Episode 75: Chronic Consumption Mode & The Proper Process of Learning New Things

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Chronic Consumption Mode & The Proper Process of Learning New Things

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to learning new things is staying stuck in chronic consumption mode. They want to avoid the messiness of learning new things, so they keep reading, listening, and watching instead of getting out there and trying.

I was in chronic consumption mode for a long time. We tell ourselves we don’t have enough information to get started, we’re not ready yet, and if we just read one more thing then we’ll feel ready. However, the proper process for learning new things involves actually implementing what you’re learning.

Tune in this week to discover where you might be in chronic consumption mode and how that’s keeping you stuck. I show you how just consuming information keeps you confused and tolerating problems, and share the details of the proper process for learning new things and moving forward with what you’re learning.

I’m hosting a FREE time management masterclass on September 29th 2023 at 12PM Eastern. Click here to register!

I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. At the end of October 2023, I’m selecting five random listener reviews and giving a prize to each of those reviewers! Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What chronic consumption mode is and why it keeps you stuck.
  • How to see whether you’re in chronic consumption mode.
  • Why the full learning process means you have to really get involved.
  • How chronic consumption serves as a defense mechanism.
  • The proper framework and process for learning new things.
  • 5 steps to getting out of chronic consumption and learning things on a deeper level.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 75. Today, we’re talking all about chronic consumption, and the proper process of learning. 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.

Hello, hello, how are you? I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. My September is going pretty okay. I’ve got some changes on the horizon. I’m getting ready to move to Charleston. I’m so excited about that. If you’ve been following along on social media, mainly on Instagram, you might know a little bit about that already. But I’m looking forward to doing that.

I’m in Michigan right now. So, I’m enjoying the change of the seasons. I hope that you’re enjoying whatever season you’re in. Whether it’s geographically where you’re located, or the season of work that you’re in, or the season of life that you’re in. I hope you’re enjoying it.

If you’re not, there’s no need to fret. You are in the right place, listening to this podcast, learning how to work through it, so you feel better, so you get into a better season.

Now, one of the things that I see people do, it’s one of the mistakes that they make that actually keeps them stuck in a season that doesn’t serve them, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. I talked a little bit in the last episode about the messiness of learning new things. I really wanted to dive in today, again, a really specific issue that I see people with.

I’ve devoted this entire month on social media to talking about time management. I’ve already done a really comprehensive time management series on the podcast, which I’ll link for you in the show notes. Go back and binge that if you haven’t.

But I want to talk about some of the problems that I see people encounter. One of them was what I talked about in the last episode, which is that people want to avoid the messiness of learning new things. Because they want to avoid that messy process, that clunky process, they don’t embark on learning new things.

They just stay stuck in this season of struggle, and they don’t work through it; they don’t improve, they don’t figure it out, they don’t learn, they don’t keep implementing and making changes and learning more and making more progress and just constantly improving.

Another thing that I see people do all the time, and I am calling myself out here because I used to be so guilty of this, and this is how I know how to spot it in other people. But people will chronically consume. They just stay in consumption mode.

This definitely comes from those perfectionistic tendencies, where we keep telling ourselves we don’t have enough information to get started yet. We need to keep learning more. There’s one more thing that we haven’t read, yet. There’s one more thing that we haven’t heard, yet. There’s a tip out there that’s really going to unlock everything for us, and we’ve got to go out there and find it.

We can’t get started implementing yet, until we’ve exhausted basically every resource imaginable, everything that’s available to us. We have to leave no stone unturned. We keep binging content; we just keep listening, keep reading, we keep consuming, we keep watching.

We keep taking in information, but we don’t ever actually get to the part where we implement what we’ve taken in to actually begin the full learning process and to complete the learning process.

So, today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about a process that I created. I recently spoke, I gave a keynote presentation at a marketing conference hosted by Roman Zelichenko, who is a good friend of mine. His marketing conference is specifically tailored towards immigration attorneys and people in the immigration industry, outside of legal professionals or outside of attorneys, specifically.

When I was brainstorming my keynote speech for GMI CON, which is what the name of the conference is, I was thinking to myself, “How do I make sure people get the most out of this conference? What holds people back from implementing what they learn? From actually taking advantage of all of the information that gets presented to them?

What do I see from my clients, time and time again, that holds them back? That keeps them stuck. That keeps them struggling and suffering in that season of confusion of not knowing how to do something? Of continuing to tolerate a problem because they haven’t completed the learning process to reach the solution?

So, I started to make a list of all of the things that I see people do, that really gets in their way of making progress, of solving problems, of learning new things. As I started to make that list of problems, I was able to put together a learning process that I have been giving to my clients. I taught this when I was in Montana, and I taught it to Roman’s conference attendees as well. It’s just a really good framework for learning anything new.

So, the first mistake that I see people make is what I was talking about at the beginning of this episode, it’s that chronic consumption. People just consume, consume, consume, and they never get out of consumption. They never feel satiated. They never feel full. The learning process never feels complete. They keep wanting more because they haven’t ever defined what enough is to begin with, so they just keep consuming.

Another thing that I see people do is they keep remaking the same decisions, right? So, they’ll decide to work on something, and then they’ll change their mind. Then they redecide it. They keep staying in that decision making process, questioning themselves, second guessing themselves, changing their mind, hemming, and hawing wavering.

That slows you down, and really stops you altogether from making any progress. Because how can you move forward if you keep moving backwards and remaking the decision you already made? Right? If you’re thinking about the conference that I spoke at, it was a marketing conference, so just redeciding, am I going to do social media marketing?

