Focus and Prioritize with Lauren Shay, the Creative Director of Full Stop

This is our first interview to feature someone from Australia! We are proud to introduce Lauren Shay, the Creative Director of Full Stop . Her company provides awesome design, editing and publishing services. Lets get right into this.

Can you sum up what you do in one sentence?

I run a desktop publishing business called Full Stop Design, Editing, Publishing. I like to think I’m my own boss, but I really answer to my 1-year-old daughter.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up and what is the last thing you do before you go to bed?

In the morning, check emails and Facebook; in the evening, check emails and Facebook, while telling myself I must get out of this bad bedtime habit!

What is the number one productivity killer you see and how do you stop it?

Procrastination! I naturally want to put off the tasks I hate doing, so they pile up and then I waste time fretting about them. So now I am trying to get myself in the habit of making myself a coffee, putting on some motivational music and getting these things out of the way first thing in the morning. I find I am much more productive this way.

Do you have a favorite productivity tool?

It’s very old-fashioned in this day and age, but my diary and my pen are my best friends. I find if I don’t have the day’s tasks written down in front of me to tick off once I complete them, I don’t work through them as effectively.

What do you do when you aren’t feeling productive or motivated?

Exercise! Going for a run or to the gym clears my mind. I come back refreshed and able to think more constructively. An active body means an active mind.

How do you set goals for yourself and what is your top priority goal this year?

I find focusing on yearly goals too overwhelming, so I break them down into monthly and weekly goals. This makes them much more achievable, it’s easier to keep track of my progress and I feel more positive about my achievements. My top priority goal, like many people I’m sure, is to find a better balance between work and family life. After all, having a flexible work situation is the reason I began my own small business in the first place. So now I make sure every Sunday is family day – no work!

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made that you’ll never repeat?

For a long time, I didn’t see how important it was to continually fine-tune my skills and add to my skill set. I now see that ongoing professional development is vital to a successful business.

As someone who receives tons of emails every day, what do you see in emails that makes you want to hit “delete” immediately?

I appreciate all emails I receive from customers and potential customers. But being a bit of a nerd (and former sub-editor!), spelling and grammatical errors in e-newsletters really get under my skin!

Do you have a role model or a mentor that has helped you stay productive and how did you find that mentor?

My dad has always given me great advice and is my biggest supporter as a small business owner.

What is the most powerful thing you’ve ever seen, heard, or read?

It may sound corny, but seeing and hearing my daughter when she was first brought into this world was the most powerful thing for me. She has given me a completely new perspective on life, and is the driver behind everything I do in my business and personal life.

What do you do for fun to relax or clear your mind and do you schedule downtime?

Scheduling downtime is a skill I am still trying to master, but I love cooking, exercising and just hanging out with my daughter and husband.

If you had the last living dinosaur on earth, how would you make money from it?

Let it loose in Parliament House in Canberra. Everyone in Australia would have more money in their pockets without the current government! Either that, or hire it out for children’s birthday parties.

We hope you enjoyed this interview. You can also connect with Lauren on Facebook . Did anything Lauren say really stick out for you? Tell us what you liked below.


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George Huang

George Huang is a founder at ZeroToComplete where he specializes in productivity science and coaching.

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