Productivity Tips To Keep Your Head In The Game Despite 2020’s Nonsense

This is an email I sent to my list….

I keep hearing that word over and over in my head when I tell myself all these excuses as to why I haven’t written to my people in over a month.

Utter nonsense.

Here are the classic players of excuses in my head…

  • Gardening
  • Busy building FG Society content
  • Starting a new YouTube channel for Funnel Gorgeous
  • Kids
  • Quarantine

…but I’m going to be brutally honest and say this:

After writing some pretty heartfelt “non-marketing” messages over the past few months – both on email and on social media – I was a bit tired of managing the kickback. It wears on you, even when 1000% confident of your beliefs and in alignment. So I dove headfirst into all the things I listed and quietly hoped no one would notice I’d broken the #1 rule of marketing… staying quiet.

Anyway, today I want to share some “keep your head in the game when the dumpster fire that is 2020 is raging” tips.

It’s hard to stay focused in summer. In an election year. With a worldwide pandemic. With uncertainty around kids and school. With the economy in the toilet. With the unrest of the biggest and most necessary civil rights movement since the 1960’s.

But if you’re a business owner, you are wear the buck stops. Your business doesn’t move forward, people don’t get paid. So keeping your head in the game is like an Olympic sport and you need to get on that podium.

When Cathy and I soft launched the Funnel Gorgeous Society at the end of May, we both figured we’d get about 50 people signed. It would be a typical BETA launch, but with the certification piece built in, I knew the content creation would be way more complex than a simple course. So imagine our surprise when we we clocked our first $100,000 day and enrolled over 450 students into the first round of FG Society?!

It was nuts.

Even though my commitment to 50 people or 450 people would be the exact same, this unforeseen epic launch reminded me of this one truth: My life, my business, my habits, my words – they affect other people. My ability to keep my head in the game – even when it looks like “selfish” self care or rigid boundaries, is ultimately what’s best for everyone. Because if I go down, other things go down and the domino effect isn’t good.

So with quarantine months 4 and 5 dragging into summer with four kids, my full time gig of 1:1 coaching and consulting in my Digital Insiders, and the most ambitious curriculum and certification program to be written with 450 students waiting on me, I had to dial in my routine BIG TIME.

Here’s What I Learned…

#1 Your creative brain and logistics brain don’t place nice together.

If I made the mistake of leaving “creative” mode to go into “logistics” mode, I was screwed for the day. Nothing but sleep would help reset my creative brain. That meant that things like email, Slack, administrative tasks, Asana, list making, meetings, etc. all had to come AFTER I was done creating the content for the day. The FIRST most important task of my days that were dedicated to content creation – was to create.

#2 You will appear rigid and abrupt if you truly hold yourself accountable to your sacred time.

So I told my Executive Assistant back in May, that I would need up to 20 hours a week for content creation for months on end. That’s not easy to do when you run a mastermind with 75 people who have 1:1 access to you. So this is how I scheduled my week.

  • Mondays – Digital Insiders all day. This was my day to review audits from Insiders, do some hotseats, answer Voxers, plan, etc. Occasionally I would have an FG Society meeting in the afternoon but otherwise, I was DI coach on Mondays. No creation time at all.
  • Tuesdays – Tuesdays have been DI and meeting days. I start the day with my Insiders (Voxer + then a group call and some hotseats). Afternoons are all FG – including our weekly team meeting and FG Society Q&A.
  • Wednesdays – SACRED TIME from 9-3pm. This was the first 6 hour block I gave myself to create. I spend about 2-3 hours a day on Voxer with Digital Insiders early in the morning, and from 9-3, I am not doing ANY logistics. Only content creation.
  • Thursday – Same thing as Wednesday. Another six hour block after early morning with Insiders.
  • Friday – Same thing as Wednesday/Thursday. Another six hour block after early morning with Insiders.

You know what felt crappy? Sticking to that schedule when I knew people were waiting on me for other things. When I knew I was missing out on tags and dings. When it seemed like I should just throw my schedule away and just go lay on the beach.

#3 Don’t forget the “musing” time you need when in creation mode.

