Life and business coach Eric Twiggs shares his tips and tricks for how you can take back control of your time and make sure you’re on the right track to achieve your goals.
Website: Eric M. Twiggs
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Eric M. Twiggs is a founding partner and president of The What Now Movement. His mission is to build high performing entrepreneurs, authors, and career professionals, who are prepared for life’s unexpected curve balls.
He is the author of The Discipline of Now: 12 Practical Principles to Overcome Procrastination. The Discipline of Now has been recognized as a Global Top Ten Finalist for the 2020 Author Elite Awards in the category of Best Self Help Book. This recognition was based on the combination of the following criteria: cover design, content, popularity, and social contribution. Eric is also the host of a weekly inspirational podcast titled “The 30 Minute Hour.”
As a Certified Life and Business Coach, Eric has conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions, helping executive leaders and entrepreneurs who have moved from feeling frustrated to finding fulfillment. He has also led organizations of 500 or more people in corporate America, and shared his message with corporations, associations, and congregations across the country.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- [02:05] How a tragedy helped Eric learn about the value of time.
- [04:11] Eric’s realisation that he needed something to change.
- [05.23] Eric talks about his own self-doubt and procrastination before starting his business.
- [06:26] How Toastmasters International sparked Eric’s energy in delivering speeches.
- [07:09] How perfectionism can be an obstacle to progress.
- [07:44] The definition of procrastination and the psychology behind it.
- [09:16] What is task aversion and how outsourcing and delegating tasks can help.
- [11:50] Tips for managing tasks you don’t like and how to self-motivate.
- [14:17] Why getting other people involved can help with your accountability.
- [15:16] How to deal with the negative voice in your head when you’re moving towards your purpose.
- [16:21] How to overcome your fear of failure by focusing on the process.
- [18:13] Figuring out your next steps by thinking aspirationally.
- [19:10] Fear of success and the “Be, Do, Have” formula.
- [21:22] Why we should always be evolving to become the best version of ourselves.
- [21:48] Learning to accept risk to combat the fear of the unknown.
- [23:41] When “being busy” becomes an excuse to procrastinate.
- [24:00] Using awareness to gain control and stop avoiding the task at hand.
- [26:41] Learning the difference between creative avoidance and productivity.
- [28:13] Why breaking down your goals will allow you to gain clarity.
- [29:06] Using the “Twigg’s Top 5” method to move you closer to your goals.
- [30:54] Using zero-based thinking to cut down on activities you don’t want to be involved in.
- [33:20] Learning balance and sacrifice when saying yes and no.
- [34:07] How to start thinking of procrastination as a habit and not as part of your identity.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase. This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.
- The Discipline Of Now: 12 Practical Principles To Overcome Procrastination, Eric Twiggs
- Toastmasters International
- What Now Movement Facebook Group
- Episode 67: How to adapt during a global crisis – with Ray Blakney of Live Lingua
- Episode 28: Quitting a job to earn passive income: how teaching piano became a seven figure business – with Jacques Hopkins of Piano In 21 Days
- Two exercises to help you find career happiness
To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.
Episode 69: How to stop procrastinating and get things done - with Eric Twiggs of The 30 Minute Hour
Jeremy Cline 0:00
It's 2021. If 2020 was the year that you realised that you needed to make some pretty radical changes, then now is the time to start taking action. January is the month of taking action on the Change Work Life podcast, and in this interview, we talk about procrastination and how you overcome the blocks that prevent you from taking action. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.
Jeremy Cline 0:36
Hello, and welcome to the Change Work Life podcast, where we're all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. And Happy New Year! It's got to be said, 2020 was probably the weirdest year any of us can remember, and who knows what 2021's going to bring. But in terms of what I'd like it to be, I want it to be the year of action. And in particular, for January, I'm focusing my podcast on just that - the theme of January is going to be all about taking action. And so, this week, this first one in the series, we're talking about something which you might find it stops you taking action, and that's procrastination. You know how it is, you've got something that you need to do, something that perhaps you want to do, but you just keep on putting it off, and you keep on putting it off. And that's what we're going to talk about today with Eric Twiggs, who is the author of The Discipline of Now: 12 Practical Principles to Overcome Procrastination, and also the host of The 30 Minute Hour podcast. Eric, welcome to the show.
