What We’ve Learned From Our Client: The Productivity Show

The Productivity ShowOne of the wonderful things about editing podcast episodes all week is that you are always learning. I knew close to nothing about the Managed Futures industry before I started editing Top Traders Unplugged every week. Likewise, the productivity community was a mystery to me until I started working with our client Asian Efficiency on their podcast, aptly titled The Productivity Show.

The good folks at Asian Efficiency recently spent more than six thousand words in a blog post detailing how they launched their podcast, created a workflow to produce it each week, and then outsourced the whole thing to us. They said a number of very kind things about us in the article, so you should go read it. We are so lucky to work with amazing clients like them!

I thought I would return the favor by detailing just a few of the things I have learned from The Productivity Show since I started editing it on a weekly basis about a year ago. Listening to this show has helped me set and track goals in my personal life, develop healthy rituals and habits, and become more productive and efficient in my professional work. Here’s a list, in no particular order of importance, of things I’ve picked up from editing The Productivity Show:

Habits:

  • Journaling

I’m in a process of figuring out what works for me with many of the productivity concepts I’ve picked up from this podcast, especially when it comes to journaling.  Many guests on The Productivity Show recommend the writing practice detailed in The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. This practice involves writing three pages of hand-written, free-form content, ideally before you do anything else in the morning. I tried this practice for a while – it turned into a combination of a journal detailing what I did the previous day and a brain dump of all the ideas swimming in my head. I really enjoyed this practice but haven’t been able to keep it up consistently.

For a more technology-driven practice, a few guests of the podcast suggested the Day One app. The app makes it easy to journal on the go, especially if you take pictures with your phone and want to add some words to remember the moment. It also has a handy feature that reminds you to journal every day.

  • Meditation

Almost all of the guests on The Productivity Show have previously tried or currently have some sort of meditation/prayer practice. Frequently recommended apps to help with meditation include Headspace and Calm. The Asian Efficiency team blogs about the benefits of having a morning and evening ritual/routine, which might include meditation, writing, goal setting, etc. I’ve done a few 5-minute meditation sessions with the Calm app, and I also frequently do a 5-minute Qigong exercise called “Holding and Pooling” that was taught to me by a friend. The one that has really stuck is a simple gratitude practice: I do a Child’s Pose on my floor and think about people and things I’m grateful for. I do this before bed almost every night (Annie can attest).

An easy way to get started with this kind of practice is to spend time every night thinking about 3 Good Things that you experienced that day. Write them down in a journal, and review the journal every once in a while.

  • Goal Setting/Task Management

Everyone has their favorite To-Do list app or system, so I’m not going to list them all here. Needless to say the guests on The Productivity Show have dozens of different ways of tracking their goals, projects, and daily tasks. Before I started editing this show, I kept a To-Do list for my weekly and daily tasks, but I didn’t really have a way of thinking about or writing down my larger goals.

This changed once I edited Episode 65 (Create Your Manifesto) and Episode 58, an interview with David Allen. David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) method is legendary in the productivity community, and I now use a personalized form of it in the way I organize my tasks and set goals.

Apps:

There have been hundreds of apps recommended by guests of The Productivity Show over the 90+ episodes that have been released. Here’s a few I heard about while editing the show that have really helped my productivity:

TextExpander has literally changed my professional life. In the podcast editing business, I used to spend a lot of time copying and pasting, especially when it came to blog posts and meta data. Now, I’ve created special text snippets for all of my clients and can easily add blog post templates, meta data, amazon affiliate URL tags, and more with a few shortcuts. I’ve even created snippets for emails that I tend to send over and over again.

Freedom.to is a great website-blocking app. For someone like me who has a propensity for going to YouTube to watch one video and coming to my senses an hour later, this app is one of the many apps out there that helps you focus by blocking your access to websites that waste your time. The thing I really like about Freedom.to is that you can schedule sessions, and that it works across devices. This means if I set it to block me from accessing Twitter, it won’t let me browse Twitter on my laptop and the Twitter app on my phone won’t refresh. Currently I run a scheduled session every weekday that blocks me from websites like YouTube and Facebook from 8am to 12pm.

I used Sunrise for the longest time, but after finding out they would be shutting down this year I moved over to Fantastical since it was recommended by many Productivity Show guests. It’s a calendar app for Mac desktop and iOS. The two things I like best about it are its ability to show scheduled reminders from the Mac OS Reminders app, as well as interpret your text when you are creating a new event. For instance, you can type “Meet Dave for coffee at 8am on Friday” and it will create an event called Meet Dave for Coffee on the right day and time.

Assistant.to is a really simple app that I use to schedule phone and Skype calls with prospective podcast clients, and it works inside of Gmail. To use it, you pick a few time slots when you have availability, and send the email. The recipient then clicks on a time slot and the app puts a calendar event in your Google Calendar for you. It cuts out a lot of back-and-forth emails.

I found out about LastPass when I started working with the Asian Efficiency team. This app remembers username and password data for you, and suggests strong passwords when you are creating them. You access everything through one master password so you don’t have to remember or copy-and-paste passwords that you’ve saved in LastPass. This is super helpful for someone like me who works with many clients (in a typical week I login to Libsyn.com under seven different usernames). You can also share login data with other LastPass users, without showing them what the password actually is.

Conclusion:

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article, good job! I hope you’ve picked up something you can use in your professional or personal life that will make you more productive, or at least happier. The Productivity Show has helped me tremendously, and I think you should subscribe to it if you haven’t already.

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