We’ve all been so embedded in a task that we barely noticed the hours swoon. Unfortunately for your productivity goals, day to day this “flow state” is interrupted by inbox checking, Facebook scrolling and refreshing your Instagram feed more often than you re-visit your fridge on a hungover Sunday.
Although the self-help gurus and career-bloggers of the world have smashed their keyboards silly on this topic, when you get past their VALUE-PROMISING!!! headlines they rarely offer anything more helpful than “crank up the espressos and get more organised.”
So we put the LinkedIn ‘wisdom’ aside and hit up a real entrepreneur, Patrick Kidd, whose luxury hair salon Patricks went from startup to multinational brand quicker than you can say ‘mousse’ (well, not quite, but you get the picture).
Fortunately for anyone who inspires to be more productive without sacrificing their personality and lifestyle, Patrick rejects the 4 am waking, oatmeal slurping ways of the “big dog” CEO’s of the world, proving each day that it’s possible to be successful without having the bedtime of an 8-year-old, the diet of a diabetic and a painstakingly serious persona.
Here are his top tips.
Hit ‘Snooze’ Liberally
Contrary to the prevailing ‘productivity cult’ wisdom, it’s not worth waking up super early if it comes at the cost of your ‘eight a day’. Although Patrick admits this is “almost impossible with kids or a bingeable TV show,” if you want to perform at your peak you must get a good night’s sleep—by hook or crook.
Take ‘Special’ Showers
When it comes to insider tips for a productive day (divulged by
mentalists psychologists upon their high net worth clients), you might expect to hear about magic pills and potions. Patrick, however, has a different method: “I saw a psychologist years ago who specialised in high-stress occupations and she got me onto a mindfulness technique that I still do everyday—I do this in the shower every morning.”
“Focus on the entire shower experience from start to finish, feeling the temperature of the tap, the temp of the water, feeling the water on your skin, look around, check out the drips on the wall—just really be in the moment, present and enjoy the shower! You’ll walk out like you have just been defraged, updated and reset.”
Do Some Exercise
How you sweat is up to you, but Patrick uses the “40 40 40” technique.
“I do this every morning before breakfast: 40 push-ups, 40 sit ups and 40 squats in sets of 20. It only takes about five minutes and makes you feel so much better! I do 60’s as well if I need it.”
Play Dress Up
“Get dressed even if you work from home; seems to get you in the zone somehow!”
If You Can’t Get In The Zone Mentally, Switch It Up Physically
“Working from a cool spot like Soho House or a Hotel lobby can often keep you moving in the right direction mentally; usually lots of aspirational figures kicking around in those types of places!”
Get Everything Out Of Your Head
“Sounds stupid, but when there are a million things to do and I don’t really know where to start, I just write a list! Get one thing at a time done; before you know it you’re flowing!”
Permit Yourself Some Quality ‘Wind Down’ Time
According to Patrick, decompressing after a busy day is crucial to set yourself up for the next one. How you do this is personal, but for him, nothing beats some quality cinema: “I watch a lot of movies in the late hours of the night, kind of a cool escapism and helps me cool the jets, which is especially important when you run a start-up and everything big or small has a massive effect on the future.”
Indulge In A Near Death Experience…
In business, perspective is key. But rather than taking stock of your company (or perhaps, as well as that), for Patrick, there’s nothing quite like surfing to recalibrate: “Taking a 6ft bomb on the head always clears the mind!”
Don’t Neglect Family Time
Not only will ignoring your family make you feel guilty (thus reducing your productivity), Patrick says hanging out with your kids can help you find inspiration for that next idea, or come up with a more creative solution to a problem: “Hanging with my 4-year-old daughter; she has an evil little sense of humour and a kid’s perspective on life!” Also: as long as they don’t wind up cutting each others hair and drawing on each other’s faces, it can be a great way to de-stress…
Pump The Tunes
Whilst a study just came out showing listening to music “significantly impairs” creativity, if you have a mindless task to get done, listening to music can whisk you along. Patrick says, “I use music to really get in the zone.”
“My weapon of choice when I need to tap the keys for a few hours is usually Metallica, headphones in and volume up helps me smash out whatever I’m working on.”
Don’t Force It
When it comes to the elusive “flow state,” Patrick told us this: “Usually, I’m not super aware of it, I seem to just be ‘chasing the business dragon’ and then kind of wake up from the state and be like, ‘Wow!’ You’ll feel it when you’re being super productive, clarity will usually come, as will the results!”