"Goal" can sometimes feel like a dirty word. We keep trying and pushing and hustling and still may not complete our goal in the end, which makes us feel like failures. I've failed so much in my life, but each failure has brought me closer to the truth I needed to hear and the method I needed to use in order to achieve my goal and complete my projects.
Now, I'm sharing that method with you. Over the next several podcast episodes, I'll be going several steps in my goal setting process, which starts with shifting your mindset and the key thing you need to know in order to achieve your goal.
In this episode, you'll hear:
- What ‘productivity’ really means
- The truth about time
- The perception of time
- How to recognize your true priorities
Scroll down for links to listen.
You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and more. Find links to all the apps here. If you like listening to the audio on video, you can also watch via my YouTube channel, or just read the transcript for the episode, too (you'll find it at the bottom of the page). You can also support the podcast (and me!) on Patreon!
One thing I didn't discuss on this podcast was what to do if you don't know how long a task will take. Anytime you do a task for the first time, it will take you longer, so budget twice the amount of time you think you need. You can also reach out to others who have done the same/similar tasks and see how long it took them.
Finally, you can also use this tip from me - When in doubt, hour it out - and plan for a task based on hours (at least one, but it could be 2 or 3 or more hours depending on the task). Planning for an hour might be overkill but, if you get done sooner, then you can fill that time with the next item on your to-do list. Overestimating the time to complete a task makes you feel accomplished; underestimating makes you feel as though you failed, even though you haven't.
After you listen, join our podcast community on Facebook or comment below and let me know: What from this episode resonated with you? Has it changed your perception about time?
Next week, we'll continue the series and our discussion about mindset and go over just how much your time is really worth - it's going to be a gamechanger, so don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss it.
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[00:00:00] Today, I'm sharing the key to achieving your goals and completing your projects. This is the first episode in a series to help you get organized and set yourself up for success at any time of the year, so please keep listening.
[00:00:35] You may write alone, but you are not alone. Inside the Writer's Soul focuses on how personal experiences can inform your writing and help you speak from the soul to really connect with readers and other authors as well. Your writer's soul doesn't need to take the writing and publishing journey alone. Join me, your host M. Khan, and let's move forward together.
[00:00:37] Hello and welcome! So I'm kicking off a series all about organizing your overwhelm and getting yourself set up for success, and the first thing you really need to think about in order to do that is your mindset. Now, there are a lot of people talking about mindset, but I will say that for me, when I started to shift my thinking around certain topics or around certain ideas, that's when I really started to see change in my own life. And it takes time. Mindset is not something that you can switch overnight, but if you put in that time, if you continue to work at it, then you can absolutely see the difference. Not just in what you're accomplishing, but just in yourself as well, in your confidence, in your ability to manage the unexpected, even in how you approach projects and approach the day. All of those things slowly shift to something more positive and something that's helpful. And that's really what doing a positive mindset shift can do for you.
[00:01:44] One of the terms I'll talk about today, which needs a mindset shift, is productivity. We hear this all the time. We see those things on social media or Instagram that have those quotes about hustling harder and being more productive and all of those things. But let me tell you that that kind of culture can be limiting. Seeing those kinds of quotes actually makes me personally feel bad. I have a chronic health issue, I just don't have the energy to hustle any harder along with my day job and family life and everything in between, while I'm also trying to build this career as an author and creator.
[00:02:23] So one of the mindset shifts you might need to learn is that productivity is not equal for everybody. If you look up the definition of productivity in the dictionary, it basically says something like 'having the power of producing especially in abundance'. I think that's the definition from Merriam-Webster. But is that definition realistic? No, it's not. One of the traps people fall into is believing that other people's definitions are our definitions, that what they're doing is what we should be doing, and it's wrong. Don't let other people define productivity for you, or abundance for you. Your life is not the same as another author's or another creator's or even as another person in your family's. You are unique and so is how you should approach productivity. Productivity is personal. I'll say it again and productivity is personal.
[00:03:22] Now that definition I just mentioned also had the word abundance in it, and abundance is also personal. There's an assumption that being productive means doing a lot, which is wrong in my opinion anyway. Abundance is something relevant to you. It is personal, but that doesn't mean you need to overextend yourself trying to make your goals happen and trying to make your projects happen. You hold the power of your productivity. You define it, and you design it. And learning that was one of the biggest keys to helping shift my mindset over how much I should be doing for my business or for my books.
[00:04:01] Being productive is about working smarter in a set amount of time. That's what I think of when I think of productivity. It's personal to me. I define what productivity means for me, and I figure out a way to work smarter in a set amount of time. The goal is to work smarter, not harder in order to maximize the hours you have to do what you need to do, and what you want to do. Everybody has a different life, priorities, and responsibilities. And what I'm going to be talking about over this episode and the next several episodes will help you utilize time best for you and your life.
