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ep.38: Slow Productivity - Slowing Down For Health & Happiness



Are you feeling burnt out from constantly pushing yourself without finding balance?


In this insightful episode, Mande shares her journey of learning to slow down and prioritize health and happiness. Inspired by Cal Newport's Slow Productivity, Mande explores how dialing down work intensity can lead to a more fulfilling and productive life.


What you'll learn:

  • The importance of balancing work intensity and personal well-being

  • Creating a "perfect week" to align with your goals and lifestyle

  • Effective time management strategies that don’t compromise quality

  • Embracing slow productivity to improve health and happiness

  • Prioritizing relationships and self-care alongside professional goals



"By dialing down work intensity and focusing on quality, we can achieve more while staying healthy and happy." - Mande

By the end of this episode, you’ll have a range of practical strategies to help you balance productivity with well-being. Mande’s approach, grounded in her personal experiences and backed by Cal Newport’s principles, provides a refreshing take on achieving success without sacrificing health.


Useful Links Mentioned:


Whether you're striving for better work-life balance, seeking ways to enhance productivity, or simply looking for inspiration to improve your well-being, this episode is packed with valuable insights and tools. Subscribe for more empowering stories and strategies to live a balanced life with ADHD.


Engage with us in the comments or on our social media channels. We'd love to hear your experiences and how you're applying the tips shared in this episode!


Remember: True success comes from balancing productivity with well-being. You deserve to thrive.




Listen to the Episode:


Or watch the video on Youtube


Click here to read the transcript:

Okay. Welcome back guys. This was actually supposed to be a completely different episode, and we are just going to run with it. So the title of this episode is going to be something along the lines of slowing down for health and happiness. And I'm going to talk to you about the book Slow Productivity. And that is by Cal Newport.


So let's talk about how I came to this point. So this was actually supposed to be a video about letting you know that I was going to quit coaching. And by quit, I mean I was going to take certain amount of time off, I wasn't sure what that would be. I was looking at that probably being a year off of coaching, and that was a difficult decision for me.


And in this time that I had made this decision. it looks like I had made this decision about the middle of April and new clients that were renewing. I said, stop, don't don't renew any more sessions. so I reduced my client load that way, and I just intended to reduce it until it was zero. Now, why was I doing this?


The reason I was doing this is because. And we'll talk about dialing up your intensity and dialing down your intensity in life in different ways. But I had dialed up the intensity of business for too long. it is going on our fifth year of ownership with our gym, which is really exciting because that means that we will out right on the gym next month.


So that is a very exciting thing. But five years have gone by and I can't say exactly with my coaching business, but my coaching business was right on the heels of owning the gym. We hadn't owned the gym for very long before I went into certification for coaching. And so these two things, the work intensity on these two things had been dialed up for a very long time.


Now, what had happened in that period, in that period of time, we were my youngest was nine at the time, and my next one was 12, and we still had my oldest at home. when we took on the gym, and that was a period of high intensity. for about two months we were being trained, which we are so grateful for, but it it took a lot of time.


as soon as my husband would get home from his work, we would go to the gym and we would get training from the previous owner on how to run the gym, and that was a valuable time. But it did take a lot of time. And so we would basically get home, make dinner. And it was the process of getting ready for bed, essentially.


So there was that. So that was about the first two months of ownership with that. And then when I went into certification, that was a whole new period of intensity, right. I was studying for, my certification. I was showing up to my certification meetings. some point during certification, they said, go take on, free clients, go offer free coaching.


And I took that very seriously. And I stopped counting at about 100 hours of working with clients for free. And I took on ADHD clients. At that point, I knew that I was working with clients with ADHD, and that is who I worked with. And that was a, again, a seriously valuable time of, you know, seeing how everybody's brain works, seeing the similarities in people and just being of service and learning and learning.


