6 Ways to Improve Personal Productivity During the Great Coronavirus Lockdown of 2020!
The good and the bad of being stranded at home for weeks at a time - especially if you’re doing business online...
The Great Coronavirus Lockdown of 2020 has caused angst for a lot of folks because they’re not taking charge of their personal productivity, so I decided to write about 6 methods that I’m using including eliminating the psyche-killer: Energy Loops.
Unfortunately, I kind of love the lockdown. Not people getting sick, of course. That sucks, but I love being forced to re-evaluate and re-focus.
This feels like a forced reboot, just like I have to do with my computer when it gets sluggish and on memory overload.
But frankly, I've never been so productive.
Now, I have a really good excuse to be isolated in the woods - without feeling anti-social.
Someone asked me the other day if I'm seeing more of my neighbors since everyone's home during lockdown. Heck, I'm so deep in the woods, I haven't seen most of my neighbors in 15 years. I wouldn't know them if I ran into them on the street.
But productive? Holy Cow! I've been so productive that I could hardly find time to write this post.
When the coronavirus started causing shutdowns across the country, my daughter Jen and I started talking about how we could help people get some control back in their lives - and fast.
The Fast Business Startup Virtual Workshop was the answer. It was 2 days of intense focus on setting up an online income stream by focusing on numbers, not products or launches or all the other stuff people tell you have to do.
We focused on numbers. Four numbers.
And it blew people's minds.
You can find out more about this here: https://NAMS.ws/FastVirtual
But now, I'm taking a breath.
The 2 days were exhausting, but now we had replays to edit and transcripts to create. Plus, I decided to do a Case Study on how we used a $1 ticket to a virtual live workshop to drive more than $20,000 in profit AND create a new income stream for ourselves.
So, finally, I'm taking an entire hour to write this post all about how to improve personal productivity, staying positive in difficult times and what I've noticed during the lockdown.
1) Being home is awesome.
But that may just be me because I'm easily distracted. It forces me to stay in one spot and focus on what's in front of me. Being home and reducing travel to almost zilch has also allowed for more continuous and focused effort without the start and stop disruption.
I noticed that when I looked back at my coffee shop visits, I was really looking forward to seeing friends who didn't even know my name unless it was written on a coffee cup.
2) I have an Internet challenge.
Like really slow DSL at the house with no alternative. I've complained about it for 15 years and used it as an excuse to not do some things (Facebook Live - I'm talking about you...) It's time to get over it.
When the major news networks are doing live interviews with people in their bedroom offices with kids screaming outside the door, we all have permission to focus on the content, not the flash.
And I'm 15 miles from town - any town. So I used to spend a lot of time on the road going to Starbucks or other fast internet spots. During this time, I decided not to do that. (Couldn't actually, since nearly everything is closed.)
3) Closing the social media black hole.
I was at my mother-in-law's the other day (my one day a week trip into town to check on her and work on high-speed). And I was making a cup of coffee in the kitchen. She came out of the bedroom, sighed, and said, "I came back here to clean up the kitchen, but I got on Facebook instead - and that was over an hour ago."
And she's 97!
Social media is a tool, but easily becomes a thief stealing our best hours. I'm holding steady with that by limiting my time to morning and night.
(**Want to know how to stay focused all day? Start by scheduling your social media to specific time slots in your calendar! Then close out all social media apps, web pages etc. until your scheduled time.)
4) Email. This is our life blood.
Email marketing accounts for about 80% of our business in some form. But I hate email personally... And I'm now only checking my personal account 2 to 3 times a WEEK.
I can do that because I've set up systems. I have a private account for coaching clients only. And when I get an email to that account, I get a text message on my watch and phone so I can respond fast.
JV Partners know to skype or Facebook message me. And Insiders and other product buyers go to our support desk, chat on the site or one of our product specific Facebook groups.
5) Turned off the news.
I limit myself to 30 minutes or less of news each day. This is a sure-fire way for staying positive in difficult times. I will catch up on news using my Flipboard app at night. Short of a nuclear bomb, nothing needs my attention right now!
