Episode 85: The Process of Creating a Process

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Process of Creating a Process

Is creating processes in your life something you struggle with? If so, you’re not alone. Tons of people have difficulty when it comes to this topic, as our brains love to choose confusion and overwhelm instead of taking action. So this week I’m giving you a process for creating a process.

When I experience confusion, I tend to shut down and stop taking action. Maybe you’re the same, but this is exactly where implementing processes can come in useful. If you find it impossible to get started, or you feel overwhelmed by the idea that you might end up doing things wrong and you just want someone to tell you exactly what to do, this episode is exactly what you need.

Tune in this week to discover why you are feeling overwhelmed and confused when it comes to taking action in your life and how having a process in place can help. I’m showing you my process for creating a process, so you can move forward, figure things out on your own, and break free from the confusion that’s keeping you stuck.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why our brains love to choose confusion and overwhelm.
  • How to see where you’re waiting for a step-by-step process to appear before you can take action.
  • Something I’ve struggled to take action on lately because I lacked a process.
  • How to get out of that space where you’re convinced that you don’t know where to start.
  • Why there isn’t one right way of doing things.
  • My process for creating your own processes.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 85. Today, we’re talking all about the process of creating a process. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach Olivia Vizachero.

Well, hello there. How are you? I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It’s so wild to me you always know what I’ve got going on in my life, and I don’t ever really get to hear what’s going on in yours. But I hope you got to spend it with people who matter most to you.

My parents actually came down. We had a very non-traditional Vizachero family Thanksgiving. It’s different than anything we’ve ever done before. I shouldn’t say that. I went to Chicago, I think two years ago, for Thanksgiving to visit with my aunt, my uncle, and my cousin Emily. I call her Ginger, for those of you who know her. She has red hair, so that’s my nickname for her.

That was the first time I really did something unconventional and didn’t spend it with my parents. This year, I spent it with my parents, but we weren’t at home. I wasn’t in Michigan, and we didn’t have a traditional home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

We spent the week bopping around Charleston eating our way through the city. I got to go deep-sea fishing with my dad, which was so much fun. It’s something that we used to do when I was a lot younger. I haven’t gone with him in years, so it was really amazing to get out on the water with him and just have a riot.

So, they were down here for almost the whole week. I took some time off of work, which I’ve been coaching people on a lot lately, about their mind drama about taking days off of work. I should do a whole episode on that. I’ll make a note of it. But today’s episode isn’t about that.

Today’s episode is a continuation of what I talked about last week. Last week, I was talking about the process of focusing, and imperfect focus versus perfect focus. I explained in the last episode that I wanted to talk to you about the process of creating a process.

This is something that I do all the time in my own life. It’s something that I use with my clients all the time as well because I’ve seen how effective it is for me. So, here’s the reason I do this, and I’ll explain what it actually means in a second.

But the reason that I create processes, it’s because I’ve learned how I operate. All right? Confusion is an emotion that when I experience it, I tend to shut down. When I feel confused, I do not like moving forward. Is that my perfectionism making an appearance? You’re right, it sure is.

Because I don’t like the discomfort of not knowing. I love the certainty. I love feeling like I’m doing something right, the “right way.” Even though, as a coach, I intellectually know there is no “right way” to do something. That being said, I’m still a human.

So, if I’m doing something new, something I’ve never done before, it’s very easy for me to feel confused. And confused just comes from the thoughts, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to do this.” That’s it. You just think, “I don’t know,” and then you feel confused. That’s all that happened. That’s all that causes confusion.

I’ve also noticed that when I feel confused, I also tend to feel overwhelmed. The two are sort of like cousins, they go together. So, when I’m feeling confused, I also feel overwhelmed. Maybe there are a lot of different options to choose from, and I don’t know where to start. I tell myself that something’s going to be hard or challenging, and it’s going to be difficult for me to complete. So, I’ll feel overwhelmed and confused.

Which is so funny, because if I don’t know how to do it, how can I assume that it’s going to be hard or complicated, and feel overwhelmed? It could be easy, but that’s not what my brain does when it defaults to this setting. When it’s indulging in ‘I don’t know,’ it loves to choose confusion and to choose overwhelm.

