It’s Monday again and it’s time to start the week with good energy!
Monday Productive is a weekly interview format, featuring peak-performers from my network, who share 5 quick ideas on how to boost your productivity and stay at the top of your game.
Today’s guest is Katie Frances Stoddart. Katie is a performance & productivity coach, who mostly works with entrepreneurs to support them in growing their business. She is passionate about leadership, productivity, well-being and focus and her book on “Focus” is coming out later this year.
1. Katie, so glad to meet someone, who is in many ways doing what I do. How did you get into productivity & performance in the first place? What excites you to do what you do today?
I first began being interested in the topics of productivity at the very beginning of my coaching career – When I first started my business, entire days would go by where I felt I had produced no results. Sometimes I could not even remember what I had done during the day. As I was already very passionate about coaching, I was determined to make my business work and I soon realised that productivity (and well-being) were essential if I wanted to produce tangible results. I began by structuring my days, having an exercise routine in place, and making sure that my ‘To Do’ list was not overpacked (as I quickly noticed that no results came from an overpacked list). By narrowing it down to a few key outcomes, it made it a lot easier to achieve my daily goals. 🎯
Performance differs from productivity in many ways though they have similarities. I really enjoy performance work as it is basically a focus on ‘growth’ – on-going learning, improving, reaching outcomes and goals are a greatly contribute to our fulfilment – so it’s fantastic to be experience this in my own journey and in my client’s journeys too. 😊
I love working with entrepreneurs to help them reduce the unnecessary overwhelm and stress in their business, and support them to manage their time & energy effectively. It is always wonderful to see how fast people grow and change.
2. Could you share with us your personal productivity system? What is your process to #prioritise and plan your day, week, month?
To plan my days, I use: the 3 MITs (Most Important Task) method. I write down the 3 main outcomes I want for the day and how they relate to what I wish to achieve during that week. I use Kanban flow to keep track of these 3 MITs, and as an activity log so I can track what I have achieved.
When planning my week, I review the past week first, see what I succeeded in doing and what I did not get round to do. I then question why these tasks were not done, and if I have been procrastinating them – then check how I feel about the tasks to see if there are any hidden fears or if overwhelm creeps in. 📅
Once I have reviewed my past week, I plan the following one based on my three main goals for the year. I set an outcome per week for each goal, that will take me one step closer to achieving my yearly goals.
I generally plan weeks more than months, though I do use a monthly theme to plan all my social media content. For example, January was ‘Productivity’, February was ‘Focus’ and March will be ‘habits’.
To keep track of the progress of my goals, I use ‘Perdoo’. Something about tracking (maybe because I have an engineering and mathematics background) makes me happy! I like to see the graphs, and the progress – the visual information is uplifting and also highlights some areas I might need to take more of.
3. What are some of the most common challenges your clients are dealing with, when it comes to productivity? Could you share 3 simple and practical pieces of advice (you would give them) with us?
The most common challenges I come across are: overwhelm (feeling that they are not progressing and a lack of clarity in their priorities), procrastination and lack of focus (mind dissipated and wants to do everything).
👉 For overwhelm, what seems to work well is to: write everything down on paper, work with outcomes not ‘To Do’ lists (having a clear set outcome is so much more efficient than a long list of actions), look at weekly goals and not daily tasks (it adds some perspective) and take breaks often (by overworking, it can blur your vision).
👉 For procrastination, understanding the purpose behind each task to renew motivation is often helpful. It is also essential to tune into the worse case scenario if the task does not get done – this can get people going fast!
👉 Regarding lack of focus, I tend to look at activities such as meditation, mindfulness, exercising and nature. A lot of the time, the lack of focus comes from an overly active chatter voice in our mind, and some of the best ways to calm it down is to meditate, walk, and be mindful & present with every activity.
4. Achievement vs Fulfillment? Is it possible to have both? How does one find their own balance, their own “sweet spot” of living a meaningful and productive life?
It can be challenging when one is inclined towards achievement to leave room for fulfillment. What can help is:
- To express gratitude regularly on what you already have and not be too focused on what is missing
- To allow time for friends/family/recreation – this might sound obvious but I have met many hyper-achievers who might make exercise one of their priorities, but a long walk by the sea is considered a non-essential
- To mark time off in your calendar: Week-ends, or evenings during the week where you allow yourself time to disconnect
- To notice signs that show you are out of balance – overworked, insomnias, lack of energy, not seeing people, feeling of stress, or overexcitement. Being in tune with your emotions is essential for fulfilment as our emotions are our compass – they drive our decisions, and our state of being.
- To leave mental space for activities you find totally relaxing – this could be an evening with friends, reading a novel, going to a concert. Something that is not related to any goal or achievement.
5. In the last 24 months – what habit or belief have you acquired, that helps you to be a more effective professional today?
A new habit I have re-put in place this week (I did it last year also) is listening to Tony Robbins course (Creating lasting change) while I cook my lunch. This is a great break during the way, and the content is an ongoing reminder of how I do what I do, and what I can put in place to improve. It is a boost for constant improvement.
[BONUS] Name one to three books that helped you to become a better leader?
The seven habits of highly effective people, Steven Covey
Atomic Habits, James Clear
Free to focus, Michael Hyatt
If you have any questions to Katie, please leave your comment below!
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Thank you for reading.
And Happy Monday!