Productivity Part 1: The Single Most Important Thing to do to be Massively Productive (aka Get More Sh*t Done)!
Lover’s Lane, San Francisco
What is the most common response people have when you ask why they don’t do what they want to do?
Wait for it… (no pun intended)
“I don’t have time.”
This is the single biggest excuse people use to not do things – whether that is to get fit and healthy, to improve themselves or their relationships or to discover the work that lights them up.
But the thing is, one of the only things we all do have in common is time! So how come some people can be massively productive (have a family, work full time or run one or more companies, travel the world, volunteer and give back, etc.) while there are other people in a very similar situation who apparently ‘don’t have time’ for anything?
I got thinking about this the other day over dinner with my family. I was explaining to my father-in-law some details about a financial seminar I attended. In the next breath, I mentioned something about LYL and followed that with the tasks on my personal agenda. He asked me:
“Are you the bionic woman?”
After a good chuckle, I started thinking about the tips and tricks I use to manage what I have going on in my life. I definitely have less going on than some people and maybe more than others, but I do feel like I am able to accomplish a lot, while still maintaining balance – and most importantly, with very little associated stress.
As many of you know, Scott’s favorite nickname for me was his Chief Balance Officer (his second favorite nickname for me was Buddha in Barbie’s clothing) because I don’t spend a lot of my time stressed and anxious and he loved how I helped him stay sane and balanced. 🙂
I am by no means perfect and there are plenty of times where my plate feels full but overall, I think there are tips and tricks that can help us manage the many things we all have going on without the added stress. To give you an idea, here’s a short list of what I am currently involved in:
- First and foremost, processing the loss of Scott, my dear husband and soul mate. This takes a tremendous amount of emotional energy and also requires time for self discovery and reflection and for working with the people I am leaning on to help me in this area. This is by far the biggest thing on my plate.
- Administrative and legal tasks. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that there are a lot of time consuming and ‘not-so-fun’ administrative things that need to be dealt with.
- Running a business. Keeping LYL alive and thriving is no small task. It’s more than a full time job. However, I do have flexibility in where and when I do that work. For example, planes are some of my favorite times to do work, in fact I am writing this from a plane at the moment! I write. I create. I manage. I prepare for speaking and interview requests. I respond. I envision. I decide. I execute. I strive. And, I learn…
- Learning how to run a business. I was an employee of a company prior to this but I have never been in charge of a company so there are skills that I need to develop, practice and repeat. Which is a living example of why your WHY is so important. I may not know all the HOW’s ahead of me but my WHY is stronger than almost any other than I can think of!
- I still work part time for my other job at The Dailey Method. Not because I need to, but because I love the community, the classes and working with my friend and mentor Jill Dailey.
- Finding Balance. I tend to close my computer for work related purposes by 6:00pm. Occasionally I open it to pay bills, plan travel, etc. but mostly the computer goes down when the sun goes down.
- In-person time with family and friends. When I am in SF, I make plans with friends and family about 5-7 times/week, whether that is lunch, dinner, a walk or a workout class.
- Travel: The seminars listed below, time with family and friends, and personal exploration take me on the road quite often.
- Keeping my mind and body healthy.
- I work out 5-7 days a week.
- I separately schedule stillness (in the form of meditation, watching the sunrise/sunset, or taking a walk) 5-7 days a week.
- I get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights.
- I am a part of a women’s mastermind.
- I am part of a group where I can attend a number of different seminars this year on all different topics (business, finance, life, wealth, contribution, spirituality, etc.).
- I listen to podcasts 3-5 times a week.
- I am on average reading about 2 books/month.
So that’s sort of my life in a nutshell at the moment…
Note: I am not at all stating that any two situations are the same. There are some things you may be dealing with that I will never understand. I am aware and grateful that Scott and I built a business that allows me to work, to travel and to have flexibility with my schedule. I only list the above to give a tangible rather than hypothetical example of what is on my plate.
The Power of Productivity
So with all that being said, I want to share with you a deep dive into my own personal productivity strategies so that you too can get massive amounts of important stuff done.
But before we dive into all the tips and tricks, for this week I want to focus on sharing with you the single most important thing of all to be massively productive. Because if you don’t nail this one thing, the rest of the tips and tricks will simply make no difference.
So let’s dive in!
There is a ton of advice out there about how to be productive, but why is it important in the first place?
1. You Take The Reins of Your Life
When you step in the driver’s seat of your own life instead of being subject to what is around you (one of those being ‘time’), you stop being a victim and start being a victor of your life. When you start to manage what is happening inside of you, instead of just reacting to what is around you, you take control of one of the few things we have in our power. This is what allows you to succeed no matter what happens around you – because no one can ever take you away from you. You start to discover what you are truly capable of, and that is empowering and inspiring all at once.
