Are You Too Busy Working To Be Productive? - Interview with Paul Minors

[Ben's note: This is a QA with Paul Minor's of The Productivity Podcast. You can check out his free 7-Day Productivity Plan and my interview on his podcast here.]


Do you go to bed angry because you didn’t get everything done?

Do you have too much to do and not enough time to do it?

Do you all of your projects sit in a constant state of “under construction”? 


My good friend Paul Minors has THE solution for you!

Recently, I got a chance to sit down with Paul and learn his productivity strategies, hacks and tactics.


In This Content Rich QA, You’ll Learn:

Paul Minors Suit
  • How to become a Jedi Master of productivity! (i’m not kidding)
  • Why everyone “feels” busy and yet hardly anyone gets anything done.
  • The one thing you can do to improve your focus.
  • The online course that gave Paul the confidence to start his first online business.
  • The best productivity apps for managing your tasks (you’ll love #1).
  • One amazing book that will cut your “to-do” list stress in half.
  • A simple strategy for getting things done, even when you are exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything.
  • Paul’s role model who taught him how to create passive income.


QA With Productivity Expert Paul Minors


What is Productivity?

BA: What does being productive mean to you? How has learning these skills allowed you to create the life you want?

PM: Productivity isn’t just about getting more done at work, it’s about getting more out of life. I view productivity as a tool for achieving your goals and realising your full potential. The goal of my website is to help people get more done and reach your full potential. I believe that by managing your time, energy, and attention, you can be a more effective individual. Not just at work, but in everything that you do.


BA: We are a society that is overwhelmed, stressed and busy all the time. Why do we feel that there is too much to do and not enough time to do it ?

PM: I think people like to feel busy. When someone ask’s: “How was your day?”, there’s a sense of importance that comes from being able to say: “Ugh, it was so busy”. Because we subconsciously want to feel important, we make ourselves busy with lots of “stuff”. We fill our days with things to do that often don’t contribute any sort of progress towards us achieving our goals. As we fill our days with more and more “stuff”, this eats away at the time we have left to relax, socialise and unwind, leaving us feeling like there’s “not enough time”.


BA: If someone is not getting what they want done in the time they have, what’s most likely the cause and what should they focus on first to improve their productivity?

PM: It’s likely caused by a lack of focus. If you haven’t spent any time clearly defining what it is you’re trying to achieve (in terms of your professional work, personal life, health etc…) you end up being very “busy”, doing all this “stuff”, without getting to where you want to be. This is why starting with clearly, measurable and actionable goals is so critical for personal productivity.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise. If you don’t know where you’re trying to get to, don’t get angry if you get lost along the way.



On Productivity Habits

BA: Top performers work very long hours each week. What habits have you found effective for keeping energy levels high, despite the stress and demands of working 60+ hours each week?

PM: Sleep, diet and exercise. Getting the basics right can sound a bit dull and I’m sure readers have heard all this before, but it really does work.

Get enough sleep. I aim for at least 7 hours a night and love using the FitBit as a way of tracking my sleep quality.

Eat healthy whole foods like vegetables and healthy fats. I recommend avoiding refined sugar as much as you can. This really is the enemy of productivity and if you snack on sugary treats it often leads to that mid-afternoon lull in productivity.

Get regular exercise and preferably through a range of activities and sports. Looking after your physical strength is one of the best ways to boost your energy and avoid illness.


BA: Some days we don't feel like working, but we have to keep going regardless of how we feel. What strategies have you learned for maintaining consistent productivity?

PM: I like Mike Vardy’s recommendation about using “modes”. If you categorise your activities by modes like “low-energy”, “5-minute” or “errands” you can filter your task list to find all the quick and easy stuff to do. So even if you’re not feeling it, you can tick off some easy tasks and get stuff done.


BA: What are 3 key daily habits you do everyday to stay productive despite the demands of entrepreneurship?

