If You’re Not 10 Minutes Early, You’re 10 Minutes Late

If You’re Not 10 Minutes Early, You’re 10 Minutes Late


If you’re not ten minutes early, you’re ten minutes late.

That is one thing my grandfather once told me and it stuck. Today, I am finding it increasingly impossible to keep to that promise. I get up at 5:30 a.m., to feed, dress, pack and drop my 3 month old and 14 month old off at daycare, run a business, and come home to do it all again.

And repeat 8 hours later.

These days, it’s hard to be early. And as my office arrival times inched closer to 10:00am, I started to see the rhythm and approach to my morning was inefficient and causing my days to get away from me.

I needed to learn how to be more productive with my morning routine, as this would set the stage for the rest of the day.

So, I stopped cleaning bottles, folding laundry and checking emails. I started making lunches the night before and coordinating the next day’s tasks as I put the last kid to bed. I prioritized ‘non-playtime’ as a task and I realized the quicker I can do the parenting to-dos, the more time we would actually get to play-- and the peas stuck in my floor vents will just have to wait.

The same went for running Onboardly. I had to change the way I was approaching my tasks to give myself more opportunities to play. By play, I mean working on the business, not in it, and doing so helped us move forward. The more time I had to be creative (let my mind run wild), the better our strategies and plans became.

Here are some tips I use to get ahead, stay on top, and give myself more time to be creative:

1. Never let my inbox count dictate my productivity
2. Turn off Twitter and Facebook during non-essential times
3. Practice Pomodoro
4. Say NO more often
5. Don’t be busy, be productive
6. Delegate all the things to someone who charges less than $150/hr
7. Focus on three big things a day/week/month/year. Don’t lose focus of those things and only move on to the next task once you have completed the first
8. Focus on the thing that makes the biggest impact. The rest doesn’t matter
9. Time IS money. Don’t let people ‘pick your brain’. Charge for it!

Of course, the tips that work best for me might not resonate with everyone else. Luckily, so many doers, thinkers, movers and shakers are graciously open about how they make the most of their days like in this new eBook on the top 101 productivity tips from the pros.

Contactzilla Productivity Tips eBook

Having resources like these and insights from our unofficial mentors (read: blogs and Google) have really helped me cherry pick the best ways to keep me working smart, not just hard.

What’s the best productivity hack you use that has changed your professional and personal life?

*Disclosure: Contactzilla is a client of Onboardly’s. And sure, I am biased, but it really is an awesome product!

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

What do you think?


Something I try to practice (with varying levels of success) is “early in the day, early in the week, early in the month, early in the year.” It’s a great way to counteract my natural tendency to procrastinate. Of course, I slip up regularly, but a new day starts every 24 hours so I have a new chance to get back on track.

Great article Renee! Are you using any Pomodoro apps?