If you listen to any guru who tells you that they never have a bad day— they’re lying.
Imagine a world where there are no unproductive days… Where you never have to experience going off the path and delaying your journey toward your goals…
What a dream!
But reality check, we will ALWAYS have bad days! Yes, even your favorite gurus and world-class performers have unproductive days.
You will have…
➡️ Days where you don’t feel like journaling
➡️ Hours that seem to pass by without you getting anything done
➡️ Seconds you spend watching every viral video on YouTube or TikTok
We’re all guilty as charged!
So what can you do about it?
In this episode, I’m going to reveal 5 tactics that you can do to help boost your productivity— especially during the bad days or when you just (desperately) need to get things done.
It’s time to end your Unproductivity Mode and start taking action. Tune in now!
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
[00:00] When I get to the top of the mountain, I'll have more money and I'll have a bigger house and a different car. Like happiness doesn't live there. It lives here now it's found here now on the path, not at the top of the mountain, but on the path, the journey that's part of it. Welcome to another episode of Success Through Failure.
[00:24] This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. and today I'm bringing you a solo episode. In our coaching conversations with clients, productivity comes up often, and often people feel unproductive. They have these unproductive days where they kind of drift through the day. They don't really get the things done that they thought that they would get done, and.
[00:42] You know, maybe they end up on YouTube or down some rabbit hole on the internet, or they get stressed out beating themselves up, and it could be this downward spiral, you know? And so the question is, how do you handle these bad days? How do you rescue them? How do you not let them turn into a bad two days in a bad week, and then continue on?
[01:01] That is what we're gonna be talking about today. If you like the information that you're hearing, you can sign up for a free one-on-one, one time coaching call with me. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/apply. The purpose of that call is to bring you clarity and confidence in peace of mind and knowing that you're working on the right things and you have a plan for your life, whether that's in your career or anywhere else in your life.
[01:27] Also, if you like what you're hearing, you can get the free action plan from all of these episodes. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action. All right, so let's get into what we're gonna talk about here today. This stemmed from a single particular conversation that I had with a Pathfinder. That is one of the Reveal Your Path clients who is in our coaching program, By the way, reveal your path.
[01:49] Recently we got our trademark application was accepted, so we are. Legit it is, uh, a hundred percent protected in terms of the trademark in the brand name, which I thought was pretty cool. We got like an official certificate in the whole bit. So this particular individual was talking about how he has these days where he feels adrift.
[02:09] Some days where he just doesn't feel like he's on target, kinda has a plan going into the day, and then things just kind of go off track and he gets bogged down or he can't quite get the momentum and he ends up being unproductive and procrastinating and ends up doing something totally different than what he had planned for the day and, and it's usually not nearly as productive.
[02:31] So personally, I preach about, and I use a lot of tools that I have in my tool belt to help me with this sort of, I use something called the Pomodoro technique or the Nitra technique, or the Five Minute Rule, and I talk about a lot of these in episode 317 where I talk about the title of that episode actually is Defeating Procrastination Tactics to Boost Productivity.
[02:55] Even when you don't feel like it. So if you wanna get coaching on these, go to JimHarshawJr.com/apply or get the action plan at JimHarshawJr.com/action. But that is episode 317. And so I have a bunch of these tools and tactics in my tool belt, but guess what? I still have bad days. Yes. The guy behind the microphone, the guy who's running the coaching program, the guy who started Reveal your path, the guy who's on the podium, on my pedestal, on my soapbox, talking about how to get locked in, how to stay focused.
[03:28] I still have those days for everybody does like if you listen to any guru who tells you otherwise that they never have a bad day. They're lying. There are days when I wake up, I don't do in my journaling, or I don't create my shortlist for the day, and I end up checking email first thing in the morning or end up going down a rabbit hole because I click on a link in an email and then an hour goes by and I haven't gotten anything done.
[03:51] And then before you know it, half the day goes by and then the whole day you have those days where you just feel like you're going a hundred miles an hour all day long, and you feel like you got a hundred things done, but you really don't feel like you move the needle. It's like you just. Go through the day adrift.
[04:07] And you know, for me it's like, like I said, checking email. Then you might check fantasy football or get into just that unproductive mode. Right? Before you know it, you're watching like, I dunno, Key & Peele YouTube videos. That's like my shiny object. I end up going to YouTube and I end up watching like Key & Peele videos or something like that, or some light, like latest viral video.
[04:26] Have you seen the, it's corn video. So if you haven't, you probably shouldn't cuz it's gonna get you hooked and then there. Song that this other YouTube channel made about. It's hilarious. But there's all this, there's so much out there, right? That can distract us. Then sometimes we catch ourselves in the middle of it and we get back to doing some good work, and then, you know, we get that one big thing done because it has to be done today and there's a deadline today, and maybe we get that done, but that's the only thing we get done today.
