Quick help to get back on the productivity waggon

the productivity wagon
Sometimes, the coach needs coaching.

I had an unproductive day yesterday. I decided to work from home instead of going into my co-working space. A client call was cancelled, so I had an extra hour.

Instead of using it, I ended up watching John Butler play Ocean. More than once.

Hey, so maybe 3 or 4 different versions. It’s a beautiful piece of music. Then my morning drifted. I did finish my pitch deck, but that was probably 2 hours or real work that took 4 hours.

What I should have done was rebooted, reset, and re-energised. But I didn’t. I simply continued idling along. We all have these days. At work, we might find ourselves reading emails or checking job ads on LinkedIn. At home, we might spend a whole morning fussing over the best font for a blog post.

We all have these days. At work, we might find ourselves reading emails or checking job ads on LinkedIn. At home, we might spend a whole morning fussing over the best font for a blog post.

I asked my clients to share with me their tactics for when they realise they’ve fallen off the productivity waggon? What do they do when you need to get back to work?

I go for the low-hanging fruit. Work that doesn’t take a lot of commitment or brainpower, to build the momentum back up. Maybe it’s a quick email, or a project that I know will take less than 30 minutes. Better yet if that task is plucked from my backlog. The gratification of completing a low-stakes task shifts my mindset back to work. – Jason

I call an Ace. An ace for me is someone I know gives me business. Even though I know I got the biz, I pretend it’s a cold call even if we talked yesterday. Boom. Connection. I’m back. – Rob

2 things that work for me – one is to go for a walk or do some exercise. The other is if I’m stuck on something I’ll mindmap my thoughts – that often unblocks me really quickly. – Tim

A walk with my dogs is always great for clearing my head and I always feel refreshed and blessed afterwards.  – Dan
My mental state after blowing a few hours when I know I should have been doing something is that the whole day is a wash. My best hit rate with breaking that loop is to go running. Run, take a shower, feel good, go back to work. The whole process to reboot takes 1-2 hours in of itself, which is annoying, but I haven’t found anything else that works consistently. – Jon

 

I force myself to start with something small; like a quick email reply. A small victory that will generate traction to keep working. After this, you beat that initial inertia it gets easier to increase your output for the day.  – Phil

 

My prescription for retrieving productivity is a change of scene. If I can get as far as a cafe and just be around people, that usually re-focuses my attention. – Claudia

All good tips. I think the things that will best suit me are to pack up my gear and walk to my co-working space. That’s why I signed up to The Frankston Foundry in the first place?

What about you? Any tips or tricks to help get back on the Productivity Waggon?

 

 

 

Recommended reading

library

 

 

Recommended Reading

I read as much as I possibly can. Here’s a sample of non-fiction and business / personal development books I can highly recommend.

The Power of No – James and Claudia Altucher
James and Claudia don’t filter. This book is at times brutally honest and astonishingly refreshing. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the authors and burned through it – twice – in a few days.

The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Sometimes we avoid the difficult things in search of the easiest thing. Ryan distills thousands of years of philosophy into a book that has convinced me we should be doing the opposite. I’m trying to live by the motto – if something is hard, do it more often.

The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin
 Josh was the subject of the book (and movie) “Searching for Bobby Fisher” but this book is about much more than that. Josh has learned how to learn. From chess to some insane form of full contact tai chi, Josh talks about the theory – the art – of how to learn.

The 80/20 Principle – Richard Koch
Everyone “knows” the 80/20 or pareto principle. Here Richard talks about when and how to use it, both for business and personal purposes. Once you realise you are effectively wasting 80% of your time, things start to change…

Getting Things Done – David Allen
In a world where many of us are living with infinite opportunities and plenty of things to do to distract us, David’s book helps focus and do things. Although a little dated in parts – really needs to talk about Evernote – the fundamentals are strong.

The Personal MBA – Josh Kaufmann
Josh has nailed this book. Lots and lots of things you need to know to run a business for about $20. It’ll save you $50,000 in business school. 

This book is the foundation for so much of the self-help/personal development/success literature of the last 20 years. A core philosophy built on the 7 habits will help you become happier and more effective.

I had to start with one deBono book and I chose this one. Just read it. One of the things I love about deBono’s writing is he makes everything seem so simple.

I often find that reading one book sends me down the burrow. Keep exploring yourself, or start with any one of these.

 

If you click on the links above and buy the book, I may receive a small payment from amazon. Not much, but it does help offset the costs of  running the site. I only recommend books and products I genuinely believe in and have used myself.

How coach.me took me from coachee to coach and back again…

There and back again
There and back again

Coachee

Like most of you I’m on a constant self improvement journey.

