Episode 7

Productivity Part 2

Molly, Kathy, and Betsy continue the discussion on Productivity. This episode reveals our favorite resources and tools, plus we talk about how the idea of productivity provides its own challenges.

Molly Kathy Betsy

About this Episode

Molly, Kathy, and Betsy continue the discussion on Productivity. This episode reveals our favorite resources and tools, plus we talk about how the idea of productivity provides its own challenges.

People... Products... Places

In this episode, we mention the following:


Betsy Muse  0:06  
There’s a little bit of vulnerability in putting your goals out there publicly in front of 100 or so people, and then having to, you know, own up to whether you accomplish them or not. For me, it just, one, it just strengthened some friendships, because there are people who do, like you said, Kathy, check on you and just say hey, Betsy, how’s it going, did you were able to get it done, and it can be a different person each time, but it’s just been, it has been one of the best things for my business.

Molly McBeath  0:58  
Hello and welcome to Yes But However, a podcast about marketing, business, and real life. My name is Molly McBeath with my co-hosts Betsy Muse and Kathy Fealy. This week’s episode is the second of our three part conversation on productivity. If you missed the first episode in this series, you can check out our previous episode on yesbuthoweverpodcast.com to hear how this whole conversation got started and how each of us applies the idea of productivity to our service businesses. In the second segment we talk about tools and strategies, what we like and why. Here’s part two.

Kathleen Fealy  1:36  
So I have a question for both of you. What is your favorite, it could be a tool, it could be a way you manage your time, etc, that makes you feel like you can be super productive, like either for an afternoon or for a day? Do you have any hints for people, or for me so that I can get better at what I do?

Molly McBeath  2:01  
I know, I think Betsy and I have the same…

Kathleen Fealy  2:11  
Okay, besides the fact that you both are laughing a lot and people can’t see how hysterical they’re both getting on screen.

Betsy Muse  2:13
You want to say it simultaneously?

Molly McBeath  2:21  
1, 2, 3

Betsy Muse and Molly McBeath  2:20

Betsy Muse  2:31  
Good old pen and paper and a system, but I know that when we’re collaborating, that a lot of what we do has to be brought online, but I think some of us, and I want to say, it’s not necessarily people of a certain age because I know some younger folks too who just think better when they are sitting down and they have pen and paper in hand. But there are some online tools that I like. I use Project.co, it’s, it’s a, not minimalist but it is a fairly streamlined project management tool. And I’m part of the feedback loop, because it is a it is a young tool, and they’re building it but it is one…

Kathleen Fealy  3:16  
Is it it an AppSumo purchase?

Betsy Muse  3:17
It is an AppSumo lifetime deal. But I bought it.

Molly McBeath  3:22  
AppSumo, if you’re listening we do accept sponsorships.

Kathleen Fealy  3:31  
Betsy loves AppSumo. So for anyone who listens, it’s going to become a running thing.

Betsy Muse  3:37  
But, you know, so it’s, I use that and of course, I write in Airstory that when I’m collaborating with clients, Google Drive and Google Docs and Google Sheets, just absolutely fantastic. And then Canva, oh my gosh, Canva to really work on graphics for social media and for other uses. I just love Canva, it’s a, I think it’s a great productivity tool and I’m not a graphic designer. I don’t have many talents but they make it easy to do the things I’m not good at.

Molly McBeath  4:17  
That’s a good slogan.

Betsy Muse  4:18
Nobody take that. Cut that out! (laughter)

Kathleen Fealy  4:24  
Okay, Molly, what about you?

Molly McBeath  4:27  
Uh, productivity tools that I really like?

Kathleen Fealy  4:31  
Or a way that you’d like to do something in a day to…

Molly McBeath  4:35  
Well I have my own systems that, that I have developed over the years that work really well, that work really well for me. Which are kind of a fusion of Getting Things Done by David Allen I was spacing on his name that was David Allen, and the ideas of block timing, from Cal Newport, in his book, Deep Work, and sort of this weird combination that I came up with, of using those two systems really works for me. And it keeps me on track. So I use the Getting Things Done, the GTD as the fans call it, the idea of just having an actions list, which is really the only part of that that I use, and he recommends that you split it up into like actions and phone calls and emails and the someday list and stuff like that but really all I ever pay attention to is my actions list, making sure that things are broken down into their smallest components is really helpful for me. And they’re just doing that one thing. And sometimes you know that will trigger a whole bunch of other things but I really just, I need that easy entry into whatever comes next. And so if it’s just written down, one tiny little step, that makes it the rest of the day much easier, especially for transitions. And then again the Cal Newport was where I originally discovered the idea of doing blocks or batching, batching your work or doing theme days, it’s all very similar. Just making sure that if I, if I have a whole bunch of admin tasks I just do them all on in one afternoon. And if I do that every week, I have a batch of admin stuff, I know all the admin stuff is basically getting done. And I don’t, I can take that out of my brain and it’s not spinning around as, rattling around as like a marble in a pinball machine, causing a lot of noise and lights and clutter that aren’t helpful to me. So those are the things that I that I use and you can do that with paper or just an online note system, it’s really easy, and a calendar. I’m going to do, I read a lot of exactly what I’m going to do in a day. I try to write that in my online calendar, so that’s, that’s the my end of day routine everyday is I look at the next day’s schedule, and I figure out what I’m going to do when. And it’s very broad strokes. And for me that’s really helpful because then all I have to do the next morning is open up the calendar and look at it and say, “yes this still fits” or “no something came up, and I’m gonna have to shift things, shift things around,” but that’s really helpful for me. The other tool that I really like is Slack. I think Slack is a very helpful tool. I love being able to go look through old threads. I like the fact that you can attach files to it. I think Slack is just really helpful when you’re working in a team. What about you, Kathy?

