How to double your productivity (no kidding!) (ep 38)
How to double your productivity (no kidding!) (ep 38)
How to double your productivity (no kidding!) (ep. 38)
Being productive in your business is essential if you’re going to grow. But productivity usually feels hard – it’s all about work, and ‘nose to the grindstone’, etc. In the second episode of a three-part series, Pamela unpacks a simple process to double your productivity and make building your business SO much easier.
In this episode, you will:
- Discover the 4 reasons that most people avoid being more productive.
- Experience the P&P Magic Formula for increasing productivity and profit.
- Identify the #1 way to streamline your day so you have more energy for things that matter!
- (02:05) 4 Reasons People Avoid Being Productive
- (05:51) How to streamline your day
- (10:40) Productivity and Profit Magic Formula
Episode 38: How to double your productivity (no kidding!)
You’re listening to A Profitable Impact.
Being productive usually feels hard. It’s all about work and nose to the grindstone stuff. But what if you had a simple process to double your productivity?
Welcome to A Profitable Impact, where every single week we help experts like coaches and healers to expand their reach, to increase their impact in the world, and to be well-paid for their extraordinary skills and talents. My name is Gene Monterastelli and I am the lead coach in Pamela Bruner’s Impact Accelerator Coaching Program. And now please welcome my friend, my colleague, and the CEO of Attract Clients Online, Pamela Bruner. How are you doing today, Pamela?
I’m being productive today.
And productive is one of those sort of two-edged swords, isn’t it? We all want to be productive and it’s essential in your business, but the thing is, it feels hard. It’s not a juicy thing. It’s not a desirable thing. It’s like, “Yeah, I need productivity, but I don’t really want it.” It feels nose to the grindstone. So today we’re going to talk about simple processes to double your productivity and make your business that much easier.
So today we’re going to talk about the four reasons that most people avoid being productive. And we’ll go over what I call the PNP Magic Formula, that’s Productivity and Profit Magic Formula for increasing both how you get things done and the money you make doing it.
And you’ll identify the number one way to streamline your day so you have more energy for the things that matter.
As you listen to our conversation today, if you feel like you’re in a situation where you’re being busy, but you’re not actually being productive, we would love for you to have a conversation with one of our coaches to help you to implement the things that we’re talking about today and sort that out so you’re not only filling your day, but you’re filling your day with the right tasks in the exact right way.
If you’d like to do that, all you need to do is go to bookmybreakthroughcall.com. That’s bookmybreakthroughcall.com, get on the calendar of one of our coaches and they will help you sort out how you are managing your day so you can move to being productive and profitable.
4 Reasons People Avoid Being Productive
So let’s talk about this push-pull of productivity. So many people, especially in the transformational space, whether it’s business coaching or healing or when I think of personal development, there’s so many reasons and ways that people avoid being more productive. And one way that we see is that people want things to be organic. A lot of coaches and energy healers say, “I really want my data flow organically. I want to feel like things are flowing like that in my business.” And the idea of studying productivity or doing productivity tactics feels counter to that.
Another reason that people avoid the whole productivity conversation is they don’t really want to work harder. To them being more productive means.”I’m going to be busier. I’m going to work harder,” when I actually think the opposite is true. And it’s one of the things we’ve talked many times, Gene, is this idea that when you are productive, you get a whole lot more done in a whole lot less time. So you’re working more easily and you’re not as busy, but productivity on the surface of it feels like, “Yes, we’re going to make you work harder or you’re going to be busier.”
Also a lot of people don’t feel like they have the time to get organized. :”I’m so busy doing what I’m doing I can’t stop and create a system around it.” And that holds people back, especially people who are not naturally inclined to organization.
Pamela, I was actually talking to one of our clients this morning about this exact thing. And one of the things that happens is it’s impossible for us to organize and systematize our business all at once. And so whenever I’m coaching our clients, it’s always like, “Great. Let’s choose one thing and let’s organize this and systematize this.” It could be content creation or follow up or social media posting or whatever that is. And what happens is that when I organize one part of my business, and I do it in a more systematic way, it immediately takes less time and immediately takes less energy, so that everything else I need to do in my business, I now have more time for and I now have more energy for. So even though I haven’t started organizing and systematizing and being more productive in other parts of my business, by simply changing one part, everything else becomes easier and so then I move on to the next part and the next part and the next part, and that productivity starts to compound itself, like you were saying, that when we’re productive, we’re more efficient in less time because we have more resources to do the things and to structure things.