Now lest you think I stared at a screen for those six hours three days a week, I did not. I mean, I did – but I also spent a considerable amount of time in my garden and with the birds. I’d write for an hour, then go outside and water the plants. Come back in and write for another hour. Repeat.

What DOES play nice with creativity? Mindless tasks that get you outside and in nature. I found the flow and creative process wasn’t interrupted if I went outside to trim my Rose bush. It actually helped it. It allowed me to step away, think, muse, and then come back with a new way of looking at it.

#4 Nothing substitutes pen and paper. Nothing.

I keep thinking something will come along to replace it and so far, nothing. I use my pen and paper CONSTANTLY. At the end of every day, I review what’s on the list, and add to Asana or Trello, whatever needs to be turned into a task or a to do. But my paper whiteboard sits on my desk and helps me stay on track because I can put down on that paper anything that comes to mind (in whatever messy shape it’s in) and I know I won’t forget to deal with it later.

#5 Keep an ENDLESS supply of tea at hand at all times.

I’m joking (sorta). But when it comes to the creative process, don’t stop drinking. I have my assistant refreshing my tea, water, and fresh juices every hour so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing (except for the 8 million bathroom breaks because of hydration).

#6 Develop a system and set it up the night before so your momentum isn’t crushed when you begin.

This one is so critical. When you start your creation process, get your computer ready with all the tabs and notes you need. For FG Society, this was my setup…

Monitor #2

  • Google doc with my outline
  • Google folder with all my module presentations
  • Teachable with the lessons + sections in draft format
  • The Google form with the exam questions in progress

Monitor #1

  • The current presentation I was working on
  • Screenflow for recording

If you sit down in the morning and have to set this all up, I guarantee you’ll get distracted.

(goes without saying, if you’re going to create content, get two monitors)

#7 Creating great content means always keeping the end in mind.

This was the first program I designed with an exam at the end, and though it’s a crap ton of work, I’m now totally sold on exams. First, it helps students have a completion milestone.

Second, it also helps the students understand what the instructor is looking for in terms of comprehension and understanding.

Third? It helps the instructor keep the end in mind.

I knew rabbit holes and tangents and extra goodies that look like “over delivering” wouldn’t help in this case. I needed to keep the end in mind, which is that we want people who are certified in offer, copy, and design to be partners and listed on our site as marketers we recommend. Creating that synergy of the win/win helped keep a lot of tangents at bay.

#8 Develop a “catch all”.

Even with all this, you’re going to need a catch all. What do I mean by this? Well, I theorize that my ability to get SO MUCH DONE isn’t that I’m doing more than everyone else, as much as it is my ability to IGNORE.

I talk about this a lot. People who can’t ignore distractions, notifications, issues, requests will struggle in our noisy world. And to be honest, ignoring when you’re a CEO can also be disastrous.

So how do you avoid disasters and still stay focused? Develop a catch all system.

Here’s how it works…

I create a habit whereby I have ONE spot where I check to do lists, tasks, etc. This can be Trello, Asana, or any project management tool you want. If you’re good at using the tool to add tasks, that’s great – but most people suck at that part.

They don’t want to be bothered to load everything into Asana or Trello, so they get in the bad habit of dealing with it right on the spot so they don’t forget. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. STOP DOING THAT.

On Voxer, my catch all is my assistant. Any voxer that comes in that I can’t respond to right away, I forward to her. She knows that every forwarded message means that it must go on my Trello to review later. Nothing is lost. I just listen, hit forward, and keep moving.

On Slack, my catch all is similar. I’ll either tag my assistant or reply with “Asana” alerting them that I need that content in my PM software for when I go to check on things.

On PM/DM and places where people are asking me questions, my canned response is “email me”. That way I know it’s heading to a place where someone will be there to read it and respond, OR, read it and put it in Trello/Asana where I can take a look.

The idea is that every spot where you might get a distraction or a rabbit hole, put a little catch all habit in place (either with a response or an assistant) that will help you funnel information into the ONE spot you designate.

So there you have it. I hope some of that is helpful for you!

xx Julie