Join us live each week at www.productivity.academy/live and get your questions answered by submitting them at anytime right here: www.productivity.academy/questions. You can watch the video for the past episode recorded on May 18th, 2018 above, or you can review the transcript below.
In this episode we talked about:
- How do I get better about being consistent with using my productivity system?
- What can I do about procrastination?
- What can I do an hour a day that will make my life better in 30 days?
- What are some good habits for clearing your mind and gaining clarity or insight?
To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources
Hey, welcome everybody to the Productivity Academy Q&A. This is episode 36, and I’m happy to be back doing the live Q&A’s after a break, moving across the country and dealing with some fun productivity related stuff. It’s really been a challenge over the past five or six weeks, dealing with, what we thought, was gonna be like a two week move, you know, and then you have a week of adjustment, and it turned into this like five or six week thing. It was good that I got to see systems working for me and seeing some things that just didn’t work out that well.
But anyways, before we dive into all of that, I wanna say real quick, if you’re watching this in the group, that’s awesome, good to be back. If you’ve got any questions, you’re watching live, you can go ahead and ask. I’ll be looking over here, off to the side occasionally to see if there’s any questions. If you’re watching on YouTube, and you wanna stay up to date on new videos and things about apps, productivity, organization, whatever it is, go ahead and click subscribe, and that’s gonna be the easiest way for you to stay up to date with us, okay? And there’s a couple more links in the descriptions, no matter where you’re at and again, if you wanna stay up to date and be the first to know about new posts, new information, and some good freebies, hit that up.
So back to what we were talking about with the move, like I said, it was good and it’s nice and happy where I’m at now, I’m in the Bay area. It’s nice to be in some sunshine, but it was an ordeal in the sense that it ended up taking way longer than I thought it would. And so looking back I realized, wow, being on the road that long and not really having a plan for that, it’s one of those where, I didn’t have a plan because I didn’t expect it to happen of course. And so I had to use what I could and what I had, and just kind of adapt.
And so the good news, like I said, was some of that worked. Things like, hey having a daily routine in the morning, you know, critical. And the times I was able to get the work done, that really helped. And then, looking at things that didn’t work out so well like, eating out way more than I wanted to. Things like that, and just being like, oh okay, there’s other systems I can put in place to make this work better. Anyways, that could be a whole other discussion some time.
Today we’ve got some really good questions, and I’m gonna hop into it. And let’s start with one of the members of Productivity Academy Growth Group, the real world Growth Group, was asking about having problems using consistency or building consistency, and using their system. And you know, the question around that is, how do you do that?
The good and bad news is, you do it, right? But then, you help yourself by building in reminders to do this, okay? So I will say, just for anyone who’s watching and maybe not familiar, let’s say your routine is, you get up at 6 AM and you go for a walk, and you come in and eat breakfast. And then at 7 you’re supposed to do your morning review, and you spend 30 minutes planning your day, looking at your calendar, getting all your stuff in order and then whatever else it is you do. Great, but what do you do when that doesn’t work, or you sleep in, or you forget to do it, or you’re just getting lazy and you don’t feel like doing it?
So the idea behind this is, to build in some systems, and it can be super simple, it can be complicated, it kind of depends where you’re at. Until it’s a habit, and even then, you can do things like, if you use Google calendar, put it in your calendar that you need to do it then and have those reminders pop up. Don’t just have it in the calendar with nothing, right? You wanna get that email, or you wanna, hopefully you’re not looking at your email all the time, you wanna get the notifications, so you get a pop up because that is really, really important. And that’s what that stuff is for.
Another thing you can do is have a reminder in whatever other major system you’re using. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone, okay? There’s other things, just back yourself up. Help yourself to do that, and remember that it’s not perfect. You’re gonna miss days, life happens, and that’s okay. So don’t also, beat yourself up if you miss a day, if you miss two days. If you know, you do start getting lazy and you’re starting to feel guilty about it, that’s okay. Realize what’s going on, and then make the resolution to start again the next day. Don’t just let it go out of control or ignore it, alright? And you know what? It’s like anything else, the more you do it, that you’re building that muscle, alright, both mentally and habit wise and you’ll get back into it.
