Overcome procrastination and be super productive with Eric Twiggs
In this episode of our productivity podcast Get More Done, we talk to procrastination prevention partner, author and podcaster, Eric Twiggs, on how to avoid procrastination and live a life aligned with your passions.
The YouCanBookMe team
Procrastination is a common problem for many of us. We’ve all put off tasks that need doing because we don’t want to do them, aren’t too sure how to do them or are scared we can’t do them properly.
Procrastination stops us from being productive, making more money, getting more done and feeling more confident.
In this productivity podcast, Eric Twiggs points out the cost of procrastination and shows easy steps to incorporate into your working life to stop procrastinating. You’ll discover the causes of procrastination and how to cure yourself of this habit.
Eric reveals his five-step plan, called the procrastination prevention pyramid, to stop putting things off and start smashing your goals.
Find out why it is important to say no so you make a conscious effort to choose what to focus on and eliminate what stands in your way. Understand what the foundation of your success is and have the belief in yourself to succeed.
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In the episode, “How to overcome procrastination and be super productive,” we discuss:
- The root cause of procrastination and why we have a fear of success
- Practical steps to overcome procrastination so you produce more and, therefore, earn more
- Realizing that procrastination comes at a cost
- Five steps to cure procrastination
- Why the ability to say no is the key to a successful business life
- Why you need to be clear on what you want to accomplish
- The importance of paying attention to your gifts and things that come naturally to you
- Overcoming negative thoughts which are holding you back
- Tips for being more productive by:
- being aware of your power times
- knowing your energy levels
- taking advantage of technology and automation
- accomplishing your top five priorities each day
“What has to be noted is that whenever you say yes to something, you say yes to chairing that committee, you're saying no to something else. You could be saying no to spending time with your family. You could be saying no to moving in your business for it. You could be saying no to getting your podcast off the ground. I think that's a critical thing that people overlook the ability to say no.” - Eric Twiggs
“Pay attention to your gifts. Pay attention to those things you just feel passionate about. For example, I always felt fulfilled when I was speaking to a group. I had an idea that I wanted to be a professional speaker, so finally I took the step of joining Toastmasters International. Then when I did that, I met someone who trained professional speakers. The takeaway is if you wanna know what your purpose is, pay attention to your gifts. Pay attention to what you're passionate about and what's the next step that you can take in that direction.” - Eric Twiggs
“If you're an entrepreneur, you're focused on problems. So it's negative, negative, negative, negative, negative. The challenge is you tend to get what you expect. If you're expecting a negative, you're gonna get a negative outcome. The key is to replace this negative habit with a better habit and focus on gratitude, really being intentional, and starting the day focused on those things you have to be grateful for. I'll work with entrepreneurs and just this one thing has shifted businesses.” - Eric Twiggs
“I have a Twiggs time calculator where you put in the hours you work and it'll calculate for the hour, per minute, how much your time is worth. I think if you know how much your time is worth, it makes it easier to outsource those things that are lower than your hourly rate. But automation is key. You can take advantage of technology. Get a virtual assistant. Delegate those types of things.” - Eric Twiggs
“I have something that I call the Twiggs top five. I always have a three-by-five card handy and I have it on me. The night before I write down my five priorities for the following day. I feel like once I've accomplished those five priorities, I've won for that particular day. Anything else is then in the bonus round, it is the icing on the cake.” - Eric Twiggs
“This university in New Jersey concluded that you're 40% more likely to do it if it's on your calendar and you've got the day, time, and place. So if you say, ‘On Wednesday at one o'clock in my home office, I'm going to complete this outline,’ you're more than likely to do it. That's another key habit.” - Eric Twiggs
Meet today’s guest, Eric Twiggs
Eric M. Twiggs is a founding partner and president of The What Now Movement. His mission is to build high-performing entrepreneurs, authors, and career professionals, who are prepared for life’s unexpected curveballs.
