It’s hard to get stuff done when life gets in the way (as it has a tendency of doing!)... but that doesn’t mean that the time doesn’t exist, or that you can't be more productive (in your personal OR your professional life). Instead, it’s all about maximizing your time and energy, figuring out your particular organizational style, getting past your personal obstacles, and taking action.
The truth is, anyone has it in them to be more productive. You can be a busy mom juggling a side hustle with your full-time 9 to 5 job and still make progress… without sacrificing your time with loved ones or losing yourself in the process. That’s right: you CAN have it all. You have it within you to take ownership of your time and energy, to do more in less time!
That’s exactly what Michele’s been doing since she joined Productivity Powerhouse in November. And today, she’s kind enough to share her story and experience with the program so you can get a behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s all about!
A little background about Michele:
"I work full-time right now as an engineer, and I've been thinking about starting a side hustle lifestyle blog/business (about living with intention and purpose) for about 5 years, but only just this past year have taken action on it, which has been slow with the birth of my daughter.
Trying to find a new equilibrium between 2 kids and a job (and keep the house in order - ha it's not) has meant things like a side hustle have been pushed to a low priority. I'm at a point where I can pick it back up in some small capacity, and trying to figure out how to be consistent and possibly even ahead on content, which is hard because I'm a new and slow writer (numbers have been my life for so many years).
I find myself running around a lot with 2 little kids, not always totally spending my time the way I would envision it. So I’m trying to change that for myself and learn along the way to help others do the same. And along with that is the finances. Being an engineer, numbers come very naturally to me. I spend a lot of time on my finances. I spend a lot of time trying to align the way I spend money towards what’s important to me, which I think is a little bit of a unique way of thinking about how you spend money, so I’m trying to bring that to the table too.
I started my website in March 2018, almost a year ago. But I have a 7 month old, so I only have 7 blog posts! And life happens. Life happens a lot.
So that’s a large part of why I have been following Sagan and got really excited about her Productivity Powerhouse e-course, because I’m trying to figure out how to let life happen but also do this… because I can’t stop life from happening. Life is going to continue happening, and my family will continue to need me.
I’m not at a point yet where I can quit my job and move and spend more time at home. That’s an eventual goal, but I’m not there yet… so how do I split my time as such so that I’m giving my kids the attention they need and giving work the attention it needs, and yet giving myself the attention that I need."
Learn more about Michele at Balancing the Books of Life.
Let’s dive in and hear what Michele had to say about her experience with Productivity Powerhouse... and what she did to be more productive!
1) What were your biggest obstacles before joining Productivity Powerhouse?
"The biggest by far is overwhelm and fear. There is so much to do and/or learn. My time is very limited with a full time job and 2 little kids (both of which on their own are energy draining). I tend to try to tackle everything at once, instead of picking off one thing at a time, and it usually leaves me unproductive and frustrated. In addition, I have several limiting beliefs about my ability to be successful (in most aspects of my life)."
2) What were your concerns with productivity and time management before taking this program? And what were your goals with Productivity Powerhouse to be more productive?
"My concerns with productivity and time management before this program was finding the right balance and priorities to accomplish everything I wanted and needed to do.
I wanted to learn how to work on my business with consistency, how to create time and a schedule to compliment that consistency, and how to work with myself and my current obligations (work and family) while also making progress on my goals and business. I definitely have a plan to be more consistent with my time, and I am adapting the program to help me figure out my work/life balance with the aspect that I have a side business with a full time job."
3) How was your experience with Productivity Powerhouse?
"A rollercoaster, due to circumstances outside my control. Overall, Productivity Powerhouse was more pleasant—and less time consuming—than I originally thought. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned, and how the material was presented.
Productivity Powerhouse has enabled me to dedicate time to my side business on a consistent basis even as a mom with a full time job. I have started writing with more consistency and doing this course without too many family obligations. It has proved to me that the time clearly does exist. I've only implemented a few concepts, but so far I've already found about 5 hours in a given week to dedicate to my business.
I'm definitely making progress. There is a lot of great ideas that I'm just scratching the surface as implementing, but I have been more productive in my side business in the last month than I have in the 6 months prior to that. I'm also trying to adapt it to areas outside my business, so that I can streamline everyday tasks to have more time for my business without sacrificing family time."
4) What are the top things you learned about yourself after taking Productivity Powerhouse?
"First, the time exists if I utilize it correctly and prioritize appropriately. Second, I am a planner and tend to avoid what I don't know, but I learned through this course that the physical learning style that fits me best. Which suggests I need to focus on not so much planning, but more doing if I want to learn and get better. Research will only get me so far.
I also work better with accountability, so having Sagan making me accountable helped a lot. She has a very, “I’m not going to fluff things, this is the way it is” approach toward things, which I really appreciate! And it kind of made me realize that my feelings about accountability are just an excuse. I can be productive without accountability. Yes, I work better with it, but I don’t need it!"