Eric Twiggs 1:32
Hey, Jeremy. It's a pleasure and it's an honour to be here. Thank you for having me.
Jeremy Cline 1:37
So, aside from the book and the podcast, can you tell us a bit more about what it is that you do?
Eric Twiggs 1:41
So, I'm your procrastination prevention partner. That's my focus. My focus is to help executive leaders and entrepreneurs to ditch their excuses, to beat procrastination so they can make more money, get more done and feel more confident.
Jeremy Cline 2:00
How is this something that you got into, because you used to work in the auto industry, isn't that right?
Eric Twiggs 2:04
I did. My start to all of this really began back when I was in college. It was my senior year, I was at Hampton University, it's in the United States. It's in Virginia. And I'm having this conversation with my good friend Darnell. Now I have to confess, Jeremy, he and I were a little different at the time - he was all about his purpose, and I was all about the party. So, we were having this conversation, and he's telling me about how I need to get serious and get focused about what I want to do. And I'm telling him that, man, we have plenty of time for that serious stuff - are you coming to the party with me or not? And we kind of laugh and go our separate ways. And the time goes by and I don't hear from him, I don't talk to him or anything like that. Then I get a phone call from his mother informing me that he was tragically killed in a car accident. And it really changed how I thought about time, and it taught me that maybe I don't have the time that I think to do the things that I want to do. I mean, that was literally a life-changing moment. And from that point on, I really became hyper focused on how I spend my time, on avoiding procrastination, and just really moving forward in the pursuit of goals. And that was really the experience that's most responsible for you and I talking today right now.
Jeremy Cline 3:25
And how did that play out in terms of changing from working in the auto industry to doing what you do now?
Eric Twiggs 3:32
Great question. Initially, so, after that happened, I'm thinking I need to climb the corporate ladder, I need to do everything I can to be successful, I need to be driving the big car, I need to make as much money as I can. And so, I gravitated towards the auto industry and I worked my way up, I became a district manager. And I had, at one point, 17 locations, 500 employees. So we get to a point where I'm winning these awards, my district is the number one district out of 80, I'm driving the big car, everything seems to be going great. And then, I remember this clear as day, I'm driving, I stopped at the light. I remember I looked up into the rear-view mirror, and I could see my eyes, and the look in my eyes at the time was the look of someone who hated what he was doing. I'd got to this point where I felt like I was successful, but I wasn't significant. Something was missing, and that really started the journey. I really had to look back and say, when did I really feel fulfilled? When did I feel like I was contributing? And every time I thought about that it was always a time when I was speaking to a group. And part of my career, I spent time as a corporate trainer. So, I would facilitate classes, or in the community at my local church, I would do presentations. And I remember every time feeling like I could just do this all day, every day. And that really is what started the journey from being an automotive district manager to doing what I'm doing now, where I work with people to become more productive and do presentations and things of that nature.
Jeremy Cline 5:16
Fantastic. Wow. That sounds like quite a journey that you came on.
Eric Twiggs 5:20
I told you, I'm your procrastination prevention partner, right? I procrastinated! Initially, when I came to the realisation that I should be speaking to groups, and delivering some kind of inspirational message, it was a three-year span of time from when I got the idea to when I actually started moving, because I said all the things to myself, who's going to listen to me? What can I say that hasn't been said already? What organisation is gonna pay me money, just for me to talk to their team? All of these doubtful thoughts came to mind, and the easiest thing to do is to do nothing. And that's what I did for three years. So, I just thought I'd put it out there, yeah, I'm your procrastination prevention partner, but I was guilty of procrastination. And anybody can procrastinate if they don't have the right disciplines in place.
Jeremy Cline 6:10
So, I've just got to ask you, what changed over the course of that three years that made you take action?
