What would it mean to your business and your life if you could be more productive without working more hours and increasing your stress level?
Often it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. The harder you work, the more you feel behind. That leads to stress, frustration, and burnout, especially as a network marketing leader.
After all, one reason you joined the profession was to have more freedom to control your schedule and do what you want when you want. Unfortunately, somehow the opposite happened! Although you want to grow and scale your business, you can’t do any more than you’re doing right now.
I’ve been there! Before I became a trainer and a coach in the network marketing space, I was a distributor like you for almost three decades. Over the years, I’ve tried lots of ways to increase my productivity. That’s why, in this post, I’m sharing some of my best personal hacks for how to be more productive.
These are not theories! These behaviors have 10X my productivity and made it possible to:
- Get more done in less time
- Grow my business and achieve more success
- Reduce stress
- Feel more energized
- Be happier and more present
- Not feel guilty when working or spending time with family
Don’t confuse activity with productivity. You may be busy but not really getting anything done. It’s not how much you do, it’s the effectiveness of what you do. So, let’s talk about how you can go from being busy to being productive in your network marketing business.
1) Prioritize Sleep
In the past, I had the attitude that I didn’t need sleep. I told myself, “I’m a machine! I’ll sleep when I die!” However, that was not a good attitude. Sleep has a lot to do with being more productive, getting things done, enjoying the business building process, and staying healthy.
Extensive research on sleep and productivity proves that the quality and quantity of sleep impact how productive you are. Poor sleep dramatically reduces performance and impairs problem-solving, memory, and creativity. Getting a good night of sleep increases productivity. And, being more productive leads to better sleep.
Sleeping less to get ahead and get more done is a myth. According to AASM, people who got less than five hours of sleep a night experienced 29% less productivity than those who regularly slept seven to eight hours a night. And, data analysis showed that “those with moderate-severe insomnia experienced more than double the productivity loss (107% more) compared to someone without insomnia.”
Sleep deprivation means more difficulty concentrating, learning, and communicating. And, these things can negatively affect relationships. Also, poor sleep habits have been associated with higher levels of illness and weight gain.
To get better sleep, have a sleep routine. Go to bed and get up around the same time each day. Also, cooler temperatures and darkness can improve sleep along with avoiding caffeine and possibly even carbs before bedtime.
2) Increase Your Water Intake
Your body is about 55-60% water, and your brain is about 73% water (Source: USGS). So, it’s important to stay hydrated because even mild dehydration can impair cognitive performance, which can make you less productive.
In fact, studies have shown how dehydration impacts productivity. For instance, dehydration:
- decreases worker productivity by 12-25%
- slows reaction time
- reduces mental and physical performance
- impedes concentration
- contributes to headaches and tiredness
Drinking water is also important to your overall health, which can affect your productivity. For example, hydration boosts your energy and mood. It delivers nutrients and oxygen to all of your cells, especially muscle cells, which postpones muscle fatigue. Water helps with weight loss, digestion, and detoxing your body. Also, it hydrates your skin and helps to fight off illness. All of these benefits contribute to making you healthier, more alert, and performing at your peak.
How much water you should drink daily depends on numerous factors and variables, such as gender, weight, level of activity, health, climate, body temperature, and diet. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends about 124 ounces of fluids a day for men and about 92 ounces of fluids a day for women, but that covers fluids from water, other beverages, and food. As the Mayo Clinic points out, there’s no “one size fits all” or single formula that fits everyone for how much water to drink each day.
Start tracking your water intake daily and pay attention to your performance. As you drink more water, you’ll discover how much of a positive difference it makes in the way you feel and how productive you are.
3) Stand While You’re Working
This year, I implemented standing while working, and it has made a big impact on my productivity. I suggest you try it out too!
Even if you’re in a situation where you can’t stand up all the time, at least try to stand up more often than you have been. That way, you’ll enjoy some of the improvements standing offers. I record my videos, take meetings, and work at a stand-up desk.
One of the reasons that I started researching a stand-up desk was that I was having so many issues with my neck and shoulders when I sat in one position. I was having headaches and having to get massages every other day. I couldn’t figure out what to do to help my neck and back. When I got the standing desk, I figured I’d stand only now and then. What I find now is that I can stand for hours! I don’t get sleepy, and I have more energy.
