The Best Stuff

Julie Chenell

How To Stop Worry From Crippling Your Productivity

Anyone trying to teach the art of a productive life, must include the study of worry as well.

A simple working definition of the word worry is to dwell on unpleasant thoughts, feelings, difficulties, or potential trouble. Humans worry about things that have already happened or might happen in the future, whereas anxiety is usually what you feel in your body when you’re worrying about something that is presently happening.

The #1 killer of productivity is worry. It paralyzes your critical thinking skills, floods the brain with warning signals, and like a magnet, attracts every random and possible additional worrisome thought within 100 miles.

If you’re trying to sleep, write, compose, study, or any other activity that requires concentration and some level of brain space, worry loves to rush in and attempt to steal the show.

So how do we stop the cycle of worry that leads to procrastination, self-sabotage, and medicating with distractions like Netflix and food?

It might seem counter intuitive, but it works.

We’re going to pick a time in our day to purposely worry.

The Worry Dump

The next time you feel that rising sense of dread, instead of trying to bat away the thoughts like flies, we’re going to give them a moment of respect and attention.

It’s important that you do this exercise completely (not missing any steps). You don’t give worry total control of your mind, heart, and time, but with careful boundaries, actually ALLOWING yourself to worry becomes the mechanism by which the thoughts pass through you instead of getting stuck inside you.

It starts with a little notebook and pen.

Step One: Sit down in a quiet place.

Step Two: Start free writing whatever comes into your head. If you can’t seem to start, just write this phrase…

“I’m worried I won’t be able to do this worry dump right.” LOL

Then observe the very next thought that hits you… is it, “That’s dumb. Who doesn’t know how to worry?” or maybe it’s, “I’m so worried that my worries will come flooding out and never end.” Whatever it is, don’t judge it. Just write it.

Step Three: Keep writing one line per worry.

“I’m worried that….”

“I’m worried that….”

and on…

Keep going until you feel a natural lull. Then push yourself back to the notebook and keep looking inside your mind. Are there any other worries hiding out in corners?

Step Four: Flush out every possible negative thought swirling in your brain. Get it out on the notebook. Lean in and push yourself to worry just a bit more.

This may take you five minutes or an hour. It depends on how much you’ve avoided or used denial to cover up worrisome thoughts. Once you feel that you’ve exhausted your worries, put your pen down and close your eyes.

Step Five: Take a few deep cleansing breaths. It’s possible you might be on the verge of tears, and that’s okay. You can cry and breathe at the same time.

At this point, one of two things will happen. For some of you who aren’t prone to worrying, that exercise might actually be enough to create the calm you need to get back into the creative mode.

For others of you that are professional worriers, you’ll need to continue onto the next few steps.

Step Six: Evaluate your worries. Run through the list and mark each one the following way:

  • For worries that are internal (i.e. I’m worried I’m fat), logically write down next to it the percentage of truth the statement actually has (100% if it’s so true that 100 people would say, yeah that’s right, all the way down to 0% – not one of the 100 people would agree with you)
  • For worries that are external (i.e I’m worried that my house might catch on fire), logically write down next to it the percentage of possibility that statement actually has (100% chance my house will burn down, down to 0% chance my house will burn down).

For thoughts that are too complex to categorize simply (i.e I’m worried that my business won’t make the money it needs to in order to send my kids to college), you’ll need to deconstruct them a bit more. That worry is really multi layered and could mean any (or all) of the following:

  1. I’m worried my business won’t make enough money
  2. I’m worried my kids won’t get the chance to go to school
  3. I’m worried I’ll feel so much pain if they miss out on this life opportunity
  4. I’m worried I’m a bad mom for not being able to pay for their school
  5. I’m worried my kids will live at home forever because they can’t get a good job

Cross out the ones that aren’t true, and then assign percentages to the ones that are true.

Step Seven: Segregate your worries.

You’re going to have a lot of them that are less than 50% chance of happening. Like a TON. In fact, and this is sort of left to interpretation, but pick a percentage you’re comfortable betting on. Is it 50%? 30%? If I look at the weather and it says 20% chance of rain, I’m reasonably confident it won’t rain. So I would choose 20%.

I would put all the worries that are OVER 20% in one pile and all the ones less than 20% in another.

Step Eight: Logically “worst case scenario out” the ones that are over your threshold.

Since I am looking at anything over 20%, chances are I’ll have a few in my bucket to logically deconstruct. Someone whose threshold is 60% might realize there’s nothing to actively worry about! You can end the exercise here if your brain feels calm enough to get back to productivity. But the idea is to go through the worst case scenario of every high threshold worry and rationalize how you would survive that situation.

Let’s look at something like…

“I’m worried I’ll feel so much pain if my kids miss out on going to college”. That worry was 100% true. I would in fact feel pain if they missed out on something. But logically, isn’t it normal to feel pain when someone we love is hurting? Sure! That’s not weird. That’s life. And then I can logically reason that there have been other times in my life I’ve felt pain on their behalf, and I survived each one. It wasn’t a matter of life and death. It was just uncomfortable. And I can go even as far as to say that I will have to face this pain multiple times in their life, whether it is my fault or not. And…many other moms and dads feel this way. I’m not alone. Then I might look at how them missing an opportunity actually opened a door to another one that made them really resilient!

By the time I’m done logically deconstructing this, the worry has INFINITELY less power.

Let’s try another one.