Eric Twiggs 6:16
Just frustration. Just that continued feeling that I wasn't in the place where I needed to be. And finally, what changed is, I was doing a presentation and there was someone from Toastmasters International, the speaker presentation training group. And they were in the audience. And they were giving me this quizzical look. And afterwards, I said, you know, hey, so you're in Toastmasters, what did you think of my presentation? And they gave me all of these little details that I had never even thought about. You should stand this way, when you turned this way you did this. And I'm like, man, I need to know more of that! And that motivated me to join Toastmasters International. And so, then, when I joined Toastmasters International, I met someone who trained professional speakers. And the steps started to reveal themselves. Here's the bottom line, I was guilty of perfectionism. That's a big thing. We feel like, 'Oh, I need to have everything figured out before I start moving forward.' But the thing I learned from that experience is that you can't allow perfect to become the enemy of progress. You just have to focus on the next step.
Jeremy Cline 7:26
Let's talk about procrastination itself. What are we talking about here when we talk about procrastination? Is this just somebody not doing something that they know they should, or somebody just putting off something that they know that they should? How do you define procrastination?
Eric Twiggs 7:45
The fundamental definition of procrastination is when you delay taking action on the things that you need to be doing. Sometimes we want to pretend like we don't know, but we know the thing that we need to be doing. If you're delaying on things that you know are going to move you forward in life, you're putting it off.
Jeremy Cline 8:06
What about the psychology here? Because there's some things which - it's a bum job. Maybe it's an aspect of your job which you have to do, it's part of the job, it doesn't give you any pleasure whatsoever, you just have to do it. And you just find that you end up doing 99 other things, which you also need to do as part of your job. But sooner or later, you're going to have to do this one bum thing, and I can see that there's wanting to put that off. But I think it perhaps talks to your point about perfectionism and maybe not knowing which way to turn, but - correct me if I'm wrong here - but is there an aspect of it that people want to make some kind of a change, but there is something in there, whether it's fear or a fear of lack of knowledge, or whatever it might be that stops people. So in the context of this podcast where we talk about career change, people don't take that first step, whether that first step is doing a bit of self-analysis, or whether it's updating your resume or whatever it might be. So, can you talk to perhaps a bit of the psychology of why people are putting off things?
Eric Twiggs 9:16
The first piece you mentioned where it was just, you just don't like doing the task, that's called task aversion. And that is part of the reason that people procrastinate. It's not complicated. It's not deep. The bottom line is that you just don't like doing it. But here's the thing, and I wish someone had told me this earlier in my career - just because it has to be done, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to do it, depending on what your position is. So the question is, is that a task that can be outsourced? For example, it can be something that you don't like doing, but if it's not done, it could have really bad consequences, but it doesn't mean that you necessarily have to do it. I can just use myself as an example, I really don't like the details involved with scheduling different events, scheduling different Zoom calls - it has to be done! I want to stay focused on the bigger picture. I'm passionate about writing and speaking and those types of things. I hired a virtual assistant, and so she does a lot of those details. So it's still getting done. So, in a work context, is it something that can be delegated? Or is it a matter of just having a conversation with your boss to say, 'Okay, great, I know you want me to do this, but I also have this priority, which one would you recommend that I work on?' It's looking at it that way, are you the person that has to do it? Because if you don't like the task, you will procrastinate. And if the task is necessary to what you do, that could have some bad consequences. Hopefully, I answered that part of the question for you.
Jeremy Cline 11:01
I'd just like to pause on that one before we move on to the next one and just ask you, in some cases, you will be able to outsource or delegate the job that you don't want to do. In other cases, you can't, either because you're in an organisation where there's lack of manpower, or it is just part and parcel of your job, and maybe not the main part of your job. So there are other things which you enjoy doing - and if all of your job is something you don't like doing well, that's, that's possibly suggesting something else - but if basically it is down to you, have you've got any mind hacks, or tips or tricks that you can do to motivate yourself to get this thing done, or to help you approach it in a different manner so that it doesn't seem quite so unenjoyable?
