From one to a hundred. From a myth to people. In the past decade, the concept of a “unicorn company” has grown exponentially. A unicorn company is a multibillion-dollar company like Pinterest or SpaceX. When Aileen Lee first came out with the term there were 39 unicorn companies, now, there are over 450 unicorn companies! However, creating a unicorn company is not just having a multibillion-dollar idea, it is your mindset. Through 5 simple steps, you can triple your productivity rates and overall happiness.
This past month, I have tried 5 hacks recommended to me by various TKS directors and students. Even though it took some getting used to, these hacks have made my daily productivity rates triple in just a month! As I went through this process, I felt it was best to let my body slowly adjust to it, not make an abrupt change. Honestly, October has been such a productive month of learning thanks to these new mindsets!
Join The 5 am Club.
The first action that I took was joining the 5 am club. This is a self-explanatory action, just wake up at 5 am each day. For some who wake up minutes before school/work, this may seem completely preposterous. It's ok to be a night owl, some people’s brains work better at night and some during the morning. I know this very well because I used to be a night owl. Making this change or sleeping earlier and waking up earlier doubled how fast and accurate I was working.
Originally, it was a hard switch, moving from sleeping at 11 to 9 (I need my beauty sleep). Over about a week and a half of little sleep (this was still about 7 hours), I finally switched my mental state to waking up early. As I mentioned before, slowly easing into it is the best way to go. Let us say you wake up at 7:30 am every morning and making an abrupt switch to 5 am seems ridiculous. If you woke up 10 minutes earlier each day, soon, you will be at 5 am! You could do 5 minutes earlier or 15, it just depends on your speed.
Waking up is not an exciting thing for 99.9 percent of the human population. Do you know what 99.9% of the human population also is? Not a unicorn person. To really fill your days with meaning and purpose, you must work on things that generally excite you. Whether it's reading a book, or writing an article, do something that makes you want to wake up and lets you feel the excitement. This simple act of planning something that excites you the previous night can double your happiness and efficiency rates!
Taking a Cold Shower Each Morning.
You might be thinking, “Taking a cold shower each morning? NO WAY! I would never do that in my right mind!” That is the same thought that crossed my mind when I first came across this trick. It had “slipped my mind” for the first 10 days of October until one day where I threw my hands in the air and decided “what the heck! You are only live once!” I switched the tab to cold and started the shower. Even though that was the most excruciatingly 6 minutes of my life, the hours that followed were the best hours of my life.
I hope that you guys will learn from my mistakes and trust me when I say ease into the rhythm. Do not go from burning hot showers to ice-cold ones, slowly move into it. Just like waking up, move the shower tap one notchback at a time, or have a warm shower for 5 minutes, then cold for three. In any case of combinations, make sure that you take your time moving into it; or it will never last.
For the maximum value of the cold shower, make it the first thing you do every morning after you wake up. It will remove all grogginess that you may have, get you ready for action, and so much more. Make sure that you get straight to work after, this way you have the most value from your shower!
Drink a Gallon of Water Each Day.
First looking at this, I did not believe that I could really do it. I have a 16oz bottle that I used to bring to school, and I thought I drank a lot of water after two bottles of that. It turns out that if I want to drink a gallon of water each day, I will have to drink 8 bottles! My mindset through this process was “Just do it”. I started my day at 5 am, filled my bottle, and started sipping on it throughout the day. To my surprise, at the end of the day, I had drunk 9 bottles! Some of the additional benefits to this method of drinking a gallon of water each day are:
1. Clearer skin, less acne, etc. This is what I had expected to get out of drinking a bottle of water each day, the scientifically proven benefit. Instead, I gained so much more than just better looks and productivity.
2. Water/ bathroom breaks. As the day passed, my water bottle kept emptying, so I had to get up from my desk, walk to my fridge, fill my bottle, and sit back down. Even though this is a simple two-minute trip, it got me out of the blanket, let me move to new scenery, stretch, and have a small mental break from staring at the screen.