He is the author of The Discipline of Now: 12 Practical Principles to Overcome Procrastination. The Discipline of Now has been recognized as a Global Top Ten Finalist for the 2020 Author Elite Awards in the category of Best Self-Help Book. This recognition was based on the combination of the following criteria: cover design, content, popularity, and social contribution.
Eric is also the host of a weekly inspirational podcast titled "The 30 Minute Hour."
As a Certified Life & Business Coach, Eric has conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions, helping executive leaders and entrepreneurs who have moved from feeling frustrated, to finding fulfillment.
He has also led organizations of 500 or more people in corporate America, and shared his message with corporations, associations, and congregations across the country.
By reading The Discipline of Now, you will receive a proven blueprint to beat procrastination, so that you make more money, get more done, and feel more confident.
Productivity resources to explore
- Eric Twiggs website
- The Discipline Of Now: 12 Practical Principles To Overcome Procrastination by Eric Twiggs
- 30 Minute Hour podcast
- Toastmasters International
- Listen Notes
- The What Now Movement
- The What Now Movement Coffee & Conversation
- Twiggs time calculator
- Google Calendar
- Ted Fells profile
- YouCanBook.me calendar scheduling tool
- YCBM Twitter
- YCBM Forum
“How to overcome procrastination and be super productive,” full transcript
This transcript has been slightly edited for clarity and readability.
This is Get More Done, a YouCanBook.me podcast, and I'm your host, Ben Dlugiewicz. Over the last 10 years, YouCanBook.me has saved teams 1,500 years worth of time. Because of this, we wanted to see how much more time we could help them save. On this podcast we will talk with business owners, CEOs, managers, consultants, and coaches on how they're helping their teams do more with less. We discuss automation, delegation, and everything in between. In this episode, I caught up with Eric Twiggs. Eric is an author, podcaster, and executive coach who helps his clients prevent procrastination. As a procrastination prevention partner, he works with folks to uncover the real reason that they procrastinate and helps them live a life aligned with their passions. During our conversation, he explains the overall reason why you might be procrastinating and shares some tips on how to avoid it. Enjoy. Excellent. Welcome back to Get More Done, the podcast all about productivity and crushing of goals. Today, I'm sitting down with Eric Twiggs, the author, executive coach and podcaster, and procrastination prevention partner. So Eric, welcome to the podcast.
Hey Ben, thank you for having me. It's truly an honor.
Yeah, I'm really keen to learn everything you have to fill us in on procrastination because I procrastinate way too much, but we'll get into that in a little bit. What we usually do is start with an icebreaker, just to get you a bit more comfortable. The question this week is if you could eliminate one food, so no one would have to eat it ever again, what would you destroy and why?
Oh, that's easy. It would be candy corn. It's, the top Halloween candy but it’s the nastiest candy. I just think it should be done away with. I think this world would be a better place if there was no candy corn.
Yes. I can agree with that. It is a letdown when you're eating. You're, ‘That was okay, but not anything worthwhile for sure.’ Maybe a traumatic experience from when you were a kid at a Halloween party or something who knows?
Talking about food, a close second would be liver. They're like neck and neck, right?
Exactly. Get liver off the table for sure. Awesome. As I mentioned in the intro, you call yourself the procrastination prevention partner. I'd love you to elaborate a bit on exactly what that means.
As your procrastination prevention partner, I help entrepreneurs and executive leaders to ditch their excuses and beat procrastination so they can make more money, get more done, and feel more confident. Through coaching, through my book, through workshops, through keynote presentations, I help people to unpack the root cause of their procrastination. I'm different from other people in the field because I had more of an inspirational flow, more motivational. But if you apply what I teach, I truly believe in my heart that, you know, your life will be better and your business will be better.
Absolutely. It might be difficult to answer this next question, but why do people procrastinate?
