Our next interviewee might sound familiar to a lot of you, as she is one of our amazing Guest Bloggers. Sarah doesn’t just share her career and productivity tips with the world, but is also embracing Productivity Ninja skills herself. We had the pleasure to talk to her and find out what keeps her productive.
Occupation: Freelance Writer/Blogger
Company: Punched Clocks
Other job titles in life:
Founder of Punched Clocks
“Mom” to my two dogs
What’s important about your workspace?
It must be clean, organized and well-lit. I can’t focus until everything is straightened up! On gloomy days, I have an extra light that I turn on to give me a little boost. My workspace is also tucked away upstairs where there are fewer distractions – I can be easily side-tracked, so it’s definitely important for me to have a dedicated workspace.
Which ninja characteristic have you got nailed the most?
Organization. I have a place for everything, and I stick to it. I limit the number of tools I use so everything is easy to find and I don’t have to spend time switching gears or looking for anything.
Which ninja characteristic are you still working on the most?
Laser-sharp focus. I’m easily distracted by nature, but I’m working to identify the causes of my biggest distractions and eliminate them – one by one.
Which five apps could you not live without?
Google Sheets – I keep track of all my contacts and writing assignments on Sheets. I love that I can move rows around so easily and access it wherever I go.
Gmail Calendar – I would be lost without it! I like to schedule out almost every part of my day and put reminders for important due dates or publish dates so I don’t miss anything!
Trello – I do all of my brainstorming here. If I have an idea, it goes on a Trello board. I have boards for everything!
White Noise – When I’m writing or editing, I shut the music off and turn on white noise to tune out all distractions.
Evernote – I’m an avid note-taker, and Evernote helps me organize all my thoughts and lists. I love that it syncs from my phone to my computer.
What’s your favorite piece of stationery?
I have a beautiful notepad that says “make today lovely” in calligraphy at the top. I use it to jot down my top goals for the day and keep it on my desk as motivation. It’s also my reminder to be grateful for the day and make the most of it.
When in the day do you have the most proactive attention?
8 AM to 1 PM. I’m not a morning person, so anything before eight is too early for me to think clearly. However, if I wait until later in the day to get started, I’ve already exhausted a lot of my focus and can’t get into my rhythm. I need to get started on my work right away to get in the flow.
What’s your trick for when you’re tired or struggling with attention in the day?
I usually have to get up and take a little break. If it’s nice out, I’ll go outside to get some fresh air and play with the “girls” (my dogs) for a few minutes to get them up and moving and get my blood flowing. Even just going to the kitchen to make some tea or doing a few quick stretches is usually enough for me.
What’s your best advice for reducing stress?
Don’t let it build up! As soon as you start to feel yourself getting stressed, take a moment to clear your mind and excuse yourself from the situation. Take a few deep breaths and look at things objectively. Usually, stress is worrying about too many things at once. Identify one goal, and one action you can take immediately to help you reach that goal. Come back and only focus on that.
What’s your email regime?
Gmail is the bane of my productivity. I’m trying to get better and only check emails at dedicated times, but I usually end up opening it up to send a post and get sucked in. I’m on the hunt for a better mail blocker to keep emails out of my inbox until certain times so I can’t be distracted.
What’s your favorite way to take a break in the middle of the day?
A quick stretch or playing outside with my dogs for a few minutes!
What’s the secret to your productivity?
Organization! What I spend in Gmail, I make up for in not having to search for anything!
Have more questions for Sarah? Just leave a comment below and we’ll pass it on for you.
Want to become a Productivity Ninja yourself? Check out our Time Management Workshops and get your whole team involved.
By Hannah Urbanek