What tools work and what tools don't work before I started taking on my paid clients. Now, what happened when I took on my paid clients was there was a period of slowness in the very beginning. You know, maybe I had 2 or 3 clients in the very beginning, and then gradually it picked up. And as it picked up, here's is the mistake that I made.


And I want to share this with you because I if you are trying to manage your time, I don't want you to make the same mistake. Or if you're going to manage your time in the future, this is a mistake I made. It's interesting. I was listening to the book Free Time. I can't remember the author's name right now off the top of my head.


It is right here on my phone. So excuse me while I get on my phone for one second. It is free time. By Jenny Blake. And I was listening to that book today, and she mentioned in that book exactly what I was doing. And what I would do is I would have work tasks for my coaching business, and I would want to be completely available for my clients to schedule whenever was most convenient for them.


And what I would do is I would put my work tasks on my calendar that needed to be done, like record a podcast. that's only recently, right? That's only been like the past year. but before that it was recorded YouTube videos, and I would mark that as available. And by marking that as available, people could schedule then.


And my thought was, well, I'll just move it to a different part of the day, no problem. But what would happen is as my clientele built higher and higher, and as I was just taking on anyone that wanted to work with me. There became no space for me to move that. And so what would happen is I would have to move it to the next day, and then the next day, and then the next day, to the point that I wasn't getting done what I would like to get done, what I committed to do, what I promised to do in maybe a week, maybe two weeks, maybe I hadn't gotten it done in a month.


And that was becoming a problem. Problem number two was I was sitting on my bottom in this chair for years, and at first when I was doing my coaching business, I was running that 2 or 3 hours a day. And then I looked at that and I went, okay, in order to get what I want from this business, I'm going to have to take it more seriously.


I'm going to have to give it more time. And so I set business hours from I think about it was 7 or 730 to about 2:00. I think at one point it was 3:00. And then I reduced that. and so those were my business hours. People were able to schedule in between that time pretty much anytime they wanted, unless another client was already scheduled at that slot.


So in building the business and building all the free resources that I have for you guys, if you don't know what I'm talking about, if you go to the website, Learn to Thrive with ADHD and you go to the top tab, I think it says free resources there. if you go there, there's tons of workbooks. There's things that go along with these videos.


There's things I've created for you, and they're not even everything I've created. I didn't want to overwhelm you. So there's things I've created for you there. If you'd like to go there and take a look and see what might interest you. But I just sat here most of the day creating. And it's so interesting because I would tell my kids, you can't sit in front of the computer all day, yet what was I doing?


And in doing that, in sitting here for as long as I was, there was weight gain. I don't encourage you to do this, but, I've noticed if I go back to my first videos and I look at my face, it's quite different than my videos now, looking at my face. and along with that weight gain came health issues.


and it wasn't just about the weight. I think it was about, sitting for so long. And so I wasn't showing up for my clients the way I wanted to show up, because there was times I was, I was getting ill often. I actually what really brought this on, this change that I was going to make, that I am no longer making.


But I will explain to you in just a moment. but what really brought it on is we had one of our weekly accountability meetings for the 12 week year, there on Thursdays and that morning I had met with one of my clients. Right after the call, I just started feeling really ill. And it was it was really strange and they didn't really understand what was going on.


And I but I just felt very sick, like I could not go on sick. And my husband happened to have, like a heart issue. and it ended up being like an inflamed wall of the heart. It has a special name, and I don't remember what that was. And so we have a blood pressure cuff in our bedroom.


And I thought, you know, I'm just kind of putting two and two together. And I was like, let me just check my blood pressure. And it was high, like, really high. And I had never had high blood pressure before, to my knowledge. Now that I'm looking back, I'm thinking that some of those times that I was ill, it was probably high blood pressure.


so I knew I had to make a change the other piece. And I realize that this video is very personal to me, but I am going to bring in some resources for you, so bear with me. but the other piece was that, you know, the nine year olds and the 12 year old, and now the oldest is moved out and on his own about the nine year old and 12 year old are now 14 and 17.