People will decide that, and then they’ll redecide it. Deciding, when do I enter my time during the day? Do I do it contemporaneously? Do I do it at the end of the day? Do I do it at the end of the week? Do I do it at the end of the month? Do I do it first thing in the morning?

If you keep redeciding that it’s going to keep you in confusion. You’re not going to follow through with the decision that you already decided upon if you give yourself permission to keep reopening that discussion and to decide anew. Alright? This is totally a defense mechanism. It keeps you safe. It feels really productive to continue to remake the same decision.

But it doesn’t actually work. I actually used an analogy at the conference… and this totally applies to time management too; think about deciding what you’re going to do for the day and then you remake that decision. You scratch your original plan and then you’re like, “Okay, what am I going to do today, now?” Then an hour goes by, and you’re like, “Okay, really, what am I going to do today?” You keep remaking the same decision.

It’s sort of like when you make a list of what to pack for a trip, and instead of then moving on to actually packing your suitcase, you tear the list up, and you remake the list of what you should pack for the trip. You’ll never end up with anything in your suitcase because you keep remaking a decision that you’ve already made.

Now, deciding things feels like you’re moving the ball forward, but you’re really not. You need to make the decision and then take action in accordance with that decision. You need to put that decision into practice, into play.

Another thing that I see people do is that they don’t make a plan. They’ll decide, but then they don’t make any plan to actually implement the decision that they just made. So, they have really no clarity on how to progress, on how to proceed.

Then they just stay in a place of confusion, thinking, “Well, I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know how to figure this out. I don’t know how to get to the result I ultimately want to create.” It’s very hard to implement when you haven’t come up with a plan for what implementation is going to look like. Okay?

The other thing that I see people do, if they’ve actually overcome any of the things that I just mentioned, and they get to doing the stuff that they need to do in order to solve the problem that they’re facing, they won’t evaluate. So, they won’t gain information from what they’ve tried already, and they won’t glean learning from it. They won’t find the wisdom that’s come from the tries that they’ve done.

Now, if you were a person who struggles with any of the things that I just mentioned, I want you to check in with yourself. Pause the episode for a second if you have to. Just get clear, where are you doing some of these things? Are you doing all of these things? You want to be able to spot your pain points because that’s how you’re going to get better over time.

You’ve got to be able to catch yourself in the middle of working on this process that I’m going to teach you to know where you’re likely to get stuck, so you can catch yourself and work through it. You can course correct, you can interrupt yourself, get out of your normal habit to freeze, to spin, to indulge in inaction. You want to be on to yourself ahead of time so you can spot it as soon as you see it. Okay?

Here’s something else I want you to be on the lookout for, while we’re speaking of things to be on the lookout for. I also want you to pay attention, if when you’re working on solving a problem, or you’re telling yourself you’re going to learn something new, are you lying to yourself? Are you telling yourself you’re “working on it?” Are you telling yourself that you’re trying to learn something?

If you’re telling yourself these things, I want you to tap in and be really honest with yourself. Get super candid, radically candid, and be honest with yourself right now? How exactly are you trying to learn this new skill? How are you trying to improve? How are you working on it? Walk me through the process that you’re implementing.

Typically, when people tell me that they’re trying to get better at something, like, “I’m trying to get better at time management. I’m trying to learn how to manage my time. I’m working on getting better at time management. I’m working on my time management,” and I ask them, “How? Please regale me with all the ways that you’re trying. Describe to me exactly what your process of ‘trying’ looks like. What is ‘working on it’ look like for you on a day-to-day basis?” They’re going to struggle to articulate it.

Because they’re stuck at step one, typically. They’re still in that consumption mode. They haven’t moved out of it. They haven’t come up with a plan. They haven’t formulated what exactly they’re going to do to create clarity so they can actually move into the implementation process, and move forward and just follow the yellow brick road.

They haven’t done any of that stuff. They’re telling themselves, “I’m working on it. I’m trying,” but in reality, they really aren’t. They’re not doing anything to move the ball.

So, I came up with a process that you can follow to learn any new thing, any new skill, or to solve any problem, any problem that you’re facing. Okay? First and foremost, you’ve got to identify what it is that you’re going to learn or what problem that you’re going to solve. You’ve got to get clear on that.

I want you to make sure that you can articulate it very simply. Can you put it into one sentence? “This is what I want to learn how to do. This is the problem that I want to solve.” It should be very specific. I should be able to come in to your life with my little clipboard, and make sure that you’ve learned the skill or solved the problem. All right? We want to make sure that it’s specific.

From there, there’s a five-step process that you’re going to follow. The first one is to consume information. You might need to go out and gather information. If you’re learning how to manage your time, I highly recommend you go listen to the very comprehensive series of episodes that I did on time management.

Now, when it comes to consumption, you’re going to have to constrain. So, I want you to limit the experts you follow, the amount of information you’re going to consume, how long you’re going to spend learning. Because you can just spend all of your time learning and learning and learning.

There are enough books on time management for you to keep yourself busy for probably the next 10 years, if we’re being really honest. Maybe even longer than that. You could listen to YouTube videos or podcast episodes every night for the next year, and you would be in no better position when it comes to managing your time because you’re stuck in that chronic consumption mode.

You won’t move forward into that messy part, where you actually start to make decisions, you start to make plans, you implement them, you do it messily, then you learn and evaluate, and then adapt your action plan based on the evaluation. So, we’re going to consume, but we’re going to do it in a really constrained and restrained manner. All right?

