Productive Insights Podcast — Actionable Business Growth Ideas — with Ash Roy

Productive Insights Podcast — Actionable Business Growth Ideas  — with Ash Roy

221. Lessons learned in Business and Action Steps for 2023

January 25, 2023

Links Mentioned:


Lessons Learned in business in 2022 and action steps you can take in 2023 that's what we're going to be talking about in this podcast episode this is episode number 221 of the productive insights podcast and I'm delighted to be back and sharing some insights that hopefully, you will find useful in your business I've been in business for about 30 years now the last 10 of which have been as a founder of and I'm excited to share some of the lessons

I've learned along the way, especially over the last 12 months which you can then apply in 2023. overall 2022 has been a lot about stripping back and simplifying processes eliminating unnecessary things and a lot of that came back to two words that Seth Godin had once told me I wrote a blog post about this called just begin the first point I want to make is the value of just beginning now I think it's best if I explain this in stages I decided to bring the video editing in-house and this led me to a new Vantage Point bringing the video editing in-house meant that I was going to produce a lot less content in terms of volume and also in terms of frequency so that was the first realization when I realized that I was going to produce less content this meant that I could no longer justify a whole lot of subscriptions that I was paying for so I reduced production-related expenses as I went through the process of canceling these subscriptions I found myself asking a very important question what other software subscriptions am I paying for that I don't currently need? so the answer to that question led to a wonderfully satisfying few hours of canceling a bunch of subscriptions that added up to about twenty thousand dollars which wasn't like winning the lottery but it significantly reduced my expenses and added to the bottom line now I appreciate the above sequence may look a little bit overwhelming and energy is happening but I promise you if you just begin you will find yourself at a new vantage point which will then take you to another vantage point and another vantage point and so on. You will be pleasantly surprised with the traction you get the key actionable Insight from this first lesson is just begin and all will be revealed now the second Insight is to walk your way out of creative ruts by the way all of this information is available at 221 and you can follow along on our website if you like I've actually written a blog post that takes you through each of these steps in a bit more detail so Steve Jobs was known for his walking meetings I've walked about 10 000 steps a day for the last year and have found the benefits to be gradual but cumulative and as James Clear explained in my conversation with him the compounding effect of doing something daily is profound almost every time I feel I'm at a creative roadblock I go for a walk and I come back feeling refreshed and I achieve the breakthrough. Sure walking is not going to turn you into Michelangelo but there is some science behind this walking increases bloodflow to the brain and the physical activity sparks certain creativity that you wouldn't have otherwise had access to walking results in better memory retention and it also staves off withering of brain tissue that normally happens with age the key here is to incorporate walking into your daily routine I get a lot of thinking done when I walk every day and I use the combination of the Withings scale and the healthmate app which you can get on iOS watching my progress in terms of my daily steps gives me a goal that I can work towards and that gives me a sense of purpose Direction and forward motion no puns intended Okay the third Insight is to use sunsama to plan and review your daily activities sunsama is an app that I've been using for about a year now and I've found it to be extremely useful now I've tried just about every productivity tool out there and they've all had their benefits and they've all been great but I haven't been able to stick with them for more than say three or four months sunsama seems to have really hit the spot for me and one of the reasons is it's very minimalist user interface a lot of the interface sort of Blends into the background and pretty much disappears until you need it it's very easy to navigate your way around it doesnt feel overwhelming a lot of thought has been put into this app especially in terms of the user experience now full disclosure I am an affiliate of sunsama but I do strongly recommend it now here's why I think it really has hit the mark for me as I said before it's got a very minimalistic user interface it integrates with a ton of different other tools like Gmail Asana Trello calendars notion you name it and the reason that is really good is because it creates one source of Truth for all of your inputs that can potentially take up space on your calendar in your day so it allows you to drag your emails in and turn that into a task it basically allows you to just time box all your activities so time boxing and scheduling my tasks have helped me come up with another really important Insight which I'll talk about more in a minute and that is not over