Remote Work Europe

Mastering Motivation and Productivity: Strategies for Remote Workers and Solopreneurs

June 14, 2024 Maya Middlemiss Season 5 Episode 9
Mastering Motivation and Productivity: Strategies for Remote Workers and Solopreneurs
Remote Work Europe
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Remote Work Europe
Mastering Motivation and Productivity: Strategies for Remote Workers and Solopreneurs
Jun 14, 2024 Season 5 Episode 9
Maya Middlemiss

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Ready to revolutionize your remote work routine? Join me in my home studio in Eastern Spain as we tackle the critical challenges of motivation and productivity that freelancers and solopreneurs face. Discover how transitioning from a structured office environment to remote work can be both freeing and chaotic.

This episode talks about the importance of creating self-imposed structures and why shifting from hourly-based to value-based pricing can transform your approach to knowledge work. Inspired by Cal Newport's "Slow Productivity," I share strategies to avoid pseudo-productivity and focus on clear, outcome-oriented targets.

Struggling to maintain intrinsic motivation while juggling multiple roles? Try practical techniques like the Pomodoro technique to combat procrastination and how to align your tasks with personal values to keep them engaging. We discuss making tasks more rewarding by connecting them to what truly motivates you, ensuring that you stay productive in your remote work journey. Embrace David Allen's "Getting Things Done" methodology to prioritize tasks effectively and reduce stress, aligning your daily activities with your big-picture goals.

Facing the hurdles of procrastination, fear of failure, and decision fatigue? From visualizing positive outcomes to adopting a growth mindset, I unpack actionable strategies for breaking down daunting tasks into manageable steps. Hear about the importance of self-imposed deadlines and consistent routines, illustrated with real-life examples like Steve Jobs' wardrobe routine. By the end of this episode, you'll be equipped with the tools to prioritize effectively, manage decision fatigue, and make steady progress toward your long-term goals. Plus, get insights into leveraging resources like the Remote Work Europe Connected group and the LinkedIn Power Hour to enhance your remote work journey.

Support the Show.

🌟 REMOTE WORK EUROPE CONNECTED IS OPEN 🌟
(It's now even easier to get involved and kickstart your remote work career success)

And you can find all our latest training and resources in our online store.

Finally, make sure you're subscribed to receive our free newsletter, packed with information, updates, and REAL remote job opportunities every week 😎
Here's to your own remote future 🤩

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Ready to revolutionize your remote work routine? Join me in my home studio in Eastern Spain as we tackle the critical challenges of motivation and productivity that freelancers and solopreneurs face. Discover how transitioning from a structured office environment to remote work can be both freeing and chaotic.

This episode talks about the importance of creating self-imposed structures and why shifting from hourly-based to value-based pricing can transform your approach to knowledge work. Inspired by Cal Newport's "Slow Productivity," I share strategies to avoid pseudo-productivity and focus on clear, outcome-oriented targets.

Struggling to maintain intrinsic motivation while juggling multiple roles? Try practical techniques like the Pomodoro technique to combat procrastination and how to align your tasks with personal values to keep them engaging. We discuss making tasks more rewarding by connecting them to what truly motivates you, ensuring that you stay productive in your remote work journey. Embrace David Allen's "Getting Things Done" methodology to prioritize tasks effectively and reduce stress, aligning your daily activities with your big-picture goals.

Facing the hurdles of procrastination, fear of failure, and decision fatigue? From visualizing positive outcomes to adopting a growth mindset, I unpack actionable strategies for breaking down daunting tasks into manageable steps. Hear about the importance of self-imposed deadlines and consistent routines, illustrated with real-life examples like Steve Jobs' wardrobe routine. By the end of this episode, you'll be equipped with the tools to prioritize effectively, manage decision fatigue, and make steady progress toward your long-term goals. Plus, get insights into leveraging resources like the Remote Work Europe Connected group and the LinkedIn Power Hour to enhance your remote work journey.

Support the Show.

🌟 REMOTE WORK EUROPE CONNECTED IS OPEN 🌟
(It's now even easier to get involved and kickstart your remote work career success)

And you can find all our latest training and resources in our online store.

