April 7, 2020


Crystal Washington: Hello, my name is crystal Washington. I’m a technology strategist and futurist.

Karen McCullough: And I’m Karen McCullough, the millennial evangelist who helps you adapt to change and we want you to rethink it forward.

Crystal Washington: And by rethinking it forward, we mean that there are things that have worked for you in the past that are not going to work for you in the future. And if we’re really honest, they’re not actually working for us anymore right now.

Karen McCullough: Right? And today we’re going to talk about staying productive while working at home. And this one’s for almost everybody out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner or sole solo printer. I love saying that word. Um, we’re all working from home. And so this is gonna really help you work from home. I’ve been working from home for 20 years, but the coolest part about my job is I’m really never home. So I have a home office and I use it. But basically I’m on planes all the time and so it’s kind of fun to get home and work once a week here in the office. Now it’s getting hard now. It’s a lot harder for me, so I can’t wait to hear what you have to say and I’ll share a couple of the,

Crystal Washington: okay, well first off I have to say this for anyone who doesn’t know this about me, I am someone who naturally books order. The idea of having a regular schedule in my mind is like soul death. So just knowing I have to be at the same place every Tuesday at some time. I everything in me. So that’s, that’s why, you know, I, I have the career that I do like here and because every day is different, right? But you still have to be productive. And there are some things I’ve learned over the years that work with my rhythm and that’s going to be key to what we talk about today. Karen and I, you have to find your rhythm. So we’re going to give you suggestions and then you adopt those things that work for you and then leave the things that don’t. Okay. So number one, one of the most productive things that I do that’s really helped me stay focused is creating to-do lists versus schedules.

Crystal Washington: Now if I have an actual meeting with someone, then yes, that needs to be on a schedule. But saying from this time at this time you write from this time at this time you read from ah, I tried that, that’s not who I am. Okay. But having a to-do list of all the things that I really want to get accomplished today. And then maybe a few little extras at the bottom, like if I’m extra productive, those are a few extra things I could check off. It’s so helpful. And here’s what’s really cool about it. I write it at night so that way when I go to bed, I know there’s already a plan in place for the next day. I have a to-do list and depending on how many, how big the projects are a to-do list can be anywhere from three things to eight things.

Crystal Washington: It just depends on how much time they take. Right? So number one created to-do lists. And that can be on paper, that could be using an app, like to-do list, which is for to-do lists or I use Evernote, which allows you to create these notes with checklists. Whatever works for you. But there’s something about checking off something. I don’t know, Karen, to me those are sexy. Every time I checked something off I’m like, yes, that’s why I don’t get things done. I haven’t checked them off taking notes cause you know, I’m the creative over here. The other thing is I set timers. So sometimes there are things I don’t want to do that I have to do. Karen, I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, right? Like you know those projects that you’re just not excited but you need to get it done.

Crystal Washington: And so what I’ll do is I’ll take bite-sized pieces. And so I actually talked to my phone, I’m not gonna say it out loud now because either Google or Siri will answer me, but I call it, you know, and the assistant. And then I say, Hey, you know, set a timer for 20 minutes. And then I start working on that thing I don’t want to do for 20 minutes and once the 20 minutes is up, I’m good. Okay. So sometimes just setting timers for the things that you really don’t want to do, that’s good. Or the things that you might spend too much time on. So if you’re supposed to check social media for your business, but you find that you know, three hours later you fell into a black hole, that’s not productive either. So you want to set a timer before you get on there.

Crystal Washington: Um, concentrate on as few projects at a time as well. So it’s better for you to complete something 100% today than to complete four things, 25%, because it’s almost like that whole paying down debt thing. They talk about Karen, where they try to get you to prioritize and pay down one thing at a time versus everything. You’ll feel like you’re getting more done. Right? So try to knock off things. And a lot of times I try to knock off the little things first cause you can check it off a couple more things. Um, sometimes you’re going to need to be predictive. Karen, have you ever had those days where you need to be productive and your brain just says no every day? Oh no. Okay, well we can do this every day.

Crystal Washington: Well, we can do it every day, but occasionally my brain just says no ma’am. And on those, and it doesn’t happen often, but on the days where my brain says, Nope, if I can write and if I don’t have any obligations to clients, I will give myself permission to just not be productive. Maybe I need to go to the beach, maybe I need to read a book, maybe I need to go garden. Whatever you need to do that kind of resets you. And the next day my brain is acting right. A couple more things and we’re almost done. I don’t continually check for emails and texts all day long because it’ll distract you. I know. Right? And then, um, the last one is one of my favorites. Are you ready? And this is going to be hard for some of our friends that are watching us right now.

