Productivity Tips for "ADD" Creatives / Entrepreneurs
My Top Productivity Tips for my Fellow Creative Pros / Entrepreneurs
- 1Get 8hrs SLEEP (or whatever You need) daily. I have a 9pm Evening Shutdown Ritual with Alarms & a WiFi Smart Plug to Turn-off my powered Electronic Devices (TV) & ensure I'm in Bed with Lights-Out by 9:30pm Sun.-Thu. & 10pm Fri.-Sat. I also take a Sleep Aid to help me stay asleep. Know your Sleep ChronoType (I'm a Bear) & Track your Sleep with a Smart Watch or Fitness Band; I use a Garmin Vivoactive 4 and love the Sleep + "Body Battery" data it provides.
- 2Exercise Daily. This is an absolute must-do for me with my (mild) ADD to clear my mind, unwind, think, sleep better, have more energy & focus for the next day, not to mention maintaining my Cardio Health & Weight. I have a 5pm Workday Shutdown Alarm to wrap-up, change clothes & get out the door by 5:30pm (DST) or an hour earlier in Winter. I usually HIKE with a Podcast (Sermon) up the Hill & Pray Downhill & listen to some (Worship) Music. I have 3 weekly routes & track workouts in RunKeeper & Garmin Connect using my Vivoactive 4. This Quiet-Time helps renew my Mind - Body - Spirit. In Winter I can sub. Weights &/or P90X when it rains. I also use a Wyze "Smart" BT Scale.
- 3MED's / Supplements. While I've known I had ADD for years it wasn't until 2019 that I sought Medical Help; Discipline, Will-Power & Habits weren't enough & I while I was quite capable of "performing" when I had to, there was something missing. After being diagnosed as having Mild ADD I was prescribed Adderall, which helps make-up the chemical imbalance in my brain. I'm on a low dose (10mg x 2 a day) & also take a Magnesium supplement occasionally. I've learned to harness my ADD Hyper-Focus "Super-Power" (lose myself in deep work) & understand my weaknesses to make sure I simplify & focus on one thing at a time in my Passion-Proficiency-Profitability zone.
- 4Workday Startup Ritual. After going through my Morning Routine, I have a 60min. "Hour of Power" Ritual I go through before Starting Work on my #1 MVP. Here's what that looks like: * Open MacBook Pro & Start 45min. PomoDoneApp Timer 4 Work Start-Up (2min) * Take ADDerall w/Smoothie (3min) * Pray - Grateful/Day (5min) * 5 Min. Journal - Grateful for? Make Today Great? Affirmation? (5min) * Read Bible Verse of the Day &/or Sermon passage in YouVersion App. (5min) * Daily AM Journal Sleep/Feelings Entry + QT Verse + Podcast Notes re Ideas/ACT-ons (5min) * Review/Pray over Qtrly/Wkly Goals in on Whiteboard & in Planner+ToDoist (5min) * Capture-Clarify-Commit to my Daily "Big 3" Tasks based on my Weekly Priorities, Journal Prayer & Urgency in my Planner & ToDoist, highlighting my #1 Priority-Main-Event-Focus (10min) * CALendar my Big#3 Time-blocks/Appointments & Share Commits with PA. (5min) * Start 15min. Pomo Timer for new Daily WAV Content Idea Note Habit (2021/Q2).
- 5Workday Shutdown Ritual. I set an Alarm/Reminder to Wrap my Workday, do a final Email/Msgs Check, Review my Planner Daily Page & Scoreboards (RescueTime Productivity, PomoDone Work Hours, Commits). This can take 15-30 minutes. It's a hard-stop with a deadline to make sure I get changed & out for my Exercise on-time.
