FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY & SUCCESS

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November 25, 2018  

HABIT FORMING FOR A BETTER LIFE - Episode 13

 
 
In this episode I will be discussing the topic of habit-forming and how forming new habits and, just as important, breaking old ones - can move you into a better life, a stronger career and a happier place in general.
 
In the last episode though I was keen to get into and raise your awareness of time wasters as I’ve been tripping over them for years – and they can really mess with your productivity if you let them.
 
I’ve interacted with more than my fair share of time-wasting people over the years – quite often someone invites me into their project as a filmmaker/ collaborator, which if I agree to do, often leaves me to pick up and drive their project to completion as they sit in the passenger seat. It’s not true of everyone that asks me to join them, but it’s freeloaders like that who waste your time and distract you from your own goals and vision –
 
You need to find truly brilliant people to work and collaborate with, and avoid having to carry someone else’s project forwards because they don’t have a clear vision of where they are going. That sort of time waster can take years off you and in the end walk away with the project as if you were really only a small contributor to it.
 
I’ve gotten better at dodging that particular scenario nowadays as I’m more and more aware of how little time I actually have free – and no matter what age you are - time wasters need to be avoided. If you missed the episode then check it out. And if you can suggest any more time waster archetypes please drop me a line at filmproproductivity.com
 
THE LESSON
 
Today, I will be tackling the topic of habit forming.
Sean Covey the American businessman and author of several books on this topic states that “We become what we repeatedly do.” But to be fair, he stole that from Aristotle who more fully stated that “We are what we repeatedly do. So excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Somewhere along the way, I became aware that I had gotten out of the habit of doing something I really loved. READING. I hadn’t picked up a book, to read anything purely for fun, in years. I decided that reading was something I had to start again. So I did - but I had to put a bit of work in to get back into the habit.
 
At first I’d pick up a book and read one or two pages a night, and I found it really quite tiring, and I struggled.
 
So I changed my tack. I decided to re-read books I’d already read when I was younger, which were predominantly fantasy novels as it happens but good for getting lost in and introducing new wider worlds and situations. So I picked up JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. It wasn’t quite what I remembered but I got through it much more quickly. Reading more like 10 or 15 pages a night, till just a couple of weeks later it was done. I picked up a heftier endeavour, but one I’d read before and I’d loved the films which had been made more recently. I re-read LORD OF THE RINGS and it pulled me in. I was up nearer 30 to 40 pages a night. Then I moved on to Game Of Thrones - I hadn’t read those before but I’d been watching the series and that made it a little easier for me to follow the names and locations - I battered through those books in a couple of months and they were brilliant by the way despite the huge page count. Following that I tried the Harry Potter books which again I’d not read, but I’d seen the films and this meant again that I didn’t have to work too hard. By that time, a good 6 months after I’d struggled with one or two page of reading a night, I was in the habit of reading between 20 and 50 pages a day, not just at night when I was tired, but during the day in stolen moments too and the habit of reading was set.
 
I now read every day, I make room for it and I enjoy it. It’s inspiring and engrossing and relaxing and all the things it used to be when I was younger. It’s now an established habit for me to read and so I do. I don’t think about it, I just do it. You too can form a habit with a little bit of effort and a little bit of commitment.
 
THE LESSON
The nineteenth century author William Makepeace Thackeray wrote that “Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do.”
We can use habit forming systems to build strong consciously formed habits of any type and you have to start by being quite specific in what habit you are trying to form. Have a think about what habits you’d like to break or replace or form.
 
How about a fitness habit like Walking every day - you might solve that by parking further away from where you work and walking in the last ½ mile, and ½ mile back, or you might want to change a mental habit like Stopping Yourself from being negative, which would start by increasing your awareness of when you are negative perhaps, then realising it and acknowledging it each time. You might want to form a habit to relieve stress, which could be something simple like sitting outside in the park for 5 minutes every day and letting your mind wander, or a personal habit –one I’m trying to break is to not have a biscuit or a cake with every coffee that I drink. I’ve gotten into the habit of having a coffee and a… (fill in blank space with cake type here) Now I’m putting effort into just having the coffee, or sometimes exchanging coffee and a cake for a bottle of water and a piece of fruit… The productivity habit I’ve put work into is waking early, and I’ve managed it. Strange shooting schedules have done some real damage to that endeavour in the last few weeks but I’m getting back on that bus and I find it very useful. I think that one deserves it’s own episode though so I’ll leave it for season 2.
 
GETTING STARTED
 
The most important part of any new habit is getting started — not just starting on day one of the habit, as that’s the easy day, but starting each and every day to form that habit and making it stick. Consistency makes the habit – without consistency there is no habit.
 
I think where most people fall down in this scenario, as time goes on, is in the area of MOTIVATION. Your will power can be rapidly depleted whilst trying to build new habits but there are ways around this.
Former Olympic athlete Jim Ryun said that “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” That’s a very clear statement of this problem, and it leads us in the right direction. I’ll say it again - “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Habit forming does require motivation at first but eventually that inner drive is replaced by routine, and when that routine becomes set it frees your motivation - YOUR WILL POWER which is a limited resource to be placed elsewhere.
 
MINI HABITS
 
Please support the show by purchasing a copy of this book through one of my Amazon Affiliate links. I get a small cut of anything bought from Amazon, via one of my links.
 
 
You’ll recognise the name Steven Guise from an earlier episode. He wrote the book how to be an imperfectionist, but he also wrote another book called MINI HABITS which I believe in absolutely and which I’ll detail a little of here. The sub title of mini habits is SMALLER HABITS / BIGGER RESULTS, which is the big message for me.
 
I talked briefly on this topic on my episode on 4 HACKS TO GET STUFF DONE, what was that? Episode 9? With the example of the two minute rule. On that show I posed the question, 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 small accomplishments like this start to become a habit after a time…
 
STEVEN GUISE’s book MINI HABITS, makes habit forming easy, by making the habits that you want to form, as he calls them - STUPID SMALL. He sets out to banish the days of unreachable goals and perpetual disappointment. As always I highly recommend you read the books I refer to here and this one will be linked to in the show notes for you. It’s a quick read and it’s just brilliant.
 
Steven’s strategy in creating habits is to make them so simple, so small so easily achievable that it is almost easier to do them than not to.
 
