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Letters from the Editor – Productivity vs Efficiency

I woke up today and I wanted to share my workflow, in hopes of improving it. So, maybe you can help. I started State of the Territory News about two years ago, and during that time, the word I’ve heard the most is productivity.

Source: Google

Nearly every entrepreneur that I came in contact with mentioned the word productivity. Some looked at my work and immediately said things like, “I need to be more productive like you today (or this year).” Or I’d hear things like, “Have a productive day.” As the months passed I remember resenting and avoiding the term productivity. Mainly because I wasn’t producing anything on most days. At least, not in plain sight. State of the Territory News has become my most successful product, but there are more.

Allow me to explain.

State of the Territory News is a product of Mint Consulting. A consulting firm I created to sell services like resumes, legal documents, leasing agreements and provide digital branding for local businesses. When news stories stop flowing on the website, client projects also take a nosedive and so does my revenue. Imagine that I write about topics that interest readers like you (which will remain free) and offer services for those who may need a little more help.

I also outsource most of my work to local partners since I don’t have a staff. Just two awesome writers for now.

Productivity + My Workflow

Last year when Google prepared to reveal Android 9 Pie (yes, I’m an Android user, now shut up) to the world, I held my breath. A friend of mine asked, “aren’t you excited for all the new features?”

My response:

I couldn’t take another set of amazing features, honestly. Smartphones are 10 years old now, what else are we gonna cram into these things besides a bigger battery? 2018, became the first year I requested that Google trim back new features. The Made by Google products I own (Pixel 2, Chromebooks, Google Home units and Google Wifi) have helped me reach the apex of my productivity and I needed an exit strategy.

My resistance to new features came after realizing that new features only bring about new tasks. Before Google released Pie last year, I had already begun avoiding the word productivity and replacing it with efficiency.

All of my devices at home were helping me become a more productive entrepreneur, but efficiency wasn’t something I had ever considered prioritizing. Then Google announced Android 9 Pie and I melted.

Introducing, the first Android OS that focused on timely notifications, allowed you to set usage limits on a per-app basis and showed me how many notifications I received daily. After receiving the update to Pie, I realized that on my busiest day in the week was Tuesday. I received on average 3,000+ notifications. Three-thousand notifications, in a single day, on a single phone is simply overwhelming — and not what I wanted my next 10 years as an entrepreneur to look like.

‘Produce’ Less, & Create More Impactful Work

I immediately began limiting my screen time and utilizing the new features to cut back and stay focused. My productivity had exploded in 2014 while using Android, but was I being efficient? Did I really need 3,000 notifications to be a successful businessman?

Stories from this website post to six different social networks simultaneously, including Instagram. Managing my growing list of social pages was one of the main reasons I needed to focus on efficiency, but there was also another reason — I needed to find time to rest without a staff or assistant. To add a little more context, I suffer from sleep apnea, a chronic condition that prevents my brain and other vital organs from receiving adequate amounts of oxygen while I’m asleep. I use special equipment every night and I also use it to take daytime naps.

I also wrote an article about living with sleep apnea last year, ironically titled Could Sleep Apnea Be Affecting Your Productivity?

I might have written that when I first realized how ineffective my productivity habits had become.
On days when I fall asleep without my CPAP machine, I wake up confused, frustrated and suffer from severe gaps in my memory and migraines on worst days. It can be frustrating and embarrassing to cancel on clients after extensively planning with them just one night before. It can also be embarrassing when I’m working with another business owner beyond the scope of my firm and suddenly can’t perform because of a sleepless night that I sometimes can’t control.

My confidence and clientele often take a dive when I’m not fully rested.

I’ve focused less on creating ‘more’ articles and more on creating ‘the’ article. The article for you. I’ve also focused less on attracting clients with big projects, simply because more client work means less articles for awesome people like you to read.

Here’s how I’ve begun prioritizing efficiency over productivity:

  • Scheduling for the week and altering it if needed
  • Avoiding notifications (and news) on my phone until I’ve begun working or finished with meditation
  • Focus less on audience response and more on delivering meaningful information
  • Keep my phones on silent 80% of the day if I’m not taking calls
  • More articles doesn’t always mean more readers
  • Take breaks (as often as you need)
  • Don’t ignore you creative side, it’s how we solve complex problems!
  • Find a way to reduce notifications from your devices
  • Focus your energy on work that’s low energy but has a huge return (and I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about value)
  • Say “no” more often and smile at how much more time you have on your hands
  • Rest, rinse and repeat

Remember, this is how I am exploring efficiency in my everyday life. Your journey will (and should) be very different from mine.

Efficiency might be a little different for you, depending on where you live or work. Productivity is important to any business, but efficiency will save you time and energy everyday. Once you can identify the difference, you’re well on your way.

Focusing on efficiency everyday allows me to focus more on my strengths and less on how I want my newspaper to look and sound. Produce less, and instead effect change in your everyday habits and you’ll be well on your way to a more efficient worklife.

– Letters from the Editor