So hopefully that helped. If you have any more questions about building consistency, there’s a lot of little … That’s definitely where like, the tricks comes up, you know like, what are like some hacks to doing this. But I think the ones I mentioned are a good start. And then, if it’s just not working for you, then you need to actually look at your system. Is it at the wrong time of day? Is it too easy? Is it too hard? Maybe start doing that, but usually I would say, if you haven’t been doing it for a month straight, then you probably just wanna keep pushing and try to build that habit, and then go back and start tweaking the system.
Okay, good question by the way. And that’s something that everybody does from time to time. Like I was talking about with my move, have to adjust. I’ve made some changes to my routine, you know, I’ve lost track … there’d be a time where we were traveling and you know, I certainly didn’t keep up with it all the time. I would try to do a quick morning review, no matter what, but there’s sometimes I didn’t. And that’s okay, because I knew hey, this isn’t gonna be a normal time for me, I just need to get back to it when I can.
Okay procrastination, this was a one word question. I’m gonna guess somebody really has problem with procrastination. So this can run a huge gamut of things like being, what I like to call, “productively procrastinating”. You know when you’re like, man I did the laundry, I did the dishes, I took out the trash, recycling’s good to go. The cat’s been brushed, but then I haven’t done anything on my major projects that are moving my life forward or providing revenue or income. And so there’s that type of a thing, and then there’s just procrastination where you’re just putting everything off.
And the first thing I’ll say, because sometimes we need to hear it again, is that ignoring things doesn’t make them better, okay? You’re really rolling the dice, and this is something I work on too, right? You have a notification, you’re ignoring something, there’s a conversation you need to have with an employee or employer, whoever. But it’s not gonna get better overtime, so part of that is just getting used to, you know what, I either need to do it or I need to schedule the time to do it if it’s not appropriate or it doesn’t fit right now.
And part of that, you can look at … make some notes before, about … What I do is, to start thinking like, why are you procrastinating it? What’s going on? A little bit of introspection and you know, I highly suggest you do this on a regular basis, maybe once a week. What’s working really well for you, and what’s not? Like what’s failing in your system and your life, and why?
But to get this back to a kind of eating procrastination, looking at the benefits of what your procrastinating provides. So let’s say you’re putting off exercise in the afternoon, okay? Then you might be thinking, oh I’m tired, or I didn’t get enough food to eat this morning. Or I’m snowed under with work, I can’t do this. Then take a step back, realize there’s something not working, maybe I need to switch when I workout, but let’s just say that, that’s not it.
Take a step back, what’s the benefits of working out? You’re gonna feel better physically and mentally, you’re gonna perform better physically and mentally, and the list goes on and on. So think about it in terms of that instead of saying, this is gonna be so hard, or I’m gonna be all sweaty and tired. Think of some benefits. So obviously this kind of hyperbolic example, but there’s a lot of little things like that where we sometimes think of the downsides and we’re not realizing the upsides, okay? This can be a fun one too, to realize hey, maybe this task I’m doing has no real upsides for me. How can I automate it, delegate it, delete it, get it off my plate.
The other thing I think to think of with procrastination, and this comes out with projects, right? Everybody can remember back to school days, or if you’re working on teams at work where you have a project and it just kind of stops until it gets close to the deadline and then boom, there’s just massive amounts of work to be done. And so the obvious lesson from that is to make progress every single day. So take one little thing you can do, or kind of break it up or chunked, and do one little chunk everyday.
Right now I’m trying to read a book every two weeks, and I’ve only been successful a couple of times with the move kind of, making it more difficult. But the way I do it the best, is by reading at least three times a week, and I don’t sit down and read a book for one day every two weeks. One, it helps me stay interesting in the topic. Two, I remember more. And then three, it’s easier for me to sit down for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, whatever I have, and read a good section of the book but not be overwhelmed by thinking, I’ve got to read all of this today, or anything like that.
So hopefully that gives you some good ideas on how you can help procrastination. Again, I think that, that sitting down, whatever works for you, once a week I would say, is a good one. And sit down and say … be honest with yourself. Write it down, like what’s not working for you right now. And then you know, also do the flip side, what’s working really well? And I think you’ll start to get some really good insights and look at yourself and your own systems, and that will help you look at, oh okay, this isn’t working. And then the next logical step is, how can I make it work or do I just need to again, automate it, delete it, delegate it.
