To-do lists, checkboxes, spreadsheets – if you’re a highly productive woman you probably know and love tools like these. But at a certain point our drive to be productive can lead to burnout or become a way to hide from inner demons. In this episode you’ll learn how to sustain a high-performing life for the long haul, avoid burnout and make productivity your true superpower.
You’ll hear about:
- The difference between productivity that leads to burnout and productivity as a superpower
- How productivity can be a way to hide from feelings of “not good enough”
- Diet & lifestyle practices that support a highly-productive woman
- How keeping secrets and being indecisive kills productivity
More from Michelle:
- Take this free quiz and see if your stress levels are normal or leading you to burnout – http://ShesGotPower.com/free
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Just think of all the different decisions that you have to make on a daily basis, weekly basis. All the time we're making these big decisions from, you know, if we get married to who we marry to where we live and what car we're going to buy and what job we're going to take or not take. And one thing that has really helped me again, be more productive in life is practicing being decisive.
It's time to stop being the victim of your over-scheduled life and become the most powerful version of yourself. Welcome to she's got power. So it was kind of funny. Boyfriend
Sent me a message last night saying that he had such a busy day, such a very, very full day. And I knew he had taken his parents to the airport. So yes, that was unusual. And surely it was a big chunk of the day, but I asked him, okay, so what else made your day so full? And he's like, I went grocery shopping. Yeah. I made dinner for the kids. Now I'm doing laundry and watching baseball and I'm like, I'm like waiting, you know, because so far that sounds like a pretty average day things that I do every single day of the week, except, you know, instead of baseball, I've been watching Outlander anyway, I'm waiting to hear about something and the thing, you know, a big project at work that blew up something with the kids, like what was the kicker? And you can probably tell there was none, but for him that felt like a very full day.
The man went grocery shopping and he cooked dinner. Now everybody's different. Of course, and I am poking fun at men right now by telling this story. But for real yo, my busy days include caring for two little boys cooking every meal from scratch, exercising for an hour, meeting with contractors, doing work on my house, having a meeting with coworkers across four or five different time zones, coaching a client in China, getting on Facebook, live to broadcast at 10,000 people. And I have to do my hair before I do that. And this is all before lunch. You know, people say to me, Michelle, I don't know how you do it all. So today I'm gonna tell you because productivity is my superpower and it can be yours if you do it right.
I think college was the first time I remember being very, very busy,
Like a jam packed schedule. I had joined just about every single organization. I was taking extra credits, pledging a sorority, and maintaining a full scholarship. And I remember one month during freshman year, my periods skipped from all the stress that had never happened before. So it was a little scary, but I loved it. You know, I loved juggling all the things and being part of so much. Do you get that feeling like that? Adrenaline rush from going, going, going, and just living, being a very rich, full life. Now here's the thing, sometimes not all the time, but sometimes we use productivity as a way to hide the fact that we are somewhere inside deathly scared that we aren't enough. You know, I joined all those clubs and I pledged the sorority because I wanted so badly to be included and have friends and be someone on campus.
And I think we can get ourselves into a trap where we place our value in how much we can accomplish, how much we can do versus knowing that we have value inherently, just because we're a human being. I think there's an element of, I'm not enough, you know, like somewhere behind every hyper productive woman that you know, and that's something that I want you to keep an eye on. Like how many times on this show have I interviewed a woman who was go, go, go, go. And then she crashed with, with some sort of major health issue. We have heard that story again and again. So pushing yourself beyond the edge, it's no longer productive. You know, it becomes counterproductive to do that because then you crash hard and that's not doing your best, right? So I think if you have a personality like mine, if you have that trace of I'm afraid, I'm not enough lurking secretly in your psyche, because maybe you were told that as a child, or maybe you felt that growing up, we have to be careful to temper this inclination to do more and more and more and constantly be trying to prove ourselves.
Okay. But that is a different conversation. What I really wanted to share about today is how, like how I have harnessed the super power behind productivity. And, these days can operate at a very fast pace without burning out without skipped periods, without other health issues. I've been there. I've done that, you know, just flinging myself towards burnout. And these days, you know, I feel like I found this super comfy groove, right between health and happiness and being able to function at a very high level, very, very consistently. So here are some of the tenants. I'm going to say some of the they're not rules, but there are these tenants that I live by in order to make that happen. And in some of these you've heard of before, but I want to put it all in terms of how they help me be productive.
