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Tracy Winchell

Productivity and Identity: The Connection Nobody Ever Talks About

publishedabout 2 months ago
3 min read

Hey Reader,

A Guilt-Free Planning Process Begins Within

How many 2023 productivity systems have you watched on YouTube? Already?

Most how-to-plan-2023 videos won’t reach full song for another couple of weeks.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent years of personal and professional time looking for the perfect guided notebook, pen, app, or digital tool, learning how the pros do productivity.

Oh, the irony of preparing for 2023 when 2022 is still a hot mess!

I’m not knocking any productivity guru. At all.

In fact, my productivity guru is R.J. Nestor. Not so incidentally, you will meet R.J. next week.

What I've learned from three decades of planning new years

New systems have three potential problems — and they’re all between your ears.

Problem 1: You work so hard to build the guru's complex system that you have no idea how to use your set-up. So you quit.

Problem 2: You work so hard to build the system exactly like its creator showed you, but it doesn’t work for your situation. So you quit.

Problem 3: You are so swamped by mid-January that you don’t have time to provide inputs. So you quit.

All that effort and not only do you get nothing out of your preparation, you're chipping away at your, "I can do this" identity and inviting feelings of inadequacy to have a party in your brain.


Eroding your identity

When you set new year’s resolutions, you often do so intending to improve in a specific area of your life. However, if we fail to meet our resolutions, it can have a negative impact on our identity.

Failing to meet our resolutions can make us feel like we are not good enough and lead to feelings of shame and inadequacy.

Outcomes are about what you get.
Processes are about what you do.
Identity is about what you believe.
-- James Clear, Atomic Habits

What happens when you invite feelings of inadequacy to party in your brain?

  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hard to focus
  • Productivity paralysis
  • Poor decision-making
  • Your side hustle has stalled
  • You don’t know where to start

The Holy Grail of productivity systems

Even the Holy Grail of productivity systems is worthless without a conscious effort to improve your self-esteem, bit-by-bit, and day by day.

Self-esteem is tied to productivity because people with a positive self-image are likelier to take actions that lead to positive results.

People with a negative self-image are more likely to either take no action or make decisions that lead to negative results.

People with high self-esteem believe in their ability to achieve their goals, while people with low self-esteem doubt their ability to accomplish big things.


A “Now” approach to productivity

My friend R.J. Nestor is a productivity thinker and trainer who will help you plan 2023 with intention.

For the past 11 months, I’ve been applying R.J.’s productivity system.

R.J. has helped me make the turn toward an improved identity in 3 ways:

  1. My Now self relies on instructions and wisdom from Yesterday Tracy. The only way to impact Tomorrow Tracy is to do the work now.
  2. Breaking giant tasks into 15- to 30-minute increments boosts my self-confidence because the task isn’t a “whole big thing.” It’s a bit of brain noodling.
  3. It only takes 10- to 15 minutes of brain noodling to remind Now Tracy why Past Tracy was so excited about this project.

For the next 4 weeks, R.J. and I will introduce effective techniques to help you spend:

  • Less time & energy in the “I can’t” part of your brain.
  • More energy proving “I am” doing meaningful work.

Your Turn: Self-Reflection Questions

1. List no more than 5 roles for which you are responsible (you probably have more, we’re looking for the ones in which you expend the most time, energy, and emotion)

2. Filter each of your roles through these 3 reflections:

  • I want to be a better by doing or in 2023
  • What happens if I make no changes in my behavior/identity?
  • What happens if I improve in this role?

🚨 Send me your results from this exercise. I will craft a series of questions from which you can respond each day as you work through R.J.s Daily Cycle Process 🚨


Think this series will be useful?

You might be interested in a year-end workshop R.J. and I are hosting.

We will help you put into practice the concepts from this newsletter series — with time to think, write, and talk through where you’re stuck.

Intention & Identity: Simple Planning for a
Guilt-Free 2023

Dec 28 at 10:00 AM CST


That's it for this week!

As always, I’m eager to receive comments and answer questions. Doing so through this series will help us know how to build a workshop most relevant to your problem areas and interests.

-t