This week, I’ve interviewedDr. Laura Freebairn-Smith and the team at Organizational Performance Group (OPG), an organizational development consulting firm. OPG partner and co-founder, Dr. Laura Freebairn-Smith, previously served as the Director of Yale’s Organizational Development and Learning Center.
She is an expert in assisting leaders in realizing their full potential through humanistic and analytical practices and will be teaching all about the 5 elements of a balanced lifestyle! I sat down with one of Dr. Freebairn-Smith’s associates, Carolina Cely for some tips on a balanced lifestyle.
With all that said, let’s get into the interview!
Element #1: time management
From an individual perspective, what are some tips to help manage your time?
1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize – not all tasks are urgent or important.
2. Get into the habit of using a calendar for tasks you absolutely must get to or want to accomplish. Psychologically, this helps you to maintain your commitment to the task.
3. Be realistic about how long you can productively spend on a task at one time before needing a break. Many people find it helpful to work in blocks of 30 minutes, for example.
For longer tasks, ensure you build in breaks throughout the day and be disciplined about taking them as scheduled. You’ll be less likely to give in to distractions during your work time or to take meandering, infinite breaks.
Element #2: organization
Does having an organized environment help boost productivity?
Your environment absolutely influences productivity. While multi-tasking is expected across many facets of our lives, strive to focus on one thing at a time.
Unnecessary clutter in your working space can also lead to a sense of being overwhelmed and lacking control.
HOW CAN YOU CREATE A PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTING ENVIRONMENT FOR YOURSELF?
Build an awareness of habits or things that tend to side-track you and minimize both temptations and potential distractions.
If working from home, communicate with those you live with – let them know when you have a particularly demanding task that requires your concentration and ask them to not disturb you during that time.
Element #3: sleep
How much of an influence does when/how long you sleep have on your overall productivity? Are you more productive in the morning/night?
Your individual circadian rhythm influences your energy level throughout the day. Understand your own circadian rhythm and schedule cognitively demanding tasks during the points in the day in which you tend to feel the most energized.
Some people are most productive in the morning and others late at night – it really does depend on the person.
HOW CAN PEOPLE USE SLEEP TO BOOST PRODUCTIVITY?
While each person is different, there are so many studies documenting the impact of insufficient sleep on productivity. Determine what your minimum sleep need is to feel refreshed and rested and strive to meet it by adopting good sleep habits.
Element #4: Routine
What types of routines can you create to live a more productive lifestyle?
Take stock of tasks that must be done the following day or week – again, be realistic about how much you can reasonably accomplish.
Take a moment to pause and celebrate the completion of tasks.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT IMPLEMENTING THESE ROUTINES INTO YOUR LIFE?
Exercise, self-care, and moments of fun and lightness are so important. Determine healthy habits that you enjoy or would like to learn and integrate them gradually into your regular day or week. Prioritize these habits as much as ‘productive’ tasks.
Element #5: mindset
Does your mindset influence your productivity? If so, how can you mentally encourage yourself to be more productive?
Recognize when your mindset is off – for example, if you are worried or upset about something – and adjust your approach to tasks accordingly.
Schedule future, yet finite time to dedicate to unproductive thoughts.
When you are feeling stuck, distract yourself briefly with activities that are not cognitively demanding – for example, by taking a short walk or playing with a pet – in order to disrupt unproductive lines of thinking.
Explore mindfulness practices, such as yoga or meditation, which help keep you grounded and increase your ability to focus.
Mindset is one of the most important elements of a balanced lifestyle, so make sure you are always keeping it in mind.
I hope these elements of a balanced lifestyle help you to organize your life and become a productivity pro.
Thank you so much to Dr. Laura Freebairn-Smith and her team at Organizational Performance Group (OPG) for this amazing interview!
To learn more about Dr. Freebairn-Smith, click here.
To learn more about Carolina Cely, click here.