We all know time is money. Whether you are making boss moves up the career ladder or running things as an entrepreneur, money directly corresponds with sustainability. Everyone's gotta eat and a relentless grind is the way to get there (because we all know how hard Black folks have to work). Add other life responsibilities and the expression 'hustle never sleeps' becomes all too real. However you are making it happen, here are three strategies to shift and elevate your productivity.
Strategy #1: Reframe your thinking
When it comes to approach task or time management, the first thing to do is reframe your thinking and language. If you've ever looked at your daily or weekly t0-do list and thought that multitasking was the answer, think again.
Studies have shown that active thinking and actual doing do not happen effectively when trying to balance focused attention in more than one area. For example, how attentive are you if you are on the phone while cooking dinner? While you aren't necessarily neglecting either task, neither is receiving 100 percent of your attention. Attempting to multitask not only decreases focus, it causes stress to the brain.
An article at Psychology Today breaks it down further. Just as our elders would remind us, focus on one thing at a time.
Productivity management then becomes more of an exercise in choice management or control response. New scenarios arise all the time that require a change in practice or complete pivot (hello, pandemic response!), so the choice isn't about neglecting tasks as it is assessing priority in the scheme of long-term survival. Even in less uncertain times, choosing how you'll prioritize as well as what you prioritize makes a difference in the way work flows. Considering the 'how' involves strategy and a deeper level of control.
Let's take tasks for entrepreneurs such as branding or business development as an example. These are key functions to advance the business. However, trying to work on both simultaneously can immediately lead to frustration or mental burnout, particularly if work time is limited. Rather than thinking about which task to complete (one versus the other), you may want to consider devoting a dedicated block of time toward brand management and another timeframe on partnership development, creating efficiencies when possible.
Which brings us to the next strategy...
Strategy #2: Automate or delegate with intention
It's 2020, y'all. One of the biggest wins over the last decade has been the advancement of technology. Everything from social media to email marketing to backend operations have been influenced by automation tools. You can now schedule most communications to actively show up for your brand while saving you precious time to perform the actual work.
If you have a team, automation does not mean replace, but it does mean streamlining tasks to leverage the talent and time available. Of course, the use of automation tools or team delegation does not mean to slack on the content. Tools are just that—mechanisms to aid and assist. The substance and flavor still need to be intentionally placed.
However, with time being freed up on some of the tactical elements, there is more time to intentionally engage with priority tasks. Marketing and branding are some of the easiest elements to automate and delegate. You can use a dedicated block of time to create content and then schedule posts across social media platforms to generate brand awareness and engagement with your client and consumer base.
Planning and scheduling tools can automate the timing of social media posts, perfect for posts across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—team or no team. Strategic streamlining while staying true to brand essence and uplifting yourself and the team? Winning!
Strategy #3: Balance is everything
Even with a boss mentality, it is easy to get overwhelmed when life and work come together. It is important to set boundaries, especially as society collectively adjusts to life post-pandemic. This is the time to get introspective. How do you work best and how do your teams and clients/customers and service population work? Do you have times of the day when you are at peak performance? How do these styles align with that of your partners and stakeholders? When you begin to ask questions to understand the interconnectedness of everyone involved with your work, the clarity will inform your productivity and prioritization strategy.
There are small practices, such as staying hydrated, eating healthy and meal planning, or incorporating at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day, that contribute to wellbeing. For productivity purposes, the Pomodoro Technique is a helpful tool that calls for using time available rather than being defeated or limited by time. In this system, the work is performed in intervals, such as 25 minutes, with a 5-minute break following and repeated again. Creating a natural start and end to focused workflow for the day is crucial in the quest for balance.
One thing that is critical to note is that burnout and the struggle to bounce back is real, particularly for Black professionals. While Mogul Millennial shares strategies to enhance productivity, we recognize the playing field is not even and there are unique challenges our community faces that cannot be minimized or generalized.
Ultimately, how you realize your goals is personal. Productivity and mindset management often go hand-in-hand, and there are many tools to help you level up. Everything you need to start is within.
You got this!