Episode 113 | April 24, 2018

Productivity Beyond Trying -Get More Out of Your Day the Smart Way with Mike Vardy

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Mission #113

On Board: Mike Vardy
Mission: Productivity Beyond Trying -Get More Out of Your Day the Smart Way

The world is so busy and our lives are so complicated that it’s easy to fill up our daily planners and feel trapped. When every moment of your day is strictly designated for specific tasks, it can feel like there’s no room for creativity or freedom. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t for us to stop scheduling. We need to change the way we schedule instead. By assigning themes to months, weeks, days, and even hourly blocks, you can free up your time, blossom your creativity, and achieve the greatness that is your destiny.

Mike Vardy, my friend and mentor, joins me today to explore this idea. Mike helped me organize my business and projects, and I believe his advice and framework can be life-changing for you too! He’s the founder of Productivityist and the host of the Productivityist podcast, as well as a three-time author and a regular contributor to outlets including Lifehacker and The Huffington Post. Tune in to learn how you can harness time to achieve your fullest potential and make the most of your days, months, and years!

Connect With Mike:

Mike Vardy
@mikevardy on Twitter
@Productivityist on Twitter
Mike Vardy on Facebook

The Mission Log:

  • [03:55] – Believe it or not, Mike used to struggle with organization and keeping things in perspective, and still finds it challenging.
  • [05:51] – How does Mike go about planning his year? In his answer, he talks about when his year starts and the concept of giving themes to each month.
  • [10:09] – Mike gives a specific example of how his monthly theme applies to the things he decides to do.
  • [15:02] – Orion points out that what Mike has been talking about is the difference between being task-oriented and goal-oriented.
  • [15:58] – Mike explores another way that themed days can be helpful, and explains that people have more control over their time than they think.
  • [20:50] – What are some examples of Mike’s themed months, weeks, and days, and what is the horizontal way of blocking time?
  • [24:58] – Mike gives an example: instead of saying “get fit” in January, your monthly theme might be decluttering, which would involve decluttering your pantry.
  • [26:17] – Weekly sprints override monthly themes, Mike explains, and talks about how this can function.
  • [28:50] – Mike talks about how he decides which day of his week has which theme, and shares a story about a request his wife made.
  • [31:17] – Mike digs into the topic of horizontal themes, which override daily themes.
  • [33:09] – For listeners who aren’t familiar with the framework by Dr. Michael Breus, Orion explains the context of the four animals that she and Mike have been talking about.
  • [37:05] – A real problem for lots of people is hyper-scheduling, where people put too much specificity (and not enough choice) into their calendars.
  • [38:58] – We hear about some of Mike’s favorite productivity apps and how he uses them, as well as how to “focus on the app within first.”
  • [44:07] – Mike offers a quick example of what Evernote is good for.
  • [46:04] – What does Mike do on the days when he doesn’t feel like doing anything?
  • [48:57] – Mike takes a moment to recommend The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, and talks about his own tendencies.
  • [52:55] – To foster desire, planning is part of it, but reflecting is another huge part, Mike points out.
  • [54:52] – What are Mike’s three top tips for living a stellar life? #1. Capture everything and regret nothing. #2. Give your days and time more definition. #3. Journal your life.

Links and Resources:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ Focus on qualitative goals rather than quantitative goals. Check off the most important things on your list instead of checking off as many tasks as possible.

✓ Create a framework for your ideas and organize your priorities from highest to lowest. Strategize which tasks you need to tackle first.

✓ Analyze your energy levels to discover what time of the day or week you function best. For example, find out what time is best for research, writing or answering emails.

✓ Find and participate in a hobby that brings out your ideas. Some people get inspiration in the shower, while others find it through nature walks.

✓ Keep track of yourself through journaling. Aside from being a good form of self-expression, having a journal helps you monitor your progress and productivity.

✓ Stop the habit of saying “I’ll do it tomorrow.” If a quick task can be done now, make sure to get it done and don’t wait.

✓ Take time to slow down. Productivity is not about speed. Pausing and taking things into perspective can help you better reach your goals.

✓ Set up themed days or themed months to keep your thoughts and goals organized.

✓ Don’t hyper-schedule and overpopulate your calendar with too many things to do.

✓ Check out and tune in to the Productivityist Podcast to get the latest tips on how to optimize your time and goal setting.  



O: Hello and welcome to Stellar Life podcast. This is your host, Orion. I’m excited to introduce you to my friend–a dear friend of mine and my mentor when it comes to organizing and being productive and somebody that helped me greatly with organizing the way I conduct my business and organize my projects. I am forever grateful. Mike Vardy is the founder of Productivityist and the host of Productivityist podcast. He’s a three-time author whose books include The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want, The Productivityist Workbook, and Beyond Trying, and regularly contributes to outlets such as Lifehacker and The Huffington Post. I am so excited for you to hear this conversation, it’s gonna blow your mind, it’s gonna change your day, it’s gonna make you taller, smarter, more attractive, or maybe just more productive–so you can get so much more out of your day than you’re getting at right now. Because we live in an ADD world. There’s so many distractions, there is so many things that show up; like family emergency. Two days ago, I spent a whole night in the ER with my mom. Things like that, they shake you and it’s hard to go and like send her back and be really productive–by the way, my mom is fine–it’s all good. Don’t worry about it. What I’m trying to say is in a world where there’s so many distractions and apps that are calling you, and people that are texting you, and your email inbox, and all that, you gotta learn how to organize your time, how to guard your time, and how to get the most out of your time because you, my friend, your destiny is greatness. You can be so much more. You can achieve so much more. I know that you want it. I know it’s in your bones because you know that your potential is infinite. You can be so much and you can do so much. In order to be that person, you gotta learn how to be productive and wake up productive and with the mindset of prioritizing the things that you want to do. Without further ado, onto the show. Hey, Mike. Welcome to Stellar Life podcast.

M: Thanks for having me, Orion. I really appreciate it.

O: I’m so happy that you’re gonna be on because I’m sure you’re gonna help a lot of people.

M: Yeah, I’m excited. My thing whenever I go on a podcast, we never do anything, it’s really to bring what I can to the table and if someone can take away one thing from our conversation today, and apply it and get better at crafting their time, then that’s a win.

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