Productivity Academy Live Q&A July 26th, 2017

 

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All right. I’m just gonna talk for a second, ’cause it says we’re live but I don’t think we are. If you’re watching now, we are actually live now. So you might have had to watch for a few seconds. Anyway, welcome to the Productivity Academy. I’m Adam and with me is my fiancé Jeney.

Jeney: Hi.

Adam: So, real quick, before we get into it, we’re gonna talk to Jeney about what she does to stay productive as a post doc and what she did as a graduate student, maybe some of the good and bad. And then I wanted to show everyone, I’ve had some questions about Focuster and then there’s a good question about motivating yourself to stay productive as well as building strong self discipline.

So, I am going to move the video over, ’cause we’re watching ourselves on a time lag and it is really screwing with my head.

Jeney: I was going to say I was really distracted for a moment, but I’m back again.

Adam: So, my question I guess for you and I think would be interesting to other people is, do you feel as a graduate student that you were just insanely productive or did you find that you actually had to work to be productive?

Jeney: I want to say it was an evolution. I think I started off being a lot less productive as a graduate student. And I think if you talk to a lot of people in academia it’s kind of the same story for a lot of graduate students. You get more efficient and you get more productive as time goes on. And I got to a point where I actually was unhealthily productive, and this was leading up to my dissertation in my defense, so at the very end of my graduate career. I was so productive that everything else in my life kind of suffered.

I would say about two years before I graduated I had a really good, kind of grasp on productivity and with efficiency with my time. And a lot of that was set with a routine. And I think that was what really helped me.

Adam: Gotcha. So that, I guess would be my question. What is the one take-away, if you were to talk to graduate students, what’s the … going into it … kind of two things. ‘Cause one, I think it’s interesting that you said, “I got more productive as time went on” and I think that’s a good reminder that so long as you work on it, a job, or a high school, or college student, as you go through that so long as you’re working on it you will become better at what you’re doing, whether it’s your job or being more productive or managing your time better. But then, what was the number one thing that you felt helped you do that?

Jeney: Sticking to more of a normal schedule. A lot of graduate school people will work extremely long hours, 18 to 20 hours sometimes a day. And at that point I think you become inefficient. You’re productive, and I was extremely productive, but if I had set a more normal schedule and had stuck to that I think the productivity would have been much higher as far as quality of productivity.

Adam: Cool. Okay. And then this as far as transitioning. And this is for anybody who maybe knows people or …let me get this back on here … who go through this. And once you did your dissertation and continuing on and what me, from the outside, sees is more of a career or a “job” as opposed to being a graduate student. Have you had any challenges, successes, as a post doc?

Jeney: Yeah. There’s been a recovery period. After having spent months at a time working this insane schedule of 16- to 20-hour days sometimes, he had to sit through it so he knows, I bounced back the other direction. And I just kind of crashed and burned after I defended. So, it’s been a rebuilding process and it’s been slowly adding structure, organization, and responsibilities, and whatnot back into my life in such a way that I can be efficient again. And I’m getting there, but it’s definitely a work in progress. And a lot of it is just forcing myself to stick to a schedule, or encouraging myself to stick to a schedule that’s a little bit more routine and normal.

Adam: So would that be your number one thing if you had aspiring graduate students or current graduate students, would say schedule, stick to a normal schedule. What would be your advice?

Jeney: Yeah, I think so. I think sticking to a normal schedule but also with the caveat of setting goals and achieving that are realistic.

Adam: Okay. All right. Cool. Hey, if you guys got questions for Jeney, we’re gonna be on for a few more minutes and then obviously you can go to the link above and pop in your questions and I’ll be happy to pass them over to her.

Jeney: A link above.

Adam: But it might be a link below. It depends on where you’re watching it. All right. Cool. So I’m gonna pop over to my desktop real quick, let’s go ahead and switch this over. I wanted to show a little bit about Focuster. If you haven’t seen this app before, I’m gonna … whoa, we’ve got the infinite … There we go. This is Focuster. Again, if you haven’t checked it out you definitely should. You can see the link in the notes, or I’ll put them in the comments. This is just a great app I’ve been using and I want to go through the quick layout. This is just gonna be a minute long and then I’m gonna hot into some questions.

You’ve got your To Do lists over here, you can create different lists. So I could just, see, create a new list, but I’m not gonna go into it, this is pretty self-explanatory. But, some of this is really neat. So, let’s say, “Record PA live Q&A Webinar” and that’s going to take 30 minutes. I hit Enter and over here it’s going to start working on … Okay, it’s not scheduled, not it’s updating … boom, it puts it into the next available spot in my calender. And obviously I’m doing it right now, I’ve already got it blocked off. But, we can also go to “Now.” What am I supposed to be doing next? At 11 a.m., so you can focus down on this.

Jeney: That is really cool.

Adam: So, there’s a lot of stuff you could do with this. Anyway, I wanted to show that. There’s way more than that but I think this is one of the really neat features, and they’re just releasing a beta preview on two-integration with Trello cards. I’m gonna be checking that out and I’ll be sharing that.

Jeney: So, forgive me for the naïve question here though. Can you say “30 minutes” and have it start at a later time rather than just right now?

Adam: You can, and I’m gonna screw it up on … well, you can set the time, yes. Sorry. So, you could get more specific if you wanted to. You can pin things. Yeah, sorry. I thought you meant something else. But you can do a lot with it, drag it around, move it, tomorrow, you can look ahead depending on your plan. Lots of cool stuff. Yep.

