Episode 6

Productivity Part 1

Productivity is both a goal and a shackle. In this first segment on productivity, we look at what “productivity” means to us and whether productivity in business is a skill you can transfer to the rest of your life.

Molly Betsy Kathy

About this Episode

Productivity is one of those topics that sounds innocent enough, but with too much focus on the wrong aspects of productivity, we sometimes feel stress or anxiety around whether we are doing enough.

Join us as we explore productivity over the next three episodes.

People... Products... Places

In this episode, we mention the following:


Molly McBeath  0:15 
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 Kathleen Fealy. Today’s episode is part one in our series on productivity. Our original discussion actually took place over about an hour and a half, but ultimately we felt that 90 minutes might be asking too much up front. So we’ve broken that longer conversation into three shorter episodes. In this first segment, we look at what each of us means by productivity, and whether productivity in business is a skill that you can transfer to the rest of your life.

Let’s get into it.

So I have a question for you, for both you and Betsy, which is, what did you do this week that made you feel really productive?

Betsy Muse  1:05 

Molly McBeath  1:08  
You might have to think about it.

Betsy Muse  1:10 
I forgot to grab my notebook.

Kathleen Fealy  1:15  
Because your life…

Molly McBeath  1:16 
I don’t mean the kind of thing that you have to look it up, I mean just like off the top of your head.

Betsy Muse  1:21  
No, no, because I wanted to show you. I can’t show our massive audience here, but I, I sat down and organized out a challenge that I’m helping run in a Slack group. And I worked it out into every bit of detail. And again, I’ve told y’all before I like to sit on the porch. I get tired of being at my desk and I just really enjoy coffee in the morning, maybe some booze at night, but that’s where I can cuddle up with my favorite notebook and plan and organize.

Molly McBeath  2:02 
I love that you said “cuddle up with your favorite notebook”.

Kathleen Fealy  2:05  
I’m really beginning to think I’m gonna have to get a notebook someday because there must be some magic to a notebook that I never had before. 

Betsy Muse  2:09  
Oh my gosh…But yeah. so I, I not, I did, I got it completely organized, and there are other people, I’m running it but there are other people who need to approve it. And so I was able to then take whatever I had organized, put it into a Google Doc, create the spreadsheet, and it’s like this *snaps*, but that was because of, I really do think that I do my best organizing and planning when I’m relaxed. And, you know, just not surrounded by my home office, and the trappings in my home office. I love working here. But I think that, but, but really having it all planned out and it has run like clockwork. And that feels really good.

Kathleen Fealy  3:03  
So do you find that you become. Okay, so you said you just became more productive and you’re much better when you’re out of your office and stuff. I have to say, if I’m like stuck on something and I – this sounds so cliche, but if I take a hot shower. All of a sudden I solved the issue, and it’s, I really think there is something about getting out of your regular office environment that helps you think better.

Betsy Muse  3:33 
No, I do, I… That, gardening, walking, it’s especially important for me to be somewhere where I cannot write down my thoughts, because that’s when they’re going to start flowing.

Kathleen Fealy  3:47 
This is the bane of a writer, Betsy. That’s your problem.

Molly McBeath  3:53 
Do you have anything that you, that stands out as something that was like a moment of productivity satisfaction?

Kathleen Fealy  4:01  
This week, I would say that the one thing that stood out was that, unlike both of you who do your best work, it seems, by writing everything down and like notebooks etc and then transferring it to places, I do better creating the visual, and then adding, as I’m going, the words because it just helps me figure out okay, I’ve got this much space this is the number of words I can have etc etc. And I felt really productive because I was doing a couple of landing pages to explain some new services for my business, and the pages were just sort of like, it was just the layout looked really nice and fresh and open and I’m not a designer, but I can at least create something that has a certain feel about it, etc. But it made me feel so good because it was like pieces were put, getting put together and it would be like, you know, and then I’d have a little, I would have like a little notepad, because I’m one of these people that uses yellow legal notepads all over the place. And I would be like okay make sure that you, you know, next do your, you know, your purchase page and next do your calendar signup sheet, etc, etc, and I would have that laid out but everything is, because it was this visual it really helped me feel very productive because it was like not only was it getting written but it was getting designed and it was getting the automation and the processing all done, all at once, and it means I have to double check everything, you know, to make sure I didn’t miss anything but it really was, it had such a sense of like completion because at least you could see it. So that was my productivity moment this week. How about you, Molly?