Eric Twiggs 11:50
So, I have a couple of suggestions. So, one suggestion is to combine the task that's not as pleasurable or desirable with something that you do enjoy. So for me, for example, one of the things I didn't really like was the whole expense reconciliation piece. If I was travelling, notating mileage - there's a lot of little tedious details that I had to keep track of. So what I would do is, while I was doing that, I'd be listening to my favourite audio book, or some inspirational music, and I would be able to combine something, a task that wasn't desirable, with something that I enjoyed. Even if it's around the house, there's a task that you know needs to be done and you have to do it, you can be listening to music, audio book, what have you - that's a way to help you to get through that. So, that's one thing you can think of. The other thing is to make an appointment with yourself. Instead of saying 'I'm going to do it', make an appointment. Say I'm going to do it on Wednesday at one o'clock. And whatever you make an appointment for becomes a priority. And you will find, if you start making an appointment, and you put it on your calendar, and you block off the time, you have a higher likelihood of getting it done. And you can give yourself a reward for doing it. So, once you get this unpleasurable thing done, you can reward yourself by saying, okay, later I'll watch my favourite programme. Or you can give yourself a consequence! That works. I have people I work with that say, okay, you know what, I'm gonna make an appointment with myself. If I don't get this task done, during that time, I'm going to donate money to the opposing political party. If I'm in the United States, if I'm a Democrat, I'm going to give to the Republican Party. If I'm a Republican, I'm going to give the Democratic party. So, those are some things you can do when you just have to do it, that will keep you from procrastinating.
Jeremy Cline 13:56
And I've heard of the idea of getting someone else - getting an accountability partner, so you actually say that to someone. You tell this person, I'm going to do this job, and if I don't do it then I will donate $10 to the charity of your choice or something like that.
Eric Twiggs 14:13
Oh, sure. Absolutely. And for me, for example, I ran a marathon three years ago, and I purposely told people. I told everybody I knew that I was running a marathon: hey, you know what, September I'm running this marathon. I did that purposely because I knew those people would say, hey, Eric, how's the marathon going? I really wasn't motivated to wake up when it was raining to run. That's not something I looked forward to. But I knew that if I didn't train, I would have to tell these people that no, I'm not doing what I said I was going to do. So, what you said is true. There is something powerful about having that outside accountability.
Jeremy Cline 14:53
Let's move on to my second example. So, this is where you want to make a positive change, but there are steps leading up to it, and you struggle to maybe make a start on those steps, either in the context of starting a new career, starting a new business, whatever it might be. Can you talk a little bit about how you start to overcome those blockages?
Eric Twiggs 15:16
Here's the thing. First, you need to understand that whenever you're moving towards something that's aspirational for you, something that's going to move you forward, it's common you're going to hear that negative voice in your head. It happened to me, I gave you the example earlier. As soon as I said, hey, you know what, I need to be an inspirational speaker and an author, I started hearing the voice of, okay, who's gonna listen to you? Who's gonna pay you? So, I think you have to understand that that is part of the deal. That when you're moving towards something that's inspirational, that's really something related to your purpose, you have to plan that you're going to hear the negative voice from yourself. One of the common things that stops people is fear. Fear is a leading cause of procrastination when you're moving towards something. So, it could be fear of success, fear of failure, and fear of the unknown. And I can break down each of those, tell you some little titbits. Do you want to start with the fear of failure?
Jeremy Cline 16:20
Yeah, let's start there.
Eric Twiggs 16:21
So, the fear of failure is really common. And what I share with people to overcome, so you're going towards something that's aspirational, instead of fearing, what if I fail? What if I'm not good enough? I would recommend that you focus more on the process than you do the outcome. So, you have to focus on, for example, like I work with students all the time. They're afraid, what if I don't get a good grade? What if I'm just not smart enough? What if I don't pass? What if my grade point average isn't high enough? Don't focus on those things. Focus on how often you're going to study. Are you gonna study two hours a day? Focus on how often you're going to read. Focus on the process. And it's the same thing in business. So, if you have a presentation that's coming up, and you're afraid, what if I bomb? Focus on how often you're going to practice. Like in Toastmasters, they tell you for every minute of your presentation, you should practice an hour. That helped me, because I said, you know what, I have a seven-minute presentation, I'm going to practice the right way for seven hours. And I can live with the result. I put my seven hours in. So, you have the fear of failure, and a big way to overcome that is to focus more on the process than you do the ultimate outcome. The more you're prepared, the less you have to fear.