So one thing that I have learned through the years is that having even steady energy is so key. Like if it takes you 30 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half to kind of get going in the morning, you just lost a big part of your day. If you're crashing every afternoon around three o'clock, your eyes are drooping. You know, you're reaching for another coffee, you're again, you are missing out on part of your day. You are not making the most of the hours that you are awake, which, you know, if you're getting eight hours of sleep per night, and I hope that you are, and I'm going to talk about that next, you have a finite window that you are awake and functioning during the day. So my goal is to be awake and functioning for, you know, most of those hours, if not all of those hours.
And the very best way that I have found to do that is to really make sure that my diet does not include processed sugar or caffeine on a regular basis. This does not mean that I will not eat cheesecake. If you have cheesecake, like I'm totally having a piece of that cheesecake. That's not what I mean, but it's not like there is sugar embedded into my daily breakfast, lunch, dinner snacks. Like I'm very, very careful about the processed sugar in my diet. In fact, I was just on vacation a couple of weeks ago and you know, on vacation, you know, when in Rome kind of thing, there's ice cream cones, there's funnel cake, things like that. But man, I could feel it. I could really feel my energy lagging, not just like on those days, but for quite a few days after the vacation, until I got back onto my routine.
So sugar will zap your energy and Zapier productivity, right with it. Again, I'm talking about processed sugar. I'm not talking about the sugar found in fruit. It's very hard to overdue fresh fruit, you know? So go ahead, have the banana. That's not really what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about, you know, sugar in the coffee and sugar that's in that muffin and sugar that's in that cereal and sugar. That's in that catch-up and sugar that's here and sugar that's there. That's what I'm talking about. And caffeine is similar. When I was a coffee drinker, I experienced very strong highs and lows. So I would wake up, I'd be very low than coffee would bring me high, you know, and then I'd come back down and crash, have to have another coffee. I don't have time for the ups and downs. You guys like that's really what it boils down to.
I want slow burning, slow, steady energy all day long. And to do that, I can not be relying on caffeine for pick me ups. Cause they always drop you off really low at the end. And again, with the sugar, the sugar is a great way when your blood sugar is going up and down all day, you're going up and down all day. I would rather just have that steady energy from start to finish. So those are two very important things to me. I don't care if I'm eating a vegetarian meal or a vegan meal or paleo meal or whatever, as long as I can stick to very limited sugar and caffeine in my life. I'm doing real good. Okay. The next, super important thing in my life is sleep. I protect my sleep. I prioritize my sleep. I near schedule it right into my Google calendar without sleep. You are sunk. You know, sleep is restorative. Sleep is everything to your body right down to what's going on in your microbiome. So to me, I'm not productive if, you know, quote unquote making air quotes right now, I'm not productive. If I'm staying up until three in the morning to finish a project, I'm going to be much better off in the long run. If I go to sleep, I get my eight hours. I wake up and complete the project, right? Typically
What will happen is I come up with some other solution to the project. So, and it's like, oh, actually, we're going to do this instead. And then we're not going to do that until next month. And I can change around the schedule and I can just think more creatively and problem solve better when I have slept, right? Versus just pushing, pushing, pushing on the problem and trying to solve it that night. This is something that when I used to work in advertising was the total opposite.
We stayed and worked all night
Long when there was a big pitch and creative thinking does not happen like that. You know, real problem solving does not happen like that. So eight hours non-negotiable I got the earplugs, I got the eye mask, like I'm in it, there's melatonin. And we are out, cannot recommend highly enough if you want to be a productive person.
Another thing that is a priority in my life, and I think helps me on so many different levels, you know, and this may be slightly different for you, but I think that everyone deserves to have a part of their day that is dedicated to movement, to wellness, to self care. Right? And so for me, there's an hour. Everywhere I exercise, it's not necessarily, in fact, it's never an all out kind of hit workout or bootcamp or anything like that. It might be yoga. I've been really into the Tracy Anderson method for the last year. And that has been going really well for me. But I feel no shame at all in, in taking that hour for myself, it means like ignoring anybody, who's in my house, kids, sorry, you know, mom's going outside and I'm going to exercise for that hour and give myself that space.
It's about the movement. It's also about that. What I just said, I'm going outside and taking this hour for myself. It's like a self-care practice. Just, just the fact of doing it. And that is really important when the rest of your day is all about doing things for other people, getting things done, you know, working with things outside of yourself and helping others, having a practice that's really centered on your own self care keeps you grounded. It's rebellious actually in a way, you know, there's this rebellious act of doing something that is just for you and for pleasure and something that, you know, brings you joy. You know, I love exercising outside under the big open sky. Like it feels really good. I wouldn't be as excited about working out in a dingy basement. You know? So this is another aspect of how I take care of myself that allows me to function at a very high level for the rest of the day.
