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October 28, 2018  

FOUR HACKS TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION - Episode 9

Show Notes

EPISODE 9  – FOUR COOL HACKS TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION

Transcript

 

So I’m a good bit into the podcast now and I feel that I’m doing alright. I hope you’re finding possibilities in what I’m presenting here and that they are working for you. I think that any early troubles with the Podcast feed or syndication have been dealt with now but if you ever do have trouble with it then grab the Podbean app from the link on my website. Film Pro Productivity is syndicated all over the place but Podbean is my media host and will always have the new episodes first. It’s a free app and it’s available for IPhone and Android. I also post the latest episodes on the website as they launch and you can grab them there if you prefer to listen on your desktop.

Last week I introduced the very simple 5 second rule and talked about how it can be used to overcome obstacles, and cheat the brain into conquering your fears. I’ve been trying that one out and it certainly does work if you can buy into it.

THIS WEEKS INTRO

Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder. Mason Cooley

  • This week I’m going to squeeze in 4 more productivity “rules” that I know will make your life easier and continue to help you to beat procrastination and just get things done. I’m talking about the one-touch rule, and it’s close cousin the two minute, then I will move on to the 5-minute rule and the 10-minute rule. These rules have much in common but if you can get to grips with them individually they’ll help you to decimate your task lists and kick procrastination right in the mammy daddy button.

ANECTOTE

  • My fightdirector.com email address receives a vast number of messages every day and if I don’t pay attention to it overwhelms me. On many occasions, I’ve found myself having to stop everything else just to work back through those emails and deal with the backlog. The simplest productivity technique of all is the DELETE button but once it’s done its job I’m left with a plethora of small to mid-sized replies, links and follow-ups to deal that just can’t be avoided.
  • I started looking for solutions and ways of thinking that could help me clear my backlog of incomplete tasks quickly and efficiently and s. I’ve been messing about with these sort of things for a few years now - some float to the top and get used more than others and a few start to become habit - Nowadays I find them coming into play in day to day life without me consciously considering them.
  • The four rules that I am introducing today are solutions to procrastination problems. It needn’t be emailed, it could be telephone calls or just simple jobs about the house - It can even be larger tasks that you’ve split up into chunks. That’s called chunking btw and that in itself is an awesome productivity method.

THE LESSONS

Firstly I want to introduce to you The one touch rule which simply means that you must process a task the first time you touch it. YOU MUST PROCESS A TASK THE FIRST TIME YOU TOUCH IT.

It was formalised by Productivity consultant Ann Gomez and it’s more of a guideline or a hack than a rule but if you adopt it, you’ll find that most of the little tasks that can clog up your vision, and deplete your mental energy start to disappear.

Ann also points out that it builds the habit of starting things only when you're ready: She explains and I quote, “It's a simple trick to help you batch your work into scheduled, focus blocks: you won't open an email until you're ready to give it your full attention, or you'll decline to accept your co-worker’s rough draft until later when you know you'll have the time to sit down and do it.”

I use this all the time now, especially when collaborating on scripts with my colleague Bryan. I ask not to be sent updates as they come up but I schedule time to look at new drafts and complete my work on them at one sitting. It’s immensely useful and saves both of us from wasting time. Beyond that specific use, I use it to blast small tasks like email sorting right out of the water, to generally prioritize better and I force myself to stop leaving tasks half-finished. That just clogs up my brain and messes me up.

The two-minute rule is another simple strategy. I first saw it in David Allen's bestselling book, Getting Things Done and I threw it out there at the end of the 1st episode in very basic terms as I felt I should introduce at least one technique before asking listeners to join me on episode 2 - but here it is in a little more detail.

It’s also an anti-procrastination hack. All of these small rules can be used in that way but there’s a bit more to them. They can generally be used to tackle tasks that aren’t actually that difficult to do. The 2 Minute Rule overcomes procrastination or as it’s sometimes known laziness by making it SO EASY for you to start taking action that you can’t say no. It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less. That’s the rule in action - if you have a task that takes less than two minutes, just do it now.

You got an email to respond to? Do it now. You got an online payment to make? Do it now. Need to pack the dishwasher. Do it now. Need to send an invoice, or send a thank you text, or make the bed or whatever you have to do, just do it now and it’s done, and it's behind you. If you don’t then these small easily doable jobs build up and suddenly you’re looking at 10 or twenty of them and they’re on your mind and they’re a mountain of work. If you shoot them down as you go, then they are gone and you’ll be able to focus on the stuff that matters. Doing them as you go has the fringe benefit of giving you an on-going feeling of accomplishment and this buoys your spirit and brings confidence and positivity into your life.

A good example and its something that I do every day is just to make my bed. Now this, like many of the productivity techniques I adopt, might seem to be unimportant but think of it like this. That minor achievement, every day, means that I am leaving the house, even with early starts on film shoots with at least a small sense of accomplishment before I leave the house. My day actually starts very early and I achieve usually a lot more, but we’ll talk about the 5 am miracle at another time. 