“I’m worried my business won’t make enough money.” I randomly categorized this one at 50% chance. One in every two businesses fail, so I figured those are the odds for me too. So it’s well over the 20% threshold so I have to go at it with worst case scenario thinking. Let’s say it doesn’t make enough money. What would I do next? I’d go find another job or business and try again. I might get into debt while I’m trying to get back on my feet. If my debt got high enough, I might even have to file for bankruptcy and live with my parents. I’d live at home and eventually my parents would pass on and maybe I would inherit their house. I might eventually find a job and get back on my feet. In no way do I end up homeless or dead.

Go through every worry in that high threshold pile and just hammer it out with logic.

Step Nine: Glance at your other pile of worries (the less likely ones).

After all that brain work, chances are the worries with 1%, 2%, 5% chances are so low, they won’t even seem so scary or hard anymore. It’s impossible for our brain to really watch every danger in life after all. Think about it. I’m sitting here writing this post (worrying it’s not good enough), but I’m not worried the plane is going to crash. Even though the woman next to me might be scared of crashing, no one can be worried about everything all the time. Which means, there are ways we are rationalizing other dangers away to keep the worries at bay.

Ever thought about how one person can be TERRIFIED to drive without a seatbelt on and the other person doesn’t even think about it? If the brain can’t worry about everything, then it’s clearly using a complex process to prioritize worries in order to keep the brain from shutting down in panic.

This exercise gets your worries out on paper, gives you a quick way to rate them in priority, and work through the worst case scenario to get to the other side.

Since you’ve done it with the “more likely” thoughts, it makes all the tiny less likely worries seem minuscule and unimportant, and your brain is able to push them down the list of priority.

Step Ten: Time to close your notebook and get back to whatever it is you were doing. You should feel a TON better. If a worry creeps in while you’re working, just jot it down in your notebook so you can focus on “worrying” about it later. That way the brain will feel reassured that you haven’t forgotten the danger, you’re just pushing it aside for the moment.

Some people need to do this everyday. Others only when it’s a really stressful season of life. Just remember this: Avoidance and denial often make our brain MORE persistent in reminding us of the danger. Give it just enough attention to destroy the worry with logic, and you’ll find yourself taking control of your thoughts in a new way.

Facebook Changes For 2019 & What It Means For Online Business Owners

In the last several weeks, massive shockwaves have reverberated all over the online business world about the changes coming to Facebook. It’s hard to tell the real news from the fake news, but after several hours of listening, reading, and researching, it can be summarized as follows:

  1. Facebook is HUGE. So big in fact that it’s becoming something like a monopoly. And because of this, there are massive eyeballs on Facebook – and the possibility of regulation from the government.
  2. It would seem that between the privacy debacle, the user data they’ve gathered about what users enjoy most on the app, and the negative social/psychological impact of social media newsfeeds on the human brain, Facebook is continuing to evolve in order to stay relevant.

This has led to rumors like… the newsfeed disappearing, one of the key components online business owners use to advertise and send traffic to their products and services. While no such official announcement has been made about the newsfeed, there is definitely a push in directions that eerily leave out any mention of the newsfeed.

There’s always a bit of a conundrum as marketers — because it’s easy to get swept up in rumors (Remember when people abandoned their facebook pages because organic reach fell?) and it’s hard to tell what will stick and what will evolve. No one wants to invest in something that will phase out or become irrelevant, so how do you maximize your efforts without knowing the future?

Without any official notice about how advertising and marketing on Facebook newsfeed may change in the coming years, here are the things I will be focusing on as Facebook undergoes one of the biggest evolutions we’ve seen to date.

Facebook Groups

I am SO glad I didn’t follow the herd when everyone and their mother were abandoning Facebook groups. They are central to the future of Facebook, and so if you’ve been on the fence about creating a group, today is the day to start focusing on it. There have been a ton of new features added to groups in the last 12 months, and more coming — including the possibility of sponsors and ads in the groups themselves.

When you open up Facebook on your phone, you’ll see the group button dead center in the menu bar, with the option to pin and rearrange your top 10 groups.

Your group algorithm matters. That means spend time creating organic content that makes it easy for your group members to respond. Keep the auto-posting to a minimum, reward active members, and give people a reason to login to their device and CHECK the group – not just wait for it to appear in the newsfeed.

Facebook Messenger

I won’t even pretend to be an expert in bots, because I haven’t used them a ton in my marketing yet, but there are lots of rumors that it will be a pay to play feature soon. You’ll have to pay per message for broadcasts out to your subscriber list, which sucks, but we all knew it was coming to that.

On the happy side, there will be more ways to interact on messenger – like group video calls and watch parties. They are also building out lead ad templates for messenger, which signal that they are actively improving how marketers can monetize messenger.

With the release of a new desktop app, merging WhatsApp and Insta with Messenger, and completely revamping the mobile app to load quickly, Messenger is trying to overtake texting it appears. It’ll be interesting to see how marketers can deliver personalized interactions via messenger during the lead and buying process.

Facebook Stories

If you haven’t become completely addicted to IG stories on Instagram, it’s time. Facebook is putting more and more emphasis on stories, design wise in the app (bigger than ever on mobile if you’ve noticed) but also because, people like content that doesn’t stick around forever.

Stories are powerful because they have built in urgency. The content disappears. Using stories to drive people to your podcast, blog, videos, is going to become one of the key ways to drive traffic (much like we do all the time with posts), as well as creating engaging content that people come back to watch again and again. A lot of marketers are having incredible conversions using story ads, and you can expect that to continue in force.

Facebook Events

I’m interested in this focus for Facebook, because it’s one I haven’t used a ton, but it’s a key feature getting an overhaul. How might marketers use the redesigned events app to remind people of livestreams, webinars, online classes, or in person events? This is worth looking into more in depth, as Facebook signals its importance in their redesign. Events have their own newsfeed area for posting, can be used in ads, and will be part of Facebook’s continued initiative to help people connect geographically.

