How to Be More Productive

P18A9498Do you remember your most productive day? What helped you stay focused and achieve your goals? I am sure you have several amazing tricks of your own. However, let me share with you my struggles and ideas first.

10 days ago I declared my personal war with procrastination and self-indulgence. There are only 24 hours in a day. Each minute is a gift, each second is precious. How dare we waste the moments of our life that we’ll never get back? Each moment is lived only once. I will never be 39 years 4 months 22 days old again. Ever!

My last several months have been a brutal struggle with procrastination. One day is amazingly productive, yet another one is a complete disaster. It exhausted me, annoyed me and ignited a burning desire to conquer this beast. That’s why my natural feistiness inspired me to start this personal war and invite others to keep me accountable.

So, here are a few things that usually help me stay productive throughout the day. These are not new ideas, although I need to remind myself of their importance regularly.

1.  Momentum

I am sure you’ve heard this physics term used in the area of business, achieving goals and success. When you start working on a task and suddenly find yourself engrossed in it, forgetting about time, that’s your momentum. You should catch it like a wave and ride it as far as possible.

Sometimes I would start writing a blog, preparing a lesson, working on a course, and the world around me ceases to exist. The work flows easily and without distractions, ideas come fast, and the process is enjoyable. This is momentum. I always have to remind myself to take the most of it and not waste this precious moment of inspiration.

2.  Focus

My biggest challenge and most important goal these days is focus. Momentum definitely helps to stay focused, but it doesn’t come first, it’s the result of a focused mind. Eliminate distractions, stay on a task without switching to another one, let the ideas flow and let the momentum kick in.

However, in my life focus is more than just working without interruptions. There are so many passions I want to pursue, so many causes my heart aches for! At the same time, my business, work and ministry throw numerous responsibilities at me. As a result, it’s getting harder, but also more crucial to stay focused.

3.  Pressure

All people are different. Perhaps, for somebody the pressure of a deadline is stressful and overwhelming. For me, a chronicle procrastinator, it’s a safe boat. I set deadlines for myself if nobody does it for me, and then, it’s up to pressure to play the role of a motivator.

In conclusion, let’s look at all three points. What’s your favorite? Mine is number one – momentum. It’s the most enjoyable one!

What are your techniques and methods to stay productive? Please share in the comments and help me in my war with procrastination. You can keep me accountable following my Instagram account – natasha_baz.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep, That Is The Question

150513194606-01-better-sleep-exlarge-169It’s not really a question, whether we should sleep or not. A lot of research proves that sleep is extremely important for being able to function normally during the day. However, the biggest question for me is – how much and when.

Should I sleep 7-8 hours like Arianna Huffington and many others suggest? Or should I sleep 5-6 hours like many successful entrepreneurs claim they do? When should we go to bed and when is it better to wake up? There are so many controversial opinions, and all of them seem credible. How can we choose the right answer for us?

As a matter of fact, having read a lot of articles and books on productivity, I can say that everything is individualized. We all should experiment and find our own perfect magic number.

How much?

In fact, in the last two years I’ve been experimenting with sleep and got interesting results. It seems my perfect number is 6.15 – 6 hours, 15 minutes. Presumably, this is the amount of sleep that my body needs to feel rested and wake up energized. Several experiments showed that sleeping even a few minutes longer made me groggy and tired. However, there were cases when I slept 5 hours 15 minutes or 7 hours 15 minutes, and the result was also not bad.

When?

Another question arises – when should we go to bed and wake up? I think it depends on your schedule. Some people can go to bed early because they are home after 6. For others (like me) it’s impossible because we come home from work after 10. In the same way, it’s hard to state one perfect formula for getting up in the morning.

Another set of my experiments proved that going to bed before 12 am helps to sleep more efficiently. I wake up more rested than after going to bed at 2 am, even if the amount of sleep was less.

Conclusions

All things considered, we can make a conclusion – every person is unique. You should try to experiment and find your own formula of efficient sleep.

Share with us in the comments below what is the best time for you to go to bed and wake up. How much do you usually sleep? Is it easy for you to get out of bed?

Why I Decided to Become a Morning Person or How To Boost Your Productivity

ringing-alarm-clock-28496894People keep asking me why I would want to torture myself and get up early in the morning when I always was a night owl. Why would I want to change my natural way of existence and start doing something that doesn’t come that easy? I will tell you why!

