By: Nina Zipkin
As a young entrepreneur who says her mission is to help others reach their potential, Caroline Ghosn understands the link between happiness and doing work that is of value. Ghosn is the founder and CEO of Levo, an online hub dedicated to helping millennials build and grow their careers by providing tips, tools, mentorship and networking opportunities. We caught up with Ghosn to talk about how to achieve peak productivity and meet your goals head on. Here are her seven tips to reach your goals.
- Write everything down.
Don’t hold on to every plan, thought or feeling in your brain. You will get stressed out just trying to remember everything.
“What makes people feel anxious and unproductive is that loop,” she says. “You can have hundreds of those going on at once and it can be completely distracting.” Simply writing down what you want to accomplish will free up space to focus on what is most important, Ghosn says.
- Make a plan.
“It is never wasted time. You’re actually making the rest of your day productive by spending 30 minutes reviewing your to-do’s, prioritizing them and ruthlessly removing things that shouldn’t be there,” Ghosn says. She recommends structuring your to-do list with actionable items — only those things that start with a verb. If it takes only a few minutes to do, just do the task right away. Create lists around a single theme or intention.
- Put social media away.
“Actually remove those tabs from your computer and phone,” Ghosn says. Turn off notifications so you don’t feel the urge to check your social media accounts and lose your concentration and momentum. Uninterrupted work time is key. In a survey conducted by Levo and Microsoft, Ghosn noted that respondents identified social media as the number one distraction.
- Block off your calendar.
Ghosn recommends dividing your day into several sections — for example, one dedicated to catching up on correspondence and meetings, another to plan out your to-do list and a third to execute on those tasks. “They all require very different mindsets and they should be separated as such,” she says.
- Find out when you are most productive.
“I used to think I was a night owl,” Ghosn says. “I realized I’m not because I have energy at night but I’m not as focused and productive when I try to get things done.” She recommends figuring out where and when you are most engaged and excited to work and use those times to tackle the most important items on your list. In the survey, 38 percent of those polled reported that the mid-morning was their most productive time period, followed by the early morning. Only 1 percent said that their mind was the sharpest during the lunch hour.
- Remember that it is OK to fumble.
“When you experience difficulty at work or in your life, instead of looking back on it as something that was really challenging, look at it and ask yourself, ‘what wisdom did I learn from that?'” Ghosn says. “It’s approaching it with gratitude vs. bitterness or negativity, and it allows you to be better.” You can learn from every mistake and use it to motivate you rather than blame yourself or give up something that is important to you.
- Check in with yourself.
Ghosn recommends doing a weekly review and checking off what you achieved and giving yourself credit for even the most incremental wins. “Take the time to close the loop with your brain,” she says, “and affirm that you did a great job.”