3 Business Hacks That Help Me Stay Productive

business

Productivity. Productivity. Productivity.

As entrepreneurs we are always looking for ways to be more productive and efficient in our work. Now, I’ve read a lot of books and articles on the subject and I can attest to the fact that increasing your productivity means minimizing and or removing distractions from your life.

Ha! Now consider the fact that most entrepreneurs deal with adhd and insomnia and you’ll understand my scoff a moment ago.

Nevertheless, successful entrepreneurs get more done! How? Over the last couple of weeks I’ve tried a few different techniques, apps and even modified my behavior. Here are 3 Hacks that help me operate as my most productive self:

Set a Timer

I heard on one of my fvaorite podcast The Mind Your Business Podcast  that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This is known as Parkinson’s Law. When I heard that I grabbed my calendar and started to assign time limits to the tasks I had set out for the week. This was tough at first because I had to develop the discipline to STOP tasks even if they were unfinished at the moment. I know, let’s all cringe together. However, after a few days (or weeks). I saw that by literally setting a timer, I would become more forced on completing the task. And guess what else, many times I completed the task before the time ended.

For example, I’d set aside 2 hours to schedule social media posts and an hour later I’d be finishing up. You see, it would take me 2 hours when I was unfocused, drinking tea, checking my phone, etc. But now, I plan accordingly, schedule my work and set my timers. I get more done in less time!

Turn off Notifications (e-mail, social media, calls, etc.)

I’m a chronic e-mail checker. I also hate to see that little red 1 on my phone or to see e-mails left unread and I always feel the need to respond immediately to texts. Yes, even when I’m driving (pray for me), even in meetings, even when I’m hard at work. But great news! I am breaking the habit.

Recently, very recently, in fact, like a week ago, I went into mky iPhone and changed my notifications settings. One day I posted a photo on instagram and my notification suddenly became LIT! My phone was ringing back to back letting me know that radtad99bad liked your photo and skinsosoftboss commented “cute”. This was also the day 9/10 of my Facebook friends decided to go live and share their lunch, makeup of the day and opinions on the election. Needless to say, I couldn’t get anything done nor could I put the phone done. I decided to change my settings.

I turned off notifications for all of my social media accounts including my e-mail and as a bonus, I logged out. This meant that in order to see what was happening I would have to go throught the tedious task of logging back in and checking things out.

I will say so far so good. I’d estimate I’d spend 2 hours out of my day checking socila media and responding to, reading or deleting e-mails. TWO FREAKING HOURS! I have now cut that down to about 20 minutes.

**BONUS TIP: When I am working on a project and need to concentrate I will put my phone on “do not disturb” so that any incoming calls are sent to voicemail. This is with the exception of my mother and my son’s school. Those calls always come straight through

Take Breaks

All work. No play. Whoever made that up is wack and probably had a miserable life. But that’s not our reality. Right? Staycations/Daycations are my new thing. So not only do I schedule breaks for myself just as I would if I had a regular 9-5. Every couple of weeks there’s time set aside for fun. This means NO WORK! Now this doesn’t have to be extravagant. For me this may mean binge reading a new book, shopping with a friend or trying a new restaurant. Breaks are essential because they allow us to recharge and refocus. As entrepreneurs we understand that we only eat what we kill and the pressure to perform and provide can haunt us. However, working nonstop could kill us. Take care of yourself and your health. Rest when needed.

Stay Gold!

brilliant ideas, MOMMY THOUGHTS, parenting

I caught a glimpse of my son today in usual form: aloof, mouth wide open, probably thinking about basketball. I immediately thought about how beautiful he was. You know, he looks like me, but lighter skinned. People have always said he’s my twin. But he’s different than me in so many ways.

We were driving home on our usual afternoon commute from West Oakland to South Richmond. Normally we’d be full of conversation, but today Apple Music serenaded us with hits from Janet Jackson radio. Among the jams were Michael’s “Beat It” and Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us”

Traffic was heavy and I found myself yawning constantly. I looked at my son who seemed to be doing the same. If I asked him what he was thinking about he’s probably bring up a 3rd down during some college football game from two years ago and explain to me what he would’ve done differently. (He loves sports btw). I laughed in my head imagining what our conversations would be like in years to come. We talk about everything from sports to God to gummy bears and homework. Our minds often wander. That we DO share in common.

