On 14 September Loki did an IG live session with high-performance coach Mike Szczesniak who talks productivity, wellbeing and the myths of hustle culture. Mike’s the host of The Results Engine, a top 50 entrepreneurship podcast in more than 10 countries.
This Instagram live interview was a first for T3G. Despite being new in the productivity scene, we landed a top-quality speaker. The result was a bomb of information. The interview contained so much information that our traditional top 3 format doesn’t suffice to summarise it all. So, be prepared for a cup that overflows with information. Here are the top 8 lessons for life and productivity we learned from Mike.
1. Mental health
Mike really opened up in the first couple of minutes of the live session. He told about bursts of breathlessness and other issues caused by anxiety.
Why would an otherwise healthy young man suffer from these attacks? A wrong understanding of productivity was the cause of it all, Mike confessed. Panic attacks arose when he felt guilty for not working.
What did Mike learn from this? Hustle culture and corporate America aren’t always a fast-track to happiness. There’s more to life than always being busy and constantly telling yourself to be productive. He learned that it simply isn’t possible to work 47-hours per day and that he should stop trying to do so.
2. The truth about to-do lists
To-do lists are both a blessing and a curse. It’s important to find the difference between being busy and being productive. Too many things we put on our list don’t take is us closer to our goals. ‘Doing things does not matter if the things you do don’t matter.’ Reflect: do you put tasks on your to-do list because they will benefit you in the long-term or because you want to tick something off for that quick dopamine hit?
3. ‘I don’t have time’
‘I don’t have time‘ is one of the biggest lies people tell themselves and others. When people say that, they’re really saying ‘It’s not worth my time.’ And sometimes that’s fine. Just be honest about it. Other times, it’s a lack of clear priorities. Just keep in mind that when you decide that something’s not worth your time, you lose the right to complain about not getting the results you wanted.
4. Areas of control
Reflect on the things that are and are not within your control. Too often we complain about things that we simply cannot control. If you cannot do anything about it, don’t waste energy on it.
‘Men lie, women lie, numbers always tell the truth.’ Focus on the numbers and build your area of control around it. Your daily actions need to be focused on what you can produce independently, not on results, which are outside of your control.
5. Morning routines
Morning routines are important. Making your bed in the morning is a cliché encouraged by army veterans and entrepreneurs alike. Do you know why? It’s the first and easiest thing you can do in the morning to build momentum.
Start stacking up small wins in the morning. Make your bed, work out, brush your teeth. A series of small wins each and every morning will massively boost your confidence and self-perception. It will lead to momentum and boost your success rate.
6. Building new habits
If you want to create a new habit, start really small. Start as ridiculously small as possible. The first steps aren’t about volume, they are about showing up. Just show up. Build consistency first, volume will follow.
7. Mike’s Top 3 habits
Finally, we asked Mike about his top 3 habits. He gave a brilliant answer that will work for everyone. Mike says he recommends 3 types of habits.
- A growth habit: a habit that helps you learn something on a daily basis. (E.g. Read 15 pages.)
- A health habit: a habit that keeps you fit. (E.g. Train for a marathon.)
- A “fill your cup” habit: most importantly, a habit that improves well-being. Something you can do for yourself, like walking your dog or spending time with loved ones. Something to disconnect from work and everything else.
8. “Filling your cup”
Be selfish. What? Yes, be selfish. Although it’s not socially acceptable to be selfish, we often need time for ourselves. So you need to find some space to be morally and ethically selfish. Plan activities that “fill your cup”.
The best way to fill other people’s cups is by making your own cup overflow.
As Loki’s former boss suggests: ‘treat filling your cup like a meeting with your most important client.‘ Protect that time. For Mike, an example of this is never missing a Liverpool game. What’s a ‘selfish’ non-negotiable which fills your cup?
We learned a lot from Mike and we hope you did as well.
Have a look at the IGTV video to fully absorb Mike’s wisdom. If you want to learn more about Mike, check out his podcast or Instagram pages: @mikeszczesniak, @resultsengine.