Hello and welcome to the FemalExperts Podcast, your podcast by women, for women, about women. In this podcast episode I would like to dedicate myself to the topic of “productivity” and, as so often, I fall right through the virtual door with my first thought: You don’t have to be productive every day!
The decision glass and the structure
Imagine you have one full decision jar per day. If we now take into account that we make about 20,000 banal decisions per day, you can surely imagine how quickly this glass will be empty already towards noon. I would now like to talk about how we can maintain energy and at least keep our productivity at a constant level. I’m linking directly to my first thought here, that you don’t have to be productive every day. What you can do, however, is repeat the same habits over and over every day. Children, for example, develop best in a free and creative environment. What we must not forget, however, is that they are nevertheless surrounded by structures. Structures are not an instrument of control here, but a way of creating security.
I’ll give you an example: I do not give appointments before 10:00 am. I need the time in the morning to structure myself, to answer mails in peace or to go for a walk through the park after breakfast and to get inspired by podcasts myself.
Of course there are exceptions, e.g. when I am on the road for orders. For me, the security of that structure is something that keeps me productive. A bit like the feeling when you come home after a vacation. I still have the energy and drive from the workshop, but the sensation of feeling grounded and “at home” helps me to continue to maintain this flow and energy in my four walls.
In addition to solid habits or structure that you can implement to keep your productivity constant, as always, I would recommend asking yourself a specific focus question. Mine here is, “What did you do today that really had meaning in your life?”
The emphasis here is specifically on “life” and not on “business” or “profession”, because this way you avoid putting yourself under pressure. Answers can also be that you had enough sleep, that you spent time with your children or that you walked through nature to relax a bit and strengthened your resilience.
Write down your answer, because in our hectic everyday life we often forget how valuable our decisions and actions were, even though every decision we make has an impact on our lives.
Create a little routine
You may even find a combination of structure and writing down helps here by making it a set routine in the evening or just before you go to bed.
When you write it down doesn’t matter in principle. It is only important that you take the time to notice how great you make your everyday life, even if it sometimes doesn’t seem so spectacular to you.
By the way, if having a daily routine here is too stressful for you or you feel a particular pressure here , pick one day a week. That’s also quite enough, because we don’t want to overdo the productivity issue and stress ourselves out even more as a result.
If there are already 1-2 fixed habit rituals at this point and you also answer your focus question regularly, I would like to intersperse a small reminder at this point: We can concentrate on average only 4-6 hours per day. Similar to the decision glass, you can look more closely at what you want to target that concentration for.
Outsource unnecessary activities
A distinction is made here between tasks that really demand creative power, creativity and innovative spirit from you and general activities.
I, for example, outsource my groceries. For me, there is nothing more boring than walking through a supermarket and buying the same thing week after week. If that’s regionally possible for you, that would be an option to save you time, for example.
Of course, household things need to be done, just like accounting or taxes, but if you don’t like doing those things and have the option, try outsourcing them. We should not forget in this context: We don’t get paid during this time, and usually we don’t necessarily get credit for having our pairs of socks neatly arranged in the underwear closet like Marie Kondo. As the founder of two companies by now, I therefore think twice about whether I do a task myself or whether I might get it solved elsewhere.
Who likes to do their own taxes?
In business, taxes are a good example: In Germany, we have one of the most complicated tax systems in the world. I have a pretty solid basic understanding of what I do in terms of tax work each month, but I’m quite happy to have my accountant do all the bureaucratic work, forms, applications and correspondence with the IRS. In the time it took me to look through that, I could already be generating revenue.
By the way, if we’re thinking about the 4-6 hours of concentration time, a little extra tip on the side: use Pomodoro or concentration apps, like “Forest”, to reduce your social media consumption.
I know that is easier said than done. Even when the phone is turned off on the table, it silently screams at us to turn it back on because we’ve certainly missed something.
Believe me, there is no worse answer to your focus question about what you did for your life today than to say, I admired the lives of others.
And that brings me to my last tip in the productivity section. It’s meant to be a creativity booster, although you’ll probably grin a little here.
Give your brain a chance to get bored
It’s exciting to observe that we’re no longer used to sitting on the couch and just doing nothing. And by nothing, I mean nothing at all – no book, no music, no TV, no smartphone – just nothing.
There is some truth in saying that the best ideas come to us at moments when we are either engaged in mechanical activities (such as showering) or doing nothing.
So the next time you have a little time, just sit back and look out the window. After the monkey mind passes, chanting down the shopping list and general to-dos, the real focus time begins and for this the best ideas have already emerged.
More articles and inspiration about productivity
By the way, if you still want to learn more about productivity, take a look at my article: “Productivity Boost in Business – How it works and which myths you can forget right away“. Here you will also find some tools that I work with myself.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast episode.
Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself. When you look out into the world, everyone else always seems to be working better or harder than you. But our goal should be to pursue our activities more efficiently and, above all, more sustainably and happily, because let’s face it: who are we actually trying to prove something to here?
Finally, I have a very exciting recommendation for you:
If you’ve already listened to my podcast episode about the Mathilda Effect and want to learn more exciting insights and role models from the field of research and development, be sure to listen in on the #InnovativeWomen podcast. There are great role model women here and very interesting information.
By the way, I don’t get paid for the recommendation. It’s absolutely a matter of the heart because, after all, our magazine’s motto is “We grow by lifting others.”
Of course, I would be very interested in your thoughts on this subject. Feel free to let me know what’s on your mind right now. I look forward to hearing or reading from you.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.