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Hello everyone. Today is the 25th of October and this is the Productivity Academy Weekly Q&A. So we’re going to get into it pretty quick. We got a couple of questions, some really good ones today from some people who watch or reach. Then also we’re going to go over a couple other little odds and ends, but before we do that, if you haven’t yet you can always go to productivity.academy/more if you’re wanting to hop onto the mailing list, stay up-to-date, ask questions first, and occasionally we send out some good stuff ahead of time. We’re going to be doing more of that as we go forward so anyways, let’s just get into the questions.
I’m a bit excited to go through two of these real quick, and then we’ll have some more time if there’s anyone watching live that wants to ask a question. All right, so the first one somebody asked was how to deal with procrastination and distraction from the main task. So I think you could combine both of those but I’ll kind of deal with them separately. So I’m going to assume these are two separate questions, just the way it was asked. Procrastination – and distraction from main tasks.
Procrastination. What I found is for myself and for a few other people I’ve talked to generally, when you’re putting something off is that fear of something just big, you know what I mean? It couldn’t even be that you’re maybe not thinking like oh, I got to climb that mountain, that whatever it is, that stack of paperwork or filling out those forms or starting a big project. Instead what you need to do is break it down and so a lot of times it’s as simple as going through and saying well, I need to do this incredibly tough project. I’m just going to make something up like I’ve got to start a podcast and I’ve never done this before. Like, oh my God, I don’t know what to do. How am I going to do this?
Well, generally that’s a really tough place to start, so you break it down. One, you could do some research but set a limit and then take the task and say okay, well I need artwork, it turns out. I need a graphic made. Okay, that’s one thing I can do. I need to find out where to host my podcast. All right. I need to come up with some ideas for the podcast, all right. And then I need to find out how to submit it, how does all this work?
Okay, so now I’ve got four actual tasks that kind of make sense and have an endpoint as opposed to saying do a podcast. I find that that really helps and then that will help stop your procrastination. I’m not going to say it’s going to solve it but I think in a lot of cases it really does come down to that either conscious or unconscious kind of fear of not knowing where to start or thinking I just don’t know, or if I can get to the endpoint so I’m going to do something else.
Then I’m certainly guilty of the productive procrastination. Like I’ll still do things but I’m maybe avoiding what may be the tougher one. Again that’s usually due to lack of understanding of the requirements because generally our tasks that we lay out for ourselves are good. They’re helping us but we don’t have a clear idea of how to accomplish them and then therefore we’re kind of avoiding them.
All right. Second part of this question. Distraction from the main task. I think this again kind of feeds into that but I also talked about this last week about the Warren Buffett story and I’ll let you go back through the videos and check that out. But it’s basically focusing down on what you need to. If you don’t understand what it is you need to be focusing on, it could be as simple as like list out all of your to-do’s. So you can do this on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, but list those out.
Let’s just say you have 20. You’ve got 20 things going on. Go through there and use that 80/20 rule or however it works for yourself and say okay, I’m going to pick the top ones. What are the things I really to focus on? It may become, it’s really apparent and it seems kind of simple, like, well if it’s important, I already know it’s important. I should already be doing them, but just that act of going through that and then you can look at that and say that’s what I need to work on. This other stuff needs to go away for now. It’s up to you to execute on that but I think that that’s a powerful way to deal with it and a lot of times it’s just the mental exercise as well as physical of going through and writing it out.
Let’s see, Justin says still loving the content. You’ve helped me out a lot. Awesome. Thanks, man. If I’ve ever in need of backing music or audio editing, you can tell I am. Thanks, man. I’ll be in touch with you. Let’s see, okay, and breaking down to combat overwhelming circumstances. Great, awesome. Yeah, I’m glad you like it. It’s something that takes a lot of work. It’s something I’m still working on but again that really helps especially with starting projects or even daily. You have something and you have find yourself avoiding it a lot of times, there’s a mental reason there.
All righty. Let’s go to question number two. Okay, this is overwhelming amounts of to-do’s coming at me in all forms. Email, phone, text, hard to keep track of it all. Understood. This is a common problem especially today and that’s not going to slow down. That is something that I firmly believe. You know, we may have Facebook, Slack. You’ve got email, whatever messaging you use and it’s not going to slow down. There’s going to be something new tomorrow or there might be 10 new things, and it’s forming that system that’s your backbone.
So I say this a lot and I’ll say it again here. Having that daily review and you do it every single day is really important to this because part of that review is pulling in all of that information and sorting through it and dealing with it. Okay, and that’s the super simplified version but all I mean by this is I’ll sit down at 7:00, I grab my notebook, I open up my calendar, I open up Evernote, I open up Todoist. And look around my desk because sometimes I use the Post-It Note if I’m in a hurry or I’m scratching a little brainstorm or something and that’s great. But then if you don’t collect of all that information and do something with it, that’s when it can turn into a real headache and you just lose control, right? Because you start losing odds and ends.
So sitting down and if it’s really busy, maybe do this twice a day, or maybe for you this is an end of the day thing where you collect everything, you go through it and say okay, I understand what I need to be doing tomorrow. I’ve looked at my calendar, that’s great.
Also on that note, I highly recommend, I’ll pop the link in here but there’s an article by Cal Newport that is really awesome about kind of a shutdown ritual. I’ve incorporated some of that into my end of day as well and just going back through and saying okay, even if it’s middle of the afternoon and I’m going out to do something else and not sure when I’m going to be home. Just kind of completing the day and saying okay, I’ve looked at all of these things. I’ve looked at my calendar. I feel okay. Mentally I’m much more able to deal with things instead of just having all these loose ends.
Then the same thing for the morning, right? Then maybe this is also something you do weekly or monthly, and you collect all that information. Circle back around to the original question, I would highly, highly suggest that you have a process. And sometimes you need to write it out, like have a little card. I’m not going to whip my camera around but I used to have a little card right next to the monitor here and it said what I needed to do with some of the things that I’d changed about my daily review just to remind myself.
Or maybe you’ve put it in Todoist and you say okay, here’s the great things I need to be doing. Make sure I look in my calendar, I look in Todoist, I look in Evernote, and then what do you do with that? Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t matter. Archive stuff you want for reference, and create action items or to-do out of the rest of it. Then you can take that into your day and say okay, now I need to do my prioritizing.
So hopefully that helped. I find that to be super effective. I know other people have used that too and it works very well for them. All right, I will get the link to the post here in minute. So unless there’s anything else, I’m going to wind things up today. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe. If you’re on YouTube, just hit the Subscribe button, stay up-to-date. If you want to, you can go to productivity.academy/more, sign up, get on the email list. I love asking questions. I love getting feedback from everybody. So help me and I’ll keep creating some videos and hopefully get some more feedback and we can create even more great content. Thanks again for watching and I will see everybody later.