Time and Task Management: Part 2 – Mindset (ep. 9)
Time and Task Management: Part 2 – Mindset (ep. 9)
Episode 9: Time and Task Management: Part 2 – Mindset
Even when you have the strategies for excellent organization and time management, your mindset may hold you back from being productive. Join Pamela as she shares 3 of her top mindset strategies that will help you break through the blocks to an effective day.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
How to use your to-do list as a jumping-off point for your mindset work.
The secret to taking breaks that actually work, and ones that don’t, so you can refresh effectively.
The method that helps you distinguish mindset stoppers that masquerade as strategic challenges, and then remove them.
Insider Tip: This is definitely a note-taking episode, so grab your notebook!
01:45: Get Pamela’s insights on how mindset impacts productivity, and learn her proven method to fix this.
11:37: Discover what Pamela and Gene do to improve their daily to-do list to reduce workload stress and still grow their business.
18:04: Learn how to manage Mindset Stoppers vs. Strategic Challenges and notice the signs of burnout.
Episode 9: Time and Task Management: Part 2 – Mindset
Mindsets that Hold You Back from Productivity
You’re listening to ‘A Profitable Impact.’
Even when you have the strategies for really great organization and time management, your mindset can completely hold you back from being as productive as you want to be
Welcome to ‘A Profitable Impact,’ where every single week we help 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. I am the Lead Coach and Pamela Bruner’s Impact Accelerator coaching program. And please welcome my friend, my colleague, and the CEO of Attract Clients Online, Pamela Bruner.
How are you doing today, Pamela?
I’m doing great, Gene, and I love that we get to talk about mindset today.
Absolutely. And so for those of you who are just, if this is your first episode, this is part two of our series on time and task management. Last week, we had an amazing conversation about tactically, how you can step into managing your time in a way that is more efficient. So you can have a greater impact today. We’re going to continue that conversation. And we’re going to look at the mindset side of being able to take action. Now, as we explore this conversation today, if you’re finding yourself where you’re feeling stuck inside of your business, and you’re not exactly sure what the next best task is for you to take, to grow your business and to increase your impact, we’d encourage you to reach out to one of our coaches. You can have a free conversation with one of our coaches and get a little coaching by going to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, that is BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. Get on one of our coaches schedules so that you can be at a circumstance that not only do you have the right mindset to be able to do the tasks that you want to do, but you’re actually doing the tasks that are going to be most profitable for your business.
Let’s talk about the mindset that can hold you back from being productive, because the strategies that we shared last time that you and I have taught many, many times over the years. They’re really good for time management for organization, for productivity, but over and over again, we see that people have mindset challenges that hold them back, even in the face of really good strategies. So, we’ve got three mindset strategies and three mindset methods, activities to share with you today to help you break through any blocks that you may have to having a really effective day. So here are the things that we’re going to cover today. One is how you use your to-do list as a jumping off point for your mindset work. Often people say, well, I know I’m being held back, but I don’t know what it is. And you can actually use your to-do list as a help for that.
Then I want to talk about the secret to taking breaks that actually work and ones that don’t, because if you don’t take effective breaks, you’re not setting your mind and your energy up for success in your strategic endeavors. And then there is a method to distinguish mindset stoppers that masquerade as strategic challenges. And this is one of my favorite to work. People come to me and say, well, I don’t need the mindset work. I just, I have a strategic challenge. I just need a strategy for this. And they keep looking at different strategies and the strategies are not helpful and they can’t implement them. And the truth is that there’s a hidden mindset stopper. So we’re going to cover that today.
I can’t wait to jump in, especially with these particular things, because the first thing that we’re going to be talking about today, I think has been the single greatest impact in my business, in me moving forward and clearing mindset issues as we kind of step into looking at how we manage our time and our tasks.
And I actually want you to take that first item of how to use your to-do list as a jumping off point for your mindset work, because this is really a great expression of your genius.
Thank you. So before we step into the technique, I think one thing that’s important to recognize is that when we sit down to do work on our business, we are going to gravitate towards the task and our to-do list that is the most impactful task on our to-do list, that is an emotionally safe task for us to do. I don’t want to say that again. We’re going to gravitate towards the most impactful task on our to-do list that is emotionally safe for us to do at any given moment.
So I’m going to interrupt right here and talk about a definition for “emotionally safe,” because it may seem ridiculous to look at it, to do list for a business, especially a transformational business, and talk about emotional safety. But the truth is that a task that involves possible fear of rejection, fear of failure, reaching out to people, sales conversations, marketing endeavors, those can feel really emotionally unsafe. “I might get criticized,” “I might get rejected.” I’m going to publish my website, or I’m going to put an article out there, and “What if people criticize it?” And don’t like, it, all of those tasks fall into, or potentially fall into a category of feeling emotionally unsafe. Okay. Turn it back to you.
