How to be more productive and work fewer hours.

How to be more productive and work fewer hours, for creative rebels and business owners. >> violetanedkova.com

hey, this is no clickbait... 

I just wanted to share my progress from procrastination and distraction to productive and getting sh*t done. Seeing as we all struggle to get things done and not lose our minds in the process (did you know that hustling is bad for you), I thought this could be helpful for all of us to reflect on.

Don't get me wrong, I still struggle, always will, but progress matters. Even if it's just small progress, that's much more than many people get.

You can’t be perfect all the time, so don’t try to be. Give yourself some slack and do the best you can.

So let me share my 3-step Plan to Progress & Productivity with ya. :)

Step 1: Make a list of the things that NEED to happen.

Not the things you *want* to be working on, but the other things.

You know... sometimes you'll be tempted to do all the fun things and put off the things you don't feel like doing. Nobody feels like doing email or admin work, ever. Which is why we put it off and put it off until ...

Ironically, the most important, foundational things get put off.

This pretty much means you have a list somewhere, a list of the things that absolutely need to get done, for your business to be successful and sustainable, or you know, for your side projects to be successful and sustainable, or you know, for your freelance career to be successful and sustainable.

Whatever you're running, you gotta start running it smartly.

Now I'm gonna ask you to make a LIST of all the things you've been putting off, the things that absolutely NEED to get done. Like, now...

Here's what my list looks like:

Pretty scary, right? There are hours and days and even weeks and months of work on that list, but I am chipping at it because what I'm running is a balance between have-to and want-to. Every job has its "shit sandwiches."

You gotta do the boring parts, too. And you gotta eat those sandwiches.

Step 2: Do an hour or two of deep work every day.

Now that you have your LIST, I want you to start chipping away at it. But don't just go haphazardly or a few minutes here and there. No, I want you to do one or two hours of DEEP WORK every day. (Except weekends maybe.)

That means absolutely no distractions and no stopping. 

That means deciding on what you're going to do/accomplish for that time, and not stopping until you've done it or at least you have done most of it.

That means no social media, no checking your email, no netflix, nothing.

I usually do 1 or 2 hours somewhere between 1 pm and 5 pm, which are my "official office hours," and believe you me, you don't need to work more than that every day, as long as you're working on the right things and not just what you feel like working on. Focused work is way better than working 24/7. And since it's focused, you're not wasting any time on things that don't need doing.

Have you noticed how much you do and how little you get DONE sometimes? That’s because your attention is scattered on so many things, you don’t even know what’s a priority.

Don't fall into the trap of busyness. Get quality work done.

The best benefit of this strategy is that you get some extra free time in your days since you're not hustling 24/7 anymore. And lately I have noticed that getting this down time in my schedule has made all the difference. If all you do is work, all you get is burnout. Having this boundary between pure pleasure and pure work will make your days more satisfying and your life well-rounded. 

I'm sleeping much better now and I have time to read fiction again. And I even have a day or two completely free of work. How crazy is that?!

The other benefit of this strategy is that it forces you to slow down. I know you're always on the go and you want results right NOW, but what really matters is whether or not you've done the essential. The rest pales in comparison.

So forget about instant gratification, your work isn't going anywhere, and if you're gonna be your own boss, be a good one, and a smart one.

Step 3: Hold yourself accountable to someone. 

For me that has been the magic ingredient.

Because I am SUCH a rebel that deadlines don't work. Even sharing my plans on social media doesn't work. Putting things on my deadline doesn't work... scheduling my days doesn't work... NOTHING WORKS.

It's funny how not funny this is...

But when you hit a wall that is so destructive to your progress and your projects, you have to learn how to go around it. Right?

So I went around it. I worked with what I had, and what I had was friends. Friends who were going through the same struggles. Friends who had similar goals. Friends who needed to be accountable to someone, too. Building a circle of "accountability buddies" worked way better than anything I had done for my productivity in the past. That doesn't go to say it'll do the same for you, but maybe it will give you some ideas. Some actionable ideas. 

(And maybe you have found another way to get things done that has to do with accountability, like mastermind groups. Stick with whatever works for you. I personally did not find masterminds to work for me.)

Here are some things you can do with your accountability buddies:

  • you can talk every week to share the progress you'd made and to even set goals for next week and check if those were done
  • you can give each other feedback on your projects, etc.
  • you can schedule the deep work hours I mentioned and do the same - set a goal for the hours and then check at the end if you made it
  • you can think of different ways that would help you both make progress
  • you can do collaborations if it makes sense for both your brands

Whatever works for you. Maybe it's a buddy, or even a coach.

Good luck, make progress, and-

 

P.S.

Big hugs for my accountability buds Meg Kissack and Stephanie de Geus, without whom I'd be stuck in an endless cycle of procrastination.


 
 

Violeta Nedkova

Violeta Nedkova is a multipassionate marketer who loves helping people. She talks and writes about marketing with purpose and personality because it's so much better than traditional marketing.