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June 7, 2022

170. Mindful Productivity – Stress Less, Accomplish More, Feel Better with Jeni Raitsin

How to accomplish more, not by doing fewer things but doing them better.


How to accomplish more, not by doing fewer things but doing them better.

 

ABOUT JENI

Jeni is a Mindful Productivity Coach, Mental Fitness trainer, and speaker on a mission to redefine productivity outside of the hustle culture and help people work smarter, not harder, so they can stress less, accomplish more & feel better.

 

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Transcript

It doesn't matter how good of an athlete you are. If you don't know how to control the voice in your mind or how to control your emotions, you're never going to win. You're never going to win in sports, and you're never going to win in business or in life. And the same goes for our for entrepreneurship, for our relationship, for everything. Even our relationship has to do. A lot of the time, if we don't know how to control the story we tell ourselves and that little voice in the back of our mind, we're never going to be happy, fulfilled, satisfied or anything, because it's all starting within.

 

Welcome, everybody. I am really excited today to have Jenny Wrightson with us and she's going to talk to us about mindful productivity, how you can learn to stress less and accomplish more while you feel better. Thanks so much for joining us today, Jenny.

 

Thank you for having me. Wade.

 

So Jenny is a mindful productivity coach, mental fitness trainer, and a speaker on a mission to redefine productivity outside of the hustle culture. She wants to help people work smarter, not harder, so they can stress less, accomplish more, and feel better. So as you all can imagine, if you've listened to the show before, this is right up the alley of what we focus on. And when I got to speak with her, I found she had a really good perspective. That's different than what I'd heard before. I try to make sure I don't just keep bringing you all the same content. I'm really excited about what she's going to share today. So Jenny, if you just start out, share a little bit about your story and how you got into this conversation and into this work.

 

So it started a while back, about a decade ago. I used to be an architect and I was always a very efficient person. I was always into productivity. But no matter how much I was trying to manage my time or work, it never felt like it was enough. I was trying to juggle all the things and it never felt like I was working enough, accomplishing enough, doing enough, and not even living enough or enjoying my life. And at some point it just came with a price. I was feeling really burnt out after years of working and I said, okay, this cannot be it. This cannot be life just working. It wasn't even nine to five. It was just eight till seven. I'm sure a lot of people can relate. And I kept thinking like, okay, after this project, things will come down. After this project, things come down. But it never happened. Like it was always in the soup until I decided to say, okay, this is not the life I want. I quit my job. I started traveling, I became an entrepreneur, and everything was fabulous. I was sitting on the beach in Thailand. I was doing my meditation.

 

Life was great. But then I came back and I was like, okay, I need to make money. I need to go back to work. How do I bring this practice of sitting on the beach in Thailand, breathing fresh air, having leisure time into my life, back home, into the modern day culture, into the work life, and how I can combine that. And this is how Leisure Hackers started. This is the name of my company. It started as a blog about just how to hack leisure into our lives, but not even using time management, but using more of like, energy management, how to bring more happiness, more joy, that fresh breath of air into our lives. And this is kind of how everything kind of began. And in the past couple of years, I've been learning more and more practices, starting from mindfulness and neuroscience and cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology and positive intelligence to really help bring this to people and help them accomplish more. But not by doing more, by doing less, but better. So this is kind of how I got into this.

 

Awesome. Thank you. So I know a lot of people have a hard time with this whole either do less work, achieve more that sort of stuff. And the closest way I've been able to explain it to a really committed left brained person is if you're aware of things, you'll do less things that are really not very productive things or very great outcomes. In other words, the outcome is worthless. It might be really hard work, but you're not going to get paid for it or nobody values it. They'll say, okay, wait, so you're telling me if I'm aware, if I'm focused, okay, I'll eliminate work that really I shouldn't have been doing in the first place? Okay, I'll get that way most people can wrap their hands around that or their brain around that. And then maybe the next degree at most is, well, if you're really well rested, when I talk about, let's say, three day weekend or the concept of having time and energy say, okay, well, I can get the concept. If I'm well rested, I'll probably think better. And then we're already starting to get in a fuzzy space. Wait here, because I'm not sure.

 

I don't know how to measure that. I don't know how to really prove to myself that that's more share a little bit, if you don't mind. Well, first of all, what is mindful productivity? And then how does it start to lead to gains for people that are real? Because a lot of people hear mindful and they think, oh, so I'm just going to sit like this and you're telling me I'm going to sit like this, and then the stuff is going to come to me and it's not been my experience from talking to you. I don't think it's yours again. What's that core definition of mindful productivity? And how does it start helping people just get more things done and get more real results that they need.