He says that
“Doing a little bit is infinitely bigger and better than doing nothing (mathematically and practically speaking)”.
He says that
 
“Doing a little bit every day has a greater impact than doing a lot on one day”. To him the system is more important than the goal…
He says that
“We’re quick to blame ourselves for lack of progress, but slow to blame our strategies” and his strategies are designed to support your self-belief.
He says that
“When you add good habits into your life, it illuminates another possible path, restores your confidence, and gives you hope”. And I believe in that one so much I created this episode to back it up!
Steve Guise’s MINI HABITS don’t require a load of willpower. They are achievable and through them you can form the habit of what you want to do, and improve on it later. For example lets say you want to do 100 push ups a day. That’s a fast road to disappointment. What if that goal was one push up a day though? Could you do that? Of course you could. And if you do one, just maybe you’ll say - That wasn’t so bad. I’ll just do another. And every day you just aim for one. In a couple of weeks it wouldn’t be surprising if you found you were sneaking in a dozen push ups or more. In 30 days (and the number will become relevant later) but in 30 days maybe you’re doing 20 a day, but you’re only trying to get one done, and 100 a day isn’t in the picture - yet. Once your habit is formed, you can build on it. In a years’ time, or in six months even, I suspect you might be doing those 100 pushups a day, and you’ll have got there by thinking tactically and aiming for the stupid small. SMALLER HABITS / BIGGER RESULTS.
Make the goal, the habit forming goal, so small that you literally cannot fail.
Somewhere along the line you see, NEWTON’S 1st LAW has come into play. An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity… The hard part of that law is moving from rest to motion. The mini habit, the mini goal, gets you rolling – it moves you into motion and once you start you can start doing bonus stuff like that extra push up, or more and as the rolling continues you achieve the bigger goals too .
Steven has 8 mini habit rules.
 
And they are:
 
1. Never, Ever Cheat
2. Be Happy With All Progress
3. Reward Yourself Often, Especially After a Mini Habit
4. Stay Level-headed
5. If You Feel Strong Resistance, Back Off & Go Smaller
6. Remind Yourself How Easy This Is
7. Never Think A Step Is Too Small
8. Put Extra Energy and Ambition Toward Bonus Reps, Not A Bigger Requirement
 
The 30 DAYS I mentioned a minute ago is relevant as everything I’ve read about HABIT FORMING says that you must commit to Thirty Days because THIRTY DAYS - Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit AUTOMATIC. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain. So choose a month to create and establish a habit of your choice.
 
What happens when you pass that point is that psychologically YOU CREATE A CHAIN GOING THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO BREAK, and that will add a little drive to your habit that can’t do any harm.
Benjamin Franklin said that “It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” and I can’t help but agree.
From my own experience I’ve noticed that BREAKING BAD HABITS is far more difficult than FORMING NEW ONES, so you could think making of an exchange instead of just forming new habits. It’s like I was saying earlier, I can exchange my coffee and a cake habit for water and a piece of fruit habit. I could exchange a sweety addiction, that’s candy for all you non Scots that are tuning in - but I can exchange candy for fruit. When I want a piece of candy I go instead to the fruit bowl. This exchange is made far easier by not having any candy in the house of course.
 
Once you’ve established your habits whatever they may be, things will start to run on autopilot and with a small amount of initial discipline, you can create a new habit that requires little effort to maintain.
 
A few final suggestions I must make are
 
1. Write it Down – Writing your resolution is important. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result and the act of doing so, as I mentioned in the 12 week year episode makes it 80% more likely that you will do it! No kidding. Science says so – and you know science – it knows stuff!
2. Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick. If you want to get into the habit of reading again, like I did. Read a little every day. Picking a book up a couple of times a week really won’t cut it. Try also reading at the same time, and in the same place for your thirty days. I read in bed at night, you may prefer the morning or at lunch. Whatever works for you.
3. A couple of weeks into your habit forming commitment you might get lost or distracted. Post reminders about it around you. Next week I’ll talk about some apps that will help with this.
4. My final tip - Remove Temptation – throw out the cigarettes – flush them down the loo, don’t stash a packet somewhere close at hand, it will only make you fail. Take the Candy and give it away or throw it in the bin. Remove the distracting app form your phone. Give yourself the best chance possible to succeed so you won’t need to struggle with your willpower later.
 
SUMMING UP
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” ―Aristotle
With my schedule up and down like a yo-yo and almost daily shifts to my get up time and return home time due to strange working hours, some of my good habits, specifically in the area of health and fitness, have taken a bit of a beating lately and have begun to slip. With this episode I’m going to get back on track with that, set brand new habits for myself and STICK TO THEM.
Frank Hall Crane says that “Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them either. They keep you.”
One of the reasons that I started this podcast was to get back into the habit of creating. Here I sit with a 15 episode season starting in 4 days and the habit of creating is strong. It took drive, it took focus and it took vision, but once I got into the swing of it, I just kept on going and I’ve succeeded. You wouldn’t be listening to this now if it wasn’t for the power of habit.
 
I urge you now to create habits that will bring you closer to your goals. Don’t try to change just to make other people happy or because you feel pressure to change from some other quarter. If you want it, know why you are doing it and believe in the positive change that your efforts can bring about you will succeed...
 
In the words of ― GANDHI
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
 
CALL TO ACTION
 
Thanks again for listening –
 
At the end of each episode I like to remind you that you are the master of your own destiny and by that I mean that you can take control. If you want to kill a bad habit, and replace it with a new one then do it. That’s this week’s call to action.
 
You probably know already what habit you want to kill or introduce. When this episode finishes, just after you’ve left an awesome review on iTunes or wherever, ha! Write down the habit you want to form. Block out the next 30 days in your calendar, and decide on a stupid small step that you can take on each of those 30 days to form the habit. Got it?
 
ENDING
 
In next week’s episode I’m going to introduce 10 POWERFUL APPS FOR APPLE AND ANDROID that you should GRAB to BOOST YOUR PRODUCTIVITY.
 
But until then, GOOD LUCK IN THE WEEK AHEAD. Take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.
 
· The podcast music is Adventures by A Himitsu.
· You can view the show notes for this episode at filmproproductivity.com
· 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 support this podcast by subscribing, leaving an AWESOME review and spreading the word. If you can get just one new person to tune in I’d really appreciate it.
 
November 18, 2018  

DEALING WITH TIME WASTERS - Episode 12

 

On today’s show I will be talking about how to deal with people that waste your time and distract you from what is important.
 
But before I go into that, on last week’s episode I explored the topic of achieving larger goals by focusing them into Twelve Week slots using Brian Moran’s productivity system - The Twelve Week Year. It was a hefty episode and covered some pretty big questions. As it ended I asked you to think about how that system could work for you and for you to start making a few decisions about where your own life and work is going. Deciding on your larger life goals is something that doesn’t necessarily take ten minutes, especially if you’ve not really considered it before, but if you can do that, you can begin to tailor your life and work to get you closer to them.
The famous American motivational speaker, Earl Nightingale says simply, that “People with goals succeed because they know where they're going.” Unquote.
And I gotta back that up. It’s not some hippy dippy dreamlike collection of words, it’s a statement of absolute fact.
 