Well, there's no one main reason, but I would say the root cause is discomfort. There's some aspect of the task that you're not comfortable with. Now. It could be something I just don't like doing. So I'm going to avoid it. Like doing your taxes. You know what? I just don't like doing my taxes. I will avoid it for as long as I possibly can. I'm gonna start on April 14th at eight o'clock in the evening. I'm just gonna wait until the last minute. Or it could be that the discomfort is fear. You're afraid of it and, believe it or not, a lot of people I work with have a fear of success. It's, ‘Okay, what if this succeeds? How is this gonna change? Am I gonna be spending time away from my family? Am I gonna have more? Am I gonna be ready for what the next level presents?’ So the root cause is discomfort. That's where I come in. I can really help you to unpack where is that discomfort coming from.
That makes a lot of sense of why you don't wanna do this thing because there's something looming. Whether it's the discomfort of doing it, the fear of it actually happening, or something else. That makes total sense. In your book, The Discipline Of Now, you reveal these 12 practical steps to overcome procrastination. Can you give us a summary of what those are?
Sure. The book is divided into three parts. You have the cost of procrastination. A lot of times we don't realize that it's costing us. It is not like a lot of things you do have an immediate consequence if you do something wrong. A lot of times, there's not an immediate bad thing that happens with procrastination. So you think you're getting away with it. It's not like you put off doing your taxes when you know you should be and the procrastination police come and arrest you. It doesn't work that way. So it leads you to believe that you're getting away with it. That's why I make a point to talk about the different costs of procrastination. Then I get into the causes of procrastination. As I'm talking about the cost and the cause, I'm talking about principles that can help you to overcome certain things. Then we get into the cure. The cure is my five-step plan. It's called the procrastination prevention pyramid where we go through the different five levels. If you take these five steps and you follow them, you'll overcome procrastination. That's a summary of the principles in a nutshell.
Absolutely. Out of those principles, what do you feel is the most effective that folks can do, or one that is the easiest to implement?
One that I think is key - I talk about this in chapter six of the book - is the ability to say no. I'm telling you that is so important especially when you start to have more success, you start to become more visible. People start to rush you as a person who can get things done. When you become a person who can get things done, people will ask you to do more things. If you don't watch it, you'll find yourself in what's called the excellence trap. There are so many people I know of who are in this excellence trap. They're recognized for being good and being able to get things done but now they have all this stuff on their plate.
That does have a lot of power to it. As you said, you have to consciously choose what you're putting your focus in and what you're putting your whole self into, for sure. Are there any other ways that folks can prevent procrastination to accomplish more, some general tips?
A general tip would be clarity is the starting point of success. I talk about this in the book. A lot of times we procrastinate because we're not really clear on where it is we're trying to go and what it is. So it's hard to say no, when you're not clear on what the destination looks like. If you don't know where you're going, everything sounds like a good idea. Once you really get clear on what you're trying to accomplish it makes it easier because now you can just line up your decisions to say, ‘Okay, I want to be an eight-figure entrepreneur. Is chairing the PTA committee gonna get me closer to becoming an eight-figure entrepreneur?’ No- It's a great thing to do. You need someone to lead the PTA committee, but we only have a finite amount of time. So really being clear on what it is that you wanna accomplish is critical to overcoming procrastination.
I think that ties into another philosophy of yours, of helping people find the purpose of what they wanna do. How do those work together to help people get more done, of finding and getting that clarity?
Really paying attention to those things that light you up. I get this question all the time. How do I find my purpose? I know people who were just walking down the street one day, the piano purpose fell on 'em and now they know exactly what they're supposed to do. I know people like that where they just have this experience. From that moment, they know what they were put on this Earth to do. Now that's not most people, right? For most people, it's more of a trial-and-error type thing. What I would suggest is really pay attention to your gifts. Pay attention to those things that come naturally to you. But when people look at it from the outside, it seems like it's a lot of work.
That makes total sense of trying things out and experimenting. Like you said, it's not an ‘Aha’ or ‘Eureka’ moment for everyone. Those people are just blessed and they can go full heart into that. But just trying things out and taking those individual steps. Toastmasters sounds like it opened up a whole new world for you.
