In this week’s episode, Eva Jannotta and I talk about being the most productive version of yourself and boldly using your voice to advocate for what you want.
Finding and using your voice to make a life that matters
Eva has been self-employed for five years but never intended to be an entrepreneur. Prior to starting her business, Eva worked in the corporate world for a chain of grocery stores. She grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and earned her degrees in Gender and Women’s Studies and English literature. Today she is a consultant providing marketing and communications support to North America’s most recognized women entrepreneurs and leaders, offering thought leadership, marketing, and social media strategy to women who serve women. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her partner Steve.
Eva’s morning routine
Eva has always been a morning person and starts her day between 5:30 and 6:30 am. It’s important for her to start her day in a gentle fashion, meaning she puts no demands on herself for that time of the day. She spends a couple of hours each morning enjoying a cup of tea and will perhaps take a walk, stretch, meditate, or sometimes will “just be”. This time is essential for Eva to get her day off to a good start.
A typical day
After Eva’s early start, she will begin working around 8:00 or 9:00. Although as a self-employed person she could start working whenever she wanted, it’s most beneficial to her to have a set schedule for each workday. She will work until 5:00 or 6:00 each evening. After dinner, she likes to get in an hour-long workout. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, she would go to the gym but for now she is working out at home. Getting in her workout helps Eva to disconnect from workday and ease into her evening. After her workout, she likes to make dinner with her partner Steve.
Biggest productivity challenges
One of Eva’s biggest challenges is “doing the work” vs “being in the work“. She’s learned that finding the time to solve problems, think through projects, and be creative and then actually execute that work can be challenging.
Eva also struggles with setting realistic expectations for herself when it comes to getting things done. Everything always takes longer than you think it will and your energy level can vary throughout the day. Knowing this, Eva tries to balance her expectations with what’s realistic for any given day. Eva has been tracking her time for years and finds this data to be very helpful when scheduling her time. She currently uses a tool called Toggl on her computer to track how she’s using her time.
While trying out different time management tools over the years, she has found that tools aren’t meant for achieving perfection, they are meant to be used at the right time for the right purpose.
Tools Eva recommends
Eva has found that the most helpful thing for her has been to be truly honest with herself about how much she is able to do and in what amount of time. She has to do things at a time of day when she is most productive and then have the discipline to finish those things. For her, this time is in the morning. There can be exceptions but mostly, Eva tries to respect these boundaries for herself.
When it comes to having time to be thoughtful, creative, and intentional, Eva has learned that she has to turn her phone off. She likes to use Airplane mode or will put her phone in a different room. She will not check her phone for texts or look at her emails until she is done with her work.
Eva uses a tool called Boomerang, which she adds to her Gmail account, to prevent new emails from coming in while she is trying to focus. When she does need to refer back to her email, she won’t be distracted by any new messages.
Eva says she figured out what worked best for her by being an astute observer of her own behavior and noticing patterns for when she was the most and least productive. She also noticed that there were times when she was avoiding bigger, scarier projects she needed to work on and instead focused on smaller things that weren’t as important. This can be referred to as “activity vs. productivity“.
Sometimes Eva will be nervous about starting big projects but once she gets started on them, she finds that they are simpler than she expected.
Another tool Eva recommends is Asana, a digital project and task manager. This website helps her to plan in advance and commit to her tasks.
Expressing your thoughts and feelings
Eva thinks it’s so important for women to voice their opinions and not be afraid to rock the boat. Often, women are socialized to keep their preferences and opinions to themselves and be “people pleasers”. We don’t want to be seen as pushy or selfish, but Eva says that this is a mindset block. What people think of our opinions is not our problem.
You’ll worry less about what people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.
~ David Wallace
Women also apologize a lot, or mitigate their speech, for the fear of what others think. Eva encourages us to stop deferring to others and to pay attention to yourself and how you feel without being attached to the outcome. It’s worth sharing your opinions and want you want, because otherwise, you may not get what you need. If everyone agrees with you, she says, you’re not really sharing your opinion.
What do you do to get back on track on a day when everything gets away from you?
Eva says that these kinds of days are really hard for her because she always wants to do her best. Her first reaction is to get really frustrated with herself or to talk and complain about it. Talking about it can be helpful, but taking a walk, listening to a guided meditation, or taking a nap can help her refocus.
If that doesn’t help, she just has to accept things for what they are and get through the day.
When we have these kinds of days, we may be tired or overstimulated. We might feel that we don’t have the time to step away and gather our thoughts, but these are the times when it’s so important to do that very thing.
What’s on the horizon for Eva?
On a personal note, Eva is excited to be getting married! The wedding had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but she is looking forward to when the event can take place. On a professional note, Eva has had a really good year so far and she is looking forward to seeing the fruits of her labor and seeing what the rest of the year holds.
Eva’s last words for the listener
Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with grace. You are doing the best you can. Celebrate your wins!
Connect with Eva
What do you think? Questions? Comments?
Resources and Links
- 5 Mindset Problems Blocking Your Provocative Opinions
- Daily Greatness Planner
- Google Drive
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Royse City, Texas