Welcome to Happy Productive episode #13 – the ABC’s of Productivity.

I’m often asked about my simple system for daily productivity I refer to as the ABC’s. In today’s episode I’m explaining how this system works and why you want to start using it right away to achieve your goals faster. Let’s dive in…



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Hello, hello! Welcome to Happy Productive episode No 13. This is Jennifer Dawn. And I’m really excited to be talking today about the ABCs of productivity. One of my favorite things. So I’ve gotten many emails, I get many emails and requests from people asking me about the ABCs of productivity. And they’re like, “Jennifer, I remember some of them, but I don’t remember all of them.”

So I thought, what a great topic for a podcast episode today. So that’s what we’re going to cover. And the ABCs are just a very simple system, but very powerful and really effective. And I like things that are really simple because it’s easy for me to remember. And if you’re anything like me, and you have a whole lot going on in your life and in your day, like the fewer things that you have to remember the better, right? So that you can really focus on your actions and your tasks and moving your life forward. 

So the first thing about the ABCs of productivity is I love that ABC also stands for “always be connected.” Alright, ABC – always be connected. And the beautiful part of this is that when you sit down each and every day or when from the really from the moment that you wake up, you get to decide what are you going to be connected to. So this is totally your choice. Are you going to be connected to overwhelm? Are you going to be connected to chaos or dysfunction? Or business? Or running, running, running like crazy through the day like you can totally be connected to those things? Or are you going to be connected to things like order? Or peace? Calm? I thought dysfunction, no, I wasn’t thinking dysfunction, order, peace, calm, right, your higher self. Do you want to be connected to your intuition? So what do you want to be connected to? 

So the first part of ABC is always be connected. Make the decision. “What do I want to be connected to? What do I want to stand for?” And that’s what we want to do first is kind of set that intention of where we’re going to be connected. From there, we can sit down and we can plan our day. And here’s the simple system for daily productivity. Now, you can do this with a blank sheet of paper and a pen, or pencil or if you’re using a Best Planner Ever, you are familiar with this. But even a lot of people who were using the planner may not fully understand the ABC system. And so this is even for you if you use the planner, if you’re not fully using it to its highest capacity, if you just don’t completely understand the whole system. So we’re going to go through this. 

So in the Best Planner Ever, you get a full page for planning your day. And on the side where the to do list is we don’t use just a massive to do list with gobs and gobs of lines okay, because it’s ingrained in us that like sometimes when we have like 25 lines, we want to like put something on each of those lines. And that’s not really what productivity is about. Productivity is about getting the right fun things done each day, not getting a ton of them things done each day. I’m tongue tied today, you guys. So it’s really about focusing on the right things that will get you to your objective, your outcome, which is hopefully, your vision, the vision of your ideal life of your perfect life of how you want to be living each day. And so we want to be generating when we talk about productivity, we want to be generating energy and tasks and actions and momentum and confidence and all those things in the right direction that are taking us towards that vision of our life. 

So when you sit down to plan your day, if you’re using a planner in the to do list, you have ABCD. There’s also an E which is on the brain dump. And I’m going to go over what each of the letters stand for but we’re planning out our day we’re going to use ABCD. So A is going to be your A Task and A’s are things that tend to push you a little out of your comfort zone, they absolutely get you closer to your vision. Sometimes you might procrastinate or want to procrastinate A’s. But those are your A tasks and I’m going to come back and we’re going to dive into the a task because it’s really important to understand this completely and what it does and how it’s designed to work for you.

So these are going to be your things that are important. They’re absolutely important, but you’re going to do them no matter what. Okay, so those are going to be your scheduled appointments or maybe your project that you’re working on or checking in responding to emails, maybe you got to run some errands, you’ve got to pick up some kids like that’s important, right? Whatever your important things are. But these are things that no matter what you’re going to show up and you’re going to do them and they are important, those are your B’s.