Can all of your goals be accomplished in less than two minutes? No, but every goal can be STARTED in 2 minutes or less. And that’s the point. Small accomplishments like this start to become a habit and large jobs split into small parts, become after time, a sum of their parts, and complete.

So that’s the basics of the two-minute rule. Give it a try to see if it’s something that will work for you. Get your head in the right space and see what you can either deal with in two minutes or that you can begin or chunk into two-minute bites. Once you’re sitting down to do something you may find, kinda like the one-touch rule that you complete it in that sitting. Thinking of it as a two-minute commitment though will possibly trick you into doing more.

My next rule again links into that and it is known as The 5 Minute Rule. Kevin Systrom the billionaire CEO and co-founder of Instagram came up with this simple trick to tackle procrastination. It’s similar in many ways to the 2-minute rule but is worth tackling separately.

Kevin’s 5-minute rule states that “If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself to do at least five minutes of it. After five minutes, you’ll end up doing the whole thing.”

According to Psychology Today, we procrastinate because of.

  • LACK OF STRUCTURE. Without knowing why we are doing something or when it is to be done by we find ourselves putting it off. We find ourselves checking Facebook instead of doing work and today's easy online access makes this easy. I’m a terrible addict of Youtube, but when I’m focussed on a specific task with a deadline my focus becomes much sharper.
  • UNPLEASANT TASKS. Any task we consider unpleasant, boring, or uninteresting is one that we can find ourselves putting off to another day.
  • Here procrastination occurs when you postpone tasks because they are not imminently important. If there is good reason to put them off, for example, because you have higher priority tasks to deal with first, then that’s fair, but if not, why not just deal with them and move on?
  • SELF-CONFIDENCE. When difficulties arise, people with low self-confidence develop doubts about their ability to accomplish the task at hand, while those with strong beliefs are more likely to continue their efforts. I cover this topic in the episode about the inner voice. Episode 6. If self-confidence is a problem then check that one out. I think this is particularly true of some creative roles in the film industry.
  • A close cousin of lack of self-confidence and one I know all too well. Avoidance is a well-known form of coping with anxiety. Procrastinators will postpone getting started because of a fear of failure and evidence also indicates that procrastination is associated with high levels of stress. To relieve stress procrastinators shift their focus away from the future toward more immediate rewards in order to avoid challenging high-priority tasks.

…and I personally can take procrastination much further - I’m a black belt in procrastination. I’ll procrastinate over even the opening of an email, because I’m frightened and anxious that it will cause me bother, like clash with a job I have already started or create more unnecessary work for me. If I have things running smoothly, I get the fear that an email or the returning of a phone call will upset my finely organised day or week and I’ll try and dodge it.

So the five-minute rule tricks our brains into thinking that we can dip quickly into a task, but once we are in there it also makes room for us to re-assess our position and, after ultimately overcoming the initial burst of effort to get started - it allows us to choose to give it more time. You might not want to do it at first, but once you have started and committed just 5 minutes, you will likely decide that you might as well get it finished. The momentum created by starting a task is carried forward should you choose to give it more time. And once you’ve started, you just might find that you have a more positive attitude toward the task than you thought beforehand and actually want to give it more time and mental energy. Also if the task you have started at first seemed vast, then once you are into it, it may feel more achievable and less impossible just because you are moving forward.

So that’s the 5-minute rule, but wait a minute did I not do a full episode on the 5-second rule in episode 8, then how many rules can there be? And can you handle one more – If yes - what is The 10-minute rule?

Well, put simply it states that - Every task on your to-do list should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

If tasks longer than 10 minutes, then break them down into smaller tasks or delegate it to someone else.

This rule involves setting the alarm on your phone or a stopwatch to go off after 10-minutes and that in turn focuses your efforts into a very tight timescale. This isn’t about tricking your brain, this is about setting yourself forced deadlines to complete specific tasks.

To help you to follow concept this let me talk about Parkinson's law - Which is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" – This is an awesome concept and is so true it makes me laugh. It goes hand in hand with my episode on perfectionism too. If I say give myself a week to write notes on a script I’ve been sent, I can guarantee you I will take a week, but if I’m given 4 hours to do the same job I bet ya I can get it done. No, it might not be perfect but I’ll get it done. That’s Parkinson's law in action.

It’s incredible to see what you can achieve when you consciously commit to the ten-minute rule. It’s like an extension of the High-Level Thinking I batter on about and all it takes is a bit of conscious effort to make this work. I want you to find those easy ten minute tasks or break a larger project into ten-minute bites and set a timer. It can be an email reply, a phone call, a brainstorming session - whatever. This stuff is always easier of course if you remove any distractions so get your phone and that time destroying app you find yourself on all the time, you know the one, and either delete it or get it the hell away from you. Actually yeh – delete that app in fact as you’ll need the ten-minute timer on your phone. That app’s a great distraction, isn’t it? Get rid of it. You know I’m right. And that do not disturb function on the phone is just a click away remember. Hit that too. Now set the timer and get to work. That’s all you need to do.