 

Great question. So first of all, mindful productivity, it's that meeting point between productivity and well being because as entrepreneurs, as people, we don't want to just achieve more and make more money. Yes, we want that. And I'm a hyper achiever like I'm a goal getter. I'm a business owner. I'm not dismissing it. We're not sitting just on a mountain and meditating all day. It's not our goal. It's just that meeting point between yes, reaching our goals and our income goals and whatever we want in life, but also having joy, sanity, peace of mind well being. And I think with time we come to understand that time isn't the best way to measure productivity. The best example for that that I can think of. Think of a working day and let's say you're working one day, 8 hours and you're a productivity Ninja. You get things done, cross things off your to do list, everything is going your way and you can work the same 8 hours the next day, but you get nothing done. The report you wanted to write is empty, your inbox is full. So the time that we work isn't the best measure to measure how much we produce.

 

It's how much we get done in the time we work, our capacity to work. And this is very much affected by how we feel, how we think, and the difference. If it's not the time, it's our energy. And when we sit down, a lot of us are trying like everybody in the productivity realm, I'm sure the listeners as well have tried productivity hacks or time blocking, but we can block as much time as we want. But if we're stressed from that deadline, or if we're overthinking what we need to do, or if we're just upset about something our partner said, we're not going to be able to think clearly and focus and produce the best results. So again, it's all a matter of the quality of our work, the quality of our thinking. And in a more maybe rational way to explain that a lot of the time when we think of performance or productivity, we think it has to do with our skills or our knowledge or our experience or our abilities. But all of that, our IQ or EQ or everything we have at a certain moment is just our potential. What defines if we live up to that potential, if we actually produce our best results and see them in fruition, is the quality of our thinking.

 

This is where the mindful productivity comes. And the best measure for us to measure it in a very scientific way is the measure of the quality of our positive thoughts and measure of our negative thoughts. And this is what we call a PQ measure. The same way we have IQ, which is our intelligence and IQ or emotional intelligence. We have a PQ score which is a positive intelligence quotient which a lot of people are not aware of it. And I can be the smartest, most competent person ever. But if there is this voice in the back of our mind that is saying to me like I'm not good enough or I'm not qualified enough or I'm not capable enough or is distracting me from what I need to do, I'm not going to perform at my best, I'm not going to be productive. That's the same voice that's making us procrastinate on things we need to do and we know we need to do it's the same voice that is causing us to overeat or to stress or to doubt ourselves. And it's a very measurable quantifiable scale that if we know how to control it, we can control the quality of our work and not just like the measure of the time we work.

 

Does this make sense?

 

Absolutely. I can think of specifically this week I really got clear last week of what I wanted to do with my time. Probably as clear as I've been in a really long time. And Monday I actually did one more thing than I had planned that I was going to do, but everything just flowed and everything went really well. Really excited, getting ready to go into Tuesday and Tuesday. I didn't get quite as good of a quality of sleep. I ended up staying a little bit later than I would have liked and by the time I hit the ground Tuesday, I was not able to maintain that focus in my mind that said, hey Wade, you're going to get to the stuff you have to get to, you're going to get to that later today. The stuff started kind of getting present in my mind and so I was distracted and so literally I keep looking throughout the day, okay, I got these other things done, but I still didn't get the two things done that I had and I blocked out 3 hours for each of them. Still didn't get to Camry, get set after lunch.

 

I still didn't get to it. And it was if I were a teenager I'd be saying to my parents, but I was being good, I was willing to work, I'm being a good boy, I'm showing up, I'm here, I'm present, I've controlled what I can control. I've eaten well and I'm feeling good, but just overall that little bit of distraction and I still had a pretty good day. Maybe, I don't know, seven out of ten, eight out of ten. As far as productivity, but as far as getting the specific things that I had scheduled that day, by definition I got a zero because I didn't get to them. And so it was one of those things where I was productive, but I wasn't productive in the way that I really wanted to be productive that day or to put it in a more impact or income conversation I didn't get done my highest impact, highest income activity that day. And so while I got something done, I didn't get what I had scheduled to get done. And so now when it's the next day, it's today, I have certain things done. And now this afternoon, I'm going to be looking to catch up, but it's going to be hopefully setting a good tension.

 

Hopefully it's going to be easier. But I've scheduled out most of today, so now it becomes a little bit tougher, and there's patience, and things take longer than I'd like. But that was something for me where I'd say, okay, at least in retrospect or somewhere in there, it wasn't flowing and it was kind of hard, which is like, okay, I actually knew, okay, it's not flowing. That's one of those weirdest things where, no, it's not flowing. Okay, what do I do? It's not flowing. It's not flowing. I know I'm forgetting something. It's like one of those circular traps. Like, okay, so how can a person diagnose when they're in that space that's not connected versus when they're not connected? I guess maybe would this be the high PQ versus the low PQ? How can they diagnose it and really assess that? And then second, we'll get to maybe what they can do about that. But how can a person first assess that? Because I think I don't want to overstep that. I don't want to rush through that and jump to the solution because I think a lot of people missed that. You mentioned you were being productive, you were doing things, but you knew something was off.

