Next up in our ‘How I Stay Productive’ series, we had the pleasure of talking with one of our New York Ninjas, Jennifer Fox. Jennifer talked to us about embracing the 9 Productivity Ninja characteristics, in order to bring balance to living a busy work and family life in the Greater New York area.
Occupation: Productivity Ninja
Company: Think Productive North America
Location: New York
Other job titles in life: Coach, Consultant, Facilitator, HR Visionary, L&D Leader, Entrepreneur, Writer, Photographer, Athlete, Life-Long-Learner, Wife-extraordinaire, Super-Mom-of-3
What’s important about your workspace?
My most productive workspace is at a large coffee retailer with a certain green logo. I love the background noise, which ironically allows me great focus, the chance for frequent people-watching breaks, and the feel of warm coffee in my hand as I unleash my creativity on my latest projects.
Which ninja characteristic have you got nailed?
Unorthodoxy – my life and career path has been anything but conventional. I love the freedom that comes from knowing that there is rarely a “right” solution to a problem. Some former colleagues and I coined the phrase, “blow it up”, as our way of creating excitement and energy around looking for new ways to approach a problem.
Which ninja characteristic are you still working on the most?
Mindfulness & Human, not Superhero. I wear many hats, the most important of which are serving those whom I love. In my effort to please and have everything taken care of, I juggle too many balls, and the one that gets dropped most is self-care. Recently, I’ve established a meditation practice and am a die-hard fitbit tracker, so Zen-Like Calm Ninja would be proud.
Which five apps could you not live without?
I admit to having to pick up my phone to answer this question. OmniFocus for all task and project management, WhatsApp to communicate with my tribe of friends, AmazonMusic to keep a song in my heart, Instagram for my social media fix, and Starbucks for my coffee addiction. (see workspace answer above!)
What’s your favorite piece of stationery?
Much to the chagrin of my 8-year old who thinks I am “SO boring”, I only use Black and Red Spiral bound notebooks. There is nothing like starting a new one, creating to-do lists with check boxes next to them and doodling with my mechanical pencil (never a pen). I also love journals and have more than I care to admit that have months or years in between entries.
When in the day do you have the most proactive attention?
Mid-morning, after the kids have been taken care of and my house is (mostly) in order.
What’s your trick for when you’re tired or struggling with attention in the day?
Taking a break to clean something, or do a menial task that I can complete. Checking a box brings great satisfaction and gives me momentum to focus again. Also, changing my work environment. I’ve even been known to drive to a different Starbucks down the street to change my office space!
What’s your best advice for reducing stress?
Find humor and insights everywhere. Luckily, I have 3 amazing little people who provide non-stop entertainment. I also try to be on the lookout for things that make me think, smile, wonder. I can presence myself in the middle of Manhattan just by focusing on something that peaks my curiosity. The Breathe app provides me with frequent reminders to do just that, and I love Insight Timer for guided meditation to unwind at the end of the day, though I rarely make it past the 5-minute mark.
What’s your email regime?
Confession: prior to becoming a Productivity Ninja my regime was to keep everything, and hope that Google continued to raise the inbox limit. Having been introduced to Inbox Zero, I’ll never look back. It’s not easy to break old habits, but seeing the whitespace on my screen is the equivalent to a clear desk.
What’s your favorite way to take a break in the middle of the day?
I would be lying if I didn’t say coffee, but I’ll add connecting with someone in a casual way: friends, family, co-workers, even the cashier at Chipotle can give me the energy I need.
What’s the secret to your productivity?
I started using the hashtag #GSD when I discovered hashtags were no longer pound signs (dating myself, but I know many of you can relate). It stands for Get S*§% Done, and it’s my M.O. at work, home and life. I am results-driven, sometimes to a fault, but have found that it has allowed me to raise my game in every area of life. Sometimes it’s just taking the first step towards a big project, other times it’s going all-in to complete a project all at once. Being productive makes me feel great and inspires others around me to achieve their own potential.
Jennifer Fox is a Productivity Ninja in the Greater New York area.