Productivity Academy Live Q&A – Episode 67

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 January, 24th, 2019 above, or you can review the transcript below.

In this episode we talked about:

  • How to hold a productive meeting
  • How can I get better productivity from exercise and follow through with it?

To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources

Cool, we’re live everybody welcome to the productivity Academy weekly q&a. This is episode number 67 days the 24th of January 2019. And today we’re going to get into somewhat I think topics, I laugh because the first one is one that just probably plagues a lot of people I know it did myself both professionally when I was working as an engineer and then you know building a business working with partners things like that but that’s going to be the down and dirty guide to meetings so they get into that explain a little bit behind what’s the main idea of how you can improve meetings not going to go into like my new details like I said it’s the down and dirty guide so if you’re walking in meetings and your you hate meetings are you constantly have problems with them.

I think this is a good way to turn it around, get focused the right way and then to get a lot out of them and then secondly, going to be going into a little bit about exercise and how that helps so get some questions about that just you know in terms of Hey How does exercise help productivity as well as explaining what it can do for you but then also kind of how you can optimize for that and work that into your schedule and make sure that that works for you know January’s big month a lot of us trying to get in the gym maybe get some new routines drop some weight, whatever it is.

And so I want to explore that a little bit and show you how you can get a lot more out of that. So real quick if this is your first time watching thanks for checking it out. You can always join us live if you’re watching the replay that is and you want to join live you can check that out in the description if you’re checking us out on YouTube you can come join the free Facebook group all you gotta do is answer a few quick questions want to make sure that you’re into productivity, business, process, automation, that sort of stuff fill those out and come join for free and obviously stay up to date and join these live and if you’re watching live Thank you.

I’ll be checking for your questions as we go and as time allows, will definitely be answering those and then if you are watching the replay or watching this on YouTube, feel free to hit the subscribe button stay up to date with these weekly q amp as well as app reviews and all the other videos that are put out. So with that said, let’s get into it.

Like I said, the first thing I wanted to talk about is the down and dirty guide to meetings.

And I say down and dirty because having a lead, I don’t know several hundred meetings over the past few years with different businesses, I can appreciate a lean framework, what I’ll call him it’s a kind of a blend of my own have certainly adapted a lot from the book Traction by Gino Wickman. And then on top of that, just learning kind of what works best with different groups of people. So at the end of the day, that’s the truth is obviously you have to implement whatever kind of framework you want, and then adapt it to work with people.

But I’m going to go through the general framework that I find that works really well and I think that you can put to use and get a lot of mileage out of so first of all If you’re already in the mindset, that meeting suck a lot of people are, I think you need to look at why you think they suck. And a lot of people feel like it’s a waste of time. And if they’re not driving, if they’re not in charge, that they’re having their time wasted by someone else, and they have no control.

Okay, I’m not going to address that today. You know, if you’re in a position where you literally have no control over the meetings, then that’s something kind of, I think, entirely else that you need to deal with, either as an employer or you have a partner who won’t listen something like that. That’s relationship and you need to work on that and look at ways to approach that if you think that they’re a waste of time. However, I think that mindset shift is needed because with meetings, you’re really gathering the power of more than one person, okay.

And in my mind, that’s what these are for. I’m not a big fan of huge numbers of attendees, but if you’ve got, you know, two to maybe seven people and you have a really good structure to it, you can you can get through a lot of stuff, get a lot of really good feedback and get you know, that kind of the power of that group and I believe that that’s truly what powerful meetings are. And and what they can do for you is you’re harnessing that brainpower of all those people to come to solutions and really, you know, overcome obstacles much quicker.

So I think that that’s important to if you don’t believe that the no meetings going to be worthwhile for you. So with that said, before you go into meeting, you need to have some sort of a schedule or a process laid out before you get in the meeting. And this is where I think that, you know, if you want to use this framework that can be helpful. If you want to read a book like traction and use their exact framework, that’s great.

Just start with something, okay. And a lot of ways that you know, how you can actually implement this. A lot of times we use calendars, right? So if you’re going to set up a calendar reminder for a meeting with your team, then you put down exactly what the meeting needs to follow. And it could be something, you know, just like a three bullet list, but those are the three things you cover every single time. Okay, so this doesn’t have to be complete and I’ll go through an example of what that could be in a minute.

If this is a recurring meeting, I would say that this becomes more important to get some buy in from your team. And if your this is your business, then you can force them to do it. And that’s they’re buying if it’s your partner’s, you may want to just explain the why and explain the benefits and say, hey, maybe we’re trying to cut these meetings down. They’re always running over, you know, having to leave early because the client calls, whatever it is, give them a benefit.