 

So how does a person know if they're not fully where they could be?

 

I think this is the most important question you can ask in this field because the first thing is just becoming aware of it. Most of the time we're going on autopilot throughout the day, we're just rushing. The average person has between 20,0600 thoughts per day. 85% of them are repetitive, and about 90 of them are negative. So what we do, we sit down like you said, and I'm just working. I'm feeling like I'm productive. I'm getting stuff done. And this is the biggest line between actually being busy and feel like in front of my laptop, I'm doing work and actually getting things done. So that point of awareness is the most crucial part. And for us to become aware of whether it's flowing or not flowing, am I doing the right things or am I just keeping myself busy? It's just pausing for a second and checking in with ourselves, literally stopping and asking, like, how do I feel? What is going on? What am I thinking? What is the story that I'm telling myself a lot of the time and where we all grew up in a culture that is just like, go, go. Things are not going just push through, just make the effort.

 

Just like, do the thing. And it's the worst way to get quality results, because when we push through, there's a lot of resistance. We're more likely to make mistakes. If we're not in our flow or focus, it's going to take us longer to get the results and then we get frustrated. And like you said, it's just like a never ending negative loop. If we're able to pause for a second, check in with ourselves, and intercept what is the situation, we can fix that and we're going to get to it in a second and then move on and sit down to do actual quality work. That is going to take us less time. So when I say check, do it yourself, it sounds like a little woo woo, but it's just really so I'm putting it back to the ground into all the rational mind people, all the left brain people. So one way to know if something is off is, by the way that it feels. Negative emotions are a great red flag for us to understand. We are having a negative or self sabotaging thought because a lot of the time, like I said, our thoughts are automatic.

 

They're just going and going in our brain, most of them in our subconscious. We're not aware of so many thoughts. So negative emotions are actually a great way for us to say, like, oh, something is going on. So if we're feeling stress, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, frustration, agitation, unease, everything that is negative, we can just say like, oh, there's something in my mind that is going on that is influencing the way I focus or the way I perform that day. And then we can say like, okay, let me fix that another way. We can feel it in our body if we feel tightness in our shoulders, if we're clenching our jaw, if we have a headache, if we just feel heavy or tight in our body, that's also a signal that there's a low PQ. There's a lot of negative thoughts that are unproductive in our mind that is probably going to interrupt us from doing the work in our best quality. So this is kind of time for us to check in like, hey, how am I feeling? Am I stressed? Am I tight? What is going on? What am I thinking? And then fix that or fix the low energy like you said yesterday.

 

I'm guessing from what you said, it sounds like you had a great day, but you had low sleep. And when we have low sleep, our energy level are really low because physical energy with sleep, nutrition, exercise is the fuel of the body. If our fuel is low, the car won't drive its best capacity. Our brain isn't going to function at our best. So that was probably the issue. And if we can pause for a second, say, oh, maybe I can do something to raise my energy levels higher before I sit down to work, then I can work in a better capacity after I do.

 

Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, I think there's a lot to that, and I think a lot of people have that sense of, okay, something's not right. I think sometimes we're taught to and there might be a gender bias. There's things men, at least in the way I was raised culturally, not just my parents, just the culture was the men. You just push through it, you ignore, you fix it. And I think perhaps culturally, though I'm not sure. I think sometimes women are taught to either deal with it or second guess themselves. Like, no, you're not catching this right. There's something else going on. How can a person prepare? What does it look like to prepare for a really high quality day?

 

So when I say a high quality day when we're performing at our best, I look at it from a pretty holistic point of view. And if we're not managing time, so what can we manage weight? We can manage our energy, and our energy means our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy. This is kind of the four dimensions that I talk about from a physical point of view. Getting enough quality sleep, which is between people are shocked every time I say that it's between seven and 9 hours of sleep. So actually getting quality sleep, it's nutrition eating. And then I said, I'm not a nutritionist, but eating high quality foods throughout the day. It's getting movement and exercise, and it's even drinking enough water, which sounds very kind of silly. But first of all, hydrating gives our body energy and fuel for our brain to work. But a very interesting study done in West London University a few years ago, they discovered that if we're thirsty, our brain is busy constantly managing signals from our body that we're thirsty. So there's a part of our brain of our mental energy that will always think like, oh, I'm thirsty, I'm thirsty, I'm thirsty.

