How to Be More Productive at Work

Work/life balance is critical to productivity. Courtney Bond shares some ways to change your perspective and create smarter work habits.

Courtney Bond
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August 23, 2019

By having a health work/life balance, you can increase efficiency and productivity at work.

Work/life balance can be hard to find, especially as an entrepreneur. You want to put everything you have into your startup, but keeping healthy work habits is a critical step that is often overlooked. The most productive team is not the one who clocks the most hours. It’s the one that keeps a healthy balance and works efficiently. Here are some ways to look at productivity differently and create smarter work habits.

Longer hours don’t equal more productivity

We’ve all heard the stories of founders clocking insane hours at the start of their journeys, and while the stories of “days in the trenches” are exciting, it just isn’t sustainable. At some point you have to give yourself a break when building your startup. Those hundred hour weeks can’t continue to be truly productive. You and your team (or just you and your Co-Founder) need to rest in order to do your best work. It may not sound as exciting, but reasonable hours of focused and diligent work really are more productive than those caffeine fueled all-nighters. Instead of grinding out continuous weeks of long hours, try implementing a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). One of our studio companies, Greenzie, has found success with the system and Atlanta Ventures founder, David Cummings, has some great insights on how to implement it on his blog.

Vacations are good for you

People in the U.S.  are notoriously bad at taking vacation time. There’s a strange idea that taking vacations makes you lazy, or just someone who doesn’t care enough about their job. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People need vacations to be able to work their best. The concept of “vacation shaming” is toxic to workplace environments. Encourage your teams to take the time they need without feeling guilty, they’ll come back fresh and ready to work better. Don’t forget to give yourself some time too! You can also encourage your team to take small breaks to promote health and wellness. Our portfolio company, Hannon Hill, has an awesome company culture that encourages winning with wellness as a way to keep people healthy, happy, and excited to come to work.

Measure productivity in a new way

Productivity is often equated with hours worked. This makes sense if you’re measuring how productive a machine or an assembly line is. A simple task can be repeated x number of times per hour, and that’s your productivity. Building a company from the ground up is something completely different, so why would you measure your productivity the same way? It takes creativity and brainstorming and problem solving. These are all things that are hard to come by if you don’t have a healthy mindset. If you and your team are overtired and overworked, how can you expect innovation and excitement? The best creative teams have the energy and bandwidth to be that way because they work smart. They spend their time focused on things that matter most. Once you have an idea, try compressing your time to validate that idea before investing hours of work into it. Giving yourself time to rest and enjoy time with family and friends will make you perform better at work.

We all want to work hard and succeed. Sometimes the best way to work harder is to give yourself a break. Finding balance between your work life and your real life will not only make you happier, it will make you more productive. Who doesn’t want that?

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