If you try and listen to everything, you’re never going to be able to move forward. So, you have to decide how long am I going to consume information for? What content specifically am I going to consume? Who am I going to consume content from?

You want to make these decisions, and you want to limit it, so you actually are very clear on when you will move forward into the next phase. So, step one is consume in a constrained manner.

Step two is you’ve got to decide. Decide exactly what you’re going to do moving forward. So, if you’ve listened to some podcast episodes, if you’ve watched some YouTube videos, if you’ve talked to experts or colleagues and learned how to do some things from them, that’s all that consumption, right?

Now, you have to decide what you’re going to do moving forward. Whose methodology are you going to use? What’s your approach going to be? What are you going to try and do? What are you going to not do?

If you’re thinking about marketing on social media for your practice, are you going to be on all of the social media platforms? Or are you going to consume content to figure out which platforms might be the best platforms for you?

Then you’re going to step two; decide how you’re going to proceed. Once you make your decisions, now you’ve got some clarity. What’s it going to start to look like to move forward? Now remember, when it comes to deciding, you’re going to decide one time, and you’re going to honor that decision moving forward.

You’re not going to remake that decision unless you come up with information, through your evaluation process, after implementing your original plan, for a long enough period of time to gather reliable data. I suggest six months. If you want to do three, do three, but for a while. To gather enough information, to where you can really rely on it and start to see trends.

You’re going to decide, and not remake that decision until you’ve gone through the rest of the process, evaluated, and you have a really good reason, a reason supported with facts and data, to make a change. Alright? So, step one, consume with constraint. Step two, decide. How are you proceeding? What are you going to do? Whose process are you going to follow? What information are you going to take? Then leverage and apply.

Step three, with that clarity that you have gained from making that decision, you need to make your plan, your action plan, that you’re going to use to implement. Now, you may be able to map out a complete plan start to finish. But sometimes you don’t know all the steps yet.

Especially when you’re learning new things, you only know the next few steps, or maybe you only know the first next step that you need to take. If that’s the case, then your plan is going to be short and sweet. Okay? More information is going to be revealed to you at a later point, after you’ve begun to implement, and then you’ll be able to make more of your plan. You’ll be able to flesh it out further.

If you’re someone who really loves to know all the steps, A-Z, at the start, check in with yourself. Recognize that that is your perfectionism trying to drive the bus and control what you do. It’s okay to give yourself permission to only know the first couple of steps, or just the first step, and get started.

You want to gain a lot of clarity here, though. You want to make sure that you don’t have confusion about what your next step is. Even if it’s only that first step, I want it to be clear in your mind so you can begin to implement.

So many people don’t begin to implement because they’re still confused. They don’t really know what they need to be doing in order to move forward. So, ask yourself, as you make your plan for step three, is there anything I’m confused about? Is there anything that I think I don’t know yet? That’s preventing me from moving forward with my best educated guess on how to proceed?

If the answer is no, then your plan is complete. If the answer is yes, go get that question answered. Go find the answer to that, and then make that part of your plan. Fold it into the plan that you’ve created.

Now, step four, you’ve got to implement your plan. It’s going to be uncomfortable. You’re not going to want to implement, you’re going to want to stay in the safe zone of making decisions and remaking decisions, and making plans and remaking plans, and chronic consumption, and all of that.

But we’ve got to get you to the doing because that is where learning really happens. You have to take an educated guess, work your plan, and see what happens. Gather data, conduct an experiment, learn what works and learn what doesn’t work. You’ve got to see how it all plays out.

You’re going to figure out what are your preferences? What’s effective, what’s not? What were you assuming was going to go one way that actually went a different way? What were you wrong about? What were you right about? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to tweak a little bit?

You’ve got to do all of that, and the only way that you’re going to learn and gather all of that amazing information that’s going to help you learn new skills and solve problems, is by actually getting to work implementing your plan and doing each one of the steps necessary to create your desired result.

Now, think about this. Think about trying to learn a new language. You can research all of the different apps or tools or programs that you could use in order to learn a new language. You could listen to podcast episodes about which ones are the best ones. Then you could pick one. Then you could redecide and keep redeciding. Maybe you’re not going to take a course, you’re going to hire a private tutor. You just stay in that indecision.

Then you make a plan. “I’m going to do it every day. I’m going to practice learning this new language every single day. I’m going to do it in the morning, and then for 30 minutes at night.” You make the plan, but if you never implement you will never learn the language, right?

Same thing, if you say, “Alright, I’m going to listen, every day for an hour; 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at night. I’m going to listen to Italian being spoken.” But you never actually practice speaking words in Italian, yourself. You never try to have a conversation with someone. You’re not going to, ultimately, learn the language.

You might learn a couple things, but you’re not going to learn it completely, right? You’re not going to get to the end result that you ultimately want, if you don’t engage in the full implementation process, get your hands dirty, get in there, let it be messy, let it be clunky.

You’ve got to actually implement your plan, otherwise you’re not going to learn the new skill you want to learn. You’re not going to solve the problem that you’re facing.

Think about this when it comes to time management. You’ve got to work the process. You can listen to me talk all day long about managing your time, but until you decide to use my process, that I teach, rather than anyone else’s process… and I’m recommending that because it’s really easy to get confused. I teach time management differently than someone else.

So, if you’re half pregnant between my way and someone else’s way, and you don’t decide to just follow me, you’re going to stay so confused trying to mix different methodologies together, and not being sure how that works. You’re just going to continue to spin and not move forward.