Facebook Watch

Even though most small business owners can’t just get a Facebook Watch show, video will continue to be critical to engagement on Facebook. Facebook Watch is a big part of Facebook’s attempt to compete with YouTube, and video content in general, outranks other types of content. However you plan to roll out video – either through stories, livestreams, or pre-recorded content, video is key.

Facebook Timeline

Even though there wasn’t a focus on the timeline during the F8 conference, I will continue to think of my timeline as… my Facebook website. This means both my page and my profile. The point for me is that when people hear about me – wherever it comes from – I want to make sure my timeline is a curated delight of help, inspiration, and excellent content that highlights my brand and services.

What Matters Less

Once upon a time, it mattered how many likes were on your page. People obsessed over group size, number of friends and followers, etc. Let me say this plainly. It’s not worth your time to worry about vanity metrics. Zuckerberg clearly agrees because in a bold move over on Instagram, they’ve decided to remove how many likes are on each photo (except to the original poster).

If I were to set a theme for the next 12 months of my Facebook marketing, it would be: Meaningful engagement. Connecting with the people that clearly need/want my services, and not trying to be all things to all people.

Good content never goes out of style, and if you focus on that – you’ll be able to weather whatever changes come our way.

Let me know in the comments below…what changes you’re most looking forward to!

Stop Stacking Time + Substitute It Instead!

Have you ever found a random $100 in your pocket or bank account, and got SO excited about how you would spend the money?

If you’re like most people, brainstorming what to do with it is half the fun. Maybe you’ll use it to go to fancy restaurant, buy a shirt you had your eye on (that was too expensive), sign up for a membership/course you wanted to buy, etc.

This is called “earmarking” – we mentally decide what we’ll spend the money on, except something happens in this process. A lot of us accidentally earmark the same $100 for multiple things…especially if the $100 isn’t tangibly in our hands, just in our bank accounts.

If you observe yourself in the area of finances, you might notice this subconscious behavior. Since we thought it, our minds think it done.

Hold this analogy in your head as we walk through one of the biggest time management problems I see, especially with entrepreneurs who don’t have a boss to answer to.

If you use the Paper Whiteboard, you might have a long to-do list or brain dump of stuff to get done. And if you’re practicing the art of Sacred Time, you also have dedicated times set aside to get certain tasks done (the ones qualified for that time slot).

But what happens if all this just stays in your head and doesn’t visually get “earmarked”?

You fall victim to TIME + TASK stacking.

What Is Time +Task Stacking?

Time + Task Stacking is a phrase I came up with for people who have a mental plan for how they will spend their week, but don’t actually physically earmark it, and therefore stack way too many tasks on the allotted time they have. What inevitably happens is that unexpected things come up, and because they have no visual representation of what that looks like in a schedule, they say things like, “Yeah I can fit that in….” or “I’m sure I’ll find a spot later in the week to do it…” or “Just give it to me and I’ll figure it out…”.

  • Have you ever had what you thought was a big wide open week to get stuff done, and then magically meetings and phone calls suck it all up?
  • Are you the kind of person who frequently doesn’t get your important work done because of hair on fire issues?
  • Do you try to cram in way more than is humanly possible because you’re trying to alter the laws of time and space?

You’re probably time + task stacking.

It’s the process of “stacking” more and more and more on your plate for the week because it appears like there’s so much time later to do it, when it’s really already earmarked for other things.

How To Switch From Stacking To Substitution

I learned how to do this well with finances, which is where I made the connection that we can do it with time too!

Back in my early days, I struggled with spending outside my budget. In order to gain control of my debt, I started using the envelope system with Dave Ramsey. All of a sudden, I had a visual representation of how much I was saving for things like haircuts and clothes and entertainment.

I’d take my envelopes with me to the mall, and if I saw a shirt or pair of shoes I REALLY wanted, I had to grab my envelopes and physically pull the money out of the right category. If my clothing envelope was empty, I had to use an envelope for something like entertainment or food.

All of a sudden I could clearly see what I was substituting. I would take the $50 from entertainment to get the shoes, and my brain registered that I was substituting weekly movie night for shoes.

What happened is it created a clear way for me to weigh how important the shoes were. Instead of a vague “are these shoes worth $50?” I now thought, “Are these shoes worth missing weekly date night with my husband?”

That’s a TON more powerful. I successfully got out of debt using this method.

Most of us are in massive time debt. Because we aren’t using specific substitution style questions for our time, we stack more and more and don’t really understand the value of our MOST precious resource.

If you have a free afternoon (let’s say 2 hours), and there’s nothing earmarked on it…you might stack the tasks of working out, calling a friend, writing a blog post, and who knows what else in that time block. And even if you could get all that done in two hours, when your mother-in-law calls you and asks to come over and there’s nothing REALLY stopping you from saying yes (like a doctor’s appointment let’s say), you stack that inside the two hours on top of it.

Let’s stop shall we?

The Process For Time Substitution

This is super simple and easy to do. It requires you to set aside an hour or so on Sunday evenings before the week gets started.

  1. Get out your paper whiteboard and write down ALL the things you have to get done in the week. EVERYTHING. Personal, business, etc.
  2. Open up a Google calendar and create a Time Substitution calendar (it can overlay over your regular calendar if you want). You can also just use it as your main calendar.
  3. You’re going to drag colored blocks for EVERYTHING on your paper whiteboard. Do the best you can to estimate the time it’ll take.
  4. I want you to include things like getting dressed, working out, admin work, buffer time, and all the time suck type stuff that we forget about.
  5. Make sure you color code your sacred time a different color than the regular meetings/admin style work.
  6. After you’ve done that, you might see some open blocks. If so, drag a block around them and label them a third color. This way, you know what open blocks are still available and can be used for last minute things or overflow (if you estimated incorrectly).