Your C’s are going to be things that can be done whenever. They don’t necessarily have to be done today. Sometimes you can group them all together, but a C task can absolutely be procrastinated a little bit it can be put off until later. And when we talk about productivity for those of you list makers off out there. I’m one of you, who we love to make lists, right? And so sometimes when we’ve made our list, we look at the list and we want to just get things crossed off of it. And this was something that when I went back and I looked at my lists from the past, I realized I had a lot of C tasks on there, and not so many A’s. And that was really why I wasn’t getting the progress on my goals and seeing the results that I wanted to see. Because I realized my time was going to tasks so that I could just cross them off the list. But they weren’t necessarily really important to be done that day. So just be aware, you know, C’s are things that could be put off until later. But if you can knock a few of them out today, fantastic. 

D is going to be delegate. This is the reminder, I love this, you guys, it needs to be in front of my face every day, the reminder that I can’t do everything myself. And so it doesn’t matter if you’re delegating to family or to friends or to groups, organizations that you might be a part of where you need to not do everything yourself, not take it all on but instead delegate, your business owner especially this is the what are you going to delegate to your team, that’s your D. 

And then the E for the day. The E is not on the daily list in the planner, but it is on the Brain Dump page. So we have a Brain Dump page where you get everything out of your head and then you go through and you organize it into ABCD and E, and he is eliminate all right, what are you going to get rid of? What are you going to say no to and this is really, really important to get rid of some things and to say no to some things so that you can really really focus on the things that are the most important the highest priority. And that’s really guys that’s really the secret to true productivity is making sure that your time is going to the most important projects and that you’re not always stretched thin or doing a halfway job you know, in whatever is on your plan for the day. 

Okay, so I said we’re going to kind of swing back into the A task and we totally will. So for some of you the A task is going to be like “I totally get Jennifer.” It’s that you know, email I need to send or that networking group I need to attend, right, those things that I know in my heart are going to move me forward. But my ego mind, right talks me out of or makes excuses of why it’s okay to wait. It might be a little out of my comfort zone. So I find reasons to push it off. And it’s easy to procrastinate right? For some of you, you’re going to be like, “Oh, yeah, I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing that I’m putting off.” And that’s your A task. And it doesn’t mean that you have to fill your day with 48 A tasks. That’s not what it means at all.

And in fact, the A task and the planner, there’s 3 lines, okay, 3 lines. That’s it! So that could be one a task, it could be up to 3, it doesn’t have to be a bunch of things and honestly, they don’t even have to take a lot of time. Sometimes an A task might be an email, but you need to send let’s say, you get inspired and you’re just like, you know what, I’m gonna reach out to that person. It might be a no, but who cares? It’s definitely a no if I don’t ask and so in A task might be to send that email and ask, or pick up that phone and make that phone call and ask for whatever it is that you want. And that’s going to be like you’re going to know It’s that thing that’s in your heart that you know you should be doing. 

Let’s say you’re a business owner and you’re having cash flow problems, and you know that you need to be like getting in there and looking at your overhead but you find reasons to ignore it. Because you’re so busy, right? Or excuses like, “I don’t know what I’m doing” or whatever it is, so you don’t get in there and look at it, right? So in A task is going to be, I’m going to show up, I’m going to spend 10 minutes in my finances every single day, that would be in A task because you know, getting in there working on those numbers, even if you’re afraid of them is going to move you closer to achieving your goals to living your vision. Okay, so that’s A task.

For some of you like for people who sometimes like when you haven’t done A tasks and you’re not kind of used to thinking in that way. I see this sometimes with clients where they’re just like, “I’m just not sure like what in the world wouldn’t A task be?” I’m going to give you just a few examples, because in a task can be any number of things. But the way to kind of know “yeah, I’m onto something here” is will the task move you closer to your goals? Closer to your vision? Yes or no? So if it’s a yes, then that could definitely qualify it as an A task. And then if it’s something that you kind of are like a little afraid to do, or you find yourself procrastinating, but you know, you really need to do it, right. That’s almost certainly going to be an A task. So, but it can be across the board and what it actually is. 

