6 Hacks To Increased Productivity, Focus & Good Mood in the Office

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Summary

In this video, Anton Anderson discusses 6 hacks to increase your productivity, focus, and mood in the office:

 

1. Keep it Clean

2. Light it Up

3. Remove Distractions

4. Good Vibes

5. Healthy Habits

6. Collaboration

 

Improve your environment and you'll improve your results!

Transcript

What's up, everyone. Anton Anderson here, co-founder of Elite Resource Team. Hope you're having a great day. So in today's video I want to tackle a topic called the six hacks to increased focus, productivity and mood in the office. Now for those of you that aren't familiar either with myself or our company, let me just briefly make an introduction here. For the last roughly 10 years, we have been focusing almost exclusively on building relationships as a financial advisor with other CPAs or strategic partnerships like a business attorney, a tax attorney. And about five years ago we started out teaching other financial advisors and insurance agents how to do that. We've done that with roughly over 700 advisors at this point throughout US, Canada and the UK.

 

And one of the things I like doing in these weekly blog videos is taking questions that are coming up in our private Facebook community, on our general Facebook page or in our YouTube channel. One of the things that I'm seeing come up a lot now is questions around how do I carve out the time to be focused enough to tackle big projects? So some of my past videos I've done things like time blocking and chunking projects. I thought today it would be interesting to talk a little bit more about the environment, give you a little tour of our office, of my office space here and just share some of the hacks that personally I've learned over the last two years as this has been a really big effort and endeavor that I've been going through as we've been growing as a company, hiring more people. I've got a 12 month old at home, so there's all of these new demands on my time and my energy.

 

So here's six things that I think would be good to keep in mind if not very helpful for the majority of whether you're a financial advisor, insurance agent, or an accountant or an attorney. Let me go through each one of them.

 

The first one that I want to talk about is keep it clean, keep it clean. You know, a lot of times I go into offices through other, it doesn't matter what the profession is, but with other professionals and I'm just looking around the space and it is a mess. It looks like they'd been living there for 20 years. It's like piles of paper everywhere. You've got all of these to-do lists and notes all over the place. You've got trash that's overflowing, you know, it's a mess. One of the key things I want people to kind of remember is your environment influences your mindset. And your mindset influences your thinking, and your thinking is directly related to the decisions you're making. So keep it clean. I want to show you kind of, this is my office here.

 

This is our desk. And you can see a couple things. One is even on my desktop, as well as my desk space, and my sitting desk, it's pretty clean. Like, I've got a little notepad here with some notes for today's video, but everything overall is pretty clean. And I'm pretty intentional about that, because again, the way I think about it is clean environment equals a clean mind. A clean mind equals clean thinking, and clean thinking tends to result in much better decisions, better decisions results in more fun and more revenue, so keep it clean. That's the first thing I would say. If right now you're looking around the environment or your office and it's a mess, take the time to clean that stuff up, you know, take an hour or two. We're getting into the fall now and just clean it.

 

I promise you, you'll feel that difference in your mindset and in your energy. The next one I want to talk about is light it up, and even though we're in California, I'm talking about the natural sunlight here. Avoid being in a space that is only fluorescent lighting. My first job was at Smith Barney. And I was in college at the time. They didn't have any desk for the interns, but what they had was these little supply closets and some of you have probably been in financial institutions like this. It was just eight hours of cold calling in the supply closet. They had a phone, a phone book, a script, a little metal chair, a desk with all types of just leftover stuff piled all over it. One fluorescent bulb above me ... going off and a door. That was it. No natural lighting. That is a surefire way to drain your energy and feel exhausted.

 

Plus you're not going to enjoy being in that space. Like who enjoys being feeling like a rat, like a, you know, just a rat in an ugly space with no energy and no life? Nobody likes that. You don't want to spend eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours a day in a situation like that. So we were lucky. We really liked this space. As you can tell, we have some nice, beautiful lighting. I grew up surfing. So I love the fact that we can actually see the ocean and the Bay right there.

 

But also the other thing we did when we moved into this space, we completely gutted it and remodeled, and you'll see all of our offices. Those are glass walls right there. So everywhere in the office, and I'll even give you a little tour in a minute here, but everywhere in the office has a lot of natural light.

 

And that was very intentional because natural light actually is much healthier for you, allows you to keep a better mood. This is scientifically proven. And it gives you more energy. So as much as you can, like right now, if you're working from home, think about where is your desk, like where are you actually working? Because I know, personally, when I first started working from home, I put my desk up in the loft and I was drained and I was tired. And then finally I was thinking, why am I doing that? Why don't I move my desk underneath that sunlight where I've got some natural light? So think about your space and your environment. Do you enjoy it? Does it bring you energy? Does it have some natural light? Does it make you feel, feel good?

 

Another one is the third one. Remove distractions. I know we all like to think we have good self-discipline, you know, strong willpower. But why tempt yourself? It's so much better to just remove distractions from your environment than it is to tempt yourself. Right? So if you notice things, removing distractions, first of all, there's my phone, I have a phone. I think I've spoken to about two people on that phone because it's always on silent. And all of our calls route through our front desk area. So Nadia in our office is answering those and that way she gets to know my routines and when I can take calls or can't, but I will never have this phone where it's going to distract me from something I'm focused on.