Here’s a sample week.

 

Notice I’m including wake up time, voxer time, meal time, and other things that most people don’t calendar in. I’m not using this calendar so much for reminders as I am trying to realistically make sure I’m not time + task stacking and earmarking time inappropriately.

The Inevitable Unexpected’s

It’s impossible to plan your whole week perfectly. It’ll never happen, so just remove that expectation. In fact, last week my Monday morning Sacred Time tasks got completely derailed because of an issue in the One Funnel Away Challenge. I lost all that time putting out a fire.

So once that was done, I looked at what I missed, and quickly moved the block around and leveraged some of my free time still available.

By Wednesday, all my yellow free blocks were full. And by Thursday, there were unexpecteds that came up and there was now NO MORE time to just put stuff.

Entire TIME SUBSTITUTION.

In order to say yes to something new that I wasn’t expecting, I had to say no to something that was planned. You will see how much easier it to make a decision when you’re measuring specifics tasks against each other, instead of this vague intangible “can I fit it in” mentality.

As this becomes a part of your weekly habits, you’ll notice that you’re checking your calendar more frequently to see if you’re on track. It’ll get easier to estimate tasks, rearrange things, and draw boundaries because everything is visually measured.

Sometimes I have to move things to the following week because the unexpecteds are really important and there’s no time available left. The good news is that when I move it to another week, I don’t worry that I will forget or lose track. It never says off my radar completely, which helps with procrastination.

Start this on Sunday nights and use the super easy Google calendar to move things around as your week unfolds. Since you can have unlimited calendars, you can use a separate calendar from your main one and overlay it.

Don’t be surprised if the first couple weeks are a cluster. It takes practice to get it right, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever visually measured time before!

One last reminder: TIME is our MOST precious resource. It’s FAR FAR more valuable than money. It’s irreplaceable. You should be protecting your time with 10x more vigilance than you money.

xx

P.S. Are you liking the productivity posts? There are MORE of them! Check out The Paper Whiteboard, Sacred Time, and The Art of Refocus for additional tips and strategies.

 

Julie Chenell

Episode 32: Sacred Time + The 100/50/10 System

As a young mom in my 20’s with three small children, nap time was terrifying.

Everyday, I would tuck my 4 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old into their beds, shut the door, and panic.

I had 90 minutes a day to myself. 90 minutes. The pressure I felt trying to figure out what to do with that 90 minutes is where I birthed the concept of Sacred Time and The 100 System.



Like every other mom on planet Earth, my to-do list had items for days. 90 minutes was barely enough time to get to three things done on the list, never mind the 100 other things below it. As I calculated how many nap times I needed to finish the whole list, I would dissolve into tears of hopelessness.

This is a true story. This was my life for a decade.

There were days when I would choose items on my list that, after getting done, would make me feel amazing and spark more productivity. There were other days however when what I’d choose would leave me feeling scattered and unfulfilled.

Eventually, I figured out HOW to choose what to do on my to-do list, and this became a massive aha! for me.

Let’s say my list looked like this:

  • Pay bills
  • Answer emails
  • Clean desk
  • Workout
  • Do laundry
  • Make grocery list
  • Clean out fridge
  • Plan Evan’s birthday party
  • Call my sister
  • Bake cupcakes for school party
  • Research vacation spots
  • Write a blog post
  • Finish book for book club
  • Record video for blog post

I scrutinized every single item and asked myself this one question:

“Can I do this with my kids underfoot or do they HAVE to be asleep?”

What was I really asking?

I wanted to know if the task on my list required 100% of my brain power and concentration, or if it was possible to work it into a part of the day where I had the kids.

The reality is that for that particular day’s list, the ONLY things that I could not do with my kids underfoot were:

  • Pay bills
  • Write a blog post
  • Record video for blog post

All of those either required a quiet house or enough concentration that trying to do them with kids would end in disaster.

Those became my 100 tasks. Things that truly require 100% of my brain power. Everything else, I tried to figure out how I could work them into other parts of my day.

That 90 minutes became the MOST sacred time of the day for me, everyday, and so I vowed that I would ONLY do 100 tasks in my sacred time, no matter what, no exceptions.

This took a lot of practice, because even though it sounds really easy in theory, actually living it is a whole different game.

Let’s talk about what I naturally “wanted” to do (and as you observe yourself, you’ll see similar patterns I’m sure).

When the kids would go to sleep, I wanted to tidy up my space. It was almost a compulsion. It seemed so harmless to pick up the toys, throw a load of laundry in, clean off my desk, and THEN start writing a blog post. However, this meant I was allowing three extra non 100 tasks into my sacred time.

Not only did it eat into the 90 minutes, it also led to other mini-tasks I saw along the way. Every single step I took in my house was like allowing a room full of possible new distractions into my 90 minutes.

At first, I tried to “sneak” in non-100 tasks into my sacred time because I rationalized that it made me “feel” good to get those things done. I couldn’t focus until they were done. But it never failed, I would lose momentum and time, and never get my 100 tasks done in my sacred time.

Eventually, I began the practice of ignoring my instincts and compulsions. It was REALLY hard. So hard in fact I started adding in buffer time BEFORE my sacred time, just to handle these silly little games I would play with myself so that I wouldn’t use my sacred time for anything other than 100 tasks.

As the kids got older, I earned more “sacred time” slots in my day, and continued to earmark the 100 tasks to those time periods and everything else went anywhere it could fit. My business grew, my to-do lists grew, and the concept of sacred time and 100 tasks only became MORE important!