If you want to achieve your goals you need to start deciding exactly what they are. If you missed the episode do go back and check it out, and if you have an opinion, as ever, I urge you to get in touch and tell me how you’re getting on.
 
You can get in touch via the speakpipe recorder or by email on filmproproductivity.com’s contact page or on twitter @filmproprodpod and if you are struggling with something you think I can help with then I’ll do my best to feed back to you in future episodes.
 
THE LESSON
 
  • · Today I’ll be going into a bit of time management, and it’s another quite large topic so buckle up.
  • · TIME you must never forget is one of your most valuable commodities. If not that then it is the most valuable of all. Don’t lose track of that.
  • · You only have a certain amount of it in your life and it doesn’t matter how old you are you need to take it seriously, because you can’t get it back – and therefor you need to guard it.
  • · Would you let someone walk over to you, pick up your wallet or your purse and start removing your hard earned cash and putting it in their pocket? Of course not, but that’s exactly what these sorts of people are doing with your time and you need to stop it.
  • · Its ok for YOU to waste time, that’s a different matter for a different episode on procrastination perhaps, and sometimes you have to slow down and relax as that’s important for your health, but what I’m talking about is when other people waste your time. That is one of the very biggest obstacles you will find to being productive and efficient and unless your higher level self, recognises it and stops it, it’s just going to keep happening.
  • · You can't afford to waste time on what seems important but isn't.
  • · You can't let anyone else control our schedule and invade our boundaries.
  • · Remember that your time is for your family, your own business, your own goals etc and if YOU want to waste it that’s absolutely fine. But when other people impact on it, and steal it away, it’s an entirely different matter as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve wanted to tackle this subject for a while now, as it is something that I am more and more aware of. I’ll detail here a few of the more common types of time waster, many of whom are not intentionally wasting your time, but if you allow them to do so, they will.
It's smart to watch for the warning signs someone is about to waste your time, and cut off these time leaches before they get their teeth into you.
So let’s start with the seemingly inoffensive…
 
SMALL TALKERS
 
It’s a strange world out there and some people really want to talk about stuff that just isn’t important. It’s a very human thing I know but if you’ve not got the time to sit and shoot the breeze with someone, which when you hang about a film set I recognise that sometimes you do, then you need to confront these SMALL TALKERS and get rid of them. I think we have all been guilty of this at some point or another, and I still am on occasion, but these ramblers are the 1st and perhaps most common form of time waster.
“More of your conversation would infect my brain.” ― William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
I won’t generalise, but many a time I have been sitting beside the extras and listened to some of the most inane chat I have ever had the misfortune to hear. I find it really distracting when someone is talking nonsense within my earshot let alone directly to me. If you’re stuck near them on a film set then remove yourself and if you have work to do then set up somewhere else and get to it.
 
If you want to be productive then you must recognise small talkers, get ON YOUR MISSION and not let them distract you!
 
A sub division of SMALL TALKERS are the GOSSIPS/ RUMOUR SPREADERS
 
Gossips, are obviously people who talk about others behind their backs but in effect they are just small talkers who like to make themselves feel superior by talking others down and spreading negativity – and of course if they’re talking about others then they will no doubt be talking about you.
 
You can just say STOP I DON’T WANT TO HEAR THAT if you have to, although I don’t say it nearly enough myself. I did put pain to a rumour earlier this year when someone said they’d heard that a filmmaker I know was a con artist. I explained that I knew the guy and that I’d never seen such behavior. They in turn explained that they didn’t actually know the person they were gossiping about and so the rumour ended there. I don’t think they’ll spread that it again in a hurry. Resisting the temptation to badmouth other people is one thing, but when a friend is launching into an offensive story about someone you know, your best tactic is to ask why they’re telling you. That will be their first alert that you’re not happy with the discussion.
I try to be supportive in the things that I say but you have to be careful you don’t become that which you oppose. As George Wither said “Little said is soonest mended” Unquote.
I’ll balance that with the famous Oscar Wilde quote:
“If there is anything more annoying in the world than having people talk about you, it is certainly having no one talk about you.”
But either way, gossip is just negative small talk and it will suck up your time if you let it.
 
Another sub set of the small talker is the WANDERER
 
They are unaware of time and don’t know how to manage the clock. They are people without goals, and if you are not careful they will take your time and suck you into oblivion. They either can't or don't want to differentiate between the important and unimportant and will side-track from what is important onto their own, often trivial chatter. They will also interrupt to tell you just about anything, no matter how trivial and the best way to deal with them is to avoid them at all costs.
 
Which brings me round to INTERRUPTORS
 
Interrupters are those people that take up you time on the phone, or by accosting you in person.
 
Often the best way to deal with a phone call when you are busy is to not pick up. Let them leave a message and listen to it when you have a moment. Reply on your terms and schedule.
 
If you do pick up however, or meet them face to face then you must quickly try and to interrupt an interrupter before they take up too much of your time: Don’t get into a run of small talk with them. Also you must train yourself to avoid saying that they can call you later or promise to get back to them as that just delays the time wasting exercise - Get right in there, jump ahead – and ask them WHY THEY ARE CALLING or WHAT THEY WANT FROM YOU.
 
You simply can’t allow people to have unlimited access to your time - so ask them what they want and if they don’t know, then re-class them as a WANDERER and then get rid of them – you don’t have time to let them hum and haw until they decide. Even if they do know, and it’s something that interests you, you can ask them to detail it in an email and you can schedule a more suitable time for the discussion.
 
IF IT INTERESTS YOU, and only IF IT DOES, you can say - I have a very busy week at the moment and, I’m dealing with immediate problems. Can I get back to you this? I find I have to do this all the time at the moment and it’s not my intention to be rude when I do. I just want to give the things that interest me or that are important THE PROPER TIME and if I know I can’t look at something and give it real mental energy and time until the following week I will just be straight up and say that. It goes hand in hand with the doing one thing at a time strategy I talked about in episode 11.
 
On many occasions btw the matter raised has turned out to be trivial and certainly not worthy of my stopping what I was currently doing to deal with it. I feel that it is your responsibility to be clear about your intentions and vice versa. People appreciate it.
 
BTW the interrupter can also get you at a distance and every time they have a question they’ll send you an email or text you. Be careful not to form the habit of responding to everything. That email will distract you from what you are doing just as surely as a phonecall, and by the time you tune back into what you were doing 15 minutes or a half hour will have slipped from your fingers.
 