You’ve got to consume my content, and then decide to follow me, constrain to me, and then make the plan. I give you the plan that you need to follow. I tell you the step-by-step process. And, if you want to hear it from me all over again, come to the webinar I’m teaching this month. It’s September 29, at 12pm. Eastern; How to Manage Your Time. I’m going to walk you through the step-by-step process for managing your time.

But there is a specific process to follow, and you have to implement that process in order to actually learn how to master time management. You can’t just hear me talk about it; you have to do it. You have to practice it yourself. It’s the practice that’s going to make the progress.

It’s the practice that’s going to take you out of being stuck in that place where you’re like, “I know what I need to do, but I’m just not doing it.” Respectfully, you don’t know what you need to do. If you did, you’d be doing it. You think you know what it takes, but you actually don’t know what it takes.

The way to figure out what it takes is to implement your plan, to follow my process, to do it in a really messy manner, and then learn what it actually takes from you. Learn what feelings you have to feel as you implement the process. Learn the tricks and tools that I teach and why I teach them, the reasoning behind them.

Why I recommend that you should have an electronic to-do list and not a handwritten to-do list. Why I tell you to pick ‘start and stop times’ for when you’re going to start work and end work. Why I tell you to do a time audit, so you learn how long things take you. Why I tell you to double the estimate, when you’re estimating how long a task is going to take.

You’re going to learn my reasonings behind all of these rules when you actually get into the messy implementation of the process that I teach you. Okay? That is how you’re going to learn.

Then, of course, you go to step five, evaluate. Evaluate the action that you took. We always want to be acting and then auditing and adapting; act, audit, adapt. That’s how we learn. That’s how we make more and more progress. We don’t just stagnate and stay stuck with the same problems that we continued to have.

Through evaluating, and then adapting what you have been doing, tweaking it with your newfound theory, your new experiment, “Hey, this didn’t work, I’m going to guess that this might work instead,” you go out there and you adapt.

You change it up a little bit, and then you implement some more. You see if that worked and you evaluate again, and you’re just going to get closer and closer and closer to the finish line. Okay?

This is the process that I want you to follow. You’re going to consume with constraint. You’re going to decide how to proceed. You’re going to make a plan, a specific plan for how you’re going to proceed. You’re going to implement the plan. You’re going to evaluate. And then get back at it, take more action.

That’s the five-step process for learning new things and for solving problems. That’s what I want you to do. Pick something that you want to learn, pick a problem that you want to solve, and work these five steps. Watch how it gives you clarity of how to proceed, of how to progress. It’s going to make it so much easier for you to move through the different phases of the learning process.

You can work this with intentionality, and you’re going to get so much further faster if you do. All right? That’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. Again, if you want to come and hear me teach you all the things you need to know about how to manage your time, the link to register for How to Manage Your Time, on September 29, at 12pm Eastern, is going to be linked in the show notes.

You can also go to any of my social media platforms… LinkedIn, Instagram… and get access to it there. Or you can go to LessStressedSessions.com/signup, and register for How to Manage Your Time there, as well.

All right, that’s the first reminder. Second reminder, remember, I am doing a giveaway. So, if you are loving the podcast, please do me a favor and leave a rating and a review. It helps me get my podcast in front of more people, into the ears of more listeners who struggle with the things that you struggle with, which is why you’re listening to this podcast.

So, we want to get it in front of them as well, so they get the help they need also. Alright, so go leave me a rating and review. If you do it now, between now and the end of October, I’m going to pick five reviewers and I’m going to give away five prizes: one for each review.

Because it means so much to me that you take your valuable time, and you do me the honor of that rating and review. So, go do that.

Then, just a little teaser for next week’s episode. I’m so excited to record this podcast topic. I’m going to teach you how to deal with procrastinators. A lot of my time management content is about people who struggle with time management. It’s about the people who want to get better at managing their time.

But a lot of my clients are actually really good at time management, and they’re on the receiving end of other people’s bad time management habits. So, if that’s you, and you’re up to your eyeballs in frustration with other people’s over promising and under delivering, other people’s procrastination, other people’s unrealistic timelines, and under estimating how long tasks are going to take them.

If you’ve had it up to here with being on the receiving end of that behavior, I want you to tune in for next week’s episode. I’m going to teach you how to handle these people, how to work with them, how to manage them, how to help them navigate this problem.

It’s going to save you a ton of frustration, really reduce the headaches that you have when it comes to this issue. I can’t wait to dive into it.

Until then, 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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Episode 74: The Messiness of Learning Something New

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | The Messiness of Learning Something New

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | But Are You Free? (The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself)

I’ve spoken before about perfectionism and time management. There is one thing in particular that comes up for perfectionists not only when it comes to managing their time, but for perfectionists moving through the world in general, and that is the messiness of learning something new.

If you struggle with time management or learning anything new, you need to prepare yourself, it’s going to be messy. If you’re a perfectionist, this can feel like the worst possible news. However, when you begin to accept the chaos of trying something new and learn how to manage the mess, then you can really start making progress.

Tune in this week to discover how to make peace with the messiness of learning something new. I’m showing you how to see what you’re missing out on by avoiding the messiness of learning and growth, and giving you my tips for getting started and making progress despite the potential for messiness.

I’m hosting a FREE time management masterclass on September 29th 2023 at 12PM Eastern. Click here to register!

I would really appreciate it if you would leave a rating and review to let me know and help others find The Less Stressed Lawyer Podcast. At the end of October 2023, I’m selecting five random listener reviews and giving a prize to each of those reviewers! Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to follow, rate, and review.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why learning anything new is a messy process.
  • My own experience of the messiness of learning something new.
  • Why you need to allow yourself to sit in the mess as you learn.
  • How to see the achievements you’re missing out on because you’re avoiding messiness.
  • The point where pursuing a new goal becomes messy.
  • How to start embracing the messiness and experiencing the benefits of learning something new.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 74. Today, we’re talking all about the messiness of learning something new. 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.