5) Which aspects of Productivity Powerhouse did you find most useful for your business/life? What did you do to incorporate it into your life/business to be more productive, and how did that work out for you?
"The two most useful aspects of this course were the organization and time management. I started planning ahead and making a weekly work plan, so I know I can be consistent and keep up with the workflow."
Michele’s favourite lessons inside Productivity Powerhouse…
"My favorite was probably the behind the scenes, because it helped me tie everything together. However, I also really liked the home office and juggling tasks because these are the areas where I struggle the most. It honestly never occurred to me that my scattered papers and tendency to work on the couch might be hindering my productivity."
Michele’s favourite bonus materials inside Productivity Powerhouse…
"I loved the workbook. I liked the calendar of activities and used that effectively, too. I'm currently working through the 21 days to better time management and finding it super helpful. It is helping me prioritize and schedule my tasks so that nothing falls through the cracks."
NOTE FROM SAGAN:
The workbook (which features 32 sections) can be used as a tool to create your own custom, systemized *program* to make the most of your unique time and energy levels—and grow into the productive powerhouse you were always meant to be.
My clients make use of the workbook as they go through Productivity Powerhouse to keep track of any thoughts, ideas, or feelings that come to mind, and I encourage them to jot down notes and key takeaways so they have everything all in one place (which is very helpful for being more productive).
The calendar of activities is a tool designed for you to break down tasks into max 3 per day, and plan your month ahead. It includes an example calendar of activities that’s a real-life version of how I used it in my own business.
6) How has Productivity Powerhouse changed your business? What changes did you notice in your business and your life, as a result of this program?
"My blog is still very new to me, and a side thing on top of a full-time job. This course has helped me realize that with the right priorities, utilities, and time management, I can still make progress towards this goal while meeting my other obligations.
I've also found an accountability partner and shared passion in a friend I only spoke to occasionally, and we have nurtured and grown our friendship which has been deeply inspirational to me.
Before Productivity Powerhouse, I didn’t really know how to prioritize my task list, regarding my business. Now, I found places where I can dedicate time towards my plan of action, and I have a list of prioritization that I can work on.
One of the biggest things that holds me back is my fear, both of failure and ironically of success. And I recognize that I have a fear of both. The easiest way for me to push through it is to just do it, but I often procrastinate because of that fear, so that’s a work in progress.
But having that prioritized list and the schedule, helps me not think about that, because I can just take it one step at a time. Like, I’m not going to fail with one more blog post, and I’m not going to succeed with one more blog post, so what’s one more blog post?
It takes some juggling, and it definitely takes some determination."
Ready to be more productive... but don't have ANY extra time? You really can do it! Check out how Michele juggled her life and business in this empowering behind-the-scenes story (via @Saganlives)
7) What is an example of something you learned in Productivity Powerhouse that you applied to your business/life to be more productive?
"Be flexible and listen to what you need. I needed to put everything down for a short period of time, and I had to learn to be okay with that. But rather than let it defeat me, and not pick it back up for 6 months or longer (something I've done in the past), this course helped me pick right back up in under 2 weeks."
8) What should someone know about Productivity Powerhouse if they are thinking about joining it?
"Sagan really takes the effort to make her course adaptable to any personality and business. She helped me work with myself to be efficient, rather than against myself. The course is easy and quick, and its possible to start implementing techniques immediately to see change.
Sagan’s done a really fantastic job with Productivity Powerhouse, because I think you can apply it to a lot of different people, in a lot of different circumstances. I’ve taken some courses where I think it’s far more specific to a situation or a type of person or something like that, and I didn’t necessarily feel that with Sagan’s. I felt that she tried to put in a lot of different examples for different scenarios—which I really appreciated.
I do think someone who is probably already home could relate to some of the things more than I could, but there was still a lot that I could relate to, and you know, being someone that works. I also think that if someone is more along in their business, Sagan has a lot of information for that too! That being said, I found that she had a lot of stuff in there for me too.
For example, I did not have a good business plan. I did not have a mission statement at all. So I have a mission statement now! Which is fantastic! And that really helped clarify what I want to do, because I had an idea, but it wasn’t as fleshed out as it is now.
And then there are also other things in Productivity Powerhouse that I’m not at yet. Like automation and growth and stuff like that. I’m not there yet; I don’t know enough about all the different practices in my business to be able to do that yet… but once I do know, once I get better at writing and I have more of a schedule, then I can start [those advance pieces]. So I can see that on the horizon, and I can see how that will be useful for me, even if it’s not right now."
Thank you so much, Michele, for sharing your story and experience with us! Can’t wait to see where your productivity journey takes you.
Want to check out more real-life solopreneur case study stories for how to be more productive>
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More case studies are coming soon inside the program, too, so you’ll get to peer behind the curtain of a variety of different people’s lives and businesses who are applying these productivity strategies to their own unique situations. This is a fantastic learning opportunity and a chance for you to see productivity strategies in action, applied to real-life scenarios... so YOU can learn how to be more productive, too.