Elizabeth Yin is a co-founder and general partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for "hilariously early" startups. Before that, she was a partner at 500 Startups, where she invested in seed-stage companies and ran the Mountain View accelerator. She has a BSEE from Stanford and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
Yin has reviewed over 20k startup pitches globally and helped countless portfolio founders raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Her writings about startup fundraising are featured in TechCrunch, Forbes, Huffington Post, BetaKit, and more.
She recently shared how Flow Club helps her curb procrastination and finish projects she’d rather avoid, all while working from home with her children.
Battling procrastination while working from home with kids
People commonly experiment in other areas of life like diet, sleep, and exercise, but not so much with work.
Yin says the pandemic has been a challenging time to stay productive. With two young children at home, she balances childcare with running her company remotely. Ultimately, she had to rethink her idea of success for the short term. “Success for me during the pandemic was staying afloat,” she says. “I had to say no to a lot more meetings than normal.”
She found it tough to find a rhythm with her administrative tasks. “Everyone has tasks they dread, and mine are mundane things like taxes, accounting, or compliance,” she says. “My go-to is to procrastinate with those things for as long as possible.”
Yin needed a way to cut through distractions and overcome her avoidance, so she started experimenting with productivity techniques like booking Flow Club sessions or playing classical music while working. “People commonly experiment in other areas of life like diet, sleep, and exercise, but not so much with work. I don’t hear about anybody experimenting with productivity tools, and I think that should happen because it’s different for every person.”
Accountability makes all the difference
With Flow Club, I can get to inbox zero almost every day
Through her experimentation, Yin found that Flow Club helps her work more efficiently because it keeps her accountable.
“I do well with accountability,” she says, likening her Flow Club experience to a WhatsApp group she shares with friends to help each other stay on track with exercise. “That helps me because I’m more motivated to work out if all these friends are doing jumping jacks or going for a jog. Similarly with Flow Club, there’s a level of accountability where you know someone will check in on you at the end of the session.”
She typically works on two types of projects in Flow Club:
Email: To avoid notification overwhelm, Yin keeps most of her correspondence contained to email. As the co-founder of a venture firm, that means she gets a lot of emails. “With Flow Club, I can get to inbox zero almost every day,” she says. When she starts her Flow Club session, she triages her inbox and tracks how many emails she can make it through before the hour ends. She’s compared her results with other productivity methods and discovered that she’s most efficient with Flow Club.
Personal and business taxes: Like most of us, Yin hates doing taxes. This tax season, she did both her personal and business taxes with the help of Flow Club. “I procrastinated on my personal taxes for every weekend from January to May, even though I knew I needed to get a head start on them,” she laughed. Finally, she scheduled a Flow Club session and finished the job in an hour. Knowing peers would check in on her progress at the end helped her stay accountable and complete her most dreaded task of the year.
While these tasks may be easy to complete, they serve an essential purpose in her overall productivity. They help her build momentum for her more profound work.
Small wins build momentum
To get the most of her time in Flow Club, Yin sticks to projects she can complete in under an hour. These easy wins motivate her to stay productive for the rest of her day.
Yin also extends this philosophy into her workday by setting an easily achievable exercise goal every day. “I try to do 50 pushups every day,” she says. “Not all at once, but I’ll do five here and there throughout the day. It’s a small win that helps me feel motivated, just like when I clear my inbox during Flow Club. I realized the power of having a few easy goals that I know I can achieve.”
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