SUMMING UP

I always like to end episodes with a quote a Brainy Quote threw up these,

Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. Wayne Gretzky a Canadian Athlete came up with that one and I love it, but more commonly I hear

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”

― Mark Twain

Not everything is urgent and not everything needs done today, but if you know you have a problem with procrastination and you can feel things getting on top of you then grab hold of these techniques and start applying them - You’ll find that life will get a little easier and as a side effect you might find yourself a little happier too.

CALL TO ACTION

These rules really work btw but you need to engage in them and commit. You might be asking yourself, how does this work? It doesn’t make sense. Well suck it and see. That’s all you need to do with the things I discuss here.

There’s a lot of info in this episode and I’ll detail all of it with links to resources in the show notes, which can be found at filmproproductivity.com/episode9. Take just one or all of these techniques and give them a test drive. The one-touch rule, the 2-minute rule, the 5-minute rule and the 10-minute rule. All are similar but different. All are highly effective if applied correctly.

Abraham Lincoln said that “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” If procrastination has snuck up on you and you are in a bit of trouble then grab one of these rules, apply it to your life and work today and things will get easier.

ENDING

Thanks again for listening - Next episode I’ll be talking about MULTITASKING AND WHY DOING ONE THING AT A TIME IS A FAR, FAR FAR BETTER OPTION.

For now, though, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me NEXT TIME on Film Pro Productivity.

  • The music that you are listening to right now is Adventures by A Himitsu.
  • You can view the show notes for this episode at filmproproductivity.com/Episode9
  • If you’re struggling with something you think I can help with or would like to tell me how you are getting on then please get in touch via the contact page on the website. Alternately you can get me on Twitter @fight_director or follow the show @filmproprodpod
  • Please subscribe on the podcast app of your choice and if you are in the caring/ sharing mood then I’d really appreciate it if you would spread the word and leave an AWESOME review.

Sources: https://lifehacker.com/stop-leaving-tasks-half-finished-with-the-one-touch-ru-1626933101

https://jamesclear.com/how-to-stop-procrastinating

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-10minute-rule-it-seems-crazy-but-it-will-revolutionize-your-productivity

https://qz.com/work/999979/the-five-minute-trick-that-helps-instagrams-ceo-crush-procrastination/

Thanks: A Himitsu, Stephen Rowan, Dave Bullis Podcast, Podcraft.
Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.
 
 
 
Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsu https://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A
 
October 21, 2018  

USING THE 5 SECOND RULE - Episode 8

Show Notes

EPISODE 8 – The 5 Second Rule

Transcript

  • On this week’s show, I will be talking about MEL ROBBINS 5 SECOND RULE and how you can use it to cut through indecision, Beat fear and uncertainty, hack procrastination, Become confident, Share your ideas with courage, Stop worrying and feel happier.

Before that though, in the last episode, I detailed how the Pereto Principle can be applied to our lives and work, to save time and effort on the wrong things.

  • Have you been able to identify something in your own life or work in which the 80/20 rule can be applied?
  • If you have then have been able to make it work for you?

I’d really love to hear from you so please remember that you can call into the show using the speakpipe recorder on filmproproductivity.com’s contact page or get in touch via twitter @filmproprodpod if you want to report in.

THE LESSON

I’ve got so many anecdotes about missed opportunities and risks not taken in my life that I could fill out a full episode just on that, but amongst them all, it’s very probably opportunities missed when working with people that I admire that I regret the most. It took me three times working with John Gordon Sinclair for me to actually pluck up the courage to discuss Gregory's Girl with him, a film that I absolutely love. TBH it was my friend Fin that told him I was a fan in the end. I directed fights on a movie with Idris Elba and Clarke Peters in it too, it was called Legacy and was shot by Black Camel Pictures in Glasgow. I regret not asking for my photo with these two amazing actors. I talked myself out of it. I talked myself into just sailing along and not engaging too much as I was in awe. When all is said and done I should have asked one of those amazing actors if they’d consider being in one of my films. I didn’t ask, and I have regrets…

This week I decided to try a new productivity hack. It was to listen to the audio version of a book rather than reading it. I chose Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule, which I listened to on Audible whilst I was driving to and from work and at the gym. It was an excellent exercise and the content was strong - I figure that while it’s fresh on my mind I should bring it to you – I’ll also post a link to it in the show notes as it’s got far more to it than I can possibly go into here. I’d also like to say that Mel reads the book herself on Audible and it’s a great listen.  She is passionate and enthused about the technique which she first raised on a Ted talk that you can view on Youtube. That was in 2011 and I’ll put a link to it in the shownotes.

