As the Executive Director of a grassroots community organizing group and side hustler extraordinaire, I’ve been on a kick to get more productivity out of my day. In addition to cutting back on some of my biggest time sucks (aka binge watching Shameless) and waking up earlier there have been a few minor changes that have made a big difference in my life. If you’re on the ballot in 2017 (or are considering running in the future) here are 11 must have productivity hacks and resources to help you get more out of your day:
1) Schedule naps (and other self care activities): In college my nickname was “sleepy mofo” (a term of endearment coined by my best friends dad) that totally summed me up in just two words. Naps have always been a part of my self-care routine but back then I didn’t have the language for it and never realized how important they were to maintaining my sanity. After years of struggling to strike the right balance I dedicate 1 day of my weekend to getting shit done (i.e. grocery shopping, brunch, cleaning the house) and the other to doing absolutely nothing and carving out time for my precious naps. I actually start my week feeling both rested and productive which can be rare.
2) Delegate: As black women (and women in general) we’re conditioned to think that we have to do it all or that we can do it all. One of my biggest aha moments this year was realizing that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness to delegate. This year I hired a cleaning service, started using Rover.com to keep an eye on my dogs (even when I’m not traveling), and even hired a Virtual Assistant to help manage tasks in my business. My 2017 vision board includes expanding to a personal assistant to help keep my life in order.
3) Stop multitasking: Because my mind runs at a million miles an hour I’m usually doing 3 things at once and before I can finish one task I’m on to another. One thing I’ve been challenging myself to do this year is to do one freakin thing at a time (as I write this post I’ve stopped watching TV). You’d be surprised by how much better you can do a task when it’s the only thing you’re doing.
4) Set Daily Priorities:There was a time in my career when I had no idea what I was supposed to be working on everyday (I would just see what popped up in my email and take it from there). Needless to say I was an unorganized mess and my days and weeks felt like I was all over the place. Starting my day by getting clear about my top 3 priorities for the day has been a game changer. The most important part is to actually write them down (I love actually putting something on my list just so I can cross it off).
5) Get Organized: If you asked me my top 3 strengths, organization would NOT be one of them but as a small business owner this has become one of my biggest growth areas. Investing the time and effort to create systems for myself has changed my life (and my business). Google Drive is my BFF and I literally have folders for everything. I also have templates for everything from podcast posts, blog images, emails, and a lot more (all in an organized manner for someone else to find and use).
6) Calendly: Calendly.com is my go to resource for scheduling all of my meetings. It has a great free option and an upgraded version for $10/month that allows you to have more meeting options and has built in reminder settings. I use this for everything from scheduling podcast interviews to Clarity Calls and everything in between.
7) Evernote: Similar to Notes on your iPhone Evernote allows me to keep all of my ideas in one place and to have access to them across multiple platforms.
8) Weekplan: Being productive is pointless if you’re working on the wrong things. Getting clear about my daily, weekly and monthly priorities has made a world of difference in how much I actually get done now. Weekplan is a free app/website that helps me not only keep track of my tasks but a little bell rings every time you cross something off your to-do list! Another similar tool is Todoist.
9) Fiverr.com: Earlier this year when I launched my podcast there was so much to get done that I was almost paralyzed with overwhelm – until I discovered the magic of Fiverr.com. For as little as $5 you can hire people to help with just about any digital service you can imagine (I found voice over artists, website and graphic designers, audio engineers, transcribers, etc). You can get most tasks done in just a day or two and it’s saved me TONS of time. Remember though that you get what you pay for so in some cases you might spend more than $5 but it will be worth it.
10) Google Drive: I wish I could say this one was a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many people still aren’t up on Google Drive. I recently met a candidate who has everything for their campaign in manilla folders. Totally fine if it’s just you (and if it’s 1998) but if you’re serious about running a strong campaign and having a team that supports you, you have to make it easy for them to collaborate. Every aspect of your campaign should live in the cloud (aka be accessible via the internet). Not only will this save you lots of paper and file folders but your team will love you for it.
11) CamCard Business Card Scanner: Back in the day I used to create a binder of all the cards I’d collect (this was pretty much required when working on Capitol Hill). Until recently I’d just have a big ole pile of business cards on my desk that I didn’t know what to do with. Besides writing details about how/where I met them on the back my organization stopped there. This year I’ve stumbled on a few apps that make this a lot easier including CamCard (iPhone) or Bric (Android).
Now I want to hear from you, leave a comment below and let me know what’s the #1 productivity resource you use?