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How to Get More Done

Lesson 8 of 17

Redefine What It Means to Be Productive

Tara Swiger

How to Get More Done

Tara Swiger

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Lesson Info

8. Redefine What It Means to Be Productive

Lesson Info

Redefine What It Means to Be Productive

So then the question is if this is your system, how is it working? Like I asked you guys who shared your system? Is it working out for you? Well, how do you feel about it? What are some of the aspects when you compare what when you're most productive with what you currently doing your system can u c o that's why? I don't feel great because this is when I feel productive, but this is what I'm doing you tell me you don't work well between twelve and core, but your daily work days from prague before, like thinking that's why it feels awful you're most productive when you listen to music, but you've been working in total silence like that's no good so you can look and we're going to dive into this more, but you can start to see what when you feel great and when it and what you're currently doing and kind of find the gap and then fill in that gap, take what's working great and apply it to your current system so you can fill out the rest of page nine and, uh, ten actually goes over to page t...

en as well. So now there are two main reasons I see that people feel unproductive, so we've talked about you totally have a system, you have a way of getting things done, but you don't feel good about it? None of you said I'm gonna turn it so amazing. So you feel unproductive because of these two things? The first one is internal rules that's the things that you said that you say I have to do axels, I'm not productive or I have to get this done or I'm no good. The second one is unreasonable expectations, and that is when you expect you're going to get something done and you don't or you expect that things were going to go a certain way like you just want the world to conform to what would be perfect for you and it's not, and you're having a reasonable expectation so you feel super unproductive because things didn't work out the way you wanted teo. So we're going to cover both, and I want to start with internal rules, which you will find some questions about on page eleven of your workbook and you can start answering those questions is like, explain what they are. So we all have internal rules about all kinds of things, and what I mean by this is this is a rule that you might have heard from a teacher or a parent, or you just decided self employed people do x creatives do why, and you have absorbed it as a rule in which you measure yourself and others. And when it comes to getting work done often these rules are completely hidden, and we don't really realize how much they're impacting our actions and how we feel about our work today. So for example, one rule about working might be, well, I need x amount of hours before it really counts is a work session I need to have two hours toe work were also no point doing anything was actually just talking tio person who built her business after being a stay at home mom yesterday, and she was saying she does like, five minutes if there's any time that she no one else needs her that's, her work time, that's her rule and it's working really well for her. So some internal rules are awesome and some will drag you down, so if she had the I need a two hour chunk or there's no point working, she wouldn't have a business because you're not going to get a two hour chunk unless your baby really naps well in youth day of late at night, so she so you're internal rules are going to guide when you work and how you work. So I want you to start thinking, what are the rules that I assigned to our work session now? One rule might be that you're wasting time if you're not making something or one rules at some artists and fine artist I know have is that they're wasting time when they're in the studio like noodling around, right? Because making art like takes a lot of you don't just go in and turn it out, it's like, think and put things together and maybe play, and then I didn't like that, so I painted over that campus that might be an internal rule is if I'm not like productive, productive than it's wasting time, you have all kinds of rules about when they can work, how they can work if they're wasting time or not. My own ridiculous internal rules for the longest time was if I don't start work by noon. There's no point it's not a work day now, if you work in tow for five if you start at noon that's no four or five hours like that's that's a huge chunk, but because of my experience in the work world was starting at like seven or eight I felt starting afternoon was just ridiculous, so even if I had something like a doctor's appointment or I was on the phone with a client, if I didn't sit down on my computer at noon, I'd be like, well, what's the point it's, not even a work day. You can see how detrimental that isthe right that's just like you throwing away for hours what would happen is that we'd still sit down to work but I'd be like, well it's not a real work day so I'd like we are internet I pinterest around I'd like spend some time taking too long the answer emails instead of treating it like a workday where I really did my priorities that's just one of my many insane rules so internal rolls I want you to ask yourself and the workbook ask you what are your rules for feeling productive and how do you want to feel after you've worked so sometimes people in order to feel productive have to feel like they have lots of energy or sometimes in order to feel productive they have to feel totally wiped out and if they end the work session and they don't feel totally wiped out they think well I didn't work that hard well that's like ridiculous you're not in a mine it's not about like physical labor meaning results sometimes you can just have a great day and feel good or sometimes you'll have a great day and still just feel worn out at the end of it so those are there's another into so then another question to identify a maternal role is what must happen in order for you to feel this way so if you decide that you need to always feel worn out, and you'll only feel worn