Productivity seems to be the end all be all. For most entrepreneurs, we are impatient to get to the dream life and business that the successful Instagram influencers are living. Or maybe it’s just being able to cover this month’s bills and having a bit leftover, but both seem to be at the end of the ever elusive productivity secrets and hacks.
But I have noticed that there are a few myths that are so pervasive in this industry that are actually keeping a lot of entrepreneurs stuck exactly where they are, or even worse, causing them to burn out and sometimes give up altogether. So in this episode, I am calling out these myths and sharing the truths to replace them.
- Learn about the four main productivity myths and how it shows up for female entrepreneurs
- The truths to replace these myths with
- The action step you can take today to help you overcome one or more of these myths and move yourself forward
Rather read than listen? ⬇️
Productivity seems to be the end-all-be-all for most entrepreneurs. We are impatient to get to the dream life and business that the successful IG influencers are living, jet-setting first class to Bali, living it up in the jungles of Costa Rica, jumping from pool to pool at 5-star resorts in LA and Miami. Or just being able to cover this months bills and have a bit leftover. But both seem to be at the end of unearthing the ever-elusive productivity secrets and hacks.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a productivity junkie as well. Hell, I am a productivity coach. My livelihood depends on helping others be more productive with their limited time and resources. But I have noticed that there are a few myths that are pervasive in this industry that are actually keeping a lot of entrepreneurs stuck exactly where they are or worse, causing them to burn out and sometimes give up altogether.
So, in this episode, I am calling out these myths and sharing the truths to replace them.
There are 4 main myths that I see when it comes to productivity and how it shows up for female online entrepreneurs.
The first is that busy = productive.
The second is that motivation is key to productivity.
The third is that to be productive you must reach to achieve work/life balance.
And the final myth is that the same productivity hacks work for everyone.
MYTH: Busy = Productive
Let’s start with this idea of busy = productive. If you are anything like me, an achiever, someone who relishes in checking things off a to-do list, you may enjoy being busy. It makes you feel like you are moving the needle even if what you are doing is busy work.
But here is the reality: Just because you got a lot done in a given day doesn’t mean you were necessarily productive. Likewise, just because you only worked two hours in a day doesn’t mean that you weren’t productive.
Busy is getting a lot done. Productivity is sustainably moving you toward your goals.
Busy focuses on efficiency. Productivity focuses on effectiveness. Sometimes productivity looks like cranking out blog posts and other times it looks like intentionally resting and recharging.
It’s like a quantity vs quality kinda thing. The busy piece may mean that you have a lot going on, but it isn’t necessarily producing any meaningful results.
Sustainable productivity means that you are able to more towards your goals faster and easier because you are consistent.
Productivity is a practice, not a one time destination.
If you are busy, sprinting toward the finish line, you are going to run out of steam much faster than if you moved forward strategically, resting and recharging when it made sense.
You need to be able to take a day off every once in a while. You’re not doing anybody any good by glorifying busy. If you never give yourself a break, you’re not getting to your goals faster and easier. Burn out takes more time to come back from than if you just took a day or even a few hours off every once in awhile.
Rest and relaxation are part of the equation to productivity. It’s not just direct action.
Focused action + energy management + rest & relaxation = optimum productivity.
MYTH: Motivation is the key to productivity.
Now, this next myth is one that I have heard over and over from entrepreneurs who find they are lacking it. This myth is the idea that motivation is the key to productivity. So many individuals that I have chatted with have said something to the effect of, “I’ve lost my motivation for doing the thing, for taking the action that I am supposed to take I start out strong but then I lose the motivation.”
Here is the issue with this: these individuals, and maybe you fall into this as well, are passively relying on external factors to get stuff done. To muster up enough willpower and determination and inspiration to WANT to work on whatever it is that you’ve set out for yourself.
That means that you don’t have a say in when and how you are “motivated”, you are waiting for it to come to you. And that isn’t sustainable. Because what makes or breaks a successful business is consistency. Consistency in continuing forward, despite what else is going on.
Meaning you have to be the source of your motivation. You have to be the expert on what makes you tick and how to leverage that. Rather than sitting around waiting for the motivation coming to you, stack the deck to guarantee it.
MYTH: Work/life Balance
Okay, let’s chat a bit about work/life balance, which is the third myth I’m gonna address.
Work/life balance is an idea that has been floating around entrepreneurial Facebook groups for eons or at least as long as FB groups have been a thing.
Many of the really amazing online entrepreneurs that I work with have told me that the idea of work/life balance is something that they keep striving for, but they feel like it’s completely unattainable.
I’ve been one of them. And recently, circumstances in my life has given me a new found appreciation for this idea of work/life balance. Last year, a good family friend had a stroke, her daughter had been dealing with some health issues, and her mom was dealing with some health issues as well. Three generations in and out of the hospital for various reasons all at the same time. It was my daughter’s birthday, complete with social distanced birthday party, we have been trying to build a house for two years, and all the while I was trying to run this business.