scheduling my day so I typically tend to only schedule four to six hours of actual planned tasks per day because there's a lot of overhead I have discovered as a result of reviewing using sunsama there's a lot of overhead that goes with a lot of these tasks and so by scheduling fewer tasks about four to six hours of actual work I have a better chance at completing all the tasks I set for myself and don't feel like I'm constantly catching up and behind if you know what I mean and the final reason I absolutely he loves sansama is the review features it has both daily weekly they're just amazing it gives you a fantastic opportunity to look at how you've spent your day how they align with your key objectives which you can map your tasks to using these hashtags and they give you a feel for how you're progressing towards your broader goals if you'd like to try the application out for 30 days for free with no credit cards required head over to forward slash Ash so that's t-r-y dot forward slash a s h and you can get set up for a 30-day free trial so the fourth Insight is to allocate an hour of unplanned time for every planned hour of tasks you have on your calendar I mentioned I will talk a bit more about this in the previous section as a result of using sunsama planning and review I have come to realize that a lot of tasks come with unexpected overheads so let me explain what I mean let's say I set aside an hour to record a podcast episode like this one as I start to record it I might realize that some of my subscriptions have lapsed maybe I realize that I need to do a bit more research before I start recording the podcast episode maybe I decide I need to look up some previous episodes that are related that I want to mention during the podcast episode but I want to make sure they are relevant so I need to go back and read up on that a little bit you get the idea so my point is we usually set aside a certain amount of time to do certain tasks but almost invariably we find that we actually have other related activities that we have to complete to be able to complete that original task if you aren't setting yourself a bit of a buffer then you are likely to feel frustrated and like you're falling behind it gets a little bit disappointing and overwhelming and you feel like you haven't achieved what you would have liked to achieve during the day so a great way to solve this is to allow for what I call task overheads so the action step here is when you do your planning make sure that you allow for a buffer between your planned tasks and activities and that you allow for these overheads so that you finish the day feeling like you're one make sure that you use your reviewing routines and processes to learn from your previous day's plan and then factor that extra fat if you like into your planning for the following day or week or month now just a couple of extra notes about this point I find that scheduling tasks that are less than two minutes long are not worth it it's easier to just get them over and done with there and then because by the time you've scheduled it you've lost a whole lot of time and probably traction generally I find using a ratio of two to one is working quite well for me right now so if I'm planning on working for eight hours in a day I'll set aside about four hours of work this also gives me some room for breaks and for regular walks which we talked about in one of the earlier insights now if in one of the earlier insights now if you're watching this on YouTube I would love to invite you to leave a thoughtful comment or a question in the comment section I will pick the best comment or question and I'll respond to you and organize a free 30-minute Consulting session valued at two hundred and fifty dollars okay and now for the fifth and final Insight reading widely is valuable we all know that readers are leaders but re-reading deeply for insight is invaluable we've all heard about the importance of reading and forming a daily habit around it it's important to be across a broad range of topics if you're an entrepreneur or a small business owner and it's important to be able to apply ideas from different and often disparate disciplines and cross-pollinate them to achieve new insights and to innovate constantly I often do go back to books like Atomic habits and re-read parts of them but what I find particularly useful is short form book summaries which actually not only summarizes the book but often shares some tangential ideas around the key principles of the book even sometimes shares some advantages and disadvantages of the ideologies shared in the book and I find that to be very useful it gives me nuanced insights that I didn't previously have and arrive at new Vantage points now short form have kindly sponsored this episode and you can go to forward slash Ash to get a free five-day trial and a 20 discount once again that's short forward slash Ash and that brings us to the end of this episode thank you so much for watching or listening you can access all the show notes and all the related content at 221 please share this with somebody else who will benefit from it I hope you had a wonderful 2022 and I hope these insights and action steps enable you to have an amazing 2023 please do keep in touch and if you have any questions email me on ash at thanks and I'll see you in the next episode