Finally, make sure you're subscribed to receive our free newsletter, packed with information, updates, and REAL remote job opportunities every week 😎
Here's to your own remote future 🤩

Speaker 1:

you're listening to the remote work europe podcast, the show formerly branded as the future is freelance. The name has changed, but our values have not. We're still the podcast for solopreneurs, digital nomads and slowmads, consultants, remote workers, e-residents and everyone living a life without traditional boundaries. We're here for people who defy categorization, those who make a living and a life their own way in Europe and beyond. Fortnightly, on Fridays, we're serving up expert tips, inspired insights and stories from the frontiers of freelancing and the remote work revolution to help you achieve success with your borderless business and liberated lifestyle, whatever success means to you, as you live life on your own terms. Hello, hello Remote Work Europe people, and welcome to a solo episode with just me today. And I'm coming at you from my home studio in Eastern Spain and it's June and it's hot. For your acoustic excellence, I have turned off the fan and even closed the window, so you're welcome. It's because the neighbors are being quite noisy outside. Everybody's getting their garden ready for a long, hot summer ahead. So let's see what we can do today to help us prepare for that time of year. Because I want to talk about motivation and why motivation matters, particularly how it matters when you work remotely Now, when you transition from a traditional workspace to working on your own, one of the first things you face is a lack of structure, and quite often, motivation in a traditional workplace came from other people or it came from systems.

Speaker 1:

It came even from buildings and locations, from turning up a particular place every week, every day. Once you're on your own, working remotely, you have. The price of that freedom is, you don't have those supporting structures around you, and without a set schedule, it can be easy to drift. The structured environment of an office actually provided a framework for being productive, whether that was regular meetings or defined work hours, and it also gave you immediate feedback on how you were doing. Were you looking busy enough? How did you compare to other people around you? So when you work remotely, especially if you're a freelancer or a solopreneur, you need to create those structures for yourself.

Speaker 1:

Now, it's not always obvious how to do this, and part of the problem is that most of us are doing something which can loosely be defined as knowledge work. We're not creating or manufacturing anything where output is really easy to measure. How many widgets did you crank an hour? Or how many cars roll off a production line at the end of each shift. That's really quantifiable, Whereas knowledge work is often much more abstract and it's difficult, therefore, to see how you're doing, how someone else is doing.

Speaker 1:

Even hiring people for knowledge work is challenging and, as every manager knows, when you're freelancing it's often tempting to value yourself in terms of what you can do over time, but that's not always the best and most valuable way of recognizing how productive you are. I always urge freelancers that I coach to move away as quickly as possible from hourly-based pricing. Unless you're doing something like consulting or coaching, where you have to be present physically or digitally for a fixed period of time, then time is not a good indicator of value. If you're creating something on a knowledge work basis, like you're programming or designing or writing, then actually hourly pricing can work against you. Because the programming or designing or writing, then actually hourly pricing can work against you, because the better you get at something, the more quickly you do it, so you should be rewarded for that better expertise. Instead, you end up having to actually bill for fewer hours. Now I've got a whole episode about this in season three, episode 17, called value-based pricing, so I won't dig into it in detail here, but I urge you to check that out.

Speaker 1:

If you're tempted to think in terms of offering pricing based on an hourly rate. The only thing I will say here is it's fine to have an hourly rate in your head because you know roughly how long it's going to take you to do a thing, and when you price per project or per deliverable, you're actually assuming the risk that it might take you longer and you're assuming the upside if you do it more quickly. It's perfectly okay to have that target rate in your head when you issue that price, but the fact is you don't tell the client that you price it based on the project, on the deliverable that you're giving to them, because that's the thing that's valuable to them. The number of hours you produce or the number of hours it takes you to do the thing isn't valuable to them. So you can certainly use deliverables as one way to motivate yourself and to measure how you're doing, because this is the thing with knowledge work.

Speaker 1:

It's hard to set clear targets when you're looking at, say, a blank week in your schedule what am I going to get done this week? I often think about my deliverables in terms of the things I'm going to do for clients. So I may have certain deadlines or items I want to submit that I can actually invoice for, and then I have other things related to remote work Europe which are way whooshier and more difficult to put a deadline on, so I'll come to that later. But actually, measuring how you're doing and how you're spending your time, whether it's being productive or not, you have to relate it all back to what the actual outcomes are going to be. I've been really enjoying this summer reading Cal Newport's new book, slow Productivity, and he returns to a theme that have come up in lots of his books, which I strongly recommend the concept of pseudo productivity, which is the tasks that can make you feel really busy but don't produce significant value, and this concept has come up with different names over the years, but I like the idea of pseudo productivity because it really highlights that idea that what you're doing, how you're spending your time, doesn't have any potential to move the needle on your big goals, and it's really crucial to differentiate, therefore, your tasks between being really productive and just being busy, because you can spend an awful lot of time being busy and not really achieve anything. Now, obviously, even if we're working for ourselves, we still have tasks that are admin and they're busy work. We can try and automate as many of those as possible, which I strongly recommend, and we've got lots of content about that.