It was extremely helpful. When I got to Toastmasters, the president of the club told me about this thing called the international speech contest and said, ‘Eric, I'm telling you, you'd be great.’ And I'm, ‘Okay.’ I started competing and I kept winning. It was confirmation that, ‘Okay, you're on the right path. This is something that you're supposed to be doing.’ I would recommend for anybody interested in becoming a professional speaker, join Toastmasters. The biggest thing with Toastmaster is it provides a safe place to practice your content. You may have a major presentation to do for your company. You could practice elements of that in Toastmasters and get honest feedback where there are no consequences, where you know your promotion isn't on the line, your reputation. So I strongly encourage people to join Toastmasters.
Just from the fact of increasing your confidence when you're speaking in public and not necessarily building a career out of it, but just building those reps. I'll be sure to check it out because I've always been told that I’d be great at public speaking. It’s just the opportunity to do it. Earlier you mentioned that a lot of your work is helping executives, helping them ditch those excuses and get more done, be more confident. How do you help them accomplish that?
I do one-on-one coaching. I do workshops and I do keynotes, but I have this procrastination prevention pyramid that I help people through. The first step - and this is in the book starting around chapter seven - the first ladder on the pyramid is your attitude. You picture this pyramid and it's got levels. At the foundation of the pyramid is your attitude because your attitude is the foundation of your success. I'm telling you, I've seen this play out. You can literally give someone the exact recipe for success, but if their mindset isn't right, it's not gonna work. So you really have to address the attitude. And the challenge is that studies show 80% of the typical person's thoughts are negative.
When I'm talking to you, you have to tell me what your wins are at the beginning of our conversation. You have to create a win log, meaning you're going through your week looking for those small victories.
I got a five-star Google review. I got this new client. I make progress with you. Now you're starting to build momentum and offset that negativity. So that's your attitude. Next is awareness. You have to be aware of your power times. When do you have the most energy? I walk entrepreneurs and executive leaders through that. Are you a morning person? Are you a night owl? The key is to schedule your high-priority activities during those times of day when you have the most energy and then you wanna be aware of people you're around. Can you find people who have the results that you aspire to and join that group? You join a group where the result you want is the standard. Find a group like Toastmasters.
If you wanna be a top 100 real estate person, join the top 100 real estate group. So you have attitude. You have awareness. Animation is next. Animation is your energy level. Energy's critical. If you look at times you replay the tape. The times when you were procrastinating. Often it was when you had low energy, for whatever reason. Get a rest, stop your workout routine, maybe eat the wrong things. So you have to be critical of your energy levels and really be proactive. You have to prioritize like most people prioritize the grind and the work, but you have to prioritize those recovery activities, which could be resting. Get your sleep, It could be meditating. Think about those things you can do to recover, like taking vacations. Then when you come back, you find you have higher levels of energy. So now we talk about automation. I wish someone would've told me this when I was starting out. But just because something has to be done, it doesn't mean that you have to do it.
I wish I knew that. I would be a lot less tired. I'd have more hair and everything else. But part of it starts with delegating. You don't have to do everything. Are there people that you can delegate to? It also helps to know the value of your time.
Then the top of the pyramid is activity. I put activity at the top because you can't get to the top without taking action. But you need to prioritize those actions. Only 20% of the things you're gonna do are gonna get you 80% of your results. So figure out what are those priority actions that you need to take to move forward.
That sums it up in a small pyramid, but that's a lot of heavy lifting that a person needs to do. That's a masterclass right there of everything. Check all the boxes right. Get your head right. Get your attitude right. Get your network right. Get your actions Right. And then automate and delegate everything. That's really awesome. With all of the folks you've worked with, over like 28,000 coaching sessions you've done, what have been some common trends or commonalities you've seen across much of them?