So let’s say that you are a people pleaser, and you go all the live long day keeping everybody else happy and you never take care of yourself and you’re constantly exhausted at the end of the day. And you knew you were busy all day, but you have no idea what you actually got accomplished because all you’re doing is keeping everybody else happy. Okay. So if you can relate to that, I know I’ve had many days like that, not so much anymore, but I’ve had many days like that and past. An A task might be to say no. Now that might seem simple. But if you’re a people pleaser, and you’re in the habit of saying yes to everybody saying no is going to feel really uncomfortable, it’s going to push you like out of your comfort zone, you’ll probably want to procrastinate it, you’ll probably want to make up a bunch of reasons of why you won’t do it because it feels so uncomfortable, right? 

But if you start saying no, will that move you closer to your vision? Probably. Because if you think about your vision or your goals, I don’t have yet to see I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and I’ve yet to see a vision statement where somebody said, “Oh my gosh, I want my whole life to be about everybody else. Never take care of myself and I want to be exhausted every day.” I’ve never seen that you guys in a vision statement! So if you start saying no, and you stop doing quite so much people pleasing so that you have a little more time to take care of yourself. That could be an A task and you see how it’s kind of out of the comfort zone. And like, Ah, you’re gonna really want to avoid it if you’re a people pleaser. Now, if it’s not you and you say “No” really, really easily, like that won’t apply, that wouldn’t be your a task. 

So let’s say that you’re a business owner. And you meet every week with your staff and your weekly meetings are like two hours long as people are falling asleep, they’re totally disengaged, nobody gets everything you get their stuff done from the weekly meeting, and it feels like a huge waste of time. Okay, so let’s say that’s a different example here. And that’s you and so you’re like, well, what would my A task be? Well, your a task might be to hire a business coach, first of all, to help you figure out how to manage your team, how to lead a weekly meeting that absolutely rocks in like 30 minutes, how to hold yourself and your staff accountable, right? 

Okay. So it might be like, “Hey, I’m really lost here.” So an a task might be I’m going to research business coaches, okay? And that’s one day I’m going to spend 15 minutes and I’m going to research this coaches like we have Google at our fingertips, right? Not a big deal. But it’s a first step. The next day, the A task might be, “I’m going to narrow the list to 3 business coaches that I’m interested in working with.” The next day, the a task might be, “I’m going to reach out and I’m going to schedule 3 consultations,” right, and reach out and make 3 appointments, you can get that done in 15 minutes or less, right. That’s your A task, I’ve scheduled the appointments. Then the A task becomes, “I’m going to have the appointments.” Then the A task becomes “I’m going to make a decision and pull the trigger.” Then the A task becomes “I’m going to show up 100% for coaching.” Then the A task might be “I’m going to have an open mindset and then I’m going to take action on what I hear,” okay? 

So this is where the A task can change each and every day based on where you’re at. Maybe you’re a task is planning right? You get up you just jump into your day, you don’t ever give it a second thought maybe the A task could be “I’m going to spend 10 minutes every day planning out my day.” This is why every day I’m so programmed like, I can’t even go through a day without looking at my planner because everything is in there. And when I sit down to plan my day I’m planning what I’m eating. I’m planning my exercise, I’m planning my work, I’m planning my fun. I’m setting my intention, and I’m prioritizing it. All right. And so, a daily A task might be, “hey, I’m going to start building the habit of planning”. Or maybe you’re planning but you don’t prioritize. Okay, so the A task might be “Hey, before I launch into my day, I’ve got it all planned out, but I’m going to prioritize what are my A’s, B’s and C’s.” 

Maybe you’re a task is meditation or self-care. I see this a lot with self-care that people don’t tend to prioritize this but self-care so important, you guys, if you’re not taking care of yourself, how are you going to show up and take care of everybody else? So let’s say that you never take care of yourself and you always put yourself last. And S task for you might be self-care and it could simply be you know, 15 or 20 minutes, I’m going to sit quietly or I’m going to do some yoga, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m going to go sit outside in the sunshine, I’m going to read a book that I love, whatever. It doesn’t have to be, you know, 6 hours a day, it can be something small that you did to take care of yourself. And that could be your A task. And why is it an A? Because will it get you closer to your vision? Yes. Do you procrastinate it? Does it get out of your comfort zone? Does it like do you come up with all these excuses of why not to do it? Probably, okay? So this is what makes it an A task. 