What we’re going to do next is work into your life and business two new systems:

  1. The 100/50/10 Task System
  2. Sacred Time

100/50/10 Task System

The first exercise for you is to identify what 100 tasks TRULY ARE.

This is REALLY important to understand. The 100, 50, 10 system is to label tasks according to brain power, not by how much time it takes, how important it is, how much you love it, etc. We’re categorizing the task based on how much brain power it takes to do.

Make a list of the most common things you do in life, and we’re going to label them as 100, 50, or 10.

  1. 100 means it takes 100% of your brain power and concentration.
  2. 50 means that it takes concentration, but it’s not so difficult that you can’t do it while other things are happening around you.
  3. 10 tasks are just mindless type tasks that are a part of life but can almost be rote.

Some of you who struggle with focus are going to be tempted to identify everything as a 100. Here’s a way to look at it….

When you are categorizing the task, if someone interrupted you, could you get back at it after the interruption was done? If so, then it’s a 50 task.

An example would be working out. If you’re lifting weights and a kid comes into the room and asks where the cereal is, you can answer and go back to working out.

If that kid interrupts a podcast interview or a book writing session, regaining concentration is a lot harder. Those would be 100 tasks.

10 tasks are either things that are rote (like showering and driving), or they are wasted time tasks like waiting in line.

Here are how I would categorize some life & business tasks…

100 Tasks

  • Writing a book 100
  • Recording video 100
  • Building curriculum 100
  • Podcast interviews 100
  • Executive meetings 100
  • Coaching 100
  • Teaching 100
  • Selling 100
  • Livestreaming 100
  • Training 100
  • Tech 100
  • Creative design 100
  • Date night 100
  • Sex 100
  • Heart to heart talk 100

50 Tasks

  • Emails 50
  • Planning 50
  • PM 50
  • Meetings 50
  • Cleaning 50
  • Working out 50
  • Shopping/errands 50
  • Cooking 50

10 Tasks

  • Social media 10
  • Organizing files 10
  • Watercooler talk 10
  • Netflix 10
  • Showering 10
  • Driving 10
  • Waiting in line 10

100 tasks are usually the things that allow creativity to birth new products, services, ideas, etc. They are the hardest things to do, require the most brain power, and get snuffed out constantly by everyday 50 and 10 tasks. Once you have a general idea of all the tasks in your average day, and how to label them, the next exercise is to find and capture Sacred Time.

The Sacred Time Exercise

Some of you reading this might be thinking one of the following things…

  1. Finding Sacred Time is so easy and not rocket science, not sure why you’re making a big deal of this
  2. I am a mom of young kids and have NO sacred time so I’m screwed

Please stick with me! I’ve implemented this system effectively with people who’ve thought exactly the same things, and I promise if you really work at this, it will change your whole life.

The first step to implementing this into your life is to simply identify your sacred time slots.

Take an average 24 hour work day, subtract the time you’re sleeping, and circle the slots that qualify as sacred time.

For the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to identify sacred time as – The Time You Have In Your Day That You Are Absolutely In Control Of. You Can 100% Dictate How You Spend That Time.

This means your kids are asleep or tended to by a nanny or parent, you’ve got an assistant or someone who can answer phone calls and emails, you have the power to ignore notifications and dings from your phone, you don’t have animals begging for you to take them for a walk, or you have a door to your office to shut out co-workers and interruptions.

  • 11:00pm -7:00am SLEEP
  • 7:00am -8:00am Kids off to school
  • 8:00am – 12:00pm Sacred Time
  • 12:00pm – 2:00pm Sacred Time
  • 2:00pm – 5:00pm Half Time
  • 5:00pm – 8:00pm Kids home & dinner
  • 8:00pm – 11:00pm Half Time

You’ll notice on this list, I identified a few things as Half time. That’s because while I do have control of those time periods in theory, I don’t have total control. There are other people around that might need me, and so I wouldn’t truly classify it as sacred time.

Half time is time you control but not fully.

I also know that my brain is usually not as perky during those times, so it would be mislabeling them as sacred time because I can’t truly get 100 tasks done in those slots (which is the ultimate goal of these two exercises).

The two spots that say KIDS, I would label as Busy Time. That means most of my energy is taken up with the logistics of parenting, and there is very little brain power left for creative thinking or my business. So an average day really looks like this….

  • 11:00pm -7:00am SLEEP
  • 7:00am -8:00am Busy Time
  • 8:00am – 12:00pm Sacred Time (for 100 tasks)
  • 12:00pm – 2:00pm Sacred Time (for 100 tasks)
  • 2:00pm – 5:00pm Half Time
  • 5:00pm – 8:00pm Busy Time
  • 8:00pm – 11:00pm Half Time

Your first job is to simply identify your sacred time slots.

Some of you might do this exercise and it looks like this:

  • 11:00pm -7:00am SLEEP (maybe, but baby wakes up)
  • 7:00am -8:00am Kids wake up
  • 8:00am – 12:00pm Babycare
  • 12:00pm – 2:00pm Babycare
  • 2:00pm – 5:00pm Big kids come home
  • 5:00pm – 8:00pm Dinner & Bedtime
  • 8:00pm – 11:00pm I’m dead

If you have NONE (this is mostly a problem for stay-at-home moms trying to run a business), this means you need to rearrange your life a little bit.

  • It may mean waking up super early and NOT using that time for something like working out (which is not a 100 task).
  • It may mean hiring a nanny for a few hours a day.
  • It may mean implementing nap/quiet time in the afternoons.
  • It may mean asking your husband to take over the dinner routine one or two days a week.