Molly McBeath  5:44  
I think mine this week… I will say was probably when I was batching all of the work that I’m trying to do on my website, and I sat down with great relief and peace to just go through, I have a list in my notebook of all the little things that I needed to get done, and I just… Tuesday afternoon I just had that list ready to go. I’ve been assembling it as things have occurred to me over the past couple weeks, and I just ticked them off. Actually it went into Wednesday morning, that’s true. I didn’t get it all done Tuesday afternoon, but it just felt really great to just go down the list and knock them all off. And that was very satisfying. It’s also my lead-in to this week’s topic, which is on productivity.

Kathleen Fealy  6:40  
Ooh, nice segue again Molly, you’re becoming our segue queen, so I have this visual of you. I have this visual of you that whenever I say you’re the segue queen I just picture you on a little Segway like Tony Robbins.

Molly McBeath  6:48
Do I have a bike helmet on or not?

Kathleen Fealey  6:49
You do.


Molly McBeath  6:57  
Is it a fun helmet?

Kathleen Fealy  6:58  
It is, it’s a fun helmet, but I do see you as a bike helmet type of person.

Molly McBeath 
Yeah, I am a bike helmet fan, that’s true.

Kathleen Fealy
Betsy, are you a bike helmet type person?

Betsy Muse  7:10  
Absolutely. Now ask me if I’m a bike kind of person. 

Kathleen Fealey  7:12
Are you a bike kind of person?

Betsy Muse  7:13
No, I’m more of a four wheeler kind of person.

Molly McBeath  7:20  
Okay, now let’s talk about productivity. Oh, I love to think productive. It is just one of the purest, cleanest, lightest feelings in the world, I got something done.

Kathleen Fealy  7:38  
And do you feel like you do get to feel that often?

Molly McBeath  7:43  
No, unfortunately I don’t. I know I do feel productive. I know that I am productive. There is a difference between being productive, and taking something to completion of course. That’s different, that’s an interesting point. How do you feel productive versus when you’re not necessarily at the end point? Because some projects you know it’s months and months.

Kathleen Fealy  8:08  
So is productivity the progress, or is productivity efficiency?

Molly McBeath  8:17  
Is it both? (unintelligible)

Betsy Muse  8:19  
And I think that it’s my processes that make productivity efficient. Now, that’s a good question, Kathy. I think when I usually think of it I’m thinking not just efficiency but it’s more in line with efficiency, what I can get done, what I can accomplish and how much I can accomplish in a certain period of time.

Molly McBeath  8:45  
The older I get, the more I equate efficiency with busyness, and I get wary and I know that’s not what it means, that’s not what a lot of people mean by it, there’s a certain aspect of it where people just mean busyness. And so I want to make sure that I’m always being truly productive and accomplishing something worthwhile, rather than just making it look like I was busy all day. Doesn’t mean I actually got anything worthwhile done.

Kathleen Fealy  9:15  
And do you believe you can be productive in both your business and personal life or do you just think of productivity in one, like in business, and you don’t have to have it in both?

Molly McBeath  9:21
It’s easier in business isn’t it?

Kathleen Fealey  9:23
I think it is, actually. That’s why I was sort of curious as if you guys had thought about it, and because one of the things that got all three of us together is the fact that we talk about not only marketing and running our own businesses, but life and how we handle, you know, family and husbands and children and all that, and pets because there’s a lot of pets around here. But

Molly McBeath  9:50
Our communities.

Kathleen Fealey  9:51
Yeah, our communities and just general life. And so I wondered if productivity…like do you ever feel like you’re, you’re having proud of, you know, if you’re being productive, besides like you know, raising your children and making sure that they survive and they are, because I don’t have kids so making kids survive is a big thing in my head if I have to take care of somebody else’s child is I want them to be alive at the end of the day, because it’s really hard if you’re a babysitter to have to explain to someone what happened if something like really wrong. Which

Molly McBeath  10:25
I’ve had those experiences.

Kathleen Fealey  10:26
I’ve had those experiences too, where I’ve had to like explain we were going to emergency room which was not a great phone call to make. But, so my question is, do you think that because we, when we all get together and we talk about things, it’s not just about this this but it’s also about life. Do you think that you could be productive in both, just, just your business area? Do you feel productivity or the, you know, do you feel like you can be productive in your personal life?