You know, everybody likes that. Just say, I want to get more done, get it done quicker and get better results, you know, so we’re not all bored and tired at the end of these meetings. And I think usually that’s enough that most people are going to be happy to do that.

Okay, the third thing, this is really important, and this can be a tough one, and I’ll explain why. But going off on tangents is one of those huge time sucks in meetings. Okay, it could be a technical thing, right? Let’s say we’re talking about implementing a new content development process and then we get off okay, that’s a great topic could be hugely beneficial to any company. But then you start talking about like, which plugins are best, like, what could we use for curating content and what will embed better tweets into our articles.

That shit doesn’t matter. All right down the road, it matters. And it matters. But someone else can figure that out for you can figure it out on your own time, or whoever the person leading this is, or it can be done outside of this meeting. Alright, so diving into those, those crazy little details and meetings, then that’s what I call a tangent, okay, it’s something that you can hammer out a side meeting. If it doesn’t involve everybody there, don’t do it.

You know, things happen. We all get excited. We’ve all got these cool things we want to talk about. But in the meeting where if it doesn’t involve everybody table it maybe one minute Max, if you can hammer it out, but then just stop and get with who you need to outside of that meeting. And I say that this is tough because you’ve got to watch yourself when you’re in meetings.

You know, it gets on a topic you’re excited about and then you’re going to start talking about it and you’ve got to be able to pull yourself back in addition to telling people, hey, we’re really getting out on a limb here, we’ve gotten really far pull back. This is the topic not all these little things, I guarantee you, it’ll go over well, if you obviously you need to police yourself as well as others.

Okay? The other thing while you’re going through meeting, write down the action items, you don’t need to take a ton of detailed notes. I don’t believe in it. If you want, you could use some cool tools like otter.ai have recommended before pop it on your phone, put it down, you know, you can even put that in front of your speakers have done that on my computer so that you can record like a Skype call or something and just get the notes from it.

Okay, but most importantly, take down the action items. And then what I would do at the end of that is you end the meeting with a quick review of action items. Hey, who’s doing what you know, if he has been working together for a while. Hopefully they get to the point where they’re writing down her own action items, but it doesn’t hurt to say okay, here’s what I heard during the meeting. This is what’s going on. You know, you you knew this is what you’re doing we good, alright, so hopefully that’s all that’s really needed.

But, you know, you need to adjust that as needed and just help review in case you went all over the place, maybe over an hour to and submitted people’s heads, okay, we did all that. But these, you know, three to seven things are what’s actually needing to be done.

Okay. So here’s an example just like framework of what’s working well, and these are, this is not entirely what we do. But this is something I use with one of my businesses, okay, we open up with an intro about something, that’s what what’s going well, this could be customers, this could be employees, this can be personally there’s a lot of different ways to do this.

And again, I think it’s just important to figure out what’s working well for you and just go around. Sometimes people want to say something, sometimes they don’t, but that helps in multiple areas, right? It’s starting with something positive, and then just sharing something that’s not always you know, going to be, you know, critical thinking is just, hey, this is what’s working well, we’ve, you know, we’ve noticed that we had a bump in sales and we got really good feedback on this new feature or, you know, our excuse me, employee doing content came up with a new process and save, you know, save just 10 minutes every time we post a video or something.

So just little things like that to get the meeting going good. I think it’s really important. You want to review your statistics, this might be big metrics for you like KPIs, key key performance indicators, everybody has these or if you don’t, you should, you should, and this might be something as simple as, hey, what was the revenue for the past week or month? What was our expenses? You know, compare them?

Are we in the are we looking good, we’re not in the red and you know, whatever else it is, maybe you’re looking at, like leading indicators like how many new leads did we get with lead magnets and that should predict other things. So, again, we’ll go into the details on that but regularly reviewing those and especially if you have a team reviewing those with your team, okay, um, let’s see, then I would save the bulk of the time for either you should have some time for issues that you want to resolve, okay.

And different teams do this differently. I like to use a combined Doc, basically just a Google doc and say, okay, everything goes in there. All right, you just create a bullet point, type in what you want. So if it comes to somebody during the week that we should talk about this, you don’t wait until the meeting to get that out of your head. You go ahead and put it in there so that it’s there, you can bring it up, and then that person is responsible for kind of driving the conversation around that during the meeting.

