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This episode is sponsored by Kelly Stark

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation. Homer Rice

Here we are again with a new season of the show and with a new season executive producer. FILL IN DETAILS HERE. Last week I released a special episode all about Doing stuff for free. It’s a topic that comes up again and again in creative circles and something that we as freelancers all too often have to evaluate and decide on. I took a real deep dive into the topic so if you want to hear what I found please tune in to find out more.

This week I return again to my much shorter format of shows with a simple revisit of something I have talked about many times before. The Cycle of Productivity.

I discovered on my research that there are many versions of this cycle listed on Google, but the one I’m talking about relates specifically to creatives and I first came across it in Jinny Ditzler’s book, the subject of not one but TWO of my new year’s specials, YOUR BEST YEAR YET.

Her cycle of productivity has 4 phases and consists of a create decide/ start phase, a do/ act phase, a completion/ finish phase and an acknowledgement/ praise phase. I’ll post an image of this in the show notes on the main podcast site

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. Steve Jobs

The first of these phases is the beginning, when we come up with the idea and then decide to get started on it. Creatively this may only be a starting point for something not yet fully formed but it is a definite move in one direction, towards a desired goal. As I’ve said in previous episodes such as the not to do lists one, deciding what not to do is a good start, if you are unsure what you would like to do first. Dropping your goals and tasks into the focus funnel may help you to decide what matters and what doesn’t. Above all though you need to make that decision and take action to make it happen.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

The second part of the cycle – the do/ act phase, involves the greatest mount of time. This is the period where we’re actually doing the work that needs to be done to carry out the idea step by step and if it’s a large goal or task you will have to do that. Break large tasks down into small easily edible ones and schedule to complete things in a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound way. We all know what working towards an end means so I’m not going to linger on this one, but it just comes down to getting stuff done.

The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during it. Hal Higdon

The third section, Jinny points out, is challenging for many. Its the phase where we do the last things to finish the project or bring the idea we have been developing to fruition. It can be a phase of endless polishing and final tweaks, I’ve experienced it al too often on film projects, but once its done we can put a pin in it and say, that’s it. I did it. Nothing more to do.

Usually we will get stuck in one of three first three phases. Have you experienced that? Some folk will get stuck at the starting gate and never get started, having lots of ideas but never getting them off the ground. I’m sure we all know someone with that problem. Or we have ideas that we could never carry out and don’t take the time to decide which ones are non-starters. These ones sit on a list or ag our minds, making us feel guilty. If something like that is holding you back, make sure you do a brain dump and take care of it.

Some of us get stuck in phase 2, doing doing doing, ever busy but never fully completing, or going back to the drawing board to try new possibilities.

If you are someone that slows down in the 3rd phase you might find it difficult to finish anything. You may be surrounded by a litter or unfinished projects in your life. I talk about this in my episode on opening and closing doors and these incomplete tasks will almost always short circuit what you are doing, and again I cover this in my episode about the Zeigarnik effect. The Zeigarnik effect refers to the tendency for interrupted tasks, in some circumstances, to be recalled better than completed tasks. Waitress story.

Praise and appreciation for the good news make all the difference. We feel stronger and more naturally motivated and there’s less of the needy part of us, always trying to prove ourselves and hoping someone will notice. Jinny Ditzler

By far the most important part of the cycle of productivity is phase 4, as too many people go straight from the 3rd segment back to number 1, without taking a pause for acknowledgement, patting themselves on the back for what they have just achieved, thinking about what happened and learning from it.

Because our eyes are almost always on what’s next or what isn’t yet completed before long we feel as if we are running on fumes. Like we forgot to stop for petrol. We don’t feel like we are getting anywhere and we have little satisfaction.

The acknowledge and praise part of the cycle of productivity cannot be ignored. It reminds us to take time, and appreciate what we have accomplished and how far we have come.

Then, when we get back to the starting line, whether it’s a whole new larger goal and challenge or tomorrows to do list, we feel more energised and positive and work more productively than ever. The new energy helps us to maintain momentum into the next tasks.

The first question in the YOUR BEST YEAR YET book asks you, what are your accomplishments for this very reason so don’t let the acknowledgement phase fall by the wayside. It’s a vital part of the cycle of productivity.

When I ask that question of people that I am helping I all too often hear that they have absolutely nothing to celebrate from the past 12 months. This is always a falsehood that the person is all too ready to believe. You need to focus on the bright side. We can define out lives any way we choose, regardless of what happens. The challenge is to live life in the context of gratitude instead of complaint.

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Zig Ziglar

So that’s the cycle of productivity.

Phase 1: create/ decide and start

Phase 2: Do/ Act

Phase 3: Complete/ Finish

Phase 4 Acknowledge/ Praise

The dangerous shortcut is to move directly from Complete Finish straight to Create/ decide/ start omitting the praise part. Got it?

Today's call to action is to have an awareness of this cycle as you do your next small task. Think about it as it goes. I’ll post the image of the cycle in the show notes so that you have a visual representation too. By doing this it will lock this lesson in and you will be even more aware of it as you proceed.

In next week’s show I’ll be coming back to a show which I moved foreward from last season and looking in detail at Jim Rohn’s adage that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

I hope to see you there but in the mean time I’ll end with some words from Ernest Hemingway who said Never mistake motion for action.

Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!

• The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu and the exec producer this season is Christopher McPhillips from Artos Digital

• You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website

• You can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity

• Please support the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.

Season 10 Executive Producer: Christopher McPhillips from Artos Digital

2-time winners of 'Social Media Agency of the Year' at the Prestige Awards; Artos Digital specialise in marketing communications, coaching and personal branding. Owner Christopher McPhillips launched the business from his home in Bathgate and now works alongside his wife, Electra, for specialised event-management and fundraising. Enjoying a broad portfolio of clients over the years, ranging from established enterprises to start-up's - a good fit for Artos Digital given their adaptable and agile approach. Christopher and Electra have combined their talents for three significant clients this past year: Reconnect, a SCIO who run the Regal Theatre in Bathgate; Pro2 Wrestling in Ayr; and Puppet Animation Scotland in Edinburgh.

Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu


Book: Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler

Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu

Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0

Music released by Argofox

Music provided by Audio Library –––


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