 

Subconsciously, if we drink enough water, we actually take all this mental energy, mental space that was reserved for our body to think like, oh, I need hydration and actually put it into work. And they discovered that the difference between a few glasses of water can be up to 15% more in our productivity, which is crazy. Think about it. We can increase we always talk about productivity in sense of like systems and structures and have this software and super complicated when if we drink a few extra glasses of water, we can increase our productivity by 15%, which is like a lot to the average person. So this is kind of on a physical part, making sure that our body is prepared to do the work it needs. The second part is our emotional energy and our mental energy. I'm kind of going to talk about it in the same sense our emotional energy is the quality of our energy is how much we know how to manage and regulate our emotions so they won't interrupt whatever we're trying to do. So, for example, if I'm really stressed about a deadline, how do I know not to let that stress impact the way I make decisions?

 

My creativity, my clear headed thinking. The same with our mental energy. Our mental energy. This is the PQ score that I mentioned. It's the quality, it's the clearness of our thought. How much is our thought is focused, clear headed, creative, productive in comparison to something that is, like you said, overthinking doubting ourselves, pushing through, forcing ourselves to do something. So with this, just checking in with ourselves and sometimes managing our energy on that level can be just taking five minutes and journaling things out. If I'm really stressed or I have a lot of thoughts of like I'm doing a new project, there's so much going on in my head, I'm feeling really overwhelmed. Can I take five or ten minutes to Journal it out and put all my thoughts on paper instead of being them, just floating in my head or even going for a run? A lot of the time when I'm really, really stressed or I feel like I have all this excess energy just going on a run or in a yoga class or a kickboxing class can sometimes release all that energy from our body, from our mind and make us more prepared for well balanced work session.

 

I can go on and on, but stop me if you want to.

 

Actually, I'd like to jump on next. I think what I find so interesting is how often people will understand that an athlete, let's say an Olympic athlete, that they need rest, that they need a certain amount of fuel, that there's a formula to a certain degree of how they can best prepare, and there are really scientifically proven, less effective ways to be prepared. So extreme example, five chocolate bars before a raise versus a healthy meal. Very few people are going to argue that, and even more so, I never thought about this part, but the idea that even in sports we talk about the idea that it's a huge part of its mental, that there's this huge focus piece to it. And so here we will say something like, let's say swimming in a race or playing basketball or soccer, whatever it might be, that there is this huge mental component, what is clearly at least visually predominantly or at least appears to be a predominantly physical activity going on. But we acknowledge no, there's more going on there's how the person. Most of us know that if the person's off emotionally, that they're not going to have a good day and we use words like the person's a headcase, they can't focus.

 

Or you say if the person has got a weak mental game and some of that's emotional or some of it's just the inability to be aware of, okay, what's the situation in the game? How should I be handling this. And then we also know from the spiritual side or a motivation or a driver or a purpose standpoint of that person that says my relative, my mom or whatever has just passed away and the team did it for me and we won this game that we never would have been able to win, but we had this greater purpose or our coach just passed away or whatever it might be. And so we see all these things in sports, which again seems like a predominantly physical thing. And yet when we get to the working world, which a lot of it, at least in the field, you and I are at least appears to be primarily intellectual and just typing or just being on Zoom calls or whatever it might be. And we're so quick to dismiss the physical, the emotional, the spiritual parts of that, again, the spiritual not religious, but the genetic. I know you know this, but just for the audience, that your motivation, your purpose, your why.

 

And what's so interesting to me is how we negate that. And yet I don't know if there is why I have hypothesis on this, but you meet more and more people as you meet people that are more and more successful. I find that more of them that are holistically successful, happy family, happy life, whether they are married or not, whether they have kids or not, but just happy with their relationships even more so they're happy people. And then you'll hear people say, oh, well, they're happy because they're making lots of money and they're successful. Yeah, I don't think so. What do you see with that as far as that connection between how people can because I think this even in our conversation already. And again, forgive me for those of you who already buy into this, I spoke to Jenny before the call, but I kind of want to have this call a little bit for the left Brainish people that say, well, it sounds woo because a lot of this, like I can't see WiFi waves right now and they're passing in front of me. They're there. I just can't see them. It doesn't mean they don't exist.

 

How can a person who perhaps is having a hard time seeing this understand that connection or at least set themselves up on the beginning of a day? Is there a specific ritual or something where they can say, okay, I'm going to check in physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually in some way that helps them as best as possible because you hear a lot of people talk about morning rituals, what's a good way to set up for a very productive day or at least create as likely as possible of a situation for that.

 

So first of all, I love the analogy you made between our work life and athletes. I think running your own business especially, but also for people. But entrepreneurship is very close to being an Olympic athlete. That's why there's a lot of coaching in this world, the same way professional athletes get coached. And both of them, whether this is a very interactive lecture game and this is a physical game, have much to do with our energy, with our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy. And if you look at a basketball player during a practice, a good basketball player can hit the ball into the net or 100 times, it's not a problem. Maybe for me it's a problem, but a professional basket player, that's a no brainer. But a lot of the time during the big game, there's a lot of stress. Emotionally, all eyes are on you. And if your mind isn't in the right place, and if that little voice in the back of your mind is telling you like, oh, you're not good enough, you're not going to make this shot, they're going to miss this shot. And it doesn't have to do at all with their physical situation or how good they are.

