The most neglected piece of any productivity plan is your most important asset: YOU.
Picture this. On Friday morning you rush to the hospital with a sick child. Your partner is crying and you're suffering from chronic lack of sleep. You cancel your 11 a.m. consultation; with a potential client who's clearly annoyed.
At 4 p.m. you're supposed to start a brand-new college teaching job. Luckily the doctor gives the little one the all clear just in time to rush home for a quick shower. No time to review your lecture notes. You survive class, but a million tasks wait at home. You can't get to them because friends have decided to "check-in," and they're staying for dinner.
Saturday morning you visit a coffee shop to work on that presentation for your day job. It's due Monday. You're about to put on headphones when a stranger strikes up a conversation. He's your ideal client, so 90 minutes later you say, "Sorry, I have to get going." Looking at your phone you find three texts that say, "Hey is this meeting happening?"
You missed your virtual team meeting for your side hustle, so you reschedule-that product launch will have to wait. At home you ignore the dishes from Friday's half-eaten breakfast, open your laptop, and spend seven hours on sales calls. So much for Sunday off, you spend it finishing that presentation. Monday you're back to the 9-5, and give a surprisingly expert performance. Nobody detects the cloud of chaos swirling around you.
This is life for most side hustlers: simultaneously invigorating and pressure-filled.
Is "having it aU" inseparable from chaos? Yes, but no. Some disarray is built into the pursuit, but you can take back control. Here are 12 efficiency secrets for busy people like you who are building a side hustle while juggling a full -time job, a social life, exercise, sleep, and 47 other desires.
SECRET # 1 I CLARIFY YOUR PURPOSE
Clear conviction is an unstoppable force. A clear "why" provides at least 80 percent of the motivation needed to achieve anything. Unfortunately, clear purpose is rare among side hustlers. Many say, "I'd like another $1,000 a month," or, "I want to quit my job." But when the sick kids and bad deals inevitably come to test your grit, "Gee, I'd like more money" will not carry you over the mountain. Success demands a "burning desire," to paraphrase Napoleon Hill. And the only way to create that fire is to connect with your purpose at an emotional level.
Humans put forward logical explanations for decisions, but science says we make them with emotion, in our limbic brain, well before our rational brain gets involved. Take the time to get emotional about your purpose. Write and think about it. Walk in the woods and scream it at the top of your lungs. Once your Why is lodged in your heart, abundant motivation will tame the chaos.
SECRET # 2 I CREATE A "WILL NOT DO" LIST
The Latin root of decide is "to cut off," and cutting the nonessential is as important as selecting priorities. Most achievers _ have no trouble codifying clear goals but then let time-sucking "opportunities" creep into calendars. Be ruthless with your time in order to grow a business while balancing a full-time job and life responsibilities. Essentialism author Greg McKeown calls this "The power of a graceful no."
Write a list of activities you refuse to do and plaster it on your walls. Start with obvious fluff, like post-work drinks. Then say a teary goodbye to activities that, while important, will not lead to your best life. Ruthlessness here might mean skipping that birthday party or telling your in-laws that Sunday dinner is no longer a tradition. When you mindfully choose the activities you'll sacrifice, the gods of productivity will fortify you with the courage to say "no" when the time comes.
SECRET #3 I PLAY OFFENSE, NOT DEFENSE
Billionaire Chris Sacca has a golden touch for investing. He bought early in Twitter, Uber and 1nstagram. You'll know him from his tour of duty on ABC's Shark Tank and his nifty cowboy shirts. The secret to his success? Unlike typical venture capitalists, he left Silicon Valley to get away from the constant stimulation, "just touching base" emails, and endless coffee dates. "I was just reacting to everything, rather than actually going out and-playing offense," Sacca says. He moved three hours east to focus only on priorities he set, rather than every shiny opportunity.
You're forced to play defense when your car breaks down, a client goes bankrupt, or your child gets sick. But you can make a conscious decision to put the lion's share of your focus on priorities that bring you closer to Goal City, and not let others control your time. Be unavailable; that's playing offense. Yes, this means passing up exciting opportunities, but when you chase two rabbits you lose both.