Okay, we’ve talked about it, but kill tangents. And I bring this up again, because it’s that important. And like I said, this is one of the big reasons why meetings run on and on, people get pissed off, you know, they check out if it’s a remote meeting, you know, people who often you know, good tea or whatever, I mean, I’ve done it and that’s why I’m saying you know, you’ve got to be in control this and cut things down. And like I said earlier to the important part is you’ve got to be able to police yourself or put someone else in charge of it as well to say, Hey, guys, we’re going off on a tangent you two people are talking about this one thing, the rest of us are not involved.

And that’s okay. But you guys need to take care of it outside the meeting. Let’s pull back to the main idea and move forward. Right? And then lastly, I’d say end on time, you know, you should have a schedule. If you’re using a calendar and you have an hour, then it ends in an hour. All right, and then end with that summary of action items. So wrap it up, hey, here’s what we covered here’s the things that need to get done anything we missed, or anybody else got something last minute okay, we’re on time early.

Great. And I guarantee you when you start doing this people are going to view it much differently when you have people who have been just a horrible meetings where time to run over and you know, it’s just kind of a mess. Nobody likes that man. So I’ve met a lot of people who, you know, came in hating meetings.

There’s not like they love them now, but they see okay, this is really useful, getting a lot more benefit out of this. I’m happy to give an hour of my time, do some problem solving. Meet with people see what’s going on and then know that I’m going to be done on time. So the final word on the down and dirty guide to meetings is to two more items that you should always consider. Okay?

And they kind of to me point towards the same thing but come on time whether it’s your meeting or not and come prepared okay if you have something you’re supposed to be providing you’re talking about be ready to talk about it. If you don’t Are you know you you have no input then at least be there on time. And both of these are kind of respecting your time and others because if you don’t respect your own time then how do you expect others to do that and going to a meeting where somebody’s not prepared or they’re not showing up on time it it’s just kind of a downward spiral and I won’t go into the details of a boat have been parts of groups like that where things just don’t work out well and that can really drive a stick between people and cause issues in a business so don’t be that person. Set a reminder, set two reminders, set three reminders but be there on time and I think it’s always good to remind yourself that if you don’t respect your time, then why should you expect other people to respect it?

Cool. All right. Okay, this next one’s gonna be a quick one. I really think that this is an interesting topic and it’s basically about exercise and its benefits on productivity and and in general, and I’m not going to share studies I didn’t do a deep dive into like academic journals. It is well known beyond a shadow of a doubt that exercise is good for you. So I’m not going to go into that part of it. I just want to reiterate like the benefits of it Okay, from my point of view, it’s definitely stress lower Alright, helps you deal with with stress. If you’re feeling you know, like you’re overwhelmed, you’re having a hard time focusing then going and exercising can like immediately help with that. Obviously, it helps you focus clarity.

I guess would be a way to put it. I also enjoyed the time. And I know a lot of people I talked to enjoy the time just to be. And for a lot of people, that’s why they like running, or bicycling or doing some of these cardiovascular activities where they just enjoy doing something else in their brain gets a chance to kind of rest for lack of a better term. And then there’s a different side of that for things maybe a little bit lower intensity, like walking, just taking a walk, going for a hike and having that time for your brain to kind of work through a lot of things on its own. And then clearly better health.

All right, that’s known. Obviously, if you exercise you can enjoy some better health and you enjoy the benefits from that. So hopefully these are not ground shaking revelations to you. But I wanted to cover the basics at least why the benefits or what benefits there are and what you can enjoy from that. So a lot of times, I think for a lot of us, we get to the end of the year and like now we’re in January at the beginning of the year and looking at this and thinking I, you know, I’d like to, I’m going to go to the gym or I’m gonna, you know, run more.

And we forget that, you know, we talked about all this productivity stuff and like, I gotta prioritize my tasks and the day and I need to make sure that I’m not putting out fires, I need to do important things first, right? We talked about that, and that’s good. And especially if we understand how to do it. But then with our health sometimes suffers in order to accomplish these other areas and do the important things in those areas. And I think that looking at this, we should consider our health and exercise as one of those important things.

And if it is then the grand scheme of things, you need to prioritize that. So for me, that means putting it into the morning and that doesn’t mean that I always exercise in the morning but I started looking at it, I had no issues I wasn’t really falling behind on on exercise for myself, I’m a runner and but I looked at it and said, you know, if I’m kind of fooling myself, and there’s times where I’ve had to maybe you know kind of run a little shorter. I told myself I was going to run and then work out. It was run.

And I said, you know, this is interesting. If I’m truly prioritizing this, and it is important to me, then Shouldn’t that be one of the first things I do. So got back in the habit, it’s not the first thing I do in the morning, although I do get up to go for a walk early in the morning, come in and do some math and have other tasks. And then mid morning, I go for run before I sit down and start getting into deeper time blocks of like two and three hours. So I think that that is a great way to help yourself, ensure that you do this.

