There surely is no lack of productivity advice in the world. And particularly as an entrepreneur, productivity (or lack thereof) comes at an especially high price as you don’t have the luxury of steady cashflow in your company, a plethora of resources or even a regular income.
For years I have, as many of you, obsessed about this. I’ve read the books, followed the gurus, tried the tools — and yet, I don’t think it all made that much of a difference. And it is not just me. But one single (and simple) hack made all the difference for me…
The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second.
I am sure you have heard this before; but making sure I tackle my hard, creative work in the mornings made me many times more productive than I ever was before. Here’s how I personally implement this:
I do check email and Slack first thing in the morning. I know. Most of the advice you get states that this is evil and will ruin your day. I found that if I don’t spend 20 minutes in the morning to get a grip on what’s going on in my life, I can’t settle into a routine. I do this while waiting for my coffee machine to warm up, just after I fell out of bed.
Once that’s behind me I do my utmost best to work on the hard things — strategy, new content, new talks & sessions, etc in the morning. I block time on my calendar to make sure I, nor anyone else puts meetings into those sections of my day. Realistically I need to attend a meeting in the morning from time to time — particularly if the other meeting participant is based in Europe (8–9 hours ahead of me). If I can, I move most these meetings into my commute time and do the call while driving to work. Other than that — I put my head down and work until about lunch time. Once lunch time hits my calendar gets a hot mess of meetings and catching up — with some dedicated, scheduled time every day to catch up on email in the afternoon (when my energy is low anyway).
Give it a try — I am pretty certain that if you relentlessly focus on doing your creative work first, you will see an insane gain in productivity (and will feel better for it).