With cold callers, just move on as quickly and politely as possible and if that’s not working hang up.
 
Another sub set of the interruptor/ wanderer is the CAMPER
 
That’s what coffee shop employees call the customers that buy one drink and nurse it several hours without buying more. They take up space in your office or wherever you have set up to work as an uninvited visitor and they just won’t go away.
 
You need to cut these people off or they will trap you. Explain that you are working and politely ask them, if they are after something to get to the point. If you have an office you don’t need to let them in. Stand in the doorway and confront them. Ask them what they want without inviting them in. If you let them in then you can say goodbye to the next several minutes at least and they will come back. If you feel that you must help them out, and it can often seem that way especially if that person is a colleague, a friend or family member, and then you can say - I'm busy right now. Let's meet at say 1pm for 15 minutes and we can discuss everything then.
 
This stops them getting in and setting up camp and "teaches" them a new discipline. Eventually they’ll get it. It also means that your have capped your time with them and put you in control.
 
For me the most impactful damage to my free time comes from FREELOADERS or TYRE KICKERS as they are known in the sales world.
 
I’ve fallen for these idiots time and time again. They play on your freelancing necessity to work, or your keen-ness for involvement in what appears to be a large or interesting production or your passion for what you do and they often only want to scam you for your advice and time for free.
 
They lead with a statement saying they want to hire you months from now but need information or advice first. Sometimes they are just whimsically considering making a film or TV show and want to bring you on board, but more often than not those types just want to make themselves feel important and suck you dry of your creative energy. And the shows they are talking about never happen as they go from one pro to the next talking about what they plan to do rather than actually doing it.
 
There’s a mid level tyre kicking producer working in Scotland that contacted me and asked me to look at a film he’d shot maybe 10 years before that. He wanted to re-use some of the action footage which involved large scale battles and, here’s where I should have had alarm bells ringing, re-purpose that footage into a new film which he’d get me to shoot. Simultaneous to that he wanted me to work on a new film idea he’d had, based on his half-finished script, and take that to a shooting draft…
 
…and btw this guy is a millionaire – but my experience of working with millionaire’s like this guy is often that they have achieved that status as they will not put their hand in their pocket for anything. They are absolute skinflints.
 
I eventually dodged this guy and drew a line under it, but only after spending just over 10 days working things up with him. At that point I got what was happening as I wasn’t the first guy he’d done it to and it turned out he actually had someone else working on the same projects at the same time. I turned up to a meeting and lo and behold some other poor sod had done a bit of work on it already… I scarpered sharpish and haven’t looked back. I later mentioned the experience to a friend of mine and BAM - discovered that he’d also wasted that guys time too.
 
It’s my experience that these types NEVER hire you – and a year later, you discover they've stolen, sorry 'used' all your ideas.
 
As a fight director I have done several very detailed breakdowns of the fights only to not get the job at a later date because they never had any money. Then when you look into it their pal has done it.
 
So if people don't have the funds to hire you right now, tell them you can have a conversation and answer some questions when they are ready but don't, whatever you do, get suckered into a situation where your precious time is drained by someone promising future business where there is none.
 
I know a guy that tried to hire Steven Fry to do a voice over. He spoke to him on the phone and Stephen said, do you have a budget in place? He didn’t. He’d approached Stephen so early that he really didn’t have much in place at all, and when he said No, or not yet or words to that effect Stephen said well call me when you do and ended the phonecall. It sounds kind of harsh but Stephen Fry had the right idea. He’s a busy guy. He simply didn’t have time to waste on a project that was not able to give him that sort if information. He’s clearly learned not to have his time wasted by maybe productions ltd.
On another level of this I quite often get social media messages, emails, even calls from people who want advice and if I’m free I will quite often give it, but these requests seldom lead to new business. Don't let the freebie chasers waste your time just because they follow you on twitter. If you’ve been around as long as I have you can smell this sort of thing a mile off.
 
You have to get wise at spotting the signs – they normally don't reveal how much budget they have to spend; they normally don't bother with an initial meeting and they're normally very vague.
 
One thing you can do to counter the tyre kicker is to prepare a standard email response that asks the important questions. Email them your options – Spend a bit of time on a questionnaire that answers the questions that you know you need to ask. You can use this to figure out if a follow up is worthwhile.
 
A sub set of the FREELOADER is the NON PAYER. That’s someone who has you do the work and then disappears without paying you. There are one or two people out there that have in effect stolen my time and my work with the agreement to pay and not paid up in the end. For these I reserve a special place in hell. In the UK you can get your union involved and EQUITY has helped me out more than once, but sometimes people are just crooks and do a runner because they never intended to pay you in the first place.
 
The MUST MEETER
 
I’ve complained about this type of time wasting activity before.
 
If you are a freelancer, then meetings have a real impact on your time but some people seem to do nothing but organise meetings because being in meeting is a way to feel important. It's also a great way to hide from making and taking responsibility for decisions, and to harvest the ideas of others. The greatest organisers of meetings are in public office and they get paid to attend meetings, it gets them out of their office and interacting with real humans for a change. They will milk their meetings to the death and they will always want another one.
 
I urge you - before you set up a meeting or accept your next meeting invitation, stop and ask yourself: Do I really need to be in -- or hold -- this meeting? Is there a more time-efficient way to handle this? A conference call? An email? Anything but another meeting.
But if you do have to attend one you must do these 4 things.
 
1. Have and communicate a clear, achievable objective for the meeting.
2. Circulate a written agenda in advance.
3. If you must attend a meeting, you also have a plan to get what you want out of it.
4. If you know that there is nothing more to achieve at the meeting then you can ask to leave early. Have an exit strategy or best of all GIVE A PRE AGREED END TIME FOR THE MEETING.
 
The next time waster you will have likely faced already is the HATER/ The JOY STEALER
 
Haters are trolls and bullies – and they are another long range time waster usually raising their ugly heads online. They’re only purpose in life is to wind others up and they don’t deserve any of your time whatsoever. If you respond at all to these time-wasters then they have won.
 
If you are giving them attention, they are wasting your time and you are letting them away with it. Assume that when you make any comment, or raise your head above the parapet in any form of social networking or creative endeavor that somebody somewhere will say that it’s a pointless exercise and that you have no talent. They’ll then take a potshot at your looks, at your mental health and insinuate that you are likely a Nazi or something equally horrible.
 
If you know its going to happen, and it will, you will be able to laugh at these people and move on. If you don’t, and take it to heart, and start interacting with them then you’re going to lose a lot of time on brooding about it and ruminating over something you can’t control.
The Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer says to “Watch out for the joy-stealers - Those who gossip, criticise complain, find fault, and have a negative, judgmental attitude.” Unquote - I agree.
The penultimate TIME WASTER that I face as a FILM PRO is the AVAILABILITY CHECKER, but this one is easier to get over.
 