So this idea of all these things are kind of pulling at my attention and needing my energy, that’s a real thing. There are so many parts that needed me and I needed to feel like all of those parts are taken care of that so I wasn’t dropping the ball on anything.
We are high-achieving entrepreneurs. We take action and we do the things we need to do, but it’s not just in our businesses. We do that in other aspects of our lives as well.
But to be honest, work/life balance is a myth. Why? Because it doesn’t create something that is actually attainable. And there’s a few reasons for that.
The first idea is many people when they hear work/life balance, they think that it’s gotta be an even distribution of hours, attention, and energy to work and to life.
And that just doesn’t work because, sometimes you’re going to need to put more time in at work to achieve the things you want to do. And sometimes you have to do that in other aspects of your life, too.
But there’s another reason that this idea of work + life is so screwed up. And that’s because if you pit work and life against one another, they are fighting for your attention. They become two sides of a pendulum. That causes this tension between work, the things that you need to do in order to create revenue, safety, & security, and all other aspects of your life. If you start pitting those against one another, you’re going to get caught in the middle of it.
Then it starts to feel like it may feel now, where you will never get caught up. Nothing ever feels finished.
This dichotomy is actually detrimental to your productivity. Part of productivity is feeling like you’re moving forward. And if you always feel like your attention is being pulled in two separate directions then you’re never actually moving forward. You’re just moving side to side.
Many of the women I have had one-on-one chats with lately say, “I can never do it all. I feel like I’m constantly trying to run around and keep all of these things going.”
How should you look at this in order to get to where you actually want to go?
Rather than thinking of work/life balance, start thinking of you as a whole.
You are a human being, one person, right? And there are many different aspects of you that make up what you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, over the course of your lifetime.
There are things like work or business. But that is a part of your life.
There are things like personal growth.
There are things like your family, your romantic life with your spouse or partner or lack thereof, your finances, your health, your physical environment, all of these different pieces all make up your life.
Then the questions becomes “how do I give all areas of my life the attention and energy they require and deserve?”
What you are really searching for is a feeling like everything is taken care of, everything’s under control. Some seasons are going to require you to be more focused on your business. Some seasons are going to require you to focus on your health. Still others will require you to focus on caring for others, your kids, your spouse, your parents.
What my life looks like is different than what your life looks like, meaning you have a different balls to keep in the air. You have different aspects of your life. You may not have kids. You may not have a partner. You may have a lot more kids than I do. You may have volunteer work that you do. You may be writing a book. You may be doing more than one business. All these different aspects get to be specific to you.
What you are searching for is to create harmony among all the things in your life. So you can feel present, patient, and focused at any given time.
Whenever you hear a guru telling you you need to spend no more than 40 hours a week working, and you need to spend at least two hours a day with your family for quality time, you don’t have to do what they say.
They don’t know you. They don’t know your priorities. They don’t know what aspects of your life are even there. And they don’t know how much attention and energy each one requires or deserves.
They are telling you what works for them. And they mean well, they do. They are trying to make your life better because it made their life better. But often what we end up doing is trying to copy-and-paste someone else’s success plan into our lives.
And it works sometimes for a little while. But then it stops working because we copied and pasted it into our own lives. And it wasn’t built for our lives. It wasn’t built for all the aspects of who we are.
You have to know yourself well enough to be able to take these different pieces and apply them to your life. And when it works for you, for your life, for all the aspects of who you are, that’s how you create processes that work for you to get better at managing all the things you have to do.
And then you, you get better at making those things happen. You get to get creative. You can automate things.
MYTH: The same productivity hacks work the same for everyone.
And that leads to the final myth I want to chat about today: The same productivity hacks work for everyone.
I will sit here and say it til I am blue in the face. There is no one right to do anything whether it is being a successful CEO, building and running a business, or being productive.
Learning from other people is legit the keystone of personal & professional growth but it can more of a hindrance than something that helps if you don’t know how to integrate those lessons into your own life.
What usually happens is that we as entrepreneurs are looking for the shortest way to get to our goals. We don’t like to waste limited resources of time, money, and energy so we look for the shortest path between where we are and where we wanna go.
We know that others have gone before us so we start looking to them for guidance and how-tos. All of this is good and well.
The problem comes in when we try to take their exact process and apply it to our own life as is.
I call this copy-and-pasting someone else’s success plan onto your own life.
And it doesn’t work for long if at all. And what happens when it ultimately fails, is those entrepreneurs think they are a failure rather than the process not working because others have sworn by it. You have to take these hacks, figure out what works for you, testing stuff out, and create your own success plan.
So those are 4 myths about productivity that might be keeping you stuck but the best part about uncovering them as myths is that it allows you to recognize when you start to fall into the trap of believing them as truth and unearth them so they can’t keep you stuck anymore.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: This one is a journal prompt. What is holding you back from being productive? It might be one of these myths or it might be something else entirely. Journal it out, reflect on what you wrote and what patterns or threads you see, and then head on over to Instagram, find my profile @ms.erin.haworth, and DM me what is holding you back. I’ll give you some free 1:1 coaching in the DMs on how to overcome what’s holding you back and keeping you stuck.