Who’s not busy? If you are like most people, we wake up to crammed calendars and a million things. As a Silicon Valley Lawyer/father/husband/writer, I am sharing my top 10 productivity tips that help get things done.
First, Write It Down. Every task and commitment should be written down, getting every engagement out of your head and into a trusted system.
Louis Lehot shares in an interview with Ideamensch, “As a lawyer for technology, life science, real estate, clean energy and innovation clients, I have to be constantly thinking of how to integrate and leverage new and better technology to do more for less, faster and smarter.”
You can use a fancy app (think Evernote, Asana or your Microsoft Outlook) to capture these commitments, but you can start with a simple pen and paper.
The Most Dreaded Task: Each of us has one or more tasks on our to-do list that we dread doing. It may be an unpleasant phone call you don’t want to make or that memo you’ve been putting off writing. Whatever it is, it keeps getting pushed, and then your week gets overwhelming. End that cycle. Do it first thing instead of doing the easy ones. Do the tough tasks first.
Silence Distractions: Distractions such as emails and phone calls, are one of the primary productivity killers. While technology should make our lives easier, it can also make it virtually impossible to maintain the kind of focused attention necessary to work efficiently. Control that technology. When you’ve got a critical task, turn off the ringer on your iPhone, silence your email alerts, and close your office door for that hour or thirty minutes.
Take Breaks: No matter how busy you are, after a certain amount of time, fatigue will begin to impair your effectiveness. Periodic breaks, even during the most hectic days, can help a lot. A simple stretch, walk around the block will help you be both mentally and physically which in turn leads to, more productivity.
Delegate: Many people hate to ask for help. It often seems more trouble to explain a task to someone else than just to do it. But not everything must be done by you. Evaluate that to-do list carefully. What jobs could someone else do, thereby freeing you up to focus on the things? Doing only the things you can and allowing somebody else to contribute by doing those other tasks.
Say No: “No” is a complete sentence. Practice saying it. Saying ‘no’ helps you stay productive and focused on the things that matter most. It’s true, you can’t be productive if you agree on too many commitments. Requests for your time are coming from all directions. The continues phone calls and emails make staying productive difficult. It is important to learn the Art of Saying No.
Set Boundaries: Boundaries are important to having and keeping healthy relationships. A strong sense of self-esteem and having a healthy life go hand in hand. Know what you won’t accept then do tolerate it in your life. Identify where you continue to over give or always say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’, you will suffer.
Nourish Your Mind: I try to start my day with guided meditation, gratitude, and forgiveness practices. “I use apps like Omvana on my phone. I embrace technology-based solutions, and I love finding new “hacks” to enable growth.” Amplifying positive thoughts, expressing thanks, counting blessings, and removing negative charges through forgiveness, helps me stay focused on the present. Indulge your mind in learning something new! Humans need to use their full cognitive capacity. Growing, evolving and learning is a major player to us feeling energized and present.
Think about taking a class or online or read a new book. Personally, I am a huge fan of videoblogs in addition to podcasts for communicating on legal, business and leadership topics. Earlier this year, I started my YouTube video blog series #AskASilcionValleyLawyer.
Nourish Your Body: On weekends, I make superfood green veggie smoothies with my daughter to ensure healthy nutrition when starting each day. “My favorite ingredients are spinach, leafy green and rainbow chard, avocado, celery and a pinch of ginger. I try and eat fresh foods, with plenty of vegetables, avoid sugar, processed foods, and minimize alcohol, a challenge for wine lovers. While I consume copious amounts of expresso coffee throughout the morning, I try and balance the caffeine with at least a liter of water per day to stay hydrated.”
Make Time for What’s Important: It’s full speed ahead with getting the kids to school and into the office. Remote work is here and here to stay and will be an increasing trend with the need for social distancing. Still, I value face-to-face communication with teammates with clients and sets meetings with clients and team members where possible between 9 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 5 pm. “I prioritize going out of the office several times a week to attend events, host meals, and visit with those in my network that I admire. It’s essential to be seen by clients, and they appreciate my emphasis on communication, ensuring that they stay abreast of the issues that matter. In the pandemic, that is translated into socially distanced walks, and video and group call.”
Get Some Rest: Getting to bed at regular times and consistently affording yourself a full night’s sleep isn’t always easy, but striving for the very same is a vital part of the balancing act.
Be Thankful: When confronted with negative thoughts and anxieties, thanking the universe for the many opportunities afforded and blessings received bits of help. This commitment to gratitude helps overcome the inevitable challenges that will be encountered. Life is short. Success is leased and feels that rent is due every day. Staying present is the key to being productive.
Be Nice to Yourself: Be patient, kind, and understanding to yourself. Treat yourself like a close friend, someone you love. You are doing more than enough. Find the time to give to yourself and allow yourself to take in a lot more compassion. You are doing a worth it –tell yourself that.