Productivity requires commitment, hard work, and many sacrifices, especially if you’re a woman. Three successful women — Dr. Roula Farah (Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology Oncology and President of CHANCE Association), Tania Kassis (International crossover singer, Honorary Ambassador of the South Korean Contingent of UNIFIL, founder and President of ONE LEBANON) and Dalia Dagher (renowned journalist, producer, presenter, and owner of a fashion boutique) — share their thoughts on productivity with HOME.
How do you keep your productivity levels up? Do you have any special tips for our readers?
Dr. Roula Farah: I wake up early and start my day with intense exercise. I do a 7 to 10 km run or a spinning session and I eat a healthy breakfast right before getting into work. This morning routine gives me a great amount of positive energy and helps me stay productive throughout the day! I set targets for each day and prepare a to-do list on my agenda. I stay positive regardless of how the day is going.
Tania Kassis: I think it’s important to know how to use our time in the most efficient way possible. I realized that I’m very productive for meetings during the morning, more productive for voice training and rehearsals in the afternoon, and very productive when it comes to answering emails and dealing with
administrative papers at night when everything is calm around me.
Dalia Dagher: To stay productive we need to re-assess and re-evaluate ourselves constantly. We need to be up-to-date with everything new and find what helps us grow. I always try to listen and pay attention to everyone around me. We need to pay attention to our mind and our body. Walks in nature and exercise help me get rid of daily pressures, stay fit and be in a good state of mind to stay productive.
Do you plan your days ahead of time?
Dr. Roula Farah: Yes. I plan each day the night before and I set a priority list for that day. I even plan my entire week on Sunday night, although I stay flexible for emergencies. When I have trips planned, I organise my entire month around them.
Tania Kassis: I usually have all my meetings, gym sessions, and rehearsals fixed ahead of time, then I manage my free time to finish any paper work and pending issues. I make a list of all the pending issues I have and try to finish as many of them as possible.
Dalia Dagher: Of course. I plan my days ahead because my work is continuous. Each episode needs to be prepared in advance and I prepare for upcoming seasons as well. I have a general action plan but I also have to deal with surprises as they happen.
How flexible are you when it comes to your planning?
Dr. Roula Farah: I stick to my schedule but I stay flexible to accommodate emergencies and demands that come up along the way. I believe in discipline and flexibility at the same time.
Tania Kassis: I always aim to finish the tasks on my to-do list for the day which means that I sometimes sleep very late (sometimes around 4 or 5 am). Whenever I feel that I’m falling asleep while working, I stop everything and go to bed. I know that I will not be productive if I don’t.
Dalia Dagher: I am not very flexible. Planning ahead helps me keep track of my targets. Besides being a journalist, I have a fashion boutique so I need to plan ahead and persevere to stay productive.
Is it crucial for you to achieve your maximum productivity levels every day?
Dr. Roula Farah: Absolutely! It’s a must. Every second counts! Each minute that passes by never comes back. Each day you are not productive is a wasted day. Although you should also know how to take breaks to re-energize yourself and re-source, whatever your source of energy is: a peaceful walk in nature, a trip to a fascinating place, a moment of silence, time with people that give you energy, good music, an inspiring book, or family time.
Tania Kassis: It’s a must if I’m going through a very busy period and if I have deadlines, but I usually try to get some time to disconnect in order to recharge my energy so that I can go back again to work and be more productive.
Dalia Dagher: It’s important to keep a certain level of personal productivity. We live in a country which suffers from a lack of stability and this can impact our productivity. I try my best to keep a high productivity level although some days I am less productive than others. I try to make up for those days later. Being productive means being able to focus.
Do you believe in multitasking or do you focus on one thing at a time?
Dr. Roula Farah: I believe in multitasking if you can focus fully on each task and complete it.
Tania Kassis: I multitask a lot but it sometimes distracts me from the most essential tasks. Whenever I notice it, I try to make myself focus but it’s very hard for me to focus on one task only.
Dalia Dagher: Some people are more productive when they work on one thing at a time. But because of my character and my different professions, I cannot focus on one single thing. I discovered that I can work on many things at once.
How do you deal with procrastination?
Dr. Roula Farah: Focus. Get yourself together. Decide what you want. Make a decision. Move on.
Tania Kassis: I tend to procrastinate when I don’t feel the emergency of finishing a certain task. This is why I make a list and try to complete everything on it in a row without postponing anything.
Dalia Dagher: I hate procrastination. If a member of my team delays making a phone call or sending an email I just do it myself.
Does your productivity distance you from your family?
Dr. Roula Farah: I believe you can be fully productive while still being available to your family if you have good time management skills. Your family should not have to suffer from your heavy workload and your busy schedule. You need to stay productive and organize your work around your precious family moments. This is what I call the art of time management!
Tania Kassis: A lot! This is why I try to make time to spend with the family, even if I have to follow-up on urgent matters via email or WhatsApp.
Dalia Dagher: I try to find a balance between having family time and keeping my productivity levels up. I believe I have succeeded until now.
Does a routine lifestyle increase productivity?
Dr. Roula Farah: You need some discipline, but not necessarily a routine. Routine kills creativity, while discipline enhances it. You need to be inspired, positive, and happy to be more productive.
Tania Kassis: I don’t like routine. I love my work because there is no routine at all. Maybe routine helps some people be more structured and organized but a changing environment helps us gain experience and grow faster. Routine can help increase productivity sometimes but it can kill it at other times especially when you need to be creative.
Dalia Dagher: I don’t like routine. I’m not productive when I follow a strict routine. I’m constantly trying to look for change and find new inspiration for my work.
How do you stay energized mentally and physically?
Dr. Roula Farah: Healthy lifestyle, healthy diet, regular exercise, good relationships with others, motivation, ambition and inspiration, new places, surrounding myself with great and positive people, travelling to interesting places, love and passion for my work and everything I do. I think you should give yourself fully to everything that you are doing. Be kind and giving and all this good will come back to you.
Tania Kassis: I stay positive and dream of future achievements. It gives me wings. I go to the gym three times a week. It helps me destress and stay positive.
Dalia Dagher: I read to maintain my mental capacities and I rely on physical exercise and training sessions to be in good physical condition and destress.
What do you avoid to keep your productivity levels up?
Dr. Roula Farah: Negative energy from negative people, negative vibes, wasting time. Happiness and energy should come from within. So we should get rid of anything external factor that hinders our productivity right away.
Tania Kassis: Many social events that make me waste a lot of time. I only attend the most important ones.
Dalia Dagher: I avoid negative and unproductive people because they create an unproductive environment. I try to work with a positive team which helps me stay positive and be more productive. Even if one of my team didn’t do a phone call, I do it myself.