Availability checkers ask me for availability and I quite often find myself calling round and clearing the decks of other jobs, pinning them down to make myself available for jobs that I don’t ever get booked for. There’s a production coordinator in Scotland that’s done this to me like 5 times in a row and I’m more cautious about the whole thing now.
I don’t tend to do any work clearing decks now until I have more info on the job. This one can be sorted by asking a couple of questions. You can even ask am I the only person you are considering for this if you have to. It’s kind of a problem that comes with the freelancer territory. My biggest issue with the availability checker is that in my mind I start thinking about the job and then when I don’t get booked I feel that I’ve missed out.
 
The final timewaster is YOURSELF, but I’m not talking about watching TV or lazing in the sun.
“Regret for wasted time is just more wasted time”
― Mason Cooley
He also said that The time I kill, is killing me which is true.
 
There’s a great Youtube video about this which I’ll add to the show notes, but in short it points out that time spent being angry or having regret is just wasted time. Try and let these things go. As I’ve said before on this podcast. Everything is going to be alright.
There’s another 5 minute rule which salesmen have to get over the annoyance of not making a sale, which can be applied anywhere really. It’s NOT the 5 MINUTE RULE I covered a few episodes ago. This rule says if you are annoyed about something, or have regrets, give yourself 5 minutes to be angry annoyed and worked up, then move on. 5 minutes is all it needs. Give yourself a break.
 
SUMMING UP
 
To sum up - This is a business – never forget that! – and it's crucial that you spend your time wisely, so you make good money, allow yourself some downtime and get the most out of every day. Each of us gets only one life to live. We have 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week and how you spend that time affects every area of your life. Every day that passes is one you are not going to get back. Waste it or invest it. And time is money.
 
Be more selective and don’t allow people to waste your time .
You must engage in a higher level of thinking as it's all too easy to get sucked into a time wasting situation when you think it could lead to future business – so don't let that happen. Treat your time with the value and importance that it deserves.
If you can - only grant access to people once you know they are in alignment with your own objectives.
 
And IF YOU ARE GIVING YOUR TIME AWAY because you choose to, because you want to volunteer for something or because you just want to help someone out then take my advice and schedule it – it will pay back, but don’t write anyone a blank cheque on your time as that – you will live to regret.
 
CALL TO ACTION
 
I hope that this episode has been helpful to you and that recognising the ten time wasting archetypes that I’ve identified here will be helpful to you.
 
All I ask as a call to action is that you don’t waste a moment of it.
Your time is evaporating even now. So think of Robin William’s in Dead Poet’s Society and SEIZE THE DAY!
ENDING
 
Thanks again for listening - Next episode I’ll be talking about achieving excellence through habit forming where you will discover that we are what we repeatedly do.
Until then, don’t waste a moment, 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
· 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.
 
 
November 11, 2018  

ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS WITH A 12 WEEK YEAR - Episode 11

 

EPISODE 11 – Committing to a Twelve Week Year

 

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — Fitzhugh Dodson

On this week’s show, I will be discussing the concept of the twelve week year, how I used it to get out of a creative rut and how it can be used to focus your vision and complete goals quickly. It’s a bit longer than usual episodes but it’s filled with valuable and important stuff.

Before I go on to that though, in last week’s episode I set out to discount the myth that multitasking is somehow a more productive way of working than just doing one thing at a time.

The ONE THING AT A TIME PHILOSOPHY is not the easiest thing to do, and I perhaps find that especially true for creatives. As we constantly find ourselves thinking of more and more things we could develop or work on within ourselves or our creative projects, be they films or whatever, we often trip over the last idea we had with a fresh new one and short circuit it. Multitasking does exist of course, as any mother or father working from home with a toddler at their heels will confirm, but in productivity terms, it’s incredibly inefficient and as we get older we simply become less and less able to pull it off. If you missed the episode do scoot back and have a listen as it’s got some good food for thought in there but if you did and have been giving it a try, as always please get in touch via twitter or the website links and let me know how you are getting on.

If you have a particular element of your life or work that you are struggling with then please get in touch and I’ll see if I can work up a new episode to help you to deal with it.

ANECDOTE

Sadly I lost my brilliant dad at the start of 2017 and just a few months later I lost my amazing mum too. It was not a good year and by September I found that I was struggling to get things done in both life and work. I always seemed to be a step behind and I was firefighting my way through everything last minute, that’s if I got things done at all. I’ve talked about firefighting a few times here and YOU CAN WORK THAT WAY BUT what it does is that it takes your attention away from larger problems and those problems play heavily on your mind. It also makes your goals secondary to whatever the current problem is that you are dealing with.

It got to the point several times in the years leading up to my own first twelve week year where I had to just stop and those that follow my twitter feed will know this, I have to shut it down to allow me to focus on what is absolutely vital. The white noise that I talked about in episode 3, just saturated my thoughts with 10’s If not hundreds of small to large sized tasks and commitments and I got heavily bogged down and kinda lost. Of course, now I have ways to avoid this, but that’s really because I was able to get myself out from under a host of problems by committing to a 12 week year and in turn that started me on my way to high-level thinking.

It’s worth saying that even productivity systems can become white noise if you try to follow too many at once, but I found the 12 week year and basically, with a fairly thin understanding of it I threw myself in.

I’ll go into it in detail a little later but I usually describe it to others as taking your new year’s resolution, what you want to achieve by that same time the following year instead of putting it 12 weeks away. For example, let’s say you want to make a short film. You say. I want to write, shoot and edit a short film by this time next year that’s my vision, that tells a story that I want to tell, or you want to learn how to edit by this time next year, or you want to make a change in career by this time next year, or you want to lose a few pounds or here’s one, you want to launch a podcast by this time next year. Instead of saying by THIS TIME NEXT YEAR, the traditional way you instead put that goal just 12 weeks away.

So a twelve week year simply takes the focussed energy at the start and end of a new year’s resolution - The first six weeks and the final six weeks of the year and misses out the middle bit. The 9 months of the year where you got distracted from your vision. It focuses your time and energy and makes achieving your goals a real possibility.

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” — Earl Nightingale

My goal when I set my own 12 week year up was to clear the decks of incomplete projects, unfinished personal matters and promises to help others out within that time and I largely succeeded.

