Workin’ Girl

5 Ways You Can Be As Productive As Shonda Rhimes In the New Year

If you’re a business owner (or even aspiring business owner) you know the importance of ending the year with a bang and stepping into a new one like the boss you are. You also know that productivity is key.


While many people are spending time making New Year’s Resolutions that they may or may not keep, you’re probably somewhere strategizing your last moves of the year and getting ready for the new ones you’ll make once the clock strikes 12 and if you’re not, you still have time to catch up.

Recently, our favorite girl boss and mentor (in our heads) Shonda Rhimes, who is most famously known for producing (and creating and doing writing for some of them) four of the world’s favorite television shows (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder and Private Practice), sat down with Fast Company and dropped a few gems that will not only increase your productivity, but hopefully also your coin in the new year. As an outsider looking in, I always wondered how Shonda has managed to have four television shows while also raising small children.

Get out your pen and paper, it’s time to take notes.

Don’t Let People Steal Your Time

If Shonda said it, it’s bible, and I’ll debate anyone who tells me otherwise.

Recently, Shonda adopted a new habit during the day that involves working the first hour of her day from home. This new habit was created after Shonda felt that being in the office during the day allowed people to lean on her for everything when they could just lean on each other and allow her to be in her own creative space.

Even if your day doesn’t involve working in an office, be mindful of people who knowingly or unknowingly steal your time. This may mean setting your phone to Do Not Disturb during the busiest hours of your day or perhaps ignoring a text until you finish that proposal.

[Tweet "Time is money and, for every minute wasted, is a dollar you willingly throw down the drain."]

Stop Focusing on Problems, Focus on Solutions

As an entrepreneur, there is always going to be a problem that you need to fix. If you’re fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on who you ask) to have a team of employees, it is almost inevitable that you will be tasked with the responsibility to try to fix every problem that comes your way.

Shonda proudly boasts that she encourages her employees to never come to her with problems and if they do, they better have a solution.

Discussing problems takes up a lot of your positive energy and creative juices so, instead of focusing on what went wrong, try focusing on how to make it better. At the end of the day, nobody is going to care about what your problem was, they’re going to care about how you overcame it.

[Tweet "No one cares about what your problem was, they care about how you overcame it."]

If You’re the Know It All in Your Circle, Change Circles

There’s a famous quote that’s probably floating through social media even as we speak that says, "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room,” and Shonda echoes that same sentiment:

“I think it's really important to be surrounded by people who know more stuff than you do, and are better at it than you are."

If you take a look around your inner circle, or even towards the people you spend the most time with professionally, and you’re the know-it-all in your group, you may need to look for a new group to surround yourself with.

As a business professional, it’s important to always be evolving and if you’re the one who is always imparting knowledge and information into others, then who is imparting knowledge into you?

[Tweet "“It's really important to be surrounded by people who know more stuff than you do, and are better at it than you are." - @shondarhimes"]

You Don’t Have to Do it All Today, Tomorrow Isn’t Going Anywhere

When you’re your own boss, it can become difficult to have an off-switch. You may literally get to a point that you are spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week working just because there’s nobody around to tell you to stop (unless you have someone in your circle who knows when to get you in check).

Shonda recounts a time when one of her executive producers had to remind her to focus on the things that were right in front of her. She remembers being angry when he would repeatedly tell her, "Shonda, this work will always be there tomorrow.” While she didn’t understand it then, she understands now.

“I try to focus on climbing this piece of the mountain, and then think about climbing the rest of it later,” Shonda says of her newfound approach to life.

As an entrepreneur, you might feel as though you have to complete projects the moment they land on your lap in order to make room for additional projects; however, if you can’t get it done today, it’s okay. Seriously. Take a deep breath and have at it again tomorrow. Sometimes walking away from a project gives you a different viewpoint once you pick it up again.

Never Be Afraid To Take Time For You

She shares her most coveted secret with Fast Company, and that is, she makes taking time for herself a priority.

During the hustle and bustle of the day for an entrepreneur, it can become hard to schedule in quiet time. Shonda suggests that you take the stillness and quietness of the beginning of the day (when you first wake up) to either focus on you or simply take in the moment.

Being readily available to other people at any given moment can have its pros and cons. On one hand, people will praise you for always being available, but on the other hand, you lose a little piece of yourself when you don’t take time to simply take care of you.

A wise woman once said, if “Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.

Want to get more gems from Shonda’s interview with Fast Company click here.

What are some positive actions you're making towards productivity to get the new year started off right? Let us know in the comments below!

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