Jeremy Cline 17:45
This might be going off at a tangent, but one of the reasons why people don't necessarily take the next step is because they don't always know what the next step is. So in your example, focus on the process. But what happens if you haven't yet identified what the process is? I could see it becoming almost chicken and egg. So how do you go about working out what the process is, what the next step is, what the thing you can do is?
Eric Twiggs 18:14
So what I would do, if it's something that's aspirational, so let's say you want to be a best-selling author. I would contact someone who's a best-selling author. And it's really that simple. Find out what they did. You can read about them. Read one of their books, find out what their story is. It's not necessary to recreate the wheel. And I've just gotten to that point now. Anything that I want to accomplish, I try to find someone who's already done it to find out, what do they do? And then the next step, the other thing is the next step - people think that step has to be huge. The next step can be small, it could be doing a Google search to get more information. But those small steps start to add up and get you closer to your goal.
Jeremy Cline 19:01
So, we were talking about the fear of the unknown. You we're going to move on to another fear?
Eric Twiggs 19:08
Yeah, the fear of failure. And then you also have the fear of success. This is common. I'm amazed at how common that is. That's the fear that maybe I can't measure up to the new standard. So, let's say I do a presentation, and they're gonna expect me to do more presentations, maybe I'm not good enough. Or if I get this promotion, maybe I'll get exposed. Maybe people will discover that I'm not as good as they think I am. For example, there's a friend of mine, she's a PhD. She has a doctorate degree. She spent all this time in school, getting a doctorate degree, but she will never refer to herself as Doctor in a social setting because she's afraid that someone may, when they find out she's a Doctor, they may try to ask her a high-level question that she may not have the answer to. And she says, 'Oh, they may not think that I'm as smart as I pretend myself to be'. So that's an example of the fear of success. And for that, there's a formula - it's called, be, do and have. So, the focus on becoming - if I can become more, I can do more. And if I can do more, I can ultimately have more. So really, the focus is on always becoming more, continually evolving. Whatever you're in, whatever your industry, can you go to industry conferences, are you reading the books, are you always upgrading your knowledge? Because things are always changing. So there's no need to fear success if you're always focused on becoming a better version of yourself.
Jeremy Cline 20:46
That deals with a point which was going through my mind - I can see a fear of success being a fear of getting there and it not being everything you thought it would be. You get to the position of partner in a law firm or head of whatever it might be in your organisation, you get there and you kind of go, okay, that's not actually that great. And maybe there's a fear of getting to that position that puts people off taking action, whereas if people take your approach of almost getting into the mode of never finishing, there's always something else, then perhaps that's a way of thinking about that and dealing with that.
Eric Twiggs 21:24
You're just always evolving. For me, true success is really becoming the best version of yourself. So, you're always prepared for that, because you're always reading, you're always planning, you're always studying, you're always practising, so you're ready - what's there to fear if you're prepared?
Jeremy Cline 21:42
We talked about fear of failure and fear of success. Actually, we didn't really cover fear of the unknown. Talk a bit to that as well.
Eric Twiggs 21:49
It's like a fear of the future, you're asking yourself those 'what if' questions. We're seeing it now with the times we're in. We're coming through this pandemic, and there's just that uncertainty, so people will come up to me and say I planned to start this business but I don't know, what's going to happen? Is there going to be a shutdown? Is my industry going to be at risk if there's this pandemic? I think the key thing to understand is that legacy and risk go hand in hand. Like, if you're trying to do something where you're leaving a legacy, anything you're trying to do that's worthwhile, there's some element of risk. If you're talking about getting married, it's a risk. So, you have to understand that leaving your legacy and taking a risk, it goes hand in hand. And there is no situation that's worthwhile that you're going to accomplish where it's going to be 100% certainty - you just have to move forward. And that's why - faith. You wouldn't need faith if there wasn't some element of uncertainty.
