May 2019 Archives

Julie Chenell

The Deliberate Mental Shift You Need To Make That Stops The Bad Habit Of Over Organizing

When I was a little girl, I hated Saturday mornings with a vengeance. Mom would wake us up and proceed to hand out to each of us, a white index card filled with the day’s chores.

‘Sorting socks’ always seemed to land on mine, and it was annoying as hell. The whole family’s worth of socks would be in one big basket, and it was my job to sort and match them all. No matter how fast I went, it still took forever.

So when I found myself as an adult sorting my kid’s socks, I started to wonder, “How can I stop doing this….forever?”

Turns out…I could.

And no, it didn’t mean handing the chore off to the kids.

I figured out a way to think differently about socks.

First, I bought each kid a different brand of sock. Adidas for Evan, Nike for Ellie, and Hanes Her Way for Eden.

Next, I found this cute shoe bench for the front room. The seat opened up and had storage underneath.

I literally just dumped all the clean socks into the shoe bench.

Instead of folding socks, matching socks, putting them away in drawers, I kept the large pile of unmatched socks in a storage compartment RIGHT next to the shoes. Whenever one of the kids would go outside, they’d run to the front room, open the bench, grab two of their brand of sock, put it on, put their shoes on, and go.

I got even smarter as time went on, and had a little basket for the dirty socks too. That way when they came in to take off their shoes, they could take off the socks and throw them right there. I bought enough socks to fill the bench so every kid had way more than enough, and the whole thing became a self-contained system. Grab the basket of dirty socks. Wash. Dry. Throw back in the bench.

What used to cost me so much time and aggravation, was virtually eliminated.

I made the mental shift from “Socks are clothes” to “Socks are a part of shoes”.

Deliberate Mental Shifting

There are so many things in our lives and businesses that we just “assume” we need to do. We don’t stop and observe how social pressure or the “normal” way to do something might actually be flawed, or altogether unnecessary. In just my last post, I explained how I mentally shifted the idea of the morning routine because it wasn’t really as productive as I thought.

If you were to go through your daily tasks, I bet there are evidences of what I call “over organization”. Matching socks is an example of this. It appears organized. It satisfies our OCD. It’s also a complete waste of time. Here are some ways in your business in which you might be over organizing and tricking yourself into thinking you’re being productive:

  1. You spend all day creating a complicated filing system on your Google drive or your inbox even though you know you won’t be able to stick to it and eventually your downloads folder will look like a bomb went off.
  2. You spend all day setting up a new system on Trello or Asana or some other program thinking this will solve your issue of disorganization (forgetting that you’ve done this three or four or five times already).
  3. You have created 17 Google calendars all with different colors and labels to keep track of every task you need to do.
  4. Your content strategy plan includes turning every podcast episode into 85 different quote memes for Instagram because you’re supposed to be everywhere all the time.
  5. When it’s time to create your course or write your book, you find you’re spending 95% of your time block working on your outline.

Some of you might be reading this and laughing because there is NO semblance of over organization in your life at all right now. Even if that’s true, this principle of mental shifting is still important to understand because I find that the most disorganized of people tend to revert to the “strictest” of systems and rituals in an attempt to control their distracted mind.

It also stands to note that you might not notice this rigidity in your business, but it might be showing up in other areas.

  1. Are you the kind of person who gravitates towards diet methods that include weighing and tracking your calories, macros, whatever? When you’re about to start a new plan, you clean out your fridge, buy all the new perfect foods, and then organize them with exacting perfection in your fridge?
  2. When you go to clean a room, do you get lost in ONE drawer and find that three hours in, you’re now organizing all the old photos by year and month?

The key to spotting this behavior in yourself is to look at where you feel the most out of control.

Since we’re wired for symmetry and order, when we feel the opposite of it in our lives and businesses, we tend to grab onto any methodology that promises to put it ALL back in order. It gives you a feeling of control. That is a powerful feeling, but what has really happened? The control you want over that issue is now not really in your hands, it’s locked into the rigidity of a new routine that now takes TIME to keep up with.

Let’s unpack this with one thing we all have…. an inbox.

Deliberate Mental Shifting With Your Inbox

There’s an understood belief for most people that says…Inbox zero = organized.

We laugh and joke about the little red notifications on our phone that say 15,403 unread messages, and then feel enormous stress when we open up a disordered disaster of a Gmail.

In essence, we feel out of control.

What if there’s an important message I’m missing?

Then we launch into a three hour long research project looking at all the new apps and tools and methodologies to organizing our inbox. By the way, we probably also do this during our sacred time. It’s natural for this to happen because when we set aside time to clear our mind for the important work we want to do, it also creates a beautifully empty arena for every worry and insecurity and problem to come rushing in.

Back to the inbox.