Speaker 1:

You can delegate. You can get rid of a lot of things. Sometimes, particularly if you're working for yourself, you might be experimenting, you might be trying to be present everywhere. You might be trying to give an impression of not so much being a celebrant but being part of something bigger, so you're trying to be everywhere. It's really difficult sometimes to curtail. How many social media networks do I need to be on, how many times do I need to post? How many blogs do I need to publish, and so on. You can put all those into your task management system. You can write things down on a list and cross them off. This can provide a really clear sense that you're being busy and you're being active, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're working on the areas that need attention.

Speaker 1:

So, hands up, I'm completely guilty of this. You need to find a way to both identify it in your work and a way to tackle it, and we all have. I'm not going to tell you there's one systematic way that you can achieve this. Some people like working with a timer, for example, and having a sprint through a load of admin tasks. I sometimes do that when I really want to just clear literally a pile of papers, because paper still appears and comes into my life as much as I try to avoid it. So I might set a timer or I might put a playlist on and just try and bang through that.

Speaker 1:

Other people like to use timers to overcome procrastination and get into something big. So I'm going to work on this for 20 minutes. You can use a Pomodoro timer, which is named after the Italian word for tomato for some reason. But the idea is that you set a timer for 20 minutes and then you know that, even though you really didn't want to tackle this hard thing, you're only going to give it 20 minutes and then you get a five minute break and the idea is you chunk out Pomodoros and then you have a longer break every four or five sessions. I've tried. It Doesn't work for me because I hate being told I've got to take a break when I have actually got into flow on something. But I completely recognize that as a sense of motivation, overcoming that tendency to procrastinate in the first place. If it's something you really have a huge resistance to doing, then this might be a way of overcoming that and saying, look, I'm just going to get into it, I'm just going to make a start. Then in 20 minutes I'm going to give myself a break and I'm sorry for the Pomodoro purists, you don't have to give yourself a break. If you find that you have broken that motivational block and you're in flow, then heaven's sake, carry on and get the thing done.

Speaker 1:

But we're all different. The main thing is we need to keep track, and we need to keep track of the things that matter, that are moving the needle on our big goals, and there's lots of reasons why we don't do the big things. The big things are not always easy to measure. But we have other resistance too. This is not a new problem.

Speaker 1:

Knowledge work itself goes back many decades now, and there's been lots of research. Some research highlights the different kinds of motivation that we have, and one of the distinctions is the idea of intrinsic motivation, which is driven by personal satisfaction and interest, versus extrinsic motivation, which is driven by external rewards and recognition or external sanctions for not doing a thing. So the ideal solution is to try and relate all of the things you have to do, however mundane, to your internal drives and what you care about, things that you find enjoyable or rewarding, and align your work with those personal values to boost your intrinsic motivation. I think this is particularly true for us stubborn freelancers, because we really care about doing things that we've chosen to do. Otherwise, we just go and get jobs right. Let somebody else tell us what to do. I'll have somebody else draw up that list of tasks for us and bundle it up into something called a job description. So we've got an episode coming up soon with a special guest on finding remote work and creating remote work. That's just as unique as you are.

Speaker 1:

But for now, I can only suggest trying to identify intrinsic motivation for anything that you find that you're procrastinating on, especially if you're procrastinating on it regularly. Try and flip the script to somehow make it about you and about something that you care about. So if you find it hard to exercise when it's hot like it is here today, think about the long-term health outcomes, think about how it will make you feel. Maybe you can even think about some kind of immediate reward, like I don't know smugness at the people who don't exercise, or if you've ever had that thing called a runner's high? I haven't, but I gather it exists.