Hey there, how are you? I hope your week is off to a good start. We are kicking into fall gear over here. I just got back from Dallas. I was there for a Life Coach School event, which is my coaching school. It didn’t feel like fall down there. It was 107⁰ while I was down there. But I’m back in Detroit, not for very much longer. I’m getting ready to move south. I cannot wait to get out of here, just in time to escape the winter. But it’s a fall around here.

One of the topics that I love to cover every fall is time management. So, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that I’ve already talked about what I call “the three P’s” on the podcast. I did a whole series about people pleasing, perfectionism, and procrastination. And then, I went and got very specific on the process that I teach my clients for mastering time management.

So, I will link those episodes in the show notes. If you haven’t listened to them, you want to make sure that you go check all of them out. It’s such a comprehensive time management series. But today, I want to get really specific on one issue that I see come up all the time for people, especially for my perfectionists.

While this relates to a lot of things, not just time management, I definitely see people struggle with this when it comes to managing their time. Quick segue here, or tangent, I want you to make sure that you don’t miss this, so mark your calendars.

By the way, speaking of time management, I’m going to host a masterclass at the end of the month on How to Manage Your Time. It’s going to be on September 29th, which is a Friday, at 12pm Eastern. In order to register for that, you can go to the show notes of this episode, it’s going to be hyperlinked there for you, and you can go and just register for the Zoom event.

If you want to type in the URL yourself, you can go to LessStressedSessions.com/signup and you’ll have a hyperlink there as well, to register for my How to Manage Your Time masterclass at the end of the month. Okay, so what are we talking about today? How does it relate to time management? You’ve got all the questions. Well, let me answer them.

I’m going to tell you the thing that my clients hate hearing from me, but this is why we have coaches. Coaches just don’t tell us what we want to hear, they tell us the truth. They give it to us the brass tacks version, whether we want to hear it or not, and that’s what helps us grow. That’s what helps us transform that. It’s what helps us learn and develop.

So, I’m going to share this unfortunate truth with you. If you struggle with time management and you want to work on it, I need you to prepare yourself, it’s going to be messy. The process of learning how to manage your time is going to be messy.

Now, if you’re a perfectionist, a part of you just absolutely cringed and recoiled when I said the word “messy.” For so many people, that’s the thing that they’re most afraid of being. Perfectionists crave order and control, and they don’t like engaging in any activities that run contrary to those preferences. Which is why so often perfectionists describe themselves as someone who hates doing things that they aren’t good at. Who doesn’t like trying things that are new.

Why? Why don’t they like those things? It’s because of how it feels. Learning something new feels really messy and disorderly to them. For perfectionists especially, messy is very embarrassing. It’s the thing that they want to be seen by other people as being the least of, not the most of.

When you’re learning how to do something new, you’re going to feel a little chaotic, a little messy, a little clunky. So, today, I specifically want to talk to you about managing the mess when it comes to learning something new.

Because if you keep having this strong aversion to being messy and embracing the mess, if you’re reluctant to embrace it, you’re not going to achieve the goals that you want to set for yourself, that you want to achieve. If you aren’t willing to make peace with the journey that you’re going to have to take to get there.

I’m going to tell you again, I really want to drive this home for you, the journey will not be pristine. I’m sorry, it just won’t be. It’s going to be clunky and paved with failures. I don’t even like to think of it as failing, I just like to think of it as learning.

So, it’s going to be clunky and paved with learning, paved with nuggets of insight and wisdom that come from engaging in the very messy process of doing something new. You have to be okay with that. You have to uncouple the messiness of it all, from your self-worth, from your sense of adequacy and capability. You can’t make the clunkiness mean anything about you.

Truly, it doesn’t mean anything about you other than the fact that you’re simply learning how to do something new. Okay? So, take a second and think. Think about what you’re working on right now in your life. What goal are you wanting to set that you maybe are avoiding because you don’t want to get started on it? Because it’s probably going to be a messy process. That it’s going to be imperfect. That your pursuit of it isn’t going to go as smoothly as you might want it to.

Do you keep avoiding getting started on something? If so, what? What are you avoiding getting started on? Is there something that you’re working on getting better at, that you’re working on improving? What skill are you trying to develop? What habit are you trying to build?

I’ll give you an example of this; I talk about it a lot. I have a rule in my business, I don’t add any new content creation until all of my current content creation that I’ve agreed to do is “dialed in.” That means I consistently hit the deadlines that I set for myself. I follow the timeline that allows me to get that content out when I promise it.

Ever since I added the podcast to my content rotation, I have been working on figuring out the schedule that works for me. So, it’s been clunky over here, it’s been messy. I typically send out a Friday email, and since I added the podcast in, the availability of content creation space I have in my calendar, it wasn’t enough to accommodate the podcast.

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out how do I eliminate other things from my schedule, in order to make room for all of the content creation that I want to do, in order to market my business? So, it’s been clunky over here.

And I’ve allowed it to be clunky. I keep learning and I keep iterating and I keep eliminating things, in order to give myself the space that I need to create all the content that I want to create. Do I wish it was less clunky and less messy? Of course, I do. I’d love it to be pristine. But I’m learning how to make space for all of that.

I’m learning what it requires of me; the time involved, the planning, the recording, the production; with everything else that I have on my plate as I’ve also been launching a group coaching program throughout the past year and a half. That, mixed in with the other content creation that I’ve been doing, is very new to me. So, it’s been messy over here.

I’m just allowing myself to sit in the mass as I learn, as I tweak, as I make changes. Okay, so that’s just one example of this.

I want you to think about those questions. What are you working on getting better at? What goal do you have that you might be avoiding? What skill are you trying to develop? What habit are you trying to build?

Think for a second, and I want you to think about this specifically, how do you show up when you pursue this goal, work to make progress, and it doesn’t go as planned? How do you show up when it doesn’t go as planned? What do you do? Do you beat yourself up? Do you quit? Do you “quietly quit?” Man, that was a very trending term for a while. But I haven’t heard it in a while.

But do you quietly quit, just get more and more inconsistent as time goes on? Or do you set a different goal, so you can cycle back to the more exciting, non-messy part of goal setting, the planning part, the intention setting part? That’s where everything is still pristine and very perfect. You haven’t actually embarked on the progress making portion of pursuing the goal; that’s the messy part.

So, are these the things that you do when your pursuit doesn’t go as planned? Or do you stay the course, evaluate the action that you took, learn from that evaluation, and then get back to work and improve? Do you do that instead?

Now, if that’s not what you do, if you do the other things that I mentioned; the beating yourself up, the quitting, the quietly quitting, the being inconsistent, the replacing the one goal with a new goal; in order to distract yourself from the imperfect mess of what you’re currently doing.

If you do those things instead, I want you to ask yourself: Why? Why do you do that? More specifically, what is your expectation that you have for yourself that drives you to do those things? What do you expect your learning process to look like? I find this to be such a fascinating question. I bet most people haven’t asked themselves that question, and they haven’t taken the time to answer it.

So, what do you expect your learning process to look like? If you do those things that I just mentioned, you’re expecting yourself to be perfect, much more perfect than the process actually is. So, be honest here. How do you expect your learning process to go? You wouldn’t quit or get more inconsistent if you were expecting it to be clunky and messy. You wouldn’t.

You’d stay the course, you’d evaluate, you’d learn and improve, if you expected it to be clunky and messy and imperfect. But you don’t expect it to be messy, imperfect, and clunky. Instead, you make the clunk and the mess of it a problem.

Now we’ve got a disconnect between your expectation and reality. We’ve got a mismatched expectation. So the disconnect between what you expect the process to be like, versus what the process is actually like, creates this negative emotional experience for you.

Of course, this is just coming from your thoughts, right? Your thoughts cause your feelings. So, if you’re experiencing a negative emotion as you’re learning something new, building a habit, developing a skill, working towards, and pursuing a goal… If you feel a negative emotion, and are having that negative experience, it’s coming from your thinking.

What you’re thinking is what I mean by this expectation. Your expectations are just a thought that you have about what the process and experience should be like, what you expect yourself to do, how you expect yourself to perform in this pursuit.

So, if you feel frustrated and discouraged, or embarrassed and inadequate, or incapable, number one, that’s coming from your thoughts. And we get to change those thoughts by changing the expectations that you have for yourself. But typically, if that’s how you’re feeling, then what you’re typically going to do from those emotions is withdraw from your pursuit of the goal.

But doing that only ensures that you never make consistent progress. So, if you want to make consistent progress, if you want to reach the finish line with these habits, with these skills, with the goals that you’re setting for yourself, we need to change this. Okay?

In order to make consistent progress, we first have to start with changing the expectation that you have for yourself. So, take a second, what do you want to choose to expect of yourself when you’re learning something new?

What if, I know this is a wild and radical idea, but what if you expected it to be imperfect and clunky and messy? What if you expected yourself to stumble and fall? What if you expected yourself to fail your way forward and learn with each fail, to leverage each fail?

What if none of this; the imperfection, the clunkiness, the messiness, the stumbling, the falling, the failing; what if none of it was a problem? How would it change the way that you pursue your goals? That you develop skills? That you build habits? How would it change the way that you will learn and improve? What would be different?

Let me walk you through some examples, because I want you to see how it would be different in practice. So, let’s start with, because September is time management month, let’s say you’re learning how to manage your time. When you resist the imperfect messiness of learning how to manage your time, what you end up doing is you start and you’re going to struggle immediately.

Because that is just what happens when someone who struggles with time management starts to work on time management and building the skills necessary to properly manage your time; it’s going to be a struggle up front. What happens when you’re resisting the imperfect messiness of learning how to manage your time, when you struggle, you give up almost instantly.

Then you end up beating yourself up in the process, and you double down on the behavior that isn’t serving you. You just default back to that status quo. It’s your expectation that’s a problem here. Your expectation is that you make a schedule day one, stick to it perfectly, and never mismanage your time ever again.

Even if you don’t think that that’s what your expectation is for yourself, if you embark on learning how to manage your time and then you don’t stick with it, I promise you, that is what your subconscious or unconscious expectation is. That’s what you’re expecting of yourself: perfection, right out of the gate.

And then, when reality doesn’t match that, because you’re learning how to do something new, something you’ve never been taught how to do before, you’re going to struggle and stumble. Then, when you encounter that struggle and the stumbling, you quit.

So, when reality doesn’t match that expectation, you allow yourself to get discouraged. What would be different if you expected the process to look like this? First up, you make a to-do list, you estimate how long tasks take, you put all of the appointments that you have on your calendar. So that way, you have an accurate reflection of the time that you have available and the commitments that you have, that you’ve already committed yourself to.

