One of my favorite reads is Inc. magazine (no compensation for this post), whether in hard copy or online. The content is relevant, entertaining, and realistic. Even my husband, who is more science-focused than business-oriented, enjoys when the issues arrive each month. In a recent issue, there was an article that highlighted eight entrepreneurs and how they spend their days. Time management and energy management are subjects that intrigue me because there are only so many hours in a day, and much I would like to accomplish.
The visuals provided great comparison between CEOs, and it was interesting assessing similarities and differences. I had a few takeaways from reading this article:
- If all of these high-powered entrepreneurs have time to dedicate to an hour of exercise each day, then it must become a priority for me! I always sleep better when I exercise, and it helps me to fuel better during the day as well as provide additional and better energy than too many cups of coffee. My mood is also always positive – the pride of completing a challenging workout, the endorphins flowing, and leading to better interaction with my colleagues.
- Commuting can take away more time than we realize in a day. It also saps important energy needed for other endeavors, whether it is for physical activity or family or pets or even pet projects. At one point in my career I was commuting, door-to-door, about three and a half hours each day. I was lonely because I had no time for friends, hated work because of the amount of time it took to get there and home, and was constantly exhausted. Life was not what I wanted it to be, or what I was capable of living out. Moving to Boston to be closer to work made a world of difference.
- Michelle Phan (Youtube star and Ipsy founder) leaves time for creative endeavors in her day. This is a reminder to keep that time in my schedule sacred. When the creativity comes to me in the day, I should keep a separate notebook to quickly scratch down the concept to spend more time exploring later. Sometimes my creativity is not art or writing, but “crazy ideas” I get excited about – my husband and two of my other best friends often have the pleasure of hearing them out. My enthusiasm for the ideas leads me to sharing them with these three, forcing me to better develop the concepts and address some questions they have. This dedicated time would allow me to explore more deeply my creative thoughts and how I can actually execute and implement.
- Cal Henderson’s (CEO of Slack) strategy of keeping a half hour open between meetings to stay on schedule is genius. I’ve sometimes had to do this myself, but to prevent someone from taking time for myself as time for their meeting (since we have viewable calendars throughout the company) I tend to block it off as busy. If I have work that needs a large chunk of time to work on, I’ll always block off a window as busy. It isn’t false because I will be busy, in a meeting with myself and my work!
- Most of the featured entrepreneurs, including the real estate expert Barbara Corcoran, have their own take on what I call ruthless prioritization. Like Ms. Corcoran, I love the satisfaction of crossing out my to-do list items on paper. I type my to do list and organize by project and who I am waiting on or responsible to. It is easy to move around and saves time against re-writing by hand each day.
- The criticism to the schedule of Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal was the phone addiction. While I bristle at any accusation of being addicted to my phone, since I can go hours without touching it, I am guilty of the check-email-immediately-upon-waking-syndrome. This is a bad habit I’ve become more conscious of and working (most days) successfully holding off on reading email or Twitter or Pinterest until I am on the train.
- Rebecca Minkoff’s (leader of the self-titled brand) schedule gained kudos for taking advantage of lunch time for personal needs, like a hair or nail appointment. I like this concept of “taking back lunch” as a pleasurable break. Getting away from the desk, and the office, can be refreshing. I’ve started carrying socks and sneakers to work each day in case my shoe choice is not conducive to walking Boston’s brick and cobblestone sidewalks. This action makes it easier to get away from my desk and out of the building for an energizing activity with exposure to sunshine and good vibes. Trips to Macy’s and DSW for needed errands also have occurred at lunch, and reduce my stress during limited evening times.
I’m fortunate to have employment and a boss that allow me some of the opportunities above – the focus on maintaining a balance and staying stress free help me to produce work that is valuable to my colleagues and organization. The little hacks above allow me opportunity to work smarter instead of longer. I like working with intensity – my FitBit reminds me every hour to take some steps, and it is an opportunity to refresh instead of grinding to exhaustion. Who can ever produce good work while exhausted?!
What are your tips and tricks for staying productive? How do you make having only 24 hours in a day work for you?