106: Living Your Most Productive Life with Tonya Dalton

Being productive often sounds easier than it actually is. It’s hard to make progress on the important things when you’re busy balancing various priorities, checking things off the endless to-do list, and responding to team members’ urgent needs.

Today’s guest is Tonya Dalton. Tonya is a productivity expert, author, speaker and founder of inkWELL Press Productivity Co, a company centered around productivity tools and training. She released her book, The Joy of Missing Out, with Harper Collins in the fall of 2019, which has been named a top ten business book of the year by Fortune Magazine.

Tonya’s messages about business management, productivity, and the pursuit of passion have impacted thousands and inspired her to launch her podcast, Productivity Paradox which has surpassed more than a million downloads. Her podcast regularly ranks in the top 50 of all business management podcasts on Apple Podcasts.

Tonya and I talk about the difference between being busy and being productive and how to re-think the idea of work-life balance. We walk through the basics of the Live Well method, how to protect your time when it feels like it’s owned by your company or your team, and much more.

Read the related blog article: How To Live A Less Busy, But More Productive, Life

Join the Modern Manager community to get 20% off at inkWELL Press until September 1, 2020. Plus, get the chance to win a copy of Be Kind: A Year of Kindness, One Week at a Time from prior guest Jaclyn Lindsey. You must be a member by July 3, 2020 to be eligible.

If you work for a nonprofit or government agency, email me at mamie@mamieks.com for 20% off any membership level.

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  • Being productive is about doing what’s most important and what moves you forward.
  • It’s better to do fewer, right things, than be busy with many things that don’t move the needle.
  • There is no such thing as work-life balance. Instead, it’s a constant dance of leaning and counterbalancing. There are times when we need to spend more time, energy and focus at work and then times when we do at home, or on ourselves. The goal is not equal attention to all areas, but a healthy ebb and flow.
  • The Live Well method has four stages: (1) Discovery – what matters to you; (2) Clarify – how do you design your life around your priorities; (3) Simplify – streamline, automate and simplify as much as possible (4) Harmony – make it manageable and embrace happiness.
  • It’s important to think of your life holistically. You need work and home to both be running smoothly if you want to be your best self.
  • Don’t forget about yourself. Our brains and bodies need rest, rejuvenation and investment.
  • The human brain has an ultradian rhythm which means it works hard for 90-120 minutes and then needs a break. It can’t work at full speed for 8 hours straight.
  • Block time on your calendar to do your important work. This signals to colleagues that you’re not available.
  • It’s OK to say no to a meeting or to ask for an agenda and decide if you should attend or what parts you should attend.
  • Don’t let a 5 minute ‘quick question’ become a 30 minute conversation. If you’ve got other things to do, schedule a better time to discuss the topic or use a different mode of connection e.g. chat app or email.
  • Put a sign on your door or on your chat availability that say you’re busy. Include what time you’ll be done so colleagues (or housemates) know when they can interrupt you again.
  • Improve your habits. Use timers to set reminders, set routines for how you start and end your day.
  • Share what matters to you with your team. Let them know of any time you’ve blocked for specific deep work. The more your team is aware of your goals and priorities, the more easily they can work in ways that allows you to focus. It also brings the team closer into alignment.


Website: tonyadalton.com

Book: joyofmissingout.com



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