Then, you decide start and stop times for work; when’s your day going to start, when’s it going to end? From there, you see how much available time you have. After you factor in the book ends, with your start and stop time, and you subtract all of the appointments that you put on your calendar, you’re going to come up with a number of the time you have available for work the rest of the day.

Then I want you to look at your to-do list, and plan less than what fits in the time you have available. So, if you have six available hours, I want you to plan five of them, okay? Now, when you make that plan, you’ll implement the plan by starting on time, working without interruptions, and ending on time.

At the end of your day you can evaluate, you’ll take the insights from your evaluation and apply them the following day. So, you consistently get 1% better. That’s the process for how to become someone who manages their time well. That’s the process that you need to improve in this area.

Now, that’s the pristine process, right? The textbook version of what it looks like to manage your time. But in practice, it’s not going to be that pristine; it’s going to be imperfect, clunky, and messy. You’re going to forget to put things on your to-do list.

If you expect perfection there, you’re going to stop managing and keeping your to-do list up to date, and because you didn’t update at once, you’re just going to quit. Or you’re going to fail to break up big projects into small enough tasks. And instead of getting better and better and better at that you’re just going to quit and stop using the to-do list.

You’re going to underestimate how long tasks take you, and when you underestimate it and you’re incorrect with your original guess, instead of continuing to get better at this the perfectionist in you is going to tell you it’s not worth it to estimate the time. That you’re just bad at it. That it can’t be done.

You’re going to plan best-case scenario and then feel behind because your schedule won’t go best-case scenario. Okay? Things won’t go according to plan. You’ll learn that you need to plan for the worst-case scenario. But if you’re being a perfectionist, you’re going to use things not going to plan as a reason to not stick with this. You’re going to fail to start on time by procrastinating or reshuffling your schedule, and putting out fires, tending to “emergencies.”

You’re going to distract yourself. You’re going to let other people interrupt you. You’re going to people please, not set boundaries, and you’ll distract yourself with things that are more exciting than the work in front of you. Maybe Instagram, LinkedIn, games on your phone, TV, snacks, coffee, whatever.

If you let all of this deter you, because it doesn’t match the expectation you have for yourself, you’re never going to get better at managing your time. If you make these mishaps a problem, and a good enough reason not to go on, you won’t be working on time management for very long. You’re going to quit quickly.

Because these mishaps and mistakes are going to happen. You can take that to the bank. You’re not going to master this right out of the gate. This requires practice. It requires being messy because practicing is messy. But if you adjust your expectations and you expect it to be messy, then you’re going to make a to-do list, estimate how long tasks take, put appointments on your calendar, decide your start and stop times, and see how much available time you have in the day.

You’ll go to your to-do list and plan in less than what fits, implement the plan by starting on time, working without interruptions, and ending on time. Then, you’ll evaluate, you’ll apply the insights from that evaluation, and put them into practice the following day.

As you do that, in a very, very messy manner, you’re going to forget to put things on your to-do list, you’re not going to break up project small enough, you’re going to underestimate how long stuff takes, and you’re going to plan best-case scenario.

Then you’ll get behind because it doesn’t go according to plan, you’re going to procrastinate and reshuffle and distract yourself, and you’re still going to get better, because you’re going to evaluate and take those insights from your evaluation and apply them the next day.

It’s going to be clunky as hell. And you’re not going to make the clunky messiness of it all a problem, okay? If you commit to embracing the clunk, embracing the mess, you can solve your time management problems; I promise you.

This is coming firsthand, from someone who used to struggle with every time management problem you can think of; that was me. I committed myself to figuring this out for myself so I could leverage what I learned from doing this work myself, and give my lessons, give my insights, my breakthroughs, to other people. So, they could learn how to overcome their time management struggles, too.

This is just one example of needing to embrace the mess in order to make progress. Maybe you’re working on putting in your time every day. And I swear, I’ve said this already on the podcast, but I swear, I’ve got an episode series coming out on that topic soon. I know, I keep saying that, but I really, really do.

But let’s talk about it briefly here. If you expect perfection of yourself when it comes to entering your time, that’s something you want to work on. You’re going to make one day of missing time entry send you into a complete tailspin. Then you’re going to miss all the other days in the month, and be stuck at the end of the month entering all of your time. Just like you always do. Even though you promise yourself every single month, “This month is going to be different.”

Let’s say it’s September 12th, and you’ve been doing okay on entering your time since the beginning of the month. Then you have one really busy day, and you don’t put in your time. You let that be the reason that you don’t stick to working on this goal, to building this habit.

Instead of quitting and getting more and more inconsistent and letting all of your time, the rest of the month, September 12th through the end of September, accumulate and build up, what if you didn’t expect perfection of yourself and you let it be messy?

What if you aimed for putting in your time after every task that you complete? Once it’s completed, you enter the time. Then sometimes, even though you have the best of intentions, you forget. So, instead of saying screw it, because we’re not being perfectionistic, we’re letting it be messy. You decide to put in the rest of your time at the end of the day.

So, you’ve been doing it contemporaneously throughout the day, but you miss one, or maybe you miss a couple, and instead of saying, “Screw it, I’m not entering any more time that day,” or for the rest of the month, you just decide to put it in at the end of the day. And if, for whatever reason, you end up falling asleep without putting in the rest of your time, you just start again tomorrow.

Now, the perfectionist in you is going to want to enter yesterday’s time before you give yourself permission to enter the new day’s time. Okay? But if you let it be messy, you don’t have to do that to yourself. I watch people day in day out, month in month out, do this to themselves because they miss a day, or they miss half a day.

