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“Reward Yourself” and Other Productivity Life Hacks

Authors Laura Vanderkam and Jenny Evans share ideas, rooted in scientific research, to help you manage stress and be more productive on and off the job.

“Reward Yourself” and Other Productivity Life Hacks image

“WOMEN ARE SPENDING LONGER HOURS at work. They’re also spending more time interacting with their kids. “How is that even possible? ” asked time-management expert Laura Vanderkam, speaking at a #WomenInvested event in Minneapolis in October 2019. Their advice may be even more useful today, with women juggling remote work and managing their children’s online schooling, than it was last October.

“With all that we’re juggling, it’s no wonder women report higher levels of stress than men,1” she added. Sharing the stage at the event with Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and many other books, were Jenny Evans, founder and CEO of PowerHouse Performance, and moderator Jen Auerbach-Rodriguez, head of Acquisition, Retention and Strategic Growth for Merrill. The three traded practical ideas, rooted in scientific research, for managing stress, increasing productivity and building more relaxation into your schedule. They also explored the link between time, money and stress. Watch the videos below for highlights from their conversation.

Focus Your Energy on What Matters Most

“The next time you’re going into a meeting, ask yourself: What is my purpose here?" suggests Vanderkam (below, center). “Just taking 60 seconds to reflect on who or what should be getting your best energy now can help you make the most of your time,” adds Evans (below, right), author of The Resiliency rEvolution: Your Stress Solution for Life—60 Seconds at a Time.

Think 168 Hours a Week, Not 24/7

“If you work 40 hours and sleep eight hours a night, that leaves 72 hours for other things,” notes Vanderkam (below, right), author of “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” and other books. She suggests people track their time to see how much they really have, then offers this welcome reminder: “You don’t have to be doing something ‘productive’ every single minute.”

Use Money as a Tool to Simplify Your Life

“If there's something you’re spending your time on that you're unhappy about, is there some way you could use money to make it better? That would probably be a very good investment,” says Vanderkam. For stress-management expert Evans (below), the best investment is still a nest egg. “I’m all about ‘why put myself in more financial stress than life already creates?’” she says.

Procrastinators—Watch This Video Now!

“Rip that Band-Aid right off. Do it first thing while you're fresh, while you still have self-discipline and willpower,” suggests Evans (below, right). “Don’t say you’re going to do it for an hour. Do it for five minutes.” Vanderkam’s best life hack for procrastinators? “Reward yourself profusely. After you do something you’ve been putting off, take the rest of the morning off.”


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