[04:52] Quick interruption, If you like what you're hearing here and you want to learn how you can implement, Into your life. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/apply to see how you can get a free one-on-one coaching session with me. That's JimHarshawJr.com/apply. Now, back to the show. First, I want you to understand this.
[05:13] It's okay. I don't wanna make a habit out of this, and I'm not saying this is a just a fine way to go about your life. It's not. But listen, it's okay. Here's why. Gurus out there have bad days too, just like I said. So do your friends who you see on social media posting how badass they are? Like I went to a Darden school class.
[05:33] So the Darden School is the University of Virginia Business School, one of the top MBA business schools in the country. And I sat in on a class a few years ago with a friend of mine and there was a professor up there and she was talking about how she's friends with a Nobel laureate. And he said to her once, he said, You know, A lot of days I just don't feel like a Nobel laureate when I wake up
[05:55] You know, like these are some of the highest-performing people in the world. Like they just don't feel like it some days. And if you beat yourself up when you're having one of these days, then itself perpetuates. It makes you feel like you're a procrastinator and you're not worthy and you're not living like the gurus or the friends you see on social media.
[06:15] And that leads to this self-doubt and leads to you having an even more unproductive days and maybe lowering your goals or settling for less, like just this internal unconscious mindset shift that's happening. And it's this confirmation bias at work, right? We have this little voice. In our head that's doubting that we are or can be the person that we wanna be doubting, that we can actually crush it.
[06:41] And then you don't crush it for a day and then you unconsciously use that as evidence against yourself. That's called confirmation bias. Actually, if you haven't listed episode three 70, I highly recommend it. It's on the topic of implicit bias. Interviewed Dr. Bryant Marks absolutely fascinating. Eye-opening conversation.
[07:01] The title of it is Implicit Bias, How Our Brain Unconsciously Leads us Astray and What to do about it. Fascinating conversation, but in that conversation, the topic of confirmation bias comes up, and that's what happens to us. We find evidence that we are not good enough. We use that to confirm what we might fear.
[07:20] While there might be plenty of evidence to the contrary, we often use that negative confirmation bias unconsciously to harm ourselves, right? So what do you do about it? What do you do about it? Whatever you have this unproductive day or this unproductive spell, what do you do about it? A few things. Okay.
[07:36] First, figure out why you were unproductive. Usually there's a reason behind it, right? For example, you might not be feeling great. Maybe you got a bad night's sleep. Maybe you didn't work out that morning. I know for me, like if I don't work out in the morning, I just don't feel as productive. Maybe you ate a bad breakfast or a heavy breakfast or a heavy lunch, and you're like, Afternoon.
[07:58] You're really sluggish. You know, maybe you're sick or recovering from being. Or maybe you're going through some transition, right? Maybe you just got back from vacation or after a holiday and you're out of your routine, or you were out of your routine for some reason. Or maybe there's something looming like in the back of your mind or on your calendar, like some big project that you have to work on or a deadline approaching, or maybe you're stressed about something, an argument you had with your spouse or disagreement with your boss, or some other financial stress or family stress.
[08:27] These are all things that can put you in the wrong mindset. And lead to drifting through your day. And guess what? Those happen to everybody. And again, you wanna have the tools and tactics in your tool belt to minimize those, but these are the things that cause us to have unproductive days. So that's first number one, identify what is causing this.
[08:51] Because if you don't identify that, you can't mitigate its effects, especially if it happens again next week, next month, next year, you can see it coming. And only if you stop and identify what is causing this, right? And then when you understand what's causing it, you tend to beat yourself up a little less too.
[09:10] You go, Oh, okay. There's a reason why here, You know, maybe I'm using it as an excuse, but it's a reason. Here's how I can put something in place, some guardrails in place to overcome this. All right? So that's, first you have to identify what's causing it next. At the end of that day, if it's the whole day, you kinda go through this unproductive day, actually see what you accomplish.
[09:30] That. Check your sent mailbox, the emails you sent out that day. Check your to-do list. What did you check off the to-do list? Maybe notes. Maybe keep notes. I keep a notebook right beside myself all day long and I'm kind of scribbling notes throughout my day when I'm on different calls and that sort of thing.
[09:45] Check that like you'll see maybe some things you accomplished the day. Look at your calendar, maybe at some meetings that you got through, and often you find that you actually got some things done today. Maybe it's not exactly what you wanted to get done. But you got some things done today. Honestly, when you have those days when you feel like you're going a hundred miles an hour and you feel like you got a hundred things done, but you really didn't move the needle, a lot of times it's just because you didn't have a plan going into the day or you didn't follow the plan that you wanted to.
[10:13] But if you actually look at what you accomplished, you go, Ah, I actually did make some progress. Like if you hit the pause button and do what we call a productive pause, and if you've been listening for any length of time, you know what that is. It's a short period of focus reflection around specific questions that leads to clarity of action and peace of mind.