And so much time has gone by and I don't have much time left. My kids are very independent people and I'm very proud of them for that. But in being so independent, I noticed with my oldest and I don't get to see him as much as I would like, I don't hear from him as much as I would like.


I need to be the one. having the capacity and making the effort to do that. And I don't see it being any different with the next two. And so I would really like to take advantage of the time that they're here. And how do I want that to look? So in all of this, I don't know if I announced on here, I think it's if you're watch following my 12 week year, journey compilation videos, you'll notice there was a period of time where I went to Florida for coach a thon, and that's through the Life Coach school.


And that was it was wonderful to get to meet one of the people that in person, one of the people that I got certified through, for coaching, that was amazing. and then there was another coach, Stephanie McEwen, who, you'll notice and I'm not sure what episode she was in, but in one of the previous episodes, she's also an ADHD coach, and I got to meet her in person as well.


And that was so wonderful. but yes, I went to Florida and when I was in the airport waiting to go to Florida, I was listening to a Donald Miller podcast. If you're not familiar with Donald Miller, he wrote the book Story Brand. I believe that's the name of his podcast as well. He recently came out with a book called Coach Builder.


he's an author. He's a business guru. He's just a really smart guy. But in this particular podcast, it might have been a YouTube video, actually, that I was consuming. he talked about the perfect week, and I could be wrong about this. And if, you know, comment below. But I think he learned about this from Brendon Burchard.


And he said that in creating his perfect week, it really like opened him up. It really like helped him to relax, helped him to be more productive. And he said unless he messes it up and by mess it up, he he meant like say yes to something that was not does not fit into his perfect week. But unless he messes it up when he follows this process, he just has a really good week.


And so I kind of had it in the back of my mind to create a perfect week. So all of this kind of came together in a perfect storm, right? So I had, you know, had it on my list to create the perfect week. I did so and I am going to explain to you in the next episode the exact process I went through to create the perfect week.


And you're going to be really you're really going to want to see that. So if you're not subscribed on YouTube, definitely subscribe. If you're not, following the podcast, I know I'm not sure how you follow a podcast. Do you I do you subscribe? Yeah, I think you subscribe on podcasts as well. I am a big podcast lover.


I just don't pay attention to what I do in order to follow people. so yeah, that's coming next week. How I created my perfect week. And with this perfect week, what you're doing just to give you a little synopsis, is you. But let's just talk about what I was doing. What I was doing was looking at what was missing and what was necessary and just what would make a good week for me.


And so I just took all those things down. And what I did at first is I just took my little show, you guys, my little. If you're on YouTube, you'll see this golden notebook here. and I wrote at the top perfect week, and I just kind of walked away from it. And then I came back to it and I was like, wow, that's a lot of pressure, a perfect week.


And just to get past that initial, like, this is too much pressure kind of situation. I marked out perfect and I put great. And actually my husband was in the room at the time and I'm like, this is too much pressure. I'm just going to call this a great week. And he agreed. And I went through and I'm like, what needs to be there?


And I'll go into more detail in that in the next episode. In episode 39. But I was like basically asking myself what the question of what's most important to you, what's missing? that was all I cared about. And like what had to go into that perfect week at first. And then I, like I said, I'll go through the total process, but I created this perfect week.


I made sure that there was enough space in the week and in making sure there was enough space in the week, I counted up my regularly scheduled clients and just noticed, okay, what is my capacity for clients? And so I went from middle of April. I need to shut the doors to my coaching business to I understand my capacity.


I can have in my week everything I need to have in my week, everything that would make me healthy and happy and feel connected to the people that are important to me, as well as doing what I love, which is coaching. And so I created this. I started following it. Basically, I created it on paper and then I plugged it into my Google calendar, and I started following it.


And first thing in the morning on these perfect weeks, I'm just going to have to click on my Google Calendar in order to take a look at it. let's see here. So I have first thing in the morning I have responsibilities with I, I don't know if I've talked about it in previous episodes, but we have a cat that has become diabetic.


