KNOW YOURSELF TO ACCOMPLISH EXTRAORDINARY THINGS
Now I don't know if publishing a podcast is an extraordinary thing but it has been something I've wanted to create and do for several years now. And I finally was able to make it happen. How? By really examining myself: how I work best, my energy management, and my priorities. And you can accomplish extraordinary things too by doing the same.
How it started.
I began listening to podcasts about two years ago and roughly six months in, the thought occurred to me that I could create a podcast too. Flash forward another 9 months and I began looking to create a podcast in earnest.
I started out looking for people to interview and did three interviews. Then I spent 6 to 8 hours editing them, each, to perfection. And then I burned out. It felt exhausting to put in an entire day for a single episode. I didn't have the energy to stare at a screen that long and I also had competing priorities for my weekend time. In other words, how was I going to find the motivation to keep going AND fit it into my schedule? I stalled out again.
3 months later, I had the idea of the interview show but also including solo shows. One interview and one solo show each month. It didn't feel too overwhelming and I thought I could do it. I recorded two 30-minute solo shows and realized the immense pressure that comes with only one solo show a month. It felt like it not only needed to be perfectly edited but also highly impactful and enlightening. Again, I couldn't find the way to make it work and I walked away for a few more months.
After second and third guessing if I really wanted a podcast and if I truly was motivated enough, I began looking at my best work styles and habits, my best energy usage, and my priorities.
How I work best.
Since I was a kid, I would try to do as much work as possible in large chunks of time. I would often get distracted and drained every time I would do this (example: 8 hours of podcast editing). And as I've gotten older, I've found that I work best in 45-minute to 90-minute chunks (thanks, laptop battery for always dying). It's long enough for me to get in the task, focus, and do good work while not becoming overwhelmed. It's usually long enough to write a blog post or, as I found out, create a podcast episode.
I work 8 hours and commute via public transportation an additional two each day. I deal with people all day long and even on my commute, I'm surrounded by people. When I get home, I can manage to work on side projects and whatnot but only for a small amount of time each night (see how I work best above). All of this leaves me very drained by the weekend. All of my energy and thought goes into the week and getting things done, so by the time Saturday afternoon rolls around, I am pooped. This leaves me little energy to work on long editing sessions, brainstorm incredible show topics, or reach out to interview guests. Instead of trying to force me to do the weekend work, which was practically impossible because I lacked energy, I realized I needed to fit the show in during the week, in small workable segments.
I found that by trying to cram producing a podcast into a full Saturday, it really hindered my other priorities. It took away weekend time from my family, my friends, my other personal projects, and more. But podcasting was also a priority, which meant I really needed to evaluate how and where I spent my time.
The new podcast format.
So I took a step back. I reviewed the items above and discovered that I tend to work my best and maintain my habits if I go at it daily. Not once in a while or twice a month, but each and every day. Doing something daily each weekday also was in my energy zone, allowing me to have peak performance. And it opened time for me to spend weekends recovering and meeting my other priorities. Lastly, a daily podcast really takes off the pressure to make every hit a home run. Did I create a less-than-stellar episode? There's always room to improve tomorrow. So instead of a monthly interview show and monthly solo shows, the podcast is small daily shows with me sharing what I know about happiness, what I've recently discovered, and how it may help you, the reader and/or listener.
Accomplishing extraordinary things.
The point is, I struggled and struggled to find a way to make creating a podcast work. It was and is my extraordinary thing. I worried I couldn't do it because I thought I didn't have the proper motivation ( really it was lacking energy). I thought I it needed to be done in huge chunks, to sound just right. I thought every episode needed to be large, perfect bundles of insightful content instead of single insightful ideas with the real me. I thought I would have to drop all other priorities to make it work. I was wrong. It took nearly a year and a half to really come down to knowing myself and how I work best to really meet this big goal I had.
I'm hoping this article can save you that year and a half for your goals. Give yourself the time you need, of course, but if you are struggling to meet a goal, whether it's weight loss, to take a course, or creating a podcast, start looking to understand yourself to find the best ways to make meeting that goal work for you. Start by evaluating how you work best, how you spend your energy, and how you prioritize.