In this interview we chat about time management, how to overcome procrastination, and how to discipline yourself to become more productive. Dana also gives us an insight into her brand new eBook, Become Your Own Personal Assistant – so without further ado – it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guest, Dana Byers.
Hi Dana, thanks so much for stopping by Activia’s Expert Insights. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! I’ve been blogging for a decade now and intentionally applying simple living hacks to create a no-regrets approach to life. My personal mission is to develop and encourage leaders by example, so blogging about things I'm learning from and trying is a natural way to develop and encourage others.
You’ve been running a successful blog, focusing on topics such as productivity, since 2006. Why did you decide to start blogging about this topic?
It’s often said that each of us has at least one gifting to share with others. I began noticing a common thread among conversations shared with friends, business colleagues, and neighbors over the years: “Dana, how do you get it all done?” The fact is, I don’t do it all. I say no to a lot and then operate as my own personal assistant to handle those tasks we all have in life that we don’t want to do but must be done.
Your new eBook, Become Your Own Personal Assistant: How to Hack Your Task Lists Once and For All to Achieve a Calmer Life, has just been released. Could you tell us a bit about it?
The heart behind writing Become Your Own Personal Assistant was to imagine I had one hour over a cup of coffee with each of my blog readers and social media contacts to share some hacks and mindset shifts to help them take their next few steps toward living a calmer life. I truly enjoy helping people become more productive.
What was your overall goal when writing this book?
My intent was to make the time people invest in reading the book provide some solid new tips to try as well as the encouragement to practice self-care. Many people I've coached want to save time but don't recognize the fact that some of that saved time should be spent on themselves so they can continue performing with strength in their lives' roles. We all have people depending on us, and we can't serve them with excellence if we don't practice self-care.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment or what’s next for you?
While my blog posts provide clear and specific suggestions, I've learned lately that many people are interested in a one-on-one experience. I’ve recently begun providing client services of coaching via email or video calls to help individuals do anything from declutter and create calmer rooms in their homes and offices to sort through work problems to identify action steps and solutions.
For people who may be unfamiliar with the term, can you explain what you mean by ‘living hacks’?
Simple living hacks are the tips or approaches those of us who pursue a clutter-free life use on a daily basis. This involves everything from decluttering our homes to paring down our menu planning or food options to creating margin in our home and work schedules to make room for what we most value in life. The hacks are the specific methods that get us to our goals.
What do you think is the best way to overcome procrastination?
Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. In my opinion, the best way to overcome procrastination is to remind yourself that something being done beats something being perfect any day.
Do you think people's ability to manage their time is down to their personality or their developed habits?
I believe my story supports the theory that time management comes down to a person’s developed habits. I began life as a fast-talking little girl always in motion. As a teenager and college student, I lived in cluttered, full-to-the-brim bedrooms by my own preference. Incapable of making sense of the mess and sensing my belongings were only multiplying, I embraced the incredible opportunity of selling nearly all of it in 2007 when our family moved overseas.
Selling all those things was a life-changing experience for me. Am I any less hyperactive? Not necessarily. I remain a woman who has to fight to focus. Concentration to drive long distances is a strength I’ve never had. My mind slows down to a crawl in too-noisy environments. But I’ve learned I am capable of being disciplined, being decisive, and leading others with excellence. I know now how to maintain a calm home and manage my schedule so I can focus on what matters most to me: spending time with my family and helping others.
Seeing as concentration has not always been your strong suit – how have you disciplined yourself to become more productive?
I’m a big believer in focusing on developing our strengths and shoring up our weaknesses so they don’t hold us back while operating in our strong areas of life. A big way I’ve shored up my potential for getting distracted or being forgetful is to write everything down either in Evernote or in my smart phone’s calendar. This prevents the frustration of losing that idea for a blog post after a coaching session with a client, trying to recall that idea I had last month for my friend’s birthday gift, or finding my dog’s immunization records when we make an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Each time a smart phone calendar reminder popped up or I found a helpful saved note or image in Evernote over the years, the habit of entering content into those tools for future use was reinforced for me. Today, using these tools is a natural flow to my life that helps keep my mind calm even when a lot is going on around me.
Thank you for your time Dana, and good luck with the eBook!
You can order Dana's eBook, Become Your Own Personal Assistant: How to Hack Your Task Lists Once and For All to Achieve a Calmer Life, on Amazon. If you'd like to see more from Dana, check out her blog at danabyers.com.