And so my first responsibility is to take care of him. And then, I make some tea and, then I start journaling or writing and journaling or writing is either and just, just to let you guys know this is just a little insight. It's either just a I straight journal entry or it is writing on a topic.


So for example, when I first was going to create this episode, it started as a journal entry. And it also can be like pulling my computer in and putting together like a an outline for a YouTube video. It can be any kind of writing that I want it to be.


Okay? And then I get myself ready for the day, and then I have about 30 minutes where I basically clean my whole house for the day. And then I have what was missing from my life that I added in.


Here was I have an organization project. It's not every day of the week. I think it's about three days a week. I have an organization project for an hour and that has been so exciting. I don't know how many of you feel like I do, but how much do you love? Like when you clean out a pantry and it's just beautifully organized afterwards, or there's just been so many spaces that I hadn't been able to get to.


So the reason I tell you this is I was in my organization project, and I was finally reading this book that I had on my list for a long time, which is called the Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. Kind of an ominous title, right? But again, the Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. It's a very short book, and I highly recommend you read it.


It's very interesting to learn about the Swedish culture in this way, and to be. I think it's so important for our ADHD brains to not have a lot of stuff to manage. And so she gives you a lot of tips on getting rid of things, on making decisions, on things ahead of time, on downsizing, that kind of thing.


And then when I did so, the reason I tell you about this book is I had finished it in this organization project, and because I listened to everything on one and a half double time speed. So I had finished the book and I thought, okay, what's next? And I looked on audible and what they suggested for me was slow productivity from Cal Newport.


And it's so interesting how this all comes together. And, you know, I don't know that I would have been interested in this book until this period. I always tell my clients the right people in the right resources come into your life at the right time. And this was definitely an example of that. And so I just I was interested and I added it to my library and I didn't really I was time to move on to the next thing.


So I didn't have time to listen to it right then, but I believe it was that evening or the next that evening. Yes. And then the next day I actually finished the book and I didn't realize that I was following the principles of slow productivity from creating this perfect week. And one thing I noticed following the perfect week that day and the following day, and I'm still doing it today, is I was so much more relaxed and I actually started it before that Monday.


I think it was maybe like a Friday that I started this. I'm not sure exactly because I had had a weekend where I had added two hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday of hobby time and during hobby time. I am such a nerd, you guys. I'd had Lego sets that I had not been able to touch.


I just didn't have time to get to them. And so I had gotten together this really big Lego set, and I was so excited about that. And I had started another one. And so I was actually having time to like, do the fun things. So things that bring me joy. And during the week, in this perfect week, we had created some time after dinner, the first day we had gone for a walk with our kids and that was just enjoyable and fun.


And it was beautiful outside. And then the next day we, watched a movie for like, it was only for 30 minutes of the movie. We'll get back to it, but just spent in intentionally spending time with them. And so basically this week was just going perfectly. And then.


I read Slow productivity, and I want to give you the principles of the book. So principle number one, do fewer things. That is exactly what I had done when I created this perfect week. I wanted to create space. I wanted to get the things done that I needed to get done, but I wanted to do them more consistently, but in less time and work at a natural pace.


And I had also worked that into my perfect week by creating creation time or an hour each day. what I was doing before as I was taking it on Wednesday and on Wednesday, I would not meet with clients. It would be my creative day. But what would happen is something would pop up on Wednesday or I wouldn't honor, you know, doing creative time on Wednesday.


And so doing it consistently and committing that time to it for one hour every day has been so much better than what I was doing before. And so I'm getting more done in less time. And then the other is obsess over quality. That's the third principle. So be saying whatever you're going to do, do it well. And so he talks about like dialing up the intensity at some points in your life and dialing down the intensity and other things.


