The New Norm: Redefining Productivity for a Fulfilling Work Life

The New Norm: Redefining Productivity for a Fulfilling Work Life

Ready to redefine productivity? We’re spoiling you with work-life balance strategies, and a closer look at different work styles. Making project plans, prioritizing tasks, and understanding whether you’re a freestyler or a structured worker is on the agenda. Our aim? A guarantee to help you reach the end of each week feeling accomplished, productive and fulfilled.

We’re delving into task differentiation, focusing on the ones that pack a punch and transform your productivity. Skip the mundane and embrace high-value tasks. Together, we’re challenging the status quo of to-do lists, questioning if they help or hinder us. We’ll also be touching on energy management, because preserving that precious resource is just as important as your time.

This episode culminates with a deep dive into your work context – how you arrange your week, how you rank your tasks, and the idea of tackling the toughest jobs first to gain momentum. Discover the magic of time-blocking and the unexpected benefits of a ‘not to do’ list. We’re reinforcing the importance of safeguarding your creative blocks, and nurturing your planning routine. Join us for an invigorating discussion that promises to reshape your weekly work rhythm and empower you to take control of your productivity.

We got here by following an article from David Baker author and podcaster at his own show 2Bobs: https://punctuation.com/there-are-three-kinds-of-days-in-your-week/

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Chapter Summaries:

(0:00:01) – Productivity and Finding a Balance
We discuss project plans, work-life balance, structure, and productivity to maximize contribution.

(0:12:57) – Prioritizing High Value Tasks
We prioritize high-value activities, ditch to-do lists, and manage energy for maximum impact.

(0:21:24) – Working With Deadlines and Goals
Focusing on priorities, forming accountability partnerships, making a “not to do list”, and using deadlines effectively are discussed.

(0:26:47) – Prioritizing Tasks, Creating Context for Work
Organize work weeks, prioritize high value tasks, do hard things first, block time for productivity, create a “not to do” list, and plan days to protect creative block times.

Washing The Dishes – The Art of Finding Balance

Washing The Dishes – The Art of Finding Balance

A Commentary On Time Management, Productivity and Work/Life Balance

Let’s Talk About Dishes

How do you load the dishwasher?  No really?  Are you a “let it pile up and I’ll tackle it all at once” kinda human or a “that dish just landed and I’m coming in hot” kinda person?  Or maybe you’re the “Just what I need, when I need it” weirdo. I’m sort of obsessed with ways to get more out of myself, my day and (of course) my work.  I think it’s a healthy reverence.  My friends and family use “obsession” (whatevs). 

If you hang around SOCO long enough, you’ll inevitably see me hovering over the dishwasher rearranging mugs and glasses and bowls in the eternal search for the “optimized wash”

ps: In case you were wondering, there’s a scientifically-backed approach to doing it well – thank you American Cleaning Institute. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

pss: Yes.  Hannah Lee and I are working on a team member handbook on how to optimize dishwashing as one of our core values. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ

What The Hell Are You Talking About, Greg?

Well friend.  Washing dishes is a corollary for your work (or your life or both):

  1. It’s a daily routine (for most of us)
  2. It can feel never ending (you run it and 10 minutes later they’re baaaaack!)
  3. If you don’t tend to them, they pile up and can create a lot of stress and not just for you (don’t believe me?  Read this). 
  4. They suck!  Like, who raises their hand for dishes??? But, you just have to do it (kind of like work for most of us).  
  5. And finally…there are a like hundred different ways to getting them done!

So, Why Are You Creating Dishwasher Distress?

Here goes. The actual dishes are ALL THE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE.  ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Your work commitments. Your social relationships.  Your family needs.  Your personal time.  Your mom (that you haven’t called back in weeks).  If you need to spend time on it, then it’s a “dish”.  And you need to take care of each one (eventually).  But every bloody week, the dishes pile up and you can never seem to get around to all of them. 

What needs to go in right now?  What can wait?  Are the plates more important than the mugs?  Do some need to be washed by hand because they are delicate or breakable? How many minutes should I spend standing over this sink before I go postal (I can’t be the only one)?  

My point is this.  It’s all gotta get done.  So, the real question is what’s important to you and how do you handle things when when the “shit” piles up? 

  

6 Things We Can Learn About “Balance” From Dishes

  • There’s Always Dirty Work: We all want to do the high value work that’s strategic and high value. But, you’re fooling yourself if you think you can avoid the dirty work all the time. In fact, sometimes leadership is more about showing than telling. So, lead by example and get your hands dirty. ๐Ÿงผ
  • Take Pleasure In Small Wins/Steps/Efforts: Struggling with an overwhelming task? Start small. Wash a dish. And then another. And then another. Small wins can have a profound impact on your well-being. Take baby steps towards your goal and before you know it…”the dishes are done man…”. ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • Find Purpose In All Things: Washing dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning out your inbox, decluttering your workspace, reviewing your spending…whatever the mundane task…it does serve a purpose. Assign value to the outcome and transcend the monotony of the task. For me (at home), washing the dishes is one way that I say “I love you” to my partner. I wash the dishes (at night mostly) so that when she wakes up, she’ll come into a clean(er) kitchen. That reduces her stress and that’s a good thing. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝ
  • Know Your Priorities: Know When Something Is A Priority (And When It Isn’t). We can’t get it all done. Stop trying. Really. So, life is really about choosing where to invest your time and in what. Take a hard look at where you spend your time and what efforts will help you create the most momentum. Those small tasks can consume your day, but ask yourself if they’re moving the needle or not. If they aren’t, maybe the dishes can wait another day. ๐ŸŽฏ
  • Reward Yourself: Listen. Carrots always work better than sticks. So, if you have to get through some hard stuff (or a hard day/week), know it’s going to suck and set aside some time to reward yourself with something related to emotional, mental or physical wellness. Hard = A Reward. Listen…there’s a reason people plan their vacations in advance. ๐Ÿ–๏ธ
  • Ask For Help: Sometimes, life can get overwhelming. Being entrepreneurial sometimes feels like you’re the “capitan”, the first mate and everyone else on the deck of the ship. Know when to ask for help and Surround yourself with people who can offer emotional support, practical help, and guidance when needed. ๐Ÿ†˜

Looking for a little more?