Speaker 1:

If you find you're putting off doing something because it's worrying you that you don't know if you're competent to do it you might mess it up then think about how you'll feel once you actually do it, once you get stuck into it. If you're putting off a difficult conversation, like a conversation with that client or a conversation with your manager about working more flexibly, about working remotely, for example, really picture in your mind, take time to paint a picture for yourself about the outcome and use that as your intrinsic motivation because you fear that that conversation might not go well. That's an external thing, it's not under your control, because you actually don't know until you do it. But if you can make it about intrinsic motivation well, at least I tried, at least I'll know what's the worst that can happen. Game that out in your mind. Then you can make it about what you're going to get from it and how it's going to make you feel inside.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes it's a case of finding the goal in the immediate task that you're putting off, like that pile of papers. Well, I'm going to actually dance around the office to my favorite playlist. If I'm putting off doing my taxes, then a really good extrinsic motivator is the idea of not paying a massive fine for submitting it late. In fact, sometimes it's just about shifting your time horizon. If you're not intrinsically motivated to tackle the task because it won't bring you joy in the moment of doing it, if you're not intrinsically motivated to tackle the task because it won't bring you joy in the moment of doing it, then avoiding pain for the future might be the motivation you need Now.

Speaker 1:

Pain has many sources and sometimes it's more real than others. Sometimes that pain is actually imaginary or it comes from a lack of knowledge. It comes from a fear of the unknown. Fear of failure often puts people off starting of trying something new. Sometimes it puts people off the idea of leaving employment and that structured environment in order to try a side hustle or move somewhere new. Tackle something unknown, because you can't map out exactly what the outcome will be. So that's real and this is not a criticism. This is something that we all face and there's a couple of things that can help.

Speaker 1:

First of all, try to cultivate a growth mindset. You can't avoid failure. In fact, if you go through life without ever failing, then you learn nothing and you experience nothing new, start to see mistakes as learning opportunities, as small experiments. Every time something goes wrong. If you try to figure out why that happened, what you can take from it, what you might do differently next time, even if it's simply make better decisions, then you've gained something from that. And if that fear of failure is destroying your motivation to try something new, then war game it out in your head. What's the worst that could happen and how would that make me feel? How would I overcome it? What is the balance of risk versus reward? And see if you can use that to really cultivate a mindset that lets you grow from every experiment. Also, the growth mindset makes you realize that this isn't a permanent setback. This isn't a verdict on you. You had one idea, one experiment that didn't work out the way you hoped. Okay, you iterate, you tweak, you have another shot, you test and you retest, you de-risk. This is how innovation happens. This is how creativity happens, because if you never try anything new, then you never grow, you never develop, you never get inspired by change.

Speaker 1:

And there are lots of ways that you can look at a high stakes decision and think well, how could I potentially take some of the risk out of that. Could I launch this business as a side hustle without actually leaving my main job yet? That immediately diffuses a great deal of the risk that comes from leaping off the cliff. You don't have to burn your boats in the harbour or whatever to create motivation. Sometimes you can get more motivation by taking the risk out of a situation, giving yourself a full back position that allows you to take some of the tension and the fear out of the situation and therefore have a go with a clearer mind. You're less distracted, you're more likely to be rested, you're more likely to focus better.

Speaker 1:

So a second way of de-risking that fear of failure is to find some support, is to find some ways to test things, is to find some company, and this is often a challenge for us remote workers, especially if we're working from home or we're working on our own, especially if we're working for ourselves or we're working on our own, especially if we're working for ourselves. So I'm going to be talking a little bit at the end of the episode about our Remote Work, europe Connected community, which is somewhere you can specifically come with these fears, these decision points, these questions, and get some support from peers who are going through the same thing in a safe place. So I'll just put that out there for now, that often you feel like you're on your own You're not necessarily on your own. You can seek out support and community around you to help you make those decisions. So all of these things then can get in the way of our motivation, and deciding what to do next, how to overcome that, how to remove that procrastination block, is often work in itself.

Speaker 1:

We need to go back to David Allen's Getting Things Done book to really drill down into the fact that clarifying what to do in a knowledge work environment is an essential separate step from actually doing anything. The Five Steps of GTD and David Allen's new book, teams, is just out. I'm just moving on to that one, having finished the Cam Newport book. So my summer reading on productivity, I will be bringing you more on Teams very soon, I'm sure. But going back to the original Getting Things Done model, the first thing is to gather up all the stuff, all the tasks, all the next actions, and just stick them in a pile somewhere, digitally or physically. But the next stage is to clarify what each of them actually is, and this is such an important step that frequently gets overlooked and can definitely degrade your motivation because you've got the stuff you've got. Oh my gosh, I've got that to-do list with 200 items on it but you can't actually do any of them yet because they're not clarified. So David Allen makes it really clear that you need to dedicate time to this.

