I heard a ringing and I almost shot out of my chair
I'd sat at my desk for most of the year so far and I felt that I...
a) wasn't focused
b) wasn't productive
c) wasn't bothered
This might just be the worst combination ever for a self-employed business owner during a worldwide pandemic.....
The problem you see was that I couldn't seem to pull myself out of it plus I felt totally overwhelmed with all the things I needed to do.
When I was younger I was never pushed to do homework or have any big achievements. In fact I was pretty much left to it. I remember doing my homework in front of the TV laying on my stomach.
But, I've always had this drive to do more, to get good grades and live a different kind of life to those around me
So when I managed to get the money together to go, I went to University in my 20's to do my degree in Psychology while I was also working full time.
The struggle of doing a degree while working was real, but if I wanted a different life this was something I needed to do.
In fact, I've repeated the same while doing my Master Degree in Positive Psychology at the same time as I running my business.
It's only been in my 20's and 30's that I began to believe in my abilities
I just knew in my heart and my gut that I was meant to help people in some way.
But I never had that cheerleader or anyone I could ask how I could break free of the 9-5 and do things differently.
18 months ago one of my closest friends died in the Sri Lanka bombings, which knocked me sideways and the grief I felt took every single part of me away.
I began to spiral so much that my partner turned around one day and told me that he didn't want to be in our relationship anymore
The thing was I needed a licence to work where we lived and as I didn't qualify on my own I had to leave and go back to the UK.
So I found myself grief stricken, newly dumped and homeless. I felt like a deer in headlights literally frozen to the spot
I've never understood where my motivation and drive came from, it was just there. I was so different from my parents and both of my brothers.
My older brother still to this day looks at me like I'm speaking a foreign language with a smirk on his face half the time.
I asked my parents the other week....."Do you guys actually know what I do for a business"? At which point they admitted they didn't.
When I was employed they'd spend hours proudly asking me what I did and wrote down my job title so they could share their proud news with anyone in the street who even half asked.
Being a business owner though, they only see it as a short term "hobby".
In all honestly they are waiting for the day I decide to go back into employment.
That's the only true value in their eyes - working for someone else just like they did
Can you relate?
So I found myself living alone and during a worldwide pandemic where I couldn't meet the usual inspirational people and friends I'm lucky to have around me.
I knew there was only me that could pull myself out of this
Firstly if you find yourself in a similar position, know that as much as it might feel you're on your own, you're really not. There's thousands if not millions of people feeling in exactly the same funk as I was in and you might find yourself in.
People would say to me "You should just go get a job" or "You should just take some time off" or "You should just change this part of your business"
I felt like people were "justing" all over me
And because I felt so overwhelmed, even getting out of bed before 9am and getting showered was a task in itself
I needed something really simple....
Something that would motivate me, help me focus and help me be productive all in one shot
And it had to be legal.....
I tried so much technology my eyes ended up strained.
I downloaded Evernote, Trello, Asana, Click-up, you name it, I tried it. I read books on productivity and still nothing.
But one day I was out shopping and I saw something that caught my eye in the cookery section
This could work, couldn't it?
So I went home and took it out of it packet and I turned it.....Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
I sat down at my desk and thought to myself "You either do this now or your parents get their wish with you back in employment"
And that was enough, I began to work......
For the first time in months I felt fully focused, heck I actually felt in flow!
I started working through the enormous list of things I'd neglected over the past few months.
I grouped the tasks together into batches and prioritised them.
Then I began working on them just like I always had been able to BG (Before Grief)
I literally jumped out of my chair when the ringing went off!
I couldn't believe that 25 minutes had passed by so quickly? And I had got so much done....
I then took a 10 minute break.
And then I did another 25 minutes.....then another.....and another......and another.....
Before I knew it, it was lunchtime and I'd already ticked off a quarter of my long outstanding items from my to do list
It was actually working!
The simple thing I needed was helping me to do my work without fuss, without technology and without any more effort.
I've since built up the time from 25 minutes to 45 minutes focused working followed by a 15 minute break.
During the 45 minutes I only work on one thing. For example, writing this blog took me a 45 minute slot and checking and replying to emails another 45 minute slot.
If I've got a bigger project I'm working on then I split the project down into 45 minute batches.
The break I go get a drink, move around (I usually do some yoga moves) and then I check that my next scheduled 45 minute slot still makes sense.
I've been using this technique for 4 months now and it's made me at least 50% more productive
When you think about it in simplistic terms I've effectively gained 4 hours a day.
I can choose to use this time to double my previous output or I can choose to take it off.
I knew at that point I needed to share this secret
Heck I needed to sell these things!
Did you want to know what it is?........
Yep that's right, it's a kitchen timer.....
After trying every single piece of technology I could get my hands on, numerous books, journals and diaries
Something I found in the cookery aisle in the supermarket held the secret to keeping me and my business from going under
Well Steve Jobs did apparently when he said "one of my mantras has been focus and simplicity"
Not bad for someone worth over $10 billion and the company he helped set up is worth over $1 trillion, right?
So, are you onboard?
Go get yourself to the supermarket or you can order one online
You can even use an online version of this
But I have found an actual physical timer works better for me
So it's made me 50% more productive......
But even if it makes you, say just 10% more productive, think of what it could give you?
Think how much more money you could make with that 10% more time, or the 10% more time with your family or the 10% more time to go travelling.....
Heck, I've just given you 8,320 more hours or almost 3 more years to play with if you worked for 40 years......
Stop waiting for some shitty life event like I did such as grief or serious illness to finally start making the changes you want (and deserve)
Start simple with something like this and you'll realise how easy some of this is to make massive fundamental changes to your life that will bring you so much more happiness, joy and excitement in your life
Now that you know how one simple thing can make you 50% more productive, the hardest choice for you will be deciding what to do with the extra time you create!
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