Right up front, I’ll clarify, just as Mel does, that we are not talking about a rule for picking up dropped food.

But Mel’s 5 Second Rule is simple.

If you have an instinct

to act on a goal,

you must physically move

within 5 seconds

or your brain will kill it.

I’ll say that again

If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.

This Rule is a simple, one-size-fits-all solution for the one problem we all face—we hold ourselves back.

The secret isn’t knowing what to do—it’s knowing how to make yourself do it.  Mel’s Ted Talk is called How to stop screwing yourself over and I love that title, as I do think that we sabotage our own efforts time and time again through politeness or upbringing or fear of letting others down.

The thing is, if you watch the TED Talk, The 5 Second Rule is something she says literally in the last two minutes, but it’s so essentially simple, and actionable that it’s spawned a book and a whole ethos.

Mel explains that The 5-second rule is a way of harnessing “activation energy”.  That’s a chemical term, but it’s one that serves Mel’s productivity rule well.

She says that the moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule. When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and physically move towards action.

  • Through little acts of courage, the 5 Second Rule makes you less afraid over time.
  • But the “right time” might never come, so you just have to start.
  • The 5 Second Rule helps to override your feelings, a tactic which is called psychological intervention.

There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5-second window. And it exists for everyone.

So - How does this work?

Just start counting backwards to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1 – Mel tricked herself into getting out of bed when she really didn’t want to, the morning after watching a rocket launch – and how did she do it? How did she stop herself from hitting snooze again and again on her alarm clock. Well she counted down 54321 and took action.

It’s as simple as that. In whatever you are doing, as soon as you reach “1” – push yourself to move.

The counting down focuses you on the goal or commitment at the same time that it distracts you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind.

5 seconds is all it takes. But if you don’t act on an instinct within that 5-second window, that’s it. You’re not doing it.

She breaks this down further and explains that there are 5 elements to the rule.

  1. “The moment you have an instinct…” which Mel defines as any urge, impulse, pull, or knowing that you should or should not do something because you can feel it in your heart and gut. These instincts are the urges. They are the “knowing” that you should do something even if you don’t “feel” like doing it.
  2. “To act on a goal…” and her point here is that it’s an instinct that’s tied to a goal. The “gut feelings” when our hearts and minds are trying to tell us something. And usually, these gut impulses are tied to greater goals.
  3. “You must push yourself…” The Rule is about pushing yourself even when you don’t want to. It’s about taking control of your own life, one push at a time. The moment comes. You feel the instinct. You know it’s tied to a goal. Right now. It’s a window of opportunity. Your brain wants to shut this instinct down. It’s going to do it. But, in that moment, you take control.
  4. “To move within 5 seconds…” Physical movement is the key. All you need to do is move in the direction of your instinct. If you do not take physical action WITHIN 5 SECONDS, your brain will kill the instinct. You do your countdown. 54321 And then you GO. You take action. This could mean a number of things. It means saying something you’ve been holding back. Speaking up at a meeting. Putting on your running shoes. Grabbing that healthy snack. Holding your tongue instead of saying something mean to your partner. Sending that email to a potential client or mentor. Anything that’s related to your goal. These 5-second windows, as she calls them, are the critical moments between you changing your life and your brain stopping you.
  5. “Or your brain will kill it.” If you don’t physically move within 5 seconds, your mind WILL kill your dreams. Your brain is like an overprotective, irrational, “helicopter” parent.

It has 3 basic jobs.

  • It narrates your life as you live it and catalogues your memories.
  • It operates your body’s functions.
  • And it protects you from danger.

How does it protect you?

  • By keeping you from doing anything that feels scary, hard, or uncertain.

So the 5 Second Rule is a way to outsmart your brain by changing hesitation into ACTION.

The book is full of real-life stories of the 5-second rule in action, with examples such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King to those that follow Mel’s lead these days and use the rule in their day to day lives.

It’s a tool that creates massive change. Those 5-second windows add up.

In almost any situation, there’s an application for the Rule.

SUMMING UP

Mel Robbins also points out that

“from each small act of courage, more courage follows. It compounds and says that hopefully when you’re old, you will be able to look back on a courageous life.”

Much of this episode uses the words of Mel, but I felt that was a good quote to end on.

CALL TO ACTION

Before you doubt all this, try it out.

Try it yourself.

Mel Robbins rule first touted in that Ted Talk just 7 years ago, allows you to create great drive in yourself, find courage where there was none and to seize the opportunity when it arises.

In this week’s call to action, I urge you to get to grips with the 5-second rule. When that alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze. Count 54321 and get up. When you see an opportunity to talk to someone you admire, count 54321 and talk to them, don’t let your brain take over. When you are stuck and need to make any decision hit 54321 and you will find the decision has been made, subconsciously for you and you will be able to move on.