  • Maybe you set up a tool like
  • Maybe you create all kinds of new filter rules.
  • Maybe you have 85 new folders to organize all your emails.

But three weeks later, you’re annoyed by cause some of your favorite emails are now going into that folder and you want them in your inbox. It’s hard to sort every message into a folder and with a zillion folders, it’s time consuming. The filter rules also caught a message you needed to see, and now you’re nervous that you’re missing stuff just the same as when you had a million emails in your inbox.

Time to think of a new system.

And round and round it goes.

Do you see how this causes so much additional work and mental bandwidth?

Let’s think about Gmail differently.

Truth #1 – Gmail is powered by Google. Which means, you can buy unending amounts of storage for like $10 a month. You don’t have to ever delete an email. Just hit archive. And…if you need to find it again, Gmail is also powered by the company that makes the BEST search tool on planet Earth, and you can just search with one keyword and it’ll pull up whatever you need.

Truth #2 – There’s really only ONE folder you need in your inbox, and that’s the ACTION NEEDED folder. A folder that tells you, “Hey! I need to answer the emails in this folder!” Once they are answered, you can archive. Long ago in 1992 your inbox was the action needed folder, but those times have come and gone. How bout each morning, you take three seconds, scan your emails – and just move the ones that need your attention into ACTION needed? Archive the rest, and then find a “non sacred time” to go through your action needed folder from bottom to top.

Truth #3 – You know the crazy inbox is bugging you. And mentally, you want it to feel clean. So…file email bankruptcy. Scan the first one or two pages of your inbox, archive everything and put only the important ones in ACTION NEEDED, and then make one new folder called “Email Bankruptcy”. Take your entire inbox and put it in that folder. Chances are, if you don’t have to go scouring in there for at least six months, you’re not missing anything important, and just hit ARCHIVE *not delete- remember truth #1*.

  • I’m rethinking the idea that I need to delete stuff (I don’t).
  • I’m rethinking the idea that I need a million folders (I don’t).
  • I’m rethinking the idea that I need to sort all 15,000 emails before I can have a clean inbox again (I don’t).

This could literally be done in the next 20 minutes, and then you’re off to the races.

Not only that, now that your inbox is clean, when new messages come in, you have a simple way to manage them. ARCHIVE, or ACTION NEEDED. That’s it. And you can go into your ACTION NEEDED folder once or twice a day and answer them.

Train your brain to HATE systems that take more time than is necessary and it’ll help you stop over organizing things. Even if it’s something like a content strategy plan that at first glance makes sense, maybe it doesn’t for you. If you’re busy creating scheduled posts that get no engagement, just stop doing them. Rethink why.

Sometimes just acknowledging that you feel out of control is enough to get your brain to stop and realize it’s a bad idea to cling to a system that’s going to be too hard to maintain. Your processes should work naturally with your personality, with the way you do things innately, and they should never consume more resources when your goal is to try to leverage time!

Hitting the 1 Comma Club With The $1k Facebook Ad Test (Case Study With Tatiana’s Funnel Boards)

As the Voxer message came through, I braced myself for a panicked message.

After all, this is what happens nearly 100% of the time. No matter how many times I prepare and warn my mastermind clients about the feeling of dropping $1000 in 72 hours on ads, all my reassuring words of advice and logic fly right out the window once the ads have been live for 24 hours. I’ve come to expect it, and know that it’s just part of the process.

But this particular morning, I was pleasantly surprised when Tatiana’s message came in (she’s given permission to be featured in this post by the way)…

Believe it or not, this is NOT normal. Usually, it’s more like this…”WHY AREN’T PEOPLE BUYING MY PRODUCT YET?”

I usually login to their account, pull up the stats and see something like:

  • Pageviews = 41
  • Sales = 0
  • Ad $$ Spent = $175

And then I begin my very calming reminder of why we wait 72 hours and $1000 before making ANY decisions about the funnel. By the way, if you haven’t listened to my podcast episode called “In Defense of my Controversial Facebook Ad Advice”  – you should listen. It goes into detail about my advice, why I give it, and what it produces when you do it that way.

But back to Tatiana…

She finally launched her funnel last week.

Important details to note:

  1. When my mastermind students want to launch something low ticket, I recommend a $27 to $37 front-end offer with NO lead magnet in front.
  2. Just a straight-up, GORGEOUS sales page (a la Funnel Gorgeous) to an offer that’s so juicy, I can’t even stand it.
  3. I make sure that their sales page checks off ALLLL the things on my sales page checklist (by the way, Tatiana’s is not complete by my standards yet, but I wanted to feature a real example, not a pretend perfect one).
  4. Once that’s done, I make sure there is an order bump and at least one OTO (I like the order bumps between $12-$37 and the OTO between $77-$97).
  5. Then, after testing and all that blah blah blah, we start the Facebook Ad Test.

