The 2 Points of Clarity that Will Make You So Much More Productive

Are you struggling to make progress on a project, a business, or something in your personal life? Find these two points of clarity for a map out of “the land of Stuck.”

The difference between people who are ultra-productive and the rest of us isn’t willpower. It isn’t intelligence, or time, or money, and it isn’t some kind of genetic gift.

The difference is that they have effective strategies for moving out of stuck spots and into a more productive flow.

In this 23-minute episode, I talk about:

  • Some ways you can turn problems into advantages
  • How to boost your creativity — and what to do during those “creatively quiet” times
  • Why a lack of willpower doesn’t need to hold you back
  • Finding your hidden advantages
  • The five-minute map from “stuck” to “flow” (do this one today!)
  • What to do when you don’t know what to do

NOTE: The show will be on hiatus during August, 2016, and we’ll return to a new iTunes feed and a new site starting in September.

PinkHairedMarketer.FM will take you to the right place when I resume! Looking forward to seeing you then.

Also, don’t forget to drop a comment and let me know what topic you’d like me to cover in a free audio course in the fall. 🙂

The Show Notes

  • If you want a detailed road map that will let you make a ton of progress on a digital project, our Digital Commerce Summit is where you want to be this October
  • For an even more in-depth experience, Summit attendees will have the option to attend small-group, hands-on in-person workshops. Chris Brogan and I are leading the one on online communities, and Brian Gardner is leading one on WordPress-based business. If you’re joining us for Summit, check your in-box!
  • A post I wrote for Copyblogger talking about the power of very small habits: (these work a ton better than trying to muster a lot of willpower)
  • And here’s the podcast episode I did on using your values as a battery — this is a great energy-booster if you feel like you’re spinning your wheels: A Quick, Enjoyable Way to Sharpen Your Vision, Goals, and Values (AUDIO)
  • Finally, a podcast episode about productivity for flakes — with some of my favorite flake-friendly strategies! 🙂 (AUDIO)
  • I always love it when you say Hi or ask a question over on Twitter — find me @soniasimone!

Greetings, superfriends! My name is Sonia Simone and these are the Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer. For those who don’t know me, I’m a co-founder and the chief content officer for Rainmaker Digital.

I’m also a champion of running your business and your life according to your own rules. As long as you don’t lie and you don’t hurt people, this podcast is your official pink permission slip to run your business or your career exactly the way you think you should.

Note: Links to extra resources are in the Show Notes!

So, today I want to talk about something that I teach all the time to our paid customers, so folks in Authority, Teaching Sells, etc., but I’ve only touched on it on the blog or the podcast.

And that’s the two points of clarity you need to get to in order to move forward on anything.

Your business, your career, your family life, your fitness plan. Anything.

So let’s get into it.

First, you have to know your constraints

I’ll take these first because they’re the easiest to identify. This is all the stuff we gripe about. 🙂

Money may be a constraint, time is usually a constraint. If you have three kids under five, you have a significant constraint. You may not have a network yet. You may not have a good internet connection.

Abilities can be constraints as well — these are the kind that we can get a little creative about. If you don’t feel confident about your writing, and writing matters to you, write more. Or record your voice. Or make videos. Or do the thing that you feel needs work.

Then sometimes we have false constraints. One of the biggest is, “I’m not creative.” People who feel held back by this don’t realize that creativity comes from doing, not thinking. Creative approaches won’t come to you until you’re regularly doing that kind of work.

Sometimes a lack of confidence is another false constraint. Each of us has a unique psychological makeup, but often lack of confidence — or lack of self-esteem — comes from a lack of experience. The more solid work you put out, the more confidence you have.

Not always, sometimes highly capable people get into that Imposter Syndrome thing — but if you’re waiting for confidence to get some work produced, that’s counterproductive.

Will power, again, a false constraint that appears very real. If you lack will power, it’s because you haven’t made what you’re working on a habit yet. Will power does improve the more you use it, but it’s also finite. When you deplete today’s will power, you have to wait for the well to refill.

Habits beat will power. Use very tiny habits to create momentum, and also do the Value Exercise I talked about last week to give yourself some additional energy.

Now, the more fun one — assets

So your constraints are all the things you have to work around.

Your assets are — you guessed it — all the things you have to work with.

The categories are pretty much the same as they are for constraints. You might have a bit of a budget to apply to your project right now. You might have a few evenings free.

You might have a skill you can capitalize on — you have a good speaking voice, or you write reasonably well, or you have good design skills.

You may have a person you can get help from. This might be a person you pay, a person you barter with, a person you partner with, or a person you ask for a favor.

In terms of creativity — creative professionals will nearly all tell you that creative energy tends to come in waves. Some weeks are kind of dry and some are really productive and flowing. So if you’re in a good creative time, get some creative stuff done. If you’re in a dry spell, that’s the time to go back to fundamentals, to focus on getting better at the basics, and even to work on some “boring” things — if you call them “meditative” you may find them easier to take.

When you’re not feeling ultra creative, use that as an asset to work on the not-so-glamourous things. Those are important, too.

If you’ve built any kind of habit at all — even a habit of, say, posting a long post on Facebook every day, think about whether you could use that as an asset. A long Facebook post is almost a short article. Could you take that habitual time and deploy it in a way that’s serving your needs better?

Then, you put it all together

You’re at Point A. You want to go to Point B. Take a few minutes to just write that down — electronically or physically, just do what works for you.

Then scribble out the assets and constraints that are in play.

So to launch a new ebook, maybe your constraints are that you don’t have a budget for this one, your time is limited to weekends and two evenings a week, and you’re a slow writer. Your assets are that you know your topic really well, you have a blog and an email list, and you know there’s interest in the topic if you can get it done.

One thing you might do is look at the assets and see if any answers to the constraints might be on there.

So — you have an audience, and expertise, but you’re a slow writer. Could you send a post to your list and your blog asking for a writing partner? You don’t have budget, but you could barter consulting time in your topic of expertise for their writing ability and speed. You get together, record some phone calls, do some consulting hours, and you could have a solid ebook draft quite quickly.

Remember, how you put your own individual puzzle together depends on the pieces you have. It’s like Lego, remember?

Now, this assets and constraints business isn’t stunningly innovative. There’s a whole Theory of Constraints from lean production, that people who write business books have written about.

It’s kind of common sense. Funny thing, it’s those common sense, tried-and-ptrue solutions that tend to actually work.

When in doubt, the answer is usually people

Sometimes there’s kind of a gray spot on your map — something where you don’t know what you don’t know, or you just can’t see a solution.

In that case, the answer is usually to reach out to someone, or to a group of someones.

You can ask me a question on twitter, you can email your list, you can ask in a LinkedIn or Facebook group, you can form a little accountability group, or you could even do all of those things.

Before your ask, spend a moment to make a micro-commitment to yourself that you will act on some of the advice you get, even if it’s only a small action like researching or further investigating an option.

Just a reminder that the show will be on hiatus in August. That means this is the last show before my break! We’re returning in September with a new iTunes feed and hosted on a new site. BUT, the PinkHairedMarketer.FM url will continue to send you wehere you need to go. 🙂

Before I start — one of the things I’d like to do when I return is to do a mini-course that’s just for the subscribers. This will help me to restore the visibility on iTunes, and plus I just think it will be fun.

If you have something you’d particularly like me to cover, just let me know in the show comments or on Twitter!

Thanks so much for your time and attention and I’ll catch you next month. 🙂