Have you ever thought about why you’re not more productive?
Most of us are busy, overwhelmed, or burned out.
At least, we think we are.
The truth is that this is just a mismanaged mind.
You can create goals, create a plan, then put all the actions on your calendar to accomplish that goal.
The secret sauce to successfully doing this is being more productive. And the way you become more productive is you stop measuring time and effort and you start measuring what you produce.
I will show you how to do just that in this episode on productivity.
Here are more of my favorite resources for productivity:
- How To Stop Being Busy (free training)
- Best Planning Practices (podcast)
- How To Be Productive When You’re Not Feeling Motivated (blog post)
- Dream Year: How To Accomplish Your #1 Goal This Year And Feel Good Doing It (book + workbook)
- Personal Development Free Course (free training)
- Personal Development For Her (course)
- 21 Simple Ways To Be More Productive (blog post)
- 7 Steps To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed When Your Life Seems Chaotic (blog post)
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hello, how are you doing this morning? I’m really, really glad that you’re here today. I’m like super pumped because I’m going to share with you my best productivity secrets and I swear like even though I’ve always kind of been organized and I would have said that I was productive. It wasn’t until the last year that I actually became really, really productive.
I quit my full time job. I created six digital products. I almost quadrupled my income. I paid off a ton of student loan debt. I moved from Ohio to Chicago. I became a certified life coach and I launched a podcast. Any one of these things I think would have been an accomplishment just standing alone for the year. But I did all of these in one year and I don’t say that to um like a brag or boast or anything like that. I say it because you can do it too, like whatever your things are that you want to accomplish in the next year.
But you have to be really, really intentional about it. It won’t just happen. Like these were very well thought out goals and I worked backwards from them and I made sure that I was really productive. So I want you to use the tactics in this episode in your life because when you are productive and when you get the results you want, it feels amazing.
Like I just have so much gratitude. It feels so good. Like it feels so good to be proud of yourself. Like really try that. I don’t think we spend enough time feeling proud of ourselves and we deserve it. We accomplish these things and we really just owe it to ourselves to feel proud and feel gratitude and feel accomplished. It really, really does feel amazing.
So the first thing that I want to start with is to define productivity. Now I know that we talk about being productive as this like thing where, um, you know, we’re focused on our to do lists and our tasks. But what I want to encourage you to do, and what I’m obsessed with doing is to just measure what you produce. It’s not what you’re busy doing. It’s not the activity. It is not how much you work. It is not how hard you work, how hard you work, and how many hours are totally irrelevant to productivity.
Now this alone like can just change your life, right? Like how often are we focusing on how hard we’re working and how much we’re effort we’re putting in and not focusing on what we’re producing. Cause those you can work really, really hard and not produce a lot at all. So you want to focus on what you’re actually producing. Here’s how you do this. You make a list of all the things that you need to do and this should STEM from like whatever your goal is and work backwards. So it shouldn’t just be forward thinking like what’s my to do list?
You should start from like the end result and work backwards. So you have the goal, you work backwards, you make a massive action list of all the actions that you need to take to accomplish this goal. This list is very tedious to create. It is not the most enjoyable process in my opinion. And it’s kind of labor intensive, but it is so worth it.
Like when you like make a massive action list of all the things that you need to do to get something done and accomplished. It is magic because then all you have to do is put it on your calendar in specific time blocks and include steps where if you don’t know how to do something, you put the timeframe to figure it out. So like if you needed to literally start a website and you didn’t know how to do that, you would put like two hours as an item to figure out how to start a website.
That would be like one of your action items and you really want to make a list of more action items than you ever think you would need so that no matter what, you’ll accomplish your goal. And then this is the key. You put the results on the calendar, not the activity. So there needs to be a result when you’re done, not just time spent. So you wouldn’t put on your calendar work on blog.
You would schedule what? Write one blog post and create two Pinterest images for the post. You give yourself three hours, you have to get it done within that amount of time. But this isn’t just for business, this is for everything. So you don’t just schedule workout, you put that you’re going to run four miles and you put the exact amount of time. This applies to people who are staying home with kids.
You wouldn’t just put on your calendar like day home with the kids. You schedule out exactly what you’re going to produce during each amount of time for everything you do. You plan the result you expect to get during that specific amount of time. So when you have the goal of productivity, what’s going to happen is that you’re gonna be more energized than if you focused on the amount of hours spent.
So it’s like if you are an employee at a job, if you focus on, I have to go to work for eight hours a day and you are looking forward to 5:00 PM and you are just busying and focusing on like getting to five, you are not going to have a lot of energy. You’re not going to produce a lot. But if you focus on what you need to produce to be the best employee that day to provide the most value, you will block things out on your calendar to get more done and you will be more energized and nothing about your job has to change for you to do that.
I like, I love this and it makes such a difference in your life. So many people will ask me about this and they’ll ask, how long should I give myself to do something? And I want to encourage you to give yourself less time than you think you need. More people will end up doing the opposite and they will give themselves more time cause they think, you know they’re burned out or tired. So they need more time to do things.