What is The Facebook Ad Test?

For this type of offer, I want to spend $1000 in 72 hours…ish. About $333 a day.

Campaign Objective = PURCHASE

Yes, even on a new pixel. It’s scary, but we do it. Because you know what? It doesn’t make sense to dabble with ads. It’s just a waste of money (listen to my podcast). If your offer is good enough, it’ll convert usually at least 1 sale in three days at that price point. That’s what I’m looking for. Just any sign of life on planet funnel!”

You can do Campaign Budget Optimization or the old Ad Set Budget (which is sunsetting soon), but whatever you do, it’s about $300 a day or so….and it spans about 5-10 different audiences. If you have Lookalike audiences, DO THAT. But….whomp whomp, Tatiana has never run ads to an offer and has no list. So we had to do Facebook Interests Targeting.

Tatiana went after traditional entrepreneur audiences because her product are these insanely cool Trello boards that help you keep track of all 800 bazillion steps of funnel building. She knew people who liked Russell Brunson would like the boards.

Here’s the funnel thing: When you know you’re going to spend $1k in a few days, you make sure everything is working…way more carefully than if you dabble. The mindset shift is huge. She made a few ads and had all the ad sets compile onto the individual post IDs.

She was just about ready to go.

Then I got this Voxer message…

My response?

On Thursday at 9:59pm, she had two ads in review.

Not quite 24 hours later… this is what we had (about $130 in).

UNBELIEVABLY promising so soon in the campaign. Again, I’m looking for 1 sale per 100 people that see the offer. This is my benchmark to start. The test is designed to get data from Facebook, not to get rich in 5 minutes. Tatiana was excited!

The next day, the message I showed you at the top came in. $1k in sales in one day on $300 of ad spend.

Do you want to what’s hilariously funny?

The next day she only had one sale and turned off her ads. ???? I didn’t give her too much crap since she’d successfully completed her $1k test, but took a moment to remind her that you need to TRACK DAILY, DECIDE WEEKLY.

Never make ad decisions based on one day. Track the day, decide based on the week. It’s a golden rule of “Not going insane when running ads”.


What did her stats look like? Here’s the breakdown.

She had 745 people view the offer and 41 sales. That’s a buy rate of 5.5%. Which is VERY good.

Order bump is 9.9%. Already, super obvious this is the issue in her funnel. It should be above 20%.

Her OTO is KILLING it at 29%. I expect around 10% or so, so that’s amazing.

So at the end of her test, she had spent $1200 in ads which resulted in 24 sales with an average cart value of about $60.

She had an additional 17 sales from organic traffic sharing her product around, and also some of these were from the follow up sequence she created off the funnel. Note to self: Great offers get shared! 

What does she know now?

With a three day test with this much ad spend, she has so much important information she didn’t have before.

First, she has a validated offer…period. She NEVER has to worry again in the market wants it. They do. End of story.

She knows she needs a better order bump.

She needs to optimize the sales page per my checklist.

She needs to spend her time and energy on ADS. That’s the goal.

Isn’t that cool?

And even if she hadn’t had such a successful ad test (like MANY of my clients who don’t break even on the first shot), they at least get market validation.

This is why I advise the way I do. Go all in. Spend hard for a few days, make up your mind that you are paying for data, and get the data you need. Adjust and keep going. Please remember that this works best on a straight to sales page offer of $37 or less. There are other variables that come into play with different funnels. But the general rule is…

Stop dabbling, give it your best shot, and give your funnel the best chance of success!

xx Julie

P.S. I have another mastermind student who did this exact strategy and grossed over $85,000 last month. Too legit to quit. 🙂


Ep. 42 In Defense Of My Controversial Facebook Ad Advice

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Julie. Today I wanted to do a podcast in defense of my controversial Facebook ad advice. So about two weeks ago I went to the Two Comma Club X systems event, lawful mastery event training, it’s had several different names…

The point of the event was to help people with their offers, their sales funnels, their messaging, their traffic. And I got up and spoke for about three hours and gave some advice onstage that a lot of people were surprised about.

I told them that I thought the advice about starting with you know, $50, $100 in ad spend and sort of dipping your toe in the water was terrible advice and that you should do the opposite. That you should actually spend a large amount of money, which that’s all relevant because to some people what I’m about to say is going to not seem large and to other people it will seem like an astronomical amount.