ENDING

Thanks again for listening - Next episode I’ll be talking about The One Touch rule and other systems which will allow you to deal with the day to day slog of getting stuff done!

Until then - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.

  • The music that you are listening to right now is Adventures by A Himitsu.
  • You can view the show notes for this episode at filmproproductivity.com/episode8
  • If you’re struggling with something you think I can help with or would like to tell me how you are getting on then please get in touch via the contact page on the website. Alternately you can get me on Twitter @fight_director or follow the show @filmproprodpod
  • Please subscribe on the podcast app of your choice and if you are in the caring/ sharing mood then I’d really appreciate it if you would spread the word and leave an AWESOME review.

Mel Robbins Ted Talk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc

Thanks: A Himitsu, Stephen Rowan, Dave Bullis Podcast, Podcraft.
Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.
 
Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsu https://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A
 

 

October 14, 2018  

APPLYING THE PARETO PRINCIPLE - Episode 7

 

EPISODE 7  – APPLYING THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

Before I go on to that though, thanks again for choosing to spend your time here with me. I really do appreciate it. Last week I spoke about silencing the INNER CRITIC and how to use your positive inner voice to fuel your drive and put you firmly in the driving seat. I would love to hear how you are getting on with that and any of these techniques I raise here. Also about what you are struggling with out there, so if you have a moment to spare click onto the contact page at filmproproductivity.com and leave me a message. Your feedback will be very useful in helping me to plan future episodes. I’m slowly refining the podcast and if I can understand what other pros are struggling with then I can create new episodes to cover those topics. The speak pipe on the contact page allows you to leave a message and your message could be included in future episodes.

THIS WEEKS INTRO

  • On today's show I’ll be looking at one of The Productivity Worlds most effective strategies – often referred to simply as the 80/20 rule.

ANECDOTE

  • In January I started applying the Pareto Principle to all of my fight directing work. My premise was this. I was tired of having my time wasted by low paying fight days, and even more tired of jobs which were a pain in the ass and messed me about. I, therefore, started saying NO (a premise I detail in episode 2 of this season) to any work that I didn’t want to do. If it’s not a HELL YEH, then it’s a NO, remember? I also decided to not hunt down work on which the communication with potential employers was bad. If I was availability checked for example, and then left hanging, I stopped phoning them and asking for info. If they want me they will find me. The result so far, and as I put together this episode its August, well the result is the I am doing less work, for fewer companies and I am getting paid more money. I’ve had people knocking down my door to ask me on board, and yes once or twice I’ve still had my time wasted but overall I’ve owned it and had the best financial year of employment I’ve had in the last 10 years or so. To further prove my point, do you think I would have produced this podcast if I’d been fannying about with time wasters and amateurs? The Pareto Principle works, but what’s it all about?
If you enjoy this episode and would like to know more about the Pareto Principle please support this podcast by buying the book The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch through my Amazon Affiliate link. I get a small bump for any sale made (Doesn’t have to be what I am linking to either!)
 
 

THE LESSON

The Pareto Principle is also known as the Pareto Rule or the 80/20 Rule. It was named after economist Vilfredo Pareto originally referred to the observation that 80% of Italy’s wealth belonged to only 20% of the population. He became somewhat obsessed with this ratio, seeing it in everything. For example, he observed that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of his pea plants. It is sometimes referred to as “The Law of the Vital Few”.

The basic principle that 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes or an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs has been drawn into the productivity world and has had a massive impact.

So roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Let’s apply that to my anecdote there. I realised that 80% of my income was coming from 20% of my clients. By effectively ignoring or giving minimal time to everyone else I was able to focus and give a better commitment to my remaining well-paying clients. Adversely I’d say that 80% of my hassle comes from 20% of my clients, so the added benefit of not chasing them down or deliberately side-lining them was that I no longer had all that hassle. I had hassle with well-paying jobs but then that was well paid. It was worth a bit of hassle, but any poor paying big hassle jobs went in the can and I at the other end got lots more time off to work on what I want to do.

Do you get it? Do you see why The Pareto Principle is awesome yet? Let’s look at it in more detail.

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

It must be noted that the Pareto Principle is the observation (not law) that most things in life are not evenly distributed. It can mean that:

  • 20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
  • 20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
  • 20% of your clients cause 80% of your heartache
  • 20% of your effort creates 80 % of the finished work
  • 20% of criminals commit 80% of the crimes.
  • 20% of pub-goers consume 80% of the alcohol.
  • 20% of car drivers cause 80% of the accidents.

Or looking at it another way:

  • 80% of value is achieved with the first 20% of the effort
  • 80% of work is completed by 20% of your team
  • We spend 80% of our time with 20% of our friends.