I am not saying everybody should do it. A lot of people are satisfied with the way things are in their life. I wasn’t. At a certain point I realized there wasn’t enough time in my day and something had to change.

No, this is my biggest reason to become a morning person – NEED FOR CHANGE.

I always knew staying up till 2 am and sleeping till 9 or 10 wasn’t the best choice. I would wake up groggy, take too much time for psyching up before actually starting my work. However, I had justified it by calling myself a night owl and saying – that’s just how my body works. The truth is – I didn’t have a big enough reason and a need for change.

So, about 2 years ago I got a dream and with it came a reason. To make that dream come true I needed more hours in my working day. Where can I get them? – I asked myself. And the answer was easy – go to bed at 11 pm (those late hours had been spent aimlessly most of the time anyway) and wake up at 6 am. Immediately, I received 3 extra hours in the morning for reading, prayer, exercise and preparation for the working day. It made so much difference to start the day right. Productivity boost was incredible.

If you feel you don’t have enough time to get everything done; if you would like to change your life and achieve bigger goals; if you have an ambitious dream, but it seems unrealistic because your life is a mess, start waking up earlier. Get your life in order. Read, eat, sleep and exercise. And what’s more important – do it right.

 

 

Enjoy Life

John Lennon once said – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Isn’t it the striking and eye-opening truth? We live our life always planning, hoping, waiting, anticipating. And our existence sometimes can hardly be called life because it’s just a set of routines, repeated actions, constant plans, to-do lists and loads of work. Or vice versa, it could be full of such escapes from reality like movies, shows and Internet.

Why don’t we try to enjoy every moment of our life, cherish every conversation with a dear friend and appreciate every little blessing that is given to us? Why does it have to be a constant pursuit and constant race? Let us stop and enjoy life even if just for a moment before we get going, before it all gets crazy again.

Look around you tomorrow when you go to work in the morning or go for a run or just go out for whatever reason. Try to notice the beauty that surrounds you, try to find it in the places where others don’t see it. Believe me, it will do you good!

Workaholics Unanimous

My friend and I are marathon runners and right now we’re in Germany getting ready to run the Frankfurt marathon tomorrow morning. Usually we try to save our legs and not walk around too much the day before the race. When today we were sitting at the hotel lobbie waiting for my friend’s husband, she suddenly said: “It feels so weird to just sit like this doing nothing, not working on anything.”

Usually every moment of our lives is scheduled, every day is full of events and meetings, classes and tasks. Isn’t it sad? We even feel a little guilty if we don’t do anything productive for 5 minutes.

Today we had no choice because we’re in a foreign country and the routine is totally different. It felt strange but at the same time wonderful to just relax and not think about our everyday to-do lists.

So, tell me, are you proud to be a workaholic? Do you ever feel like bragging about it concealing it with false humility? A lot of times people say: “I am such a workaholic, i  should really do something about it. I have no time for…” You can fill in the blanks. In reality we are a bit proud of that but in fact we should feel sorry for ourselves. That is a miserable life when you have no time for a cup of coffee with friends.

Today we made a decision to always try and deliberately plan our down time. The goal of it is to give our brain a rest and let it recharge. The big purpose of it is to live a full life and not a miserable existence of a workaholic.

Good Planning, Bad Planning

What’s your relationship with making lists and plans? Do you enjoy or dread that? Are you a spontaneous flexible person that never bothers with thinking too much ahead or a really organized one never deviating from a plan?

I love planning but recently I started noticing that I acquired a bad habit – waiting till the last minute to complete the task. What prevents me from starting it earlier and finishing in time? Nothing, busyness, excuses, sometimes laziness and just bad planning.

So, my new decision today – start executing my plans earlier without waiting for the last day or week! Going on a trip? Start planning it ahead of time, buying tickets early to save money; pack two-three days ahead; finish all business before the trip but not a few hours before leaving for the airport. Need to create an online course? Stop procrastinating and get down to it! Soon it will be that last minute and I will be rushing and scolding myself for not having been doing it earlier.

My Life is impossible without planning, but I am not a good planner. Like my Grandma said – We live and learn all our lives! It’s time to learn how to be good at that.