When I’m in this state, in this low-value thought cycle, one of the things that I’ve noticed is I really crave someone to tell me how to do whatever it is I need to do. I want them to give me the ‘follow the yellow brick road’ process. Every single step from A to Z, I want them to lay it out for me.

And if I can’t clearly see every single step, again, I shut down because I’m in that low-value cycle. I’m feeling confused. I’m feeling overwhelmed. Where there’s a lack of clarity, I just refuse to move forward.

A lot of people don’t teach things the way that I teach. If you work with me, if you’re a client of mine, you know this. I teach meticulous processes. I make it so clear, so crystal clear what you need to do. I break it down with such specificity because that’s what my brain needs to function at its most optimal level. That’s what I need to get unstuck and to move forward.

I need to know, I call them the micro steps or the micro tasks, 1.1, and then 1.2, and 1.3, and 1.4; every single micro step to doing something. When I have that clarity, I’m able to move forward with such ease.

If you remember back to elementary school, when you learned how to do math, when you learned how to do multiplication or division. In the very beginning, your teacher always tells you, you’ve got to show your work.

And when people glom a bunch of different steps together, and they’re really ambiguous or vague about what they’re teaching and how they’re teaching it, I get really overwhelmed and confused. It doesn’t make sense to me; I can’t see the path forward. Then I end up resisting what they’re teaching me, because it doesn’t make sense to me.

Now, in a perfect world, everyone would just hand me a perfect micro step, micro task, follow the ‘yellow brick road’ process for everything that I need to do. I have worked with some people who have done that for me. Those are the teachers that I end up really resonating with, that I follow, that I am so grateful for, because of the way that they teach. They teach in a way that makes sense to my brain.

But not everyone teaches like that. Sometimes people teach certain concepts really thoroughly, really well, and then they teach other concepts very vaguely. I’ve noticed that I really struggle when people teach vaguely. So, what I end up doing is I resist, I fight. I’m a little combative. I don’t apply what they’re teaching me.

I’ve learned… I worked through this with a friend of mine. She’s a coach, she’s a brilliant marriage coach. Her name is Maggie Reyes. She thinks a lot like I do, our brains work very similarly. So, she has an ability that when someone else says something that I end up feeling confused or overwhelmed about, she’s able to translate it for me and to approach it or teach it to me in a different way that makes sense to my brain.

I’ve noticed, because she’s been patient enough to do this with me, one of the things that she’s helped me do is recognize why I’m so frustrated, why I’m so resistant to whatever I’m being taught. It’s because I’m confused. It’s because I don’t see a clear process. Maggie knows that I have a flowchart brain, a very process, logic, oriented brain.

To give you a little backstory here. I was a math major through most of my undergrad career. I ended up dropping in at the last minute because it was going to extend my undergrad timeline by about another year and a half in order for me to finish it.

But before I dropped that double major, one of the classes that I took was Proof Theory. Proof Theory is all about those logic formulas. If A, then B. If not B, then not A. So, my brain works like that. That’s how I see the world. I see the world in flowcharts, in processes, in equations.

And I know not everyone loves math, but I think you can use math as a really great framework for teaching people things. It’s like, you have to go from A to B before you can go from B to C. You have to go from C to D before you can go from D to E. That’s just how it works.

So, if you think of the world that way, and you think of your problems that way, you can solve them with such greater ease than glomming everything together, jumbling it all up, being really confused and overwhelmed, and not knowing where to start.

Once I learned that I have this pattern of feeling confused and feeling overwhelmed when there’s a lack of clarity, when I don’t have a specific process, and knowing that I shut down when I’m in this state… Like I said, it’d be great if everyone just gave me, spoon-fed me, an amazing flowchart process to simply walk through and apply and implement.

But not everyone does that. Not everyone teaches like me. Not everyone knows that I might need that or that it might be beneficial, so I have to tap into my own resourcefulness. And one of the things that I started doing is to create my own ‘follow the yellow brick road’ processes for anything that I struggle with.

So, I’m going to walk you through a couple different examples. I’m going to start with the most recent one. Recently, I was getting coached by my business coach, Stacy Boehman. Before I raised my hand to get coached on this issue, I recognize that it would probably be good if I flushed out some of my thoughts about the topic that I was going to raise.