And I want to encourage you to know that the opposite is actually true. The less time you give yourself, the more energized you’ll be during that time to get it done. You won’t indulge in confusion. You won’t indulge in, I don’t know, you won’t stress, you won’t be checking social media and chatting. You won’t be in confusion. You will be like, all right, I got two hours to write this blog post, I need to get it done.
So you actually waste less time and then you give yourself more downtime because you’re not giving yourself five hours to write a blog post. You’re giving yourself two hours and then you have three hours off. So I used to be someone who totally indulged in full days of work where I wasn’t actually producing and measuring what I was producing.
I just knew I needed to get a lot done. So I would just, you know, work on my blog all day. Well that turned into me thinking I had to spend that time working. So I would, you know, take time and go on social media, chat with friends or whatever. It was just so drawn out. Instead. Now what I’ll do is I’ll put like four hours on the calendar and I’ll put exactly what I’m going to produce in those four hours. And then when four hours is up, I am done.
So just know that giving yourself more time doesn’t mean that something’s going to be better. If you give yourself six months to start a blog, it will take six months. If you give yourself six days to start a blog, it will take six days. And I want you to know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that your blog that takes six months is going to be better than six days, because you could actually spend the same amount of time over six months in six days.
So just know that oftentimes we equate longer amount of time with something being better, and that’s not the case. So instead of you thinking about how long will this take, I want you to do like you did in school and give yourself a deadline. I have two hours to get this done. I have one month to schedule the next activities to get my ebook done.
You know I have one month to launch my next funnel. Whatever it is, give yourself deadlines and put those specific deadlines on your calendar. If you don’t do this, your productivity is going to be very low because you’re going to rely on your brain to do as you please, which means you’re not going to push yourself. So your brain doesn’t want to be uncomfortable. It doesn’t want to work hard. It’s always going to seek pleasure, so you’re just not going to produce as much as you need to to be effective.
Also keep in mind that when it’s time to do the work and produce what you put on your calendar, your brain is not going to want to. Nothing has gone wrong. It’s just your brain wanting to stay comfortable and not do the work. So I just want you to recognize this. So just because you have a feeling that’s like resistant towards doing what you put on your calendar, it doesn’t mean that anything has gone wrong.
Now, what I see so many people do is like we think that because we don’t feel like it in the moment, that thing, that means that we shouldn’t be doing it. That means that something has gone wrong. That means that we should stop. That’s not true. A feeling is just a feeling and it doesn’t have meaning until you give it meaning.
You don’t have to make that resistance mean that you should stop or not do it. What I want to encourage you to do is kind of expect that discomfort ahead of time and plan to overcome it and to do the thing anyways. So like if I didn’t want to sit down and do this podcast, I would plan for that ahead time and just say, well no matter how I’m gonna feel, I’m gonna do it cause it’s on my calendar and I honor my commitments to myself.
Okay. Part of being highly productive also is letting go of perfectionism. Y’all are some perfectionist and it’s so funny because I can really relate to this. I used to be this way when I was an attorney and I was just someone who loved school and naturally like the worker mindset was very much aligned with being a perfectionist and caring about grammar and all that.
Well I will tell you as an entrepreneur there is no room for perfectionism and over the last five years I’ve really transformed and I’m not a perfectionist at all, which is really fun because people will still email me stuff that like needs to be edited on my site. And I think when I started my blog I would have cared a lot and now I like could not care less. Like I don’t care. I really don’t care. It’s beautiful like cause I mean that right?
Like nothing has changed. People still email me mistakes all the time and but now I don’t care. And before I used to, the shift is in the mindset. It’s how I’m thinking about it. When you are a perfectionist, you are scared of that people are going to judge you. You don’t want people to tell you you did something wrong.
This could just be personally, and it could also be because you’re used to telling people that they’re doing stuff wrong. If you stop doing that, if you stop telling other people they’re doing it wrong and you are more compassionate with yourself, you will let go of the need to be a perfectionist and then you will focus on getting it done. I learned from Brooke Castillo, something that she teaches is that you need to be willing to put out B minus work. I love this. The reason that this is important is because you are going to need to produce so much to be successful.
So maybe every one out of 10 things you produce is going to be a hit, right? If you’re producing a freebie for your blog, you could think it’s amazing. You may have gotten feedback from bloggers that it’s a great idea, but until you look at those numbers and until you see what the market really wants from you, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, right?
It’s either a success or it’s not. And I’m telling you, one out of 10 things might be successful. So if you take a year to do it or if you, you know, people will take like a year to create a course. I’m like that is a huge mistake because that course might be a flop. So you really want to make sure that you’re focusing on producing so much more than you need to produce so you can see what’s avhit so you can see what successful, so you can see what works.
And then once it’s done and into the world and you know it’s a hit, then you can go back and make edits and make it better. That’s what I do. Like I just actually hired someone to go through all of my slides in my courses and edit all of them. This was amazing.
