Ever have those days where you have a bunch of things to do but you just can’t seem to figure out how to get motivated?
Suddenly everything else seems wayyyy more important? (Or, at least, more interesting).
Don’t worry, my friend, it happens to the best of us.
Here’s what I’ll tell ya about productivity:
It’s not a time issue.
It's an energy issue.
Mental energy, emotional energy, physical energy.
I personally think mental energy is what holds us back from achieving our goals, and feeling productive and satisfied with how we spend our time.
We have A LOT of input coming in – all day, every day – and it can be exhausting.
So today, I’m focusing on hacks to help you reclaim your mental energy so you can be more productive.
And at the end of this article, I’m sharing a super cool challenge that will show you step-by-step how to:
3 Hacks to Boost Your Mental Energy and Productivity
Hack #1: Do your hardest – or most important – work first.
The concept has been talked about in dozens of books.
(I would know, I’ve read them. They’re sitting here in my office right now, LOL.)
It’s a super well known tip, but we often forget about it.
I read an article recently that talked about how your brain is at its productivity peak within the first 2 hours of waking up.
Yup, it’s true.
So to maximize your productivity, carve out the first couple hours of your day for your most challenging tasks, the ones that require the biggest boost of brain power.
After those first two hours, your energy starts to dip…
...and if you still haven’t tackled the work that flexes your brain muscle…
Well, then that pile of laundry starts to seem real appealing. LOL
So get the big stuff done first and outta the way.
Hack #2: Set a Daily Anchor Task.
This hack shows you how to recover from burnout.
The trick is to build your day around an anchor task.
Here’s how I’d like for you to think about it:
Anchor task = the ONE task you are prioritizing above all others.
Meaning you’re building your day around it.
This helps with burnout because you are super focused on just ONE thing.
By creating an anchor task each day (the one priority that you organize everything else around), you’re much more likely to actually work on that task – and get it done.
Which does wonders for your mental energy and motivation.
Pro Tip: You can tie hacks 1 and 2 together.
Let’s say your biggest, most important task for the day is working on your taxes.
Even if you have a professional accountant on your side, there’s still work you’ve gotta do to prep for her.
So, to bring the first two hacks together, you could:
Hack #1: Work on your taxes in the first two hours (your most challenging work when you’re most productive, according to science).
Hack #2: Make it be the ONE task you’re prioritizing in your day as your anchor task.
If you’re feeling super drained, you can make your anchor task be bite-sized.
Like, putting all your income paperwork in one place.
Completing this small anchor task will help you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day (even if it wasn’t your most complicated task).
Over time, as you start having these daily mini-wins, you’ll begin to regain energy and momentum to get out of the burnout zone.
Hack #3: Stop Caring.
You’re probably like WTH, but hear me out...
Have you ever heard of “productivity shame”?
It happens when you feel like you haven’t done enough or like your work isn’t being seen or valued, so you step it up.
Productivity shame looks like this:
Working even more (longer hours, trying to catch up, trying to get ahead).
Being even more available (responding immediately on email, text, or chat).
Feeling bad that you aren’t living up to super high standards (let’s be real, they’re usually your own standards).
Type A people chronically struggle with productivity shame.
The cousin to productivity shame is time anxiety.
Time anxiety says:
“I don’t have time for this!”
“There's never enough time!”
“I was busy all day but accomplished nothing.”
So here’s where the “stop caring” hack comes in.
While it might sound a little aggressive, what it actually means is to stop spending mental energy on things you can’t change.
It’s a mindset shift... to one of indifference.
“Indifferent” is a word that gets a bad wrap, so we’re going to use the definition that means “marked by impartiality; being neither good nor bad.”
So, basically: neutral. Letting what is… be what it is.
I’m convinced spending mental energy on things you can’t control is why so many people have anxiety.
Here’s a little trick I like to do when I feel time anxiety creeping in:
Part 1: Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this RIGHT NOW?”
If the answer is yes and it will resolve the problem, do it.
BOOM – sorted. Move on with the day.
If the answer is no, move on to Part 2.
Part 2: Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this problem LATER?”
For example, it’s 6pm and you forgot to make an important doctor’s appointment.
You know from experience that if you call after hours, their answering service will just tell you to call in the morning to make an appointment.
So why spend the rest of your night beating yourself up and stressing about it?
In this instance, the answer to Part 2’s question is “YES – I can handle this first thing in the morning.”
You put a reminder into your phone and call when it alerts you in the morning. Ahh… mental energy restored.
Now, if the answer is no – there’s nothing you can do to solve this problem – it’s time to make a decision.
Part 3: Choose how you respond to an uncontrollable situation.
While we may not be able to control everything around us, we CAN control our responses – by making conscious choices about them.
I’ll give you an example:
I have a friend who is CONSTANTLY late.
For years, I tried to change this about her.
My emotions ran the gamut:
I was irritated.
I was mad.
I was super frustrated.
I was personally offended that she didn't value MY time.
I was sad, telling myself that she doesn’t care about me or doesn’t actually want to see me.
And one day, I decided to STOP.
Those feelings and reactions weren’t helping anything.
All it did was turn me into a crazy person – she had no idea I was blowing through all this mental energy.
So, I put into place certain things I could control… like putting our dates into both of our calendars… and sending her a “we still on?” text before we met up.
I remembered: I can only control me.
Now when she’s late, I’m not really bothered.
I bring a book or work on my phone. I’ve managed all I can… and I let the rest go.
So if you have something that’s continually crazy-making for you… I highly recommend this 3-part process.
You have the power to choose how you respond.
Continuing to act like you can change things you don’t control or have influence over will only drain you and stress you out.
So choose something different.
I mentioned there was a challenge, right?
The Reclaim Your Time Challenge is a free, 7-day online event where I show you some of the best time management hacks of all time.
And they’re created specifically for busy women on the go (because we do not have a bunch of time to waste).
I even share more details about how to use your mental energy WISELY… so you aren’t zapped by 3pm.
This is exclusive info I normally only share with my private coaching clients.
But, I’m sharing it with you in this challenge – for free.
The last time I ran this, I had over 1,000 women sign up.
It. Was. AMAZING.
And with everything still going on this year, I decided to open this challenge a little bit early.
So I hope you decide to join me starting Wednesday, February 17.
I’ll see ya online.