The topic that I was going to bring up with her was my resistance to hiring someone. I’m at a point in my business where I could probably really benefit from bringing someone on, even if it’s just part time, and I’ve been very reluctant and resistant to doing that. I noticed that I have a lot of resistance to it.

So, whenever I notice that I have a lot of resistance to something, that’s always a red or pink flag for me to dig a little bit deeper and figure out what’s going on there. What am I resisting? What’s coming up for me? Where are my thought errors?

What problems in my thinking are causing me to not move forward and do something that would actually really benefit me? What negative emotions are coming up for me that I’m resisting or avoiding by not moving forward?

I did a thought download. I just wrote down some of my thoughts about hiring. I noticed very common thoughts that come up for me when I’m embarking on doing something new that I don’t quite understand how to approach.

So, the thoughts were, “I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to do this. it’s going to be really hard.” Those were the kinds of thoughts that I was thinking. And when I think them, I feel confused and overwhelmed. Then I just spin, I don’t move forward, I don’t figure it out.

You’ve probably heard me talk about this on the podcast before, if you’ve been listening for a while, but one of my favorite questions once we’ve done a thought download and we’ve identified the negative thoughts that we’re thinking, is to simply ask the question: Is this thought true? Now, it’s a thought. Our thoughts are never true. So, the answer is always no, this thought is not true.

But then, from there, I go to work to make the counter argument. I go to work to prove how the thought is not true. So, I want to prove how the opposite is quote “true,” even though the opposite isn’t true either. because thoughts aren’t true. I know that’s a little confusing but bear with me.

So, I challenged the thoughts, “I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to do this,” knowing that it’s simply a thought and not true. I started to make the opposite argument. I started to make the argument that I did know where to start. I just started to jot down the process.

Now, I allowed myself to not need to have it all figured out. I was, at that time, telling myself, “You probably don’t know the whole process, but you might know some of it.”

I also want to backtrack for just a second. Right before I started to engage in this process of writing out what I think the process is, I noticed I had a lot of victimhood coming up in this moment. I noticed that I desperately wanted my business coach to just give me the process to hire someone.

I was feeling whiny and entitled and sort of desperate and needy. Very much like, “Why can’t you just explain this to me? Why can’t you just tell me what to do?” Being in that energy feels terrible. I never like to feel helpless. I never like to feel I don’t have the ability to be resourceful, to figure things out on my own and to come up with the answers that I need myself.

I think there’s a gentle balance between being willing to get help from a coach, but also not relying on them to do everything for you and to be willing to move forward and figure things out on your own.

So, I noticed my own victim mentality coming up here. Really feeling needy and desperate for someone to just tell me what to do. And yeah, could I start to google stuff and do more research and consume more content and find 18 different people who have 18 different ways of hiring? Yes, I could certainly do that. But it’s not a super-efficient use of my time.

Instead, what I realized is that I could just come up with my own process. If someone teaches me something, and they don’t give me the micro step brick by brick, ‘follow the yellow brick road’ process, I can just create that for myself.

There isn’t one right process. There might be a lot of different ways to do something. And just because mine is different than yours doesn’t make yours wrong and mine right, or mine wrong and yours right. We get to have different processes and arrive at the same result. I don’t need to match yours; I can just come up with one that works for me. So long as it moves me forward, that’s all that matters.

So, that’s what I did for myself. I gave myself permission to not have everything figured out. I, at the time that I embarked on this process and started to list out the steps as they came to my mind, I didn’t think that I would know steps A through Z. I didn’t think I would know the whole process. But I gave myself permission to do it imperfectly, and to just start to list out as many steps as I could think of.

I started with the thoughts, “I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to do this.” I said, “That can’t be true. Where would you start if you had to take a guess? If you did know, where would you start?”

Here’s what I came up with. I first started by deciding that I would need to make a list of the tasks that the person would do for me. So, make that list, that’s step one.

Step two, decide the number of hours I’d like them to work. I decided on five, very randomly. And then, I actually already know of a matchmaking service that pairs virtual assistants with coaches, with entrepreneurs, so all I need to do is go and fill out their questionnaire. From there, they’ll send me an email notifying me that I’ve been matched with certain candidates.

I’ll read that email, and then the next step will be to schedule interviews with the candidates that they selected. Then, the next step will be to do those interviews. Then, the next step will be to select the one person I want to work for me. Then, the next step will be to invite that person to start working for me, to extend that offer to them, and see what they say.

If they accept, the next step will be to inform the other applicants, the other candidates, that they did not receive the position. And yes, I will have to gag-and-go my way through those conversations, sending those emails or making those phone calls. Then, I will onboard the person and start giving them assignments. I decided that I would pay them as a contractor, likely through PayPal.

So, I wrote this all out in the same setting that I had just moments ago been telling myself, “I don’t know where to get started. I don’t know how to do this. It’s going to be so hard.” What I realized is, just like our brains love to do, my brain was lying to me. I actually did know where to start. And not only did I know where to start, I actually knew the whole process.

Now, my brain was indulging in confusion because I have some other fears around hiring. Can I sustain employing another person? Is my business secure enough to be able to do that? And the answer to those questions is, yes. However, it just shows me where my own self-doubt is. It shows me where I need to build and further develop my self-concept and my identity as a business owner and a CEO.

It’s okay for me to have gaps in that belief, and to go to work on bridging those gaps, on filling those gaps, and becoming more and more confident in my capabilities as a business owner, as an employer. But the confusion protects me from all of that, from having to feel that worry, and to have to work through those questions. Being confused and being overwhelmed gets me to keep spinning and not moving forward.

So, it was so fascinating for me to see that I actually, not only did I not need a process from someone else, I already knew the process. I was able to answer my own question myself.

This is the process of creating a process. This is the process that I want you to start to utilize in your own life. You have to pay attention to where you feel confused and overwhelmed. You want to start to look for it. You want to start to identify it in your day-to-day life.

Then, I want you to pay attention to how you show up when you feel confused and overwhelmed. Do you do what I tend to do, which is shut down and spin and not move forward and get yourself stuck? If that’s you, if you don’t move forward, if you freeze when you feel confused and overwhelmed, I want you to practice creating your own process for whatever it is that you want to do, whatever it is you want to accomplish.

So, I just gave you an example of hiring. Last week, when I was talking about perfect versus imperfect focus, I helped my client come up with a process for focusing. I walked you through that in the last episode. I’ve also walked clients through the process of starting work in the morning.

This is going to seem really, really tedious. But I’ve had clients who say to me that it’s just so hard to start working in the morning. “I can’t bring myself to do it. I procrastinate. I waste hours at the start of my day because I just can’t get myself to start working. I can’t do it. It’s so hard.”

They’ll tell me it’s going to be challenging, “It’s really difficult for me. I’ve so much to do.” That thought will make you feel overwhelmed. “There are so many things that I could do,” that will make you feel overwhelmed. Then, telling yourself, “I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what I should do first,” that’s going to make you feel confused.

So, when that confusion and overwhelm come together, you’re likely just going to stare at your computer screen and shut down. Right? And if you’re telling yourself that it’s so complicated and it’s so convoluted, and it’s so difficult to work through this, you’re not going to have a very good time doing exactly that.

I worked with a client on this. I was like, “Break it down for me. What exactly is hard?” Again, she was glomming it all together, saying, “It’s just all of it. It’s all hard.” I’m like, “No, let’s break this down micro step by micro step, micro task by micro task. Let’s create a ‘follow the yellow brick road’ process for starting work in the morning. “Do you have a hard time getting out of bed?” “Do you have a hard time waking up?” “No, my alarm goes off and I wake up.”

“Okay, great. Next step, getting out of bed. Do you have a hard time doing that?” “No, I don’t. I get out of bed pretty easily.” I’m like, “Okay, what has to come next?” She’s like, “I’ve got to put clothes on.” If she’s working from home she’s going to just go into her office, but she gets dressed first. “Is that a challenge?” “No, it’s not.”

“Okay, then what happens?” “Well, then I make coffee.” I’m like, “Great. Is that hard?” “Nope. That part’s not hard, either.” “Okay, great. Then you walk down the hallway into your office, is that part challenging?” “No, it’s not.” “Okay, then you sit down at your desk, is that part difficult?” “No, it’s not.”

“Okay, then you open up your computer and you log in? Are either of those steps challenging?” “Nope, those aren’t a problem.” I’m like, “Okay, then you open up your email, is that a struggle?” She goes, “Nope, that’s not hard, either.” I’m like, “Great, and then what do you do from there?” She was like, “Well, that’s where I freeze.” I’m like, “Amazing.”

I’m going to talk about pinpointing your resistance in a second, but what we learned here is that this is the time where her confusion and her overwhelm is the highest. She’s telling herself there’s so much to do, there’s so much that she needs to do, and she doesn’t know where to start.

So, one of the things that we decided to do from there is to create a process for figuring out how to decide what to work on. I want to encourage you to come up with your own process for that. I teach a 10-step process for planning your day. I’ve mentioned this on recent podcast episodes.

You’ve got to start by putting everything, all the appointments that you have on your calendar. From there, you’ve got to make an electronic to-do list, and you’ve got to put everything on it. You’ve got to break projects into tasks, micro tasks if possible. You’ve got to estimate the amount of time those tasks take.

Then you’ve got to decide your start and stop times for the day. Calculate your total availability, factoring in time for being a human and time for any meetings you already have scheduled. Once you get that number of your total availability, you want to plan only what fits. Actually, less than what fits.

Then it’s time to implement. You’re going to implement the plan that you put in place. Then you’re going to evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, and what are you going to do differently. Then you’re going to take what you learned and you’re going to adapt. You’re going to apply the learning, and do tomorrow differently. That’s the process for creating your plan for the day, for figuring out what your schedule is going to look like. Alright?

If you do that the day before, which is what I recommend, then you don’t have to sit in front of your computer like this client was, wondering, “What should I be doing?” You’ve already decided. Then your work just becomes doing what you said you were going to do, even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when something else feels more pressing.

You get to create a process for all of this. Think about a process for working out if you had to create the micro steps to working out. Let’s say you work out in the morning. You would need to wake up, get out of bed, put on exercise clothes, put on your tennis shoes, walk out of your room, if you work out at your house go to wherever it is that you do that.

Start the Peloton, start the video on YouTube that you’re going to use to guide you, whatever it is that you use. If you go for a walk, you’re going to walk out of your house and start walking down the street. If you go to the gym, you might need to get in your car and drive to the gym. Then, go into the gym and pick a machine to start with. Maybe decide on a routine. All right?

These are the micro steps that, when put together, create the process of working out. You can do this with so many different things. You can do this. I did this recently with a client. We came up with it a bespoke process that she now uses for processing her email.

She would wake up in the morning and get into the office and start working, and she would be so overwhelmed by her email. She would be telling herself there were so many emails that she didn’t have enough time to get through all of them. That she didn’t know where to start. Again, when you think those thoughts, you’re going to feel confused and overwhelmed.

So, we came up with a process. We decided that she starts by going through her email, and she sets time aside each morning in order to do that. When she’s processing her email, she has four steps that she would take.

There are four actions that she would take: Delete it, save it… I talked about this in the recent email series that I did… Delete it, save it, reply immediately, or create a task on her to-do list and schedule the time where she would reply to that email later. Those are the four steps. That’s the process that she uses.

We also decided that she starts with the first in, as far as received emails goes, rather than starting with the most recently received. She starts at the bottom and just works her way through.

We always go back to this process. Your brain’s going to want to break the rules, that’s okay. But the process works, so you’ve got to work the process. All right? That’s why we come up with the process in the first place.

Now, over time, you may realize that there are holes or gaps or flaws in your process. You can make data-driven decisions to correct those issues. But you don’t want to just keep changing it because you’re indulging in perfectionism, and you think it could always be better.

Or that you don’t like your process, and because you’re not sticking to the process that means there’s something wrong with the process. That’s not accurate. The only thing that’s wrong, is that you’re not exercising discipline to stick to the process that you already created for yourself. That it’s more comfortable to create a new process than it is to force yourself to stick to the one that you’ve already created. So, you got to be onto yourself there.

You can also have a process for entering your time. People have so much resistance to entering their time. But if you create a ‘follow the yellow brick road’ process for entering individual time entries: Pick the client name, pick the client matter, enter the amount of time, enter the narrative, proofread it, hit enter, release the time.

If you create this little tedious process… It’s funny, we actually enjoy tedium. I always tell people, if you want to threaten me with a good time, give me a box of like 4,000 documents and tell me to put it in numerical order; tell me to put them in numerical order or chronological order. That is my idea of fun. I know I sound so exciting, don’t I? But honestly, I just get a kick out of that.

That’s very tedious to sit there. And, I have a whole process for doing it. I would create four piles: Zeros, 1,000s, 2,000s, 3,000s, all the way up to 4,000s. Then, I would set the 1,000s, 2,000s, and 3,000s aside, and I would just focus on the zeros; zero – 100, 101 – 200, 201 – 300, all the way up to 1,000. Then I would create those many piles, and I’d separate them again. Then I’d go through each mini pile and put it in order. That’s what I would do. That’s how I organize things chronologically or numerically.

I have so much fun doing that. When I tell people about that, that really resonates with them. They’re like, “Oh my God, I love doing that too.” So, if you’re someone who likes doing that, but you don’t like entering your time, stop telling yourself you don’t like it because it’s tedious. That’s not true. You actually enjoy tedium, just not the version that comes from time entry.

But all that has to happen, for you to feel differently about entering your time, is for you to change your thoughts about it. One of the ways to do that is to create a micro task process, a ‘follow the yellow brick road’ process.

Now, the reason that this works is threefold. Number one, you really eliminate your resistance when you break things down into micro tasks, into micro steps. Because no individual micro step is that challenging, is that hard. You break them down so specifically, so minutely, that you really don’t have any resistance to doing any one individual task. And then, you can start to rack up the wins.

Which brings me to reason number two that this works: When you create a micro process filled with micro tasks. Your own bespoke process, with all these individual steps, these very small steps. Every time you complete a step, you get a hit of dopamine. And this is how you work with your own brain, with your own primitive conditioning.

When you complete a micro step, a micro task, your brain releases dopamine. You feel good and you get to start to create more momentum for yourself. This is how you organically cultivate motivation. By getting started when you don’t feel like it, completing micro steps, completing micro tasks, and then getting the dopamine hit from the things that you complete. Then working yourself up to feeling really focused, feeling really motivated.

So, that’s the second reason this works, because every time you complete a micro step your brain drugs you, in a good way.

Lastly, the reason that this is so effective, is because it is a great self-study tool, a great self-study approach. Because when you break things down this specifically into these micro tasks… When you are following the yellow brick road and you come to a point in the yellow brick road where you freeze, where you get stuck… Because the tasks are broken down with such specificity, you get a very, very clear, pinpointed picture of where your resistance lies; to what it is that you’re resisting.

That helps you identify the thinking that’s getting in your way and the negative emotions that you’re experiencing. You think those thoughts, negative emotions come up, and then you resist and avoid them. Right?

So, when you have this very clear, pinpointed understanding of the micro step that you’re getting stuck at, you’re going to be able to identify with, again, very extreme specificity, what thoughts am I thinking about this specific micro step? What negative emotions would I be forced to feel if I forced myself to complete this micro step?

It’s going to get you laser focused on what you’re resisting, on what thoughts aren’t serving you, on what negative emotions you’re not willing to feel, and the path forward is going to be so much easier to create. Because those thoughts, those pinpointed thoughts, are going to be the thoughts that you need to change.

And those negative emotions, those pinpointed negative emotions, are going to be the emotions that you need to be willing to feel. You’ve got to force yourself to feel them on purpose. You’ve got to gag-and-go your way through them.

This process, creating your own process when you’re confused and overwhelmed, is a game changer. If you struggle with this, I want to invite you to come work with me. I realize that not everyone sees the world in processes. This is definitely a skill that you can develop, but if it’s not something that you default to naturally…

I was working with my client, when we were talking about creating a process for focusing, and she really struggled to articulate what the process would be. And all you have to do is sit down and start to say, “Well, this is where I would start. This is the first step. And this is the second step.” If you write out the process, like you had to give instructions to another person, that’s what you need to do for yourself.

There’s a really funny video that really articulates this point, it gets this point across so well. So, there’s this exercise that they give young children, and they tell them to give instructions to an adult on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They have to go step by step by step, and they’re told to be as specific as possible.

They start out, and of course, they’re not as specific as possible. They know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so they don’t show their math, they don’t show their work. They glom a bunch of the steps together and they aren’t specific enough.

The adults are instructed to take the instructions very literally and not to bridge or close any of the gaps with their own thinking, with their own reasoning. So, the first step that a child might articulate, if you’ve got a container of peanut butter that’s closed, and a loaf of bread that’s in a bag, they might tell you to put the peanut butter on the bread.

In the most literal sense, because no other instruction has been given, what you would need to do in that case would be to take the closed jar of peanut butter and place it on top of the closed loaf of bread. Right? Obviously, that’s not what the young child means. They mean to spread the peanut butter using a knife, that you also would have, on an individual slice of bread.

But in order to get to that part of the process, you’ve had to go through so many other steps, right? So, think about if you had to instruct someone on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Write it out. What are all of the micro steps you would tell them to take?

Open the jar of peanut butter. You might even want to be more specific than that, twist the lid of the jar of peanut butter too. Open the jar of peanut butter or hold the jar of peanut butter in one hand, and then take your other hand, place it on the lid, and grip and twist. See how specific that is?

Then, once you’ve done that, you would need to open the bag of bread. So, you could be specific about that. Take the twisty tie, untwist it, and then open the bag where it opens. Don’t create your own new opening by ripping the bag. Then, reach inside, grab two of the middle pieces of bread, and remove them from the bag. Do you see this level of specificity?

There’s a really funny video, as children are giving these adults this instruction. They go through multiple takes, and each time that the person screws up they have to start over. They learn to be more and more and more specific.

But there’s this really funny clip where this child has gone through a couple iterations of giving instructions, and it’s not going well. They’re starting to get frustrated. They’ve reached the point in the process where they tell the adult to take the knife and put it in the peanut butter. The adult, as instructed, takes that instruction very literally.

The peanut butter jar is open and it’s full, and they take the butter knife, and they drop it into the jar of peanut butter. So, of course, the whole thing gets covered with peanut butter. It’s not the way that we would want to extract the peanut butter from the jar.

Which is to hold the knife in your hand, take the tip of the knife to get a dollop… or a teaspoon, a tablespoon, or however much of some unit of peanut butter, and put it on the tip of the knife… then take that portion and slide it all over the bread, spread it all over the bread.

So, when his adult drops the knife just straight into the jar of peanut butter and gets peanut butter all over the knife, to where it would be totally messy and you’d get it all over your hands if you were to pick the knife back up, the kid just goes, “Ugh,” and takes his hands and smacks them on his forehead because he’s just so exasperated. It’s really charming. It’s a really funny video. I bet you could YouTube it if you wanted to see it.

But it illustrates the point that we aren’t specific enough. That there’s a certain level of specificity that you need to aim for, in order to get yourself unstuck. In order to create a process properly filled with micro steps and micro tasks, so you have a ‘follow the yellow brick road’ way to proceed.

I want you to practice this. Start to search for: Where are you confused in your life? Where are you overwhelmed? What do you do when you feel those feelings? Is that situation right for you to create your own process?

Like I said, If you struggle with this, if you don’t think this way, if you don’t see the world mathematically or in processes or in flowcharts, in that logical if A then B way of thinking, this is something I teach people how to do. So, I invite you to come work with me.

I’m currently enrolling people into The Obsessed Retreat. The Obsessed Retreat is a three-and-a-half-day retreat. We’re going to be in Miami, in March. March 20th through the 23rd, technically. But you would leave the morning of the 24th because we have this fab farewell dinner.

On March 20th through the 24th, you come and you’re going to learn how to solve the problems that you’re facing. I’m going to teach you how to think this way, and how to break it down. This is one of the ways that I teach people to solve their own problems, is to create processes that help them work through the confusion and to get out of the overwhelm.