Jeremy Cline 23:01
Let's move on a little bit and talk about symptoms and how someone recognises that they are, in fact, procrastinating. Because I can imagine someone saying, Look, I know I should be doing this, I know I should be doing that, but I'm just too busy. I've got all this going on, and all that going on. I've got work, a family life, I've got kids, I've got all this other stuff. And I'm guessing there is a point where it crosses over, and that the busyness itself could be a symptom of procrastination. How can you recognise when you are just being busy and when you're using that as an excuse not to do things?
Eric Twiggs 23:42
Well, the first thing is I think you can't confuse being active with being effective. There's a huge difference between being active and being effective. You can be doing things but not doing the right things. And sometimes that's a stalling tactic. So, the key thing is - the book and the theme of my book, The Discipline of Now - it's really about awareness. So, you'll start to become aware of your patterns, the certain things that trigger you to procrastinate. People do what I call creative avoidance. Creative avoidance is when you've got something you should be working on but then you're finding other things to do, that's you saying, 'Oh, yeah, I'm busy. You know, I've got to clean my desk off. I've got to answer these emails. I've got to check my text messages. I've got to organise this filing cabinet.' Those are all stalling tactics. The deep science is that when you're afraid, you don't feel like you're in control. So, what happens is, you're seeking to regain control. That's kind of the deeper science behind it. So, to regain control, you start doing tasks that give you the feeling, now, okay, I've got control. My desk is organised. Yes! My cabinets are clean! But in reality, you're avoiding the thing you really should be doing.
Jeremy Cline 25:00
That's really interesting that you mentioned that psychology because I think that is something which you don't just find in this context, but you find elsewhere - maybe you're stuck in traffic or something. And you might get to your destination quicker if you stay in traffic than if you come off at the next junction and go some squiggly, back road route, but you feel more in control if you've taken action, and you've gone off and done something else. So, that sounds to me like it's a really powerful realisation, actually.
Eric Twiggs 25:33
Oh, for sure, yeah. It's really all about awareness. And it's all about putting certain disciplines in place, because it's so easy to veer down the wrong road and find yourself in this procrastination loop. It's about putting the right disciplines and habits in place.
Jeremy Cline 25:54
Where do you find the balance between the creative avoidance and the doing what you need to do, because some of the examples you gave there of creative avoidance - things like tidying up the filing cabinet or something like that - I mean, in some cases, it's going to be a job you do and then a week later, the filing cabinet is as messy as it was beforehand. In other cases, it's something that you do and you do it once and you're disciplined enough that you keep it tidy and it makes you a bit more efficient or something like that. So, in that circumstance, it can be something which ultimately is positive. So, how do you decide that a task which comes under the heading 'creative avoidance' is still something that's worth doing and putting in?
Eric Twiggs 26:43
The thing is, as long as you're not triggered to do it because you're avoiding something else. And again, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with organising the filing cabinets, that's definitely something that needs to be done. It's just that we need to make sure that we're not doing it because we're avoiding the real thing that we should be doing. That's really what the difference is. If you're saying, for me to accomplish my goal of being able to write 500 words a day, I need an organised space so I can think, so to do that, I need to have everything - that's one thing. Creative avoidance is, hey, I've got this presentation coming up, I've got to start working on it. Well, instead of working on it, I'm gonna go do this other thing. So, there's the difference. So, how does what you're doing line up with your ultimate goals, is really more of the question.
Jeremy Cline 27:38
So, if you've got something like a presentation which is looming, and you've got a deadline - I am giving a presentation on this date - it's easy to identify, that's the thing that you need to be doing. If it's something a bit more ephemeral, it's not time-bound, it's a bit more ambition, it's a bit more in the, 'I'm not entirely satisfied with the way things are going. I want to make an internal change' thing. How do you identify what the thing you should really be doing is versus the procrastination, where that is the change that you're trying to make?