Speaker 1:

After the capture, before the doing, comes the clarifying, where you have to relate each of the things you've captured to a specific action, to an actual verb. Do I need to think about this? Do I need to read this? Do I need to process that? Do I need to send that? Do I need to write the other? Once you've done that clarifying, it takes a lot of the friction out of the doing, which is the thing that you obviously. You ultimately have to do all the things. But once you clarify each separate step, it helps to overcome procrastination. It helps you to motivate yourself and move forward because you know what it is you've got to do and you can tell at a glance when you look at the next thing. Okay, yeah, that's a specific task. It requires certain resources or context in order to do it, but I don't have to think that through when I'm wondering whether to do the thing.

Speaker 1:

So really important that, because all the time we have to make decisions about things, that actually uses up energy as well as time, decision fatigue is a really real phenomenon and what that basically means. The concept of decision fatigue is that the quality of your decisions deteriorates after you do it a lot. There is research to indicate that high court judges, for example, deny more bail just before lunch, when they're not only hungry but they're tired. They've been hearing cases all morning. Their blood sugar is low, so they're less inclined to really consider each case on its merits and they tend to go with the status quo and deny bail more often.

Speaker 1:

There are people who've made a thing of wearing the same clothes every day, like Steve Jobs wore his black turtleneck every day and he said that that was to do with decision fatigue. He never had to think about what to wear in the morning. He just got up and put on the top that was the same as all the other ones in his wardrobe. That was like his uniform and he didn't have to give that any thought. So it was saving his decision-making capacity, his motivation for the crucial business decisions that would make a difference at Apple.

Speaker 1:

This has become a bit of a Silicon Valley meme or thing in a way. I know Elizabeth Holmes tried it and she's going to jail. So it's not necessarily a solution to everything. And again, all of these are ideas that I'm throwing out there. They're not necessarily things that are going to work for you. I like choosing what to wear every morning. I don't find that a draining decision. I find it fun. So I would never want to do that and have loads of items of the identical items of clothing or have a uniform for work. I've done work in the past where I had to wear a specific. I hated it. So this is part of my lifestyle choices is that I would never do that. But if you do find that a fatiguing decision, then be aware of it. That's all it is.

Speaker 1:

If you can simplify routine decisions and maintain energy for the more critical things, then that can really help. For some people it's a morning routine. Every morning I get up at this time. I do these certain rituals, these certain things that I don't have to think about. Well, what am I going to eat for breakfast? I always eat the same thing. Am I going to exercise? How am I going to spend my time? Now?

Speaker 1:

I know lots of solopreneurs have found it useful to kind of block out their week, even as a way of overcoming decision fatigue. If you decide that Monday's your admin day, you're just going to get everything out of your inbox, off your plate, then you can focus Tuesday, wednesday, thursday on meetings or on creating or whatever it is that takes up your time, or you might decide to have no meeting Fridays or whatever. These are ways of overcoming decision fatigue in the sense of what am I going to do next? What is this time before me? For? If you've already made a decision about that and a commitment to yourself about that, then that basically is one less thing that you've got to decide in the moment. So you know, you can always procrastinate, you can always find reasons to not do the thing. But if you have basically made something for yourself, it's not coming from a boss. If you're a freelancer, it might be coming from a team. It might be something you negotiate between you that you don't have meetings on Fridays. That decision is made, then you don't have to discuss If somebody wants to have a meeting on Friday. There's nothing to talk about because you don't do it, and that overcomes that particular decision-making tension. Obviously, this is if you work for yourself, it's more difficult and you have to find the balance in between the stuff that you need to do in order to get paid.