Ultimately, having NO sacred time in your life on a daily basis is a quality of life problem. Everyone should have some – somewhere. The question you need to ask yourself is “How can I get at least 90 minutes of Sacred Time in my life, everyday?”

Others of you will do this exercise and it’ll be like this:

  • 11:00pm -7:00am SLEEP
  • 7:00am – 11:00pm Sacred Time

You don’t have kids, an easy going spouse (or none), and your whole day, everyday, is yours. I promise you while the mothers reading this book are completely annoyed at you for having 16 hours a day of Sacred Time, the reality is most of you don’t have much actual sacred time because all your time has lost its sacredness because it’s abundant.

That’s one of the features of sacred time. It’s scarce. It’s sacred. It’s from heaven for Pete’s Sake! When you have everyday, all day to yourself, you are much more likely to waste time because you think, “Well I’ll just do it later.” Because later has more sacred time anyway.

Both extremes are a problem.

It would be amazing if every entrepreneur had 8 hours a day of sacred time each day, but the truth is that you can run a successful business with just 4 hours of sacred time each day. But it actually has to be sacred. It has to be time that is ONLY used for 100 tasks. Once you have a general idea of your Sacred Time slots each workday, block them out in your Google calendar.

The Primary Goal Of the Sacred 100/50/10 System

Like I said earlier, implementing this in your life is not as easy as it sounds. Some of you may have come to the unfortunate realization that one of your sacred time slots every day is 5am-7am and you’re currently using that time to work out, make a smoothie, and shower.

  • Working out
  • Making a smoothie
  • Showering

…None of those are 100 tasks. Not even close.

The idea of this is to MATCH your 100 tasks to your SACRED time. Then match your 50 tasks to your half time. What would life be like if you could sit down and write out your next book or course everyday from 5am-7am and then go do your workout and your smoothie and shower during a 50 block a bit later in the morning?

This is exactly how I wrote Russell’s books in such a short amount of time! I NEVER use 100 blocks of time for anything other than 100 tasks.

If you can identify between 2-4 hours a day of sacred time everyday, and ONLY perform 100 tasks in those times, you will notice a drastic difference in your productivity immediately.

In another post, I’ll show you some ways that I worked to eliminate non-100 tasks from my sacred time when I started with this habit.

P.S. Are you liking the productivity posts? There are MORE of them! Check out The Paper Whiteboard, Stop Stacking Time!, and The Art of Refocus for additional tips and strategies.

The Adventures Of Funnelhacking Live 2019

This is the first time in ten days I’ve opened up my laptop to write. It’s been torture not being able to write in real time- all the things that happened at Funnelhacking Live this week – but the impact on my heart is strong enough that the emotion of it all is right under the surface still, ready to spill out.

This will be Funnelhacking Live through my eyes, which I realize is just one of 4500 perspectives. I’m just a sliver of an angle, but if we all share our slivers together, it creates a breathtaking diamond that shines a story of hope and impact and meaning for all entrepreneurs.

I hate goodbyes, and last night was no exception.

At the Hickory Steakhouse with the ClickFunnels team, it took me a solid 45 minutes to say my goodbyes. With each one, my eyes blinked harder and harder, trying to push the emotion down.

We’d just – as a team – pulled off one the most life transforming weeks 4500 people had ever seen. I wish I could explain the team’s work ethic in a way that would make you love them just as much as I do. You know how in a sports team, there’s maybe one or two star players and then the rest support them? That’s not this. Every single person is a star player.

  • Early mornings, late nights, last minute designs and funnels and changes of plans….
  • Patiently answering questions, running orders and forms, handing out swag….
  • Near 24/7 video and photography capturing every single moment of the event…
  • Setting up chairs, manning doors, and high fiving 4500 funnel hackers…

All of them did it happily and with insane amounts of energy.

There was not one moment where I reached out to someone to get me something, report a stat, make an adjustment, and wasn’t immediately helped. And not only that, many of these behind-the-scenes staff members took time out of their day to come up and ask how I was in the craziness of being “on” for an entire week.

As I left the Hickory last night, I wiped my eyes and reminded myself that it wasn’t goodbye really…because I get the honor and privilege of working with this team every day, and that is not a gift I take lightly.

The week was filled with highs and lows…as any high intensity event is. It’s impossible to feel the great high of pride and joy and ecstasy, without also feeling intense amounts of stress and pressure and nerves too. And I want to share it all with you.

The trip began with the longest road trip of my life (warning – I will cry as I write this…it’ll be impossible not to).

Somewhere in my brain I thought it would be a good idea to stuff my family of six into a minivan and drive 15 hours to Tennessee over the course of three days. I didn’t think about how annoying it would be to travel with a raging fever-ed preschooler. I didn’t think about how it would feel to be in the back seat of a minivan for 10 hours trying to keep him comfortable. I didn’t think about the logistics of stopping at two different hotels and all the packing and unpacking that I would have to do. I didn’t think about the stress of driving through the dark windy mountain roads of Knoxville trying to find an Emergency Room that would help Alex and I bring down William’s 105 fever.

That’s how the trip started. Alex and I remained a team throughout it all, all hands on deck, the entire drive down to Nashville.

What I failed to mention was that the entire way down, I was suppressing the rising anxiety I had about my decision to bring my entire family.

You see, the night before we left, I had a showdown with Ellie’s therapist, who made a recommendation I didn’t agree with. It was a drastic recommendation that would have meant she couldn’t come to Funnelhacking Live. The therapist subsequently fired us and called the school to report me as not following recommended medical advice. It was testing all my courage.

