The one very simple hack that exploded my productivity

Like many people, I've been struggling with the challenges of starting a new business while still working full-time in a very demanding job. It hasn't been easy, but growing Retirement Divas as a business venture in order to make a living while making a difference is an important part of my personal Retirement Diva plan. (I'll be sharing more later about why I believe strongly that entrepreneurship is an essential part of the Retirement Diva model in other posts.)

So first, let me be clear. I love my job and I am grateful for the income, creativity, autonomy, collegiality, and sense of purpose that it provides. Ironically, I'm also grateful that my job working with aging services providers planted the seed for Retirement Divas. The more I learned about the opportunities and challenges facing older people, the more I realized that I was evolving into my passion and my purpose.

As long as I work for an employer, my primary responsibility will always be to exceed the requirements of my job. That's just who I am.

But I'm also a pragmatist and I know that I won't be working there forever. I know that Social Security isn't enough to retire on, even if it's still there in 10 years when I plan to start collecting it. I know that my personal RD plan involves growing my business now, so that I'm ready for a smooth transition - and an uninterrupted income stream - when my last day on this job ends.

Working in the aging services field, it probably won't come as a surprise that I've been busier than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Even though I've been working remotely from home for months, starting work earlier since my morning routine is much shorter and I don't have a commute, on most days I've been too exhausted by the end of my work day to even think about Retirement Divas, much less do any of the things I want and need to do.

I was sharing my frustration with a dear friend last week who had a "Captain Obvious" suggestion that blew me away with it's simplicity. I still can't believe I never thought of this, but I sure am glad she did.

Her suggestion was that since I'm getting up early anyway, instead of starting on work for my day job, why not spend those first two hours working on RD instead? O.M.G!

My energy levels are highest in the early morning hours, I don't feel the pressure to read and respond to emails, I don't have any Zoom meetings scheduled... it's the perfect time to focus.

After trying it for three days, I'm totally hooked!

My RD productivity and creativity has sky-rocketed, I'm getting a great start to my busy days by focusing on something I love - at my own pace - AND, at the end of my day, I honestly feel like I've made progress.

No more beating myself up because by 5:00 every evening I'm too tired to start on RD after settling in to start working between 5:30 and 6 that morning. I've freed up my evenings to tackle - or enjoy - other things without guilt... and most importantly, I'm making progress on my RD plan.

It's probably obvious by now that I'm a morning person, so this new habit is perfect for me, but I know it won't work for everyone. I'm sure there's an alternative that works for non-morning people, so if you've found one, please feel free to share.

The moral of the story is that if you're juggling a full-time day job and growing or managing a business of your own too, I applaud you. It's not easy, but you can do it. And trust me, there are a lot of other people doing the same thing. Let's share our best practices and lessons learned. That's what Retirement Divas is all about.

Living our best lives,


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