Do you ever get the feeling that big brands and companies offer up a lot of advice…
And don’t actually follow any of it themselves?
Well, the team at Ruzuku are here to walk the walk as we dig in to our second week of getting you going in 2016.
Since last week’s post was all about how to be more productive this year, we wanted to give you a glimpse behind the curtain, to let you in on the routines and habits, systems, planning, and goal setting secrets that the team live by every day.
Not everyone on the team is featured this week, since a couple of our team members are out on vacation, but we’ll be sure to catch them next time!
So without further ado (and in alphabetical order to avoid the “who goes first” question)…
Abe – Lifelong Learner
Routines & Habits
I follow Robin Sharma‘s recommendation of starting the morning with learning. I mostly listen to podcasts or the occasional audiobook, and also make use of journaling and a meditation or visualization practice.
One of my biggest planning assets is scheduling a quarterly personal offsite meeting, where I get the chance to step outside the day to day and think more strategically.
Bill – Customer Champion
Routines & Habits
One of the main things I’ve learned through years of selling is the importance of starting your day strong.
It might sound a little weird, but I use Wakie to have a personal wake up call every morning with a new person from somewhere in the world. This gets me talking and ready to sell from the time my eyes open in the morning.
I also try to go to the gym first thing in the morning. Working from home can often mean that I get complacent and just get right into work, but I keep work out bands and dumbbells around the office so I can stay active between calls.
I set up my day in shifts — I try to have two back-to-back calls right off the bat to get in the flow, then I make sure to take 10-15 minutes to recap and gather my notes and prep for my follow-ups. And, I always end my day with a prep session, catching up on emails, setting follow-up appointments, and getting everything lined up for the next morning.
At the beginning of the day I take a look at my schedule, set a daily goal and document it in an email to myself. If I accomplished that goal, it was a good day. (I picked that one up from a wise, grizzled sales veteran I know.)
Chris – Code Monkey
Routines & Habits
For me to be productive, I need to get into the flow, which means being somewhere quiet and uninterrupted. I try to start each day with at least 30 minutes of quiet time.
When I was on the west coast, I used to do a lot of rock-climbing on my lunch breaks. All of these things help to turn off the crazy, whirling, obsessive monkey-mind and get me into a peaceful place where I can reset my perspective. I’ve found that after resets like this, I can return to problems that seemed really complex before, and I’ve suddenly got a handle on them.
I like to start each week with an overview of the big upcoming events of the next week. I ask myself these questions: what are the days/times of each, and what do I personally want to accomplish? I try to keep it minimal and to set no more than a handful of goals per week.
I aim to take weekly retreats twice a year. I prefer monasteries, because most other places offer too many distractions (even if they don’t intend to). This time away helps me reset and think about the big picture.
I don’t set out to explicitly plan, but what a week of mostly solitude, silence, prayer, and meditation gives me is a really clear picture of how crazy some aspects of my life have gotten. I nearly always emerge with a few key items that I need to work on.
My big goals rarely change over the years, so I tend to focus just on the immediate goals with the annual retreat/check in to help me determine if there’s anything big that I’m missing and need to address.
Eden – Customer Happiness Hero
Routines & Habits
I simply must exercise in the morning when I get up, or my brain doesn’t function well. I feel a little like a hamster on a wheel… my brain starts to work when I’m on the treadmill.
I’ve always been a project manager, by nature and career. I think everything we do is a project, whether large or small. So my habit is to break down any large project into smaller tasks, schedule everything out to be sure I hit the deadline, and then just focus on getting each individual task done.
In this way, as long as what I need each day is done, then I’m almost assured of hitting the mark and completing my entire project! This habit helps me to be calm in the face of a huge undertaking and not get overwhelmed (too often).
I end each day by preparing the next day’s task list so that I can hit the ground running. Then, in the morning I can quickly look at emails or Slack to see if there’s anything else I need to add in for the day.
I’m a spreadsheet kind of gal (my brain thinks of everything work-related either in spreadsheet format, or in the form of a workflow, depending on the thought).
I have a huge workbook (it’s called “Everything”) with sheets for routine tasks (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly), campaign tasks, projects, things to consider … everything. Then I have a “This Week” sheet with columns by day, where I can just copy/paste in the tasks from the other sheets into the appropriate day.
Once each year I sit down and set goals for the next 3 years, and for the next year as they contribute to the longer-term goal. I outline the projects required to reach all of this year’s goals … financial, personal, family-related, etc., and then set up quarterly, monthly and weekly tasks.
Felicity – Customer Success Specialist
Routines & Habits
A 30 minute walk is the best way for me to start my day. I need about an hour of quiet time in the morning, and the 30 minutes gets me out of the house, kickstarts my metabolism, and on sunny days gives me a shot of Vitamin D right away.
I am a project-oriented person, and my preference is to sit down and work straight for about 5-6 hours. After 6 hours, I’m pretty useless for anything except answering emails. If I’m not working by 9 am, I won’t do anything productive that day — my productivity ends when the sun goes down, and playtime begins!