Yeah. And, and, and the reason why you’ve identified those really clearly and the reason why that’s the case is because all of those things that you just identified as the things that might feel scary for us to do are the tasks that have the biggest impacts on our business. Like I can, I can work on marketing tasks. I can write copy. I can work on articles and stuff like that. And that will help me move my business forward, but asking someone to buy that is something that is significantly more valuable to my business because I’m going to get cash coming in. I’m going to work with an awesome client. And so the reason why it can feel dangerous is all of the criticism that you were just talking about. And those particular tasks have stakes. Like if they work out well, it’s good for my business. And if they don’t work out well, it can feel like it’s setting me back. And so we’re getting a chance to recognize “Why?” Because I never have to hear no from a client that I don’t ask them to purchase something. And they could just sit on my list, “Boy, this is someone who’s a perfect client. And I just can’t wait for them to say yes,” but not asking them as the same as getting a “No” from them. And so we’re tuning into those tasks that are really, really valuable as we step into them.
Yeah. One of the things I like to say is your money, and we’ll also say your biggest impact is behind your biggest fear. So if you’ve got the stuff on your to-do list that creates fear or anxiety or nervousness or any of those challenging emotions, the biggest money, the biggest impact, the biggest growth is behind that fear.
So the way that we do this really simple technique is I sit down here at my desk in the morning and I have my to-do list for the day crafted. I’ve spent some time figuring out what’s going to be the best use of my time today. And then what I do is, one at a time, I just imagined myself doing each one of the tasks on my to-do list. And so, as I look down at my to-do list that’s in front of me right now, it’s like “follow up on a technical support call for my computer,” there’s no emotional charge for that, “build a little funnel for a place that I was a podcast guest,” no charge about that, “reach out to New York-Times Bestselling Author to be part of a project that I’m working on right now,” and I really have that on my to-do list right here.
And the instant I do that, I feel a little tension in the middle of my chest because it would be a really big deal if she was a part of a project that I’m working on and I’m putting myself out there. So now that I’ve noticed that there is some resistance to me taking that particular action (in this case, it showed up in tightness in my chest), all I do is I close my eyes, I take a deep breath, and I imagine that the tension in my chest can talk to me. And I ask the tension in my chest, “What are you afraid of? Or what do you think is going to go wrong?” And so in this particular case, I hear “rejection,” I hear “missed opportunity,” I hear those sorts of things. And then the second question I ask myself is, “And what proof do you have that this is a possibility that that might happen?”
Now, when I do something like that, I might have no information at all or I might pull up a memory from my past where things did not go as planned. So now by asking those two simple questions of the tension, I now have the limiting beliefs that exist and possibly a piece of data from my history that is inhibiting me from taking this action. So, for both Pamela and myself, the thing that we would then do is we would reach for the tool that is tapping. Tapping is a fabulous tool for releasing those things. But whatever toolset you have in your toolbox that helps you to get past resistance and limiting beliefs and transform those things you reach for that tool. And then you do the clearing that you need to do. And then you re-imagine yourself doing that task again. If there’s still tension, maybe it moves to another part of the body, or it’s in the same spot, I repeat the process; if there’s not tension, I move on to the next task of my list. So basically what I’m doing is I’m imagining myself going through my day one at a time seeing where there’s resistance and then clearing that resistance.
And while we would do it with tapping, I know some people would do it with something as simple as breath work.
Breathing in slowly through the nose and breathing out very slowly through the mouth (as though you are breathing out through a straw) and just a few breaths like that will sometimes calm and reduce charge. Of course, if you have a big charge around something, if you imagine doing something and it feels really scary or really charged, and maybe you’re trying to do something that you did in the past with a very perceived negative result, you might need some stronger help, or maybe you want to work with that practitioner or something like that. But taking the charge out of these activities on your to-do list is going to greatly, greatly impact your productivity as you move through the day. Because you’re not fighting yourself, and you’re also not pushing to do the task, but also you’re more resourced in the task. So you would be more likely to, in Gene’s example, reach out to this New York-Times Bestselling Author and invite her to be part of a project, and you would reach out in a more confident and resourceful way because the charge was reduced or eliminated on that item.
And the thing I love about this is, to go back to the premise that I started with, that we will do the highest value tasks that is emotionally safe first. By going through this process, everything now feels emotionally safe, and so I don’t have to force myself to do the highest value task. It’s the thing that I do, because it’s the most obvious thing in the world. And when you start (at least when I start) to do a process like this, I found myself being emotionally clear for a couple of hours at the beginning of my day. And then as the day goes on whatever fears and anxieties and things came creeping back into my daily experience, but I did all the hard things first. So it didn’t matter if my anxiety about possibly being rejected was showing back up at 11:45 in the morning because I no longer had any tasks where I was putting myself out there in that particular way.