I successfully killed off projects that were going nowhere, completed tasks that had been lying unfinished for well, some of them, years and I either end lined or escaped from all but two other matters. One was a project I’d been dragged into and that the producer simply wouldn’t let go, and I found myself in the end, out of politeness, agreeing to extend my involvement – I shouldn’t have done it but I did, and the other was an insurance claim for water getting into my house which in the end I simply had to concede to as a kind of half agreement with them a few weeks later – by that stage it had been two whole years unresolved and the 12 week year put real pressure on them. I learned that corporate matters like an insurance claim are very difficult to get working to your speed. Everything else though and I’m talking some 11 or 12 quite complicated matters, as well as many many smaller ones, got resolved within the 12 weeks.

Of note is that NONE of the people that I gave deadlines to for the release of my voluntary creative involvement, actually completed or indeed really even started their projects within the 12 weeks I gave them to do so. These were creative projects which I can only assume were started by people on a whim, and they had called me or invited me on board and this was before I taught myself to say no of course, but they never went anywhere. It’s not that they couldn’t keep up with the pace that I set, THEY COULDN’T EVEN TAKE THE FIRST STEP ONTO A PACE – THERE WAS NO PACE. I’d been sweating and giving up mental energy to these projects when the people who apparently were driving them were really just waiting for me to do it for them. That realisation and my higher level self’s acknowledgement of it made saying no to future involvements all the easier.

I did try another 12 week year just after the first, trying to pull together within it both this podcast and a web series and that 12 week year failed, well kinda failed and the reason was that I was

1 – Uncertain of exactly what I wanted to do with this podcast and my goal was therefor unspecific,

And

2 – That the project I’d let slide on the previous 12 week year slammed right into my one and took all of the spare time that I’d worked so hard for, off of me. I had to manhandle that project to completion and if I hadn’t it simply would never have shot.

In effect, I dropped my own project in favour of someone else’s and killed my second 12-week plan myself. All really out of politeness. I’m quite aware as I work on these episodes that at times I may sound harsh, or unsupportive or negative even but I have deep regrets from wasting my time and energy with experiences like this, and I must tell you that giving up your own hopes and dreams to commit to furthering someone else’s vision, no matter how nice they are, is not a good thing for the soul.

I’m currently nearing the end of my 3rd 12 week year, and my goal with this one – to launch a podcast on the subject of productivity by the end of September 2018. How am I getting on?

THE LESSON

So committing to and completing a 12 week year is really pretty difficult but if you can get through it, and NOT GET DISTRACTED you will achieve a hell of a lot. I present this episode as I know just how powerful it is and I absolutely believe in it.

The TWELVE WEEK YEAR IS a PRODUCTIVITY SYSTEM created by BRIAN P MORAN and his business partner MICHAEL LENNINGTON, outlined in a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING BOOK (link in the show notes) and an accompanying website of the same name that debunks traditional goal setting, using annual goals, as an ineffective goal-achieving approach. The 12 Week Year Is Not About Mustering More Discipline, Willpower, Organizational Skills, or A better Mindset, it is simply a focussed approach to goal setting which takes your long-term vision and brings it closer.

Please buy your copy through one of my Amazon Affiliate Links. I get a small cut and it helps keep teh podcast costs down a wee bit. 

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2RUaj98

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2yfN3tW

RESEARCH ON NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS suggests that when you set one and commit to it on the 1st of January that it is very likely that you might put in a good effort towards that yearly goal for 5 or 6 weeks at the start of the year, hitting the gym or writing down ideas etc. but by the time you are 6 weeks in, that LIFE AND WORK AND OTHER MATTERS will have taken your focus and frayed it, diluted it and you’d probably have abandoned your goal to deal with what was immediately on your plate. It goes on to suggest that maybe towards the end of the year you pick it back up again, and say to yourself, well I must do that thing that I said I would, and you might return to the gym, or perhaps you may have decided just to let it go.

AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE TWELVE WEEK YEAR

The 12 Week Year is a highly practical guide for taking you from thinking about the things you should be doing to push your business or your project or your life forward to actually doing those things.

I’m basing my next section on an article by Carrie Dils called How to Squeeze a Full Year out of 12 Weeks. I did a good bit of additional research but I really liked her conclusions.

There are 4 stages to this:

Firstly you must SET “PILLAR” GOALS

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ― Diana Scharf

Now I’ve kind of avoided getting specific on goal setting so far in this podcast but the time has come for you to start thinking long term. The whole point of higher level thinking is to intelligently move yourself towards your own goals be they short or long term. And you need to start thinking about it if you haven’t already – The question is this - What is your long-term vision for your life?

Where would you like to be true about your life in 10 years.

Would you like to be debt free?

Would you like to have a family?

Would you like to achieve a certain salary? Own a holiday home? Move your career to a significant place?

This will be your pillar goal. Take your time with this. Get to grips with it. I’ll revisit goals again and again on this show. For now, the idea is to pick 2-3 core goals for each 12-week cycle that serve your larger vision.

Did you know that - If you write a goal down the probability of you doing it goes up 80%? Write a compelling vision of the ideal future that you’re working towards.

The second stage is to GET RID OF ANNUALIZED THINKING

Imagine getting a week’s worth of progress made in one day. Think critically about the tasks that are truly most important to your goals and spend your time on those things.

What can I focus on in the next 12 weeks that are in service of my Pillar goals?

Plan the daily or weekly tasks that serve those 2-3 primary goals and if your daily activities aren’t supporting those goals, you’re doing the wrong thing. Create habits to make taking regular action as easy as possible.

Here are some examples that serve my current goal of creating this podcast.

Create the website that supports the podcast.

Learn how to submit to iTunes.

Create test episodes to learn from.

And how have I tackled these?

I stopped my involvement in other peoples creative projects in order to focus on my goal.

I tried three different word press designers, wasted time with them, and I eventually took over and built it myself in Wix.

I researched how to get onto iTunes by following you tubers and listening to podcasts that talk about the subject.

I hired a friend with a podcast to advise me on creating this one, and I recorded tests and rerecorded episode 1 three times before settling.

I narrowed my focus, out with the day to day work of fight direction which is incredibly busy this year I must add and I focussed only on my podcast goals in my spare time. I deliberately avoided being drawn into other ideas and projects that took my fancy.

Thirdly - DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING.

Planning is some of the most productive time you can have. You have to set focused tactical goals. Plan what strategies and actions will move you closer to your goal and your future success.

To achieve a year’s worth of work in the next 12 weeks requires a style of planning and execution that forces you to shed the low-value activity that keeps you stuck. Engage with the word tactical and don’t be afraid to say no to things that will distract you or slow you down.

You have to make a detailed plan, with dates to hit - and stick to it.

My detailed plan for his podcast has three elements to it:

1 Be ready by the 12th of September – My ideal launch date.

2 Have 15 episodes researched written and recorded by that date. Today is the 7th and I am on episode 11. I will put off recording 12-15 as I’m not in Glasgow so cannot complete. I will however complete by the 20th.