Crystal Washington: Karen gets really good at saying no. So I’m very good at saying no to family, friends, even clients sometimes, right? You want to be reasonable. But I’m really good at knowing do I have time to commit to this? Can I give it a hundred percent if I cannot, I throw out nos like Ninja stars. Okay. And I don’t feel bad about it because I’m so helpful at all other times if someone gets it now, it’s because it really isn’t within the realm of possibility for me to take care of the things I need to get done and do that as well. So if you’re really good at saying no, you’ll be productive because it gives you more time for the things you say yes to. What do you have, Karen?

Karen McCullough: Oh, I’m the other side of the coin. Okay. So for me, I’m creative and that’s what I say all the time to get rid of all those schedules and all of those timers and all of that. So my goal now that I’m here trapped for probably the next few months, hopefully, I have to get three things done a day. Three things. That’s all my goal is just to get three projects done a day. And I know my biorhythms, I’m pretty much a morning person. I can get so much done. So yeah, I’ve been waiting, I don’t even want to tell you, I been waking up at five every day and I wake up at five and I am on fire. So I sit down and write my to-do list in the morning because I don’t want to think about that night when I go to bed.

Karen McCullough: That might interrupt my sleep. So I write, the three things I’m going to do in mine are big chunks. So I chunk everything. So if I’m going to video on a day that could take the whole day. So I’m going to spend the morning writing the video content, I’m going to spend time getting myself ready. That would be one of the things that my chunk, and then I’m going to spend time doing the video and that’s all I’m going to do that day. Because for me, I put a lot of energy as we talked about before, into each project and to each thing. So I need to keep it in categories in chunks so when I’m blogging, when I’m starting, I’m writing one right now, which is gone over my limit so I don’t, I sometimes I can do something for a few hours or three hours even.

Karen McCullough: So what I have to do is I have to think about that renewal of my energy. I stop every about 60 minutes and I go do something totally unrelated to writing. Sometimes I even make a call now that I’ve got my pods, I can call someone and I can walk through the house and I can take my mind off of work because I find that if I can take a break and not be thinking about work, not be making a work call during the break, I come back refreshed and so I really put those 90 minutes into it, those 30 minutes or the 60 to 90 minute breaks. Sometimes I say 90 minutes when I’m really on a roll and the last thing I do is I have decided that I have to schedule a time to worry. That’s the only thing I schedule. And I used to say, well I’m gonna worry in the morning, but that wasn’t good.

Karen McCullough: So, um, so I do meditate in the morning. I’m really working on that to clear my brain and I do some reading, but I schedule four o’clock for worry time. Oh, if I’m thinking about wine, they schedule it. Well, really I have the wine at four o’clock. I was going to say schedule if I have, and I’m telling the truth, but here’s what I do. I try to say when I’m thinking of somebody to worry about doing it, I’m going to wait until four to do that. And it’s interesting because sometimes when four comes around, I don’t really want to worry. I want to do something that’s fun. But I really am aware right now with everything going on. I know I seem pretty happy. Go lucky. I worry I have anxiety just like everybody out there. I watched the numbers and I worry about when am I going to get back to work.

Karen McCullough: I worry about myself, I worry about will I be relevant, will people still want me? And so there’s this unconscious kind of anxiety that goes on with me and I’m going to identify it. So I’ve started journaling. I’ve started actually writing my thoughts when I worry and I think that that will be something that maybe I can go back to and it might really help me when I not worrying. Anyway, those are the things, those are the things that I do. Um, like I said, I am a creative, you saw my office, you’d go, yeah, you need to schedule some time to clean it up. But um, they can chunks, schedule a time to take breaks, and schedule your worry time.

Crystal Washington: Well, between all the information we just shared, Karen, everyone should be able to find some things that work with their own rhythms. So that was helpful. And anyone that’s watching this right now, make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel or to the podcast, wherever you listen to your podcasts and make sure you tune in tomorrow.

Karen McCullough: I have one more thing to add. I’m reading. Some of the comments were comments that will spur us on. I got really excited when two people said they loved the content. We’re content, right? What you want from us, because we create this over the weekend, and then we presented it to you during the week, but we’re loving doing this. And as you can tell, we’re the eating and the yang, right? Yes.

Crystal Washington: Bye everybody. Look forward to your comments.

Karen McCullough: Bye guys.