Productivity apps that are supposedly guaranteed to make you a high performer on steroids are a dime a dozen. There are so many apps to choose from, both free and paid. Have you noticed?
I’m guessing you have at least five on your smartphone or computer right now that you eagerly invested in a few months ago, but do you even remember why you had to have them?
I’m beginning to feel as though productivity apps are to entrepreneurs what crash diets are to overweight mothers who desire to lose belly fat. Running from one diet to another hoping they’ll finally find one that works. But does it ever work? Is there really a magical diet that permanently fixes everything?
Well, if you’ve found it, please be a darling and let me know in the comment box, because as far as I’ve heard from experts, there are 3,000 diets in the world and counting…
If any of them truly worked, wouldn’t all the others go out of business?
Okay. Okay. So maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not here to throw brickbats at diets or productivity apps. In fact, my intention is to help you save time, money, and increase your productivity.
To do that, you’ll need to be a bit more open-minded and take up a different perspective on how you approach and manage your own productivity (at least for the next seven minutes or until you get to the bottom of this page).
Email enhancers, efficiency boosters, project management tools, goal setting apps, and all the other shiny apps are amazing, don’t get me wrong!
But they won’t really solve the main issue behind your productivity lag, at least not permanently.
You can invest a ton on all kinds of tools, thingamajigs, and gizmos to help you increase productivity but at the end of the day, tools are just tools. The power never lies in a tool but in the one using the tool.
What most of us don’t realize is that productivity, i.e., being able to produce at a high-performance level, is more than just getting the latest shiniest piece of technology.
There are internal factors that affect our output and when we neglect that part of ourselves, all the apps in the world can do us no good.
So rather than give you a list of the best apps you can use to be more productive as an entrepreneur, allow me to share simple, productivity hacks you can implement today so that whatever strategies and apps you’re using can propel you further into success. Chances are, none of my tips are what you’d expect. But if you experiment with them, you’ll presently be surprised at how better you become.
Here’s a painful pill to swallow…
An app alone won’t make you more productive.
If you’re a procrastinator, you’re still going to fall into that pit of despair with or without a comprehensive goal setting, goal-tracking system.
It’s not about the app; it’s about you and how you use the app. And since research is showing that 1 in 4 people abandon mobile apps after only one use, I’d say piling on more apps wouldn’t qualify as the ideal way to boost your stamina and fast track success.
The first place I recommend starting if you truly want to be more productive is by making some adjustments within yourself.
Ready to start small in a big way?
Here are three natural adjustments that you can make today that are sure to give you a huge ROI and boost long-term productivity.
1. Drink More Water
We are approximately 50% – 65% water depending on whether you’re a male or female. If that scientific fact alone does not awaken you to the certainty that hydrating has a direct correlation to your productivity, then don’t worry, those monthly recurring flus, headaches and doctor bills will.
Why is drinking more water a productivity hack?
Because it decreases the toxins that are released into your blood throughout the day (and we all know how demanding a day in the life of an entrepreneur can be).
It also keeps your brain refreshed and cooled, making you:
- Less sleepy.
- More alert.
- Able to focus and concentrate longer.
The human brain is strongly influenced by hydration. And by hydration, I don’t mean a cappuccino or espresso, for heaven’s sake.
Even a mild dehydration of 1% – 3% can impair many of the brains functions. Studies have shown that this kind of fluid loss can cause increased frequency of headaches, impaired concentration, mood swings, and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Oh, and you’ll definitely struggle with memory issues and problem solving at work.
Think of how much this affects your business growth and bottom line, not to mention the health of your relationships both personal and professional. And if you’re setting up a new office space, make sure to invest in a quality office water dispenser.
I’ll say it again. Want to be more productive? Set this article aside for a few minutes and go have a glass of water.
2. Get More Restful Sleep
In our fast-paced society where everyone is working hard to outperform and shine above the rest, sleep has been booted to the back seat.
Children are told to value homework over sleep. Employees are told that burning the midnight oil is a sign of company loyalty that will help them get ahead.
