In this week’s Empire Building Kit, Chris Guillebeau interviews Charles Gilkey, owner and inspirer behind Productive Flourishing. The former college professor/military logistics officer shares his journey to becoming a productivity expert for creative types everywhere. He offers individual coaching, productivity products, and writing on various related topics.
If you haven’t read my first two posts, go to the links below
Empire Building Kit: Introduction
Managing Your Energy:
Charles talks about “heat-mapping” our time – a system to help us identify our productive capacity at different times of the day. He says that we should assess when we’re at our productive best and work on the “high leverage” tasks in that time period. For example, if you’re a writer, write when you’re feeling really creative and energized. Save emails, social media, and other random tasks for your low performance times.
I took the whole “managing your energy and not your time” a little too far. Apparently, I have a very susceptible personality. Here’s what it looked like:
Any energy in existence = WORKING ON BLOG SHIT. ALL THE TIME.
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t run into Ted Kaczinski (aka Unabomber) in my more formativeyears. Observe:
So I have discovered that I need to manage both my time and energy. This means that if I write better in the morning, I should work from 9am until noon – not 9 am until INFINITY.
As it turns out, Chris and Charles were saying something different than what I had understood. Charles points out that when you are doing what you love, you’re not working for “this” anymore. “This” being the goal you’re trying to reach, like a nice vacation or your first house. With your passion, your “this” is already built into your work. In other words, sometimes it’s going to be a little hard to put down the computer. Or camera. Or sketchbook. Or whatever your thing happens to be.
It’s about balancing between equally meaningful and important priorities in your life. That work/life balance is not going to get easier when you’re passionate about your business. Schedule your time and be fully present in whatever activity that you’re engaged in that moment. Commitment to your whole life, not just certain parts, is key to making it work.
Build Your Social Networks:
Charles talks a lot about how the people in your life may have all kinds of different reactions to your new project or business. He shares that you might need to build up your support system to include people who believe in what you’re doing in a very real way. He advises that when you’re starting a new project, you should find people that will ask you how you will do it, not if you can do it.
Attracting new people into your life can take time. It’s like President Kennedy’s famous quote:
Ask not what your Awesome Person can do for you; ask what you can do for your Awesome Person.
Okay, that’s not exactly how it goes but it’s pretty close. Charles describes it as focusing on making the pie bigger instead of just trying to get your piece of it. Be open to the possibilities in your life and offer your skills and talents to others. You’ll be amazed at what people are willing to do for you if you are genuine and generous in your dealings with them.
New people are not easy for me. I tend to default on certain subjects for the sake of simplicity. You know, the weather, non-controversial current events, and the weather. I only have so much energy to go around and I find it makes my life easier. If I try to be social, It can get a little weird:
Despite my social handicaps with strangers, I did manage to meet some cool people involved in online business stuff and social media last Sunday. There’s a Social Media Breakfast Calgary – or SMBYYC if you’re a Millennial – that happens once a month and I thought I would go in February.
Building or Expanding Your Empire:
Chris then finishes up the week with a review of what a good and bad business model will look like, here are a few good characteristics that he talks about:
1. A business with products that sell on their own. You are awake and make money. You are asleep and make money. Stuff just happens whether you’re there or not.
2. A business that works independent of the economic market. Bear market. Bull market. Up. Down. Who cares? Your business can weather the storms.
3. A business that you can do from anywhere. Work from twenty different countries like Chris or the left hand side of your living room couch like me. It’s all about flexibility.
Take the leap and Build Your Own Empire in 1 Year (Affiliate link)
Homework for me: Continue to network with people both online and offline. I want to focus on developing a solid personal and professional reputation. This means following up with people and delivering a quality service/product in a timely manner when I’ve committed to something.
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