Self-Care + Wellbeing

Boosting Productivity: Setting Boundaries for Success

I'm Katy

Here I spill the tea on balancing hustle and heart with tips and tricks for thriving in business while taking care of yourself, because success is best served with a side of serenity!

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As a seasoned entrepreneur, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the significance of establishing boundaries to stay productive and keep my sanity. Here are the most important boundaries I’ve set that have made the biggest difference in my business life:

  • Schedule Email Responding & Social Scrolling
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Establishing a Work Space
  • Determining Productive Work Times
  • Taking All Meetings on One Day

Scheduling Email Responses + Social Scrolling

In the whirlwind of modern work culture, it’s easy to get swept up in the urgency of every ping, ding, and notification that floods our devices and inboxes. But perhaps it’s time for a gentle reminder: not every task requires an immediate response. As I often tell my team, “we’re not saving babies here,” emphasizing that unless we’re in the business of literal baby-saving, most work can wait. Adopting a mindset that allows for focused, uninterrupted periods of productivity can significantly enhance our effectiveness. Checking and responding to emails once in the morning and again in the afternoon provides a structured approach that balances responsiveness with productivity. And let’s be real, Joanna and Chip aren’t disappearing from our Instagram feeds anytime soon, so there’s no need to fret over every social media update either. By recognizing the distinction between urgency and importance, we can reclaim control of our time and energy, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling work life.

Practical tip: An automatic email responder that feels good to you and also puts your clients and customers in a place of respecting our time is crucial. Here’s an example of a responder from my friend and mentor, Taryn Watts at Mind Rebel Academy:

Re: Your email has been gratefully received.

Hello there,
Thank you for reaching out, your message has been gratefully received.  I want to let you know that I respond to all of my emails with presence and intentionality, and this is not always bound by a timeframe but rather an energetic capacity. 

Unless this email is time sensitive, you can expect a thoughtful response when I have the capacity to respond.

I look forward to connecting with you as soon as I’m able to do so. 

With kindness,

Do Not Disturb

In the age of endless distractions, finding focus can feel like an uphill battle. Personally, I’ve discovered that keeping notifications silenced and temptations at arm’s length is the key to unlocking productivity. On the days when I succumb to distractions, I find myself in a seemingly endless loop of trying to regain momentum. It’s as if the hours slip away unnoticed, leaving me wondering where the time went. But when I commit to shutting out the noise and staying laser-focused on the task at hand, I’m amazed at how much I can accomplish in a fraction of the time. It’s a simple strategy, yet incredibly effective: by minimizing external disruptions, I create the space I need to thrive and excel in my work.

Distractions can come in all forms, not just the pings and dings. My office happens to be in the same building as two of my businesses which makes me very accessible to both my own staff and customers. As much as I love both, interruptions for quick chats and casual questions can sideline me for an hour or more. I had to come up with a system to protect my time.

Practical Tip: Do Not Disturb sign.

Establishing a Work Space

In the pursuit of productivity, we often find ourselves grappling with the allure of comfort versus the necessity of focus. Personally, I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that yearns to work snugly tucked under the covers, surrounded by the warmth of my cozy bed, and sometimes I do. However, I’m acutely aware that it’s not conducive to getting things done.

Recognizing the importance of establishing a dedicated workspace has been a crucial realization in my journey towards maximizing productivity. While it might seem trivial, the physical environment in which we work can profoundly impact our ability to concentrate and perform at our best. For me, this means stepping out of the familiar confines of my home and into a designated workspace. Whether it’s a quiet corner in a coffee shop or a shared office space, the simple act of physically removing myself from the comforts of home helps me transition into the right headspace for productivity. At home, amidst the familiar distractions and comforts, I find my attentiveness wanes, and my focus suffers. But by intentionally carving out a separate space for work, I create a mental boundary that signals to my brain: it’s time to buckle down and get things done. So, while the allure of working from bed may be tempting, I’ve come to understand that establishing a dedicated workspace is not just a matter of preference, but a strategic imperative in the pursuit of peak productivity. (P.S. I’m writing this blog post on a Saturday morning from my cozy bed. Sometimes it works )

Practical tip: Finding a space doesn’t necessarily mean a physical one. We can create rituals around getting in to work-mode. Maybe it’s a playlist of meditation music or a podcast you can listen to and by putting on your headphones or firing up your speakers, it signals it’s time to get to work. Spending 10-minutes tidying up your desk, taking empty coffee cups to the sink or wiping down your computer screen screams work time. If leaving home isn’t the answer, do you have an empty-ish closet, guest room or corner of your living room you can lay claim to? Get creative.

