If you know me, you know how much I love learning. And one of the things I love learning about most is self-improvement. I read a ton about productivity, partially because I’m interested in so many things that I want to be as efficient as possible so I can do more of what interests me. So imagine my surprise when I found out that one of my writers was speaking at a free productivity conference! Sign me up!
That’s how I came to attend my first Productivity and Planning Week. Sarah Steckler from Mindful Productivity is the genius behind this conference, which was worthwhile in organization alone. I knew Sarah was a pro the minute I saw how well the conference was organized. All 30 sessions were prerecorded and available on demand. A female leader hosted each session, which included an offer (downloadable) and a transcript. Attendees got an email from Sarah each morning suggesting what to watch that day to get through all the conference sessions in a week. It was amazing!
I’m sure I’ll write more about specific things I learned in future posts. But below are some of my key takeaways.
6 Key Takeaways from Productivity and Planning Week
1. Don’t Focus on More
This tip is from Dr. Angelina Davis. It really spoke to me as a person who always tries to do too much. She said to change your mindset from “more is better to less is more.” Because more doesn’t mean greater value, it just means more. Instead of trying to do more, she encouraged us to focus our energy and effort on quality. Makes perfect sense. Let’s do it!
2. Do What Works for You
Do what works for you, not what authors or “productivity experts” say works best for them. Speakers gave this advice throughout the conference. I first heard it from Ashley Looker, whose session was one of my favorites. Ashley calls herself a “joy enthusiast,” which I’m here for. Ashley spoke about creating a morning routine. One of the first things she said was that you don’t have to get up super early to establish a productive, mindful morning routine. As a person who loves her sleep, I was hooked. I want to get up at 8 a.m., not 5 a.m. But I still want to work through a morning routine that starts my day off right. Ashley said the most important thing is to create your own rules and have a routine that serves you, that you enjoy, and that you can stick with. I’m still working on what my routine looks like, but I’m on my way!
3. Control How You Use Your Time
Carin Kilby Clark said we need to stop approaching our time with an out-of-control frame of mind. If we say we don’t have time for things, we believe it. Instead, we need to stop letting our time control us and control how we use our time. She advised attendees to consider their goals and then match them up with their time. But equally as important, she encouraged us to keep margin in our schedules. Margin is time to relax and think. If you don’t have margin, Carin said, you’ll always feel frantic, and you’ll never be able to do your best work.
4. Set the Tone
Jenny Eden Berk talked about how she sets the tone before she cooks for her family. For her, that looks like having a snack ready, turning music on, and prepping a beverage. I realized that I set the tone for most things I do, and I enjoy it. For example, before I start work, I get a cup of coffee and light a candle. When I sit down to watch TV in the evening, I get a glass of wine and turn on the lamps. I like setting the tone, regardless of what I’m doing. I also think tones can help with transitions for those of us who work remotely from home.
5. Dump Your Brain
I can’t tell you how many speakers, including Sarah (the host), talked about doing a “brain dump.” Why? Because, to paraphrase David Allen, our minds are for thoughts and ideas, not storage. Getting stuff out of there a few times a day can make you more productive.
6. Pivot When Necessary
Kierra Asnauskas was my favorite speaker at the conference. I couldn’t write fast enough during her session, so I just started taking screenshots of her slides. I’m confident I’ll write a full post about what I learned from her later. But she had three key messages:
- Find what works for you
- Set boundaries
- If a thing is no longer working for you, stop doing it
Productivity and Planning
I’m certainly not done learning about productivity and planning. There are still many areas where I can improve. And I’m sure I need to be more consistent. But this conference was a game-changer, for sure. It made me think more about productivity, and it also made me reconsider how we should organize workshops and conferences. I look forward to sharing more of what I learned with you in future posts. And if you get the opportunity to attend the conference next year, I encourage you to.