And what had happened, where had where I had ended up in the place I was, was I had dialed up the intensity for business for too long, and I had dialed down the intensity for my health and my relationships for too long. And so what I wanted to do was just get to a healthier place where I was dialing down the intensity of business a little bit and dialing up the intensity of health and relationships.


in our 12 week year meetings, we actually have somebody that had noticed this happening in her life, and I won't say her name because I haven't asked her permission to share this story, but she's, involved in orchestra and she is involved, in an orchestra, I should say. And she's involved in some other ways as well.


I know she has other music commitments, and she noticed that before we started our 12 week year, series or our meetings that we were having. And if you if you're interested in that, you can still join us. It's learntothrivewithadhdcom/ the number 12 week year. And you can jump in at any time. And we're having our weekly accountability meetings.


But when you jump in, you will get the prerecorded meetings I had with them at first to set up their vision, to set up their tasks, things like that, things where I felt like it made it more ADHD friendly than when you just read the book. And so what she had noticed is she made these music commitments before, and her goal for the 12 week year was actually to, get a get a new job.


I believe it was to change career or to to, get her resumes together to start applying to jobs. I believe that's what her her actual 12 week year goal was. And she came to the meeting and she realized that she didn't work towards that goal at all that week because her dial of intensity for music was turned up and she wasn't beating herself up, which is wonderful.


She just noticed that the dial of intensity of music was turned out because of the previous responsibilities, and that is something that, you know, we just need to keep an eye on. Like, do you have a dial turned up in intensity in some area that maybe needs to be turned down a little, or what dials or turned down that need to be turned up?


I just want you to kind of take a look at things and see what that is for you. So what? I settled on was taking less clients, but taking only very serious clients. And so these are going to be regularly scheduled clients, and we are committing to each other, to show up in certain ways. And I realized that if I had clients that I call them elite clients, this is my elite client list that are seriously committed to their coaching experience, and I am committing to them just as much as they're committing to me.


Then we can do some great work, and I can fit this into my life in such a way that I can still have the intensity of health and relationships turned up to the amount that I need it to be turned up and still do this business. So again, this was supposed to be an episode about how I was essentially quitting for a period of time.


I wanted to call it going on a sabbatical, but it didn't seem to really fit. I think that's more of an academic type thing. and that was just a really difficult decision. And so I think I've landed in a great place with turning down the intensity and by turning it down, just making it more efficient. having serious clients makes things more efficient.


Having a limited amount of serious clients makes things more efficient. And turning up the dial in other areas that are important to me, which helps with my health and my happiness and my just feeling relaxed going through this perfect week that I've created for myself. So that's been wonderful. I hope you take something from this that helps you.


Just from my experience that I've had and, I have had requests even this morning about coaching one on one. And I, if you've requested that I will get back to you. But where I'm sitting right now is we are going to create a waitlist. And in that waitlist, what I would like to do eventually is create a forum for you to see, like what the requirements would be for you to qualify to be an elite client.


And I'm not sure when I will get that done exactly. But I have closed down consultation calls and I have closed down the membership. Now, I don't have time to go into exactly what I'm doing with the membership, but I found a really exciting way to gamify the experience, and so that's been a beautiful thing. In closing, in this and in adding learning, which was missing from my perfect week, I had taken some time to research some other platforms for the membership to go on to gamify the experience, and it's something I'm very excited about doing.


So I've closed the doors and in my creation time that I have each day I am working on redoing that membership and I'm so excited about that. But right now the waitlist is not created, so what you can do is email me at Mandy and it's spelled a little bit different m a and d e just an e at Learn to Thrive with adhd.com.


And you can email me there and say put me on the list. Now you only want to do that if you can commit to regularly scheduled sessions. And if you are serious about showing up, okay, those are the two key criteria off the top of my head that are absolutely required and that is my time and my little visual timer set because I have a client right now.


But, I hope this is helpful. Thank you guys for watching. If you made it this far, I so appreciate you. And, thank you. I'll see you guys next week if I.




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