In the business world, there’s a lot of pressure to work more, hustle harder, and climb the ladder as fast as you can. But for many female entrepreneurs (myself included), the old-school, masculine definition of success just doesn’t feel right. That means we have to define success for ourselves and strive for a more sustainable type of productivity. Sound like you? Here are five ways to boost your productivity naturally, just for female entrepreneurs!
5 Ways to Boost Your Productivity Naturally
1. Discover your sleep chronotype.
Have you ever wondered why some people are up and at ‘em at 5am while others don’t hit their stride until late at night? That’s because different people have different chronotypes, or archetypes that explain their ideal sleep patterns.
Different chronotypes operate best under different circumstances. Take the quiz to find your chronotype, and then adjust your work schedule for optimal productivity.
You’re most productive when the sun is shining. Do your slow morning routine, and get to work when the sun is bright. Your energy will start to wane as the sun sets, so don’t work late. Instead, complete the bulk of your work in the middle of the day.
You’re most productive in the evenings. Don’t be afraid to wake up later in the morning and work later in the afternoon or evening. You might want to finish your mindless tasks during the afternoon and save more intense work for the evening when you really hit your creative stride.
You’re most productive first thing in the morning. Wake up, do your morning routine, and crank out your most focused work at the beginning of the day. Save lighter work for the afternoon when your energy dips.
You’re most productive from mid-morning to early afternoon. Complete easy, mindless tasks until you hit your stride, focus for a few hours around lunchtime, and then go back to less intense work later in the afternoon.
As an entrepreneur, you have the flexibility to determine your own schedule (sometimes, at least). Once you know your chronotype, you can create a schedule that works with your energy levels for maximum productivity.
2. Try cycle syncing.
You might think your work life runs on a week- or month-long schedule, but you’d be wrong! Biological females actually run on the 28-day menstrual cycle. Aside from ushering in your “time of the month”, your menstrual cycle also impacts your…
- Mood and attitude
- Energy levels
- Ability to focus
- Creative energy
- Sleep schedule
… and so much more. Your menstrual cycle impacts everything about your life, meaning it also affects your business. That’s where cycle syncing comes in.
Cycle syncing is the practice of adjusting your schedule, diet, exercise, and self care according to the phases of your menstrual cycle. To increase your productivity, structure your work schedule around each phase.
MENSTRUAL (DAY 1-5)
Low estrogen and progesterone levels. Cramps, bloating, moodswings, and fatigue.
Focus on inward reflection: goal setting, habit tracking, and getting in touch with your vision for your business. Limit meetings, and instead spend time working alone.
FOLLICULAR (DAY 6-14)
Estrogen is released to prepare your body for ovulation.
Take advantage of your extra energy during this phase! Meet with potential clients and brainstorm new ideas.
OVULATORY (DAY 15-17)
Optimal energy. Feeling your best. Only lasts about 24 hours.
This phase is the shortest, but it’s when you’ll be feeling your best. Kick off new projects, crank out new products, and tackle any work you’ve been putting off.
LUTEAL (DAY 18-28)
PMS, when your body reabsorbs the uterine lining. Cravings, moodiness, headaches.
Now’s the time for deep, focused work. Block of large portions of your days to focus on solo creative work and tasks that require your full undivided attention.
The better you can attune yourself to your body’s phases, the more productive you’ll be! Start by tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms for a month, then implement these changes and see how your productivity changes.
3. Understand masculine vs. feminine energy.
No matter your gender identity, everyone has both masculine and feminine energy. Masculine energy is characterized by doing: racking up achievements, reaching goals, taking action. Feminine energy, on the other hand, is more about being: tapping into your intuition, expressing your creativity, nurturing yourself and others. Each is helpful in its own way, so it’s important to understand which you use most in your business.
When you’re more in your masculine energy, use that time for the action items on your to-do list. Check those boxes, get yourself organized, and crank out new work.
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When you’re more in your feminine energy, tap into your intuition. Consider your vision for your business, set new goals, and make sure you’re operating in alignment. Feminine energy doesn’t fall under the traditional definition of “productive,” but it’s vital to your business’s success.
Understanding these types of energy can also help you steer clear of stereotypes about women in the business world. There’s an expectation that it’s a woman’s job to take care of others and boost those around her, but in reality, she’s more than capable of prioritizing herself. Some also believe that women are natural multitaskers, when actually multitasking is a big fat myth. You can tap into your femininity without getting stuck in these stereotypes. It’s all about balance!
4. Adjust your diet.
The food you use to fuel your body can impact your focus, energy, and overall feeling of wellbeing. To be your most productive, make sure you’re eating foods that benefit your body and brain.
One of my favorite ways to increase my productivity day-to-day is eating healthy snacks that boost my productivity. Try these for yourself!
- Protein oats with berries. A good mix of protein and carbs at the beginning of the day will give you sustainable energy until lunchtime. I like to add vanilla protein powder to steel-cut oats, and then I top them with blueberries for extra antioxidants, which can help reduce stress.
- Mixed nuts and dark chocolate. When I need a midday pick-me-up, I usually reach for a handful of mixed nuts – almonds, cashews, and pecans – and a few squares of dark chocolate. Nuts are a great source of unsaturated fats, which help with energy, and dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and can improve brain function.
- Avocado toast. Yep, that stereotypical millennial snack is actually good for your brain! Avocados are full of Omega-3s, which reduce stress, boost your mood, and improve brain function. And contrary to popular belief, carbs are a vital part of a healthy diet!
To “hack” your diet even more, read into cycle syncing. The foods you eat during different phases of your menstrual cycle can help alleviate unpleasant symptoms and improve your energy levels.
5. Regulate your hormones.
Everyone has hormones, but women are more prone to hormone imbalances than men. Dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins are all important to productivity and success. If you want to get more done, work with your hormones, not against them.
Dopamine and serotonin are the “good feeling” hormones that get released when you accomplish a task or reach a goal. To get even more of them and create a positive cycle, try “gamifying” your tasks. Break big goals down into smaller, achievable tasks, and celebrate your success along the way. You might even set micro goals, like focusing on work for an hour before catching up on your favorite podcast or answering ten emails before lunch. These tiny “wins” will prompt your body to release serotonin and dopamine, making you happier and more eager to succeed.
If you’re experiencing extreme fatigue, frequent mood swings, decreased focus, or irregular periods, consult a doctor. You may have a hormonal imbalance, which can affect a whole lot more than your productivity. The better care you take of your body, the better you’ll feel day-to-day, at work and beyond.