out if you made ten of your items than any day that you spend just working on your marketing plan, you're not going to count as a work today, you're gonna feel unproductive, and I bring up these internal rules because often we have a really productive times. We get a lot done, but we tell ourselves it's, unproductive, and that leads to that spiral of shame and the motivation and not doing anything, and it leads us to say I had a four day when really you got about a nine day if your internal rules weren't beating you up for what you did and didn't do so I shared some of my examples. Do you guys have examples of crazy internal rules? Or maybe rules that your brain is telling you that's totally reasonable? That is a good rule? Yes, to get organized before I can start working, that is such a good one. So many people tell me, well, I would work on my business, isn't is I'm organized about x or y family? No, just make a thing and put it in a shop like that's a business, you don't have to be organized or do you like, clean your your studio, your space before you start hours way I should have known because you're over complicating things yes, I kind of worked like I eat on doesn't matter let me preface this by thing I can eat a small bag of chips no problem. Well, I can get a big bag of chips no problem, but I just want to get to the bottom of the bit part of big so when I have a deadline or a project I like work like crazy hours just get to that bottom to the deadline like I do to the bottom of the bag and so I find that everything else just goes haywire then I'm so singularly focused on getting done right? Uh, justin, anything else that might need to get down in your businesses like pushed aside and then when you go back and you look and you think, well, I got that deadline done but meanwhile these things I went crazy yes, because in our business is we have to balance multiple things about studio time and marketing time and admin time. And if you just focus on one whole heartedly like the others kind of go crazy yeah that I think is a really recognisable one. How about in the chat room? Our people sharing their examples of internal rules they absolutely are and they're also very much resonating with some of the ones you are all they're saying lots of people who need to be organized before getting stuff done sassy seemed stressed says my weird rule if I'm not doing anything even late in the evening, I feel like I could and I should be working on that any hours not spent on work are wasted. Yeah, and I know I feel that way those should sze should should and that even if you're doing things that, you know, proper open other ways that that's are good for you, that that's wasted time. Exactly. Yes, so many people feel that, and I think especially if your craft grew out of your hobby. So I used teo spin urine just for fun of it, and then it became my job, and so I used to spend urine in the evenings after work and then spinning became my full time job, but I felt bad in the evenings if I wasn't also spinning, because that was, you know, work I could be doing I used to do in the evenings, why can't I still do in the evenings? Nevermind that I've sat eight hours my back is killing me like I should still be able to do it on. I find that, like network designers and people who sew and either design or so finished items often feel like, well, I used to sew and knit all night. Because it was my fund like sit on the couch and just relax but now they make themselves keep working at it constantly and we're going to talk about segment to about setting aside a time for work and how good those boundaries are but you have to have them because if you never stop you actually won't be productive while you're working like if you tell yourself I have to work all night that work will be lower quality to get high quality focused work you have to have time when you're not doing it because you're not a robot you can't just work endlessly your human that needs to relax needs to think about other things he's have relationships with people were like you're interacting and you're not just doing your thing constantly and then I wanted challenges internal rules because they keep you from getting things done when you could they keep you from working when you have the time or they keep you from working winn you've actually been doing great and you could feel motivated to do to keep going but instead you feel bad about yourself so it becomes a spiral and you don't keep going so I want to challenge the rules and did you have a question? Well I just know there are a few more I think good good feedback in the chat rooms that are very relatable probably for a lot of people but is that that burnout and north saying, I spent a summer just learning in regrouping after being burned out for trying to get too much done. But then that makes me feel bad, you know, it's consistently that cycle on dh. Then there was one from bundle wade, who said, I need some peace and quiet. However, I also feel terrible when I get to the end of the day and I feel I have not accomplished anything specific if I feel like if I've used my brain, then I have learned something or challenge myself mental in some way that it's only then that I feel productive, even though again like needs time and space and quiet dilemma exactly, and recognizing that you need the time in space and then giving yourself permission tohave it tio knowing that you'll be more productive if you take it that's huge well and I think just even the shift of if I have spent an hour walking like that is productive. Yeah, no, even that it will help me be more productive in something else like that is the thing to when they goes back to goals like so there's a goal of your business, but there's also the goal of your life. The cabbie you want to be spending your time? Why are you doing your own business? For most of it is because we want more of the lifestyle that we want tohave, but if you don't let yourself have that lifestyle because you're working twenty four seven, you might as well be a corporate drone, because that is exactly what most of us were trying to move away from in orderto have are in business, so when I first quit my day job, my husband got me the mug that is, uh, if you guys watch the show, the