 

And it's exactly what I said in the beginning. It doesn't matter how good of an aspect you are. If you don't know how to control the voice in your mind or how to control your emotions, you're never going to win. You're never going to win in sports, and you're never going to win in business or in life. And the same goes for our entrepreneurship, for our relationship, for everything, even our relationship has to do. A lot of the time, if we don't know how to control the story we tell ourselves and that little voice in the back of our mind, we're never going to be happy, fulfilled, satisfied or anything, because it's always turning within. And I think those people that look at people and say like, oh, they're happy because they're making a lot of money. No, there's so many people that are millionaires and are miserable. Either they're working so many hours or they're just dissatisfied with their life again, because that little voice in the back of their mind is telling them you're not good enough, you're not happy. You need to make more and do more and to be happy so we can be happy no matter how much money we make.

 

And this is what I want to help people do for the morning routine question and circling back, I think that my main point with mindful productivity is that I don't have one good advice for all. I don't believe it. I think we all have different thinking patterns. We all have different energies. Some of us have families, some of us don't have children, some of us are morning people or some of us are night Owls. There's no one advice. And I'm really against like, oh, you should wake up at 05:00 A.m.. Oh, you should have to do 45 minutes of meditation. There are a lot of things that are good for you. But again, if you're pushing through a morning routine and there is resistance. First of all, it's not a habit that's going to last you for a long time. It's something that you can push through for a couple of days or a couple of weeks as you're motivated. But then life will happen and you will quit. So my best advice is finding the right routine that works for you. And again, if we can have a certain component out of every energy management that I mentioned, this is the best.

 

So for example, from the physical part, having a breakfast, again, my breakfast and your breakfast won't look the same. But having some good nutritious food, something to do with our emotional or mental management. It could be yoga, it could be some movement, it can be mindfulness breathing, journaling, whatever works for you. And my perception. The way I teach mindfulness, I don't believe that all rational, busy people, we don't have time to meditate for 45 minutes in the morning. Like, we're busy people, we want to make money, we have our businesses, we have life. What I teach is a practice that is two minutes, three, four times a day. And that is enough. If you're doing it the right way and you're really focused on your energy management, that shouldn't take you an hour or two. Like, I see some entrepreneurs. There's a lot of that going on on social media. You should have a three hour morning routine. Like, oh my God, nobody has time for that. How do people get things done? I think if we're focused and we know how to manage our energy and we're clear about it, it can happen in 1020 minutes, tops a day and we can get our energy level down.

 

And again, we shouldn't allow our energy levels to go so low that we will need 3 hours of meditation or whatever it is to bring us back to the point that we're functioning properly. That's why I always say rest before you're tired. If you're resting before you're tired, you're never going to get tired. And if you manage your energy before you're burnt out, before you're exhausted, before you even need that, then you will never need that. You will always be at your top capacity. And when you think about it and all the people that says, like, I don't have time to rest, I don't have time to take a break, I don't have time for meditation. I always say that a work day is just like and we're coming back to the athlete's example. It's like a lot of people just run a marathon. You sit in front of your computer, you're starting your day, and just you go, go. And just as marathon runners think about it, they're not fast runners. Why? Because subconsciously they know their energy has to last them the entire run. So they're actually pacing themselves throughout the day. This is what most humans do at their workday.

 

They sit in front of their computer at 09:00 A.m.. And they're like, oh, my energy has to last me. It's subconsciously. But they say, like, my energy has to last me the entire day. So I'm actually going to hold myself back and not tired myself because I know I have a meeting at 06:00 P.m. Or I know I need to be with my kids in the evening and I still want to have energy for that. This is why running a marathon will always get us into about 60, 70% of our capacity to perform. If we're running a series of sprints, we're going to increase our capacity. So sprint runners are fast runners. Why? Because they're like, okay, I need to run this sprint for two, 3510 minutes, whatever it is. And then I know I can chill and rest and recover. They give their all. And if we learn how to run our day as a series of sprints that we run, we give our all capacity full energy, and then we know how to take a break and replenish that energy. We're going to actually get more done in less time, in a higher level of engagement because we're going to be so fully engaged in the flow and whatever we do.