But you want to spend a large amount of money in a short period of time when you begin FAcebook ads. So let me dive a little bit into the context of why I said it and why people freaked out. So when I say a large amount of money, what I mean is when you have a sales funnel built, whether you’re selling a $27 ebook, a $97 course, a $497 business in a box style program, the idea is that you need to give Facebook a chance to figure out where your customers are. And I know that when you sign up, when you go in the ads manager and stuff, there’s targeting. You can target people who like Marie Forleo, people who like Russell Brunson, things like that. But the reality is Facebook is going to figure out based on the behavior in the newsfeed, who actually likes your ad.

But in order to figure that out, it needs to get your out in front of enough people that it can start to detect patterns and similarities in audiences. So when you start a funnel and you start ads and you don’t give Facebook a lot of money, you only give them, whatever, $50, $100, $200, because the platform is so crowded with advertizing, you can’t really get in front of many people. Maybe you get in front of a hundred people.

And a hundred people is not enough for Facebook to determine who your customer is. Because remember, of a hundred people, if we’re using funnel math, we know that even the greatest funnels out there can only, maybe at most boast a 5% buy rate, which means out of a hundred people you’re really only attracting 5 buyers. And Facebook needs a minimum of 100 buyers to really be able to nail down who your audience is, because remember as much as Facebook is fickle, it also cares about delivering a good user experience.

So it’s in Facebook’s best interest for it to find your customer, just as much as it’s in your best interest for your ad to perform well. So we’re not at odds with Facebook, we’re both working towards the same goal, which is a relevant ad in a newsfeed to the right customer to get a purchase.

So the advice about find a couple of audiences and starting at $5 a day is old advice. And if you think of your sales funnel like a rocket ship and you want to test your rocket ship, and you’ve been working on it for a long time and you want to see if it can fly. My question to you, a rocket ship is a lot more money than a sales funnel, it’s like, whatever…I was watching this documentary with Elon Musk and it’s like, his rocket ships weren’t, they were like disposable, meaning like you use it once and then it’s done. And it was like $60 million to build one. He had enough money to build 3. He had 3 chances.

So can you imagine if he had built that rocket ship and then didn’t give the engine enough fuel to actually get off the ground? It’s like, “Alright, we just spent $60 million dollars on this rocket ship, we’re going to try and launch it in space and we’re gonna just, I think what we’re going to do is we’re going to run down to the convenience store, we’re going to get one of those cigarette lighters, you guys run down and light the cigarette lighter under the rocket, and let’s see if our rocket flies.”

That’s absurd. That’s what you’re doing when you spend little amounts of money on your sales funnel. You are trying to make decisions about whether your sales funnel works by giving it a tiny little puff of fire, and expecting that Facebook is going to be able to figure out who your customer is with so little fuel. It is completely bananas.

What is actually much, much more effective is to take your rocket ship sales funnel and give the best, most highest octane quality fuel you can find right. Because then you’re going to have more date. You’re going to actually be able to see how it’s functioning out there in the wild, as I like to say about sales funnels.

So my actual advice is that you spend about a thousand dollars in 72 hours. This works about to be approximately $300 a day. Now there’s, you know there’s, that’s average. You could spend more, you could spend a little bit less, you could also lengthen the time. But remember, the amount of money you’re spending in the time frame matters too. It’s important that you give it enough fuel that you get it off the ground. Think of that rocket ship analogy.

So why is this controversial? Well, it’s controversial because it’s sort of bucks what has been sort of out there as the best advice. And number two, a lot of people have said to me, “Julie, that’s very irresponsible of you to tell people to spend so much money on the outset when the offer is unproven. People are going to waste a lot of money.”
And it’s funny because they take my advice, but they take it out of context. They forget that what I did for the entire two hours before I got to that piece of advice, was explaining to them how to build a good sales funnel that has a high likelihood of being successful, ultimately.

Again, I’m going to pull the rocket ship analogy here. If you’re going to test a rocket ship, you’re going to build the best damn rocket ship you can and you’re not going to skimp around. So the two hours of training I did was showing them, “Hey listen, don’t just make up some sales funnel that you know, is not using proven methods. Build a good sales funnel. Learn all of these tricks of the trade, use these checklists. Make sure you’re proud of it, make sure it has this sort of – hell yeah, this is an amazing offer. Make sure you have all that before you go stick the sales funnel in front of a Facebook ad.”

A Facebook ad is going to amplify what already is. It’s not going to turn something crappy into something good. So that’s the first thing, is people all of that out of context and they say, “Whoa, you just spent a thousand dollars in three days and that’s all y our money.” Well, maybe you shouldn’t play this game, if that’s all the money you have. That would be my response. My response would be like, maybe go freelance. Maybe go get a job. Maybe get some capitol. You need capitol to invest. It does not just fall out of the sky.

And another reason why I give this advice is because I’ve seen a lot of dabblers. These are people who stick their toe in the water, they spend a couple hundred dollars, maybe, over two weeks time, they determine that their funnel doesn’t work, they get disillusioned and one of two things happens. They either abandon the game, or they think their funnel doesn’t work, and they go off and try to build another funnel. And then they build another funnel. And then they try that one. And then they spend a couple hundred dollars, and that one doesn’t work.

