Productivity Academy Live Q&A June 21st, 2017


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All right, we’re live. Hey everybody, this is Adam with the Productivity Academy. Today, I’m sure you can read the description, but I’m just going to say it. We got some really good questions. How do you deal with a lack of focus and clarity? Some getting things done alternatives. Getting productive in the morning. We’re going to be talking about those three are the big ones. There’s another question or two. Then, probably go off on a tangent or if anybody’s watching and wants to ask a question we’ll go through that. First off, thanks for watching. If you haven’t yet, you can click on the links either above or below and you can subscribe as well as ask questions ahead of time anytime during the week you can go to and ask a question about productivity, personal time management, productivity apps, anything like that. Really appreciate getting those questions in and then we can go over them.

All right, let’s get started. First question I got from somebody a couple days ago, was their problem is dealing with a lack of focus and clarity. Yeah, that’s a tough one. That’s not just, again, I’m going to take a step back and take the bigger picture view here. That that’s not just a problem of, I’ve got a task I need to do and I’m lacking focus and clarity. A lot of my answers today are actually going to revolve around a similar topic, which I’ll get into. I think it’s interesting that a lot of these tie in together and a lot of it has to do with that morning routine. Where you take a notebook or a piece of paper or a document online, a Word doc, whatever and you’re going through and you’re doing a daily review. Then, I talk about this too. I’ve got a couple blog posts about then do a weekly review. Do a monthly review. Then, when I say review I don’t always mean looking into past. I mean also looking forward and saying what you want to do.

There’s different ways you can do this. You can set goals for yourself. You can buy a planner that maybe has these things implemented into it or you can get someone else’s plan. So, something I’m going to bring out again in a minute is the Best Self Journal. I’m trying this out. I’ve tried a lot of different journals. Freedom Journal, The Five Minute Journal, now I’m trying this, the Best Self. It’s got the idea of that 12 week, or I think they used a 13 week, but basically, a 90 day sprint or a goal setting. I think this is really important for people and not in that self helps you figure out what you want to focus on and that gives you clarity.

Once you have a goal to achieve, a lot of things start falling in line. Not, that you’re always going to have the right goal right off the top, but you can say, “Man, what is it I want to accomplish?” Already, do you just feel like you’re aimlessly wondering through life? Or maybe it’s just one specific area, it’s your job. You’re just like, “I just go in and do stuff and I go home and it’s really unfulfilling and I don’t like it.” Okay so you can say, “Wow! What can I do to make um, you know, either my job more interesting or more fulfilling to myself?” Part of that could be a goal. Is there a big project you’re working on or want to work on? How many people actually do that? How many bosses or supervisors would be amazed if you came and talked to them and said, “Hey, I’m really wanting to get more invested in my job. What’s, you know, some company goals that, you know we can work forward to that I can help with? That I can be more interested or more proactive on?”

That’s the idea on that. I think that that will really help. The bottom line there is, if you have a lack of focus and clarity, setting some goals that you want to achieve and you can frame other things, again, like your job, frame that in terms of something that you want. I think that that really helps solve a lot of the underlying lack of focus and clarity.

Somebody was asking about getting things done alternatives. That’s an interesting one. What alternatives are there to that method? By David Allen. A really good, I’m sure everyone has heard of it, if you haven’t, but go search it out, go grab it or read it and see if that’s for you. Some really good stuff in there, but it’s not for everybody. I’ve gone through a lot of it and looked at it. Like any process it’s identifying what’s important to you. Taking that, making it part of your system and then going from there, but as far as alternatives, I think, again, it’s more important that you find your own. That starts with using someone else’s. If the GTD isn’t what’s going to do it for you, start looking around.

First identify, what’s your goal? Again, what do you want to do? Do you want to be more productive? That’s not, again, a thing. It’s what you want to do. I want to have an organization system so that all of my notes are organized and tagged and I can find them quickly and all work related projects are organized in a, by some metric, or whatever. I’m able to keep track of receipts and all home items. I’m just making this up. Giving that first, what is it you really want to do, will then help you decide, this is then the steps I need to take to get there. Maybe it’s, “Okay, I need a to do list. I need to have always a notebook on me or my phone. Some that ties in and I need to do a daily review so that I tie all of this together and I have no loose ends.”