 

Also, I'm recording this video right now on my cell phone, but my cell phone is always on silent, not vibrate, but absolute silent. So I never know if somebody's calling or texting until I'm done with whatever I'm working on. And then I look over and I'm willing to look at my phone. But the point is you don't want somebody else to pull you out of your deep work time. Now, some of us are still in a place where we have to be answering the phone because maybe we don't have staff and we're working directly with clients still. And that's okay. But what I would encourage you to do is prioritize your week and then prioritize your day and figure out what are the most important things, and then block out that for deep work time. So maybe it's Monday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00, and Wednesdays from 8:00 to 10:00. And then at least during those times, put your phone on silent, put yourself on silent. Also don't have any push notifications coming to your phones.

 

So if you're getting things like a text message, an email, Instagram notification, Facebook notification, Venmo notification, all of these things, have no push notifications coming to your phone. Again, you want zero, zero distractions. If it's 8:00 at night and you're walking your dogs and you want to see what was going on, on Instagram or Facebook during the day, that's at least on your terms, but you're not allowing that distraction to potentially pull you out of your deep work time. So what else with distractions? Oh, this is a really good hack. Try to find a time. So right now, like if you look at my laptop there, you'll notice that the only thing open is the internet. And I have Infusionsoft as our CRM and my calendar. See, I've got deep work blocked off for two hours of time.

 

But what you'll also notice, unlike most people is I don't have my email open. And what I try to do is schedule my email time. So I look at it for about an hour in the morning and try to address everything. I try to do that right before lunch or after lunch. Again, I open my email, get through everything, and then I do it right before I'm wrapping it up for the day. So it's basically between two to three times a day that I'm going to have an email window. And that allows me to just get things done very quickly, but I'm not multitasking back and forth. And again, it's not a distraction that's pulling me away from deep work. So that's another good hack and I think that's it for distractions.

 

The next one I want to talk about is good vibes. Like what do you feel when you walk into your space? So I really like surfing, as I said, you'll see on the walls here, I actually have different artwork of surfing, and these were done by an artist in San Diego. That one's actually a mock up of a photo of me surfing a wave in Oceanside, California. But that's cool. I feel a connection to it. I like the artist, I like the color, so it's good vibes for me. The other thing is, and a lot of people do this, but you know, photos of your family, or your kids, your wife. That's a photo of my wife and I there. Different awards, books. This is one thing I've noticed people do is they'll put a lot of books out on a bookcase that they've never read. Don't do that. Don't do that. That's terrible for your mind.

 

What it's saying is every time I look at that, "Wow, so much stuff I have to do, or there are so many things I don't know. Or there's so much I haven't accomplished. When am I going to read those?" What you should do is put those books that you haven't read in a box somewhere. Slowly get them out one at a time. Put them on your bookcase once you've actually finished them. I've got, I don't know, half a dozen, a dozen, two dozen books on the bookcase there. And what they are is different books that I've not only read, but that I'm inspired by. You know? So I've got Ray Dalio's principles there. I've got Phil Knight, Shoe Dog, great book. David Goggins, Can't Hurt Me. So all of these books are not only books that I've read. So when I look at them, I'm like, "I know at least a couple of things."

 

But I've also, I've put in the work and I feel like, "Hey, I've read a few things, I've accomplished something or whatnot. I've got some material there from when I passed the Series 65 exam," you know, different things like that. When I became a certified tax coach. I mean, all these things that when you look at them, they give you good vibes. They don't reinforce that you haven't done something and you need to do it. That's important. What else with good vibes? Plants are obviously important. You know, everybody knows this. Go to Home Depot, get like a $10 or $15 plant, it's good for you. I've got a little diffuser there and I'll talk about the diffuser in a second, but it might be a little bit too Southern California for some people. But a lot of these things are just important, to find things that are good for you, like that that bring you energy or that you enjoy in your space.

 

Another one with surrounding yourself with good vibes. I don't know if you're allowed to have an office dog where you work or not. Hey Lily, she's sleeping right now, but that's our Chief Morale Officer. Lil. She comes into the office every day with me and is here, and people always look forward to seeing her. She's a highlight of the office. And what else? That's probably it for good vibes.

 

Encourage healthy habits. You know, this kind of goes back to the willpower. It's just, it's much easier just to put the things that are good like [inaudible 00:12:20] and other things that you know, you want to encourage yourself to do throughout the course of the day. It's much easier to surround yourself with that. So, for example, a standing desk. Now this desk is a little bit more than if I was to do it again, I'd probably put in, this is like if you're starting from scratch and you really want your full desk moving up and down, it's kind of cool. It's like an electric motor that runs it up and down. But it's a little slow. It's a little clunky and it's not cheap. So unless you're looking to completely redesign your office right now, I wouldn't probably get one of these. I would just go on Amazon. They've got them for 65 bucks and I'll show you some of the ones out in the rest of our office here.

