Working Smarter, Not Harder, and Enjoying It!

“Working Smarter, Not Harder, and Enjoying It!” was originally posted by hint Founder & CEO, Kara Goldin, on LinkedIn here:

You only have to browse through the business book section at any airport to see the most popular problem of the modern worker: everyone is trying to hack productivity. From the invention of the post-it note to the latest app on the market, we are all trying to find a silver bullet that will magically improve our efficiency and performance.

While I’ve tried numerous methods in more than a decade as the CEO of Hint Water, I’ve learned that creating your own set of rules and techniques is the key to being organized, effective and successful. Here is what has worked for me:

Be Prepared

Remember that scene in The Matrix where Neo sees the bullets coming towards him and is able to perceive time slowly enough that he can dodge them? Preparation means being able catch potential pitfalls before they occur: anticipating, rather than reacting.

I wake up early, around 5:30am, and quickly scan emails before I do anything else. I’m looking for anything urgent I need to respond to so I can be offline for the next hour to take time to workout.

Most days, I’ll go for a hike with my husband and our two labradors, but no matter where I am, exercise is a priority. Having healthy, sustainable lifestyle practices is why I started Hint in the first place! I’ll find classes or hikes to go on, for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Exercise fuels my mind and boosts my energy levels so I’m not tempted to reach for anything sugary during the day, while also giving me a sense of calm and tranquility, which makes for clear headed decisions in a very busy schedule.

Go With The Flow

Although I have my morning routine, I can’t say I have a very structured work day. In fact, whenever I try to do that, it doesn’t end up being that way, so I have stopped beating myself up and resisting that my days have to look a particular way, which has been incredibly freeing.

I make a list of the top three-to-five things I need to get done and I let the rest all flow around those high priorities.

On any given day, I may need to tackle fundraising, business development, overall networking, products – and that issue will become an umbrella priority. Then I fill in the blanks with the other tasks required to achieve it.

Some days, you are not going to complete anything entirely, which can lead you to become bogged down in ticking boxes, rather than painting a bigger picture. Whether I’m dealing with how to attract new customers, our grocery business or our online sales, I’m looking for what needs to happen so we can become better at what we do, and focusing on the priorities maintains that perspective.

Use Your Tools, Don’t Let The Tools Use You

Between text messages, reminder notices, emails and calendars, you are likely to have something buzzing, pinging or whistling at you every minute of the day. For maximum productivity, choose your weapons wisely!

I know many people would disagree with me, but I keep my own calendar. I find it much less complicated to do it myself than to have multiple people organizing it. It also helps me be completely responsible for knowing where I need to be at any given time.

On a recent trip to New York, I had 23 meetings over a few days, back to back to back. I know my schedule and my style: I really try and jam it all in. If someone else was managing those appointments, I would have less flexibility and could easily have missed something as the schedule changed.

This is also why I love interfaces like Doodle to organize groups. If you can get everyone on the same page and minimising double ups, you are already ahead.

Realise It’s All A Choice

The philosopher Alain de Botton once said “There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”

I’ve created a company around an industry I view as really broken. We are fighting up against the big guys, who in my view, are killing people by encouraging people to eat sugar and be addicted to sweets. Hint is on a mission to get this information out there and change the conversation around health and wellbeing.

It’s hard and exhausting, but I recognize that it is my choice to be here, to be building this and disrupting this industry.

You have to love and believe in what you are doing to work these kind of hours, running around to make it work with your partner and your family.

I believe so strongly in this cause that I have been having this conversation for over a decade and we are seeing the change. That makes the juggle absolutely worth it.

Kara Goldin is Founder and CEO of Hint Water, the fastest growing flavored water in the United States. Kara started Hint when she couldn’t find a healthy water that tasted great without questionable additives like sweeteners. Hint Water has 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 diet sweeteners and can be purchased online at in a variety of flavors including Blackberry and Watermelon, in both still and sparkling. Kara just launched NEW Hint Kick for those who want caffeine, but not any added stuff like sugar and diet sweeteners. Hint Kick has already received rave reviews from the NY Post and BevNet.