It doesn’t matter how many times I get on my soap box and tell people that you cannot determine the success of failure of a funnel until you’ve given it enough juice and enough time to optimize. I literally could say this right now, and my dearest mastermind students could go and turn on ads, and in twelve hours I will have a desperate , scared voxer message saying, “It’s not working.” Even though I t told them, “This is what you’re going to expect.”

So the problem with the dabbling advice is that people draw all kinds of wrong conclusions and then they spend over the lifetime of their online business journey, thousands and thousands of dollars, and hundreds and thousands of hours wasted building funnels, changing offers, pivot, pivot, pivot. Shiny objects, new mentor, new instructor, let me try that $5000 program, let me try that $1000 course. Trying to fix something that wasn’t even broken in the first place. They just were not betting hard enough on themselves, on their sales funnel, on their rocket to give it enough fuel to give Facebook a chance to optimize.

And I have seen this happen over and over and over again. And the dabbling mindset is death. It’s death in the advertizing world. And I know that it seems like a lot of money to spend, but what will happen is you will build a better funnel. If I tell you in my programs, if I say, “I am not going to work with you unless you’re willing to spend a thousand dollars in 72 hours.” You’re going to build a better funnel because you’re like, “Oh crap. Yeah, okay. I got a thousand dollars in three days. I better make sure that I’ve done my due diligence. I better make sure that my offer is good. I better make sure that I’m really proud of it.”

And then you should also have the expectation that after you’ve spent a thousand dollars, you will not be profitable. Anybody who expects to build a million dollar funnel, needs to understand that you are not going to be profitable at first. So what you have to do is get into this mindset. “I’m going to spend that thousand dollars just to pay for data. I need data from Facebook to tell me how poorly I’m doing.” Basically is what you’re doing.

After you have that thousand dollars, now you have some information, now you have some traffic, now you can start to see where the problems are. You’re going to do a round of edits, a round of optimizations, then you’re going to go back into the arena, you’re going to spend another thousand dollars, okay.

Now, when you get that data back, there may be something wrong with your funnel or there may be something wrong with your ads, so how you optimize and how you fix is very different. But maybe you actually have amazing data, you’re just not quite profitable yet, because maybe your ad costs were a little high, your pixels new, it’s not totally seasoned yet or something, but you can still look at the data and be like, “Oh look, this actually has promise.”

You do an optimization, you spend another grand. Now maybe this time you’re not profitable, but you’re close to breaking even. That is such a good sign, that is such an exciting sign. So now you go through round two, you spend another thousand, this time you break even.

So the first time, let’s just say you blew a thousand dollars and didn’t get any conversions. So you’re a thousand in the hole. The second time you made $500 but you spent a thousand, so you’re $500 in the hole. So now you’re $1500 in the hole. The third time you break even, so guess what, you’re still $1500 in the hole, but you’re not any more in the whole.
The next time let’s say you’re profitable at $500. Now you’re only in the hole a thousand, and then the next month you gross $82,000 after spending $30. That is literally what can happen. But most people will never do that. 99% of people, even listening to this podcast or in my groups will not do this because they are afraid, because they are following bad advice, because they are unwilling to put in the work.

But if at any point in that process, you stopped and only gave Facebook a few hundred dollars just to give, just to see, just dabble, you would have gotten disillusioned. Or if you just built kind of a crappy funnel because you don’t have that much at stake, there’s not enough skin in the game for you to push harder and do a better job, or maybe you would just go off the rails and build another funnel because that one didn’t work.

And so to all the people who say that I’m giving controversial, irresponsible advice, and you know what guys, it’s not really that many people. But some people. Actually I did get probably 10-15 people afterwards be like, “Whoa Julie, that was really ballsy of you to say that.” I am telling you that if you start thinking with the mindset of, “I’m not getting in this game unless I am willing to get into the arena. I’m not going to dabble. I’m not going to just sit on the sideline.” Because I guarantee you the fastest way to get disillusioned, depressed, think you suck, and to walk away from this game, or to follow another shiny object, is for you to build a rocket ship and then expect a cigarette lighter to get it off into the sky.

Don’t do it, it’s not a good idea. And you know, at the end of the day if you’re listening to this and you’re like, “It sounds, it all makes perfect sense Julie, I get it. I don’t have a thousand dollars to spend.” That’s okay. You don’t have to go do Facebook ads. You can do organic Facebook marketing. You can do organic Instagram marketing. You can do organic YouTube marketing. You could do podcast marketing. You could do Pinterest marketing. You could do blogging and SEO marketing. There are so many other ways to get traffic. Is it going to take you a lot longer? Yes, it will. Is that okay? Yes, 100% it will. But you know what, if you don’t have the capitol, you have the time, then do it that way.