From my personal point of view I can say that:

  • 80% of my fight work uses 20% of the techniques and skillset that I have.
  • 80% of the time I spend on the phone is virtually useless. If I didn’t enjoy Twitter and interacting with the community there I would shut it down, and occasionally when things start to get on top of me I do.
  • If you’re interested in speed reading then you might agree that 80% of the value in a book can be gleaned from 20% of its content.
  • I wear 20% of my wardrobe 80% of the time. I’ve done a bit of a Steve Jobs on this in recent years and tend to wear the same style of shirts and jeans and boots every day. I have multiple sets and I just don’t have to think about it anymore. That’s really a comment about decision fatigue which I’ll get into on a later episode.

As a final example and if we are to believe Woody Allen:

  • 80% of success is just showing up – that makes some sense if you consider that "showing up" is 20% of the effort…

Richard Koch, who wrote the book The 80/20 Principle explains the common misconception that the numbers 20 and 80 do not need to add up to 100. They are cause and effect – meaning they are not of the same denominator. It just so happens that the observation made by Pareto was 80/20 - I’ll quote from him here as he is the main man when it comes to this and I’ll put a link to that book in the show notes. “The numbers don’t have to be “20%” and “80%” exactly. The key point is that most things in life and work are not distributed evenly. It doesn’t have to be a literal 80-20 ratio — for example, 70% of the effects can be contributed by 15% of the causes or 60% of effects can be contributed by 30% of the causes. The percentages of effects and causes don’t have to add up to 100% either — 80% refers to the effect while 20% refers to the cause, meaning they are not of the same denominator. It just happened that Pareto’s observation was 80-20 (rather than 70-20 or 60-10).”

I watch a lot of YouTube, frankly too much YouTube – I’ll have to do an episode on YouTube addiction once I figure out how to beat it. There’s a guy on there that talks about language hacking and I only speak English so I’m useless when I’m anywhere else so I’ve watched a few of his - His whole system and he’s released a lot of books on this - is based on the principle that the 20% of the words in any language account for 80% of our usage. By making a list of words organized by how frequently they’re used, and studying just those, he can account for a significant portion of daily usage. He also had another hack which effectively says that a lot of other languages use versions of English words and that you should learn them first, but that’s me getting side-tracked. Very interesting though and its a terrific real-world example of The Pareto Principle in action.

So let’s look at how this can actually be applied to our life and work in the creative industries.

  • If 20% of your tasks bring 80% of the results – on any specific goal – then this means that we can accurately find the tasks which must be made a top priority. We can prioritise these tasks over other less important work to achieve maximum results with the least effort.

With that knowledge, we can become highly efficient with our time and prioritise with that knowledge

For me, the whole 80/20 principle thing is a way to prioritise. It allows me to focus on the vital - the 20% high-value tasks, rather than spreading myself thinly across everything. It allows me to say, my time is not worth that effort – whatever it may be – and I can delegate the less important work, automate it, postpone it or just remove it altogether. Look to episode 3 if you want to know more about prioritising.

SUMMING UP

So let me sum up. Richard Koch says that:

“Conventional wisdom is not to put all of your eggs in one basket. 80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.”

I can’t believe I’ve done this many episodes without referencing Tim Ferris – well here we go at last. Tim says

“Doing less is not being lazy. Don't give in to a culture that values personal sacrifice over personal productivity.”

What a great line eh?  Why the personal sacrifice – what is it getting you? Heartache? Stress? Let it go. Value your own time more.

Listen to Dale Carnegie who said  “Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” – That’s the 80/20 rule in action.

CALL TO ACTION

So if  The Pareto Principle is the prediction or observation that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Can you assess any aspect of your own life or work where you can apply it? If the answer to that is yes, then what are you waiting for? That’s this week’s homework. Assess your own task list and apply it – I am certain you will find something in there to which this applies.

ENDING

Thanks again for listening - Next episode I’ll be talking about Mel Robbins’ 5 second Rule and how you can use it to cut through indecision, Beat fear and uncertainty, hack procrastination, Become confident, Share your ideas with courage, Stop worrying and feel happier.

For now, though, take control of your own destiny, silence those negative thoughts, keep on shootin’ and join me NEXT TIME on Film Pro Productivity.

  • The music that you are listening to right now is Adventures by A Himitsu.
  • You can view the show notes for this episode at filmproproductivity.com/episode7
  • If you’re struggling with something you think I can help with or would like to tell me how you are getting on then please get in touch via the contact page on the website. Alternately you can get me on Twitter @fight_director or follow the show @filmproprodpod
  • Please subscribe on the podcast app of your choice and if you are in the caring/ sharing mood then I’d really appreciate it if you would spread the word and leave an AWESOME review.

Sources: https://www.amazon.co.uk/80-Principle-Expanded-Updated-Achieving/dp/0385491743

Thanks: A Himitsu, Stephen Rowan, Dave Bullis Podcast, Podcraft.
Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.
 
Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsu https://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A
 

 

October 7, 2018  

DEALING WITH YOUR INNER CRITIC - Episode 6

 

 

EPISODE 6 – DEALING WITH YOUR INNER CRITIC

 

In this episode, I’ll be talking about negative and debilitating thoughts and how to handle them. Last week I left you with my thoughts on perfectionism and why it’s a really bad thing. I wanted you to stop trying to be perfect and start living your lives. That was your homework. I have a feeling that for those of you who tried it will have given some real results.

  • Are you aware of your inner voice or inner monologue – The part I’m talking about today is more aptly named the inner CRITIC – it’s that voice in your head that will troll you and put you down at every opportunity.

It’s talking to me right now, literally right this second. It’s saying. This is a waste of time. No one cares. It’s saying, what if I get this wrong? I don’t know how to launch a podcast. People are not going to be happy about me giving out advice – what makes me so special? It’s saying Film Pro Productivity is a terrible name for a podcast anyway. It’s saying lots and lots of negative things about everything that I do, everything that I plan and everything that I create. It’s more persistent than any internet troll, any annoying idiot on a forum and any film critic out there. The film critics that think they are cutting when they review other peoples work, are nothing NOTHING compared to that inner voice that’s whispering in our ears during every step of the creative process and saying this, whatever it is you are doing – just ain’t good enough. This inner critic can be totally self-destructive. If we listen to it.

THE LESSON

I have my own opinions about the topics I raise on Film Pro Productivity but I do a good bit of research on them before I bring them to you so that I can bring you a more rounded opinion. On this topic, however – and I think this s particularly relevant to those working in creative industries such as film - there wasn’t much. I mean it’s out there but it’s thin on the ground, it’s sometimes disguised under different headings, but you have to dig.

I found good information in some online articles aimed at women as it happens, although this is definitely a problem which both sexes have to face, and I think particularly for CREATIVES. One article details a survey that Activia did where they asked women what was holding them back from reaching their dreams? 80% of the time, the answer was themselves.

There are of course positive and negative voices to our inner monologue. On one shoulder we have a devil with a pitchfork and horns but on the other we have an angelic saint wearing a halo. At least that’s what they look like in the cartoons. Each one is saying don’t listen to the other guy, whispering in our ears and influencing our lives. Of course, in truth, they are far more complex characters. I’d go for a sarcastic internet hater (the ones that lurk on forums just waiting for you to say something they can disagree with) versus a sensible guiding mentor, teacher or even a supportive parent but the visuals for them are a lot more complex.

If I split our inner monologue into three different parts though:

  • The INNER VOICE – is the positive voice that supports, calms and reassures us - born from our sense of right and wrong and our sense of goodwill, family and friendship. It gives us drive and is fuelled by passion. This inner voice should be considered as our guide. It’s the voice that says Let’s do this. Get up, brush your teeth, pay your bills, write that script, go to the gym, phone your mammy and don’t worry. Everything’s going to be alright. It’s the voice that calms you, allows stress to wash over you and that says well done, good job and sometimes, lets you just walk away. The much quoted Derek Sivers line - if it’s not a HELL YEH, then it’s a No, comes from that inner voice advising us that maybe this job or task or invitation is not good for you – It is looking after your wellbeing. You won’t ever get this voice mixed up with the inner critic as the inner critic will be grabbing you round the throat and whispering poison in your ear - but you might feel that you have lost touch with reality a little and there are solutions to that. I’ll do a future episode on affirmations which will go into this in a bit of detail. Consciously curated affirmations can act as a crutch for those feeling lost out there.
  • The second element would be what I have talked about in detail already - The INNER CRITIC –If we let this bully take control, it will feed our self-doubt, pick on our weaknesses and say we’re not good enough, not worthy enough, not charming enough, not experienced enough and if we start listening to it we are going to stop ourselves before we even start.
  • There’s a third part to this perhaps which I’m going to tackle in a mini-episode which I’ll release just after this and that’s Rumination. It’s like an extreme form of the inner critic but it’s not so much an inner voice, more a replaying of experiences emotions or thoughts in an endless loop that keeps you awake at night and wears away at your soul. I’ll talk about it separately as it needs a bit of time to get into, but we can tackle it and we will.

DEALING WITH THE INNER CRITIC

The way I see it, there’s a fourth part to all this. The part that listens to the negative voice. The silent partner that passively gives the critic an ear in which to catastrophize... You. Let’s give permission to that silent partner to speak up.

My favourite example of a creative overcoming their inner critic is.  JK Rowling - Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers before BLOOMSBURY picked it up for an advance of just £1500 quid. It’s now sold over 450 million copies worldwide. If she’d listened to her inner critic she’d not have persevered and the world would have missed out on an absolutely cracking set of stories.