- 6Use Paper &/or Digital Planner like Michael Hyatt's Full Focus Planner or the Intelligent Change Productivity Planner &/or ToDoist. I use both types (Paper then Digital) in a Hybrid System to Plan my Annual + Quarterly + Weekly Goals & Capture-Clarify-Calendar my Daily Work & Personal Priorities with alarms/reminders. The key is to Prioritize & Focus on the Few Tasks (i.e. #1-3 Things) that will help you accomplish your Weekly & Quarterly Goals i.e. high leverage ROI$ work that moves the needle & makes money, not "busy-work" (email) or outside/other people's "demands".
- 7The One Thing / 4DX WIG. Focus on Your "One-Thing" & Work On 1-Thing (Project/Task) at a Time. Our brains work sequentially, multi-taking is a myth & there's a price you pay when task switching, esp. those caused by interruptions or jumping from 1 unrelated task to another. Try & Theme your Days or Mornings/Afternoons to group similar types of Work during the same period. I find I do best with 1 Morning (9-12) Priority & 1-2 Afternoon, with the last 1-2 hours set aside for everything else i.e. emails, calls, quick-wins, small-biz-stuff, social, etc.
- 8Indistr-Actable Focus. Stay Focused on the (1) Task you're Working On and Eliminate Distractions. I Use PomoDoneApp Timer in 30-45min focussed work intervals connected to ToDoist Tasks. Not only does this keep me focussed, but I have a Daily/Weekly Time Report breaking down how much time I spent on each task. This complements RescueTime which gives me a Computer Work Timesheet breakdown by Category & Apps (i.e. Business, Creative, Communications, Research/Learning, Utilities, etc). Activate Do-Not-Disturb on your Phone & turn off Computer & Phone Notifications. And if necessary, put your Phone in another room or in a bag/case. You can also try Apps that Block Distracting Social & News sites like Self-Control or Freedom. I try very hard to NOT check my Email/Messages (incl. Social Media) until around Lunchtime after completing Deep Work on my #1MVP and @ the end of the day as part of my Workday Shutdown ritual.
- 9Automate-Delegate-Eliminate. Use Templates & Presets for Re-Occurring projects. Create Systems & Checklists. Use Ai. Do the Delegate Math & Outsource (Fiverr, UpWork, etc.) lower-leverage work that needs to be done but is outside your Strengths (Passion-Proficiency-Profit) Zone. Auto-Pay Bills & Go Paperless. Download Bank Statements (in Quickbooks/CVS format) & Import into your Accounting software. Use CRM & Email Services like MailChimp, Active-Campaign, etc. to automate your CRM & Sales Funnels & Social Post Schedulers like HootSuite that can share 1 Post to multiple Platforms. Listen/Watch Business Content 1.5X Speed (or 2X with Book). Read-Listen-Watch Book Summaries.
- 10Stationery & Printing. I use Post-It Notes, Index Cards & a White Board to Visualize complex Goals & Projects. I also use Erasable Frixion Pens with my Full Focus Planner. I have a Folder with printouts of my Annual & Quarterly Goals, Goal Planning Sheets (my GPS), ToDoist Projects Break-Downs, Checklists, Budgets & P&L's, Weekly/Quarterly Previews, Work Rituals, Ideal Week, Vision & Mission, Business & Marketing Planning Worksheets, Weekly Productivity Reports, Web Stats & more.
- 11Nutrition & Diet. I Feed my Body Healthy "Energy" Food. It starts with Smoothie freshly made by my wife every morning. Breakfast is usually a WholeGrain Bread w/Cheese or Veggie Muffin. I Eat a Lite Lunch (Wholewheat Sandwich) & enjoy Nuts/Granola, Fruit snacks & Juice during the day. I limit my Coffee to 2 Cups a Day, 1 Full during my Morning Routine & 2-3 smaller servings between 9-3pm. I Eat Fish (esp. Salmon), some Poultry & Vegetable-based products - no Red Meat. I drink Almond Milk, occasionally take Protein Powder, Greek Yogurt. I love Mozzarella & "low-fat" Swiss. I start each New Year with a Friday (Dawn-Dusk) Fast every January & when I need to really Focus on something critical. I have used Calorie Counting Apps a few times over the last decade when I needed to Lose Weight, but not since I moved to a Daily Exercise Ritual.