Here I was, staring down professionals who told me that my choices were incorrect, and even though I knew her coming along was the right move, in that tiny squished car trying to deal with William being sick, I questioned whether I could be a support to her, plus all my kids, my husband, and all the team members and customers depending on me.

That’s how I arrived.

In marketing, we talk about pre-frame a lot. That’s the mood/energy state/perspective that your customer comes into your funnel with. If you pre-frame your customer properly, it’s way easier to sell. My pre-frame to Funnelhacking Live was infused with a ton of stress and anxiety.

As we unloaded out of the car, our gear and luggage spilling out – the first person I saw was Chad Thibodeaux. He was grinning from ear to ear, a signature feature of a funnelhacker by the way, and gave me a hug and said, “You survived the trip!” Everyone had been watching on Instagram, and in that moment, I let go of the stress and thought, I’m here with the biggest most incredible family ever and they will support me no matter what.

Over the next two days, I think I clocked one comma club worth of hugs. I couldn’t walk more than 5 feet without stopping for a selfie, a hello, a high five, or a handshake. As my kids tagged along, I could see out of the corner of my eye…I was gaining a cool point or two.

  • I found my Digital Insiders – the small group of people that I call my Inner Circle – and it felt like home.
  • I found more of my close friends fellow 2CCX cruisers – Ashlan, Wallace, Dave, Brandon, Peng Joon, Stephen, Nick, Amanda, and too many more to mention here.
  • I found my Yara and James.
  • I found my partners – Russell, Ryan, Todd, Brent, John, Dan, and Dave.
  • I found my team – Jake, Nick, Karen, Josh, Shane, Myles, Leon, and many many more.
  • I found the human that I trust with every detail – my assistant Emily.

The people continued to pile on higher and higher.

  • There was Stu and Amy, Toby & Kim, Ethan, Nichole and Josh, Pete – amazing hearts I traveled to Kenya with.
  • Reese and Yael and other CYLLers that nearly toppled me to the ground with hugs.
  • Inner Circle members Ryan and Brad, Stacey and Paul, Bart and Sunny, Alison Prince.
  • ClickFunnels spouses Ashley and Vanessa and Carrie and Collette and Andrea and Amber.

Sometimes when Alex and I are trying to deal with all the stuff at home… we are like an island. We have our family, but very few friends. Definitely no village or community that is filled with an abundance of positivity and connection.

But as the relationships piled higher and higher, by the time Wednesday hit, the weight of human connection and love literally crushed me and my squishy heart into a million pieces. I’m pretty sure I’m the richest human on planet Earth. I wasn’t quite sure how to thank God for such blessing in my life.

The event itself was incredible. The majority of the room was in tears within the first 10 minutes. Russell always does a great job of offering a blend of tactical, strategic, and inspirational teaching. I can’t possibly capture here all the ah-ha moments that rippled through the audience, but it’s safe to say that there were 7-figure ideas and hacks in every presentation. Implementing just ONE of the hundreds of strategies could (and will) completely transform your business.

I might be biased of course, but the branding, design, swag, room, hotel, all of it – was at a level of professionalism and choreography that you don’t find anywhere else. Not even at events with 10 times the budget. And for all the attention to detail, there is equal amounts of attention to each and every story represented in the seats.

I did the best I could to soak in every moment of the event, even though at times it felt impossible. Wearing the hat of wife, mom, influencer, partner, employee, mastermind lead, coach, inner circle member, and speaker tested my emotional resolve.

About 24 hours in, I could tell it was a crazy unrealistic expectation I had of myself that I could navigate the OCEAN of needs/wants in any given moment and make everyone happy.

My Voxer never went more than 1 minute without a message.

I ended up ignoring 99% of messages for just the “hair on fire” moments – Evan’s bathing suit was too big (even though I told him a thousand times to try it on before we left), William’s fever spiked, Nick needed me to review copy for a last minute funnel, last minute meeting places, coordinating dinner plans and reservations, managing online campaigns to match in person logistics, the music needed to be turned up and changed for 2CC awards, gathering coaches to meet new students, reporting 2CCX purchases, and on and on it went.

Navigating the hotel was also a game of fun. That place was RIDICULOUS. It took me til the last day to even get my bearings around the 9 acre atrium covered in walkways and waterfalls and nooks and crannies. And even when I did get the path right, unless I was literally running through the hotel with my four kids lagging behind, I was stopped every five feet for a hello and selfie. In fact, one trip between my room and the convention, I counted 75 selfies.

I’m not complaining.

To have that kind of responsibility, influence, and impact is an incredible honor.

I felt humbled by the number of people touched by my podcast, blog, emails, courses. It reminded me that when you focus on value, everything else you want falls into place.

Watching my kids experience their first Funnelhacking Live, I’m pretty sure I ruined them for regular conferences forever. They LOVED it. And…honestly…they were amazing. Helpful, flexible, easy going, and responsible. Even my 11 year old figured out how to navigate the hotel alone. Evan stayed for sessions I missed, and took pages and pages of notes. Ellie – normally the one who struggles with social anxiety the most – opened herself up to the experience and became a different kid.

She and Eden hung around Alison Prince’s girls’ and speaking of Alison, if you ever get the distinct honor of being this woman’s friend, consider yourself highly favored by God. She has no idea the depth and level of impact she had on me this week.

I think the person who sacrificed the most this week was Alex. He spent so much time searching for grilled cheeses (the only food William was eating), arcading with the kids, taking the kids swimming, staying in at night so I could go out, etc. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine. William was sick for a good part of the event and the responsibility fell on him. I could not have pulled off what I did without his support and love and commitment to the family. It definitely took its toll on Alex.

