3 Ways To Support Your Productivity As A Solopreneur
Introducing: The Productivity Ecosystem
When we don’t feel productive and can’t bring ourselves to do the things that we’ve set out to do, instead of being hard on ourselves and wondering what’s wrong with us, we can change our perspective and ask ourselves “What can I do to support my productivity today, or going forward?”
Let’s talk about how you can make it easier to be more productive, aka prioritize impactful activities and projects that you feel would make a difference for you and your business.
INTRODUCING: THE PRODUCTIVITY ECOSYSTEM
Based on my Finnish upbringing, my experience as a business owner, and my training as a psychologist, I’ve developed a three-part Productivity Ecosystem that supports your productivity and helps you keep showing up long-term for your business without hustle.
It consists of wholeness, design, and sisu.
1ST PIECE: WHOLENESS
Constant hustle is not sustainable because we’re human business owners with human needs. We need to balance our work with living a life outside of it.
The good news is that when you feel well physically, mentally, and emotionally, you do better with everything you put energy into.
It’s not just something that I’ve seen anecdotally in my life or in other peoples’ lives — we know from research that when we feel well and happy, we’re more effective as we work. Businesses that have happier, more balanced employees also see faster progress and higher profits.
We need to start believing that how we’re doing matters, and appreciating wellbeing over work on a bigger scale. When we feel well, our brains aren’t suuuper hungry for those instant wins and that means there’s more patience and brain space to tackle those important tasks that we know would leap our businesses forwards but that often feel too overwhelming to take on.
2ND PIECE: DESIGN
Overall, making sure that solutions are practical, sustainable, simple, and innovative is at the heart of Finnish design, whether that’s for physical objects or systems for how we do things. Design isn’t always about how things look, but about how things work for you.
In business, this means putting in place systems, practices, and offers that support you and save you time PLUS making sure that your workload is sustainable. This means knowing which tasks actually make an impact in your business, and reducing the rest as much as possible.
The less guesswork and decisions you have to deal with, the more brain capacity and time you free up. Plus when you have less on your plate, it’s so much easier to set boundaries too.
We Finns also like to refine, recycle and renew before going for a complete overhaul or for something new — and that’s probably part of why I’ve always felt like you don’t need to turn your entire business upside down to notice some benefits pretty quickly.
3RD PIECE: SISU
There is no direct translation of this Finnish word to English, but it’s a trait that’s all about showing up with spirit, grit, and determination for the things that we want to accomplish. It’s a way we can approach things that matter to us even when they’re challenging.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: everyone I talk to already has a bunch of sisu in them — you don’t need to be Finnish to have sisu. Sisu is what has gotten you this far.
What I see happen among many small business owners, is that when they’re not seeing the results they’d like fast enough (which are often tied to either size of their audience or the number of sales they’re making), they start feeling depleted. Not seeing the numbers rise in proportion to the effort they put in chips away at their sisu.
I think this is because most people are motivated by so many other things than money. But because the focus in business is (for understandable reasons) on money, we forget to make sure that we also use other types of indicators as validation for doing something right. You need to know what drives you, you need to know why you enjoy doing the things you do, and then do things that you actually can control.
We also need to have other ways of feeling fulfilled and happy than our businesses, so that we can strengthen our sisu with other things than the revenue results or other business metrics that we keep our eyes on.
The advice out in the online business world can make you feel like your business is supposed to be the end-all, be-all thing that brings you fulfillment. It’s supposed to be the thing that lights you up. But if we’re being totally honest, we know that there are a lot of jobs that no one would do if everyone only did what felt fun and inspiring to them.
There’s nothing wrong with doing a good day’s work and then getting your fun feels from something outside of it, even if you’re working towards making the work you really love to do your main source of income one day.
When you find fulfillment in things outside of your work, you will most likely also feel better about your work tasks that aren’t that exciting.
HOW THE PRODUCTIVITY ECOSYSTEM SUPPORTS YOUR LONG-TERM PRODUCTIVITY AND BUSINESS SUCCESS
The true magic comes from how the three parts of the ecosystem work together and strengthen each other.
When you mix wholeness and design, you increase your creativity because when you feel good you’re more likely to think clearly and have more out-of-the-box ideas.
When you mix sisu and wholeness, you increase your capacity. Because when you have energy *and* grit, it makes you stronger and less likely to give up.
And when you mix design and sisu, you set a foundation for iteration. You’re more likely to tweak and refine until your business works for you — and to refine them again when they don’t work anymore (instead of judging yourself for things not working out.)
If you have trouble following through with tasks that feel important to you, you work later than you’d like to, or often feel like you aren’t that motivated to tackle those big projects you know would boost your business forward, it might be a sign that something’s off-balance in your Productivity Ecosystem.
The good news is that you’re probably just a few simple shifts away from being more productive without having to push yourself so hard.
Want to be more productive ASAP?
Together we can figure out practical things you can do to strengthen your ecosystem so that you can be more productive (without hustle). Find out how we can team up here>>
Or listen to the Building Balance podcast for weekly thoughts and tips around productivity and work-life balance for solo business owners.