3 To launch with a website which will support the show and is simple to look at but offers the opportunity for expansion. The website planning is very complex in itself.

I have been getting up early - between5.30-6am in order to complete a little bit of work on the podcast every day. As I near the end, it is slotting into every spare moment that I can find, between risk assessments, travel and fights.

Lastly – YOU SHOULD KEEP SCORE

Make your goals SMART

That is (Specific. Measurable. Actionable. Relevant. Time-sensitive.).

If you can’t measure progress, how do you know how you’re doing? Keep score so you know what’s working and what’s not so that you can make adjustments along the way. It enables you to celebrate wins and consciously identify problem areas.

Here are some common problems that you may face along the way.

COMMON MISTAKE #1: Trying to change everything at once - This is the number one mistake people make.

Start with one thing and do it well. Once you get a few wins under your belt, you’ll gain skill and confidence with the system and you’ll be able to achieve even more.

COMMON MISTAKE #2: Not having a strong enough “why” You absolutely MUST have a compelling personal vision. This is the “why” behind what you want to accomplish and achieve. It provides the motivation to follow through and take action, even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t get caught up trying to please someone else or copy someone else. Find your own why.

COMMON MISTAKE #3: Not tracking your actions. This is important because you are what you repeatedly do. You are always building habits, either by intention or by accident. Tracking is a daily reminder that you’re growing.

COMMON MISTAKE #4: Going it alone - If you’re serious about achieving your goals, the best thing you can do is tell others about it.

There’s an African proverb that says, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” So share your vision & goals with a friend or a colleague. In the productivity world, there’s something called an accountability partner. I’m sure if you put some effort into it you can find someone who it would be mutually beneficial to share with.

SUMMING UP

Brian P. Moran says in the 12 week year that “the number-one thing that you will have to sacrifice to be great, to achieve what you are capable of, and to execute your plans, is your comfort.”

I’ve gone into some detail here but the book covers this topic very well. Follow the link in the show notes to get yourself a copy. It’s got so much value in it that I’ve really just had time to touch upon here.

In the interest of honesty, I have to admit that I have deliberately put back my launch of Film Pro Productivity from the 12 September to a bit later in the month. The reason for that? I’m directing fight sequences simultaneously on 3 different television shows now and one is on the Island of Shetland at the top of Scotland, one is on the Isle of Skye to the North West and the other is in Central Scotland, In Glasgow. I simply can’t make my own launch date as I have to follow the work. If I launched on the 12th, which tbh I can, then I would not be able to promote it. I have delayed a little to gain a lot.

This twelve week year episode is my first foray into the subject of goal setting. I hope that you’ve found it useful and inspiring.

“One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.” — Karen Casey

CALL TO ACTION

I’m not going to suggest that as a call to action for next week you begin a 12 week year – all I ask is that you think about how it could work for you and start deciding on your life and work goals. That’s enough for now.

ENDING

Next episode I’ll be talking about Timewasters and How to deal with them – I’ll try and make it a shorter episode!

For now though, thanks so much for listening – and I urge you to 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/episode11
  • 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 to the podcast 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://carriedils.com/book-review-the-12-week-year/

https://12weekyear.com/

http://www.asianefficiency.com/systems/12-week-year-mistakes-2/

Thanks: A Himitsu

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

November 4, 2018  

MULTITASKING, THE MYTH - Episode 10

Show Notes

EPISODE 10 – MULTITASKING (The myth)

Transcript

Thanks again for clocking in and listening to the show. I really appreciate the fact that you are willing to give this podcast your time from whatever hectic schedule you find yourself in. If you like what you are hearing and want to help the show then the best way to do that is to just tell people about it, subscribe to it, and to leave a great review. I want to build an audience and although I’d be happy to know that it helps just one person out, good audience numbers will, in turn, help me to have faith that it’s all worthwhile.

On last week’s show, I gave you 4 productivity rules to hack procrastination and get things done. If you missed that episode then check it out as it’s a doozy. As usual, I’d love to hear how you are getting on with the techniques and concepts that I talk about here and you can get in touch via the contact page on filmproproductivity.com. Why not leave a message for me on the speakpipe voicemail service I have there? H you in person would be really quite amazing.

One other thing I want to say at this juncture is that I will do an episode on goal setting towards the end of the season or maybe even at the start of the next as without clear long-term goals, much of these productivity techniques effectively become tools for fighting fires as it were – Tools for dealing with the more immediate problems that come up in our life and work.

Once you have a vision and a goal to reach they will in turn support that and help you to move towards it. I look at this 1st season, and the preseason too as kinda being themed for those suffering overwhelm and burnout so I have that in mind as I choose topics. The tools for fighting these productivity FIRES that come with overwhelm will buy you time to stabilise your position and starting looking towards those long-term goals. 

THIS WEEKS INTRO

This week I am talking about multitasking and why it’s a bad thing for productivity. You’ve likely heard the old adage that HE WHO CHASES TWO RABBITS, CATCHES NEITHER – or maybe you prefer SHE WHO CHASES MANY RABBITS CATCHES NONE. Simply doing one thing at a time is the most direct way to be EFFICIENT and ultimately PRODUCTIVE in what you set out to do. If you “chase too many rabbits” or too many “goals and objectives” simultaneously then you will likely find that you end up with none of them at all.

To choose to follow one idea when our brain is churning out a 10 new thoughts a minute though, can be very difficult, but until you can get over that hurdle and get yourself focussed on one thing then you’re guaranteed to dissipate your energy and slow down your journey towards whatever goal you have in mind.

ANECTOTE

I personally don’t find this easy by the way but I’m getting better at it. Even as I sat down to write this episode I had to stop myself from doing too much at once. Although I have a clear idea of what I wanted to say I found myself with a copy of Garry Keller and Jay Papason’s awesome THE ONE THING book at my side, about 8 or 9 different tabs on the subject opened on Google, and social networking pings and addictions luring me to look at my phone every 2 minutes – I was jumping from one the other to build up the episode and offer new things and new ideas but it was slowing and slowing and the episode was going nowhere. I’ve had to stop and take on my own advice. Now the phone is off, the book and tabs are away and I start again with only one thing in mind. To create an episode on this topic that will make a difference.

  • Just before I go onto the lesson I just want to say that the book, THE ONE THING I mentioned a minute ago is awesome, and I will do an episode review of it somewhere down the line for sure. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes but although I’ll touch on some it’s key messages here it covers way more than these basic concepts and I can highly recommend it. Gary Keller points out in THE ONE THING that “Multitasking is a lie” which is kinda where I’m going with this episode.