So hopefully that helps you better understand like what that A is. You can do them first thing you can do them whenever you really feel like doing them. The important part is to just make sure that they get done. I try and do my A tasks and knock them out first. Some days It’s just like send that email some days. It’s just follow up with the email that you sent, right? But it’s just keeping those A’s going and always stepping outside that comfort zone. Like when I want to procrastinate it or make an excuse why I don’t need to do it anymore. Like doing it if your business owner, its cash flow, its sales, it’s those things that sometimes you don’t want to deal with those become your A tasks. Okay? 

So this is another thing an A task might also be is a habit, right? A daily habit that you want to set up. And this is actually our topic in for this month in Goal Achievers where we’re going to be diving into character traits and also your daily habits. And here’s the thing about daily habits. Think about this for a second. So let’s say that you want to get healthier and you’re always setting goals and trying new diets and different exercise programs and you’re kind of all over the place and you get a few results, you know, step forward, and then you take one or two steps backwards, right? And you’re kind of all over the place. Does it sound like I’m speaking from experience? Because I am. 

Okay, so when we talk about your daily habits, and let’s say you want to get healthier, this is a great one as an example. And you are in the habit of trying different diets and not sticking with exercise and hating your exercises. Or this was one thing I did for a long time is I work, you know, 10-12 hours a day in my business. And I would had all the intention of cooking a healthy dinner at the end of a long day. And then I would get done with work, get home and be so exhausted, I would just tell my husband just order a pizza, order Chinese, just order something, I’m really too tired to deal with dinner. And it was just a habit that I was in every single day. And so I had to change this habit, and I actually stopped working sooner. So I would get done with work sooner. So I had some energy left at the end of the day to cook that healthy meal that I had planned to cook. And I started creating a new habit.

And here’s the thing with your habits. So if you’re in the habit every day of let’s say eating something healthy, and you’re in the habit of not eating sugar or not eating fast food, you’re just in the habit. You just don’t eat it right. It’s just who you are. It’s just you just don’t eat that stuff. But you’re in the habit every day of eating leafy greens and fruits and vegetables and foods that are really good for you, right, and that’s just your habit. You don’t even have to set a goal really to be healthier. Because if every day your habit is to be healthy, you’re going to achieve that end result without really even almost meeting the goal. It’s about making your goals inevitable, and setting yourself up in those daily habits to do that. 

And so this is our topic for this month and Goal Achievers, and I’m so excited about it because if you understand habits and how they can work for you, they can be one of the most powerful tools in your life. Now, if you’ve ever tried to change or you start a new habit, you fell off the wagon or you came up with a lot of resistance. This is what we’re going to be diving into this month and Goal Achievers and teaching you how to overcome these things so that you can create amazing daily habits that literally will make your goals inevitable. Very exciting. I love this stuff. 

Okay, you guys, so the this is the overview of the ABCs. Remember, always be connected. And then when you sit down to plan your day – your A task it’s out of your comfort zone but closer to your vision, B’s are those important things that just have to be done, C’s are do as you’re able, D is delegate, you can’t do it all yourself. E is eliminate it’s okay to say No and get rid of some stuff. It’s so freeing and so wonderful. So those are the ABCs of productivity. I hope you use them. 

If you don’t have a planner, but you’re like wow, that sounds pretty awesome. It is you can check it out at bestplannerever.com. And from the website you can also see there’s a link to join the Goal Achievers, which is our membership. So with our planner, we’re managing our time with goal achievers, we’re managing our minds so important to get those two in sync with each other.

If you have experienced this where you can get sabotage so easily in your time management but really even more easily in your mind management, okay? If you want more information about coaching you’re like, “hey, this sounds awesome. I really need a coach I need some help with my business.” Come on to jenniferdawncoaching.com and there’ll be links here in the podcast or if you’re watching it on YouTube we always put links in there. jenniferdawncoaching.com or bestplannerever.com. Alright guys, that is it. And I hope you get out there and I hope you have a beautiful, amazing Happy Productive day!