Productivity Academy Live Q&A Nov 15, 2017

 

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Hey, good morning, everybody. It’s Adam with Productivity Academy. Today we’ve got some really good stuff. Again, I’m going to go into a little bit of goal visualization, if I can pronounce the word right, I’ll talk about it. Had a really good question about end goal visualizations, so we’re going to talk about that, as well as the topic of procrastination. Really appreciate those two who asked those questions. Procrastination’s a big topic but we’re going to get into a specific area of that. Also, the third area we’re going to cover is some ways to be more productive in shorter amounts of time.

But real quick, before we get into that, just wanted to say if you are watching on the YouTube channel, hit subscribe if you want to stay up to date, and get reminders about these videos, do the live Q&A, which talk about productivity, process, time management, apps, all that stuff. If you’re on Facebook, you can check out the page, obviously, and come back, check it out for updated videos, published several times a week. And then you can also check out the website, or subscribe to the newsletter, to get updates and go to productivity.academy/more.

All right, also going to have an update coming out for Todoist. A Todoist Power Up. So, for those of you who work online and use Todoist, I’m going to be coming up with the Todoist Power Up, is what I’m calling it. I use Todoist a lot, I use it to manage a couple businesses, and I find it to be really helpful, so I’m going to share my secrets on how I use that, and how I think other people can use it to really become more efficient and help themselves be more productive with that.

All right, let’s get into it. The very first question was end goal visualization, having problems with that. So, I think there’s a couple ways to interpret this, and the way I wanted to think about it was not just the literal visualization. I think if you have heard about actual goal visualization, you’ve probably heard about it in terms of sports. You hear about some of these really high-performance athletes, and people like Muhammad Ali, or … I’m blanking right now, but so many really high-end athletes have been trained by psychologists like this, to imagine themselves, or to not just imagine but to think through it, and that’s something that’s come down, and a lot of people have heard about, nowadays, where you can take a minute and just literally think of how does it feel? What are you doing? How do you get to that point? Not from A to Z, but as you’re crossing the finish line, and you’re winning, how does it feel? If you’re a runner, can you feel how you’re placing your feet? Can you push off? Things like that, and thinking through that type of visualization.

You can do this in a lot of areas, too. Let’s say you want to own a business that has a million dollars in recurring revenue a year. All right, just making that up. What does that feel like when you get there? What does your day look like? What are you doing? Does that change your life? You can do this in a minute, five minutes, and I think it’s productive to do this regularly, to just think through this, and it will help actually clarify your actions, as well, because you can sit there and say, “Oh, wow, I didn’t think about this. Here’s something else good, or maybe not good, that reaching this goal gives me.”

So, in terms of this, what I would say is you don’t have to literally imagine it, you can write this down. I find one exercise that’s helpful for this, that I’ve done myself, if you’re not familiar with this, is like ‘the best day’ exercise, and just take a pen and paper, or type it on your computer, take five, maybe even 10 minutes, and just write down what your imaginary best day is. Just go wild, right? So write down, start with waking up. What time do you get up? Be very specific. What time are you waking up? How do you feel? Do you eat breakfast right away? Do you have coffee? Do you go for a walk? Do you do something else? And then, what do you do? Do you work on your favorite day? Do you work eight hours? Do you work two hours? Do you drink a Mai Tai on the beach in the morning, and you know? Whatever it is, but be very specific. Where are you at? Do you travel during the day? What kind of a house do you wake up in? Are you in an apartment? What is it?

I find that to be very helpful, and once you’ve done that, try it a few times, come back to it once a month, and write that up, and then try applying that to other areas. You can take your one goal that you’re talking about here, or more, that you want to visualize, and go through that exercise. I think that that’s a very good jumping off point. Then, from there, go out and do some reading. I’m not a goal visualization expert, but it’s something that I have done, myself, and I agree that it’s helpful in the sense that it really helps you think through what you’re actually going to be doing, so that when the time comes, you’re not just like, “Oh, how did this happen?” Or “I’m not sure what I’m doing,” that type of a thing.

Cool. So if anyone else has any other great ideas, or great resources on that, I’d be happy to hear about that. So, let’s move into the second one. The second question I got was just about in general procrastination, so somebody finding that procrastination, and putting things off, is just their biggest problem towards productivity. So, one of the first things I will say is you can look up Eat The Frog. I, myself, haven’t read it, but I want to say it was attributed to … You know what? I’m going to look this up. I’ve got a computer right in front of me. Eat The Frog. Let’s see … Brian Tracy. Okay, so that’s who it was, and I want to say that there was somebody else who wrote it, like Mark Twain, or something. Anyways, so if you want to, go look that up. I won’t waste time staring at the computer and not talking.