office, the american version, how he buys himself a mug that says world's best boss, he buys it for himself get equipment, a job my husband gave it to me as a gift, uh, like a target that said world's best boss he's like. So you have to be the best boss to yourself because he knew already that I'm most likely to beat myself up to not let myself have time off to judge myself too harshly. He's going to think about the best boss you've ever had and be better than that because because no one is going to do it for you, you are the person setting these internal rules, and you're also the person who's gonna write the internal rules. And as your business grows, if you bring anybody else into your company, those rules you've set up for yourself ask yourself, would you apply them to someone else? And if your business isn't to that point yet, would you treat someone else like this? Would you expect them to work? And leslie, if they went for a walk, would you be like no, no walker, no eating or no, you have to finish this project to you're the absolute end of it. No breaks, no, like you would never treat someone else like that. That's what I want to do with ease because he's so get in the way of our productivity is rewrite them first, ask yourself because there's a lot of resistance to rewriting these rules because people think, oh, no, if I rewrite them, I'll just never get anything done. I need these rules is rules or what is keeping me together? So one should ask yourself, does your rule makes sense? So a rule like a rule like I'm going to work during this time in this time or a rule like, uh, I'm gonna I'm gonna always do writing on mondays, that's one of my rules that make sense so it's possible, you have good, solid rules, but lots of the ones we've been sharing our kind of ridiculous so does that make sense and then is it easily accomplished? So if you have an internal rule that would actually be impossible for you to dio like I'm going to make ten products today every day or else my day was not worth it if that's not easily accomplished and first of all working seven days a week making ten products that's just like really hard, not easier really accomplished it's not a rule we want to keep and is it unreasonable? Like are you just asking yourself to do something that is completely just ridiculous? So if you answer it doesn't make sense it's not easily accomplished it's totally unreasonable then we're going to rewrite it. We're going totally redefine your rules and that's a big banana split sunday I don't know because what I want to do is redefined what it means to be productive so that it's more expansive so you have a better shot at hitting a nine because your rules for hitting an eye and a are easier, more expansive they include mohr of what makes for a good life for example instead of I must mark everything off my list in order for the day to be good your rule could be any time that I get two of my most important tasks done it's a good day says away every writing that list or that rule to be more expansive and what you'll find is without more expensive rule. You'll end of the day saying, I did mark everything off the list, but I got two done good job tomorrow. I know I don't have this pressure to mark everything off my list. I just need to get the two most important things to do done so on your workbook. Um, it is page eleven halfway through I asked you at the very bottom to re write the rules. Whatever rules that you identified earlier, I want you to rewrite them, so they're more expansive, so you might redefine what a good work day looks like. You might redefine what a work session counts as doesn't have to be two hours could be five minutes. Could you just do one thing? One thing with focus, maybe that would be a good rule to have so write down. And then what I always hear when I talk to you for office is, oh, no, I can't make my rules easier to satisfy because that only it work done by being super strict because I'm just a mess. And if I wasn't an awful boston myself, I would never get anything done, and I'll just be totally lazy. Every time I talk to you about redefining rose, somebody has said that to me is like, you don't understand I'm a mess. If I don't have bad rules, I won't get anything done when I asked, how is that working out for you? Are you getting things done? Probably like the answer ninety percent of the time if you're taking a class like this is no, you're not. And so you might think those rules are holding you all together, but if you're not happy with your work day and you don't feel like you're getting enough done, then they're not. The rules are actually getting in your way, so also, studies show that willpower is finite and you only have so much to using today and so many good decisions you can make in a day before your brain is all exhausted and can't make good decisions. So if you use all your willpower to hold yourself too ridiculously high standards, you're not going to have the willpower to do other things, like be productive and get things done, and you actually spend more time slacking off and avoiding work because you've exhausted your will power. This is why, if you have all the tabs open and you'd try to tell yourself not to look at the tabs, you're going to be exhausted. Before you've just given yourself a blank workspace you're not and you do this so I would like to hear both from you guys and in the chat room what are your written rules? What how have you rewritten one of your mean rolls to be more expansive so I can share some examples if your rule is I must answer all emails before noon and some people who do a lot of get a lot of customer service emails they feel like maybe they're rule is I have to answer every email within an hour within two hours or I just have to be on top of everything constantly a re written rule might be any day where I connect with this customer or a student of a good day now we find a way for you to stay on top of your email but if your rule is I have to be in box zero every day or else it was a totally waste today that will make you crazy because because soon as you get to embark zero more emails will come in right before I left to come teach this I got all of my inbox cleared and by the next morning which was only like five hours