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Updated: February 2, 2023
Do you struggle with productivity in your business?
You have so many things to do for your business, yet you don’t seem to actually do them. Often, you’ll sit down and write a nice to do list and all the tasks and projects, but week after week, you still don’t get things done.
Being productive is obviously important for the growth of your online business, but how do you solve this problem with productivity?
While there are definitely practical things you can do like have a planning system in place, organize your tasks by priority, etc., these won’t ever be effective if your mindset isn’t in the right place.
How Mindset Affects Productivity
Mindset (the internal dialogue, thoughts, and feelings) dictates what you do. For example, if you think something is a waste of time, then you aren’t going to do it. Your thoughts drive the actions.
So when a client comes to me with productivity issues, the first place we start is with their mindset. What are their thoughts around the tasks they aren’t able to do?
Many times, feelings of overwhelm, fear, and imposter syndrome are behind the procrastination. When these feelings occur, the output is to avoid the task that’s causing it. But the issue is that the task still needs to get done.
So how do you work around that?
It takes a multifaceted approach.
One angle is to adjust the thoughts that are driving the feelings in the first place. Let’s take fear for example. If you’re thinking “I’m afraid of being on video.”, then that produces fear. If you change that thought to “I’ve never been on video, but I can learn. There are people out there that need my help.”
Another angle is to figure out what motivates you to do something. The right motivation will actually override any of the emotions and thoughts that keep you stuck. For example, hiring a personal trainer will ensure you go to the gym because you want to respect your trainer’s time and you’re paying for it. It will override any thoughts of fear or anxiety about going to the gym. The same thing can be done with your business.
In this article, you’ll learn about the major forms of motivation that drive us to take action. We’ll do this by looking at the book The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin.
She breaks down the 4 major motivational tendencies we all have and how we can use that to our advantage. Know your tendency can be a game changer because it will help you put systems in place to ensure you can accomplish the goals you’ve set in your business and consistently productive.
What are The Four Tendencies?
Basically, after analyzing data from thousands of people, Gretchen determined that everyone falls into one of four categories based on how they respond to expectations: the upholder, the obliger, the questioner, and the rebel.
Type 1: The Upholder:
If they set an expectation, then they follow through. Sets goals and accomplishes them simply because they set the goal. The only accountability and motivation the upholder needs is to simply decide it’s going to be done and then it’ll happen.
These people are the ones that say “I’m going to start a podcast” and then they just do it. (I wish this was me and this is probably who you’ve been trying to be)
This is what so many of us want to be and think we’re supposed to be. But notice there are 3 other subtypes here meaning that nothing is “wrong” with you if you’re not the upholder.
Type 2: The Obliger:
The expectation HAS to come from someone else. Needs goals to be based on some external factor such as so you don’t disappoint someone or someone is counting on you to do it.
For these people, they may need to have an accountability partner, a virtual assistant that depends on them, or a coach that they’re paying for each week.
Type 3: The questioner
They expect to know every detail before moving forward. Needs to ask a ton of questions before setting a goal. Once the questions are answered, then they can go after the goal. For people with this tendency, they simply need to give themselves time to do some research, make sure they know the steps involved, and what knowledge they’ll need to have before getting started. So instead of trying to simply do a task quickly, they need to build in research time before they start.
Type 4: The Rebel
They need expectations to not be there. Basically, they will refuse to do anything if you ask (simply because you ask) but they also struggle with telling themselves what to do and won’t listen. People with this tendency essentially need a challenge. Someone telling them they can’t do something or challenging them to do something big in a short amount of time even. Proving that they are capable when others thought they weren’t. For this tendency, having a tough love friend or coach can be helpful.
Why This Is a Game Changer for Your Business
Just think. If you’re an obliger (needs the expectation to come from someone else) but you’ve been goal setting like an upholder (just setting a goal and going after it), then you’re basically setting yourself up to fail.
It’s not that something is wrong with you. It’s that you’re simply framing your goals all wrong because you haven’t embraced your tendency.
In fact, these tendencies meant that there were LOTS of people that acted the exact same way just by their nature (side note fact: obliger is the largest tendency). So, it’s not just you not being able to get your act together.
This is HUGE.
Just think. If you simply reframed your goal, it could make the difference between accomplishing it or not.
For me, I had been telling myself that I needed to work from home so I could spend more time with my son. So I could work for myself. So I could help people with my blog. So I could make enough money to bring my husband home. So I could get us out of debt.
These are great ambitions and big dream kind of goals, so why couldn’t I just get my butt into gear and do it??
If you look back at my goals, they were all framed to be about me. I need this. I want that.
Taking into account my tendency (obliger), I reformatted my goals to be about someone else.
Now my goals look something like this.
- Being successful in my business means my son can be homeschooled and have a mom that is present.
- There are moms out there needing help, so I need to get my information and products out there for her.
- My husband would love to be able to be home more and work on his business full time. If I succeed at my business, then he will get to do that.
See the difference?
The biggest thing I did as an obliger was getting an accountability partner. I asked a friend of mine if we could both set goals and then at the end of the night, we reported back.
I couldn’t risk not accomplishing my goals and having her show up saying that she’d worked really hard to make sure she got them finished.
This has worked really well for me and my productivity went up. (Side note: try to avoid a rebel as an accountability partner because that’s probably going to just irritate them.)
How can you implement this and start accomplishing your business goals?
Understanding how you need to set goals so that you can accomplish them could make a world of difference in your business.
So here’s what you need to do to make this happen.
1. Figure out which of the Four Tendencies do you are
If you want to see which one you are, Gretchen has a short quiz on her website at https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/ and then at the end, it gives you an amazingly accurate explanation of what your result means and some tips for moving forward.
2. Figure out how this new information (about which tendency you are) should be used in your business
Go over the detailed report Gretchen sends about your tendency to gain more insight into all of the nuances of it. She also has a podcast episode dedicated to each of the tendencies that’s great for a deeper dive and understanding.
Once you know more about your tendency, brainstorm ways you can work this information into your business.
Where do you usually get stuck?
How can you prevent that?
Are there systems you can put in place, like hiring a VA or getting a coach that can help?
If you’re unsure on how to do this, I’d love to coach you on deciding how to best implement this in your business.
3. Take Action!
Implement what you’ve learned about yourself and see how this affects your productivity and motivation.
I think you’ll be surprised at how easy things can be once you understand how your brain works around expectations.
Try it for a week and see if things look dramatically different for you. For me, it was apparent very quickly.
Being self-motivated can be hard, especially when trying to work for yourself. It’s even harder if you’ve been framing your goals the wrong way the whole time.
I’d love to hear if this new insight helps you understand yourself better and gives you a boost in productivity.