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


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.


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.


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.


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.

Yoga in the Workplace

bikrams Yoga poseWe all know the benefits of regular exercise; improved sleep, illness prevention, improved mental health and increased productivity. So it is no surprise that introducing a team wellness initiative to your workplace via a practice such as yoga can improve the overall productivity of your staff and improve the morale within your business.

In addition to improving the way everyone works within your business yoga can also ensure that your employee’s take fewer days off work by reducing the biggest cause of employee health issues, STRESS.

In Hong Kong, a busy metropolis, more and more employers are discovering the benefits of hiring outside firms to help their employees relax and reduce the amount of stress they experience at work.

Dario Calvaruso the creator of Holistic Wellness & Yoga in Hong Kong saw the benefit of keeping employees relaxed at work. So he began offering companies a series of in-office programs that are designed to reduce employee stress.

In an interview with CNN reporter Diego Laje, Dario Calvaruso stated that “The wellness of employees is the wellness of the company; the very strength of a company is its employees,”

Hong Kong is not the only city that is seeing the benefits of workplace wellness. There are several companies within Vancouver that also offer employee wellness services, who will come to your office.

But what if I am a small business owner with a limited budget?

If you are a small business owner and hiring an outside firm is not feasible then you can always run your own wellness initiatives. For example each Homeroom employee received a health and wellness bonus at the beginning of the year so that they could purchase a yoga pass. Team members then check in with each regularly to ensure they all stay motivated and healthy.

Yoga has helped our team reduce their stress levels during the busy tax season.

What if I hate yoga?

Yoga is a very popular activity within Vancouver however it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Regular exercise in general, whatever it may be, is great for reducing your stress and improving all aspects of your life.

The benefit of yoga is that it can be practiced daily within your workplace as you don’t need a lot of space or a lot of time to benefit from it’s stress relieving properties.

Shameless Plug

If you are looking for a way to kickstart your businesses wellness initiative then join our one month charity yoga challenge that starts September 1st 2014.

We have sourced discounted yoga, prizes and created the rules. All you need is 4 or more people and $100 dollar minimum donation (all of which will go to Athletics for Kids) and you can be on your way to a much healthier, happier and more productive workplace.

Top 5 Crowdfunding Tips

Rewards based crowdfunding is an exciting new way for entrepreneurs to obtain the funds they need to launch their business, new products or services. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to collect many small amounts of money from a large number of people. In return supporters are provided with a “reward”, which is often a pre-order of the product or service that you plan to launch once you obtain the funds.

It is a great way for business owners to market their ideas, build a community around their business and provide new products and services to their supporters ahead of the general public.

Here are top 5 tips to crowdfunding success provided by the ladies at Cliq Crowdfunding and PR.

1) Give yourself enough time to plan a campaign


Creating a successful crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work and it should be something that is built into your overall business strategy. It is not as simple as entering your information into the platform page and then receiving donations. Unless you are a rare exception that sometimes occurs like the ‘Potato Salad Campaign’, you need to market your campaign, build your community and convince a lot of people why they should give you small amounts of their hard earned money.

Planning of the campaign should become your full time priority at least three months before you launch. The more preparation you do and the more hype you can create prior to your campaign launch the higher your chances are of success.

2) Know your audience and build a community

Crowdfunding is about building a crowd of supporters around your business. It is a great opportunity for you to find your superfans and make them feel like a special significant part of your success.

Most people who fail to achieve their crowdfunding goals do so because they have failed to engage their audience and provide a community atmosphere for their supporters.

Regular communications in the form of updates, social media shout outs and personal thank you messages to your supporters will not only make them feel appreciated but will also encourage them to talk about your campaign and get you further support.

3) Make sure your business is ready

You need to make sure that you can fulfill your promises. If you say that you are raising the money to bring out a new product then you fail to develop the product, or haven’t budgeted correctly you can ruin your reputation and peoples faith in crowdfunding.

Have a solid business plan, set reasonable goals and make sure that you communicate any delays, or productions problems with your supporters so that you can maintain transparency.

In addition make sure that you budget enough time off for the months following the campaign to deliver all of the rewards to your supporters.

4) Make sure your campaign is focused

You may be bringing out five new products but your campaign should focus on one. It needs to be clear what you are raising money for and the more simple you can make your campaign the better your chance of success.

A lot of campaigns fail because people are not sure why they are being asked for money.

5) Perfect your video

Your video is the most important part of the campaign. It is what you want shared all over social media. It is what will explain your vision, brand and product. It is the most effective and direct way to tell people why they should support your idea and what you can offer them in return for their support.

Do not skimp on your video, spend some money and make it creative. Think about what kind of video’s you like to share of social media. Make people laugh, make them cry or make them care about something. You can choose any angle so long as you don’t make them bored.