later because I got up so early already had emails in my inbox there isn't a way to get to zero so if that's your rule it's gonna keep you miserable you could rewrite that as ah, good work day is if I connect with a customer or if I get too you know, fiv e mails or maybe if I limit my email time that I have more productive, not email time yes um I have one on my list of you know, I need to get out of the house more I work too much in the house and as you've been talking, I'm like I actually to get out of the house quite a lot and I think what I need to do is I need to keep track of when I am actually living up to these imposed rules and not just assuming that I'm not right right it's like you are convinced you're not, you know you are, but you never measure it so you don't have any way of knowing if you're doing it or not. So maybe that's something if you find yourself of being beat up for it, you beat yourself up for it regularly you could just keep track of it somewhere like if you use a notebook or a calendar you like mark the days you leave the house and they walk up and be like I leave the house plenty yeah that's true yeah one of my rules is I have to be at my computer doing something something every day um for extended hours a time in order to feel most productive and that's not working acknowledge that it's not working so the more expansive rule one is to decide what exactly are the important things that need to be doing at the computer? Weather's checking email, sourcing textiles, responding to customer I kind of look at exactly what our don't just say some things. What do you need to do with the computer that's important? And then can that be shifted to one a couple days a week? You're back only or break the day and half for south of the day computer stuff second half of the day production or, um, get out the house. Just something I need to do more of. Um, so figuring out how that would work best. Yeah. So instead of the rule being have to be doing from the computer every day, it could be identify the things that need to be done of computer, say, this week and then a sine days of the week computer days, if that's the kind of way you work well, or it could be instead of I have to work at the computer every day. I want to get one important thing done everyday computer, not computer, because there's lots of things you can do that are important your business that are not computer related, but I used to feel the same way when I had my hearing business the actual production was making yarn but I wouldn't consider it a productive day unless I was on the computer which made no sense because you can't tell your and you haven't made but somehow spinning seems like too much fun and that I should be a brutal and that is like not a rule that works so are their roles in the chat room absolutely are let me just read one out this one is from jolie and other people had commented that they have the same one that was I'm she had a rule I must get everything done on my massive to do this so she wrote rewrote that too I can pick three things and be happy with just getting those done and a lot of people talking about setting things up the night before as well and setting more specific things yes I like that a lot knowing ahead of time what you're going to get done for your work session of something we'll talk about but that could really help you overcome all these rules that say like oh you have to do this kind of work and you have to do this kind of work because you know, I know I'm working on the things that matter so are there more re reynolds or questions about rewriting rules? You see people talking about keeping track of things that somehow tryingto figure out howto work that into rewriting their rules keeping track of them so we're gonna, you know, earlier when I asked you about what's working, I asked you how you keep track of everything that you need to get done and we're going to talk about some systems that you can do to make keeping track easier. I don't know what rules they might have around keeping track, maybe it's that they're just saying currently don't and I really should a lot of people feel that way like it's all in my head and get out of my head but they have internal rules are out keeping track, you know? I'm not really sure exactly yeah, well, you clarify, let me throw another one at you so sassy seamstress a new rule it is bad for the business is to burn out from working twenty four hours a day work stops at seven pm and evenings must be personal time I love it that's an excellent role, you know? And then he said earlier and that they felt guilty for burning out like that. That was one of the like shame spiral e things is that they would worked too hard, burn out and then feel bad and you're nodding, you're like yes, that they would feel bad for burning out, and I so like the hidden rule there if I should not burn out and I don't know I'm a big fan of not burning out but I don't know that that's realistic because sometimes we have projects that require more from us sometimes we have to do it massive that ambitious action thing not all the time that's not sustainable constantly but burning out is a fine sometimes that you've dedicated yourself to something and you gave it your all in order to finish that project and that's don't beat yourself up for it afterwards if you did that like so for me getting ready to come to this with a massive push of action if I kept that up for like for weeks I would have like I would be a crisp in front of you know I would be so burnt out but I knew it was for one period of time I was willing to do like kind of ridiculous levels of work and focus in order to do that but it's limited so that helps prevent burnout is limited limits you're crazy amount of work and put it towards a specific goal with a specific deadline but also if you happen to burn out okay now I know I need a system around this I need some way of making sure this doesn't happen again my workday doesn't get out of hand my projects I don't take on too many projects which is often what's happening when we burn out and if it happens it's you know, if I'm totally exhausted after I do a big project that's. Ok, that's, not a sign. I sock it's, a sign that I really did a big new project. That's. Okay.