So let’s get on to some questions. I’m gonna bring it back to the webcam and I’ll ask for Jeney’s input. But, this is a good one I think. And I’m gonna start this off and then ask you what you think.

So, how do you motivate yourself to be more productive every day?

Okay, so this is again just for me personally. I can’t get more productive every single day. But I kind of liken this to training for running, like we do for distance running. You increase and you drop off and you recover. Then you increase and you recover, increase and recover. And it works like that. So, so long as the trend continues to go up it doesn’t have to a nonstop every single day. I’m not productive every day and sometimes that’s by goal or design, sometimes it’s because I’m a human being and I say, “You know what, I’m just tapped out, I’m done.” And to me, being able to recognize those times and say, “Okay. I’m just going to go ahead and hurry up and get the really important stuff done and then I’m done.” I can tell and I’m not going to be productive. That’s pretty important.

But then as far as what motivates me to do that? It’s probably two things. One, knowing that the overall trend just builds on itself. And then two, seeing the success. By accomplishing small things and starting small, and seeing where you’re going, that becomes the motivation to keep going on and on. And I think that’s kind of a lesson and don’t set your goals so high, kind of like Jeney was saying with graduate students, set realistic goals. And then that’s just gonna help motivate you to keep going when you get those done.

Jeney: True. And I also think it at least knowing how to motivate yourself. It’s knowing how to be more efficiency and the more you do anything you do, you can find little tricks and whatnot to get more efficient. Which, if you’re more efficient that can translate into more productivity. So, if you become more efficient with your time, then you can add productivity to your day. And sometimes you can motivate that by holding yourself accountable for things, setting deadlines, holding yourself accountable to other people. Telling people like, “Hey, Adam, I’m gonna take out the recycling by noon today.” And then doing it.

Adam: You heard her.

Jeney: I already did it. Shhh, don’t tell him. So, I think setting good deadlines and just recognizing the places where you can be more efficient, and then implementing it.

Adam: Something else I’ve talked about before too is, finding out what the driving force, or why are you doing these things. If you are going towards a goal, then you can be productive with things that you normally might find really unmotivating, like taking out the recycling. But if your overall goal is to have a cleaner house and to participate in the house and whatever, some sort of overall goal where it’s adding to your life or your quality of life, something like that can be huge and it’s no longer, “Ugh, I’ve got this chore to do.” You’re like, “Cool. I’m getting something done that I want to do.” So, cool.

All right. I’m gonna flip back over real quick and see if we have any questions live. None yet.

All right. So last question for today. What are some good ways to build strong self discipline.

Jeney: Great question.

Adam: I’ll actually kick this back to the last one. And if you weren’t listening to that. I would say that you build. You pick something or you set a goal that’s achievable and then you build on that. I’ve found that, for myself at least and a lot of other people I see, when they set goals that they can’t reach or that they’re really gonna struggle with, that makes it harder to build self discipline. What I mean by that is, let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds and you are a sugar person, you really like candy. Then, maybe saying, “No sugar in the next 30 days” is not the best way to start. You’re most likely going to fail. And that’s going to make it harder for you to pick yourself back up and to get that self-discipline that you can do it. Whereas, if you say, “I’m gonna limit my intake to a certain amount” or, “I’m gonna go two days and then on one day I’m gonna have any one small candy bar I want” or something like that, you start building that self discipline and it becomes a habit.

Jeney: Or it can be as simple as flossing. If you want to floss every day, okay, so you do it. Start at once a week and then build it up. Some people can do the cold turkey, like right away, jump in with both feet and start whatever it is that you’re trying to getter at. But building is I think a little bit more natural, and doing something like setting smaller goals and achieving those, and then you’ll start to snowball. As soon as you hit that goal and you get that achievement, then you’ll be motivated more to continue on and to build more self discipline in other ways.

Adam: Yeah. I think that’s a good one as well as when you set those goals take ownership for it. I was trying to think of, don’t say, “Well, you know, the world threw a candy bar at me and I ate it.” It didn’t. You wanted it. You ate it. That’s okay. But own up to it and move on, because then you can also own up to your successes. It’s not like you’re bragging or anything but, wow, I accomplished this really neat goal. But you know, hey, if you didn’t do it, that’s okay. But take ownership for it. I either didn’t achieve this, figure out why, and then take that and move on.

Jeney: I think part of that, and I think that’s a really good point, is not labeling it as failure when you do eat a candy bar. It’s, “Okay. I ate a candy bar. What’s my next step to continue with my self discipline?

Adam: Yeah. The candy bar example sounds kind of funny when we break it down like this, but what can I learn from eating this candy bar? But it is important, right? I mean, I’ve personally been there. Like, okay, I want to lose weight this year, coming on the running season coming up. How can I do that? And it wasn’t a perfect trajectory of getting in shape and running more. Yeah, trying to be honest with yourself and reflective, and I think that helps build your self discipline ’cause you can honestly look at those things and grow from it. Cool.

Jeney: Enough said.

Adam: All right. Well, I think this will end it for this week. I appreciate everybody watching. I you’re watching on YouTube, click subscribe if you want to stay up to date. You can also go to productivity.academy and sign up there, get updates on these videos coming out, where to ask questions, all that good stuff.

So, thank you guys for watching, and thank you Jeney.

Jeney: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. Thanks guys.

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