Alright, I’m gonna hop over and look at the next question. Okay, this one’s really good, I really like this one. So what can I do an hour a day that will make my life better in 30 days? There’s so many good answers to this. So I’m gonna stay away from the exercise one. I think exercise is really important, but obviously coming from the Productivity Academy, I’m gonna focus more on that end of things.
So you probably heard me say it a million times, watched me, if not then enjoy this part, is that I think doing that morning review that you could stretch like into an hour would be one of the most important thing you could do. And what I mean by that is, include something just besides the review, which I’ll get to in a minute. Start with something you do where … it could be like gratitude based, where you’re writing down things you’re happy or thankful for. It could be reading a book, or a passage from a book. Something like that to … something where you’re reading and engaging your mind and your off of your computer, you’re off of your phone or you’re not looking at email, okay?
Start out that way, maybe spend 10, 15 minutes doing that. If you like coffee, grab that, maybe a cup of water, and just give yourself a few minutes. Then go into your morning routine of doing a review, okay? And looking at, okay, what’s on my calender today, what kind of to-do’s do I have today, review my big projects, what’s going on, which of these are gonna actually move me forward in those projects, and then going through and actually planning out your day. Again, I use the best self journal, highly recommended, and I highly recommend pulling out your day and going through and listing out as best you can, in the time you have available, what you’re going to be doing.
And over time you’ll get better, and better, and better about estimating about, okay I have this type of a task, it’s gonna take me 45 minutes and then I’ll give myself 15 minutes to go for a walk or something like that. But I think that, that’s probably one of the strongest habits you can develop, and there’s so much you do with this. Depending on how busy you are throughout the day, maybe once a week you also incorporate a look back and say, I’ve been doing really good in these areas, but not so good in these areas. How can I fix that? But this type of time is really important and it’s invaluable. Highly suggest doing that, and I think over 30 days anyone can see a massive change and then is gonna be able to see, okay, well obviously this is a habit, I wanna continue.
Okay, let’s take a look at the next question. Alright, so I really like this one as well, this is really good. What are some good habits for clearing your mind and gaining clarity or insight? Gonna drag this over so I have it directly in front of me, I really like that.
Okay so as far as clarity or insight, I find that some walking is really powerful and I think that there’s a lot of people out there who feel the same way. And that’s not something I immediately associated with my life. Until a few years ago I didn’t really do this, but now I like to get up and walk in the morning, and then sometimes I just get up, walk, and I will bring my phone in case I have an idea or I wanna jot something down or a to-do item. But other than that, generally, don’t have anything on me and just kind of go, and let my mind just go where it wants to go.
Sometimes if I’m thinking about something specific, that’s fine too, if you need to solve a problem. But again, for clearing your mind and gaining some insight or clarity, I find that to be really, really helpful. Just to go out wherever you are, hopefully it’s quieter. Generally if you can go in a neighborhood or maybe on a pathway like out in the woods, that’s nice. Maybe a busy, busy street isn’t the best spot, but that might work for you too.
Another one is just to sit down and maybe it’s on your chair, your sofa, whatever it is and just sit down for a couple minutes and realize how odd it is these days that we spend five minutes just checking in with ourselves. How are you feeling, you know? How are you doing that day or is there anything that’s really on your mind you need to deal with? Maybe you’ve been kind of pushing it back and it’s on the subconscious. How are things in your relationships? What are you maybe pushing too hard on, do you need to pull back or do you realize you need to do something else. Just spending that few minutes will really help you.
And then of course, hopefully taking some action on these things that come to mind. Or again, you could just do something as simple as sitting down and just relaxing, okay? Maybe taking a nap, that seems kinda going out there, but just enjoy it, take five minutes. And it’s something that a lot of us just don’t do anymore, and I think it’s been overlooked … overlooked people’s detriment. We all need some time just to, again, relax and clear your mind out.
So hopefully that’s helpful for you. I think that’s gonna wrap it up, I’m gonna check and see if we’ve got any live questions. I don’t see any right now. Alright well, thank you for watching and if you ever have any questions, you can check out the link in the description and ask questions. You don’t have to be there live, but certainly appreciate it if you show up and watch and have any questions.
But other than that, that’ll wrap it up for today. If you want to also have a really good foundation for your productivity and your basic productivity skills, I highly suggest checking out the guidebook, and you can find the link below as well.
So that’ll do it for this week, and I’ll see you next Thursday.