MANAGE YOUR ENERGY
SECRET # 4 I PRACTICE SELF-CARE
The most neglected piece of any productivity plan is your most important asset: YOU. Success coach and entrepreneur David Bayer says that 80 percent of success is determined by your mindset. If the programming between your ears is delivering anxiety, -doubt, fear and frustration, no amount of hustle or strategizing will deliver results.
One key to creating an optimal mindset is to invest in self-care: inspiring hikes in the woods, playing your favorite game, an excellent meal, time with close friends; whatever recharges your soul's battery. You can't do your best work when your mind and heart are overwhelmed. You wouldn't constantly run an engine at the redline without oU, but Western culture applauds this same abuse when we perpetrate it on ourselves. Then we wonder why burnout strikes.
A word of caution: Brushing your teeth, taking your meds, and reading self-help books is self-maintenance, not self-care. To accomplish more, prioritize compassionate activities that supercharge your spirit; for many entrepreneurs this is the missing link in their success plan.
SECRET # 5 I LEVERAGE HEALTH HACKS
The standard disclaimer applies: this is not medical advice; talk to your doctor before you try any of these current favorites of some of the highest achievers in Silicon Valley.
Bulletproof coffee: Your morning cup mixed with grass-fed butter and MCT oil from coconuts. It provides the fuel your brain needs to function at its peak until lunchtime, leading to the next hack.
Intermittent fasting: Don't put any food into your stomach for 16 hours in a 24-hour period. Simple. This means lunch at noon, dinner at 6 p.m., and your bulletproof coffee in the morning. Benefits include fat loss, muscle gain and growth of nerve cells in the brain, which unlocks peak performance.
Supplements: Nature provides loads of goodies. Ginkgo biloba reduces anxiety and stress, and improves memory and attention span. Omega 3s can improve sleep and protect you from disease. Find the right cocktail for you.
Cut sugar: It creates disease, suppresses immune systems, impairs cognition, and increases stress. Remove this poison from your diet now.
Sauna: 30 minutes twice a week triggers growth hormone production, improving mental and physical endurance.
Take care of the vehicle that carries you through life and your work output will soar.
SECRET # 6 I PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
Stop doing things you're not great at. Yes, in a startup of one, you'll need to tackle bookkeeping or mop floors. Essentialism
author Greg McKeown calls these obligations the "slowest hiker" because they keep you from your destination. "Even activities that are 'productive'-like doing research, or emailing... can be obstacles," he says. They require energy better allocated to your strong suits.
Sure, you'll feel proud teaching yourself how to code an app over three weekends. But you could outsource that to an expert in Croatia for $300. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer are the side hustler's best friend.
To be truly efficient, spend maximum time applying your unique abilities. Are you a strong writer? Then delivering blog posts via an email list will be a better marketing strategy than creating video. You're an amazing photographer? Find your tribe on Instagram and start selling there. Do not mistake activity for efficiency. Play to your strengths and your results will multiply.
OWN YOUR TIME
SECRET #7 I BE THE EARLY BIRD
Time is the one shared asset no one can create. Take advantage of the productivity goldmine that is your early morning hours. At the moment we wake, our willpower and creativity are highest and our minds are free from phone notifications, external demands and noise. Rising late forces you to rush to work, skip a healthy breakfast that activates your metabolism, and robs you of the solitude that creates calm and joy.
Tackle your most important work during these golden hours. Productivity master Brian Tracy calls this "eating the frog" -striking your ugliest, most-likely-to-procrastinate-on task off your list first. This doesn't need to be unpleasant;
string enough morning wins together and you'll crave more, no matter how wart-covered the task.
How do you own your mornings? Author Robin Sharma suggests:
Exercise: Start with 20 minutes to activate healthy brain chemistry.
Reflect: Journal or meditate to create a productive mindset.
Inspire: Read or listen to books in order to lift your spirit.