But once you’re ready to play the Facebook ads game, play it. Like suit up, and pull up your bootstraps and actually play the game. Don’t dabble, it’s not going to do you any favors. And of course make sure that the funnel is a funnel that you’re really proud of.

Julie Chenell

How Your Morning Routine Might Be Hurting Your Productivity

I only have to swipe a few times through social media each day before I find someone talking about their sacred morning routine like it’s the magic elixir to the perfectly productive life.

The idea of a morning routine has been around forever, but in recent years, the obsession with it in the entrepreneur world especially has resulted in a  flood of podcast episodes, planners, and Instagram stories.

Everyone wants to have the best morning routine ever.

  • Meditation
  • Celery Juice
  • Workouts
  • Yoga
  • Journaling

Some even tout that the perfectly scheduled morning routine has radically transformed all of life.

I have to be honest. Some of these morning routines look like they require a 4am wakeup call or the bulk of the morning just to get it done! If you are trying to meditate, workout, journal, make a smoothie, shower, get ready, etc. all before 7am, well – have at it.

But I want to make a bold and radically controversial statement…

Most Morning Routines Are The Opposite Of Productive

Lots of people have asked me about my morning routine, and what it looks like. And I love to say, “I don’t have one,” and watch people stare at me with a combination of confusion and curiosity.

I don’t have a morning routine for a few reasons, that, if you’ll stick with me, might start to make sense. But first…

What is a routine?

A routine is simply a fixed set of steps or actions that are followed repeatedly and in sequential order. There are really two parts to a routine – the steps themselves, and the order they go in. This is an important distinction. Steps AND order.

When I say I don’t have a morning routine, I’m not saying that I don’t do similar actions each day. Because let’s face it – I do. I wake up. I go to the bathroom. I check my phone. I get dressed. That happens every day. But the ORDER of it changes depending on my mood, external factors, schedule, my sleep needs, etc. And most people who are boasting about a morning routine, aren’t talking about these steps anyway. They are talking about things like meditation, yoga, working out, smoothies, etc.

Before I launch into why I think the morning routine in its current form is a terrible idea, I need to give a big disclaimer. If you like your morning routine, skip the rest of this post. Just go with your awesome morning self and move on.

But if you’re struggling to be productive and you feel like there are never enough hours in the day, the problem might be hiding in your morning routine.

Why I Say No To A Morning Routine

First off, a morning routine often includes activities that I would not consider 100% brain activities (no idea what I’m talking about? Read my 100/50/10 system). Things like showering, getting dressed, working out, making smoothies, etc. None of them qualify as the sacred time activities I talked about in my earlier post. And yet, most morning routines are at a time of the day when:

  1. Your brain is in PEAK state
  2. You DO have control over the time since other family members are asleep

So many mom and dad entrepreneurs pull themselves out of bed at 5am and proceed to waste TWO hours of precious sacred time doing things they could easily do at another time of the day.

Secondly, a morning routine assumes that we humans are consistent. And it’s not just morning routines that assume this, most productivity products on the market forget the small fact that we are not robots, but humans with hormones and moods and kids that love to break ANY semblance of a routine they can. Because of this, when a routine can’t be followed, you’ll hear people say things like, “My day just got so messed up because I couldn’t get through my routine.”

The routine turns into a thermometer that sets up the person to either feel awesome or horrible depending on how many steps were accomplished. Funnily enough, if the routine hadn’t been there in the first place, the person wouldn’t have to battle feelings of failure in the first place.

I can hear you saying, “But what about my daily meditation! It’s so important to me!” or “I need to workout each day or I get nuts”. The good news is that you can KILL off the typical morning routine and still do all the things you need to do each day. And I’m going to show you how!

The Daily Evaluation

Okay so here’s the crucial first step. Identify your sacred time slots in your day. If the wee morning hours are part of your sacred time, take out everything you normally do during that time that doesn’t constitute a 100 task.

These are things like showering, making breakfast, and working out. All of these things can be done when kids are around OR…at a time during the day when you don’t need your PEAK brain power.

Some stuff might need a sacred time slot. Journaling and meditation for example. But…does it need a peak brain time slot or no? Let’s just say for a moment – what might your day look like if you meditated in the afternoon, or in the evening?

Next, look at the stuff that never seems to get done. Writing your book, finishing that project, starting that podcast you wanted to. Things that you schedule into the busy workday but always get CROWDED out by other interruptions.

You’re going to swap IN the important work that you’re putting off, and swap OUT the stuff like taking a shower or getting in your celery juice for the day.