And so if you don’t feel like you have enough time to get organized, that is your internal guidance system telling you now is the exact time that you need to be getting organized. Because if you don’t have the time to do it right now, when are you going to have the time to do it over after it didn’t work out the way that you wanted to do it?
And we’ll go through a process to help you do that. That’s what the PMP Magic Formula is all about. And we’ll get to that in a couple of minutes.
The fourth reason that so many people avoid being productive is that they are inclined to start things. They love starting things, but they don’t like following through. So almost no one likes a project in the middle of the project. That’s just an unattractive time. Starting things is fun, ending things can be fun, especially if it’s like, “Oh, there’s the finish line.” The middle of a project less so. Some people are structure oriented and so they can create a project, create a project plan, work through it, that kind of thing. But especially creatives, they love starting things, but they don’t follow through. And the truth is that when you end up with a whole lot of things started and not continued, you have a bunch of loose ends. Loose ends cause overwhelm, they cause focus problems, and they really cost productivity.
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How to streamline your day
So let’s talk about the number one way to streamline your day so you have more energy for things that matter. And this is something that just lights me up. I know productivity is not supposed to be fun to talk about. This totally lights me up, because I am a morning person. I wake up in the morning, ahead of everyone in my household, raring and ready to go, ready to take on the world. After 7:00 at night please don’t ask me to make a major life decision. Not even like what brand of ice cream to buy. After 7:00 at night I do not go there, but in the morning I am effective, efficient, productive, and my brain is firing all cylinders.
And I realize that not everyone is wired the way I am, but because I am wired that way, I can look at how I structure my day to put my most effective tasks in there. And why don’t you explain this process because you actually have a name for it, Gene?
Yeah. I refer to this as heat mapping your time. And so if you think about if you’ve ever looked at an image of someone where they’re in a thermal sensor and it shows you the really hot parts and the really cold part, so like you see a human body and in the center it’s red and the further you get away from that, it turns blue. Basically it’s showing you where the heat is. And so for me, the heat is about the place that I am most productive. And so as I’m laying out my day, I think about when is the best time for me to do certain tasks? Like you, Pamela, I am very, very much a morning person and I’m most creative in the morning. So on most days I do not talk to clients before 10 in the morning and a lot of days, it’s not until 11, because the time that I am most creative and working on my business is first thing.
And I am less focused on menial tasks in the afternoon, but I do an amazing job with engaging with other humans and give and take and creative in that particular way. And so for me, it makes perfect sense that I’m doing the creative tasky stuff in the morning, and I’m working with my clients in the afternoon. And like Pamela said, every single one of us has a different structure. It’s not that you need to do this stuff. Like you’ll see all of those studies that say, “CEOs get up at 5:00 in the morning and therefore you need to get up at 5:00 in the morning. ” If that is your heat map and that makes sense, absolutely, build your time in that way. But what’s important is for you to understand and structure your day in a way that is most useful.
I don’t want to be filling the dishwasher at 9:15 on a Tuesday morning. That time can be used so much more effectively on something else. And so when we can, and when we’re ahead, we want to structure our time in a way that accommodates our working style and our energy.
And I remember we had a client a few years ago named Leanne, great, great business owner with this amazing business, and she was a night owl, and she would tell me all the time that basically before 10:00 AM and really, even before noon, she didn’t feel like she was effective at all. But 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM at night, she could write, she could do video, she could create. And that was just her time. So finding your own time, finding when do you feel best at engaging? When do you feel best at being creative independently? I, like you, Gene, I love talking to people in the afternoon. That’s when I run my client calls, my group calls, my private calls. If I need to interact with someone on a sales conversation, it’s almost always in the afternoon because that is a great time for me to interact.
But the important thing here is not for you to adopt my schedule or Gene’s but for you to look at your own energy patterns, and you might try some experimentation. Like, “Hey, do I write well in the morning? Do I write better after lunch? What do I feel most engaged in creating video or talking to people?” And experiment to find out what really works for you, because it’s going to make you so much more productive just by rearranging the tasks you already have.
And as you do that, if you’re collaborating with other people, it’s also good and useful to understand when they work well as well. Even if they’re not thinking in this particular terms. I think about one of my frequent collaborators who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and I’m here in New York and he’s a super night owl and I’m a super early morning person. So there are times in which we collaborate in which it is 1:30 in the morning for him and 4:30 in the morning for me, because it’s the end of his day and the beginning of my day. And we found that’s the perfect time to work together because we found a way to intersect our heat maps on different days, as we navigate this.
