Career 18 November 2016
I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret today. I know that this blog mentions my productivity secrets in the title, but the real secret is that it’s really hard for me to be productive a lot of the time. I love my work and it totally energizes me. But there are parts of it that I have to power through. The thing is, while being an entrepreneur is amazing because you can create your own schedule and work at your own pace, it can also be a curse.
We are responsible for our own structured time and the key to working alone is intentionally putting those structures in place so that you always know what tricks to use to keep yourself focused. It’s really easy to wake up and get an invite to something fun when you’ve planned a day of work and think, Oh I’m an entrepreneur, I’m my own boss. I can get that work done tomorrow. I deserve a day of fun. But this is a slippery slope.
Here are three ways I set myself up for success every week. They’re super simple, but incredibly effective.
Schedule non-negotiable time when you’re working on certain projects and tasks.
It’s so easy to get distracted with the emails piling in your inbox or the likes you’ve gotten on social media. I’ve been a victim of this many times, so I always block out 2 straight hours with no emails, no phone, and definitely no social media. I’ve found that when I focus, it’s usually 10x easier to get something done. Being scattered and all over the place is a sure fire way to fail. So make sure your have set aside the time to focus focus focus.
Get an accountability partner.
Chances are you have at least one friend who is in the exact same position as you. They have a ton of work to do, a deep desire to be productive, and are struggling to get through their to do list. I find it incredibly motivating when I partner up with someone; we motivate and refocus each other on what’s really important.
It almost becomes a game, where you’re both competing with yourself and motivated to support the other person along the way. You can do this easily through frequent text messaging, daily email, or even scheduled meet ups. Make it fun. You’re an entrepreneur because you want to be, remember?
Take breaks when you truly need them (especially when you find nothing is coming together).
This is my favorite one. I love taking breaks. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really owned that my focus and attention doesn’t go much longer than 2 hours at a time (My editor Blair has learned this same thing about me). I think this is pretty typical for most people. You start to hit a wall after a while and you can just tell that your brain needs a break. For each person, that break will look different. For me, it’s going for a walk to get coffee. Other times it’s watching Ellen. And then oftentimes, I just need to call a good friend and talk about nothing for a few minutes. Find out what works for you and stop forcing yourself to be productive longer that your body is signalling you to be. There is power in honoring your truth.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist