Productivity Tuesday: Why Would You Trust a Liar?

By Kellee Weinhold, TPII Productivity Coach

Welcome to the Productivity Post!
Each(ish) Tuesday, I share some of the ideas and strategies that inform my coaching in UNSTUCK: The Art of Productivity*.

Sometimes, I even record a coaching session! (This is not one of those weeks.)


This week’s post is adapted from the Introduction to Step Two coaching video in the UNSTUCK: The Art of Productivity program. Step Two is all about committing to a daily (M-F) writing practice. If you have been struggling to kick start your writing, this is a great place to start.


Welcome to Step Two.
I hope you took the opportunity to take the weekend off.  If you were unable to overcome your anxiety and feeling like you JUST HAD to work all weekend, I want to encourage you to keep pushing back on that, to keep reclaiming your time until you are no longer working on weekends.

If you are feeling burned out and exhausted by the whole process, you are simply doing too much. And the solution is not working more to do less. It is doing less so you have the energy to do more! So take the weekend off! You don’t have to explain it to anybody. You don’t have to tell your department chair or your advisor or anybody. Just do it!  Show up for your life.

Remember, we’re working on balance.

Now that we have that out of the way, the goal this is the week is to set aside a little time each day and begin to chip away at your project.

In preparation for that commitment, I want to revisit the three core values of UNSTUCK:

1) Honesty.  Tell the truth about what you’re doing, being really precise in your language so you’re training your brain that what you say is what you do.  In other words, “Write my Book” is not honest. First of all, you can’t write a book in one sitting. Second, there is no way to mark off what you have done. Be HONEST: You are going to work in the introductory paragraph to chapter two.

2) Realistic Expectations. Set goals based on the life you have — the pressures, the other influences on your schedule, on your well-being, on your psyche.  Set up realistic expectations for yourself for each day based on the life you have, not the one your advisor has or your colleague has. YOUR Life!

3) Set Small, Measurable Goals. Within the context of your actual life, honestly set small goals that you can repeatedly achieve. I cannot stress how important it is that you set goals that you can and will meet.

If you have not been writing, or more precisely, if you have been saying that you’re going to write only to not write, you have laid down wiring over and over and over again that tells your brain you are not going to show up. You have become someone you don’t trust.

By way of example: Let’s say you have a friend who agreed to meet you at a coffee shop to work on a project. When the time comes, you show up but that friend doesn’t.  Or you both show up but that friend does everything but work on the project.  And let’s say you are naive enough to make that arrangement more than a few times and get the same outcome. Chances are at this point you show up with no real expectation of progress, or you don’t show up at all.

That’s pretty what’s happened with your writing over time.  You didn’t show up when you said you would and now there is not expectation that you will. You have lost trust in yourself.

So, what we want to do is rebuild your integrity of self,  and we do it in the same way. Repeated, slow replacing of that no-show wiring with a neural pathway that says “When I say I’m going to write, I show up to write.”

The critical, CRITICAL component of this week is to show up when you say you will!  It’s why you set your goals so small at the beginning. Because the most important thing is not what you write but that you do exactly what you say you’re going to do.

Mark you calendar every day for a 15-minute block. Show up. Write some words, any words, on the page. Keep your word to yourself for one whole week. Then do it again. And again. Do it until you begin to trust yourself again.

*If you would like to learn more about UNSTUCK: The Art of Productivity or join the program, click HERE

About Karen

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions–University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I’ve created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don’t.


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