Productive Work Times

In the ever-evolving quest for productivity, one of the most profound realizations I’ve had is the importance of honoring my natural rhythms. For the longest time, I struggled to maintain creativity and focus in the afternoons, grappling with a sense of frustration as I tried to force productivity during this time.

However, since taking control of my schedule and embracing the freedom to work according to my own internal clock, I’ve experienced a significant shift in my approach. Rather than fighting against my innate tendencies, I’ve learned to lean into them. I’ve come to understand that productivity isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor—it’s about finding what works best for me as an individual. And for me, that means recognizing that the afternoons are better suited for activities that nourish my soul rather than tasks that demand intense focus.

Whether it’s indulging an activity outdoors, letting my creative juices play, or simply allowing myself the luxury of a midday nap, I’ve found that embracing this time as my own has a ripple effect on the rest of my day. By giving myself permission to unwind and recharge during the afternoons, I set the stage for greater productivity and effectiveness during the times when I’m naturally more inclined to excel. It’s a subtle yet powerful shift—one that underscores the importance of finding the productive times that align with who we are as individuals. So, as you navigate your own journey toward productivity, I encourage you to embrace your natural rhythms, honoring the ebb and flow of your energy and creativity. After all, productivity isn’t about forcing yourself to fit into a mold—it’s about embracing the unique qualities that make you who you are.

Practical Tip: Buck tradition. When I could finally let go of the societal structure (and the guilt) of the American workday, my work/life balance completely changed. It took some work:
1. I had to let go of what I thought other people were thinking about how I ran my days.
2. I had to find a routine that worked for ME. That comes from a lot of internal authenticity work. I had to be honest that I need a nap in the afternoon. I don’t know if that’s because I’m getting older or I get up before the sun rises or a combination, but my body needs a kindergarten rest time in the afternoon.
3. I started coupling things I needed to get done together, for instance as my coffee brews after my morning meditation, I do the dishes. (Why there are that many dishes, I don’t know.)
4. While I know I work best in the mornings, and not at all in the afternoons, I discovered I get a boost of creativity in the evening so I started pulling out my computer to work from my bed at night.
5. You’ll notice I replaced MEDITATE with MEDICATE. Because I was packing everything in to the evening, I needed to escape with a glass (or bottle) of wine, which interruped my sleep and subsequently the whole next day. Since I quit that habit my sleep has been nothing short of orgasmic.

This took me some time and lots of trial and error to get it right. And with every season it changes a little. What I don’t do anymore is conform to what someone else feels like my days should look like.

Taking All Meetings on One Day

In the realm of scheduling and time management, there’s a strategy that’s gained increasing traction: taking all your meetings on a single day. It might sound like a radical departure from the norm, but hear me out. By consolidating meetings into one designated day of the week, you’re not only streamlining your schedule but also reclaiming valuable chunks of uninterrupted time on the remaining days. This approach allows for deeper focus on tasks that require undivided attention, fostering a more productive and efficient workflow overall. Plus, it minimizes the context switching that often accompanies scattered meetings throughout the week, enabling you to maintain a more consistent level of concentration. Embracing this strategy isn’t just about optimizing your calendar—it’s about reclaiming control over your time and maximizing your potential for success. So, the next time you find yourself drowning in back-to-back meetings, consider the possibility of consolidating them into a single power-packed day. Your productivity—and your sanity—will thank you.

Practical Tip: If one day sounds daunting or just does NOT work, try blocking off a few hours each day and those are the only times you take meetings. Try it, see what happens. You can be flexible but taking the majority of meetings during a designated time may just make all the difference.

We’ve talked about some cool ways to boost productivity in a chill, laid-back style. From shutting down distractions to finding your sweet spot for getting stuff done, it’s all about finding what works best for you. Whether it’s carving out a dedicated workspace, embracing your natural rhythms, or even scheduling all your meetings on one epic day, the goal is to make work fit into your life, not the other way around. So, take a breather, kick back, and let’s dive into some rad productivity hacks that’ll help you crush it without breaking a sweat.

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i write therefore i am.

Hi, I'm Katy.
Your lifestyle designer and business mentor.

Writing is my way of unwinding and letting my thoughts roam free. Every so often, in the midst of this creative chaos, something clicks, and I'm like, "Hmm, maybe someone else will dig this too." So, I toss it out into the world, hoping it lands with someone who gets it.
I hope that's you.

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