Speaker 1:

For me, the tension comes between my deadline, client work, which, particularly in journalism, tends to be really fixed this is when it has to be in versus building remote work Europe, which is way more woolly and amorphous, and I have big goals and I have short-term things that I would like to do. No one's going to come for me if I don't do it. Lots of it is unlikely to pay me anything, or maybe in the very distant future. So we don't have that motivation. Self-imposed deadlines definitely help and so far I've got this podcast out every fortnight. I'm into the third year now so definitely I can say those deadlines help, because I know that If I like listening to a podcast show and it starts to be erratic and I don't know when it's going to appear in my feed, then that is not a great user experience. So I've set myself that deadline. I've got the Myers Remote Reflection email out every Tuesday for the last couple of months and I know that that needs to be in the drafts ready to go out on Tuesday. Otherwise I'm going to let myself down, I'm going to let other people down, no client's going to come for me, but I've created that deadline for myself. So you know, maybe I can get to the point where I can say I'm definitely going to do a webinar every month or I'm going to get a blog post out every week or something, cause I know that these things definitely help and you can use the apps and the calendars and reminders in your life in order to support this.

Speaker 1:

But again, I will say beware pseudo productivity, because checking tasks off is not being productive, and that's why we have to go back every time to that idea of clarifying what we have to do and prioritizing, because way back before Cal Newport or even David Allen, we had Stephen Covey's time management matrix, and this is something that we have to come back to. Whatever model of thinking or productivity that we're using, I haven't found anything to really beat this as a way of making decisions and prioritizing. You've probably heard of this, but if not, if you need a recap, then the idea is that we have four quadrants. You can draw this on a big piece of paper, you can do it on a digital, like a mural board or something like that, and it's a matrix based on the two dimensions of urgency versus important, so you can divide all your tasks into high and low importance or high and low urgency. Now, quadrant one is where both are high, and this is where we spend a lot of our time through the day doing things that are urgent and important. If I don't turn that article in according to the deadline agreed with the editor, then I won't be turning in an invoice for it. I have no doubt in my mind that that's important.

Speaker 1:

We have quadrant two I'm going to come back to in a minute but quadrant three let's think about that for a moment. That's where we have to in a minute. But quadrant three let's think about that for a moment. That's where we have low importance and high urgency. That is where we can often end up spending time unnecessarily. I think I have to post on LinkedIn every day. I'm not even doing the LinkedIn challenge at the moment, but I've set myself this thing. Is it really important? Is it actually going to stop me creating a useful piece of content that will support users of Remote Work Europe through the long term? I have to stop and think about. Am I going to tweet today or something like that.

Speaker 1:

It's really important not to waste time in quadrant three, and quite a lot of quadrant three, particularly in traditional work, comes from other people's urgency as well. It's not even your own. It's this idea that your inbox becomes a to-do list from somebody else drive-by, management, it's all the can you justs. It's the things that erode your focus and stop you doing the big things, because there's always one more urgent thing, even if it's really not important. So there are different ways you can try to overcome this as well, and the best ways to do that will depend upon, obviously, your individual setup and how you work what extent you have control over your time. The more control you have, the more control you have over which quadrant you spend time in. But if you're used to a structure where somebody else is putting stuff in your to-do list, then you might find yourself pulled in quadrant three a lot.

Speaker 1:

You could also find that as you progress in your career, people make demands of you from both sides. So you might have your boss coming along and saying could you just do this? Could you just let me have that before you go this week, can I? And then all of that stuff piles up in urgency and pushes away the stuff without the deadlines, and then you find that there are people who need your support, who are asking you for things. So you have to try and organize that as well. Otherwise, if you're a helpful person, you'll find that you can't do anything else. Now we have this.

Speaker 1:

This is certainly an issue with Remote Work Europe, so that's why we've created the Remote Work Europe Connected Community and a weekly office hours session, so we'll call it out of office hours. I can ask me anything. People can come once a week. It's Wednesday lunchtime, bring your lunch and we will chat about anything. What I can't do is reply immediately to requests outside of that. I've had to be really clear that and I put this in every welcome email in the Remote Work Spain group that I can't reply to direct messages and emails asking for specific help with people's job search. That's not good use of my time. It's actually much better use of my time to create content like this, to research jobs for the newsletter, to research content which will help more people, because I can't provide. I mean, I'm not a recruiter anyway and I don't have a secret stash of jobs. So you know, I'm really clear that I can't do that other than in very exceptional circumstances.

Speaker 1:

So it's a case of corralling those things that chip away at your time and your attention getting out of quadrant three. Quadrant four is that it's not important and it's not urgent. So a lot of those things you can get rid of altogether, look at, can you automate them? If it's important to you to do these things, can you in some way involve automation and AI to get that done for you? Can you delegate them to other people? But really, if you're going to pay somebody else to do it, you need to make sure there's at least some degree of importance attached to it, some outcome that you desire.