Class Description

Stop fretting over the limited number of hours in a day and get to work – the smart way! In How to Get More Done, Tara Swiger will lay out a simple action plan that will help you manage your time, your business, and your family life more efficiently.

When Tara's online yarn shop replaced her day job, she fielded a lot of questions about the secret to her success. One thing led to another and now she is devoted, full-time, to helping other crafty entrepreneurs realize their dreams. In this class, she’ll help you take control of your calendar and build your business. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Implement a simple system for managing your time and tasks 
  • Prioritize time with your family 
  • Balance business, life, production, and marketing 
  • Strike the perfect balance between “studio time” and “admin time" 

You’ll identify your time-sucks and unproductive distractions and overcome common scheduling pain points by developing an action plan that works. 

Learn how to create a workday you'll love - no matter how (little) time you have. You’ll make the most of your time, keep track of your to-dos, and get the things that matter done in How to Get More Done with Tara Swiger.

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Ambitiously Forecast Your Sales Calculator by Tara Swiger.xlsx

Improve Your Holiday Sales Sketch Note

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a Creativelive Student

A really great class. As a newer creative business owner I have had trouble with always feeling like no matter what I worked on it wasn't the right thing or it wasn't enough. I think the advice in this class will help me feel better about my accomplishments and keep me focused on the things that will help my business. Thanks!

Jacqui Kelly

I loved it! start to finish really packed full of sensible easy to follow advice - great workbook and extra materials. Highly recommended. Tara does continually mention STARSHIP and MAPPING with out any background info on these topics which began to niggle at me but guess the answers are on her website. This was my first full class after purchasing my Creator Pass and it gets a 10/10