Betsy Muse  7:40
Oh, sorry.

Kathleen Fealy  7:42
Go ahead Betsy.

Betsy Muse  7:49  
I didn’t think about Slack. I have to agree with Slack. When we are collaborating on something we have each other not at our fingertips, but it’s a great…because I will have thoughts that are fleeting if I don’t get them written down. What a great way to be able to go to our podcast Slack channel, and write it down so that when you are available, you see it, and you both see it. So I can write in one place and I just, yeah, that for me. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. Great point Molly, sorry I didn’t mean to step on your toes, Kathy.

Kathleen Fealy  8:28  
Oh no, that’s fine. I actually liked Molly’s end of day routine that she talked about, because I have been trying to implement an end of day routine, but the truth is, by the time I get to the end of my day. It’s usually I stopped due to the fact that somebody has like come into my office and said, Are you done with for the day and it’s already like 6:30 or seven o’clock at night so my end of day routine is like okay, I’m done, and then I just shut off my computer. But I’m finding that I’m not, I really have to come up with an end of day routine for getting my emails and my files backed up or organized better because of the kind of work I do. I often save multiple versions of things, so that if something goes wrong I have a backup, because it saves so much time. However, that also takes up a huge amount of file space. So, I need a system to slowly move them out, but I’m such a paranoid individual when it comes to having technology come and bite you that I will save quite a few versions before I’m willing to get rid of any of them. So I think for the end of the day I need to do that. I think for productivity, I usually, I’m very task-oriented or task-based. I will like, get a project in my head that I have to get done and then I will work on getting all those tasks. My only problem with productivity recently has been I seem to get distracted more than usual. And I don’t know exactly what’s causing that. But I think it’s because also sometimes I’m very creative and I get lots of different ideas and it’s hard to just stay focused. So then I adapt the “do one little piece of the project” and that leads to the next little piece because I finished like, I get that finished and it’s like “oh it’s such a good feeling to get that finished”. And then so it’s like okay, now do the next, you know, do something for the next half hour. And when I have, like, when I have not had a productive day or a productive week, I start to adapt that and I find that all the sudden, things are getting checked off. That makes me feel good.

Molly McBeath  10:56  
I know of another productivity strategy that we all use. You guys wanna guess what it is?

Kathleen Fealy  11:03  
I was gonna say it’s the get it done days.

Molly McBeath  11:05
Nope, that wasn’t what I was gonna

Kathleen Fealy  11:06

Betsy Muse  11:07

Molly McBeath  11:14  
Well I was thinking our accountability group.

Kathleen Fealy  11:17  
Ah, but see I think of that as almost a get it done day.

Molly McBeath  11:22  
Yeah, it’s a sort of a version of a, get your stuff done day, as we’re politely phrasing it as. That’s not what we call it, people.

Kathleen Fealy  11:31  
Yeah, I had to really think for a second how to like clean up that day.

Molly McBeath  11:42  
Get stuff done day. The GSDD. And yeah, there are definitely times where we have done that, when we have been set up, usually I think we’ve done half days. But having accountability partners for me has been super helpful. Because I am that type of a personality and I know everybody not everybody is. And some people need stronger consequences, let’s call it.

Kathleen Fealy  12:09  
Punishment, like Betsy saying that she was going to eat rocks if she didn’t finish something.

Molly McBeath  12:15  
Well, we know people who put money in a Venmo account and then if they don’t get their stuff done on time, then that means that whoever’s got the money in the Venmo account can give it to it can donate that money to a charity that the person would hate. And so that keeps them very motivated. Now for me that doesn’t motivate me at all. It doesn’t appeal to me, it’s just not my strategy, but I mean I can see that it would be. It would be very motivating. To me that’s just an extra level of effort I don’t want to go to.

Betsy Muse  12:54  
But you know it speaks to the fact that we all are motivated by different things.

Kathleen Fealy  12:58  
You’re motivated by a cat in the background that’s telling you he wants some attention.

Molly McBeath  13:04  
I thought he was in the garage.

Betsy Muse  13:06  
Yeah well someone came home from the store.

Molly McBeath  13:11  
Oh, I see. Yeah, it’s true that productivity is so variable by your personality. And I think Gretchen Rubin has done some interesting work on, on different personality types. I mean there’s lots of ways of giving up personality types but it really does matter in terms of what strategies are gonna work for you and so it’s really frustrating to have somebody say oh you’ve got to do it like this. And that doesn’t work for me at all. I wouldn’t I would never do that. I know myself, I know I  would never put money in a Venmo account. I just don’t wanna, so it’s never gonna happen. But I’m gonna feel really bad if I told you guys I was going to get something done and then I don’t, because that kind of guilt works for me.

