Podcast Ep. 15: A Simple Productivity Booster for Fashion Entrepreneurs

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Has this happened to you before? Maybe at your job or when you’re working on a hobby you love or when you get really into a project with your kid. You get so caught up in “the work” that you look up and realize the work didn’t actually feel like work.

It doesn’t happen every day. Sometimes it doesn’t even happen every week. But when it does happen, there’s something so satisfying about it. It’s what productivity experts call the “flow state.” and today I’m going to share my 4 tips for getting into the flow state as a new entrepreneur.



The other day, I looked up from my computer and I thought to myself, “Man, I should really be working.”

I glanced at the clock and realized that actually, two hours had passed since I last looked at it. It took me a second to process that in that time, I had written our March Workshop landing page, revised the outline for the four days of workshop content and edited the captions for a series of Instagram ads.

So I was working.

Has this happened to you before? Maybe at your job or when you’re working on a hobby you love or when you get really into a project with your kid. You get so caught up in “the work” that you look up and realize the work didn’t actually feel like work.

It doesn’t happen every day. Sometimes it doesn’t even happen every week. But when it does happen, there’s something so satisfying about it.

It’s what productivity experts call the “flow state.” (You may also know it as “being in the zone.”) Psychologists describe the flow state as the most productive and creative state of mind in which to work. Some even say it’s the secret to happiness.

Our goal as entrepreneurs, then, is to enter that flow state as often as possible so that we can create, design and build our businesses in a way that is not only efficient but also brings us joy.

If you’ve ever googled “productivity hacks” or “productivity boosters”, then you know there are tips all over the internet from work performance experts who will tell you how to enter a flow state.

But most of that advice assumes you’re a top performance athlete or a top-level executive.

What if you’re hustling to build your fashion brand as a side job with limited hours in the day?

What do you do then?

This is something I’ve thought a lot about and over the years, I’ve identified four steps to getting into “flow” as a new entrepreneur. Because when you only have two hours after a workday or only Saturdays to work on your brand, then you need to get into this rhythm as quickly as possible to be as efficient as possible.

Okay, so here are the four steps to get into a flow state quicker and more efficiently – and to remember each step I’ve turned into an acronym called PACE – P – A – C – E

The first one is 1. Prioritize

When you first sit down to work — whether it’s on your computer or in a design studio — focus on one task, and one task only. As you practice, you’ll be able to jump to other tasks without leaving the flow state but in the beginning, it’s important to prioritize.

In choosing your task, it should be something “long form.” In other words, it should feel like an investment to sit down and complete it. Tasks that are long form are things like: writing the campaign page for your Kickstarter, or writing an automation series for your email list or mapping out financial projections or designing next season’s collection.

When you complete the task it should feel like a significant accomplishment and take between 1.5-3 hours. Okay, so that’s the first step: Prioritize

2.   The second step to get into the flow state quickly is Ambience

For me, ambience is everything. You can’t enter a flow state with the TV on in the background or sitting in the parking lot waiting for your kids. You need to know you’ll have two hours of uninterrupted time in a space that feels good to be in.

Turn on music if you like, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, light a candle, put on your “cozy sweater” — pick some sort of cue that tells your brain it’s time to get to work.

Ambience also means you won’t be interrupted by your partner or your kids or your dog barking. To get into the flow state, timing and location are everything so don’t try to push it to happen if you know you can’t get uninterrupted time. Save it for a different time or day and use this more erratic time to do some of the short tasks you can do quickly and knock off your to-do list.

3.   The third step is Challenge

Challenge + Skill Set = Flow State. I didn’t come up with that formula — researchers say that the optimal way to enter a flow state is to present yourself with a challenging task that matches a capable skill set.

In other words, if you’re not tech savvy you’re probably not going to find your flow while trying to set up a Mailchimp account. If you’re not math-minded, then you’re not going to enter a flow state figuring out your production costs.

When you’re first experimenting with this you’ll want to purposely choose tasks that are the appropriate level of challenging to a skill set where you excel.

That may be graphic design or mapping out a monthly social media calendar or writing a free guide as a lead magnet. When you’re trying to get into flow, and struggling, look at the level of challenge in the task and your ability to meet that challenge. Then adjust.

4.   And the final factor in the PACE acronym to get into a flow state is Energy

Do not try to get into flow when you’re exhausted, grumpy, having a bad day, etc. The essence of being in flow requires positive energy — they go hand in hand. Don’t underestimate how important it is to get your energy levels up before you sit down.

It may be as simple as doing a few jumping jacks before you sit down to work or maybe you need to go on a walk with your dog. If you know you have time blocked out to sit down and really get to work, then make sure the hours leading up to it are optimized for your success. For example, try to avoid experiences or feelings that will trigger you and block your flow.

Okay, so that’s the PACE to get into flow – prioritize, ambience, challenge, energy – and will help you immensely in boosting your productivity as a fashion entrepreneur.

And just to tie this altogether in real life, I’ll share a recent scenario of how I personally put this into practice. So, a few weeks ago, I had blocked off three hours on my calendar in anticipation of a pretty daunting task. As many of you know, I’m hosting a four-day workshop this month for people who want to start a sustainable fashion brand. I hosted it twice last year and this year it’s invite-only which means I’m revamping a lot of the content to freshen it up, make it new and improve it even more. 

So that was the task: rewrite, edit and improve nearly four hours of spoken content. Which means, if I was going to be efficient and effective, I really needed to get into a flow state. So what did I do?

PACE – so P (Prioritize) I knew that I couldn’t get to all four days of content in three hours so I prioritized the content for day 01 and focused on just rewriting and accomplishing that.

A (Ambience) For me, this means eating a snack before I sit down to do anything long-form so I have plenty of energy. I also poured myself a cup of coffee, put two bottles of water on my desk and moved my desk to face the wall so I wouldn’t have any distractions outside my window.

C (Challenge) Again, this was a ton of content that I needed to revisit, reoutline, rewrite and then edit, so the challenge of the task was definitely there. I’ve obviously written content like this before, so the challenge wasn’t so daunting that it was out of my skillset. I was facing the right balance of challenge and skill to enter a flow state.

E (Energy) I purposely blocked off 10:30am-1:30pm when I know I have the most energy during the day and it also left me an hour buffer at the end to wrap up other smaller tasks before picking my son up from school at 2:30.

So, that’s how I put this into practice myself (and it’s always some variation of this when I set aside the time to do this) I hope this was helpful – it is something that takes awareness and consistent practice – and obviously you need the time blocked off to make it happen. But it’s a productivity booster that I’ve been using for five years and really does work when I make time for it.

Are you working behind the scenes to start a sustainable fashion brand? Maybe you’re working a full-time job and pursuing your brand as a “side hustle” — that’s our favorite type of entrepreneur to work with. If you’re interested in learning more about not only starting, but actually launching, your fashion brand with Factory45, book a call to learn more about working with us. The link is in the description of this episode or you can go right now to http://factory45.co/apply We’d love to chat and hear more about your business goals.