On a cruise for location independent entrepreneurs I met Dan and Bjorn. Like me, they both travel several months a year while running their businesses. Together we figured out what makes us productive in challenging circumstances. And how we balance work and fun for optimal happiness. Do you know what makes you tick? In this article you’ll find many practical tips you can start applying right now. For the more complicated stuff we’ve created the Get sh*t done! e-course.
Three different approaches to work
Bjorn is founder of an international digital marketing & lean innovation consultancy. Originally from Germany, he is based in London, Barcelona and South Africa. Bjorn loves making lists, writing down goals and keeping track of results. He is a workaholic who rarely ‘switches off’. Dan is a successful writer and teacher of various online courses. He is originally from Canada, but now lives in Prague. Dan is either working or procrastinating. He turns on or off and doesn’t mix the two activities. He waits until he feels inspiration, disconnects from the world and works. Afterwards he disconnects from work and enjoys life. I am called the ‘no excuses lady’. I have a very intrinsic sense of what needs to be done. It’s all in my head. I don’t make lists, but just know, feel what has priority. I mostly work when a deadline is near. I let the pressure built up until I cannot ignore it anymore. Then I work like crazy till I get things done. This gives me a kick; the defying of the deadline, working extremely hard and then making it, against all odds. But it is very demanding, so I should make sure I have enough down time in between. When our cruise arrived in Brazil the three of us decided to stay there for a while to get some work done. In the next two weeks I realized what it is that makes us successful. We each found our own ways of dealing with changing circumstances, distractions and other challenges. We decided we needed air-conditioning to be productive in the heat, so booked mid range hotel rooms, while other nomads were in hostels. We got frustrated when slow internet interrupted our workflow, so went to a coworking space, business center or hotel lobby to solve that. We felt very happy and energized after we got a batch of work done and enjoyed a swim in the ocean, overlooking the beach afterwards. We each had our own strategies to deal with focus, distraction and motivation. It was so interesting to become aware of how our mind works and to find out how different personalities deal with it in different ways.
Frustration or flow?
Do you feel frustrated sometimes after spending an entire workday glued to your computer and still not getting things done? On the other hand you might know these sudden bursts of inspiration that make you very productive, while it doesn’t feel like working. It’s all about knowing when you are most productive and in what context. When you can identify and (re)create these you will not only be more productive, but will also have to work less for the same -or better- results. Wouldn’t that make you a happier person as well? Sometimes only small adjustments can make a huge difference. I identified some factors that influence productivity. If you carefully look at your own productivity and try out some different strategies, the effects could be incredible. Below are a number of factors you could play with. Find out what works best for you.
Know when you are most productive