Keeping open and flexible and finding what works for you is the important thing.
Productivity and Profit Magic Formula
So let’s talk about the PMP Magic Formula, Productivity and Profit Magic Formula. And we hinted at this last week when we talked about overwhelm, and we started giving the first two steps of the process. And today we’re going to give all six steps so that people know how to walk through organizing the things that are in your life, and particularly in your business life, but I find that if you use this process in your personal life as well, you’ll reduce the overwhelm there too.
So the first activity is making a list. Now we talked about brain dumping, and this is getting everything out of your head onto a list somewhere, whether it’s a paper list or computer list, but the goal of this is to clear mental space. It is the equivalent of taking everything out of a closet before you try to organize the closet. It’s harder to organize a closet if you cannot remove anything from the closet as you’re organizing it, especially if it’s overstuffed, and most of our heads are overstuffed these days Get the list and get everything out of your brain in a brain dump.
And it’s okay as your brain dumping to put things on list. If you say, “Well, I’m going to brain dump all the business stuff,” And you keep thinking, “I’ve got to investigate that vacation in Tuscany and I need to call and see if I can get a new tire on my car next week.” It’s okay to write those things down, because the second step in this process is to categorize things in order to create order. So you will pull the personal stuff off into its own separate list, but as you’re brain dumping, it’s fine to put things in any kind of order, just whatever order they occur to you.
The third step. Once you’ve got things categorized, and I love what you said last week, Gene, you said, “After I brain dump, as I’m categorizing, I actually rewrite the list to categorize it.” And I think that’s whether you do a cut and paste on a computer or whether you’re actually handwriting it, I think that’s a great idea. So recreate the list in an ordered format, because the third step is to decide your priorities. And this is really where you honor your values. And it’s not just my values of, “This is the stuff I want to do,” but it’s, “This is what I believe is important to grow my business.” And if you’re confused about what that might be, we’ll talk at the end of the episode about how you might get a coaching call from our team on that. But looking at what are the things that I need to do first? What are the things that I need to do next? What are the real priorities in my business?
And when you’re doing that prioritization, I think it’s really important to recognize that, let’s say you have 11 things on your to-do list. You don’t have to organize them in priority from one to 11. For me, when I’m doing prioritization, I typically do it in thirds or quarters. This is the most important third, the next most important third, and the last important third, because the reality is it doesn’t matter if I do this task second or if I do it third, but it’s important that I do it earlier in the day than later in the day. So you don’t want to spend time and attention refining this to the point that you know exactly what’s going to happen every minute of the day. So give yourself permission to create some priority without having to have it so exact that you know it one through 11.
Thank you for that because, yes, there could be a tendency to use this process as a procrastination technique or as an overwhelm technique, that you get so involved in the process, you forget that the goal is to get the process done so that you can do the things on the list.
So decide your priorities and then schedule on your calendar. Now for a lot of coaches and healers, a lot of the activities that they do don’t actually have a schedule. If you’re going to write a blog post, if you’re going to reach out on social, if you’re going to send emails to prospective clients, those don’t come with a certain time of the day. Now we talked about heat mapping of your day, and you may say, “well, I need to do them before noon, or I need to do them after 3:00.” That’s fine, but they still don’t have a particular time of the day, like a coaching call or a sales conversation would, that is scheduled.
I believe that when you schedule things on your calendar, you help remove the overwhelm because your brain knows that something is taken care of. And indeed it often happens that way. So for example, as I’m creating the notes for these podcasts, I have a scheduled time, of course, to meet with Gene and our recording engineer to create the podcasts and I have a scheduled time to come up with the ideas for the podcast and create the notes for the podcasts. And scheduling that on my calendar means that it happens and I’m not sitting in a studio going, “I don’t know what we’re going to talk about because I haven’t done it yet.”
So now that you’ve done all that, hopefully you’ve got a calendar with the priorities that you need to work on, on the calendar. And step number five is track and tweak. And this is really about maintaining flow. So what a lot of people tell me is, “Well, I schedule things on my calendar and then they take me longer than I think.” And certainly that’s the case where you might say, “Well, I’m going to write a blog post. I’ve got a half an hour down. It takes me 45 minutes, or it takes me an hour.” Over time, as you’re doing your repeatable tasks, you’re certainly going to be more aware of how long a task takes you.
The other thing that you can do is as you’re scheduling something that you are not aware how long it’s going to take, give yourself a buffer. So if you think it’s going to take 30 minutes, schedule it in for an hour, or schedule it in for that time, one hour plus another half, or something like that, give yourself a little bit of a slush time. And if you get done on time or early, you can use that for another purpose.