- 12Mental Health. Input = Output. I Limit what I Listen-Watch-Read to Positive, Helpful & Inspirational Media & News i.e. My Podcasts, Facebook Timeline/Groups, YouTube Subs/Videos, etc. Most of my close Friends share my Faith-based Values & being part of a Community of like-minded people is critical. I limit how much negative Political News I consume, preferring to skim headline & watch a few brief clips in the evening on YouTube from my trusted sources (i.e. NOT Mainstream Media). Check out the Link below to download a list of my Favorite Podcasts.
Productivity Course for "ADD" Creatives & Entrepreneurs
In this new Course, I'll walk you through my Hybrid Productivity System using the Full Focus & Productivity Planners and Todoist Pro for Projects & Tasks. You'll Learn how I manage my Annual + Quarterly Goals, Weekly Priorities + Projects, and Daily Tasks. I'll show you how I Capture my Ideas & Todo's on Paper first, then Clarify my Weekly/Daily Priorities, Organize them in my Task Manager, and then Commit - Calendar + Share my "Big 3" MVP's (Most Valuable Priorities). We'll go through the Weekly Preview process of Review & Planning, setting your Weekly Goals/MVP's, and listing all the Other "stuff" (i.e. Secondary Tasks) you need/want to do. I'll share my Workday Startup & Shutdown routines, Daily Mind + Body + Soul Habits, Time Blocking your Ideal Week, Productivity Tools, and How I manage my ADD to stay focussed, eliminate distractions & make daily progress towards my goals.
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My Top 5 Related "Productivity" Products
Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt
I use the Classic Version with Notes pages for every day but they also have a new slimmer Pocket Version without the daily Notes pages. Includes Daily pages, Weekly Previews, Annual Goals, Goal Detail pages, Daily Rituals, Ideal Week, Monthly/Quarterly views & more. * Update: I've been testing the Productivity Planner & think it's a great alternative!
ToDoist Pro + PomoDoneApp
Works on Mac/PC, IOS/Android & Web. I use the Pro Version for advanced features. Brand new Boards are great for visualization. Mac Desktop syncs well with PomoDoneApp for me; I use 30-45min Pomo's & get a Weekly Tasks & Time Report. I use custom Full Focus Planner & 4DX Templates organized by Goals & Work Type i.e. Planning, Content Creation, Marketing, Client Work, Communications, Financial, Studio/Tech., Personal/Home Life, etc.
I use for Alarms/Reminders, to Listen to Podcasts & Music, Read/Study the Bible (YouVersion), Track RunKeeper Workouts & Habits, To-Do's & Notes sync., GPS Maps, Mobile Messages, Shopping, Taking & Sharing Photos/Videos on Social...and even to make/receive Phone Calls!
MacBook Pro 15"
While I still use a Desktop for larger Video projects (esp. for Rendering/Export), 90% of my Work is done on my MacBook Pro. Being able to move & work in various desks, chairs, rooms, etc. keeps me from boredom. Most used Apps incl. ToDoist, Notes, Mail & Spark, Adobe Creative Cloud (Premiere, Audition, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc), Pro Tools + Logic Pro, Izotope RX & Waves plugins, ThriveThemes in WordPress, MS Word/Excel & Chrome/Safari. * Update: Apple's has new fast ARM based 13" MacBook Pro & Air.
Books: The One Thing & 4 Disciplines of Execution
The best thing we can do as "ADD" Creatives / Entrepreneurs is Focus on a Few "Most" Important Goals, specifically One Thing or 1 "Wildly Important Goal" (aka "WIG") at a time that would have the greatest impact i.e. produce the biggest change, make things easier or unnecessary, has the highest ROI - in terms of time/energy & money. I can easily spread myself too thin trying To Do too many things. So I look at my Annual Goals, then select 1 "WIG" or Priority to focus on for the Year & each Quarter above-&-beyond normal "business" operations.
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