[00:04:38] Have you ever felt like you never have "enough" time? That might be because: you don't know how long a task will actually take to complete, you don't know how to complete a task or you're missing some information you need to complete it, you don't really want to do the task in the first place so maybe you're avoiding it or you're procrastinating.
[00:04:58] Well, here are some truths about time. It is a fixed construct. It never changes. Everyone - you, me, that super successful author, or the person just starting on their author or creator journey - has exactly the same amount of time. Everybody has 24 hours to live their life each day or 168 hours each week. That may seem like something obvious that you may already know, but it's something we tend to take for granted in a way. We assume we know what it means to have 24 hours in a day, so we don't always think about the best way to fill those hours.
[00:05:36] Here's another truth: You can't invent more time or add more time. Thinking you'll find time here or there isn't realistic and it won't help you be more productive. More often than not, it could just frustrate you because you'll never find that time. Think about it. How often have you said "I'll make time for that later" but later came and went, and so did that time.
[00:05:59] For those of us still working a day job or doing shift work, we have a different way to view time at the job versus time when we're at home. The same is true if you're at school or at university. We approach time differently because of deadlines, goals, projects that we're asked or forced to do as part of a job or a class. That means we perceive time differently depending on the situation we're in. So why do we approach time and productivity one way in one aspect of our lives, such as work, but don't in another, such as home?
[00:06:33] So you have these different buckets of time. You have personal time - this is time you spend on your own, replenishing your mental and physical and creative energy, maybe you're planning or doing self-care or just self important tasks. You have creative time - that's time you might separate out for writing or for creating. You have home life - that's where you're doing things for your home. Maybe you're cleaning, maybe your spending time with your family. If you're in school, you'll have school time. And if you have a regular day job, then you'll have that as well. And those times can overlap.
[00:07:11] But the point is, during some buckets of time, you will list out everything you need to do. You'll break it down into 1/2 hours or hours. You'll figure out what you need to do and when you need to do it. Yet, in other buckets of time, you won't necessarily do that. You might have a very tightly honed schedule at work that divides up your day into those blocks of time for meetings, for lunches. Even if you're doing shift work, when you're working versus when you're not. But when we come home, we don't always do that. And that's where we fall into the trap of thinking we'll find time to do this or that later on, but we don't because we haven't set aside time to do it.
[00:07:52] Do you ever do jigsaw puzzles or have you ever seen one before? It's basically a picture that's been broken up into a certain number of pieces, say a thousand, and your job is to then take all these different pieces and put them back together in the picture again. Well doing a jigsaw puzzle would be hard if you didn't know the shape of each piece, right? You need to see the shapes in order to see how they all fit together. The same is true for the goal and the projects that you work on.
[00:08:19] If you don't know how much time the individual tasks of those projects will take, you'll never be able to budget the right amount of time for it. Here's something you might have said, I know I've certainly said it, and that's "I don't have time". Whenever you say that about something, you're basically saying that whatever that is is not a priority for you. Maybe it's something simple, like taking out the trash: I don't have time for that, taking out the trash is not a priority for you. It might be something bigger: I need to do my taxes, but I don't have time, well taxes are not a priority for you until the deadline comes up. Or maybe thinking back to the reasons I mentioned earlier, it might be that there's a piece of information you're missing to do your taxes, or maybe money really stresses you out so doing your taxes is a stressful endeavor for you so that's why you're putting it off and not making it a priority.
[00:09:12] Whatever the case, I want you to think about those things and those different tasks that you do where you've said "I don't have time". Think back to your different buckets of time. Think about when you have a more structured schedule to do things and when you don't. And this isn't to say that you need to have a structured schedule for your whole life every single day. But just realizing how much time certain tasks will take will make your day so much easier. It will help you finish things so much faster.
[00:09:43] And that's basically the key to achieving your goals, is just knowing how long all of the different tasks under that goal or project will take. I'll be talking more about time in the next couple episodes. In the next episode I'll be talking about how much your time is actually worth so be sure to tune in for that episode and the next installment of this series.
[00:10:06] Now I want to hear from you. What from this episode resonated with you? Has it changed your perception about time? Head to the blog or join our community on Facebook to let me know, the link's in the show notes. I'd also be very grateful if you could leave a review for this podcast wherever you like to listen. Thank you.
[00:10:59] Thank you for listening to this episode. Check out the show notes for links to my blog and our community where you can get involved in the discussion and support others. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to get to free and powerful tools to help you. One: access to my growing library of free resources for authors; and Two: you'll also get access to my exclusive writing challenge "How to Write Faster in 14 Days" where I share all my tips and techniques that helped me finish over 20 works in five years. Check out the show notes for all the links and thanks again for being part of this community.