Schedule Setting The Night Before

My solution to my human-ness is to simply set my schedule for the next day…the night before.

Rather than create a routine I can never stick to, I look at the current state of affairs in my house, my business, and my life, and take five minutes to plan what my next day looks like.

  • Sometimes that means I’m going to sleep in til 7 and use two hours of sacred time to get more shut eye.
  • Sometimes that means I’m going to put my laptop by my bed and wake up at 5am and write for 60 minutes before I even get up to get dressed or make tea.
  • Sometimes that means I’m going to wake up at 6am and record a podcast or two and take my daily walk later in the morning during a call I have with a client.

I will tell you that everyone who has ever stopped to think outside the box of what you could be doing in those typical morning routine hours of 5-7am, has felt a RADICAL difference in momentum.

When you release yourself from having to do the same thing in the same order each day, you eliminate the feeling of failure when it doesn’t work out the way you planned. Less mindset baggage equals more productivity because you have brain power to use on other things.

Here are some ideas for how I work in the typical “morning routine” stuff throughout the day.

  1. Unless I have a meeting first thing, I take a shower mid-day, not in the morning. I wait until I have a lull in my schedule, or I need to take a break and regroup, and use the shower as my “break”. If you work from home, this is such a good move – I love doing this!
  2. When I want to exercise, I wait til that slumpy afternoon time. My productivity and creative brain is dead, but I’m perfectly able to go outside and play a game of tag or soccer with William for 20 minutes.
  3. If I want to eat a breakfast that takes time to prepare, I do it around 8am, when everyone is up and running around. I cook breakfast and chat about the day with Alex, and I feel so relaxed because I’ve done some work already and feel like I’m ahead for the day.
  4. Meditation for me is something I want to call on when I’m stressed, not when I’m first awake and fresh. I don’t need it as bad as I need it after an email from an angry client or a call from my kid’s school. If the weather is nice, I usually take my lunch outside by this beautiful tree. I eat, and I lean back on the tree, close my eyes, and breathe.

Test The ‘Crush Your Morning Routine’ And Let Me Know!

Okay so in summary, here are the key points to remember.

You are not a robot.
Set your plan for the morning the night before. Flexibility actually helps you be MORE productive, not less.

Use the early morning hours of sacred time for things that require 100% of your brain.
Try the laptop near your bed idea I’ve used. Don’t do anything else but pick up your laptop the minute you wake up. Just set a timer for 60 minutes and see what you get done in that time. Go through the stuff that never gets done, and imagine what would happen if you tried to tackle it first thing.

Think outside the box.
The stuff that’s normally considered “morning-ish” actually works great at other times of day like a mid-morning break, lunchtime, the slumpy afternoon, or in the evening.

Release the baggage of success/failure of your morning routine.
It’s not helpful to have a long morning routine, that if not followed, makes you feel like the whole day is a wash. It’s such crap.

After you’ve tried it, let me know in the comments below what shifted for you!

xx Julie

Ep. 41 The Epidemic of Stealing Ideas

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Full Transcript:

Today I want to talk to you about an unfortunate event that happened to me last week, and sort of the ethical arguments it brought up in my head. Last week I wrote a post on abortion, it’s obviously a big topic in our society right now. And I got a lot of feedback on it…

I noticed that a woman had basically copied the text and pasted it as her own without attribution. So I went into that thread and I said, ‘Hey, I’m glad my words are resonating with you, can you please go ahead and attribute it to me and add the link to the post?” And she said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I got busy and I got a call, I was totally going to attribute it.”

And I said, “You know, that’s fine. I understand, just fix it and we’re all good.” And I didn’t really think much else of it because I tend to believe the best of people, I’m a pretty trusting person. And it was later that some of my followers, who were a little bit more suspicious, they had their bullshit meter dialed in a little bit better, said to me, “Julie, she’s been plagiarizing you for months.” And sure enough on her posts, on her timeline on Facebook were tons of my personal posts, all written as if she had done it.

And these were things that were really personal. I had been talking about dialectical behavioral therapy, and my feelings about animals and the environment and just stuff that had taken me a long time to write. So of course, I was furious.

And it got me thinking about plagiarism and intellectual property and how the whole community at large, internet marketing, online marketing handles this concept of intellectual property. And because when she finally got called out, she told me that you know, this is what was modeled in the community, we’re supposed to hack people and do what’s working and not try to reinvent the wheel. And I thought, gosh, what a horrible, horrible description of market research.

So I wanted to talk to you today about how to figure out when you’re stealing somebody else’s ideas, or when you’re just doing research that’s going to help you become a better service provider, entrepreneur, etc. So the first thing I want to say is if you go back to high school when you had to write those horrible book reports, we were taught when doing research, to go do research with a lot of different texts. The idea was that you were going to look at books and magazines, and I don’t know, remember those things in the library that would like…microfiche, is that what it’s called? I can’t even remember.

