How radical productivity untethered me

The truth is this hasn’t been easy to write, everytime I try a cliche appears like “this tool will change your life” or I can make you more productive.” you’ve heard it all before right? You’ve seen the big promises and big empty gestures but I promise that what I want to share with you today is radically different.

You see being productive seems so unsexy on the surface but in reality it is so much more than a filofax. I want to show you how you can scale your business without sacrificing time with your family, how you can untether yourself from your desk and begin to live that location free life you once dreamed of, I want to show you that regardless of your lifestyle and your personal commitments, there is a strategy that is flexible enough to evolve with you. I want to show you how you can take control of your own life and your own destiny again.
 
In 2010 I saw an opportunity. I left my successful career in real estate to dived into the exciting world of self employment,I set up my first business teaching social media skills to real estate agents. It was an exciting time. I dreamt of being location dependent, free from the physical and creative restrictions that come when you work for someone else, I imagined a life where time and money was abundant.

Then reality hit.

By 2012, I was an anxiety ridden mess. I couldn’t focus and was having panic attacks. I was stressed about revenue as each month I struggled to pay the bills. I had no idea what to focus on for my business and my fragmented mind was also affecting my personal life and relationships, even remembering to feed the cat was taking up brain power I didn't have. I couldn’t get through blow drying my own hair without stopping 3 times to write something down. I was DROWNING and I didn't know how to find land.

Luckily, I have good friends and one day while on the phone to a very insightful one he gave me some advice that totally changed my life. He told me to stop and read a book. I was sceptical, I didn't have the time to absentmindedly sit and just read but he didn't want me to read just any book.

He directed me to David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD as its now affectionately known in my world). I figured I was at a point where I had nothing to lose, exhaustion was forcing me to stop anyway so i went straight to Barns and Noble to buy it. I finished it that weekend.

Over these magical two days I had a many aha moments. Through words on a page, David Allen made me realise that my mind was a place to have ideas, not hold them, he taught me that I needed a trusted system outside of my brain instead. The key was it had to be one system and I could immediately see where I had been going wrong.

I had been guilty of trying to hold so many things inside my brain, from my to do list, my dreams, my goals, my client work, family appointments, household tasks. When I did write these things down I was using so many different systems and processes, I would waste so much time finding what I needed and could never seem to figure out how to be the most productive with my time. This fragmented approach all took all my energy and I was running out.

Ironically as an employed person I actually did a lot of what David Allen recommended, it was in the transition to self employment it all became lost. Despite having an MBA and being socially savvy, I had no idea how hard it would be to define and create my own business. My inefficiency had become a trap, draining me of energy, time and money. The solution was radical productivity, this is where my true freedom was waiting.

At this time I was using several systems but my favourite was Evernote, so with David’s words ringing in my ears I decided this was the tool I would utilise properly. I only used a small amount of it at the time, like most of their users I only understood about 5% but I recognised it had the potential to apply David’s strategy.

That Monday morning was like the first Monday of my new life, my mindset had completely shifted and I suddenly felt powerful, clear and calm. I immediately went to work on creating a structure in Evernote that would scale and support me in deploying a lifestyle I actually wanted by implementing GTD. I mapped out on my whiteboard how to best organize Evernote using the core foundational elements of Evernote: Notes, notebooks, stacks, and tags.

I then went step by step through his book and executed on his tips using Evernote as my trusted system. It generated a lot of physical trash and was the starting point of my paperless journey but I was also off loading so much mental trash too. Untethering myself from my physical space and my mind. Allowing space for creativity, joy and business growth.

I went from a businessperson who was decentralized, anxious, and losing money to where I am now; confident and thriving because my work is organized and retrievable in Evernote at any time

Not only has my life changed personally and financially but as I became more immersed in the Evernote world I became an ambassador and subsequently a certified Evernote trainer, this led me to build a new business teaching others how to untether themselves like I had.

I’m now in a career that I love and that is in total alignment with my talents and interests. I get to show people every day how to create the mental space and freedom in their lives to find their truest expression of themselves.

That was my moment. Now this could be yours.

Imagine what you could do with an extra hour a day?

They say we all have the same amount of hours but let me tell you, this is wrong. For fierce female entrepreneurs time often feels like the enemy and it certainly seems thin in the ground. It can feel as if you have to squeeze 48 hours of work into 24 and this uphill struggle stunts growth and results in total burnout. I know I've been there!

