How I Got Happier & More Productive: Actionable Tips for Busy WordPress Entrepreneurs

Why I Started Researching Productivity Hacks and High-Performer Practices

In 2020, I was suffering from anxiety. I’d feel pressure on my chest at night and I’d be up into the early hours of the morning. My brain was in a perpetual state of worry — ‘we are not moving/growing/delivering fast enough’ — I could have the best day and ride an emotional high, and then a sh*t day would shove me down and I’d beat myself up about it.

The Bigger Your Company Gets, the More Stress You’re Exposed to

It didn’t make sense!

  1. Controlling your schedule and priorities (versus letting external triggers do it for you)
  2. Understanding what makes you happy
  • Nir Eyal: the importance of being ruthless with your time and schedule
  • Tom Bilyeu: how to ‘build a better you’ in every facet of your life
  • Tony Robbins: using practices to wire your brain to think positively
  • Dr. Joe Dispenza: unlocking your brain’s potential through meditation and mindfulness
  • Andrew Huberman: dopamine as a reward system that isn’t just reserved for the milestones
  • Ed Mylett: the importance of tasting your dream while you’re chasing it

1. Controlling Your Mindset and Emotions

The Philosophy of Stoicism

I discovered Stoicism (among other practices) through an American entrepreneur/lifestyle guru named Tim Ferriss (you probably know him from his ‘4-Hour’ series). Applied to the modern business world, the philosophy of stoicism can help high achievers succeed in high-stress environments by nurturing a mental architecture that leads to better decisions and less emotional reactivity.

  • Accepting and not stressing over events that are out of my control
  • Striving to become a better version of myself every day (even if it’s something small and seemingly insignificant. It’s not!)
  • I didn’t take it personally. Instead, I focused on what we could control and really took time to decide on the best course of action.
  • After careful examination of the code to confirm the vulnerabilities, my team and I strategized and then implemented a plan that we thought would minimize exposure.
  • And then, despite our best intentions and deliberate coordination, the issues were publicly disclosed early.
  • Sure, I was mad and irritated, but it was out of my control and I feel we worked to the best of our abilities to resolve the issues.

Start and End the Day on a Positive Note

Wiring your brain for positivity in the morning and evening is an absolute game-changer for me. A well-spent morning means it’s easier to get through the day; a relaxed evening means you’ll sleep more deeply and wake up refreshed.

Productivity Hacks & High-Performer Practices: Do Not Disturb Phone Configuration

The Five Minute Journal App

The Five Minute Journal App has been a critical tool in my journey toward mindfulness. Every morning, I open the app and jot down three things I’m grateful for. Here are some examples:

  • I’m healthy and fit
  • I’m privileged to enjoy great music that touches my soul
  • I have two loving parents who pushed me to excellence and sacrificed a lot in their lives for my future
  • I’ve built up a strong team of people who are also passionate about Freemius’s mission

Neuroscience and the Dopamine Reward System

Milestones are reached by accomplishing the smaller goals in-between. If you can train yourself to enjoy the ‘bullet points’ in the lead-up to the grand conclusion, you’ll find that the next journey is more enjoyable and the climax of the milestone more fulfilling.

The 300% Versus 97% Approach

My parents immigrated from Ukraine to Israel in 1990 when I was 5 years old. They are both Ukrainian Jews who grew up in the Soviet Union where Jews had limited opportunities. To give you an idea, there were quotas for how many Jews could get into university and other similar directives that marginalized us. So if you wanted to succeed and get accepted, you had to be the best and, therefore, the Jewish-Soviet education was to push kids to the extreme in everything that related to education and sports. For me and many others who were hungry to prove ourselves, this created a mentality of having to be the best, of achieving more to prove that we not only had the right to be there but were more deserving too.

2. Controlling Your Schedule and Priorities

Tie Your Tasks to Your Calendar

It’s tempting to move as fast as possible to push the needle, but this often means you’ll be trying to do as much as possible in too short a time. Here’s my advice: plan ahead, prioritize, and schedule tasks into your calendar. And then be relentless about the schedule!

Avoid Immediate Reactions

Sh*t happens.

Remove Distractions

The 5 AM Club

  1. At 8 pm, I was simply dead to the world:

3. The Pursuit of Happiness

If I had to pare down what drives me, that’s it. In life, in my relationships, in work: if I can progress to ‘build a better Vova’ in some small way, every day, I’ll consider that day a success.

Self-Affirmation and Self-Acceptance

Make Time for Loved Ones

Freemius is my passion. But once I started to separate work from my personal life, I found I was a much happier person. When I work, I work. When I’m spending time with loved ones or on personal interests, I am fully present.

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