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Optimizing for Productivity


Hi smart one.

This is Nicole and I wanted to chat with you about optimizing your most productive time of day.

For me, I am so NOT a morning person that it’s not even funny. But, I’ve always been that way and love being a night owl. However, Melissa is a morning person and I love that we complement each other so well as business partners.

That said, my optimal working time is between 10am-6pm. Of course, I don’t work that straight through though. I come and go from my computer depending on other obligations: kids, puppies, husband, appointments, eating, and overall energy level.

This means that I schedule all interviews between 10 am-3 pm. That works best for me hitting my peak brain time, without conflicting with family time. I’ve made the mistake of recording interviews in the morning and WOWZA. I had major word soup. Just not a great idea.

And, this weekend, I’m giving a keynote in front of 400 people so I asked for the afternoon spot rather than the morning spot. I know that time of day I will have more energy and will be able to totally rock it better than if I’d just rolled out of bed.

I also know that I work really well in bursts so I’m ok with that. However, the bursts are usually determined by me, and not the people around me. If I have interruptions while I’m actively trying to focus, I am not as productive.

What do I mean exactly?

Well, on a typical day I get on the computer in the morning morning around 10 am, and work a bit on stuff. I then do a “me” thing for a bit, like eat with my hubby or take a shower or go on a walk or run some errands, then I come to sit down and finish a money task like writing this post. When it’s done, I’ll reward myself by getting out of my office and checking in on the kids or seeing if some laundry needs to be moved, or checking the mail. Then I’ll head back to write my email and get it scheduled, too. I may take a few minutes to check in with Facebook or catch up with texts/calls on my phone, take a bathroom break, get a big glass of water, and  head back to my desk for my next big task – or I may call it a day and work on stuff around the house that’s more important.

That works really well for me – and my family can usually handle not interrupting me during those spurts.

What does NOT work, as I mentioned, is constant interruptions.

Thankfully my kiddos are old enough to know that I’ll pop out of my office in a bit, after an interview, or my writing spurt is done and they’ll leave me to work.  Whatever they need, they can usually get on their own, and things like their friends asking to come over can wait 20 minutes. But, that also means that I choose to ignore my phone while in a work burst unless it’s a “911” text from a family member or close friend. They know I’ll ignore phone calls while I’m working, but if there’s an emergency, to text me “911” and I”ll call them back immediately. That’s for instances where it’s time sensitive and they feel I need to know right away. Everything else can usually wait and can’t come ahead of me making a living.

I used to try to sit here in front of the computer and work all day, but I found that I wasn’t nearly as productive as when I work in those focused bursts. I’ve given myself permission to come and go from my office, as needed, rather than forcing myself to sit here so I felt “busy”. Busy and productive are not the same things – especially when running a business.

So, I sprint, recover, sprint, recover, and sprint again. It’s what works best for me.

What if I’m working on a BIG project?

Well, when I wrote my book, or when I creat courses, I break them down into “single sitting’ pieces. If I know all I need to do is knock out one chapter or one module or one webinar and then I can go to lunch with my hubby, I can do that. To sit and say “finish this book” – yeah, that’s not going to happen. :)

I hope this has been helpful. Now comment, share, and then do a money task so you can do something fun to reward yourself.

Nicole Dean

PS. I use shortcuts whenever necessary. I mean, why work more if you don’t need to? One of the best shortcuts for coaches (and I’m not biased even a little) is our Licensed Workshops and our Teach your Tribe packages from

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