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“Practice makes perfect.”
All throughout childhood, in every single learning environment, this idea is drilled into our mind.
There’s no denying that it’s a true statement, but it’s main purpose is to drive us towards being consistent in our efforts to achieve an end goal.
I’ve been watching my 4.5 year old daughter learn how to write her name this year. Months ago, it was just a couple scribbles that she’d claim spelled her whole name.
But recently, she came home with a new drawing and I actually saw her name written on the page. Her “a” and “g” were mirrored and her “y” looked a bit more like a “t,” but it said Dagny. Clear as day to her mama!
I watched this whole transformation. She didn’t achieve a legible name until months after beginning her attempts, but she kept going. She followed each individual step to learn her letters and eventually, everything connected.
The joy on her face when she writes her name for us is incredible. She knows how hard she’s worked to get there. But she’s still at the age where every step of the way is an accomplishment.
She’s still got it.
But I have to remind myself every single day that each step of the journey is just as important as the result.
Before we continue …
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How Consistency Leads to Productive Action
I’m someone who aims to achieve perfection as quickly as humanly possible, so the idea that I need to practice and keep working at something before I see measurable results often feels like climbing Mt. Rainier. Which I’ve never done, by the way.
But it’s true. Consistency leads to success over time.
And you don’t always know how long you’ll be called to be consistent before feeling like you’ve mastered a skill.
Some say that 21 days is the magic number. And others call for 90.
At the end of the day, a skill is gonna take as long as it takes for you to master.
The key to mastering it faster? Knowing exactly the right next thing to do and wasting no time and effort on tasks that won’t move you closer to your end result.
As I enter the realm of podcasting, a brand new skill that I’m working towards mastering, I see this lived out every day.
I’m not an expert, yet I’m moving forward, without procrastinating, in service to you and other mamas out there who are eager and ready to take action. I’m showing up.
Can you think of something in your life right now that feels like a mountain to climb, yet you’re showing up, even imperfectly?
I mean, other than LIFE IN GENERAL as we remain in the thick of 2020?
Turning Towards Faith & Persistence
It’s rare that we’ll ever get a preview of what life actually looks like on the other side of our efforts.
We have our visioning exercises, but it’s no guarantee. Ultimately, the best future might be one we can’t even imagine yet.
There’s a whole lotta faith involved in living a life that matters, isn’t there?!
Because of that, it’s so easy to get discouraged.
There’s this incredible drawing that I visualize whenever I start to feel lost in showing up day in and day out without seeing clear results. When I feel like I’m anything but productive.
Maybe you’ve seen it before. I don’t actually know the source, but it’s a drawing of two diamond miners.
One is working hard, pounding away towards a sea of diamonds. He doesn’t know how far he is from the diamonds, but it’s clear that he’s bound & determined to get there. He’s exerting powerful and consistent effort towards a vision he knows is there for him on the other side.
The other man is maybe one or two hits away from the diamonds, but he’s exhausted. He’s done. He’s walking away, yet he is so incredibly close to where he set his vision towards when he first began. He’s lost faith in his vision and is giving up.
This image plays on repeat in my mind whenever I feel the urge to give up.
Productivity is Impossible without Consistency
So that’s why I chose “consistency” for this pillar. Productivity is ultimately impossible without consistent effort. And it’s impossible without a regular self-assessment to identify the right work.
Without the small habits that lead to 1% improvement every day or the important steps that support our daily energy and overall effort towards a goal, we can’t truly lead a productive life.
Our brain functions well when it knows what to expect and it rewards us with better focus, improved efficiency, and clarity.
I’m not talking about Groundhog Day style consistency though. I’m referring to creating meaningful habits that you’re excited to do and honoring commitments to ourselves and others. Developing a plan for our week that makes actual sense, and then sticking to it.
I’m also referring to persistence in moving closer and closer to your vision with each step.
And finally, consistency involves knowing when to pivot by checking in with yourself often. There’s nothing less productive than starting & stopping your work due to boredom, overwhelm, or burnout.
You simply must check in with yourself regularly to ensure you’re on the right path forward. Working towards something meaningful.
You will find a way to be consistent for things you love.
Consistency in action eliminates my 2 biggest time management frustrations: context switching and reinventing the wheel.
It’ll lead to increased productivity because you’re mastering the art of getting things done without added friction.
Less burden equals more margin and increased clarity.
One big thing to remember: consistency requires leaving perfection and fear of failure out the door.
Your mind is a powerful tool for thought & creativity, but when it’s occupied dealing with the mundane decisions of everyday life, you lose the ability to tap into your peak efficiency.
But again, I’m not referring to a single daily schedule repeated 365 days a year indefinitely. Creating consistency in your daily and weekly life doesn’t have to be boring.
But it does have to be functional.
My Favorite Consistency Support Strategies
I’ll start with the most tried & true OG strategy for quickly improving consistency. Batch theme days.
Batch Theme Days
Batch theme days are exactly as they sound. Each day of the week gets a specific theme and on that day, that theme is THE top priority.
It doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY theme that gets addressed on that day. It just means that the chosen theme gets accomplished as a top priority.
My current high level batch themes are as follows:
On Mondays, I focus on my weekly Deliverables & Reports.
Tuesdays are for meetings, phone calls, or new training. Basically it’s “new stimulus” day, which is the most exhausting day for this introvert!
I prioritize my home on Wednesdays. I work from home full time, but I’m not constantly tending to chores 24/7. Since I aim to line up my most important work on Mondays & Tuesdays, I take time on Wednesdays to reset my home a bit.
On Thursdays, my priority is writing my weekly newsletter & content. Again, my “theme day” doesn’t mean that I’m only doing that all day. It just means that’s my priority of the day. Sometimes I get that task done before 7am and I roll everything else behind it.
Fridays are for everything financial. Our own household finances, project finances and budgeting for my work projects, and otherwise. If it has to do with numbers, it gets done on Fridays.
Finally, my weekends vary depending on how the week goes. Often, I’m working on this brand new side hustle of mine.
But my long-term goal is to shift to working within the margins only so that I can fully rest and spend time with my family.
This type of schedule is a huge help to know what to prioritize each day. Your schedule won’t look the same, but hopefully this gives you some helpful inspiration to create your own using the Companion Workbook in the 5-Day Training.
Another strategy that makes the biggest difference in my ability to stay consistent is to actually write the steps down for processes that are repeatable!
Years ago, I was involved in writing a massive program process guide for an important client. It ended up being over 400 pages, but it’s kind of a legend! And I freaking LOVED it.
Afterwards, I applied that to my home and began writing down all the little day to day processes in my OneNote digital notebook. This has become a huge set of checklists and protocols and it makes our life so much easier.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m very Type A and detailed. So it makes sense that I’d write up a bunch of processes for my life. I fully embrace and own this!
But as rigid as it sounds, it’s actually made a MASSIVE difference in my ability to stay consistent. And my head doesn’t feel overburdened during the minutia. I know I don’t have to remember basic steps for basic activities and my mind is clear as a result.
That’s what we’re going for, lady!
Another Productivity Book Recommendation!
And finally, I have another book recommendation. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. I began listening to this book on Audible soon after it came out, but quickly bought the hard copy so I can mark it up as every good personal development book reader does.
There are so many powerful actions and next steps to pursue. Even though I haven’t quite made my way through the entire book, I’ve already realized HUGE gains from the knowledge shared. I’m notorious for cracking open 5 books at a time or I’d have definitely already finished this gold mine!
Don’t lose one more minute in becoming more productive through consistency. Go sign up for Camp Clarity: Your Productivity Jump Start Plan to Save You At Least 2 Hours per Week.