 

But on Amazon, 65 bucks, you'll find these standing desks. They're really cool. They just take your laptop, your monitor, your keyboard up and down. And it's very efficient, that's the same thing as this, just quicker and much less expensive. And then the other thing too is if you are getting a standing desk, you need to get one of these little standing pads. Amazon basic, 15 bucks standing pad. Don't get a standing desk or don't use a standing desk unless you have a standing pad. Otherwise you're just going to end up with sore knees and sore feet. And if you have a standing desk right now and you don't have a standing pad, 15 bucks, Amazon basic. Very good, very easy to use.

 

So what else with healthy habits? We have an exercise ball, I'll show you the kitchen, but we have one of those. Some people like sitting on those, you know, so that way it's better for your back than a chair. Personally, I like the standing desk so I don't end up sitting that much, but that's good. The other thing I would say is my dad's a big backpacker and hiker. And so when we would go out for long hikes, we'd always prepare for it. And that's the way I kind of look at my calendar with deep work, right? So if you're blocking off like three hours of your time to do some really deep work, that could be studying a new strategy. It could be learning new scripts, it could be creating a blog video like this. Whatever deep work is for you, meaning things that aren't quick to do tasks, but things that are actually significantly moving you towards your goals. You know, prepare for that.

 

Like if you're going for a walk around the block, you probably don't need a water bottle, right? That's easy. That's like emailing somebody. You don't need to prepare for an email or making a quick phone call. But if you're going to invest two or three hours into something, be prepared for that, right? Have everything you need in your office so that way you're not distracted. I've got water here and then I always like, I've got this little drawer there in my office and I've always got protein bars and trail mix and water bottles, all that good stuff. So I'm just kind of prepared, you know, makes it easier.

 

And then the last one that I will talk about, it's probably harder to show here, is collaboration. But I'll show you our conference room. And the thing I'd say about collaboration is, create a space if you can, where you like getting together. Like it feels good. I don't know how some of these professionals that I've worked with have high-end clients or clients that like coming to their office. I've walked into conference rooms before and it's like, first of all, you've got an old TV sitting in the corner that doesn't even work anymore. You've got wires hanging from this TV. You've got chairs with holes in it. You've got tables and just junk all over the table. It's like, don't do that. Nobody likes being in that type of atmosphere.

 

So if you're going to focus on collaboration, whether you have team members or you don't, if you don't have team members, collaboration is also important if you're getting together with people. They could be clients, it could be strategic partnerships, but create a space where you like being, create a space where you like being. All right, so that's it for my office here. Let me give you a little tour. I've got a few people in the office that are going to be surprised by camera walking out. But nonetheless, here we are. So these are the standing desks that I was referring to here. Like I said, I think they're $65 or so on Amazon and they are great.

 

And here's our kitchen. So some of the things that I'd encourage, we've got a TV that just has music on all the time, so that's kind of fun and lively, you know, one of our team members rides a bike to the office. We've got a medicine ball there, an exercise ball, things like this where you just, you know, stack a cabinet with healthy snacks, things that anybody's welcome to, tea, coffee, got some tequila there for, you know, when we've had a long week. But tea and coffee always on offer. And then I referenced some plants in the office, some artwork. And let me show you our conference room space here.

 

So you've probably seen some past videos of me shooting in here, but again, the glass walls like that, that allow the light to come through. And we've got the tall glass windows, a TV on the wall there, so people can come in and kind of share notes on what they've been working on, collaborate. And what else? Some artwork and just in general, kind of again, a nice space where people in general like coming, collaborating, solving problems.

 

And that's basically it. So let me just kind of summarize here. The six hacks to more focus, more energy, better mood while you're in the office. Let me move this a little closer. So we start with the first one. Just keep it clean, you know, just keep it clean, clean thinking, better decisions. Light up as much natural light as you can. Eliminate distractions to try to keep things, you know, just remove that notion that you have to have a high degree of willpower and self-discipline. Just remove stuff that are going to lead you to temptations or pull you out of your focus.

 

Good vibes. I mean, surrounding yourself with things that you enjoy being around to look forward to coming into the office. Healthy habits. Healthy habits, things like a standing desk, having a dog in the office, good music, good energy, healthy habits. And then finally collaboration. So creating a space where people enjoy being around. And you don't have to spend a lot of money on each of these things. Usually it's just, one, being a little bit creative, putting a little bit of like intentional energy and thought into it. And then also carving out the time to just constantly clean up the space and look for things that you enjoy doing.

 

So that's it for this blog video. Let me know what you think. Go ahead and comment and if you can watch this on YouTube. Go ahead and comment below the video and also let us know what questions you have. What would you like us to cop or tackle in these videos? It could be working with more affluent clients. It could be working with other professionals like CPAs, financial advisors, other attorneys. Let us know what you think and if you did like it, share it with friends. Pass it along. We look forward to connecting with you on a future video. That's it for today.

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