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3 top secret holiday hacks for productivity


Happy Holidays to you!

We are heading at lightning speed into the thick of the holiday season--it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed with the approaching holiday madness. In this month’s newsletter, I am going to share some amazing strategies that will ensure you can take control of your productivity this year.

I have some top secret scheduling tips and management strategies I use to ensure that I don’t feel overwhelmed as my calendar begins to overflow…

In 2022, partly as a result of these techniques (and others I will share with you) I have been able to publish two books, launch a company, work a full-time job as a senior executive, raise two toddlers, work as a contributing author to a healthcare magazine, read 4-6 books a month, workout 5-7 days/week, start a podcast and blog. This may sound ambitious to some, but I promise it is completely achievable once you wrap your hands around your schedule and clarify your priorities. It takes almost no effort to get started once you decide you want to commit to efficiency.

Chill-Out

  1. At least twice a month, I schedule a four hour block which I literally title “rest and relax”--this is an afternoon I reserve for mental health, tying up loose ends, focusing on a passion project, watching a cheesy hallmark movie or reading. Because it is scheduled in my calendar, when I take that time, instead of feeling overwhelmed I actually end up feeling productive! It is a way of tricking your brain into thinking you are completing something on your “to-do” list while also giving yourself the time to rejuvenate. This is a great trick for those of us that are work-a-holics (guilty!). If you think you can’t spare four hours--think again--I have learned that even with a packed schedule I can manage this “rest and relax” time easily with some preparation.

You might be thinking---you are supposed to teach us how to be more productive and you are starting with telling us to “rest and relax”?!! Yes, I am--because if you don’t prioritize your body and mind --you won’t be successful at anything else. Most of your drive and energy needs to be naturally cultivated and if you aren’t rested then you won’t go far. Efficiency is consistency and without down-time you can’t be consistent.

The Schedule Stack

  1. This tip is particularly helpful if you have a schedule that tends to get constantly pulled off course, either by unreliable childcare, school closures, sick kids/ parents, or just a lot of unpredictability in your life making things feel out of your control (if you know, you know). Well, I am going to show you how to take some of that control back with a trick so easy you won’t believe the difference it will make in your life. I call it the schedule stack.

I schedule all of my important meetings and appointments for the week on one single day. I prefer to pick Monday for a few reasons:

  • I can get the big stuff over with at the very beginning of the week

  • My schedule is so much better for the remainder of the week after my “Manic Monday” that I no longer have to worry about work piling up on Friday. Which means when Monday comes around again I feel significantly less stressed.

  • I have the rest of the week to make up missed meetings if something goes wrong on my Monday stack The schedule stack is the gift that keeps on giving.

Now, I know we don’t always have complete control of our schedule but that doesn’t mean this tip won’t work for you. Try to schedule your MOST important things on one day. If you say that all things are important, you are wrong.

Take a step back and identify what the MOST important things are. For example, are certain appointments/meetings/projects more important for long-term progress? Are certain events critical in advancing you forward? Start there--those items will be the foundation for your schedule stack.

Now you may be thinking--isn’t scheduling all your big stuff on one day even MORE risky in the event that you have to miss Monday. And here is my answer, possibly, but usually no. It is more much likely that things WON’T go wrong on a single day than they will on the four other days of the week. Of course it could always happen, but when it does I also have four other days to make up for it.

I used to spread out my important events evenly on each of the five days of the week, haphazardly--but when something inevitably threw me off ,it would bleed those appointments to the following day and then it would continue like a domino effect to mess up the rest of my week—and often times my weekend. Once I started being intentional about scheduling all of my big, important things on one day it was life changing. I am so much more relaxed about my week from Tuesday to Friday. I promise you this is a life hack you do not want to miss taking out for a test drive.

This is how I like to arrange my schedule stack:

  • Work-related appointments go on Monday

  • Anything personal (doctor appointments, etc…) goes on Tuesday

  • Wednesday through Friday I schedule as few events as I possibly can and I devote those days to “deep work”--usually my writing or research.

Calories after Cortisol

3. Work around rest and digest. There is a reason your body gets tired after lunch. In order to digest your food, your body has to focus its energy on the digestion process, which means taking energy away from your “thinking center” --eating can make you tired even if you eat healthy, energizing foods. Because of this phenomenon, I concentrate on doing my most challenging and creative work in the morning before breakfast. I will have a coffee and water. I find that after I eat breakfast, my mental stamina isn’t the same.

I am about 10x more productive in the morning than I am later in the day. There is another reason for this--your cortisol (which stimulates your mind and motivates you), is highest in the morning hours--capitalize on this and ride the wave as long as possible.

If you want more tips like these, you will want to check out my new book: Don’t Tell Me What To Do.

It is full of all the hidden secrets to my productivity, and so much more. The programs and strategies in this book are what has allowed me to find my passion, become an executive, become an entrepreneur, buy my house, travel the world, and yes, even become an author.

If you are interested in being an advanced reader of this book--which will include an (almost) free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review please let me know by emailing me HERE. I say almost because Amazon will make me charge you a minimum amount to cover printing costs and shipping.

Again, if you want to be a part of my advanced reader group and receive an almost free advanced copy in exchange for honest review--email me this week at Jen@drjendunphy.com. Please title your e-mail: Advanced Reader


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