1. Create (and stick to) a morning routine
Most successful people have morning routines. Don’t believe me? Google it.
The time it takes doesn’t matter (Oprah once said sometimes her morning routine only takes her 30 seconds). What matters is the discipline of doing it, and getting in the right headspace to get your work done. Try testing out a couple of routines and see which one works best for you!
2. Only check your email ONCE per day
Yep. I dare you. I know, you couldn’t possibly only check it once per day. Trust me, you can. To make it easier, set up an autoresponder which will let people know what to expect when they email you. You can even tell them that they can call you if there is an emergency (though this option should not be abused).
Limiting your email intake and response to only once per day will free up tons of time and keep you focused on your work.
*Quick tip: after you’ve checked and responded to emails, close the window to prevent the temptation to check it again.*
3. Work in 45-minute sessions
The Pomodoro method is a brilliant way to work (in my opinion). Set your timer for 45 minutes. During that time you are only working on one task. After the 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break. Move on to another task or keep working on the previous task when you’re back from your 15 minute break.
4. Put your phone in another room
To truly get sh*t done, avoid the distractions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, text messages… the list of distractions goes on and on. Scheduling your phone time will help you get your work done and it’ll feel like a reward when you finally get to scroll through the ‘gram.
Best way to do this: put your phone on silent (or better yet, turn it off…but let’s not go crazy here) and in another room. During your 15 minute break (see Hack #3), feel free to watch as many screaming goat videos as you want. When the break is over, put it down and go back to work. It’ll be there in 45 minutes when it’s time for your next break, I promise.
5. Schedule Boredom
Have you ever had a brilliant idea in the shower or when you’ve been driving somewhere? It’s pretty common that great ideas come to us when our minds are clear and free from distractions. I tell my new business clients to make time every day to be bored (3-5 minutes) because we see incredible business ideas come from those scheduled bored moments. Scheduling boredom is just that: let yourself be bored, and see what great ideas pop into your head.
Note: this is not the same as your 15 minute breaks while working the Pomodoro method (though it can be). Most people look at their phones or eat a snack during those breaks. No phones should be near you when you’re being bored.
6. Set (and stick to) hard start and end times
People who work from home often think that because their home is their office and their office is their home they need to be working any time they are at home. Not true. Doing that is the fastest way to burn out. To avoid the temptation to work late (or get to work too early), have start and end times. Personally, I start work at 8:30 am, after I’ve done my morning routine. My body now knows that after meditation it’s time to work. I end my day at 4:30 pm, when I know my dogs need to go for a walk. When I’m back from walking the dogs I don’t go back to work. My workday is over and I can do whatever else I need or want to do.
7. Don’t try to do it all in one day
This relates to Hack #6, but it’s important to mention again: don’t work all day. It’s counteractive to your end goal of being successful because you’re more likely to get stressed, forget to eat, get sick, and then have to take more time off. You’ll be more productive in the long run if you don’t try to do it all in one day. In my opinion, you can only really do 3 things well per day. If your to-do list is 20 tasks deep you need to break it up into manageable pieces and get realistic with yourself instead of beating yourself up for not accomplishing a year’s worth of work in a day.
C0-Founder / Chief Happiness Officer
A recovering lawyer and trained happiness in the workplace coach, Sarah is Flauk’s resident business ma’am and money strategist.