Eric Twiggs 28:15
So, I work with people to really get clear on what it is they're moving towards, because I always say that clarity is the starting point of success. So, if I'm working with someone, we'll start, Okay, five years from now, let's project five years, let's get into our time machine. It's five years later. And you're saying, you know what, I feel great. What are those things that need to be in place? What are those specific accomplishments that I've achieved five years from now? And so from there, we break it down. Okay, so what do we need to achieve in the next 12 weeks that are going to get us to the five-year goal. So, now you're clear on what you want to accomplish in five years, you're clear on what you want to accomplish in the next 12 weeks. And then we break the 12-week goals - okay, so what do we need to be doing each day to get there? And I work with people, I have something I call the Twiggs Top Five. That's where you just take a three by five cards, and every day - and I recommend you really do it before you start your day - so like, the night before, write down what are those five critical things that you need to accomplish that are going to move you towards the goal? You've already clarified what you want to accomplish in five years, in 12 weeks. What are those five things that you need to accomplish that are going to move you forward? So now specifically, what it is you should be doing each day, and those are the priorities. And I'm telling you, that is powerful, because you start building momentum, and you start building confidence, because now you're keeping the promises that you make to yourself. To answer your question, that's the technical way to know that you're doing the right things.
Jeremy Cline 29:55
And then, do you have any hacks or tricks that people can use to drop the things they shouldn't be doing? Because I can see, again, that being a really difficult thing. They've got this list of these five critical things. But then they've also got a list of seven things unrelated to those five or maybe slightly related to those five, but which are to do with a particular thing that they're doing. Maybe they're in a particular job, or it's the nature of their business where in order, ultimately, to get to what I want things to look like in five years' time, I need to start work on these five things. But there's these seven things where if I'm going to keep this particular car moving, I've got to do that. So, how do you get over that kind of hurdle?
Eric Twiggs 30:42
I think you have to prioritise. You can have five things in your priority, the five things represent the things that you have to get done each day to move you forward. The other thing is, I help people to practice what's called zero-based thinking. So, that means that I take a look at whatever I'm involved in, and I ask myself, okay, Eric, knowing what you now know, would you have gotten yourself involved in it? So, maybe it's an organisation, maybe it's a position, I'm chairing a committee, I'm president of this, and I say, okay, knowing what you now know about this, would you still get involved? And if the answer is absolutely not, what do you need to do to get out of that? Because maybe you're involved in something that's taking you away from moving towards your purpose. And the other thing is, you have to get really good at saying no. The high-level people that I've been around, they have a short yes list and a long no list. No is their default answer until they get more information. Those are some key things, that will help you to get out of the situation where you've got all these things you've got to do that really don't line up with what you should be doing.
Jeremy Cline 32:02
I love this one of knowing what I know now, would I agree to have done this in the first place? It's one of those things, especially if you're on a voluntary committee, or on a committee of your church, or a community group or whatever, and you've got other people relying on you, but you've been doing it for a year, and you think, this is just taking me away from what I really want to be doing. Yes, I'm doing good, yes other people are relying on me, but it's not working for me. And you've got this difficulty in your mind about, how do I extract myself from this? And I guess maybe part of the answer is, it's not all down to you - you're replaceable, if you left, then someone else would be able to fill in for you.
Eric Twiggs 32:44
Exactly. Right. Yeah, that's key. They'll pick up the baton, and they'll keep running with it. A lot of times we get into these things, and we feel guilty if we say no. You know, it's such a great cause. But it may not be the season for you to lead it necessarily. It's a great cause. It's a great idea. But if you really feel like it's a great cause and you want to support it, you don't have to lead the charge. Maybe you can be there on an advisory capacity. Or maybe you can help out in small ways that don't take up a lot of your time. And the other question is, and I have tried to help people with this, okay, if you say, yes, I'm going to add this. I'm going to take this on, I'm going to lead this committee, I'm going to be the head of the homeowner's association - the question you need to ask is, okay, what in your current schedule are you going to eliminate to make room for that?
Jeremy Cline 33:41
So, it goes back to your yes or no - if I'm going to say yes to this, what am I going to say no to?