Speaker 1:

For example, it might be posting on social media. If that's really not your bag or you find it too distracting. There are people who can do that very well and very affordably. It might be something like editing this podcast. It's important, but I'm not the best person to do it. So I take that importance out and I delegate it to somebody else who will tidy up the file for me, give it back, and it will. Obviously I have to pay him to do that. That costs to me directly in terms of euros, because it takes away and it would. Actually I pay him less than I would want to earn myself in the time it would take me to do it because I'm much slower.

Speaker 1:

So that's quadrants one, three and four addressed, but quadrant two is the most important. That's things which are important but they're not urgent. They don't have a specific deadline on them. So these are the things that you know they matter. They're in quadrant two because they are important. You've already identified that when you've done your clarifying, this thing has come across your task, whether it's an idea or something you've been asked for or something you want to do. But it's big and it hasn't necessarily got a deadline.

Speaker 1:

Things might move from quadrant two to quadrant one as a deadline bears down. For example, I have things in my quadrant two pile that I know will become urgent if I don't deal with them, and they have got a deadline, but it's quite a long way out. An example might be pitching a talk for a conference that's happening in the autumn and I've got a couple of months before the deadline and in an ideal world I would be coming across that systematically, taking the time to do it whilst I'm not distracted by other things, and hopefully I'm working on it in my subconscious anyway, or I like to tell myself that, but at the moment it's in quadrant two because it doesn't have a deadline. There's a whole lot of remote work Europe staff in quadrant two, I'll be the first to admit.

Speaker 1:

There are so many articles I want to write. There are people I want to interview, there are, you know, the podcast is a really good example of how stuff can move between those two quadrants, because getting this episode nailed today over to my lovely editor, who will turn this recording into an episode for me, and then getting that locked and loaded to release on the date that I've set, that's urgent, whereas thinking about the arc of the podcast, the kind of issues I want to tackle, the guests I want to get what my schedule is going to be like through the summer. Will I take a recording break in August? Yes, I will. All of these things they're more woolly, they don't have a deadline on. I have a fairly good idea what my episodes are going to be up until that time and therefore I'm not thinking about season six yet because that's a quadrant two thing, whereas actually I should be thinking about it.

Speaker 1:

I should be giving that blocking out time on my schedule to plan podcast season six, which will start in the autumn, and that includes how is that going to relate to video content? Am I going to use the same editor? Am I going to seek a sponsor, or am I going to carry on doing my own thing, as I've really enjoyed doing this year, with zero kind of editorial input from anybody else? But that might not be the best use of my time. So these are all big quadrant two decisions.

Speaker 1:

These are the things that planning, a relationship building, setting priorities. They can often get sidelined. They're driven out by the urgent. But the thing is we all know I don't need to tell you this the quadrant two stuff is essential for long-term success and what you need to do is carve out time to really drill into those. You need to have clarified already what's in that quadrant. Yeah, I need to plan that, I need to spend some time thinking about that, and then you need to set the time to do it.

Speaker 1:

Jenny Blake calls it founder's time, and you are the founder if you are a freelancer or a solopreneur or contemplating a side hustle, or even seeing your own career as an employee, if you start to think like an employeepreneur and think about what you want out of it, about taking control of it, then you are a founder and you need to make founder time available. So I hope this has given you some things to think about about motivation, about ways to motivate yourself when it is just you. And before we wrap up, I've got a couple of practical calls to action for you. The first is I want to remind you about our Remote Work Europe Connected Community, because a lot of this stuff is so much harder on your own and it's so much easier when you have a community of like-minded people. So the Remote Work Europe Connected Community is our premium community.

Speaker 1:

It's very small at the moment. We're hoping to grow it a little bit over the summer, but we're going to keep the numbers deliberately small so we can work with people individually. It's extremely affordable it's about a euro a day and it means that you have direct access to myself and Diana other members of the Remote Work Europe team. We work together. It's in a private Facebook group now, so it's extremely accessible, but it's private. It's completely different from the public Remote Work Europe groups. So it means that we can talk about your work, we can talk about your job search, we can help you shape your messaging. We can help you figure out your offer. We can help you figure out safe experiments to de-risk things you want to try, and so on, and we can also promote and amplify what you're doing across our socials. So I'll put the link to that in the show notes. Please check out Remote Work Europe Connected.