[10:31] But if you do that productive pause and say, What did I actually get done today? What did I accomplish? Then you'll realize you actually maybe did move the needle, even if not as far as you liked, like to use the reveal Your path analogy of being on the path. On the path to that hypothetical top of the mountain.
[10:49] Versus being a drift, then you, you know, it get to the end of the day and you feel a drift. Like you just kind of roamed through the woods, right? You weren't on the path. And that sucks. And that causes this mental spiral of, you know, I didn't get closer to the top of the mountain. And then that's the confirmation bias that you need to say, Oh, well I can't get there and I'm not equipped for this.
[11:08] It's this mental spiral. Or the alternative is to stop, look back from where you came and realize that you did advance, You advanced towards the top of the. Albeit, maybe not in the most direct path, but that alone, that recognition of the progress of things accomplished, changes your mental state from beating yourself up.
[11:28] Like I didn't make any progress to, Hey, you know what? I advanced. I didn't get everything done I wanted to, but I got some of these other things done that needed to be done right. I got some good work done, not all that I wanted to, but I took care of some things and I'm now actually a little bit closer to the top of the mountain, right?
[11:44] And. When you do this, you're more likely to have confidence that you can get back on the path tomorrow cuz you realize you actually made some progress. That's the second thing, right? So the first thing is really understanding what it was that caused you to be unproductive and have that bad day. And then number two is you see what you actually accomplished that day.
[12:04] And then the third you, you have to understand this. Realize that happiness isn't found at the top of that mountain. We all think it's going to be. Yeah, when I get to the top of the mountain, I'll have more money and I'll have a bigger house and a different car. Like happiness doesn't live there. It lives here now.
[12:19] It's found here now on the path. Not at the top of the mountain, but on the path, The journey that's part of it, like happiness is here. If you're not happy here, you're not gonna be happy at the top of the mountain, neither. You know, Happiness is not some distant. Destination. It's here. It's now. What are you grateful for here and now?
[12:39] What are you grateful for? And I know that's this sort of thing that everybody talks about, you know, having a gratitude practice. And you've heard that a million times, but are you actually doing it? Like, do you actually have gratitude for the things that are in your life right now? Not just like, Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[12:54] I judge. I got that. I got too. No. Like, no. Are you actually doing it? Are you actually running those things down? Are you actually saying them out loud? Do you actually. Consciously realize those things throughout the day. Look at the little things. Look at the desk you're sitting at right now, or the car you're driving or the treadmill that you're running on or whatever you're doing, right, The kitchen, you're cooking dinner.
[13:14] Like, are you grateful for that space that you're in right now? Listen, we're all gonna have unproductive days in weeks, even months, dare I say. And I've published a lot of episodes on productivity and how to get things done. I talked about episode 317 defeating procrastination tactics to boost productivity even when you don't feel like it, this is resonating with you go directly to that episode afterwards or episode 291.
[13:41] It's settled logically override the default. How do you logically override the default? Sometimes we end up in this default mode and we can't quite get the momentum to get over the Hump. One Echo episode 2 91. I talk about how to override that default that we fall back into. Sometimes you're going to be off the path at times.
[14:04] The goal is to minimize those by doing the things that you learn. And again, in those two episodes 291, 317, and if you're still listening to this right now, this is obviously resonating with you. So go directly to those, or you can schedule a call with me or make sure to grab the action plan as well.
[14:20] But what I'm talking about right now is five things. Number one, figure out why you were unproductive. Number two, don't beat yourself up. It happens. Number three, stop and recognize what you did accomplish. Number four, figure out what you're gonna do differently tomorrow and the things that you need to do to get back on the past.
[14:39] The Nicota Technique, the Five-minute Rule, the Pomodoro. Again, you know, I cover these in some of those other episodes, and if you grab the action plan for this episode, you get access to all of the action plans. If you've already gotten one action plan, before you have access to that link on the website, just go back to that very, very first email that I sent you right after you entered your email.
[14:59] That link is right in there and you can access the action plan from this episode and every other one. That was number four, number five. Be happy now. Life isn't lived in tomorrow's. It's lived in. Today's happiness is not up there on top of the mountain somewhere. It's right here, right now. Failure happens.
[15:19] Success through failure is real. And the next time you have an unproductive day, when you do not if you do, but when you do or you're drifting, be grateful for that opportunity to learn more about yourself. To increase your productivity to get better. That is success through failure. Do these things and you will be back on the path.
[15:43] Good luck. Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at JimHarshawJr.com/apply, where you can sign up for a free one-time coaching call. With me, and don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action.
[16:05] And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often. You would totally make my day if you give me a rating and review. Those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through failure, select it, and then scroll the whole way to the.
[16:28] Where you can leave the podcast, a rating and a review. Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
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