5 Productivity Tips from a Founder

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Be Rested
A productive day starts with going to sleep on time the night before. You can’t be at your best if you’re tired. If you want to be really really productive, get even extra sleep.

Start Early
Nothing kills your productivity like getting a late start. Get up, get going, and get started on time. As a general practice, if you can be disciplined enough to start your day an hour or two before everyone else, then you will get more accomplished. Starting before others gives you the luxury to not even open emails, social media, or other distractions during your first hour or two. You’re up and making progress before others have even started so you don’t have the pressure to respond to other things. It will be your most productive stretch of the day and nothing creates momentum like completing an important task before 8am.

Be Intentional With Your Time
Whether you have thirty minutes or eight hours, plan your time. Outline what you need to accomplish, prioritize the list, and work from most important to least important. If you don’t, you’ll waste time on things that don’t matter and never get around to the most important stuff.

Don’t Overwork
While you can get more accomplished in a single day by working extra hours, I’ve found that working long hours decreases productivity over the long run. Just like starting on time is best, stopping on time is best too. You need to change your mindset from “working more hours to get things done” to “getting more done in your work hours.” Overwork wears you down and makes all your time less productive. Intentional working time gives energy to your efforts, affords rest, and keeps you at your best today, tomorrow and for the long haul.

Which of these can you start working on today?

Brian Fosse is the co-founder of Lalabu, a start-up that specialized in simple babywearing.

5 Productivity Tips from a Neurologist

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“How do I make my brain work BETTER?” is, by far, the number one question my clients ask. It may come as a surprise to you, but it’s not that difficult. Most of us, if we’re honest, have said: “There is never enough time in the day.”  Great days see us satisfied with how much we accomplished, and on harder days, we go to bed feeling utterly frustrated with our productivity.

You may not be able to add hours to the day, but you can make the hours you have more productive. To do this, you have to change your concept of what productivity means AND how to achieve it.

Real productivity is about efficiency, not volume.  The same holds true for brain function.

  • ef·fi·cien·cy (əˈfiSHənsē)
    • noun
    • The ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or in a process to the total energy expended or heat taken in.

Simply put, “How much did it cost you to be productive?”

Start by asking a different question. “How much do you have to spend?”

Your capacity to make even a SINGLE decision (both subconsciously and consciously) is wholly dependent on the resources within your body.  Resources like oxygen, glucose, hormones, neurotransmitters and more.  “So, how do you increase the quality and quantity of resources in your brain and your body?”

What A Neurologist Can Teach You About Productivity

Here are five scientifically and clinically proven ways to do it:

1. Take Deeper Breaths

  • How: Breathe in deeply through your nose for 2 seconds and out through your mouth for 4.  Do this as you work, or take a 3-minute break and try it in a comfortable, seated position with your eyes closed.
  • Why: The average brain comprises 2% of a person’s total body weight, yet it requires 25% of all oxygen used by the body.

2. Drink More Water

  • How: Take your body weight and divide that number by two. Drink that many ounces of water per day. (Ex: 200 lbs = 100 oz)s
  • Why: Up to 60% of the human body is water. A 1% drop in overall hydration can lead to as much as a 12% drop in your productivity.

3. Decrease Screen Brightness on ALL Devices

  • How: Use browser extensions like f.lux and iOS features like Night Shift to help you automatically adjust your settings on your devices.
  • Why: 70% of the body’s glucose (energy) is burned up by the brain.  Your visual system uses the lion’s share of that energy to function. The higher the brightness, the more power your brain needs.  Keep that energy bill low.

4. Time Block Your Day with Pomodoro

  • How: Use an app like Focus Booster or Pomodoro Keeper to divide your work into focused time blocks (usually 25 minutes) separated by a 5-minute break. After four consecutive working time blocks, take a longer break, around 15 or 20 minutes.
  • Why: You can’t run marathons at sprint speed. Period. Variable speed workouts for the brain are no different than exercising at the gym.  Take breaks.

5. Go to Bed Earlier

  • How: Use apps like Sleep Cycle to help you monitor and achieve the quality 7-9 hours of sleep you need each night. Yes, 7 hours is the minimum.
  • Why: Getting less sleep than the recommended amount can cause an apparent IQ loss of five to eight points the next day.

Give these five recommendations a try for a few weeks, and I am willing to bet (and so is the science) that you will see measurable improvements.

Remember, a well-resourced brain naturally breeds productivity.

Which of these would help you the most in your work and life? Would you add any?

- Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe, Thrive Neuro Health

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3 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Family Vacations

“I don’t know.”

This is what my ten year old daughter said to me when I asked her to consider our yearly extended family vacations and what they have meant to her. I poked around some more with what I thought were better questions only to be met with mild irritation and the growing scowl of an adolescent.

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On the surface, this is not very encouraging, especially when considering the fact that these are not easy endeavors for a family of four to take, nor is it easy to take that much time off from our community and a business we run. A lot has to happen in order to unplug and detach from the world around us. The very business of detaching can be as appealing as spending three weeks with two children in a small car for six hours fording and hauling wet bodies in and out of a cold river.

True story.  Read More

5 TRENDING TENSIONS IN SOCIAL INNOVATION

Every day I have a conversation with a person trying to solve a problem. I try to encourage them, connect them to someone that can help them, or give them a small tip that could help get their vision past the current hill. People often ask, are there any consistencies that I am seeing time and again. The answer is yes. Here are five current tensions that exist in our community of social innovators that I think are important to begin a dialogue. NOTE: You may be reading this and think I am talking about you, but I am not writing this because of a single conversation – these are multiple stories (including tensions in my personal journey) converging towards a trend that I am seeing throughout the Plywood community. My hope is that this spawns good dialogue online and maybe even in your team? Feel free to share it with your team, your volunteers, your board of directors – anyone that may enhance the conversation. Read More