2. Finding Ease in Chaos
It is so easy to get overwhelmed when we have a lot going on. But stressing about what you having to do simply stops you from doing what you have to do. This doesn’t serve you or anyone else. So finding ways to focus and get sh*t done without all the baggage will make life easier for everyone, you and all those around you.
3. The More You Do, The More You Give
The voice inside of you is meant to be heard. So the more you get out in the world instead of passively standing by and observing, the more your own unique voice will be heard. Whether that is in the form of what you create or who you help. The more time you spend genuinely doing things that make you you, the more you will give to yourself and to the world. Plus, it feels good to get sh*t done because as humans we all desire to grow and to give.
The #1 Thing you Need to Do to be More Productive
As I said above, we’ll get to the more practical tips over the coming weeks to help you get a lot of stuff done. But first let’s talk about the number one thing you need to do to manage all that you have going on with ease instead of angst.
And guess what? It has nothing to do with how you manage your schedule or what you prioritize.
Ready for it?!
Yep. The less you complain, the more sh*t you will get done. Without. A. Doubt!
Because the moment you stop complaining, you take responsibility. And the more you take responsibility, the more you own what you do. There’s a major difference in thinking that you have to be doing something rather than that you choose to be doing something.
And, on top of that, if you spend all of your time complaining about the sh*t you have to do, all you’re actually doing is prolonging the sh*t you have to do. Complaining literally just leads to more time for complaining!
In my opinion, you have three simple choices in any given situation:
Know anyone who has complained about something for the past 10, 20, 30 years?! Yep, that’s what we are talking about. The hardest work you will ever do is the work you do on yourself, which is why so many people stay in situations they don’t like. When you start to grow, you are forced to face your fears head on and get out of your comfort zone. Which can be scary! So staying in a situation and complaining about it is actually the easiest thing to do. And is often times a permanent and painful option.
This would mean leaving a situation altogether or reworking where you currently are in that situation. I think we all know the person who jumps from one thing to the next, thinking is it going to make them happy but they never really end up satisfied with anything. That’s why it’s important to recognize that this can be permanent and joyful change if you are really aligned (which would actually be option 3) but most often is temporarily joyful if you are still relying on external factors (things and situations) to bring you happiness and fulfillment. Things will never permanently make you happy if you aren’t aligned with who you are.
Aligning with a situation requires reworking your mind, your beliefs, your meanings, your associations about a particular thing to take ownership for what you are doing so that your actions are aligned with your why. Often times this involves getting outside of yourself and thinking bigger or broader about why you are doing what you are doing (i.e. who you are helping, the greater cause you are serving, etc.). This is often times a more permanent and joyful option but as you grow as a person you realign, then you grow, then you realign. I think you get my drift…
So, it’s pretty simple.
If you want to do more… stop complaining and start doing.
It’s not rocket science but it works because you start to take responsibility for the things you are choosing to do every day – because you are in fact making that choice.
Change Your Language, Change Your Life
We’d never leave you on that note without a take-away to help you put this idea into action, so here is a simple activity that will create that sense of ownership in the things you do.
It’s super easy, all you have to do is to change your language. Here’s a little step by step process:
- Notice how you say things. Do you find yourself saying “I have to go pick up the kids from school.” “I should go to this work function.” I have to go to the gym.”
- Replace “I have to” or “I should” with “I choose to.” Because really you don’t have to do anything! If you are doing it, you are choosing to, so own up to it. Make sure you make this correction not only as you speak aloud to others but also in your head. Your thoughts dictate your actions and your actions are what determine how much you actually get done!
- Notice the freedom you feel. And you may even start to release some heaviness (and realize that you are, as Tony Robbins says, ‘should-ing all over yourself’). So if you do happen to notice this, it might be time to take some of those things off your list… It will free you and those around you!
- Once “I choose to” feels like it has become your truth, take it a step further and replace “I choose to” with “I get to.” Because I can guarantee you someone would die to be in your shoes. You have to go pick up the kids from school? There’s someone out there who would do anything to have children of their own. You should go to a work function? There’s someone out there who thinks your job is their dream job and would love to be in your shoes. You have to go to the gym? There’s someone out there whose body does not allow them to go to the gym, so be grateful and honor the body you have. You “get to” do so many amazing things. Appreciate them!
- Once “I get to” feels like it has become your truth, take it a step further and replace “I get to” with “I want to.” Because when you can say this with genuine authenticity, you will want to!
It may sound like a subtle change, but will make a huge difference.
And because this post in it’s entirety turned out to be over 13 pages long, keep your eyes peeled for next week’s post where we’ll share 10 Practical Tips to Maximize Productivity!
For now, go do what you choose, get and want to do. 🙂
– Chelsea Dinsmore
P.S. Thanks to my dear friend Joel Gagnon for the inspiration for this post!