When it comes to your work day, standing rather sitting:
1) burns more calories
2) increases energy throughout the day
3) improves posture and circulation
4) improves mood and focus
Standing more frequently also offers health benefits, including reduced blood sugar spikes, improvement in lower back pain, and longer life expectancy.
Even if you don’t buy a special standing desk, try moving your workspace to a window or the kitchen counter periodically. The goal is to get more standing time into your day to boost your energy while improving your health.
4) Manage Time Better With the Pomodoro Technique
When it comes to productivity, good time management and better effectiveness are essential. And that’s where the Pomodoro Technique saves the day.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer (“pomodoro” means tomato in Italian), this technique separates your work into uninterrupted, focused 25-minute intervals using a kitchen timer. In between each interval, you take a brief five minute break. After four intervals, or pomodoros, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes.
The concept is to:
- limit distractions
- encourage better concentration and focus
- avoid mental fatigue
- reduce overwhelm and procrastination
- change the perception of time from an enemy to ally
- learn to transform a complex goal into a series of simpler goals
When you focus on something, studies show that after 10 minutes your attention span starts to go down. Over prolonged time, your attention span constantly decreases. However, if you take a five minute break every 25 minutes, over a two-hour period, your attention span peaks four different times. Plus, your brain looks forward to each break as a reward. The whole process keeps you engaged, focused, and more productive.
The Pomodoro Technique also works well with Parkinson’s law, which states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. For example, if there are six months until vacation, most people start preparing two days before. They get more done in the last 24 to 48 hours than they did in the six months leading up to vacation.
The point: work tends to fill the time that we give it. If you allocate less time for your tasks, you’ll accomplish them faster.
My 5-Minute Breaks
For me, when the timer goes off, I’ll do 15 push-ups and 10 air squats. I will drink water. Habits are easier to create when you tie them to other things.
Whether your break is doing short bursts of exercise, meditating, doing yoga, or whatever—just make sure your break is not related to what you’re working on. Knowing that you get a reward in 25 minutes makes a world of difference!
5) Plan Your Day in Advance
Another way to be more productive as a network marketer is to proactively plan your day before it begins. Ideally, plan your tomorrow today. When you don’t plan your day, outside forces can determine how your day goes.
Here’s what I recommend. On your calendar, schedule the events you know you have going on, like meetings or kid’s activities. Then, write down three to five tasks that you intend to do the following day. Next, schedule when you’re going to do those tasks on your calendar. Try to schedule 60-70% of your time for the next day.
Stick to three to five to-do items! Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and accomplish much less. Capture extra to-do items on a future to-do list for later so that they don’t distract you.
This process makes you prioritize your activities. It makes you analyze and identify the money-making, high payoff activities so that you focus on the 20% of tasks that lead to 80% of your success (aka the Pareto Principle). Planning will make you more intentional about how you spend your time and support your goals.
Aim to plan ahead five out of seven days every week. It takes about six weeks to create a habit. So, you’re gonna fall off the wagon, and you’re going to forget some days.
To stick to this process, tie it into another activity. For example, plan the next day during lunch or before an afternoon snack. Some people suggest planning in the evening. However, if you’re tired, then you’re not going to focus and plan as effectively. But, do what works best for you.
When you start creating this muscle, you’ll get so much done in less time. Even better, you’ll swap being busy for being productive and accomplishing tasks that support your goals.
6) Set Up Your Environment for Success
When I was a leader in the field, I would tell my kids, “When my office door is closed, I’m not home. I can’t do anything for you unless it’s an emergency.” They knew that when dad is working he’s working (but when he’s with us, the phone can ring and he’s not going to answer it!).
To be more productive, you must be able to focus. And, that means limiting or eliminating distractions. Silence your phone and email notifications. Turn off social media.
You may not realize it, but multitasking and getting distracted comes at a huge cost to your productivity. Research shows that shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of your productive time. That’s no surprise since interruptions break your focus. After a distraction, it can take 25 minutes or more to get back into the flow of what you were working on!
Plus, switching tasks consumes brain energy. Don’t waste your valuable brain power on distractions. Every single minute is gold. All it takes is one little notification, and you’re caught in the scroll hole on social media for the next two hours.
Distractions and interruptions steal from your productivity and your family’s future. When you set up an environment without distractions, you’ll be amazed at what you can get done.