I'm amazed how I get sucked in by the rubber-neck syndrome. Watching the news can be an emotional pot that gets stirred way too easily. Not only does it affect me then, but it lingers in my psyche for a while.
And for me to do this is a massive change. I’m a proud, former journalist who worked in newspapers and magazines. The main reason I left the news business though was all the bad stuff we saw and reported each day made me crazy. So, I had to quit.
6) Energy Loops.
You've read this entire post so far to get to this point. I could write all day about energy loops.
Recently, I read somewhere about energy loops causing us all kinds of grief. I'm not talking about woo-woo universal energy (although I believe that too), but personal energy expended with our mind and our labor.
It’s wasted energy. The very definition means nothing gets done.
An energy loop equals anything started but not finished yet it lives in our brain. And they are everywhere from large to small. And often, the size doesn’t matter. An energy drain is an energy drain is an energy drain - they’re all equal.
Here's an example.
The picture shows a small tree stump. It's a poplar tree. About 5 years ago, a poplar sprout came up in a plastic flower pot that was in (what passes for) my front yard between the crepe myrtles at our house.
It was tiny, like a weed.
Instead of yanking it out of the ground, I thought that I'd just plant it somewhere else on our 95 acres.
After all, we’ve only got about 45,000 of them according to the University of Maryland Extension report on Forest Thinning. I might miss this little sprout though. It could be very special.
Even when my wife asked me what this was, I told her I'd take care of it...
Energy loop was opened the moment I didn’t pull that dude right out of the pot.
This is how it works.
Here's a tree that I'm going to move. It's on my mental list. It staked out a spot on my brain and it's never going away until it's resolved.
That was 5 years ago.
The tree grew fast - as poplars do. The pot had a hole in the bottom for drainage as pots do. The poplar roots squeezed through that hole finding life as they do.
It anchored the little tree in the soil below. I could no longer move the pot because it literally was rooted in the ground.
My wife would point out that the tree is growing fast and it’s really too close to the house. She asked me when I was going to get rid of it. “Soon” was always my answer. I can still dig it up and move it, I told her.
But it didn't just grow roots in the ground.
They were burrowing into my psyche too.
Every time I walked into the house, I'd glance over and see that tree. My mind would nudge me, "You've got to take care of that." And I'd think, "Soon, sure. When I get a minute."
It kept growing...both in the ground and in my brain. It reached 10 feet tall. And I thought about it every day because I saw every day when I came out of the house.
After a trip to Atlanta, I glanced over at the tree. It was about 7 feet shorter.
It had been cut off about 3 feet off the ground. My wife had found a handsaw in the basement and went after it.
The pot was still intact. But it still wouldn't budge because the roots were so deep. So the first step was to remove the pot, then cut the rest of the tree off, and then dig out the roots. "I'll get to that," I told myself. I've got all the tools.
That was 2 years ago.
Because of my internet challenge here in the woods, I sometimes drive to town to work at my mother-in-law's house where I get high-speed cable.
Last weekend, when I came home from a full day of working in town on the high-speed, I walked by the tree, the abbreviated version that's been dead now for a couple of years, and the pot was gone. My wife and niece broke the pot and spread out the dirt in the garden.
Then, she said, "I want to learn to use the chainsaw."
Ok - it's time to get that tree out of the yard. And I'll do it. I've got some time tomorrow 🙂
This is the CLASSIC energy loop.
Five years ago, I opened it up when I didn't dispose of that tree. Thinking about that tree and putting off the solution, I expended enough energy to power a small office building. Unfinished, little or large projects take the energy that we could otherwise use to improve personal productivity and be more productive in life.
When we say we’re tired, often it’s mentally tired because we’ve expended so much energy - doing nothing - on stuff that could have been resolved long ago.
An energy loop is completely unnecessary.
All it takes is little action.
There's an old saying that resolves every energy loop:
"Never put off till tomorrow what you could do today."
We do this at home. We do it at work. And we do it in business.
A productivity expert knows how to eliminate the energy loops by outsourcing and delegating, or just getting the damn chainsaw out of the closet.
In the comments, tell me about the energy loop that needs to be closed.