THE LESSON

  • Messing two things up at the same time isn`t multitasking”
  • The constant jumping about of the mind really slows us down. That’s one of the fundamental problems with the multitasking. Every time you switch, you need to refocus on a new thing, and that in turn takes a bit of time.
  • When I first looked into this I heard this example. If you count, 12345 you can do it in like 2 seconds. And if you go through the alphabet a,b,c,d,e, then maybe 1 or 2 seconds works, but if you have to do both at the same time, 1a, 2b, 3c, 4d, 5e then the total time is nearer 5 or 6 seconds. For me, in that one example, that’s multitasking proven to fail. And a win for the DO ONE AT A TIME ideology.
  • Concentrating on a single task is one aspect of something called FLOW, or the FLOW state of mind. WIKIPEDIA says about this, quote “In positive psychology, flow, also known as being in THE ZONE, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time.” Put simply then, if you are jumping about you really will never hit any sort of flow.
  • New York Times Columnist David Brooks points out that “A person who is interrupted while performing a task takes 50% more time to complete it and make 50% more errors.”
  • I used to think that multitasking was something I was good at, and I had a sort of pride in it, but I have come to realise now that it just slows me down and if anything it stops me from achieving my goals. I might feel busy and productive but the reality is that I still jump about between tasks and with every jump I slow down and lose more and more time as I tune back in.
  • I can kinda multitask “a bit” but only on a very basic level. For example, I can walk the dog and listen to a podcast, but to be honest, that’s maybe slightly unfair on my dog Angus who demands somewhat more attention than at times I want to give. You’re almost guaranteed too that 5 or six times in the walk I’ll yank the headphones out of my ears or their socket when I throw a ball, and I have to reset it. But by doing this I am kinda doing more than one thing at the same time. If I multitask on most things, however, I am literally just doing a bit of one and a bit of another and then returning to the last one and doing a bit more.
  • When multitasking, the quality of your work goes down, and your understanding and comprehension goes way down with it. More often than not when I meet a new person I instantly forget their name – because my mind is somehow distracted and unable to process or retain the new information. I’m terrible for this and I really have to work at it.
  • So multitasking short circuits the short-term memory, meaning that very often we have to revisit things which if we’d done one thing at a time we would have managed. When doing several things at once, your mind is divided between them and it’s guaranteed that your mistakes will multiply.

The name forgetting thing is a good example. An AD introduced himself to me on set yesterday and I was straight in and working out a fight and I had to covertly ask his name a wee bit later. I’d totally not taken it in. You see when I'm multitasking: I can listen, ignore and forget at exactly the same time.

  • And today’s fast-paced digital world where we have phones pinging every couple of minutes and apps to which we become addicted makes focusing on just one thing all the more difficult.
  • Maybe you have more willpower than I do, but if you want to stop procrastinating and get stuff done. Let's start by putting that phone far away – like in another room, and by using the do not disturb function, by just deleting the apps that suck your time away time and time again or even by turning it off! Yes, I went there – turn your phone off, then your productivity will increase as your focus on the task at hand narrows in.
  • I have a freelancer stress thing about my phone that goes beyond the app addiction btw. It’s a hang on from the days when I really needed the work. I feel that I can’t miss a call or that if an email comes in I must answer it right away. I’ve basically had to deal with that. I know it’s a thing. My higher level thinking self, knows it’s not that important and so when it comes to meetings or even visiting family or friends I try to switch my phone off. Unless I know that I am expecting something important. The thing is EMAILS generally DON’T NEED RESPONDED TO RIGHT AWAY and unless that important CALL is expected, you can ALWAYS just CALL SOMEONE BACK. We can chill out. Everything is going to be alright.
  • We all know too that checking your phone whilst you are in a meeting or with friends, then it’s kinda rude and disrespectful but can find ourselves doing it nonetheless. In a meeting, it means you are not on the ball and if you a professional then you should bring your “A game”. Flight mode, silent, do not disturb or preferably off are all better options than checking your Facebook feed whilst the director talks about their vision. Have a notebook and a pen. That’s what you really need. And you can always doodle if you have to. Just give others your full attention and show respect. Be IN THE ROOM.
  • If you are running a meeting then ask people to turn their phones off. I know many go paperless now on ipads etc but they can still have their devices on flight mode if you ask them to.

Before I wrap this all up I need to talk a little bit about mindfulness here. This is a productivity pod but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that saving time and energy is not really about fitting in more and more work.

Becoming more productive simply means to be more efficient and effective. I said this in episode 1 and its important – it’s kinda the whole point in fact - If we can be more effective , save time, be better, be more productive we will move forward in our goals and as we do that and achieve great things, it will free up more time for family and friends, and for us to think about our health and ultimately improve our outlook and spirit. Never lose sight of that. Buy yourself a break.

I’m open to the possibility that you do not like what you hear here or that you totally disagree but if you genuinely want to be more productive, significantly more productive - then you just have to learn to do one thing at a time.

SUMMING UP

Gary Keller says that SUCCESS DEMANDS A SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE but even knowing all this I still find myself checking emails when I should be working, and checking Twitter and Instagram when I should be paying attention to the people in front of me. And I still end up on Youtube watching cat videos and the knight rider theme played on the Banjo (Which is awesome btw but I digress).

If you can do one thing at a time and not get bored by the focused effort, not check your twitter feed or play a game every couple of minutes and interrupt whatever, then you are far more likely to succeed.

CALL TO ACTION

I’ll be revisiting this subject now and again as there’s a little more to it that I think will be useful for you. I don’t want to overload you with too many applications of this. In learning, as I learned myself when I became a fencing coach many years ago, we all need a period of reflection on a topic, to think about it and ingest and consider it before bringing in more. Take these gaps between episodes to consider what I’m introducing and try the techniques out. Try to kill that nasty multitasking habit you’ve gotten into, or your forever distracted by technology way of working you have developed once and for all. This episode covers a simple but powerful message. Give it a try. You’ll thank me later.

ENDING

So thanks again for tuning in - Next episode I’ll be talking about my TWELVE WEEK YEAR and how I used it as an escape plan to move out of an overwhelmed rut and onto the path of productivity.

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/episode10
  • 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 spread the word about the show and I’d really appreciate it if you would leave an awesome review.

References: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2017/02/06/want-to-be-more-productive-stop-multi-tasking/#59de681955a6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)#0

https://www.ics.uci.edu/~gmark/chi08-mark.pdf 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4bmWPM_LWU

Thanks: A Himitsu, Stephen Rowan, Dave Bullis Podcast, Podcraft.
Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.
 
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