Check out this great episode on the Communal podcast where Greg and Gene answer listener questions on work/life balance, leadership and remaining your authentic self. It’s a good one.

About The Author:

Greg Hilton is the cofounder and managing partner for SOCO, SOCO is a thriving platform and community focused on supporting creators, indie workers and entrepreneurs just like you. He’s an avid outdoorsman, creator and storyteller.

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5 Entrepreneurial (And Life) Lessons from The Worst Hike of Our Lives

5 Entrepreneurial (And Life) Lessons from The Worst Hike of Our Lives

This is NOT good, Greg.”

An Epic Hike Begins

Back when I first married my wife Kat, we LOVED to travel and explore the outdoors.  We’d go all over the southeast in search of good trails.  One fall, we decided to hike from Amicalola Falls (straight) up to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain in North Georgia.  It’s an epic hike with a memorable visual finish at the start of the storied Appalachian Trail.  It’s also a bloody slog and almost all uphill.

Don’t Think. Just Start.

I was anxious to get out there and on the trail and being a confident 30-something, didn’t really do much by way of planning.ย  Kat trusted me, so we got up early, headed to Amicalola and without much fanfare, hit the trail with a small backpack, “enough” water and some snacks to get us through the hike.ย  I wasn’t really worried.ย  It was a pretty straight shot and we had a lot of experience hiking.ย  Also.ย There’s this wonderful “hike in” hostelย up there that is a fantastic mid-way point.ย  They have food, snacks, water and a place to rest should you need it.


When Your Plan Goes To Shit

The “straight” hike was straight alright.  Straight up.  A brisk pace turned to a snails crawl.  We passed the Inn on the way up and stopped in to say hello.  We didn’t resupply because we thought we’d do it on the way back down.  5 hours into our hike, we reached the terminus.  We celebrated with a few photos and started the trek back down.  

That’s when things got worse. We were running low on water and had burned through our provisions.  We also took a wrong turn near the top (and our navigation app didn’t work up on the mountain) so by the time we got back on track, our 15 mile hike was looking more like 19.0 miles.  Kat was exhausted.  I was fatigued. 

Then things got a lot worse.  We were desperately trying to reach the hike inn hostel and arrived ready to fall over.  Trouble was…they had closed up early that day and the placed was locked up.  So, we were out of food, running low on water (and light) and still had another terrible 5 miles to go.  That was the longest 5 miles of our relationship.  Kat was feeling terrible and nearly collapsed a couple of times. The only way we made it down the mountain was by playing word association games to distract ourselves from the hunger, thirst and fatigue.  

We laugh about it now, but that 18 miles in 1 day hiking experience tested our relationship and our will/perseverance.  And the worst part about it is that it all could have been avoided.  

This IS The Entrepreneurial Journey (but, does it have to be?)

I feel like that hike is symbolic of life (and the entrepreneurial journey) in a lot of ways. We’re all scrambling to create opportunities, take risks with social or financial rewards and balance all the elements of our work and lives. Like everything else, we all:

  • Have lofty, ambitious goals
  • Feel eternally under-resourced, while being eternally optimistic 
  • Are gritting/willing our way through things
  • Experience constant obstacles
  • Have to come up with creative problem solving

Did you have lofty ambitions for this year?  Were your sights set on big things?  Did you hit the ground running?  Charging up the mountain only to run out of water halfway up?  

5 Painful Lessons I Learned

If you’re starting a new journey or evaluating the one that you’re on, I humbly submit some suggestions for your consideration based on our “wonderful” experience.  

  1. Plan Ahead ๐ŸŽฏ – You can’t ever predict everything that can happen on a journey like this, but you prepare and plan for contingencies.  The more you can de-risk a situation, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve success.  Where are we going?  What’s the journey along the way look like really?  What do we need to pack (the right people, enough financial resources, tools that will help make the job easier, etc). 

  2. Get a Freaking Map ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ – Listen.  It’s just stupid to launch into something big without a good map (read: clear game plan) for where you’re going, what stops along the way you can make along the way (read: milestones) and what alternatives you can take to reach the summit (read: backup plans).  

  3. Pack The Essentials ๐Ÿšฐ – Knowing what really matters and focusing on those things can be the difference between achieving your goals and bailing with miles left to go.  As Greg McKeown espouses in “Essentialism”, learn to quickly discern the trivial many from the vital few tasks that will help you achieve success.  

  4. Check In Often โœ… – Stuff goes wrong.  And I’ve never hit a goal that I wasn’t tracking and monitoring.  Have some good KPIs that are meaningful.  Check in often with those KPIs, your team and yourself.

  5. Correct Your Course ๐Ÿงญ – Don’t be too proud, confident or stubborn to acknowledge when things are going off course.  As Tyson said: “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” 

About The Author:

Greg Hilton is the cofounder and managing partner for SOCO, SOCO is a thriving platform and community focused on supporting creators, indie workers and entrepreneurs just like you. He’s an avid outdoorsman, creator and storyteller.

Like what you’re reading here? Share it with someone else!