The Art of Productivity: A Fireside Chat with Jonathan Soares

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Have you ever noticed people going through life achieving everything they set out to accomplish? Making it look like they were knocking down obstacles effortlessly, one at a time? Have you ever wondered what those people are doing that you’re not?

It’s not quite a secret that these people, the entrepreneurs, project managers, bosses of any degree have learned how to perfect the art of productivity.

Enter: Jonathan Soares. An entrepreneur since sixteen and now owner of Agency Labs, a marketing agency’s answer to all backend questions, app development, and technical advisory. Soares has mastered what it means to be productive and he’s joined us recently to share a bit of insight.

Set A Plan of Action for the Coming Day

It’s proven that setting out a plan for the coming day can save you time, improve your quality of sleep, and increase your productivity the next day. When you clear your mind of the tasks of tomorrow, you have more time to dedicate to improving the quality (and quantity) of your work today. It allows you to use your time more wisely, which is truly the definition of productivity.

Soares uses an app called Wunderlist to keep track of all his appointments and projects for the coming day, and by theme, goes through them one by one.

The benefit of working on one task at a time, or categorically, is that it allows you to stay focused on one thing and achieve optimal productivity in that realm of thinking.

Neil Patel, ranked one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 by President Obama, agrees that having a plan of action for the day to come, or a list of tasks to accomplish, will increase your productivity tenfold. Patel says, “When you wake up with a plan…you know exactly what you need to do. You know what your most important tasks are. You know exactly where you need to spend your time to maximize the results of your day.”

You can be an indispensable asset to your company not by necessarily working harder, but by working smarter.

If You’ve Got a Great Idea—Do It Now and Figure Out Where It Fits Later

Got a great idea for a blog? Have the next big app on-hold in your mind? Don’t wait for the perfect time to create it, do it now if you have the time and it’ll be worth it in the long run. For Soares, he and his team of brilliant engineers are always coming up with new ideas that might not necessarily fit with client work at the time. When they’re able to schedule out time to work on brain-projects like this, they add them to their company portfolio which not only attracts new clients, but they might just create something that can be applied to their work later.

This practice is the concept of proactive thinking and is the key to productivity. By taking proactive steps to reduce your work-time in the future, you can complete tasks to further your business, your client’s business, and in return get more work.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Get Distracted

Studies show that when you get distracted it’ll often take about 23 minutes to refocus. Distractions come in all forms, from the influx of fun and flashy social media updates streaming onto our phone, to our coworkers talking about a mutual client that you’re not working on right now, anytime you’re pulled away from the task at hand, you (and the company) end up paying for it.

Eliminate this risk altogether by taking simple steps to avoid interruptions. Get noise canceling headphones for your collaborative workspace, put your smartphone in your desk drawer or put it on airplane mode, only check your email if you’re expecting a relative piece of information to the task at hand. Getting distracted is a conscious decision on your part – mitigate it all together.

Adopt the Entrepreneurial Spirit

You don’t have to start your own business to be as productive as those who have. You simply need to take a lesson from those who have done it and implement these small habits into your daily work life. You’ll thank yourself when all your tickets are closed and you can leave at 5.

Having time to focus on more important aspects of work, like the reason you’re there in the first place, will increase your morale and momentum in the office.

Jonathan Soares’ most important piece of advice he’s ever received and happily gives is, “Don’t let your vision overshadow your purpose.” Work hard, focus on your goals and your tasks, but don’t forget what you brought you there. Productivity gives you the time to remember.

Check out some of the award-winning work Jonathan and his team have created over at Agency Labs. And be sure to stay up to date with Black Bear’s blog for more tips and stories from the cave.

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