Betsy Muse  13:59  
Yeah, I think putting it out there, just making it public that, you know, this is what I’m going to do, and there have been times when I’ve had to say I didn’t get it done. Even though I had a very productive day, I didn’t get the one thing done that I really wanted to get done but that, especially on client work days, happens.

Kathleen Fealy  14:18  
But on the days that aren’t client work. I think we all call each other on it, like that’s one of the things we like about the accountability group is because like sometimes if one of us isn’t getting something done. We’ve talked enough that we know what other projects we’re all involved in and it will end up being like, Did you not get it done because you were still working on it, or did you get distracted? And then we start to call each other early on it because we know we can sometimes get the other person back on track.

Betsy Muse  14:49  
There’s a little bit of vulnerability in putting your goals out there publicly in front of 100 or so people, and then having to, you know, own up to whether you accomplish them or not. For me, it just, one, it just strengthened some friendships, because there are people who do, like you said, Kathy, check on you and just say hey, Betsy, how’s it going, did you were able to get it done, and it can be a different person each time, but it’s just been, it has been one of the best things for my business and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it when you said that, Molly.

Molly McBeath  15:33  
You do lead the accountability group Betsy, that was kind of an easy one. Like I’m throwing you a softball here.

Betsy Muse  15:40  
Well, I didn’t even swing. 

Molly McBeath  15:45  
Now I’m thinking back on productivity in business versus productivity in life, I find I’m much more successful at productivity in my business then finding the ways of doing things that also translate into how to do them in my life and that’s probably also because now my kids are older, so that’s easier. Are you guys finding that as well? So are there things that you use in your business that you also use in your life? The rest of your life, it’s not like you’re not living while you’re at work?

Betsy Muse  16:19  
Kathy were we talking about this earlier when we were recording or if we were having a personal conversation, I can’t remember? But we had recently, Kathy set us up on Asana for the podcast so that we could collaborate and keep track of our tasks, and I had told her one reason why I didn’t like Asana  is because it’s been four years since I was on Asana and the last time I was there I set up a bunch of recurring tasks. And so when I logged in, it shows me that I’m four years behind on these daily recurring tasks, and it took me a good while to delete them all, but I did. And I think what I’ve learned from all of this is that for personal, for my personal products and productivity or projects and productivity, it really is better for me to maintain everything in my notebooks and maintain my calendars, but for business I like having a digital tracker tool as well. So, I’ve learned that lesson by setting way too many things up. That in Asana, and that the weight of being told what you didn’t get done the day before, every time you log on. That’s not, uh-uh.

Kathleen Fealy  17:43  
I’ve turned off the notification so you won’t get that.

Betsy Muse  17:50  
But yeah, so but I do, I mean I like Asana, I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t like Asana because I do. I love the colors. I love that, I mean it is a little overwhelming because it offers a lot, but I think that because this is a project that we’re all working on together, it will limit what I put in there. You know we will, it will, we will only put in there the things that serve us that help us get this work done. So I think that the, it will be a much better experience this time.

Kathleen Fealy  18:25  
Well there’s only a few of us in there which I think also helps keep things manageable, and I think it can get easier when you have large teams that everybody adds stuff it gets a little…

Molly McBeath  18:35  
Yeah, I mean this, this podcast as a project is a good example of learning how to be productive in podcasting.

Kathleen Fealy  18:42  
And learning how to manage our time, and learning how each of our schedules affect what we have had planned, and how we have to make adjustments because all of us are running our own businesses. And this is something that we’re doing because we really enjoy sharing our experiences and learning from each other so yeah so it’s been a real, it’s a, it’s been involving our processes, it’s been involving all of our various like systems and how we work together, it’s about different learning personalities. There’s been a lot but it’s been so much fun at the same time. So more to come, I guess.

Molly McBeath  19:29  
I always feel productive every week. Well, I talked to Betsy and Kathy this week so something got done. I can point to that.

Kathleen Fealy  19:39  
Well at least we’ve helped you accomplish something. We’re usually there.

This has been Yes But However. I’m Kathy Fealy, with my co-hosts Betsy Muse and Molly McBeath. This episode was written, edited, and produced by the three of us. Our theme music is Tourist in Punta Cana, which is available through Audio Hero. The show’s website, where we post show notes, transcripts, and more information about us, can be found at yesbuthoweverpodcast.com. You can contact us through the website or email us at talkers@yes buthoweverpodcast.com. Thanks for listening.

Molly McBeath  20:36  
Now it’s time for the disclaimer. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in Yes But However are for general information only. Any reliance on the information provided in this podcast is done at your own risk. No part of this podcast should be considered professional advice. Thanks and have a great day.

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This show's sponsors

This episode is sponsored by our businesses – McBeath Communications, KF Multimedia, and Rocket Fuel Strategy. We are quite literally putting our “money” where our mouths are!

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