I wanted to, in that moment, preserve his innocence so he could stay this free forever. I know that there’s a point in a young boy’s life when that ends and I am aware, that for young Black boys that day comes even sooner.

He’s not like most 8 year old’s whose eyes tell a story of tough times and mannerisms that demonstrate their eagerness to fight an invisible war. He’s carefree. Naive. Empathetic. Friendly. Curious. He’s my baby.

I ache, already, for that day when some little heffa breaks his heart or shit gets real and someone close to him dies; the day he realizes we live in the ghetto and that top ramen isn’t as fancy as I make it out to be. I’m cringing for the day he understands that being Black is both a badge of honor, and a target.

He understands now, as a child would. But one day he’ll be a man.

I looked at my son again and loved him harder. Loved him more because this world won’t. Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” was playing. And as I glanced back on the highway he says to me, “Mommy you’re my greatest love of all” and he meant it. Every word. I said “You’re my greatest love of all too!” and he felt it. I knew he felt every single word.

I know it is said that nothing gold can stay, but I’m hoping you are the exception.

My 2016 Book List

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I’m an avid reader. If you’ve been been following this blog or follow me on any of my social media accounts you knew this already. You also know that I constantly battle between quantity and quality when it comes to read. In 2013 I challenged myself to read a book a week and in 2015 I only completed 10 new reads. While my reading interests lead me to non-fiction texts, particularly those focused on business or self-improvement, I have been known to read a novel or two…or three.

In 2016 I took a different approach. I only read books that were directly recommended to me. I pillared through the list of over 200 texts that friends, colleagues and acquantices have offered as “life-changing” or “inspirational”. I compared that to books recommended from my favorite podcasts, blogs and thought-leaders.

Woooo!!! Exhausting.

Milestone: I’ve read over 40 books this year (even got a subscription to Audible.com and Amazon Prime to make reading on demand easier.)

These 8 books I consider to be essential to your growth and personal development as a human being on this planet. Read them all and read them again! Share them with friends. Blog about them. Thank the authors!

  1. The Year of Yes by Shondra Rhimes:Image result for the year of yes

     #Fact I’ve never seen any of the shows she’s produced. However, the advice in this book is clear: DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY TO SURPRISE YOURSELF. Push your limits beyond what you can imagine.

  2. Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

    Image result for between the world and me

    A crystal clear almost haunting depiction of what is means to be Black, woke and parenting in America.

  3. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison:Image result for god help the child toni morrison

    An amazing journey of self-love and discovering and the power to reinvent one’s self. Belle’s beauty, boldness and confidence shines through despite the emotional scars she tries to hide.

  4. Miss Jessies’s Creating a Successful Business From Scratch by Titi Branch and Miko Branch :Image result for miss jessie's book barnes and noble

    It’s more than a hair product, Miss Jessie’s  sparked a movement among women that has transformed the way we think about hair and business. This in-depth book not only tells the story of two entrepreneurial sisters, but gives real-world advice for the budding business owner.

  5. Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor:Image result for writing my wrongs by shaka senghor

    I, for some reason, read alot of texts by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men. While this one contains all the grim and ghastly details of prison life, it also tells the story of a man seeking to make amends with himself, his family and those he hurt. 

  6. The Power of Broke by Damon John:Image result for the power of broke

    A Shark Tank favorite, Damon John is well known for starting the urban clothing line FUBU. Since then, John has started and helped other start countless profitable businesses. Here, in this book, he calls on other business to share their experience in harnessing the power of broke to push past excuses right into their dreams.

  7. The Science of Self by Supreme Understanding and C’BS Alife Allah:Image result for the science of self by supreme understanding

    Know thyself. Learn the science. If you snoozed through all of your science classes or like me, attended them all wide awake and left confused then this book is for you! Free from all the academic clutter in textbooks, this books breaks down the science of who we are, why we are here and how we relate to one another.

  8. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy MorinImage result for 13 things mentally strong people don't do

    There’s power in saying no to things and recognizing what you don’t want. Morin helps the reader understand how breaking free of a few mentally draining bad habits can help us make sense of our life and get closer to what we actually want.