I use Boomerang for Gmail, which is incredibly handy. I try to “inbox zero” my work and personal accounts once every couple of months.
I usually keep a mental list of 2-3 things I want to accomplish in a week. When the list gets too long, I create “to do” lists on my computer (using Notepad, of all things).
One thing that works really well for me in terms of productivity is to focus on what I need to do, and ignore anything that isn’t on that “to do” list. I can usually only do this in short bursts of maybe a few weeks, but I find it really helpful when working on a project to put my head down and block out all the noise.
Similarly, when I have a lot to do, I like to segment my day. That way, when I’m out walking and starting to worry about when I’ll find time to work on X project, I can tell my brain to stop worrying, because there’s already time blocked out on the calendar.
The last two years aside, I typically do goal-planning starting in December or January. In the past, I’ve picked an area I want to learn more about, but this year I’m experimenting with choosing a word for the year (focus) and three goals to focus on.
Jessica – Word Wrangler
Routines & Habits
First thing in the morning I get started on things like laundry, dishes, feeding the dog… and then once I have all of that distracting stuff taken care of, I sit down to meditate.
I know that most people would tell you to meditate before you do anything else, but it helps me to know that there’s nothing else I “should” be doing, or may have forgotten to do, when I sit down to my meditation session.
I also try to incorporate movement into my day as much as possible — I use a standing desk, aim to take at least 3-4 yoga classes a week, and make sure that the dog gets out for a long walk at least a few times a week.
I live and die by a combination of my calendar and productivity app (I’ve been using Producteev for the last few years). I have a general schedule blocked out for every day, and each morning I take a look at my list of potential tasks and only take on those that fit with the daily schedule.
When I really need to get something done without distractions, brain.fm has become my new favorite “focus” music.
I use Chris Guillebeau’s annual review method, and have really enjoyed the long-term focus that it’s given me. It allows for a great balance in my planning process, with a theme for the year and very specific goals based on areas of my life that I consider important.
I review my goals quarterly (I have a repeating quarterly task set up in Producteev so that I don’t forget) and make any adjustments as I’m doing the review.
For a valuable (and entertaining) discussion on the subject of goal setting, I love the debate between Leo Babauta and Tim Ferriss. I tend to fall into the “overarching theme and vector direction” kind of goal setting, and set small actionable goals for shorter time periods.
Rick – Cat Herder
Routines & Habits
I like to start my day at 5 am with some meditation and gratitude journaling. Three days a week I will do an hour of strong lifts work out, and am trying to do some cardio on the other days (but it’s not sticking yet). I find that exercise, meditation, and gratitude are a powerful combination.
I also try to do one random act of kindness every day — from simple things for the kids to little notes for my wife. It always brightens their day and makes me happy.
I do some variation of David Allen’s “getting things done”, though I have never followed it religiously. I am experimenting with different ways of creating focus, and I use Todoist to manage my tasks and projects.
Right now I am trying to set one task every day that will move the business forward. I try to prioritize important things over urgent things — otherwise I find myself mainly reacting instead of being proactive.
Ultimately, I try to structure my day and work to reduce the pressure and noise.
I don’t want to be stressed. I want to be happy. Happiness is a choice, and I think being stressed is, too.
There is definitely the ambition (and the tension that goes along with it) to help us be a great team and develop a great product, but there is also the realization that a lot of things are beyond my control. I am actively working at not worrying about those things — actively working to build the team and systems that I know can handle whatever comes our way.
I don’t really set work goals, because my singular goal at work is to create a great team and build a great product. To me that means being systems focused. I am more interested in business and system performance goals.
Ulli – Bespoke University Design
Routines & Habits
I start every day with yoga and meditation, followed by an early morning walk. This and a lunchtime cardio workout help me stay centered, focused, and mindful throughout the day.
I am half Austrian & half German and I can tell you: Bratwurst and Wiener Schnitzel don’t do your brain, your productivity, or your health any good. Plant-based does it for me.
I use a combination of digital and analog systems, including:
- Evernote to capture the big ideas
- Moleskine or Ecosystem journals and Stabilo pens for annual/quarterly planning
- Mindmapping (using paper and pencil) for monthly/weekly planning
- iCal for weekly/daily task management and scheduling
- Tsheets for keeping track of the time I spend on various projects
I take a personal two week retreat at the end of each year for an annual review and to plan for the upcoming year.
I set annual goals and then map out quarterly and monthly tasks that get me closer to my goals. Then I do monthly reviews and revise plans for the next month or quarter accordingly.
Over to You!
So there you have it – a behind the scenes peek at how the team at Ruzuku plans our days (and our years), as well as some of the habits and systems that keep us running like a well-oiled machine… at least most of the time.
Between our massive productivity post from last week and this team roundup post, we’ve given you lots of tools to choose from as you get rocking on your best year yet.
Now, the next step is up to you. It’s time to choose your path for the coming year, if you haven’t already — what tools, systems or habits are you ready to adopt for your super-productive business journey? Let us know in the comments!