Over 435 days ago I downloaded coach.me with a goal of building habits – such as lose weight, be more productive and other lifestyle goals. The benefit I saw in coach.me was the constant reinforcement and feedback which perhaps other efforts had previously lacked.

A subsequent reading of Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” has further reinforced that coach.me is on the right track.

Formerly Lift, Coach.me is an online app and website that is your personal one on one coach, going  everywhere with you, helping you achieve any goal, change any habit, or build any expertise.

The concept is cleverly simple: Choose a habit, do it, check in. Build a streak, resist breaking the streak and keep doing whatever you want to do. The app is free to use, and there’s a great online community of people who are a step ahead of you and are willing to share their experience and advice.

It’s also possible to follow other members and give and receive “props” (thumbs up) from people. Great additional positive reinforcement.

I joined up and activated a couple of goals that seemed important to me at the time – daily cold showers, something about weights and measurements and a couple of random habits. I started checking in, building streaks.

Over time I mixed up my habits. There doesn’t appear to be a limit but with too many I found the actual process of checking in became onerous so I’ve stayed at around 6.

I also built up the confidence to answer questions in the Q&A and realised

“hey, I actually do know this stuff”.

It’s an interesting change in mindset to move from being good at something to the realisation that, for whatever reason and in whatever capacity, I’m some sort of expert.

Coach

Late in 2014 I received an email from coach.me asking whether I was interesting in “Accountability Coaching”. For $15 a week, an Accountability Coach takes coach.me to the next level by giving you one on one direct access to a person whose job is to help keep you on track. Through asynchronous chat, your Accountability Coach provides tips, direction and feedback when things are going well and also helps get you restarted if you start to stray.

“Well”, I thought “why not?”

Coach.me provided a webinar with training plus additional resources, plus, of course, an “Accountability Coaching” habit to track along with support from other Accountability Coaches. If you’re starting to get the impression that the coach.me people are pretty awesome, you’re on the right track.

I started coaching and a couple of clients found me and I started working with them. They seemed to enjoy the experience.

I was then approached by coach.me to be a “featured coach” in their weekly newsletter. I’m not really sure why they picked me, but I’m grateful.

“Well”, I thought “why not?”

Erin at coach.me suggested I create a plan – so I did (it’s here), coach.me featured me and about 50 people signed up in the first week. Coach.me has a permanent free 1st week code – COACHME – and, as expected, some people were just trying it out, but amazingly about 40 stayed past the first week.

So far I’ve helped about 50 people on “Inbox Zero” and “Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss“. I’ve discovered that my style doesn’t suit everyone and not everyone who says they want to fix something actually has the time, energy or focus to fix it. It’s good fun and I feel I’m adding real value. Some of the comments are private, but I can share this testimonial:

“INBOX ZERO. OMG It’s actually empty. Not just “empty of newish stuff and junk” but EMPTY, for the first time since 2001. I had gotten my Inbox down to a couple hundred saved messages earlier but now it’s EMPTY. I went through some of those couple hundred saved messages and some are clearly out-of-date (now deleted). The rest got group-glumped into “archive” where they are searchable if needed and will probably never be seen or wanted again. Computer memory is cheap (and virtually limitless). Open loops in my own brain are neither.” – Lee.

Coachee

This is all pretty cool and coach.me generously shares the client fee 50/50. That’s handy pocket money to offset the time investment, but coaching isn’t about the money.

An unexpected benefit of all this coaching is that I am learning from my clients. As they ask questions and probe my knowledge I’ve found I’ve clarified my own thinking around my habits. It’s one thing to be able to do something, but how do I explain to someone else what my thought processes are. Are they even my thought processes or do I just think they are?

I’ve also had to become more effective at dealing with the coaching workload outside of business hours. I’ve got a full time job so I need to be strict – coaching does not occur during daylight hours Monday to Friday.

To get up at 540am I need to go to bed on time at 10pm. (And, yes, there’s a habit for that too!). And if I’m getting up at 540am I’m not going to muck around before getting down to business, so I’m better prepared first thing.

Quite obviously I’m also getting better at my habits so I can stay ahead of my awesome clients! I need to be teaching them and working with them and helping them over the obstacles. This is all much easier to do if I’m in the position I should be.

So coach.me has taken me from ‘coachee’ to ‘coach’ and back again. I’m a better person for the experience.

Joining coach.me is a no lose proposition. I highly recommend giving it a try

Action steps:

1) Go to coach.me or download the mobile app. It’s free.

2) Find something you should be doing, sign up to the habit, and start coaching yourself.

3) Contribute. Follow your friends and help out with the Questions and Answers. Be part of the community.

4) If you think you have some coaching in you, sign up.

Good luck.

For more information about what I coach, my coaching link is below:

Get coached on Coach.me