 

That was great. I think that helps explain a lot of it, because my experiences will come in a few things. So one, what you mentioned about connecting a couple of times is somebody who has over the years been meditating and definitely on and off is not even on, off, on, off or different ways, try different things. I found that I can when I'm really focused in a minute, literally in 60 seconds get connected and present, and then sometimes in a 20 minutes meditation can't get that. So it's not to say 20 minutes prevents that, but in other words, it can depend. It's not the amount of time the same way. Like we say in work, 30 minutes of work doesn't guarantee you're going to get better results than 1 minute work. It depends on the quality of the work. And I think it's so great the idea of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I just think there's so many people that literally aren't even hitting those areas. And so I think that's something that just like if you said, okay, I'm going to do everything right, but I'm going to not exercise and I'm eating garbage food.

 

Most people understand, okay, you're ignoring your physical dimension. That's not going to help you or I'm going to do everything else. But I've got this huge fight. I'm constantly fighting with people in the office emotionally, and I'm mad and I'm upset and I'm okay, well, that's not going to help. So I think, first of all, just from what you said, I just take that. And for people listening have something that addresses every dimension, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, on some level. And I really like the way you explain that. As far as the difference between the sprinter and the marathon, because I feel that I feel like I'm pacing myself. I know there's so many things I have to do. And yet it's almost like, well, why didn't you give yourself to that thing? Well, because I can't wait to see you don't understand the schedule that I and there's almost two voices. I've put the rational voices saying and it is accurate. You've put the schedule in front of you. Wait, that is back to back to back to back to back. So you're right, you can't afford a sprint right now. You're going to have to marathon this.

 

And it's like, okay, but then when do I get to give my full passion? Because that's what people tell me that they're like, wait, that was your best work? And then I think about when does that happen? And it's usually when I either don't have something scheduled after. I usually do my podcast interviews. Like, now I don't have something scheduled after. So if it goes longer, great, or even when I've given talks at an event where the majority of the event, I'm just hanging out at the event. And then I speak for my 30 minutes or whatever. And I'm like, oh, you did great. Because I was all relaxed. I wasn't doing email, I wasn't talking with clients. And so you mentioned something earlier. I'd love you to go into this a little deeper. And I don't think you said time blocks are bad. I think you just simply said that they're not sufficient when we talk about managing our energy in our time. You reference this idea that we can manage our time pretty well. But if our energy is not there, it's not going to guarantee the results. And I know there's the Pomodor method, there's all these different things.

 

And as you said, every person has their own thing. Why should a person manage their energy and not their time? And then what are the signs that they are managing it? Well, what does that look like? What does that feel like? What are the results look like? So they can feel like, okay, despite because there are so many books that will give you ten different methods. So as you said, actually you're not going to find one method for everybody. People are different. So again, how do we manage that energy and not our time? Not just the time, but the energy. And then what does it look like when it's really working?

 

First of all, it feels good. You feel good when you're in a high level of energy, you know it. You're like thriving. Things are going for you. You're in the flow. You're like crossing things off, your focus, you're energized so you know where you're in the zone around time. I'm not against time blocking. I also use time blocks. But again, if I'm putting this task I want to do, I need to write this email. And I said, okay, I have an hour between three and four, and I have a whole hour. I'm going to write this email. But then I sat down at 03:00 and again, I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty. Or I'm stressed. Or just before I sat down, a colleague or my boss or my partner said something really annoying via text. And I'm like, I'm not going to get any work done in that hour that I set. So just time blocking as itself isn't good enough. So I need to know. And again, like you said, not scheduling things back to back, learning how to create white space in our schedules. And now all left brain people are like, no, I don't have time for it.

 

I don't have time to rest. I don't have time for breaks. Sometimes, just like you said, a minute, five minutes, ten minutes between those two can make a whole different. And for example, if I have a meeting between two and three, I had a very stressful meeting. Everything is going on. And then in three, I set up to write this email. I'm going to sit down and I'm going to stare at my computer or my brain is going to procrastinate or I'm just going to, oh, let me get a stack, or let me check my phone. Oh, let me check social media. I'm going to get nothing done. But if I'm smart enough and I say, okay, I had this meeting, it's going to be stressful. I know it's going to be like a high capacity. I'm going to take a 15 minutes break. I'm going to have a snack, have a glass of water, maybe listen to a song I like, maybe call my partner and have a good if it's a positive conversation, obviously, things that replenish my energy. Maybe I go for a walk around my block, maybe I do a little stretching, whatever is good for your energy and replenish it.

 

And then I sit down at 315 to write that email. I'm going to be in the zone. So people assume that rational brain is just like signal. No, you can't do those 15 minutes. You don't have time. You have a really packed day. And we have to fight that manipulative little voice that is trying to convince us not to take breaks and to take the break, replenish our energy. And then when we sit down to work, work at a higher capacity, because then we can actually sprint and be in the zone. And I promise you, if you replenish that energy in those 15 minutes, you will get so much more done in the next 45 that it's going to be worth it. So this is kind of what I want people to take from that work against that automatic urge of us that we all have to just go. We were all raised up in this hustle culture. No time for breaks, go go mentality. And we need to mindfully become aware of our energy levels of our mental state, of our emotional state, of our physical state, and just pause throughout the day to manage those levels.