And I wish, now this was about nine years ago I started doing this, I wish I had access to my old web stats from that time, because it was not a gradual increase. Like I could see in my business, this giant jump up in my web traffic, in my podcast traffic, and the number of clients I was working with because I was consistently feeling safe in making asks and putting myself out there. And that’s the reality of growing our business and growing our impact is making asks and putting ourselves out there. And since I was doing that more consistently, I had a lot more opportunities to connect with the people who I should be connecting with, which led to greater success.
[Activity] Putting this Technique into Action
So, this is a wonderful invitation to our listeners to say, “Do you sit down with your to-do list at the beginning of the day?” Whether you’ve got a written to-do list, whether you just look at your calendar and you look at all the items on your calendar that you’re supposed to do, but sit down and look at your to-do list and go through and imagine doing them and look for the charge and then use whatever mindset techniques you prefer to reduce or eliminate that charge, and see what happens in your business when you do that.
As a final caveat to that particular thing, if you’re in a circumstance where you’re doing this particular work, and you’re in a situation where you’re still procrastinating on something, this is the opportunity where it really makes a lot of sense for you to be reaching out for professional help to help you to work through something like that. I haven’t even told you this yet, Pamela, but yesterday I was working with one of our clients and we spent 27 of our 30 minutes on the coaching call just tapping on being judged and putting herself out there. Because when she was a child, kids were seen and not heard and it didn’t feel safe for her to speak up. And so on her own, she even had some sense of, “Well, yea, it is this childhood thing,” but we really got progress when in a concerted way where she wasn’t having to do it on her own. That was the thing that we went after and created a huge amount of space, which made it so much easier for her to show up in the world. So, this is something for us that we can use daily. And if you’re doing this and a task is still showing up on your list three or four days in a row. Now it’s time for you to start reaching out to an external resource who can be help for you to move forward in that way.
Yeah. Thank you for sharing that example. I think the big picture, the big concept that I want to bring up here, is that people say building a business is hard. And I think it’s hard in a couple of different ways that aren’t what people usually mean when they say, “Building a business is hard.” It is hard in the sense that if your #1 method for getting things done that need to be done is pushing through discomfort and doing it anyway, then it feels really, really hard. If instead you sit down and do this tapping on your to-do list or mindset work on your to-do list, that’s still work you have to do, but it’s usually easier work to do, and then you are entering your day from a much more resourced standpoint and your day feels easier. It actually reduces the, quote, “hard work of your business,” if you’re not using that, and you’re saying “I’m going to just do it the hard way I’m going to just push through it,” “I don’t care if it’s really massively uncomfortable I’m going to do it anyway,” sometimes I believe that we need to do things that may be uncomfortable for us, but a lot of times we can reduce the discomfort before we do it.
How To Take Breaks (REAL ones!)
And so now that we’re in a circumstance where we have a way of starting our day, even in a well-resourced state, none of us are going to be in a circumstance where we’re working all the way through without stopping. You teased at the beginning of the episode that we’re going to talking about, “How do we manage our time and take breaks throughout the day?” And so I think that this is a natural segue for us to step into that now.
Yeah. I remember when a client asked me about taking breaks and they said, “I take breaks, but you know, I just, I feel like I’m drained by midday.” And I said, “Well, what do you do on a break?” She said, “Well, I check my email, then I review my to-do list, then I…,” and I said, “That’s not a break. That’s re-capturing your workday. That’s staying in your workday. It may be a shift to a different activity, but it’s not actually a break.”
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A break is, “I get up from my desk. Maybe I get a drink of water or a cup of tea.” A break is maybe, “I turn on some music and I listen,” “I stare out the window,” or “I go outside and get some fresh air.” A break is something where you actually release the mental focus on your business. Now I’m not saying that your mind won’t bring your business back in, but there’s a reason that people say, “You know, I get my best ideas in the shower.” Or for me, I get my best ideas when I’m out hiking in nature, and that is because I have set aside the focus and I am allowing my subconscious to work. So, a break to check email isn’t a break. Are you actually taking breaks during the day to help yourself reset and become more resourceful?
So, one of my rules, Pamela, is, “It doesn’t count as a break if I’m still sitting in my chair or if I’m still at my desk.” The only way it is a break is if it is something that I am actually stepping away. Every single day I eat lunch, I do not eat it at my desk, I eat it somewhere else. Even when I’m working from home, it is something that I’m doing, that particular thing. The other thing that I do, because sometimes when I need the break is the time that I need the break, which means that I am not as well-resourced. And it’s harder for me to figure out exactly how to do that. So, I have a menu of break activities that I have written down that involve movement and stretching and making coffee and all sorts of things that work personally for me. Make the list that makes the most sense for you. But when I’m taking the break, typically, if it’s not, “I’m taking a break to do this thing,” where intuitively I know the type of break I need to take. If I don’t intuitively have a hit on the type of break I need to take, I look at the little sticky I have on my desktop of my computer, I open it up really quickly and go, “okay, great. I’m going to go do that one,” and it makes it easier for me to engage with it because I’m not having to think what to do. I’m just doing what the list tells me.