Eric Twiggs 33:45
Perfect. If I'm saying yes to this, you know, I say yes to everything, that's gonna become a problem. I'm gonna end up procrastinating, I'm going to end up feeling burnt out.
Jeremy Cline 33:56
Completely. Eric I'm conscious of time. What's the one big point or another key point that we should cover that we haven't yet and that you'd like the listeners to take away on this subject?
Eric Twiggs 34:09
So the big thing I want people to remember, because I have people all the time that say, oh, Eric, I'm just such a procrastinator. Oh, Eric, I am always late. Procrastination is not your identity. Procrastination is a habit that you can overcome. So, you may have procrastinated yesterday. But remember that yesterday ended last night. You can move forward, you can take different actions, you can make better decisions, just know that you'll always be moving forward. And just be careful, because it's human nature, you're going to act out in accordance to who you believe you are. So, if you're always saying I am a procrastinator, you'll be more likely to procrastinate. I think it's critical to pay attention, whatever comes after 'I am', because you're going to end up doing more of that. I would just encourage the listeners to remember it's a habit, it's not your identity, you can move forward with the discipline of now.
Jeremy Cline 35:08
That's another very powerful thing, the question of identity. So, the 'I am' versus habit. I think that's wonderfully powerful. Eric, apart from your book, if listeners want to dive into this in any more detail elsewhere, where might they go?
Eric Twiggs 35:24
They can go to my website, thedisciplineofnow.com. They can also listen to The 30 Minute Hour podcast. I talk about productivity principles and personal development in general on The 30 Minute Hour, and also from a resource standpoint, there's a group - it's the What Now movement. It's a free Facebook group. And at this time, we've got over 1,350 entrepreneurs, authors, career professionals. Every day there's a live video within the group that helps you to stay motivated, to stay inspired, you get educated. Those are some resources that I would recommend.
Jeremy Cline 36:12
I will link to all of those in the show notes. Eric, what a way to start the year, some absolutely awesome tips. Thank you so much for your time.
Eric Twiggs 36:20
Jeremy thank you again, this has truly been an honour to be on your show.
Jeremy Cline 36:25
Thank you so much. Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Eric Twiggs. This was one of those episodes that it might be worth you listening to it again, possibly with a pen and paper, just because there was so much stuff in there. So many hacks, tips, tricks that you can use. I particularly liked what Eric was saying about the different types of fear - fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and also fear of success, a fear that you kind of just don't deserve to get what you want. He mentioned how there is always risk that comes with a change, you can never be completely certain that a change is going to have the results that you want to achieve. But it's worth going back to what previous guests have said on this, and that's looking at what the worst-case scenario is. Ray Blakney mentioned this a couple of weeks ago in Episode 67, and Jack Hopkins also mentioned the same way back in Episode 28. Once you start thinking about what the worst-case scenarios might be, it's probably never quite as bad as you think it might be.
Jeremy Cline 37:21
You'll find full show notes for this episode at changeworklife.com/69. And the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that I've changed the format of the show notes a little bit over the past few weeks. I've always included the key points made by my guests, but now I've started including timestamps as well. So, if you look at the show notes, and you see a particularly interesting point, you can see what time that occurred in the episode. And so, there's a track player there, you'll be able to find it and listen to exactly what was said.
Jeremy Cline 37:55
A key point mentioned by Eric was the importance of clarity, clarity of knowing where you want to get to. And he mentioned this idea of looking five years into the future and describing, what do you want life to look like then, before you go back and effectively work backwards to work out what steps you need to get there. On my website, I've got a couple of exercises, one of which will help you with this. It's designed to help you look at five years in the future and define in a bit of detail just what you would like life to look like at that point. And then once you've done that exercise, then you too can start to think about the steps that will help you get there. So on the changeworklife.com website, there's a tab in the menu at the top which says Find Career Happiness. If you click on that link, then you'll be able to sign up to receive a couple of exercises which will help you with this process. We're continuing our theme of 'taking action' in January next week, so stick around, we've got a great interview next week and I can't wait to see you then. Cheers. Bye.
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