PM: 1) I refer to my calendar and task management list regularly throughout the day. This keeps me focussed and on track. 2) I eat well and make sure to take regular breaks during my work 3) I make the time to relax, unwind and plan for tomorrow in the evening.



On Mindset, Psychology and Entrepreneurship

BA: You have interviewed a lot of top performers on your show The Productivity Podcast. What's been the best life lesson you've learned from a guest on your show?

PM: I loved the conversation with Johny O’Donnell back in episode 2. Johny has this great approach where he plans life before work. So he literally decides at the beginning of the year where he wants to travel to and what he wants to do, then designs his work routine to fit around this. Obviously it takes a lot of work to create this lifestyle, but I think it’s an approach everyone could benefit from.


BA: What fears or mental blocks did you need to overcome in order to start your business?

PM: For me the biggest thing was committing to something I could sustain for a long period of time. I wanted to make sure that with whatever I started I would still be excited by it years down the line. Simon Sinek’s course, Learn Your Why really helped with this. It helps you to identify the things that make you tick and was pivotal in leading me towards my productivity topic.


BA: How has building a brand around productivity changed your mindset about entrepreneurship and business?

PM: Naturally I’m always trying to find the most efficient and effective ways of scaling my business and delivering value. With the systems I’ve set up, often I’ve chosen to take the more time consuming route to build a system that is scalable vs. doing something quickly and easily that would have to be adapted later. I’m always thinking about the future and trying to work out how I can deliver the same value to my audience with 10X the traffic I have now.



On Strategies, Software and Apps

BA: What has been your favorite productivity strategy or hack you've learned so far?

PM: This is a tough question. There are so many useful things you can do that picking one is really hard. But I’d say that finding the meaning in your work is really important. At my old job I found my productivity went out the window as my excitement for the job dropped off. If you do something you love, you’ll naturally become more productive as you start to find more effective and efficient ways of doing the work.


BA: What is the most simple strategy for being more productive that someone could implement today?

PM: Schedule blocks of time for the things you need to do i.e. pick an item on your task list e.g. “write a blog post”. Work out how long that thing will take to complete. Let’s say 3 hours. And then schedule blocks of time to complete the work. This could be one block that’s three hours long or three 1-hour blocks across separate days. When you divide up your time like this it’s very easy to sustain your focus and ensure you’re “making” enough time for the things on your task list.


BA: What are 3 awesome productivity apps or software tools that you use every single day?

PM: Asana for task management, Sunrise Calendar for time management and Evernote for digital storage and organisation. EASY!


BA: Which company has better productivity software Apple or Google?

PM: I’m an Apple fan-boy, so I’ll go Apple! I use a MacBook and iPhone and find everything just works so seamlessly together. For example, I love being able to pick up a conversation I started on my phone from my Mac.

Of course Google has some awesome tools and should still get some credit.



On Resources, Books and Mentors

BA: What's one book you consistently recommend?

PM: Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It’s had a huge impact on my approach and mentality towards productivity. Hands down one of the best books on productivity I’ve ever read.


BA: What's one online course or product that was transformative for you?

PM: Learn Your Why by Simon Sinek. After completing the course the clarity it gave me about who I am as a person and what motivates me was priceless.


BA: Who's someone that you admire and model your success after?

PM: Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. I really admire the personal brand and business he’s built and how this supports his wife and two children. I feel like he has a really healthy balance between work and his personal life. They very much inform one another and I’d love to create the same freedom in my own life.



More About Paul

Hi, I’m Paul, a productivity blogger who wants to help you get more done with less stress. For me, productivity is a tool for achieving your goals and getting more out of life. I believe that by managing your time, energy, and attention, you can be more a effective individual. Not just at work, but in everything that you do. Learn more about me and read my in-depth guide on how to be productive.

When you get to my website, the best place to start is with my free 7-Day Productivity Plan. You’ll receive an email a day for seven days and will be guided through how to setup a basic productivity “system” so you can stay organised and get more done.