5 ways you can get sh*t done (without a gallon of coffee)

How to be more productive at work without driving yourself into the ground.

Time is the enemy of startups. Are you using it wisely? ⏰

As an entrepreneur, you're always racing the clock. 🏃You have to find more customers before you run out of cash. And yet, you can't create more time. Worse, too much work actually makes you less productive. You have an infinite amount of things to do and limited time to do it. Talk about caught between a rock and a hard place!

The 20% of advice that fuels 80% of our work 💪

As a startup and agency, we totally relate to the time crunch.

On a personal level, I struggle with being more productive all the time, and I’ve been fighting feelings of burnout for the past few months. Last Friday I was feeling the lowest I’ve felt in a long time. It’s a constant struggle but we’re still confident that there is a better way. 

Below is some of the advice that's given us the biggest bang for our buck, er, time. 

List your "must-dos." 📝

The items on your to-do list aren't equal; some are way more important than others, especially for today. Those are your "must-dos." DM yourself a list of these in Slack, write them down on paper, or use an app (I’ve been using Todoist lately). Then, structure your day around them.

It's really important you keep your “must-do” list short, specific, and realistic. You may be around work for 8+ hours a day, but it's unlikely you'll crank out more than 6 hours of work. That's the max most project managers allot per person, per day. And research shows 4 focused hours is more normal when it comes to creative work. That’s not only normal––it’s healthy! Don’t put pressure on yourself to accomplish a million things every day.

Be smart about what you tackle. Knock out your big, "must-do" priorities, then tackle your smaller to-dos. 

Eat a frog for breakfast. 🐸😝

One of your "must-dos" is worse than the others. Do that thing first. This is called eating the frog and it'll give you momentum, which is productivity superfood. Plus, it'll make your other tasks seem easier. Win-win! 

If you start your day by reading articles...well, that's usually what I'm still doing 2 hours later. 😬 

Okay fine, 4 hours later.

Keep one day meeting free. 📞

Have at least one meeting-free day a week and devote it to getting 💩done. 

This is super helpful because context switching sucks up a lot of your time. That's where you lose 15 minutes prepping for a meeting, 20 minutes wrapping up a meeting, and then 5-10 minutes settling into a different task. If you schedule a few meetings each day, you really obliterate how much you can focus. 

We care so much about fighting context switching, we made it the focus of one of our Key Results for this quarter.

Scale back notifications 🚨

It's hard to tune into a task. Especially if you're not pumped to do it. Notifications––also known as distractions––only make that harder. Here're some ideas on managing the big three:  

  • Email: Don't keep this open all day. Check it between spurts of focused work or pause your inbox if you need it open to do work. 
  • Phone: Turn off every nonessential notification. Better yet, hide your phone in another room when you need to focus. Research shows even having it in sight distracts you. Yikes! 😨I’ve started leaving mine in my backpack each day.
  • Slack: Use the do-not-disturb and snooze functions. Better yet, just turn it off. Go ahead. Right-click and select quit—now. It sounds scary but everyone will live, I promise. 

And for those of you thinking, "But what if my team needs me?" consider this flip side: "What if your team needs you to model good work habits?" Get some seriously productive work in and set a good example at the same time. Double win! 💥

Bonus email tip: Use Unroll.me to clean up your subscriptions. We'd love it if you kept us around though. ❤️

Take good care of yourself. 🤕

I know, this doesn't sound like a productivity hack. But it totally is. 

Sleepfoodstress...they all affect how much energy you have and what you can get done. It's really easy to forget about that and, say, cut back on sleep to crank out more work. You might have to do that sometimes (we've set crappy deadlines too 🙈) but it's a poor overall strategy.

And sometimes you need to give yourself permission to be unproductive. Take breaks and mental health days when you need them––your productivity will be better because you did. In fact, consider forcing yourself to take some time and hang out with friends, no work talk allowed. This is what finally snapped me out of the funk I was in Friday night.

What'd we miss?

What other tips would be on your 20% list? What's worked for you? Hit reply and let me know. One of our core values at Krit is "always be learning" and I'd love to learn from you this week. 

“We’ve gotten very good at making time for busywork and very bad at making time for our best work.” –– Jocelyn K. Glei 

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