Emily too. And my dad (who flew down just to hear me speak). All these people behind the scenes that you never see, but are the pillars of support that enable me to do what I do.

As I stepped out on that stage and stared at the crowd before me, I carried every single one of these people on that stage with me. I could see some of their faces in the crowd, acutely aware that they are all a part of who’ve I’ve become. That the ONLY thing we take with us into the next life is our relationships. That’s it. Not money. Not power. Not fame.

People. The relationships we create carry on eternally, with God – with ourselves, and those we love.

That’s it you guys.

That’s the big lesson from Funnelhacking Live. People. People are everything. The people that love you…even when you can’t give back.

I think I spent five minutes with Yara + James the entire time – two of my closest friends. It was such a tease to be in the same place and so unable to connect. There was just too much going on at every moment.

And not every moment was perfect.

There were some difficult moments too.

  • Moments where I could see the disappointment on Alex’s face that I couldn’t relieve him of William duty after so many long days.
  • Moments of stress when multiple people wanted to connect and in my indecisiveness, I ended up not being able to help anyone.
  • Moments when I knew someone was upset with me because I didn’t meet their expectation of what I was supposed to be for them.
  • Massive moments of overthinking and getting in my head.

I wonder sometimes if people see me (a speaker, partner, influencer) and think I don’t struggle with insecurity or overthinking. Ohhhh I do. It doesn’t really matter what level you are, you’re still human.

As the newest partner with ClickFunnels, I doubted myself several times – and let my insecurity bring me to tears. In fact, not one hour before I took the stage, I had the worst case of FOMO/left-outness of the entire week and had to pace the halls and blast music to keep myself from falling apart and ruining the 80lbs of stage makeup on my face.

There were several moments that I wanted to make executive decisions…and wondered… “Can I? Am I trustworthy to think this through and make the right call? Will I let the team down?” It was scary to step into that. And it’s hard for people to adjust to a new person in a position of authority because they don’t have the past and time on their side.

Sometimes you get it really right…and sometimes you need others to help show you perspective. In a high pressure situation like Funnelhacking Live, everyone is running at 1000 miles per hour, so it bodes well to always believe the best – and give people the same benefit of the doubt you would want in a high stress situation.

A perfect example of this happened right on the last day, when Garrett White took the stage and brought a young man onto the stage to coach him through the decision making process for 2CCX. It caused a lot of polarizing opinions – from those who felt like he was using high pressure sales tactics and manipulation, to those who saw it as an amazing intervention to get someone to finally break free of fear and step into the unknown.

Social media blew up afterwards, and I personally had an intense reaction to the whole thing. I hate saying the word “triggered” because I feel like it conjures up those cheeky memes that makes the triggered person seem crazy, which isn’t fair or true. When people are triggered, it means they need to look at what it’s doing in them yes….it also could be that there was something “off” in the event too. It’s never black and white, no matter how much we want it to be.

My emotions were on fire as I processed what happened.

And even putting my own feelings aside, there were hundreds of people having the same reaction. And hundreds of people having the EXACT opposite reaction. It was a fascinating look at how differently people perceive the same event.

The good news is that we as a team (I think) handled it very well. We created a safe space for the discussion to happen, and paved the way for respectful debate. It was amazing how it went from negative to constructive in the group when we just created the place to talk openly.

There’s a lesson there. Don’t run from discomfort.

Don’t run from conflict.

Lean into it.

Make space for it. It honestly takes the heat right out of the problem and allows understanding to come in.

For me personally, I knew I needed that too. I needed someone to validate that I wasn’t crazy for feeling uncomfortable, and that was exactly what I needed to allow myself to hear other peoples’ perspectives too. Ones that can help shape my opinions and bring me another way to see the situation.

I don’t resonate with that style of selling, and that’s okay. And it’s also okay that others DO need that. It’s all just okay.

The more comfortable we get with opposing realities co-existing, the more maturity we gain.

I will never forget so many of the moments this week.

  • The moment I saw Alex and my kids stand up and clap as I stepped onto the stage.
  • The moment I met my dad who’d come down to Nashville, just for me.
  • The moment when Russell came up to me and told me I had nailed my presentation and done a flawless job.
  • The moment when Emily showed up – just to bring me Advil when I was so busy I couldn’t even take care of a migraine.
  • The moment Shane looked at me, gave me a hug, and whispered, “I got you.”
  • The moment Yara sent me a squishy “I love you” text as we sat on opposite sides of the room during a live concert.
  • The moment I saw Alison and she held me like my life depended on it.
  • The moment I watched Ellie listen with tears streaming down her face, to Nicholas’ story.
  • The moment my super shy Evan ran up on stage to dance in front of everyone.
  • The moment when Nick mouthed, “I’ll take care of it” without me having to even explain myself.
  • The moment when Ryan (super busy) took the time to ask me how I was doing…and really cared to hear the answer.
  • The moment when I watched my kids listen to Dave Lindenbaum at dinner, and I just knew..their world was changing right before their eyes.

So many more…some I can’t mention here because they were just for me.

It took me about 90 minutes to find all the people in the hotel I had to say goodbye to last night, and even that wasn’t enough. There were so many I never got to touch or talk to again…and won’t see…until the next FunnelHacking Live.

If you’ve never given yourself the opportunity to experience this kind of energy and community and power, you owe it to yourself…and to the future relationships you’re meant to have…to do WHATEVER you have to do to be at Funnelhacking Live in 2020.

And it is my moral obligation to make sure you get there – because I know – without a doubt – that for those who are ready and come with an open heart, there is NO telling where you and your business will go next with that kind of community in your corner.

They’ve got your back. I do too.

xx

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