At the time of writing this, we are still in the throes of a global pandemic and it would be a tall order to find someone who hasn’t been affected by the impact of lockdown.

At the same time, the reality is that many of us do not have the luxury of ‘checking out’ when things are difficult. For female founders in particular, the reality is that we have to do our best to keep the lights on even when we face personal and societal challenges.

Below are seven simple productivity habits that I have found useful to improve productivity when motivation is a struggle. I am sharing them in the hope that you’ll find them useful too.

I have drawn out the three habits that I have found most beneficial in the blog below

Leave your phone in a separate room

  • By far, the habit that has made the most difference to my productivity levels is leaving the phone out of the room while working and keeping my phone out of the bedroom at night. With everything that is happening, it is so easy to find yourself in a doom-scrolling rabbit-hole, particularly when motivation is already low.
  • During weekdays, I keep my phone in the kitchen during working hours and at night. My kitchen is actually a telephone booth that I visit when I want to check messages and make a cup of tea! In particular, not having my phone on my bedside table in the morning means that I get up and go straight to work without distractions. The impact of this is easily gaining 4-5 hours a week that would otherwise get lost to Instagram, news and Twitter. Cumulatively one can easily lose the equivalent of 20-25 days a year simply by scrolling on social media for 45 minutes each morning. This sobering thought was the driver for this habit change.
  • I also set out what I wanted to achieve with the extra time (in my case it was to write more) and I have easily achieved this by changing that simple habit. The other side of this is that I allow myself to binge on weekend mornings (I can scroll on Instagram to my heart’s desire!) which makes the weekday sacrifice much easier. The other advantage of not having your phone by your desk while working is the increased focus and attention in meetings and when in flow instead of being distracted by the phone.

Write a list of what you need to get done by 1pm

  • You know that feeling when you write a to-do list in the morning, only to find at 6pm that the whole day has flown by in a flurry of meetings and you have not sent that important yet complex email that I have been dreading? Or you have ended up sending a message too late in the day for it to be most effective (easily done when it comes to delegation)? I know that feeling!
  • I made a subtle switch to my to-do list process by asking myself the question: ‘what do I need to get done by 1pm?’ This approach has really helped me to focus my mind on the urgent priorities and aim to get them done on time.

Delegate first thing in the morning

  • Delegation is something that we, as female founders, could do more of, particularly given the variety of ways we can draw in additional support. Getting freelance support is definitely an option to explore and it is possible to find flexible options that are a good match for you.
  • For those who are already working with teams freelance it is easy to find yourself not delegating in time. When motivation is low it can be tricky to make complex decisions that your team is relying on you for. Creating a habit of delegating first thing before you start doing your own work requires you to make better use of the resources at hand instead of holding up people who need instructions and directions from you.

I hope you find these simple tips helpful. If you’d like to discover additional productivity tips, please feel free to watch my video below, where I discuss four additional tips.

Where you can find me

Instagram | Twitter

Janet Oganah

Janet Oganah

About your author

Janet Oganah is a former barrister and founder of Janet’s List.

Janet’s List is a curated platform where you can discover and buy from independent UK brands by black women and women of colour. Janet’s List offers self-paced online business courses including one on creating and launching a pop up.

more articles you might like