I did not wait to produce them. I produced a course in April. I launched another one in July and then in October. So I made sure I got it done and put it out into the world even though I hadn’t been professionally edited. And now I’m going back, you know, now that it’s later on in the year, the next year and now I’m editing it. And it’s much better like I would have lost out on all of that money and all of that value that I provided to my audience. So this is just something to keep in mind.
I want you to focus on measuring what you produce. So when you have finished your day or whatever, ask yourself, what did I produce? Maybe it’s the time period that you were working on your blog or something else or worked out, whatever. What did you produce during this amount of time?
It doesn’t have to be if you’re an entrepreneur, it can be your workday can be your time with your kids. Like what did you do? Think about when you go into a store and you’re going to buy something. I love using the Apple example. So you go into the Apple store and you want to buy an iPhone. You want to know what that iPhone can do. You want to know what features it has. You want to know what value is. In that iPhone, you do not care about how long it took someone to create the iPhone.
You do not care about who worked on it or what they did to work on it, or you know, all of the strategy that went into it and the time and the effort. So at the heart of this productivity episode is shifting your mindset from like the time and effort economy to the value and production economy.
There’s a huge mental shift that needs to take place. So you can’t think about things in terms of time and effort and energy anymore. You have to look at the end result of what you’re producing. So when you shift your thinking to this way, your energy will actually shift because you’ll be focused on what you’re producing. You want to make sure you’re highly, highly productive. So if someone says to me, I’ve been blogging for one year, that can mean very different things depending on the person. What have you produced?
Have you even actually produced blog posts? You know, what kind of money are you making? That sort of stuff. So look at what you’re producing and measure based on productivity. Then you don’t have to work as many hours and you’re going to be more refreshed. You’re also going to be so much more energized about what you’re doing.
When people come to me and they say they’re tired and they’re overwhelmed and they’re busy and they’re spread too thin and they have like a ton of kids and they don’t have time and all of this, they’re like indulging in self pity a little bit and that’s how I know they’re not being productive is because of the frame that they come with those complaints. So when you are highly productive and you are taking responsibility for your life and your time, you are going to come from an abundant mindset and you are not going to come from self-pity, which is in scarcity.
So just notice yourself if you’re doing this and notice that you want to become aware of it and make that mental shift so you don’t have to suffer so much unnecessarily and you can actually get the results that you want. You want to make sure you’re not coming from like a poor me kind of way and focused on controlling your time.
And using it for what you want most and like that’s part of productivity. It’s knowing what you want to schedule, knowing what is valuable to you and what you want to make a priority. Because once you get really, really clear about what you want in your life, then you can create a plan and get super productive. So you know, I want to create a seven figure online business. I also want to work three days per week. I want to speak, I want to write books, I want to travel, I want to spend time with family and friends.
I want to have time to cook and work out and read books and have downtime. The only way I can do all of this while working three days a week and having a seven figure business is if I’m a highly, highly productive and I use my work time to actually produce.
So I’m not sitting around thinking and stressing and busying and focusing on the activity. I start every day with a plan. I look at my to do list and make sure that I have my to do lists scheduled out as results. And by results, I mean, you know, today I planned out that I was going to record a podcast. I was going to create the Pinterest image and the regular image for that. I was going to read a book, whatever else I’m going to do with my day, but I have it in time blocks on my calendar and I don’t just have work on my business, right?
It’s a very clear about what I’m going to produce every single day. And that is how I get the results I want. You want to make sure that you’re creating the right emotions for this too. So if you are feeling efficient and focused and energized, you know you’re coming from higher level abundant emotions that will help you versus the scarcity emotions, which you know will look like worry and confusion and I don’t know, and they’re kind of indulgent and you just spend out.
So if you want to be more productive, you need to focus on what you’re producing, creating a plan, putting that plan into action by putting those results on your calendar. And then a following through. When you shift your mindset to becoming someone who measures things based on results and what you’re producing, your productivity will skyrocket. Unlike anything else. Like this is the way that I was able to get the results that I was in the last year.
I focus solely on results. I put all the results I wanted on my calendar, all the activities I needed to do to get those results in a result based format. So I never, you know, put like study how to become a life coach, right? It was, I picked the program, I worked backwards. I put all the action items I needed as a result on my calendar.
Same thing for you know, my income. Same thing for creating digital products, which was product creation mode. It was not always enjoyable, but I was so energized, I was highly, highly productive and now I get to reap the benefits of that. And like I said in the beginning, it’s something that feels amazing. Like you will look back and be so grateful and appreciative that you did this because you’ll be so proud of yourself.
And it really, really feels amazing to be proud of yourself. So whatever it is that you want in your life, set a goal for it. Come up with an action list that you need to do to get it and put all those action items as results on your calendar. Do the work and watch how amazing it is for you to get the results and then be super proud of yourself because you are awesome and you did it. Okay. I will see you in the next episode.
Thank you for listening to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. To learn more about designing your dream life visit NatalieBacon.com.