I would say 80% of the time, it's that mindset or belief issue. I just think they have the ‘Yeah buts.’ You say, ‘Hey, this is what I've seen work.’ ‘Well, yeah. But my business is different,’ or, ‘Well, yeah, but it's a pandemic’. ‘Yeah but’ is the key thing that stops a lot of people. If you are always inserting in the, ‘Yeah but,’ that's a problem. I just think you have to get past that mindset issue. That's why it's important to find people who are examples of what you're trying to accomplish. Let's say, you wanna start a podcast, don't ask, ‘How?’. You have to shift from ‘How?’ to ‘Who?’. If you wanna start a podcast, then, ‘How am I gonna start a podcast?’ becomes, ‘Who is already running a successful podcast?’ Then it could be as simple as calling that person and finding out the steps they took. That's the key thing. The number one thing is that belief issue that holds people back.
Right. It's less of the, ‘Yeah, but,’ and more of the, ‘Move your butt’. Getting some action. Getting some movement towards your goals. I wanted to talk about, you personally, what kind of struggles do you face with procrastination?
It's a challenge for me too. It would be easy for me to put off some of those little day-to-day clerical tasks because I like to stay focused on the bigger picture. If you don’t do some of these little things, they can have big consequences down the line. So that's a challenge for me. It's something I have to always be aware of. That's why I have a virtual assistant and it's been a game-changer for me. I would encourage anybody who is a solopreneur where you think, ‘Okay, I'm just gonna do this myself,’ to strongly consider investing in that virtual assistant. Some of those little day-to-day tasks, expense reimbursements, and just some of those little things I don't like doing, to be honest with you. It's not that deep. I just don't enjoy doing it. I like to be focused on the bigger picture. I have to be aware of making sure I've got it outsourced and that it's getting handled.
I can see the power of having a virtual assistant just to take a lot of that off your plate. Do you have any processes in place that help you do more with less?
I'm telling you that has been critical because what I find is that certain things will start nagging at me. I'll feel compelled to do certain things because I've written it down and there's power in writing versus putting it in your phone. Putting it in your phone is better than doing nothing, but writing it really makes a stronger link to your brain and your subconscious. You'll literally be walking around and it's, ‘Oh, you have to do this.’ Let me go do this.
I've heard that quite a bit. Just getting it out of your brain, getting it onto some piece of paper, even that analog format works better because it's visual. You can see it. It's tangible. You can hold it. It's like there and it's done. The top five, I think that's a real big takeaway. I don't know if I could do a Twig’s top five, but maybe I'll adopt it too.
I'm curious to know what's on your list today. What's on your top five today?
I try to make a habit of following up on my podcast stats, because I feel this measurement is the key to movement and, if you really wanna get traction, you have to track it. I literally have this habit of tracking. I've got a co-host. I've got marketing resources that I use and I'm just trying to always keep track of where we're going and what we're doing. That's one thing. I've got something that I call five contact. I'm just obsessed with the rule of five. I think if you do five things, you'll find you get a lot of things done. From a business standpoint, I'm making five business connections. That's via LinkedIn. That could be via email.
I'm sending 'em to one pager because I think you have to have offense. You can't just have defense, where you're waiting for people to call you. I think you have to be very proactive. The other thing on my list is, I have a scheduled meeting with our accounting person. You really make sure we've got some things squared away when it comes to QuickBooks, and things like that. The next thing is I've got another follow-up with someone who's going to be on the 30 Minute Hour podcast, and that's part of the 30 Minute Media. We've got another podcast that's gonna be coming up, so I've got a follow-up meeting there. We've got another follow-up meeting. There's another comedy show that we host under the 30 Minute Hour media. So, my five is gonna be different from day to day, but tracking the podcast is something that is pretty consistently on the list every day.
Tell us a bit more about your 30 Minute Hour podcast.
