129: How Theming Your Week Can Make You More Productive with Mike Vardy
Mike Vardy, a friend and fellow productivity teacher, joins Charlie to talk about the power of defaults, theming your week, how to use creative/focus blocks, and how effective scheduling, planning, and decision making is really about being kind to yourself.
[2:25] - Productivity should be fun! It is important to find a harmony between frameworks that help to keep us in check, and frameworks that are too rigid to allow for fun in our productivity.
[4:18] - Charlie and Mike talk about what happens when they experiment with their schedules, and how we can prioritize our schedules to suit our personal productivity goals. This is especially pertinent to morning people versus night owls. When we experiment, we can figure out what works for us and what doesn’t.
[7:05] - Both Charlie and Mike speak to the idea of spontaneity within a structured schedule. When it comes to free time, they both encourage doing things you really want to do during your open time. They talk about to-do lists and calendars, and how you can organize these to meet your needs.
[10:30] - Mike talks about personalizing our productivity, and how that might benefit productivity in our personal goals, as well as in the workplace. How might this look for meetings?
[13:00] - Mike talks about the idea of “whole-ocracy” and how adopting this idea might make meetings more efficient and beneficial for everyone’s productivity. Organizations need to have a framework that they can thrive within, rather than one they just survive within.
[14:30] - Charlie and Mike talk about meetings, and the most effective ways to organize and carry them out, and what benefits meetings have for team building.
[19:02] - Charlie talks about the idea of “strategic mindfulness” - having meetings where you can hash specific things out will prevent those things from taking space at other inopportune moments. This will allow us to present in other important moments.
[20:23] - Charlie talks about Mike’s practice of theming days - in this practice, you have a default for the day; you know what you’re doing that day, and you also know there’s a time and place for everything. Mike also has monthly themes that help to funnel his goals for his daily themes.
[25:17] - Creative blocks and focus blocks: if you have tasks you need to get accomplished, you can chunk it out into what you can get done into two or three focus blocks. It is more attainable to figure out what you can accomplish in 90 minutes rather than a whole day. Pre-planning also leaves us in a better place to set ourselves up for success.
[28:00] - Charlie and Mike talk about the idea of fierce kindness, and how that affects pre-planning and actual execution.
[30:43] - What is the balance between work and rest or work and play? There are appropriate times where it is okay to not be doing anything, especially if it will be beneficial for your physical or mental health. If your day gets derailed, don’t consider the day’s theme a failure.
[35:40] - Many people focus on what they can’t doing during a day, as opposed to what they can. If we shift our thinking to what we can get done in the absence of other things, that can change our relationship with productivity.
[37:58] - If you’re high-energy in the evening, lean into that. You can map your days based on your theme of the day, your focus blocks, and what time of the day is the best time to work on these things. With defaults in place, we can start to see a pattern in our productivity.
[41:28] - The relationship is more important than the project. As we decide what to take on, it’s important to make sure we have the ability to devote our best time and energy to the project and the relationship. When we’re kind to others, we’re kind to ourselves.
[44:04] - Mike’s invitation and challenge to listeners: theme your week! Figure out how you can theme your days and finish more often the things you want to get done and move forward.
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