 

And sometimes it can be as simple as having a glass of water or having a snack to kind of say instead of your brain, because when I'm hungry, I can't focus. All I can think about is my stomach is just like wanting food. If I forced myself to work, it's not going to be productive. So again, every time it feels forceful, negative, tight, like I have to I need to I should do this is my kind of red flag words, pay attention and just pause for a second and say, oh, wait, there's something going on. There's some resistance here. There's something that is off. What can I do in a small way to replenish my energy before I sit down to work and not forcing ourselves into work, but more moving ourselves into that flow.

 

That's so true. And going back to that example I had about the Monday when I was very productive, I allowed myself to go for a 15 minutes bike ride. I allowed myself to take some time on certain things because I was doing creative tasks. And the simplest way I would explain to somebody how sometimes output doesn't equal productivity is like you said, try to write a book at three in the afternoon and you can fill up a page and you're going to end up throwing out most of what's on that versus if you even just got 15 or 30 good minutes in the morning. I think the quality of that, that's so true. And I love that example. That's so huge. Even if it takes you 15 minutes to get in the right space to then do it well as opposed to wearing some badge. Yes, I worked all the way through and I think the last thought and it's funny, I usually don't talk a lot on interviews. I like so much of what you're saying, and I'm trying to pull some stuff from you as well to clarify. But one of the things that I'm taking from this is if you're physically off, if you've eaten junk food, that's going to hurt you, if you're emotionally off, you just heard that a relative passed something, you're going to be off.

 

If you're intellectually, if you just literally took, I don't know, a three hour exam and somebody says, okay, now give me your best work. You're going to be fatigued if you just found out the company you work for, I don't know, is doing something really Shark Tank, it's hurting other people in the world. Now there goes your motivation, your purpose. Say, well, I can do this, but I won't. And so again, I just encourage people who are doubtful this just think of athletics and just think of the concept of that world class athlete that one day they're on and next day they're not. And you say what happened or even especially when they won a Championship, they've won a gold medal, you say, isn't that the same person? No, because they're not machines. And I think that's the thing that I see of managing our energy, that just sounds and again, I think physical and emotional injuries, mental and spiritual energy. And I think hopefully for those listings, it's becoming a little less woo woo as we get through this conversation of connecting and then question for you then. So as an entrepreneur and maybe this is kind of one of the biggest things is what does it cost in energy when their energy is off and then what does it look like?

 

Or how can that be different for them when they're on and not so much in the micro, but in the macro, in the macro of hey, I have this dream, I'm going to grow my company, I'm going to do these things. What do you see with your clients or what have you seen in your life where sometimes doing what seemed to be hyper, managing the time seemed to be getting you where you wanted to go. And maybe in the short run you were getting those positive feedback loops, but it wasn't really getting you where you needed to get where maybe you needed a few sprints, you needed some things where you had to break some gravity or break through some things that those don't come from, let's say the marathon way of doing things.

 

I think for entrepreneurs, energy is everything. First of all, if we're not productive, time is money. If we don't know how to manage, if we don't know how to be productive and we just sit around, it's not cool working a lot of hours anymore and nobody cares how busy you are. As an entrepreneur, all it matters if you're doing money making activities, if you're at your best, at your gate and it's all about the energy. And again, it's not blue at all. And we don't even have to go as far as looking at athletes, just we can all take a hard look on ourselves. And I dare people not to sleep 3 hours at night, keep breakfast, stress about their deadline, and then go to a meeting and see how you perform at that meeting. You're not going to do well. Like I promise you, it has nothing to do with how good you are, how smart you are, how good is your business if you're not on top of your energy game, you will never reach your goals. And if you do, it's not going to be for the long run. And entrepreneurship is all about longevity.

 

It's all about sustainability. This is where it is a marathon. Like for the long run, we have to wake up every morning and do things hard things. Entrepreneurship is so hard. Even if we're doing great and amazing and we see results and we make money, it's still hard. It's hard, mentally, emotionally, sometimes physically, very much spiritually. And we need to have that capacity for the long run. And I see so many entrepreneurs that either burn out before they make the money they want or they quit because again, quitting is just not having enough mental capacity to hold through stress, changes, whatever it is happening. And what I teach my clients is a lot of mental energy management, which is learning how to deal with changes, learning how to deal with stress, learning how to manage that energy so they can do their business, do entrepreneurship for the long run. This is a marathon and we need to be on our top of our game because unlike other people and I also used to have like an end to five job, you can go to your work and you can spend 9 hours there and it doesn't really matter.