Those are things you've probably heard before. You know, maybe you haven't heard them in quite that way, but like what you're eating and how you're sleeping and, you know, exercise, we all know that exercise helps with blood flow and helps your focus. Blah-blah-blah um, so I want to talk about a few other things that maybe aren't so directly related to general health and wellness. It's something that I've really grown into and found to help so much in managing my energy is speaking transparently and speaking, speaking my truth, you know, you could say it keeping no secrets. So an example is like with my taxes last year, there was a mistake. My bookkeeper made a mistake and they reported my business income. So when the taxes were filed, you know, there was an income that wasn't reported properly and the inclination is to go, oh, you know, we're just not going to say anything about that.
You know, they probably won't notice, uh, you know, let's just hope. And then next year, maybe we'll fudge it a little bit. And, and, and like, no, no, I'm going to refile my taxes with the proper numbers. I'm going to pay what I owe and I'm going to be done with it. And I think there's so many different scenarios that are like that in our lives, where if we try to hide something, you know, how much energy that takes just in remembering that you have to hide that thing, you know, not tell someone about something or, you know, you're speaking to someone, but you're kind of dancing around what you really need to say, instead of just saying it and being transparent, you know, you don't have to be a jerk, but you can be clear and you can be kind and you can be straightforward.
You know what? I really value that for so many reasons. But most of all, it takes the least amount of energy and things just get done better and faster. And then you can just move on with your day instead of kind of, you know, like I said, dancing around telling someone the truth or hiding and trying to remember what secrets you're hiding from whom and yikes. I don't have any time for that. So that's become a practice for me. And it is a practice. There are times when I'm in situations that it's hard to just speak my truth and be transparent. And that's something that I am working on. And maybe, maybe we'll talk more about that in a future episode. And then one more thing that has really come into play lately, especially as I recently purchased a home and then there's lots of decisions to be made around that.
But I think throughout the whole arc of adulthood, just think of all the different decisions that you have to make on a daily basis, weekly basis. Do you ever all the time we were making these big decisions from, you know, if we get married to who we marry to where we live and what car we're going to buy and what job we're going to take or, or not take. And one thing that has really helped me again, be more productive in life is practicing being decisive. This can be hard for women, you know, there, this is a broad generalization, but I think that women tend to him and haul and not be sure, whereas men are more likely to just make a decision and get on with it. And this is what I've been practicing doing. Just it's a yes or it's a no, and I'm moving on.
I'm not going to hem and haw for weeks. I'm not going to waste all that energy going back and forth. So for example, in my business, uh, just in the past couple of weeks, I hired a contractor who is very pricey. And so my inclination was to pause and think it through and kind of, yes, no pros and cons, but in my gut it felt like the right thing to do. And I just really don't have time for the back and forth. So I just said, yes, let's do it. And you know, what, if it doesn't work out, then we won't continue the contract, but in this way, we're moving forward. You know, like the ship keeps moving forward and then, you know, you can always course correct, but I think it's easy to grind to a halt when you just can't make a decision. Another example of that, it's more in my personal life, but I was just invited to go on a trip over the new year.
And that's a ways from now, you know, it's like six months from now and it'd be a big trip and it sounded really great, you know, I really wanted to go, but I could think of about 14 different reasons why it wasn't a good idea and wasn't going to work out for me. So again, there's this kind of desire to leave it as a possibility, you know, not say yes, but not say no. And just let it dangle because maybe, um, even though I knew in my heart, like it really was not going to happen. So in this case, the practice of being decisive meant that I had to just say, no, I'm sorry. I can't make it. And again, just move on right now. There's all this space that wouldn't be there. If I was going to continue to think about this over the next month or two, just know I can't do it. The decision is made and
All that space clears up this again, really helps manage my energy and manage my time.
How do you all stay productive? So listen, this is the second to last episode of this season of the podcast. And I'll be back next week with one more, but then we're going to have a break in the meantime, find me on Instagram. Okay. I'm at, she's got power. And tell me what part of this episode resonated with you? Like, are you a hyper-productive person, do you think there might be a shade of I'm not good enough hiding behind all of that. I'd love to hear from you. I'd also be ever so grateful
For your review on apple podcasts. If you could take a minute and submit a written review, that would be amazing. Thanks for listening. I know you're busy.
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