I love that. Love that. So, whether it’s getting up and stretching, whether it’s going outside, whether it’s listening to music, something like that, you’re just using your menu of ideas.
Absolutely. Yeah, they’re just there. So, and as time passes, that list has slowly grown. As I’ve learned, “Ooh, this is a really fun thing for me to do in the middle of the day.” And some of them are seasonal. You know, I’m much more likely to go outside and do a Zaza and breathing exercise when it’s spring here in New York, versus when it is February here in New York.
Mindset Stoppers vs. Strategic Challenges
So, let’s talk about the method that helps you distinguish mindset stoppers that masquerade as strategic challenges. And we started going in this direction when we talked about using your to-do list as a jumping off point, because as you look at your to-do list, you might say, “Well, you know, I really can’t reach out today because ___,” or “I can’t take this other scary activity [for this good strategic reason].” Instead, I always want to ask, “How do I feel about doing this?” And that’s what we were asking as part of the tapping on your to-do list. But I want to distinguish some of the other answers that you might get. When you look at the question, “How do I feel?” So often you’ll get the answer, “There’s no charge. I want to do this. I’m ready to do this. It’s on my list. There’s no problem.” Sometimes we’re excited to do it. And sometimes we’re just ambivalent. We’re calm about doing it.
Then there’s the “I don’t want to” reaction, or “I feel tension in my chest.” And that will lead hopefully into the mindset work that we were discussing. But what about a different reaction? Something like, “I want to want to.” Now, this is something that I’ve seen in myself, I’ve seen in my clients that they say, “You know, I know that I want to do this. I want to find more clients. I want to reach out,” or “This is usually fun for me. But, ugh, I just, I don’t feel like I want to do it. Where is my joy? Where is my energy?” Often that’s a sign of burnout, but it could be something deeper. When you start getting burned out, or when you have been pushing yourself over and over to learn something new, and often at the beginning of trying to get traction in a coaching or healing business, you’re doing a lot of pushing through, “I’ve got to market, I’ve got to sell, I’ve got to create this. I’ve got to reach out,” and there’s a lot of overcoming to do, that can take a toll and end up with a little bit of, “I want to want this, but I don’t really want it.” And so that kind of reaction, I think, bears some additional discussion and additional exploration.
And it’s really interesting, you know, as we navigate anything, mindset-wise, be it inside of our business or otherwise, if we’re ever working out of a position of what I hear you talk about in “I want to want this” is, is it’s almost like it’s a “should.” “I should be wanting this,” “I should be doing this,” “I should be moving forward.” And sometimes the resistance inside of a should is, “I should be doing it, but I’m no good at it. And it’s no fun.” And sometimes we have shoulds that make no sense for us and inside of our business. And when we start going, “Oh, I want to want this thing, but I don’t actually want it,” it gives us a really unique lens to start to unpack the direction that we’re moving and why we think we need to be moving in that particular.
Yes, and with shoulds, often it’s a should that was imposed from something we heard or something else. “Well, everybody’s doing X, Y, Z on social media. Therefore I should be doing this.” “I want to want it. But I just don’t.” When the truth is, you may not have evaluated accurately whether that strategic endeavor is a good one for your business. And what that means is you’re sitting there beating yourself up for “shoulds,” making yourself wrong, spending energy in a direction you don’t need to go, when it’s actually just a mindset “should.”
And that is one of those things that becomes really, really tricky as we’re navigating this particular work and why it is so important for us to be in a circumstance where we’re getting outside information from folks who are experts who are helping us in this particular process, because it’s really easy for me to feel like I should be doing something, but I’m not exactly sure why, and it’s the absolute wrong fit for me.
Right. So as you ask, “How do I feel about doing this?” Examine. Is it “I want to,” is it some kind of, “I don’t want to,” or “I feel tense,” or do you feel like there is a “should” there? And then based on that information, you can take a variety of actions. You can either take action, you can do mindset work, or perhaps you want to get some strategic consult to find out what the actual truth is, not just in general for everybody, but specifically for you.
So as you have heard us have the conversation last week about strategic and this week about mindset, and you’re not even sure which one of those things are getting in the way of you taking the action that’s going to help you to grow your business and have the impact you want in this world. I’d really encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with one of our coaches who are super skilled at helping you to figure out, “Is it mindset? Is it tactical?” Because for each of us, the actions that we need to be taking are unique for our business and our circumstance, you can sign up for one of those free coaching calls by going to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, that’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. Get on the calendar of one of our coaches so that you can be in a circumstance where you’re doing the right task, in the right way, at the right time.
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Until next time, I hope you have 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.
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