And so that could be different for different people. If you’re working a job. I mean, getting up and exercising before you go to work. And knowing that that is done so that as the day drags on, most people don’t have higher motivation to go. as the day goes on. You get off work, you might have had a rough day and you’re ready to just go home or you want to get some food and I speak from personal experience. A lot of people I’ve talked to, you know, as the day goes on, it generally gets more difficult to get that in.

The second thing I would do is give yourself more time than needed. Okay? A lot of times you’re in control of your schedule, whether you realize it or not, but don’t force yourself into something that doesn’t fit. And what I mean by that is, if you’re saying, I’m going to go run three miles, and I’m going to give myself 30 minutes, okay, this is reasonable for most people who run to literally accomplish that, and depending on your pace, but you know, you’ve got time that adds up, whether it’s, you know, putting on your clothes to go running, literally putting on your shoes, maybe a little bit of a warm up, then the run and then you know, a little bit of a cool down, maybe you need to get cleaned up and change. So it’s not realistic to say, you know, I can always go out and do that.

So being realistic with your time is just another one of those where we talked about in terms of productivity, but then this can help in terms of exercise and say, Okay, well, I need to be realistic with my time I want to go run three miles, maybe it’s better to say like 40 or 45 minutes, just add on 10 or 15 minutes for that extra time.

And then along the same vein, I think it’s also important to be related.

Stick with yourself and build up. So I’m going to kind of address two different groups here. If you’re already got a plan you already work, working out whatever it is you like to do. And you have a way of doing that, then great. If you don’t, and you’re realizing, hey, I want to get into the habit of exercising, be realistic. In both cases, you need to, you know, like I said, if you have a certain amount of time, then make sure that you have time to do it to do what you want to do. And then to finish and move into the next whatever it is task or going to work or whatever and make sure that you’re not presenting some obstacle that’s going to knock you down and result in you not exercising.

Alright, so this kind of a classic New Year’s do people start going to the gym, it’s way harder. So are they hurt? It sucks. It takes a lot of time they feel overwhelmed and they stop going so don’t do that. All right, start building up and you know set a realistic goal for yourself.

Right. I also think another way you can get a lot out of this is to be consistent. Okay. And I and I’m okay with sometimes lowering my not necessarily the goal, but lowering my expectations for the day in terms of I’m tired then great. Maybe I shouldn’t go for run. Maybe that’s literally my body telling me maybe I’m just tired that day. But I don’t.

Nobody I don’t. Nobody performs at 100% all the time. Okay? And maybe something did truly come up. You know, things happen if you can’t run, go for a walk, all right, maybe you want to go to the gym and you’re traveling and he said, I’m going to go to the gym for half an hour and but you’re in a conference and something got changed around and now you got five minutes do a set of push ups, you know, do something is building consistency because you’re helping build that habit instead of just saying that, okay, I don’t have time I’m not going to do anything or I don’t feel like it or I’m tired, but you’re building that habit up and that can really really help you over time.

Um, lastly, I think that this is a good one to add to your weekly review if you feel like you haven’t built this habit up or you don’t have a really good way of doing this are kind of evaluating yourself added in we talked about this where we’re looking at what worked really well for me over the past week, you know, what brought me result what’s, what’s helped me be productive? What has it at this?

And like, what’s worked for me, you know when I’m working out, did working out the morning work well for me or did I put it mid morning and I just kind of kept pushing it off and then sometimes it ran at lunch, and then I didn’t, well, maybe you need to bump it up and do that first thing and see how that works. I think that adding this into your weekly review is a great way to get a lot more out of this and be more efficient say, hey, maybe I want to try some other things. I’ve heard about these hit workouts, a high intensity interval training, maybe I want to try that and see if you know, doing 15 minutes of that beats going for a jog for 30 minutes.

You know, I have no idea but maybe that’s something you want to try. So anyways, I think that that’s a great way to get a lot more out of exercise and to make sure that you’re consistent and that you’re getting the benefits that come from exercise into your life, whether it’s productivity, just better general health.

And just so many other areas so hope this was helpful for you don’t see any additional questions here so I think we’ll wrap it up if you’re watching again on YouTube you can hit subscribe to up to date with these videos as well as any app reviews anything else coming out and then if you want to come join the free Facebook group you’ll find the link down in the description just click on that got to answer a couple questions want to make sure that your hitters didn’t productivity Business Process automation, all that sort of stuff but do that answer the questions and you’re in so thanks for watching and I will see you next week.

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