The idea is just saying “Hey, if you’ve got something that needs to be done, and you’re not sure you want to do it. Or you’re sure you not want to do it, don’t put it off.” Okay. There’s also a way of thinking like if you’ve got something on your task list, and you think you shouldn’t, or you’re telling yourself “All right, I don’t want to do that,” that’s the task you need to get done. Now, I will put a caveat on that and say you need to actually make sure that that’s an important task, right? Don’t just do it because you’re like, “Oh, this task sucks and it has no value,” but you do it anyway.

The idea of being that, especially for most people in the day, your momentum, or your energy, and your willpower to keep going is going to decrease as time goes on. So, if you do procrastinate, then its more and more and more likely that you’re just going to keep pushing it off. So you want to do that thing at the beginning of the day. You wake up, and I’m making this up, but let’s say you’ve got a spreadsheet you’ve got to knock out. You’ve got some numbers to crunch, and you’ve noticed its once-a-month activity, and you keep putting it off, and you’re supposed to do it on the second of the month, then do it. Make sure to set that timer, and that’s the very first thing you do on the second, and just get it done. Right?

The other thing is, do a little bit of analysis on it. What is the result of doing this? Okay, let’s say, again, using the spreadsheet analogy, this spreadsheet that you have to do on the second, it turns out gives you numbers on employee efficiency, or how productive your employees are doing on their tasks. Well, you could look at that in a couple ways and you could say, “Well, that might be really important information,” but then I would say two more things. What’s the results of if I don’t do this at all? Is it going to cause something to crash and burn? Am I going to lose control of my employees, in this situation, and have no idea what they’re doing? I only have three employees, and it turns out that I interact with them enough, I already know what they’re doing so, maybe I should just quit doing this? Okay, so that’s just an example, and maybe you could just get rid this, it depends on what the results are.

Then lastly, can you delegate it? Could somebody else be doing these numbers? Can you pay someone? Can you bring someone else in? Do you have a partner that can do this? So taking a look at that and just saying if you really have doing these tasks, then one, what’s the payoff for the task? And then, two, can you either get rid of it, or can you delegate it out?

I think that’s some useful ways to start thinking about it, and then just make sure that what you’re doing is important. I think that that’s part of it, too. Let’s say the task, though, is important and you still feel like, “Man, I just can’t do this, or I don’t feel like doing it.” Then go back and take in the goal visualization idea and say, “Well, what does this individual task get me?” Right? It’s an action that builds up on other actions, or over time, on itself, and then gets me to that goal. So a lot of times you can think about it in that way, that “Hey, it’s not just me sitting down and working on a spreadsheet, it’s me helping keep track of my employees. Helping keeping them gainfully employed, making sure that they’re helping do what they want to do, so that then I can also offer them feedback. I can be a better employer, and then the business will grow.” Things like that. Maybe that’s the end goal, so that it’s not just “I got a spreadsheet I have to do.” All right, good one to always talk about, and has been an interesting one to deal with.

So, lastly, what are some ways to be more productive in shorter amounts of time? I’ll offer a really specific one for this. Its one that I constantly work on, and I think it’s more of a life-long type of thing that you’ve got to work on. That is being focused on what you’re doing in the moment, and it can be difficult, especially in today’s world. What I basically mean by this is let’s say you’ve got 15 minutes available, and you’re like, “I know there’s a task I can do, or I can at least to a sub-part of a task and write down the next action item,” but it’s really focusing in. Okay? So you take your phone, put it on silent, maybe walk over, put it out of arms reach. You put your notes away, you close Facebook, you close your email, and you solely focus on that and do your best.

Actually, those are, in my mind, the easy things to do. The harder it is, mentally, trying to clear yourself out and saying, “I’m focusing on this task only. I’m not going to worry about that email I just read. I’m not going to think about what I’m doing in 16 minutes, I just need to deal with these 15 minutes.” When you can do that, and it takes time, again, but as you become better at that, you can accomplish much more in much shorter periods of time, without being distracted.

So, I think that’s a really, really effective way, but again, it takes time. Just start working on it, and then, beyond that, I think what you can do is trying to batch tasks. What I mean by that is let’s say you have these shorter periods of time, but can you rearrange them so that you’re working on similar tasks in larger groups of time. So maybe you have three 15 minute tasks, but they’re related, or maybe they’re dealing with the same business, so you do those at this time period. Then next, you’ve got two or three shorter blocks that you had assigned to do some housework, right? So you do those together, things like that. There’s ways that you can maximize these short periods of time.

Hopefully you found that helpful. As always, if you want to ask questions, or anything like that, you can see productivity.academy/more, get signed up, you can ask questions. Hit the Facebook page if you want to leave a comment, or leave a comment on the YouTube videos. Watch those as well, and respond to any questions or comments you might have. So, thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week.

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