Today’s episode is going to be highly beneficial for entrepreneurs, because that is likely the lens that I will see this through, but it applies to literally any area of your life that you want to see more productivity and in the back half of the year. And I want to be clear that productivity is not doing more in general. It is doing more of whatever it is that you want to do. It’s being aligned with that decision and that goal. And making sure that your decisions or getting you more of whatever it is that you are working on. I was just talking to my assistant the other day and she was talking about how one of her goals this year was to actually be “less productive”, and to prioritize more fun. So if she was listening to this podcast episode she is looking at how can she be more productive in having more fun. How can she prioritize having more fun, creating more space, using her time more wisely for what it is that she wants to do.
That’s all to say that I’ll use the word productive because I think that moving in the direction you want to go is productive. Versus getting a bunch of things done. You can be very very busy and not productive. Your plate can be very very full, and not productive. That is how we are setting up today’s episode.
We’re going to talk about three different approaches and tactics that you can use to get more done of what you want to get done. You can use all of these, you can use one of them. Or implement whatever makes sense on top of whatever it is that you’re already doing.
No, I am not an expert in behavior change. I am simply sharing things that I have learned from other people, I’ve worked for me. I don’t always get it right, I still do things with my time that I would rather not do with my time, and there’s always room to improve. But that’s my point. Do you have room to improve. You have room to do more of what you want to do and I’m hoping that I can help you in someway to do that.
First off if you have not read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, I highly suggest that you do so. When I read that book James put a lot of names to things that I was already doing, or that I had tried in the past. He has this really nice applicable structure to the way that he writes about habits and being more productive in the way that I mentioned earlier.
That’s where I learned, or rather give a name to, habit stacking. Or combining your habits. So for instance, in the summer of 2020, during the pandemic, I started doing LISS cardio AND writing captions, blogs, or drafting podcasts during that time every day. It made me feel way more productive in my work, and it got me more movement in my day. I wasn’t concerned about being present for the cardio, or pushing myself. It was simply to combine two tasks that felt annoying, or daunting, or timely to me. Writing sitting down with no stimulation is fine, but it literally just takes time, and so I like to be doing something else if I can be.
I’ve implemented that recently in my second trimester of pregnancy. So I need to draft and create like 30+ podcasts her maternity leave. And that means I need to get ahead now. So I have started doing 20 to 30 minutes audio first thing in the morning, and drafting up podcasts. And that’s just like prepping the show notes topics on my talk about main points things of that sort.
This is not a main point, but as like a subsection of habit stacking, I also suggest doing something that you want to do first thing in the morning if that’s possible. Get in the habit of rolling out of bed and doing the thing. This is the best applied to someone who wants to meditate or have a breathing practice or do some mobility, or shoot, even drink more water.
This can’t happen for everyone, and I fully understand that. I’m not going to tell the mother of three kids with a full-time job to wake up and do a 30 minute meditation, but if at all possible, the power of starting your day with the thing you want to do more of, sets you up to make better more aligned decisions throughout the day. Because, the first thing you’ve chosen to do in your day is to be accountable to yourself, and do more of what you want to do. If you’ve ever read the book the Slight Edge, this is kind of the premise of that book. Same type of feel as Atomic Habits, doing more of what you want to do, making the “on “right decisions. But in the Slight Edge, the idea is that it’s very easy to make action, but it’s also very easy to make the bad action. Setting up my clothes for my cardio session the night before is an easy action. Meaning that makes my life easier to make the decision to go to cardio in the morning. Getting dressed to do the cardio is not a hard thing. Neither staying in bed. So the idea is how can we compound the good actions. Good being aligned with what it is that you truly want to be doing, throughout the day, versus compounding the bad ones. For what we perceive to be bad. We could call the misaligned if you would like to.
I’ve talked about momentum before another podcast. So starting your day with an action is accountable to yourself, can lead to momentum going in that direction versus the momentum we get when we do not choose that thing. Apply this to whatever it is that you want to.
