How to increase your productivity

This week on the Homeroom blog Iman Aghay, serial entrepreneur, public speaker, founder of Success Road Academy and Vancouver Business Network teaches us how to become more productive entrepreneurs. 

How to become more productive

If you were to boil down the secret to success to only one word, that word would be productivity.

Productivity is the amount of work that you get done towards a clear goal in a certain amount of time.

So if you want to be more successful as a business owner, you should learn how to be a more productive person. To understand how to become more productive you need to understand how our minds work.

All people perform in a cycle called the productivity cycle.

This cycle has 4 quadrants- Creativity, Action, Overwhelmed and Rest

Creativity

The first quadrant is creativity.

This occurs when you take our mind off work and instead are doing something fun, relaxing or social. It is during this time that you  suddenly get all of these amazing creative ideas on how you can change the way you do things.

Action

Once you have had your creative or “ah ha” moment you then move into the second quadrant, action. This part of the cycle occurs when you go back to work after having your creative idea. During this time you implement improvements to your business and it feels like you have a new energy and work much better.

As your work improves you start taking on new things, seeing new opportunities and taking them on as well.

Overwhelmed

This behavior leads you into the third quadrant. That time when you become completely overwhelmed. After getting attracted to all these new shiny opportunities and taking on more and more work, you suddenly start  finding yourself working almost 10-12 hours a day or sometimes even more.

It feels if you don’t work hard, you won’t be able to catch up. This leads to business owners working through until bedtime and on weekends.

One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that when you become overwhelmed your Cortisol level increases and from time to time you get a rush of Adrenalin to keep up with the situation. This causes your body and mind to be  in a fight or flight mode.

When you are in this mode, you start reacting to things that happen around you instead of acting on your plans, which can make you very unproductive. You begin either trying to avoid the threats as much as possible (flight) or making extremely high risk decisions (fight) that make you even more overwhelmed.

After few weeks or months of behaving in this manner you will begin to feel extremely overwhelmed and will determine that you really need some time off. It may be 3 days or even 3 weeks, some people even get to the point where they are so overwhelmed they want to quit and some even do quit.

Rest

Making the decision to take some time off means you have reached the fourth quadrant, which is rest.

Rest is the most important quadrant of the productivity cycle.  When you quit or decide to take time off, that is when your Cortisol level will start going back to it’s normal level and your body will be released from the fight or flight mode.

Once your Cortisol level drops you will start having more fun and participating in more social activities. You start caring about what matters most in your life. For some people they spend more time with their loved ones, some do more sports, some go on a trip.

When you are relaxed and enjoying life this is when you will once again suddenly get that brilliant idea which takes you back to the beginning of the cycle’s starting point creativity.

Now with understanding this cycle how can you improve your productivity?

My suggestion: Avoid becoming overwhelmed. You can do this by not working more than 8-9 hours a day on average and ensuring that you spend time everyday after work enjoying your life.

Take weekends off or another two days of the week off and most importantly have no guilt when you are enjoying your life because it is that joy in your down time that makes your working hours more productive.

So essentially in order to be more successful and more productive you need to make sure that you spend a good amount of time having fun.

To your success

Iman Aghay

For more information on how you can become a more successful entrepreneur contact Iman today.