And then once the internet came along then it was looking on internet websites and trying to figure out which ones were credible. And the idea was that you would come up with lots of different research, and then what would you do? You would copy down a footnote, and it would be the title, the author, the date, the original source. You’d source it. And then you’d go off and write your report.

And I remember in high school we had these APA style, you had to be, it was a big deal and in college it became even bigger of a deal, how you would credit people for the research you had done. I say all that to then bring it into the online marketing space.

If you are going to create content, I don’t care if it’s free content or paid content, but especially if it’s content that you’re going to sell, of course you would expect that you’re going to have mentors and people that you’ve learned from that you are going to then want to bring into your teaching. It’s all in how you do it. We don’t expect anybody to become a complete original author, with original work, because a lot of this stuff has already been researched extensively.

What we do say is, okay if you’re going to talk about, let’s say you’re going to do a course and you’re going to talk about productivity, and you remember the whole 10-50-100 time stacking that I talked about. You could say, “In Julie Stoian’s podcast episode number blah, blah, she talked about this concept, blah, blah.” and then in your course, in your program link directly to the source. You will eliminate so much headache, and you know what else? When you are creating content, in order to make sure that you are introducing your methodology to the market, your new idea to the market it’s best because if you think of it that way, you are obligated to have your own spin on it, your own idea on it. And that will make you ultimately a better teacher, a better course creator, a better provider.

So just freaking attribute it. That’s all I, that’s the biggest thing I can say. If you are teaching something that has somebody else’s idea, pay honor to that idea, link and credit that person, send traffic their way. It is very, very rare for me to be upset if I see someone talking about something that I taught, if they credit me.

Now the second thing is, what if you decide that you want to offer something or teach something and it’s so, it’s so well done, it’s so complete, that you’re like I don’t really know what I could add to this, this is exactly what I want to sell. If that’s the case, my recommendation is that you go to the original author and you ask them if there’s an opportunity to white label their product.

Now this has happened to me multiple times with proposal secrets. People love the course, they think it’s excellent, they want to teach the same exact thing. And I am so happy to have them white label my product and sell it, and by licensing to use then to find out that they hacked it, or they literally recreated all the content, just maybe changed three words, and that was it.

So go to the original author and see, I know when I was selling proposal secrets for $800, I was giving licenses away to people for $97. I said, “Yes, you can go sell it for whatever you want. You pay me $97 for every login.” Simple.

So those are two ways that you can make sure that you’re not plagiarizing. The next thing is if you are getting ready to write a book, write a blog post, record a podcast, anything. I actually sort of reverse engineer my research. So what I will do is I will without looking at any other material, see what I can produce on my own. Once I’ve got all my original ideas and thoughts and feelings out, then I will go and do the research.

Number one, I may find that some things are the same but because I wrote it sort of in isolation, it’s so much my own words that there’s no risk of plagiarism. In other cases I’ll go out and do research and I’ll be like, “Oh that’s a great idea.” And it will accentuate my writing, as long as I give attribution.

So when it comes to course creation and content, podcasts, blog posts, Facebook posts deliberately do it in your own words without looking at any of your competitors first, and then go out and do the research. It’s simply switching of the chronology of how you do things, because it will make you better.

I know that because a lot of things out there online are what we would call swipe files, it’s easy to get confused. A perfect example would be Funnel Gorgeous, right. This is a brand that I co-created with Kathy Olsen, we sell these gorgeous premium templates for very inexpensive every single month. And a lot of our service providers buy those templates and then use them as the basis for the design.

So what we’ve said is, you know, if you’re a service provider and you are going to go ahead and work with somebody and build a funnel, use it as a base and then design it and customize it for that customer and that’s fine, but you can’t simply turn around and resell them, because essentially what you’re doing is you’re stealing money from us because we sell them, not you. Versus, we don’t do done for you customization of the funnels, so it would stand to reason, if you want to charge the money for your time to customize the template for them, that is different.

So even though this is a lot of nuance stuff, it always helps when you ask, when you reach out to the original author, when you reverse how you do your research. When you do you research after when you’ve come up with your idea, instead of before, and if you create great attribution. If you stick to those three rules, you are going to be well on your way to avoiding the uncomfortable situation that this girl found herself in when I realized she’d been plagiarizing my content for months.

And lastly, don’t try to pretend you have feelings about things that aren’t your feelings. People will smell through inauthenticity so fast and it’s way better to just be honest about where you are and where you’re headed than it is to try to pretend that you’ve got an expertise that you don’t.
So anyway, that’s my little soap box for today. I hope you have a great week, talk to you soon.

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