a 30-minute workout? Awesome! Take the dog for a walk? Killing it! Then, throughout the day, make sure that in addition to your long-term projects, you are also celebrating and marking the short-term items as wins too. A great tip for keeping yourself going when you’re working on a big overwhelming project is breaking it down into smaller milestones, the completion of which will keep you going until the big finish.
Really hard stuff first.
We’ve all been there: There’s that thing you need to do that is just hanging over and casting a shadow over your entire day. It’s killing your productivity because it’s all you can think about when you’re working on other things. Do that thing first. This is also known as ‘eat the frog.
Get in the zone.
For each and every one of us, there is something we can do or experience that puts us in the happy place of ‘ ow’ where you feel strong and can really be your best. Even if that thing seems like a waste of time, taking the time out to do it will give you the energy you need for the rest of the day and pay for itself through what you achieve in the zone. Figure out what gets you into your zone, take the time out to do it and watch your productivity soar.
Sometimes when you are trying so hard to be productive, the thing you need most is a break. It can be a quick walk around the block, a FaceTime to a friend or switching gears entirely for the rest of the day. When you’re stuck or spinning your wheels, stopping and stepping away may be just what you need to keep going. I’ve often found that when I can’t push anymore, a good night’s sleep brings all the answers.
With her brother, Sheena Paul co-founded what is now one of Austin’s biggest real estate companies, World Class Capital Group, in 2007 before she graduated from college. At the age of 30, today's Woman to Watch, is now atop a private investment firm with approximately $1 billion in assets and more than 8 million square feet owned in 16 states. Read (or listen!) to her story by clicking here!