The 30 Minute Hour podcast is a personal development podcast. It's for entrepreneurs primarily, but it's personal development. It applies to most people because it's about how do you improve yourself. Maybe you are not an entrepreneur, but it still applies to improving yourself and improving your life. But it is designed for entrepreneurs. We help people to laugh, to learn, and to ultimately level up. So we're different in that we add a lot of humor. My co-host Ted is the super CEO and all-around good guy but he's like the wild card, literally. You don't know what he’s gonna say. He may ask you anything. I'm like a straight man in this whole thing. I'm, ‘Okay, here we go.’ He's, ‘Look, I didn't read Eric's questions so I'm just gonna ask you whatever I wanna ask you.’
I think the balance is really good. The guests who come on, they always say, ‘You know what? This is the most fun I've ever had on a podcast.’ And it's going well. On Listen Notes, we're ranked in the top 2% of all podcasters as it relates to popularity. So the 30 Minute Hour, we bring on influencers every week. If you're looking for that person who has the results you aspire to, we're probably interviewing him this coming Monday. It's every Monday at seven o'clock and we do it live.
I think that's part and parcel of what we said earlier about finding the people who have done it before, following their footsteps, and learning from them. Sounds like an amazing time. I'll be sure to listen to more episodes. I caught a few and you're right, your co-host is a little bit of a wild card, but it all makes for a good time. And you have a fun time. What's next for you? What are you excited about? What's on the horizon.
Just continuing to get the message out on a larger scale. I'm also the president of The What Now Movement and our whole mission is to help people pivot when they face a challenge. Like the pandemic, a lot of people say, ‘I'm gonna wait until things get back to normal.’ No, you need to be asking yourself, What now?’ So, we formed this movement all around the question of ‘What now?’. I'm the president. My co-host on the podcast is one of my vice presidents, Ted Fells. We're doing this thing called Coffee & Conversation on the first Saturday of every month at 10 o'clock, and that's starting to grow and get traction. The last one we did, we talked about steps you can take to get ready for 2022. Again, it's designed for the entrepreneurial person. So just really getting a message out on a larger scale and just continuing to grow the podcast and, and continuing to preach the message that's in the discipline of ‘Now’, but getting it on larger platforms.
Yeah. And you're accomplishing all of this by the five tasks today.
Sure. Absolutely. Every now and then someone will say, ‘Oh man, Eric, do you sleep, man? How in the world are you doing all of this?’ But I'm telling you a lot of it is the five things. The other thing we haven't mentioned yet that I have a habit of is making an appointment with yourself. I've talked to people who are chronic procrastinators, but once they get in the habit of doing this, it helps. It's all about going to your calendar. It could be Google Calendar. Google Calendar's free. Instead of saying, ‘I'm gonna write the outline for my book this week,’ and then you get to five o'clock on Friday and you haven't written anything, say, ‘Okay, on Wednesday at one o'clock.’
Here's, what's interesting about that. If you specify the day, time, and place that you're going to do it, you're more likely to do it. Matter of fact, the studies show this.
I would say the combined efforts of making an appointment with myself and the top five and having those five things written down, that's how you get a lot done and look like, ‘Man, does this person ever sleep?’
Great advice. And it got me thinking about using our tool YouCanBook.me as a way to schedule those events. Building a page to say, ‘On Tuesday, I'm doing this at this time.’ Date, time, and place, that's what you need to get more done. That's really awesome. Where can folks go to learn more about everything that you're working on? If, if we got time to list everything that you're working on.
Certainly, you can check out the podcast, 30 Minute Hour, on Apple podcast, Spotify, and all of those places. You can go to my website, ericmwtwiggs.com. And you can pick up a copy of the book, The Discipline Of Now: 12 Practical Principles To Overcome Procrastination. It's in paperback, audio, and ebook format as well.
We'll be sure to put all of those links on the blog post that we'll put up to get more people to procrastinate a lot less and get more stuff done. Eric, it's been a pleasure talking with you and I've learned a bunch. I got a lot of takeaways - five of them. Thanks so much for being on Get More Done. I hope you have a good rest of your day. Have a great rest of your year and hope 2022 is really great for you too.
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