Beyond reducing distractions, you also want to surround yourself with motivational, inspirational items. Around my office, I’ve got pictures of my family, affirmations, and dream boards. I recommend having reminders of why you’re working so hard and why you’re sacrificing right now. Remembering why you’re building a business will keep you focused and on task.
7) Say “No”
It’s mentally and physically impossible to be everything to everyone. You have a limited amount of time and energy. Additionally, you have your own goals and priorities. The truth is that you can’t say “yes” to everything, which means you need to learn to say “no.”
You may have a hard time saying no. I did! In fact, I still struggle with it to this day.
Think of it this way. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you know that the flight attendant tells you during the safety announcements to put on your oxygen mask first before you put a mask on anyone else. Because if you pass out, you’re not going to be able to help anyone around you. You have to help yourself before you can help other people.
Saying no helps you focus on what’s really important to you, your business, and your life. It helps you put your priorities in order so that you’re able to have the energy and time to do what you need to do to move forward.
8) Make Your Minutes Count
In the past, the first thing I used to do while drinking my coffee in the morning was tune into “Bad Morning America.” You’re thinking “No! It’s called Good Morning America.” I say, no, it’s not because there’s nothing good about it. The news media sucked the life out of me, and it didn’t help me or my family. They reported on things that I couldn’t control anyway.
Since time is limited, make every single minute count. When I get up now, I meditate and do my devotions. While I get ready in the morning, I consume positive content to make those minutes count, like listening to Pastor Rick Warren who wrote “The Purpose-Driven Life.” When I’m driving, I rarely listen to music because I’d rather learn and grow to become a different, better version of myself so that I can get to that next level.
There are so many minutes throughout the day that you waste. Time is the one thing you can never get back. Even if you’re on the toilet, make those minutes count! Don’t just scroll through Tik Tok. Use every chance to learn something and grow.
Over time, you’ll develop a leadership mindset and leadership habits that separate you from others. Turning your down times into personal and professional development opportunities will expand your knowledge, expose you to other possibilities, and help you to be more productive in business and life.
Remember, successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. The majority of people are not making the most out of every minute of their day. That’s why if you use your time wisely, you will achieve things that most people won’t since you’re willing to do things that most people aren’t willing to do.
9) Set Specific Times to Check Messages and Email
Since you’re going to limit your distractions from your phone and email, you’ll need to schedule times to communicate with others. Setting time on your calendar for email, Slack, texts, etc. makes it easier to organize your environment for limited interruptions because you know you’ll be getting to these communications at a different time.
The main issue with email and messages in relation to productivity is that they have the tendency to pull you away from your goals. People will ask for help, require answers to their inquiries, and possibly make you aware of problems. Inevitably, communications are prone to switch your direction, whether it be mentally or physically. So, you want to deal with communications on your terms, when you’re ready, and not at a time when you’re focused on getting work done.
This is a behavior that you can change, although I realize it may be tough at first! But, you’ll be more productive and get so much more done simply by moving your email and message replies to specific times throughout the day.
10) Make Time for Self-Care
Last but not least, be intentional and schedule time for self-care on your calendar just like you would a meeting. Maybe you want a pedicure or a massage, maybe you want to go on a date night. You work hard, and you’ve earned it!
I have lots of self-care time with my family. I’ve got three girls and two boys. I get pedicures with my girls and get my eyebrows done a little bit with what’s there. I work out with my boys.
Whatever your self-care activity, remember that you’ve got to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help other people.
Clinically proven self-care benefits include:
- reduced anxiety, depression, and stress
- improved concentration and energy
- increased happiness
- less frustration and anger
- reduced heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Here’s a little bonus tip for you: take time to reflect and celebrate your progress. It’s about progress not perfection. At the end of the day, reflect on the things that you did right, and then every day you can get a little bit better.
To Be More Productive, Which Tip is the Most Important?
I’ve shared some of my behaviors that have helped me to increase my productivity and accomplish more. However, it’s important to note that one action alone would not have provided the success that all of the actions combined have achieved. It’s like baking a chocolate cake. If you skip one or two ingredients, you can’t expect to have success with that cake recipe.
So, these are the ingredients for my success when it comes to being more productive. One is not more important than the other. They work together to make you a more productive network marketer and leader.
If you need help with getting more done or getting to the next level in your business, I’m here to mentor you. I love helping network marketers and business owners! In my experience, there are five big mistakes that leaders make that sabotage the growth of their organization. To find out how to avoid them so that your team grows faster, check out my free training series.