The hard truth is to truly get the time you actually need everyday you need to stop playing around with different systems. We sign up to one program because it promises the world but we don't really give it a chance before shiny object syndrome tempts us to sign up for something else. To see real meaningful, transformative change in your daily life you need to take a radical approach to productivity and immerse yourself in a system you can sustain. This is where the magic happens and when you really find that extra elusive hour.

Get shit actually doneOne of the biggest challenges women face in their businesses is trying to do everything and be everyone. They are ambitious and driven but with so many balls to juggle they struggle to focus on one thing at a time. When you have so many ideas and goals you want to focus on, how do you know which to do first? When you have so many tasks to do, how do you prioritise them?

Flitting from task to task, from goal to goal means you spread yourself too thin and nothing gets done properly or to the standard you expect of yourself, this can deflate your confidence,demotivate you and stop you from living to your full potential. You can become trapped in your small business and an unfulfilled life.

When you finally release yourself of all the details, when you finally find a way to radically organise your life, you don't question yourself anymore, you can just get on and get shit done. This is exactly what happened to me, I was able to free up my mental capacity for things that were actually helpful in my life, like solving problems, coming up with new ideas, and getting my work done at a rapid pace. I've seen this same transformation in others too because there is real power in an efficient system that gives you space to be the most thriving version of yourself.

Overcome the overwhelm

There are many reasons women start their own business but it usually boils down to the pursuit of freedom, it is then heartbreaking to discover that self employment can in itself feel like a prison. Ok, so you don't have to answer to a boss but the responsibility of being in control of everything can be more overwhelming that liberating.

This entrepreneurial overwhelm doesn't have to stifle you though, you can create that balanced life between your business, your family and your friends and you can scale your business to reach your goals. But I am not here to promise you a miracle cure and no system is absolutely perfect but what you can do is stop playing games.

If you seriously want a better, more sustainable life you need to fully commitment to one strategy and platform. Trying to tackle inefficiency by signing up to different project management tools for different jobs creates more notifications and makes the problem of overwhelm worse.

It takes a radical approach and full immersion but the result is that freedom that you started your business for in the first place.

THE RESULTS: Ever since that fateful weekend I spent with David Allen’s book my life has completely transformed. Now as I put training programs together for other people to replicate my success, I face some unique challenges.

You see people use Evernote for different reasons, they have different lifestyles, they use different features and access it with different tech. This is part of Evernote’s strength; it’s flexible enough to work with anyone and can be used for all aspects of your life, but as a trainer it was a brain bender.

It also became clear that many people used Evernote and thought they understood it but actually most people don’t appreciate it’s capabilities and potential. I recognised that I had to create something that was both comprehensive and flexible so that it met every Evernote users needs.

This resulted in not only beginners signing up and becoming fluent user's but I have other certified Evernote trainers come on my courses too because they know they are guaranteed to learn more.

Don’t take my word for it though…

“Stacey Harmon’s “Radical Productivity with Evernote” Course absolutely rocks!  I’ve been an enthusiastic, yet completely unorganized Evernote user for years and had nearly given up hope when I signed up for Stacey’s webinar.  The webinar itself was outstanding content helping me right away with simple efficiencies to apply. I was a bit hesitant but now am so thankful I invested in this course.  I am not even halfway through it yet and everything is coming together and making sense… and I’m not even to the really fun stuff yet. If you are at all motivated to take your Evernote skill to the next level, invest in yourself by investing in “Radical Productivity with Evernote” – Stacey is a phenomenal coach and this course is radically awesome!”  Frank F. Lunn, CEO

The most concise and foundational resource teaming and I am a certified consultant am I up on everything This is my back pocket tool. I love everything you put out.’ Certified Professional Organizer Dawn George

It’s time to be radical

I invite you to take this opportunity to remember that vision you had at the start of your business journey and really be honest with yourself... are you are living that lifestyle you originally   desired? The business and life you dreamt of?

I stand before you today on a mission, I have seen what is possible, I have lived what is possible and now I want you to see it too. I want you to know that you can take control of your life again, you can create more time, more money and more freedom. The question is are you ready to be truly untethered.