Well, let’s just say we give a whole new meaning to the term “night owl.” I have come across websites where there’s a counter keeping track of how many all-nighters and cups of coffee the owners have had thus far in their quest for ultimate success.
May I just say – that is totally not my kind of cool! And your body agrees with me.
Buy all the productivity apps you want and get growth hacking tips all day long, but if you’re just surviving on Diet Coke, coffee, and two hours of sleep, don’t be shocked when one day all that success only ends up covering the lifelong medical bills you’ll have to deal with.
Our bodies are sacred temples. They are the only homes we have in this lifetime.
Why neglect the only home you can possibly rent out in this lifetime unless you just don’t value being alive?
Arianna Huffington, founder of Thrive and author of The Sleep Revolution, is a great advocate for this very hack. She says, ” We think mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”
Well, the quality is very much dependent on how rested and refreshed your brain and body feel. And great sleep is a determining factor.
Each body is different. The sooner you figure out what is optimum for your body, the better your quality of life and results will be.
And don’t mind what others say about sleep time. There are prosperous individuals who thrive on five hours of sleep a night because that is their optimum and there are those who thrive on eight hours of sleep.
There’s no right or wrong here, just find out from your body what optimum, good quality sleep looks like for you. Then design your daily schedule to match that.
3. Sit in Silence Daily
“ Listen to silence, it has much to say.” – Rumi
This is a tough one for most busy individuals.
One of the clients I am doing content marketing management for recently shared with me how mentally exhausted he was feeling.
After a week of travel and countless 12 hour long meetings, he was on his way to the airport, heading back home and wondering where he would find the strength to deal with his wife and young children who were expecting daddy to come home ready to deal with all the issues they wanted to share.
In our quick LinkedIn chat, I asked him whether or not he ever takes moments out of his day to just sit in silence. In the form of prayer, meditation, peaceful contemplation, or simply connecting with his body.
His answer really surprised me:
He said, ” That’s just it. I know all about this mindfulness practice stuff but I just find it so hard. I have no strength to deal with mental work.”
The crazy thing is:
Unless we carve out that time for that mental stillness, we can never tap into the strength we need to handle all our daily demands. So this man has worked himself up into a vicious cycle.
He has no strength to deal with anything outside of work and he finds sitting in silence to be an exercise which he doesn’t feel mentally equipped to deal with but at the same time, he’s fatigued, frustrated, and in need of a solution.
Don’t wait to be that guy! I’m serious.
Sitting in silence even for five minutes a few times throughout your day will be a great source of calmness, inspiration, creativity, energy, and a confidence that nothing else can give you.
I encouraged my client to make use of the time on the plane where his phone has to be off. Rather than opening up his laptop and reports, I told him to borrow just half an hour.
15 minutes to sit with his thoughts until his mind calmed down, and the rest of the 15 minutes to fall into a power nap.
It worked like a charm. He came out of that plane feeling different, and though it’s only been about two weeks since he started finding moments for silence in his day, he’s already reporting lots of new results.
Now it’s your turn to discover how this natural hack can work to make your life and business better. The great question is, are you brave enough to sit alone in silence with your thoughts?
A final thought…
The truth is, we are all looking for ways to do things in an easier, smarter way. We all want to increase our abundance of time and money.
It can be a slippery slope when we forget that in life, we are the determining factor, not the tools we use.
Your business and personal success depends on you not so much the various systems, tools, and methodologies you choose to adopt. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make this distinction because by taking on the right perspective, you can better utilize and maximize on the tools, apps, and systems you’ve already got in place, rather than aimlessly chasing after yet another new app.
No matter what aspect of your life or business we’re talking about, there will always be room for improvement. Don’t let that become a roller coaster ride for you.
Instead, work on stabilizing your inner stamina, increasing your focus and discipline, then choose from a place of strength and clarity the handful of tools that actually work for you.
Pingback: How to Effectively Use the 80/20 Rule to Maximize Efficiency - StartUp Mindset