Instead of just allowing themselves to start fresh, instead of giving themselves permission to do that, they have to be perfectionistic about it. They make up this arbitrary rule that is written nowhere. It’s not in your law firm’s manual. They don’t teach it to you in law school, that you can’t dare enter today’s time before yesterday’s time, because you absolutely can. It’s just going to feel messy as hell. So, you can just start the new day and worry about yesterday’s time later.

You can just focus on what’s right in front of you by letting your process be messy. But people don’t want to do that. They want it to be perfect. They don’t want it to be clunky. They want it to be pristine. By requiring that it be perfect and pristine, they don’t make the progress they want to make. They self-sabotage, they screw themselves, the rest of the month. Don’t do that. Let your process be messy.

Same thing if you’re working on weight loss or working out. Be honest. Do you expect yourself to stick to your workout routine perfectly? So, that if you choose to miss a day… and I’m picking that word “choose” very intentionally here, because I do want you to recognize that you’re always making a choice, all right?

But if you choose to not stick to your routine, that choice doesn’t mean that you should stop working out altogether. Because, “Screw it. What’s the point?” All right, that’s the perfectionist in you. Instead, if you let it be messy you can pick right back up tomorrow and not miss a beat. That’s available to you.

Same thing with weight loss. If you’re expecting perfection of yourself, then here’s what you’re going to expect: You’re going to expect that the scale only goes in one direction, the direction you want it to go in. You’re never going to build in room for maybe a little weight gain. Maybe you go on vacation and the scale goes up a pound or two. Maybe you have a holiday weekend with family and friends, and the scale goes up.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work to guard against those things. But expecting 100% perfection of yourself is going to lead you to quit because you’re going to be so discouraged and frustrated. Also, if you expect yourself to only eat what you intentionally decide to eat, and to never splurge, to never veer off course, you’re going to set yourself up to fail.

You’re not going to be able to sustain that because you’re human. That’s not realistic. You’re going to have slip ups. You’re going to have messy human moments, where you eat a bigger portion than planned. Where you have a snack that you typically wouldn’t eat. Or you have an extra glass of wine, or a bite of someone’s dessert, or fries or whatever.

You’re going to eat off protocol. You’re going to make a decision that isn’t aligned with the goal that you ultimately want to achieve. If you allow yourself to be messy and imperfect, you’re not going to make this a problem. You’re not going to let it be a reason to quit.

But this is a choice you have to make. You can learn from your slip ups, or you can weaponize them against yourself; it’s up to you. I highly, highly, highly encourage you not to weaponize your learning, not to weaponize your mess.

I want you to really think for a second. Where did you get the expectation that you do everything perfectly right the first time? Who gave that expectation to you? Where does it come from? Now, a much more important question: Do you want to keep that expectation for yourself? And if not, why not? What if you expected and allowed yourself to be messy? What if you wore your messiness as a badge of honor?

I don’t mean clutter, I mean unabashed, relentless pursuit of learning new things. The only way humans really know how to learn them, the imperfectly, clunky, messy way. What if you wore that as a badge of honor? As something to be proud of your mess?

You let it show how brave you are, how courageous you are, how willing you are, how determined you are, how dedicated you are, how committed you are, how capable you are, of feeling all the emotions that come along with learning new things.

You know what would happen if you made that your expectation? If you changed your relationship with learning to look more like that than what it currently looks like? You would learn so much more, so much faster, and you’d make so much more progress. So much progress. It will truly blow your mind.

So, I hope you take me up on this invitation to really embrace your mess, the imperfect messiness of learning something new. Life gets so much more rewarding, fulfilling, and fun when you do.

Alright, my friends, that’s what I’ve got for you this week. Two quick other orders of business. First things first, at the beginning of the episode, I mentioned that I’m teaching a masterclass this month; it’s free. It’s all about how to manage your time. So, I want you to go register for that. It’s linked in the show notes.

If that’s too complicated, and you don’t want to deal with going to the show notes, you can just go to LessStressedSessions.com/signup and register for How to Manage Your Time. It’s September 29th, that’s a Friday; last Friday of the month, at 12pm Eastern, okay?

Tell your friends to come, tell your work besties to come, share the wealth with your colleagues. So many people, low key, struggle with this issue. Be the person that really helps them overcome it. They will be so thankful that you were the one who helped them get a handle on this issue, I promise.

Now, number two, if you are just loving the podcast, and I really hope you are, if you’re loving the podcast, can you do me a favor and leave me a rating and review? My goal is to get in front of as many people as possible to help them start living lives with less stress and far more fulfillment.

As a part of that plan, I’ve set a really extreme goal for the number of people that I want to have register for the How to Manage Your Time masterclass later this month. When you leave me a rating and a review, it helps me get the podcast in front of more people. It gets more eyeballs on what it is that I’m doing, so it helps me achieve this goal that I’ve set for myself, this really outlandish goal.

It would mean the absolute world to me, if you get value from what I teach on this podcast, if you could help me out with this by going and leaving a rating and review. Now, as a thank you, because I really do appreciate this more than you could possibly know; it means the world to me. I’m going to do a giveaway, because I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave me a rating and review.

So, I’m going to do a giveaway. I haven’t done this before. I’m so excited about it. At the end of October, I’m going to randomly select five listener reviews, and I’m going to give away a prize to each one of those reviewers. Get your reviews in before the end of October, so I can select, and hopefully you will be one of the lucky winners. All right?

That’s what I’ve got for you this week, my friends. Thank you so much. I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will 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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