3. Did not make me as hungry. Sipping on water throughout the day helped me get rid of the munchies. It encouraged me to eat fewer chips and other unhealthy mixtures during class.
4. Weight loss. This is more of a scientifically proven fact but drinking water each day helps weight loss because it helps flush out a lot of the toxins and gunk inside of your body.
As you start your journey of becoming a unicorn person, do not expect immediate results. My results came in a slow curve, even after being super consistent and intentional. This is a slow process that requires patience and consistency if you want to become a productive unicorn!
Organize Your Life
As kids, you always hear your parents nagging you to clean your room or organizing something. Have you ever wondered how they are so organized? How when you go into their rooms, there are no clothes around or anything like that? Have you also wondered why they can be a lot more productive than you? This is because they learned that living in a dirty space will tank your productivity rates. With so many distractions around, it makes working on anything, even a task as simple as checking your mails, take forever. Here are a couple of tricks and places to organize your day.
1. Time Blocking. Time blocking your day is a very commonly used technique around the world to organize your day. I time block my week on Sunday so I can have a structure to my day. I can be a little bit of a neat freak sometimes, so I like to color code my calendar for different commitments. At the end of each week, ensure to write three things that went well and three things that you can improve for next time.
2. Makers versus Managers. A manager’s schedule and a maker’s schedule are two very different and effective ways of organizing your time. A manager usually is sliced up into smaller portions where they are concentrated towards doing reactive work, such as emails, calls, and helping others. A maker, however, is made up of longer blocks with a focus. Both styles are super helpful, it just depends on personal preference.
3. Theme Days. This is a slight spin-off from the maker's schedule but instead, you have an entire day dedicated to a certain activity. For example, you can dedicate Monday to calls, Tuesday to writing, Wednesday to learning, Thursday to calls, and Friday as a break day. I organize my schedule by color or themes. Some days are a lot more yellow than blue; this just helps me train my brain to what I must do, and the themes I have going on.
4. Google Calendar. With all these organizational techniques, I like to keep 1–2 places for all of this, one digital and one on paper. Digitally, I prefer to use google calendar. I can easily time block with colors, and it syncs with my phone and watches. I also use a calendar to schedule meetings, and google calendar lets you sync everything, which cuts your workload in half!
Listen to Podcasts, not Netflix
Before the great Seattle rains kick in for the winter, I have been trying to get as many walks in as possible. Often, I find myself listening to a variety of music, but to double my productivity during these walks, I started to listen to podcasts. As I listened, I noticed that there was a huge variety of podcasts. They ranged from politics to comedy, to mindset, and more! Podcasts help stimulate your brain and give you a different perspective on some topics.
To me, this was a relevantly new topic. Up until a few weeks ago, I never understood podcasts. I always thought they were in this small box where people just told stories. To my pleasant surprise, they were so much more than that! They were conversations with guest judges, two people arguing over a topic, an explanation of a certain field, and more! To me, it was this amazing learning opportunity.
Over the past 30 days, I have learned so many lessons: some the hard way and others slightly easier. Nevertheless, it has been an amazing experience that I would not trade for the world. Becoming a unicorn person is not easy, and neither is building a unicorn company, but after mastering these 5 simple tricks, the journey will become a lot easier!
1. A unicorn person consists of two things: a unicorn idea, and a unicorn mindset. After reading this article, I have equipped you with the proper skills and mindset to become a unicorn!
2. Join the 5 am club. Even if you are a night owl, give the 5 am club a chance. You never know how awesome it could be…
3. Take a cold shower. Even though this is a cold experience, if you slowly nudge into it, you will get there!
4. Drink water. Drinking water does not just give you better skin, less acne, and weight loss, it also gives you a mental break through the day.
5. Organization is key. Through many different styles and platforms, organizing your life is key to maximum efficiency.
6. Listen to podcasts. Just try it! You never know the range and variety that you might get hooked on!