And I think, Pamela, this is a really important thing twofold. One is, like you said, just making sure that when we’re doing new things, I am very confident in my capability and so I consistently underestimate how long things take. So when I’m doing something new, I say, “It’s going to take me this long,” and depending on how new it is for me, I multiply that time by 1.5 or 1.75, just immediately right off the bat, do that thing. The second thing that’s really important to recognize is that happiness is outcome divided by expectation. And so if I told you I got eight things done today, is that a good day or a bad day? Well, it depends. What were my expectations? If I expected to get six things done, I’m doing backflips as I go out of the office. If I expected to get 10 things done, I’m really disappointed. And for me, nothing kills my momentum faster than feeling like I’m falling behind and I’m failing at what I’m doing. And oftentimes the definition of falling behind is the schedule that I created for myself.
The other thing that I recognize is that when I’m creating my schedule like this, is we create schedules as if our day is perfect. Well, on Tuesday, I didn’t have internet access for five and a half hours. That was not in my plan for the day and it cost me a great deal of time having to reschedule things, having to deal with technical support. And so by building that slush time in, we’re dealing with things that when they go wrong or unexpected, so that we’re staying on track, and mentally we’re in a place where we still know we’re being successful, and if we’re way ahead, awesome, we get more stuff done and then the day becomes super productive.
Love that. And that leads us to step six, which is to complete and celebrate, because as we’re building businesses, it’s very common for us to focus on the problems and focus on the failures, but not focus on the successes. So if you successfully organize your calendar, if you successfully create productivity in your day, if you successfully create a system that enables you to streamline what you’re doing, that’s a celebration. That is a reason to compliment yourself, to pat yourself on the back and to feel great. So don’t forget the step of celebration.
One of the things that we have, Pamela, on the intake form for our client calls is celebrations from this month. And I was chatting with one of our clients today and she’s just like, “I know you’ve read the form, but I want to read all of my celebrations out loud so we can celebrate this together.”
I love that.
It’s so important for us to do that. And sometimes it can be something small. This is something I learned very early on at the beginning of the pandemic because I was trying to manage my calendar, and more importantly manage my self-care, is I created a little chore chart and I got gold stars and what I completed things, I literally gave myself gold stars so that I could be in a circumstance where it’s like I did the thing I was supposed to do that is useful for me, gold star, gold star, gold star. And as silly as it is to treat myself like a six year old, it was such an amazingly fun thing to go, “I’m giving myself gold stars because I have to treat myself like a six year old.” And it was fun, which made it easier for me to do the next action.
I love that. Especially when you’re lower resourced or under a little bit of stress, as all of us were at the beginning of the pandemic, it’s a great thing. Find ways to celebrate that feed your soul.
As you’ve been hearing these strategies, these approaches, these techniques to make you more profitable, to make you more productive, if you’re still in a circumstance where you’re not exactly sure where is the place for you to start? What is the tactic you need to implement first? We would love for you to have a conversation with one of our coaches to help you to sort through that so that you’re applying these strategies in a way that are really useful for you. You can book one of those calls absolutely free. All you need to do is go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. That’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. Get on the calendar with one of our coaches, have a conversation so they can help you to be more productive and more profitable.
If you join the conversation today and you have a friend or a colleague who is a coach, a small business owner, who you know is feeling overwhelmed and being stretched thin, please pass this along. Not only will it make their day a little brighter because they know you’re thinking about them, this might be exactly what they need to hear today in order to move forward in a way that will help them to increase their impact in the world.
If you have a question, a comment, a topic that you’d like to Pamela and I to tackle on a future episode, we would love to hear from you. All you need to do is go to AttractClientsOnline.com, click on that contact link, send us an email, make sure you put in the email that it’s a question for the podcast so we can address that at some point in the future. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to the podcast. Subscribing to a podcast is always free. You can find the show on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Audible, basically everywhere you find audio online, all you need to do is search for A Profitable Impact.
For A Profitable Impact, I am Gene Monterastelli. Until next time I hope you have an impactful week.
ABOUT THE PODCAST
Building a business as a coach or expert is challenging, especially if you’re trying to find your clients online.
Join business coach and online marketing expert Pamela Bruner as she uncovers the secrets of successful transformational businesses. If you want to make a difference in people’s lives, expand your reach, and attract high-paying clients, you’ll love this show!