Not only are you going to learn how to do this, when we’re together in Miami in March, but when you sign up for The Obsessed Retreat, you also get lifetime access to two things. Lifetime access to monthly group coaching calls, and then lifetime access to The Obsessed Retreat member portal.

The member portal is going to be a place for you to ask me questions, get coached on anything that you have an issue with or confusion around, or anything you’re struggling with in between our monthly calls. You can ask for feedback from me, ask my advice on something, you can also interact with the other retreaters.

There’s going to be a community platform there, where you can engage with them, stay in contact with them, cheer each other on, or support one another, that’s going to be so amazing.

Then, there will be additional training resources that I put in, that I add from time to time, so I’m always giving you fresh material to work with. Also, the retreat recordings are going to be in there. So, if you want to refer back to anything that we talked about, anything that we did together when we were in Miami in March, you’re always going to have access to those recordings.

If you want to learn how to think like this, if you want to learn how to approach your problems and solve them with this level of intentionality, being this deliberate with this level of specificity, I will teach you how to do this.

Go to bit.ly/the-obsessed-retreat to register for The Obsessed Retreat in Miami, in March. Enrollment closes December 1st, so don’t waste any time. Go sign up. Right now, there are only a few rooms left at our discounted rate at the Betsy Hotel, so you want to sign up and register as soon as possible.

As soon as you register, you get the information that you need in order to complete your room reservation. And trust me, you’re going to want to stay there. You’re going to want to be in the middle of all of the action. That’s where everyone’s going to be.

It’s just a really wonderful experience to be in the center of it all. To be able to wake up, just come down from your room, and to start workshopping with me. To be able to hang out with people at the pool. To be able to have a drink at the hotel bar with the other retreaters after a long day of solving problems, developing skills, and making plans, which are the three things that we’re going to do in person.

So, go to that website, bit.ly/the-obsessed-retreat, and go sign up. Join me in Miami, in March, and we’ll learn how to do this in real time, together. It’s going to be so much fun.

A couple more announcements. Quick housekeeping, very quickly, I’m teaching a couple of masterclasses and online virtual events that are coming up over the next two months, and I want them to be on your radar.

I am teaching how to set boundaries on December 8th. I am hosting, for the second year in a row, my In With the New Year workshop. That’s where we do a 2023 review, and a 2024 planning session. That is on December 20th.

Then, on January 19th, I’m teaching a masterclass on how to develop business. So, those are the three trainings that I have coming up:  How to Set Boundaries, In With the New Year; a 2023 review and 2024 planning session, and then How to Develop Business. If you head to my linktree, linktr.ee/thelessstressedlawyer, you can register for all of those events there. I would love to see you at all of them.

Last but not least, I announced winners of my rating and review giveaway, the one that I did in October, in the last episode. It has been so fun sending out the prizes that people won to them, this week. Since I’ve announced the winners, people have reached out to me and have been like, “That was me. I won, amazing.”

I’m doing it again. It’s so fun, and ‘tis the season of giving, am I right? So, you have until December 31st to leave a rating and review. This time, so it’s easier for me to track, I want you to send it to me. Take a screenshot. You can email it to me at Olivia@thelessstressedlawyer.com. Or you can send it to me, DM me, on any of my social media platforms, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Just shoot it to me so I know that you submitted it, and send me your email address. That way, I have a really easy way of reaching out to you and sending you your gift, if you win this next giveaway. So, anytime between now and December 31st, go leave me a rating and review of the podcast and you’re automatically entered to win the prizes that I give out. They’re good, y’all.

So, take a second and go do that. It means the world to me. Your support is so valuable to me. I really appreciate you taking the time to do it. And because you take the time to do it, I want to say thank you with these giveaways. There’s no limit on how many times you can do it. Go submit all the ratings and reviews that you want to enter to win.

I will announce the winner after December 31st, in the new year. I can’t wait to get to that again, it’s going to be so fun.

All right, my friends, that’s what I have for you this week. Go out there and indulge, in the best way, in the process of creating your own processes. I hope this works for you. I trust that it will. Now you just need to trust that it will. That’s what I’ve got for you this week.

I hope you have a beautiful week and I’ll talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com.

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