Speaker 1:

So that's something for the big stuff, for the big quadrant, to life planning or changing directions or careers, or how to get more remote into your life, or how to move to another country and all of those things we can deal with in Remote Work Europe Connected. I'm going to give you another call to action, which is something much more tangible and short term and to get a quadrant two thing done. And if you're like me and you like just checking things off, getting them done, finding that satisfaction of ticking the box or crossing through something on a list, you're going to love this. We have a new product, a service which we've introduced, which is called the LinkedIn Power Hour, because I don't need to tell you how important LinkedIn is. Whatever you are doing in the remote workspace, this is your online portfolio, it's your online resume, it's your work history, it's your testimonials, it is your presence on whatever website or portfolio you have not on LinkedIn. Linkedin will probably beat it for SEO, so you need to get that right.

Speaker 1:

We've done a lot of work putting together products and advice to help people do this, including our great value ebook, your LinkedIn guide, which was updated earlier this year with all the latest thinking. But that's like I think it's about 9,000 words of how to do LinkedIn right, and we know that, while we've had great feedback from that ebook, I know people who've bought it and I look at their LinkedIn profile haven't done the work, and that's because it's a quadrant two thing Sitting down with your LinkedIn profile and the guidebook open and going through. Okay, what does my headline need to say? What should I have in my link? What should I have in my bio? What are the keywords? Gathering all that stuff up? That's work and it's effort. Nobody's going to come along and tell you you've got a deadline to do it.

Speaker 1:

So what we've introduced now is our LinkedIn power hour, where we guarantee that if you do the prep work and if you turn up on the day, lovely Diana will take you by the hand digitally through a video call and screen sharing and sort out your LinkedIn profile. It is a done with you service. Okay, we need you to do some of the work, some of the preparation, because we can't, otherwise we'd be making stuff up about you. But if you can gather up those dates, those keywords and so on, she will shape that into a good LinkedIn profile for you that checks all the boxes and helps you be found for the things that you want to be found by your ideal client or future employer. Now it's an hour, so we can't change the universe, we can't sort out your entire life. It's going to be up to you to maintain it and move it forward.

Speaker 1:

But it means that you're not starting with a blank slate or you're not starting with a horribly out-of-date profile that you haven't touched for years, because it's one more thing to do and you know that if you want to move forward in your remote work career, you need to be on LinkedIn. You know that you need to do something about your profile, about your posting plan, about your keywords, about what you're getting found for, about who you're connected to. So the LinkedIn Power Hour is a way to move from knowing you need to do it, knowing it's important, to actually having it done. At the end of that hour you will have a developed profile. You will have a profile you can use, that you're proud of, that you can maintain and keep updated. So you can book that today.

Speaker 1:

Diana's schedule is available. She's taking bookings through the summer and I will put the link to that also in the show notes here so that you can book in your LinkedIn Power Hour. Check that box, know that you've got a cracking LinkedIn profile to move forward with. And if you're not sure what you should be posting in there or how to use it or what your next moves are going to be, with or without that profile, then come join us in Remote Work Europe Connected. So these are two things we're offering you today to move you off the blocks, to help overcome procrastination, to advance your remote work career, and we really hope that you will think about taking up one of these services, because staying motivated and focused and achieving that work-life balance that you crave this is a continual journey. It's not a destination. It's something that you deserve and you need to keep working towards. You can keep experimenting with what works best for you. So until next time when we're going to bring you an interview conversation again, which I think will provide additional motivation. I'm really excited about our next episode. Till then, stay productive, stay connected and we really hope to see you in one of our communities very soon.

Speaker 1:

You've been listening to the Remote Work Europe podcast brought to you by remoteworkeuropeeu. We bring you community information, training, coaching and more to help you achieve your location, independent lifestyle in Europe and beyond as an employee, entrepreneur, freelancer or whatever you want to be. If you enjoyed the show, please like, rate and comment and subscribe to be. If you enjoyed the show, please like, rate and comment and subscribe to our feed wherever you get your podcasts. If you really liked it, we'd appreciate a review as well. Here's to your remote work success in Europe and around the world. You.

Motivation and Productivity in Remote Work
Boosting Intrinsic Motivation for Productivity
Overcoming Procrastination and Fear of Failure
Overcoming Decision Fatigue for Productivity
Prioritizing Quadrants for Productivity
LinkedIn Power Hour & Remote Growth
Remote Work Europe Podcast Promotion