August 13, 2016

My Secrets to Productivity, How to Stay Focused When You Just Can’t


I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret today. I know that this blog mentions my productivity secrets in the title, but the real secret is that it’s really hard for me to be productive a lot of the time. I love my work and it totally energizes me. But there are parts of it that I have to power through. The thing is, while being an entrepreneur is amazing because you can create your own schedule and work at your own pace, it can also be a curse.

We are responsible for our own structured time and the key to working alone is intentionally putting those structures in place so that you always know what tricks to use to keep yourself focused. It’s really easy to wake up and get an invite to something fun when you’ve planned a day of work and think, Oh I’m an entrepreneur, I’m my own boss. I can get that work done tomorrow. I deserve a day of fun. But this is a slippery slope.

Here are three ways I set myself up for success every week. They’re super simple, but incredibly effective. Enjoy!

1. Schedule non-negotiable time when you’re working on certain projects and tasks. It’s so easy to get distracted with the emails piling in your inbox or the likes you’ve gotten on social media. I’ve been a victim of this many times, so I always block out 2 straight hours with no emails, no phone, and definitely no social media. I’ve found that when I focus, it’s usually 10x easier to get something done. Being scattered and all over the place is a sure fire way to fail. So make sure your have set aside the time to focus focus focus.

2. Get an accountability partner. Chances are you have at least one friend who is in the exact same position as you. They have a ton of work to do, a deep desire to be productive, and are struggling to get through their to do list. I find it incredibly motivating when I partner up with someone; we motivate and refocus each other on what’s really important. It almost becomes a game, where you’re both competing with yourself and motivated to support the other person along the way. You can do this easily through frequent text messaging, daily email, or even scheduled meet ups. Make it fun. You’re an entrepreneur because you want to be, remember?

3. Take breaks when you truly need them (especially when you find nothing is coming together). This is my favorite one. I love taking breaks. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really owned that my focus and attention doesn’t go much longer than 2 hours at a time (My editor Blair has learned this same thing about me). I think this is pretty typical for most people. You start to hit a wall after a while and you can just tell that your brain needs a break. For each person, that break will look different. For me, it’s going for a walk to get coffee. Other times it’s watching Ellen. And then oftentimes, I just need to call a good friend and talk about nothing for a few minutes. Find out what works for you and stop forcing yourself to be productive longer that your body is signalling you to be. There is power in honoring your truth.

Was this helpful? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and also learn what helps you stay focused and productive.

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  • Lynne

    Great advice Nikita. Do you use any apps to help with the time management bit?

    • Nitika

      I don’t really – just use Google calendar on my phone and computer so it’s all synched up!! xx

  • Laura Box

    I love you block, and I use your ideas when possible. I want to share one with you, I’m very emotive and open in my reactions with people, my mom is calm and peaceful always and she give me a paint.
    I used to be the administrator in a cardiology clinic where you can’t react against your employees or bosses, no matter how big or stupid was the mistake because you have to continue taking care of the patients ( around 100 per day). Then I place the paint of my mom exactly behind the face of the person I’m talking with. When I need to think in the future and well running of the clinic, that was my job. I just see the paint and I can fill myself of my mom calm and good judgement


    • Nitika

      Thank you for sharing Laura, sending lots of love! xx

  • Azna Vishwa Dharini

    Thank you so much, beautiful Nitika, for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. So good of you. I can never get things done due to distractions, indiscipline, lack of focus, lack of concentration, lack of persistence, lack of motivation, etc. For example, I find that when it is time to wash the dishes or do some cleaning, some other task looks more inviting. So the dishes stay unclean, the house is not cleaned like it should be weekly, etc. I find that I am a procrastinator in ALL areas of my life. I have wanted to start a daily exercise and stretching regimen like, forever and have not been able to sustain this practice more than a few days. Same with eating healthy foods in moderation, etc. I feel as if my brain and subconscious mind are not going to cooperate so that I can get done what I need to do on a daily basis. I find that if I set out to do something and just start doing it without thinking about it, then I can get it done. If I start thinking about it, my mind will give me reasons to postpone the task. For example, if I want to wake up at 6:00am to go for a walk outside, if I just get up as soon as the alarm sounds and proceed to put my shoes on, then I am more likely to complete my walk. Otherwise, if I delay even for a few seconds, I start thinking, “well, it looks like it is going to rain. So I may as well check my emails or text my friend.” You get the picture. Reading about your challenges being productive makes me feel that I am not the only one who has challenges getting tasks I need to get done on a daily basis. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Nitika

      I totally hear you Azna! Thank you for sharing this and please know, you are not alone. You need to get more committed to your HAPPINESS and health over your suffering. It’s a choice and I know you’re strong enough to make it. Just keep going + trying to chose it in every moment! Lots of love xx

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