Betsy Muse  11:03  
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, because when I look at my personal life, I still, even though my kids are grown, I still have things that I need to manage and organize. And I have volunteer work that I do. And so while it’s a different type of productivity, a different… I have fewer hours, I spend more hours on my business than I do on my personal life, so I need to be even more efficient with how I spend that time and what I accomplish, and I also want some of that time to relax so that I can sit on the porch with my notebooks and plan. 

Molly McBeath  11:45  
That’s such an interesting statement, I think it’s true for most people. Just to take a moment to reflect on the fact that we do spend so much more time in our business lives than in the rest of our lives. It’s a lot to squeeze into, not a lot of time. 

Betsy Muse  12:03  
It is but I like to think – I love what I do. I love what I’m building. And so it really does make me excited to come to my little home office every day, but I also feel like a lot of my friendships stem from my work and a lot of my really good friendships are just two and three years old, but once I found a community of fellow copywriters and entrepreneurs that I clicked with I started making really good friends, and so it’s like that line between work and play gets blurred a little bit throughout the day. And I think that’s another reason why efficiency and productivity are important, so that you’re getting the work done you need to get done but you also have that time and you aren’t saying, whoops, can’t, can’t laugh and be jovial until 6pm. You know, that’s just…

Kathleen Fealy  12:56
I think productivity is

Betsy Muse  13:00
I’m sorry.

Kathleen Fealey  13:00
No, go ahead.

Betsy Muse  13:01
I was going to say, we wouldn’t be able to communicate if we didn’t laugh, right? 

Kathleen Fealy  13:12  
It would be hard. I was gonna say, I think productivity in business is easier because I’m controlling my productivity. When I have to do something in my personal life, a lot of times unless it’s me running errands, my productivity is influenced by everybody else that I’m engaging with. So a lot of times that’s why I’m not so sure if I can be productive so much when I’m like in my family life because so much of it has to do with how everybody else is and what they’re doing and what their timelines are and, you know, I might be like, you know, it’s a Saturday I want to get A B D and D done, and if I was by myself, I could get all that done. But when I’m with other people, it doesn’t. So then the question becomes, does – is productivity something that you can – is it an individual sport?

Molly McBeath  14:15  
That is such a good point. 

Betsy Muse  14:18  
Dang Kathy. You’re firing on all cylinders.

Molly McBeath  14:24 
Yeah, she is on it today. Some of my favorite memories of when my kids were little, was when my husband would take them up to visit his parents because then I would get so much done. It was amazing, because I didn’t have to check in with anybody else, it’s much harder to be productive with a team, because everybody has to be pulling in the same direction.

Kathleen Fealy  14:48  
And there was some talk a while ago about, to have a productive business meeting everybody should be standing up, that people should, like, remove all the chairs. Now that everybody’s at home because most people right now are, there’s a good number of people that are still working remotely at this point in time, they’re finding that their Zoom meetings, they’re not super productive at times, unless they’ve been used to doing virtual meetings for quite a while. In the very beginning, it took a while to get people to the point, because they didn’t have the, like, my husband would every once in a while talk about how they’d go, he’d go into a conference room and somebody was like this is a 15 minute meeting, stand up, because they knew if everybody sat down and started getting comfortable, they would be much longer than 15 minutes.

Molly McBeath  15:35  
Yeah, certainly. Maybe that’s one of the things that I like about running my own business is, it is just me and so I get to make all the calls. Of course, it means I have to do all the work, but I get to make all the decisions, and somebody is going to follow. Well, hopefully, hopefully my staff will follow through with all of my choices. They don’t always, I’ve found.

Kathleen Fealy  16:02  
For anyone listening, none of us have staff staff where it’s us. We do it all. Which that also makes you totally responsible for your productivity too.

Molly McBeath  16:17  
True, which is one of the weights of being a small business owner.

Betsy Muse  16:26 
This has been Yes But However. I’m Betsy Muse with my co-hosts Kathy Fealy and Molly McBeath. This episode was written, edited, and produced by the three of us. Our theme music is Tourist and Puntacana, 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@yesbuthoweverpodcast.com. Thanks for listening.

Molly McBeath  17:05  
Now it’s time for the disclaimer. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in Yes But However are for general information only and 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 episode is sponsored by our businesses. We are quite literally putting our “money” where our mouths are!

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