June 14, 2016

How We Made Our Work Days 10x More Productive!

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Happy Tuesday friends!! We are kicking off our first ever THREE day Walk Through a Wedding w/ J&M workshop today (whoo hoo! Be sure to email justin@justinmarantz.com if you want to be on the priority wait list for future dates!) And what that meant for us last week was that we needed to put our heads down & get a LOT done in preparation for spending this week teaching rather than working in & on our business. There is SO much to get done in a small business owner’s life on any given day (and we basically have like 8 mini-businesses rolled into one with photography, education, our J&M Store, the two wedding blogs, mentoring, speaking & more, so it feels like 8 times that!) And it can become so easy to get distracted or overwhelmed. Well, enter a brand new app we just discovered that has increased our productivity and “getting stuff DONE” factor by 10x easily…it’s called the BeFocused app!!

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This little app is designed around the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, which if you aren’t familiar with is basically the idea of breaking tasks up into short 25 minute intervals, working non-stop without distraction during that time using a timer, and then taking a 5 minute break. That then gets marked as one task completed, and after you do 4 of them you take a longer 15 minute break and then start again. The goal is to complete 10 tasks (or 250 minutes or just over 6 hours of uninterrupted work each day). But you can also obviously do more if you need to. Once you start a task, you hit the play button and a clock starts counting down (see the photo above) and I have to tell you that I was AMAZED at just how much staring that little clock in the face made me work faster and with so much more focus. I was also amazed just how many times during that 25 minutes, I went to reach for my phone to check Instagram, Facebook, etc…it’s crazy how much that becomes a habit without even thinking about it. But each time, I would see that clock and get back to work! It has easily increased our productivity by ten fold! Here are a few of the features I love about the BeFocused app:

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*While the official Pomodoro Technique recommendations are 25 minute work intervals followed by a 5 minute breaks & then a longer 15 minute one after the 4th set…there is a whole customize screen where you can adjust any & all of that for how you work best!

*Once you complete a task you can swipe right & mark it as done, and the number of tasks you’ve completed (i.e. 3/10) is counted at the bottom. This is actually a huge component of the Pomodoro Technique…the idea of marking your wins & the satisfaction that comes from tracking up to 10. And I have to say that I have found it SO motivating to make sure I’m hitting 10 every day.

*It builds in breaks. Sometimes when I’m editing for a blog post, I can sit at the computer
for a couple hours without getting up and that is NOT good! Every time I take even a small 5 minute break to stretch & walk around and let my mind play for a little bit, I come back so refreshed & ready to tackle the next thing!

*And this is maybe my favorite one! It has forced me to break up tasks into much more realistic chunks for what I can actually accomplish in 25 minutes. So you can see rather than writing “write RTS article” like I have above, which is such a BIGGER task than 25 minutes (and might have me put it off because I’m overwhelmed by it), instead I am learning to write things like “brainstorm topic for RTS article” or “outline RTS article” or “write intro for RTS article). So 5 of my 10 tasks for the day might deal with getting that article done, but by breaking it up into those manageable bites it takes BIG projects and makes them very attainable!

Definitely check it out you guys! I think you’re going to LOVE it! And bonus…it’s FREE!

Go rock it out!
xo
M:)

**PS: do you want even more resources for the BUSINESS side of running your business? Then definitely check out The Guide in our J&M Store

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  1. Eric

    I downloaded this app just before culling a wedding and split it up between the two cameras (mine and Jamie’s ) and culled the whole thing in one 25-minute interval each. Thanks for suggesting this app!

  2. Rici

    So good, I always look for new methods on how to be productive. Thank you :)

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