 

You don't have to be at your best to get the paycheck at the end of the day or at the end of the month. But as an entrepreneur, nobody cares how much hours you work. And we both agree on that. We don't need to work like I work four days a week, but when I do work, I'm at the top of my game. And also entrepreneurship. A lot of people that go into entrepreneurship is in order to not only make money, which is good and nice, it's also to create the life they want for themselves, create the reality they want to live. And if our business is making us miserable, if we're not happy for working twelve of our day. So I don't know what's the point. And I promise you that if we manage our energy, if we like you said, go for a bike ride or take a break or spend time with our family throughout the day or whatever it is that makes us happy again. My happy and your happy doesn't have to be the same happy if we know how to enjoy the road, the road is going to be easier and for the long run.

 

And this is what we want to create as entrepreneurs.

 

Awesome. Thank you. Wow. There's so much you shared. I want to ask you one last thing. I almost forgot. Would you share a little bit your evolution into a four day work week, three day weekend lifestyle? Because I talk to a lot of people, I coach people on that. But I've had plenty of people to just listen to a couple of ideas I share or some other author or speaker. Now I'm doing it. And so a lot of people think it needs to be difficult. I don't think it necessarily needs to be difficult. Sometimes it is. How did you make that shift and how did that happen?

 

For me, it kind of happened accidentally. I live in Israel. Our work week is Sunday to Thursday, but all of my clients are from either the States, Canada or Europe. Where the work week is Monday to Friday. So our weekend is Friday, Saturday, and your weekend is Saturday, Sunday. So I don't have client calls on Sundays. And Friday is the time that I spend with my family because they have the time off. So it kind of happened kind of accidentally. So I said, okay, Friday and Saturday I want to spend with my friends and family here. But Sunday, I don't have any clients. So I'm like, okay, let's just take everything and just squeeze it into a four day week and make it work. And when I got better and better at managing my energy, I realized that I can even work less than four weeks. And I love the flexibility if I do want to take a day off during the week. And again, I don't believe this structure is good for everybody. Sorry, Wade, but it's just the thing about mindful productivity, you need to do what works for you if you have, I don't know, small children.

 

So you want to be with them in the morning and in the evening and you want to work six days, but just throughout the lunchtime, great. If you're a night owl and you can sleep throughout the day and you don't have children and you don't have like and you're an entrepreneur and it works and you don't have clients and you want to work through the night. Amazing. Like, whatever works for you. So accidentally a four day week works best for me. But I think it's just all about finding what makes sense for you. And once you decide on it and you have, like you said, the motivational of, like, I want to spend time with my family or I want to do things, you can make it work. Like, if you're productive enough, you can make and since I started working like that, I've been making way more money so we don't have to give up our goals or our income in order to have this lifestyle. So I really encourage people to just think what works for them and then find a way to do that.

 

Absolutely. Yeah, I totally agree. Four day works is not for everybody. Some people want to be in school, excuse me, want to work while their kids are in school. So say my kids are in school 180 days. I want to work those days. So I'm present for my kids or I want to take summers off or whatever it might be. Absolutely. It's just definitely just one way to do it. So thank you so much. And thank you for going back and forth and engaging a lot of the questions I shared with you because I think there's just so much of this and it's so great to have a different perspective. Even just the idea for those of my friends in North America, maybe United States never even realized that, oh, my gosh, not everybody has Saturday, Sunday as their default weekend. Just even that opening and seeing different things has been great. So thank you for that. How do you help people and where can people learn about you and your work?

 

So I help people either through one on one coaching or what I do now is I run mental fitness boot camps. I really Hone in on that mental energy, that little voice in our mind to really create the top capacity. They can either find me on Instagram at leisurehacker or on my website, www.leisurehacker.com. I have all the details there. They can reach out and send me a message if they want to ask more questions. You're more than welcome. I'm happy to. I'm also on Instagram so just DM me there and I'll be happy to connect.

 

Awesome. Yeah, we'll definitely put those links so if you're listening, it's in the show notes. If you're watching it's below. Thank you so much for joining us, Jenny. Thank you for sharing your perspective. For those of you listening, this has been one of the most valuable conversations I've had with someone in this conversation simply because I think Jenny's perspective is whether it's broader or deeper or different, it's at least one or two of those three. And so hopefully it'll help some of you all see some things maybe you haven't seen before. So again, thank you for joining us, Jenny. And for the rest of you, as always, look forward to helping you help more people and make more money in less time. Do what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends and your life. Thanks so much for listening. You.

 

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Jeni Raitsin

Productivity coach helping entrepreneurs & leaders reach their goals without the struggle, stress, or constant hustle

Jeni is a Mindful Productivity Coach, Mental Fitness trainer, and speaker on a mission to redefine productivity outside of the hustle culture and help people work smarter, not harder, so they can stress less, accomplish more & feel better.