I think that’s the starting point for that. Then, as far, because there’s no one system that, “Well, if Getting Things Done didn’t work for you, then this system is 100% gonna work.” I think that’s a good start and then if you need specifics on that, that’s an interesting one. What is it that isn’t working with the GTD method? Then, how can you fix that? Those are some interesting questions. If you have those questions, I’d be happy to talk about that.

Let’s see. Next up, so what tools or methods do you use to reinforce your work routine and build habits, particularly if you work from home or freelance? Okay, so what tools or methods do you use to reinforce your work routine and build habits? Again, I don’t want to sound like a broken record today, but I think a lot, again, I said at the beginning that this was going to focus around one area. We’ve been talking about goals and then this ties back to me into that goals/daily review. That’s how I myself started building habits and reinforcing them. That’s the big picture idea is that reviewing things on a daily basis or more as needed. You can do it twice a day, morning and night, or morning and lunch, however it works for you. Then, pulling back and saying, “Okay, I’ll also do that on a weekly level and I’ll also do that on a monthly level.”

I’m not going to lie, there’s times where I just breeze through it, but it’s getting more, getting the habit there and every time getting better about it. On the daily level now, I’m really good about it. I don’t blow it off. I don’t just cruise through it. On the weekly, I’m still working on it on Mondays once I do my daily, I try to do a weekly outlook and look at where things are going. I’m still getting better about being serious about it and saying, “Okay, let’s just go through the days. Look at the calendar. Is there anything you need to add, delete? You know, is there any questions? Is there anything that’s not clear?” Then, the monthly even more so.

Then how you can actually implement that? Is again by having a notebook. I find this to be incredibly helpful and that again, this is you can use a notebook, you can use your phone. Whatever it is, it’s just that you start to build that habit. You can help build that habit by doing the same thing in the same place. Whether that’s using your notebook or using your phone and using something like Todoist or Focused or … I highly suggest you choose one and go with it. If it doesn’t work, then switch, but just try it. Give yourself 30 days and go from there.

Let’s see if there’s anything else with that question. Work routine and build habits. Yeah, I think that’s good. Again, you can check out the Best Self Journal. I’ve been, again, I’m going to do a little bit of a video on this. I’ve been very impressed so far. I really try to look at some of these journals and things that people have from time to time, because the best way to do this, you’re not going to think of everything yourself. I didn’t. I’ve got my own journal that I made and I was happy using it for six months and thought it was really good. For the most part it is, but there’s been some things too, they have a chain method type of thing in here. See if I can, so you can see up here you have a habit activity and then how many times during the week you want to do it. Then, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, all that.

I could say, “Oh, I want to um, try to ride my bike. I need to be more active.” Right? “I want to do that five times a week.” You can fill that in and go through here and it’s helpful habit, new habit builder or just being more conscientious about what you’re doing. I think that’s another good way, either putting up the calendar or using something like that.

For the last question. How can I be productive in the morning? This one definitely goes back, I’ll keep this short. Being productive in the morning, I find that it’s very helpful to set a routine. Caveat, this isn’t going to work for everybody, but I found that this generally works for the majority of people. Setting a schedule and trying to adhere to it loosely. I understand, I don’t get up at the exact same time every day, but I do have a set time, 7:00 a.m. when I go through my daily schedule, do my daily review and planning. Because by then I’m generally always up already before that. Then, I have that habit and it helps me be productive, because I go ahead and look at it. Instead of ignoring, you’re even if I have one or two things where I’m like, “I kind of don’t want to do that.” I write it down and break it down. It just helps me get going.

You can add a lot more into this. Some people really recommend being active in the mornings. Maybe it’s going for a run. Going for a walk. Just getting up and doing something. Maybe around the house for 5 or 10 minutes so your movement, your moving. Then, sitting down and doing your daily planning, but I find that once you write it down, whether again, that’s digital or in paper, that once you do that it becomes more real to you and your def already … That alone, as weird as it sounds, makes you more motivated to get things done.

Hopefully, that helps. I think that’s going to wrap it up for today. We don’t have any questions on the livestream, but if you’re watching this later and you have any questions, you can write them down right on the video, either Facebook or YouTube. Again, you can go to anytime during the week and just pop in your question there and I get a little alert. When we go live, I’ll answer those first. If you want to subscribe and you’ll get alerts about this video and other cool stuff. All right, thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week.

About the author

Adam Moody

I'm Adam Moody with the Productivity Academy. Get your productivity, time management, automation, and organization questions answered here. Be sure to check out the Productivity Academy YouTube Channel.

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