To be clear, because I feel like I went on a tangent there, it’s helpful if you can do the thing daily. Because then it can become a subconscious thing that you do versus energy that goes to making that decision every day. That’s the power of kind of making a habit out of just waking up and doing the thing. If that is possible. And I want to make clear that it can be just a part of the thing. For instance, I am more likely to lift later in the day, or choose to be active, if I start my day with 20 minutes of movement. Or even some level of mindfulness.
If the thing you want more of it is not a daily task, then do the first step. And that is to plan a trip, get a date on the calendar that you’re going to go hiking. I don’t know what it is that you want more of in your life. But if it’s not a daily task. If it’s something that happens less often than that, my suggestion would be to take initiative and do the first step of whatever that is. If that’s planning, if that’s choosing a date, if that’s buying a ticket, if that’s hiring a coach, get it on the calendar, and do the first step. In a long-term sense, that’s the same as waking up every morning and starting your day with the thing. If you building a mansion in the way that you want to go.
This is a sister to number one. And it applies whether you do this thing daily or not. Whatever it is that you want more productivity, is there a way that you can stack some thing on top of some thing else. So let’s say that I wanted to get more core work in. I could do 10 minutes or less of intentional core work straight off the back of my low intensity cardio in the morning. That’s using something that’s already happening in order to add on some thing, to build momentum, for my productivity.
Maybe I want to go on more walks throughout my day or write two times as many Instagram posts per week as I normally do. Where can I plug those things into something that is already happening. Whether that is on a daily basis or a weekly basis. Maybe on Fridays after I do my one on one true coach check ins I go straight into writing three Instagram captions or five Instagram captions, whatever it was. I often create content through conversations that I’ve had with my clients. So it makes sense to stack the task of creating content Off the back of speaking with my clients.
Can you stack working out off the back of your workday? Can you start the habit of laying out your clothes for the gym the night before so that your gym bag is ready to go which makes it easier to go to the gym right after work? You get the idea.
The idea of habit stacking just makes it easier to be on your own team when it comes to productivity. You’re just making your own life easier to achieve the things that you want to achieve. And again I know I’ve talked about doing things, but this could also be what time you get off work. So I used the same tactics to stop working by 6 PM. That was an order to get in more rest, and intentionality within my work. That was the goal.
Who knows, planning a trip, could be what do you want your “productivity” to be in the back half of this year.
Last up, and possibly most important in my view…
Weekly reflections where you can see them. I use Hillary Rushford’s Elegant Excellence school journal, and I am not grounded without it. You don’t have to use a journal, you don’t have to spend money. What do you need is paper and depending where it is – keep it somewhere that you can see it on a weekly basis.
Doesn’t necessarily apply if you have a more long-term, not daily or weekly task oriented goal for your productivity, but you could do it on her monthly or quarterly basis as well, which this journal covers.
Write it down in whatever manner makes sense for you. Because I don’t know what your goal is with productivity. If you want to prioritize feelings of rest, or spaciousness, that’s going to look slightly different than someone who is trying to complete a specific task like core work on a daily basis. But you would both need to make aligned decisions to get more of that. And that’s where writing at least on a weekly basis can help you stay focused on that. If we don’t give the mind something to focus on, it will wander. We will fill it with other things. We are very good at doing that. So having this somewhere that you can see it, write it, and review it for a weekly basis keeps your brain coming back to what do you want more of. And ideally, your actions and curiosity will leave you closer to that. Or it will show you where your gaps are and why you aren’t achieving the productivity in the area that you would like to be.
Again I am not a mindset expert, I’m not a behavior change expert, I don’t claim those things. But I hope that these are helpful ideas, and I do suggest reading both the Slight Edge and Atomic Habits. I much prefer Atomic Habits from a reading and delivery standpoint, but Slight Edge does have some good points. Here’s to productivity for the latter half of 2022!
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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