I’m certain that JK Rowling had a few moments along the way where she said to herself – What am I doing? But she persevered, shut down that negativity and drove what she believed into completion.

Support this podcast by purchasing anything at all through my affiliate links. The Harry Potter Complete Collection is not a productivity book but it's still awesome... :-)
 

What can we do to combat the inner critic? It’s easy to say just ignore it, but perhaps trickier in practice – what we can do once we have recognised that it is there is to implement strategies to live with it or disrupt its influence along the way. In time you will build habits that will give you back control.

  • First Things First - How’s about you just give yourself a break? Don’t concede to the enemy within. If you recognise what I’ve been talking about where you can handle it - this podcast will help you to recognise when the critic is in the driving seat and it’s then that you can say no to the negative voice and take over.
  • Building up our belief in ourselves and our self-worth is key. I get a LOT of fight directing work in the UK – It’s how I pay my bills - but it took a visit to China and after just a few minutes of watching the amazing Donnie Yen direct a fight sequence for me to realise - that wow – He works exactly the same way I do. I’d forgotten how good I was as I almost always work on my own. It’s easy to forget how good you are at what you do if you live and work in a vacuum. It’s also too easy to stop yourself before you start. One of the principles of good mental health is to get out there and experience the world. If you find your inner critic gets to be just too much – try going for a walk. Hit the gym. Meet a friend for a coffee. Just the change of environment can make the difference and help you to remember that you are in control.
  • You can also defeat the inner critic before it starts by planning ahead. Define what your tasks are very specific. Plan what you want to achieve and don’t want when you start on something. One article I read said that the inner critic will make incomplete and undefined tasks an “amorphous blob of un-do-ability” which is a wonderful description. That’s what your inner critic will make of unspecific tasks. Listen to my episode on prioritising and use the brain dump technique and prioritising strategies to define exactly what is important. With a written plan you can save yourself a lot of time and give your work focus. That plan might allow you to break larger tasks down into a series of smaller more edible tasks, to effectively make them a sum of their parts. Parts so small that the inner critic will find it harder to combat. Using the techniques from my episode on perfectionism will also allow you move on.
  • Don’t catastrophize! I used to be really bad for this. Stop yourself from dwelling on worst-case scenarios, and all the things that could possibly go wrong and look towards what is realistic. I had an unbelievable conversation with a young assistant director at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year. He’d convinced himself that no one wanted to hire him but the reality was he hadn’t actually sent out a Resume or told anyone out there that he was available for work. It’s amazing how debilitating that critic can be. His solution was to take action, and I advised him to do so. In the words of Winston Churchill – Success is not final – Failure is not fatal – it is the courage to continue that counts.
  • Taking action is my solution to many of these debilitating situations, and to do that you need to develop Drive. A subject which I’ll commit an entire episode to later on. It goes hand in hand with the self-belief that I mentioned a minute ago. Constant unchecked movement will create a snowball effect and allow you to develop a habit of work that your inner critic will be unable to stop.
  • One other action you might take if you have reached an impasse with your inner critic is to share your thoughts with someone else. Getting out of your own head; Like I talk about in my earlier episode on Prioritising in fact, and hearing feedback from someone else that you trust will silence your inner critic quite effectively. Talking it over with a friend will give almost always give you a realistic perspective if what you’ve been doing is catastrophising - presenting a situation as considerably worse than it actually is.

SUMMING UP

The Psychologist William James said “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

The weapon therefor and the choice of how you wield it is yours - You are the master of our own destiny.

CALL TO ACTION

Use the techniques I’ve talked about today to tackle your negative inner thoughts and you will find that you will have a more productive and happy life as a result. Next time it happens. Catch yourself and question it. Use your positive inner voice to fuel your drive and put you firmly in the driving seat.

ENDING

Thanks again for listening - Next episode I’ll be talking about THE PERETO PRINCIPLE and how it can be applied to our work in the creative industries.

For now, though, take control of your own destiny, silence those negative thoughts, keep on shootin’ and join me NEXT TIME on Film Pro Productivity.

  • The music for this podcast and that you are listening to right now is Adventures by A Himitsu.
  • You can view the show notes for this episode at filmproproductivity.com/episode5
  • If you’re struggling with something you think I can help with or would like to tell me how you are getting on then please get in touch via the contact page on the website. Alternately you can get me on Twitter @fight_director or follow the show @filmproprodpod
  • Please subscribe on the podcast app of your choice and if you are in the caring/ sharing mood then I’d really appreciate it if you would spread the word and leave an AWESOME review.

Sources: https://joshkaufman.net/getting-things-done/, https://tinybuddha.com/blog/5-immediate-and-easy-ways-to-silence-your-inner-critic/, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/compassion-matters/201305/4-ways-overcome-your-inner-critic

Thanks: A Himitsu, Stephen Rowan, Dave Bullis Podcast, Podcraft.
Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.
 
Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsu https://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A