How to Reduce Overwhelm and Increase Productivity
It's no secret that overwhelm can hinder your daily productivity. Your to-do list can seem as long as an encyclopedia, and feeling overwhelmed by it all, you end up giving up before you get started! If you recognise this situation, then it's time to listen to the podcast interview with Productivity Coach, Leslie Boyd to find out how you can reduce overwhelm and increase productivity.
Leslie is a Productivity Coach and creator of the 3 Step Strategy.
She empowers and inspires entrepreneurs to live out their full potential by aligning their goals with intention and purpose. Leslie teaches that by taking small, actionable steps, they can achieve anything.
As a wife and working mother, Leslie had to create a structure that would allow her to be present for her family, while still working on both her personal and professional goals.
Realising that she wasn't alone in this situation, Leslie was motivated to share her strategy with others.
How to Contact Leslie
For more details of the programmes/guides mentioned in the interview, and to contact Leslie, please visit:
Life Vision Statement: https://leslieaboyd.com/lifevision
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3stepcommunity
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/3stepstrategy
Gillian Duncan 0:00
Hello and welcome to this podcast from Clarity Junction. Today, I am delighted to be joined by Leslie Boyd. Leslie is a productivity coach and creator of the three step strategy. By teaching the strategy, Leslie is able to empower her clients to achieve their goals and live life to their fullest potential. Today, Leslie will be discussing how to reduce overwhelm and increase productivity. So keep listening to hear Leslie's own personal journey, what her three step strategy involves, and her own top time management tips. My name is Gillian Duncan, Positive Life and Wellbeing Coach, inspiring women to lead the life they want, and I'm delighted that you're here with me today.
Hi, Leslie! Welcome, and thank you for taking the time out to chat with me today.
Leslie Boyd 0:50
Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited.
Gillian Duncan 0:53
Today you will be sharing with us how to reduce overwhelm and increase productivity. Now, this is a great topic to discuss as, I know I'm not alone when I say that it's so easy to become overwhelmed by whatever you're facing in this modern world. So much, in fact, you often end up sabotaging your own productivity and getting very little done. So, perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about yourself, what you do, and also why you started your own business.
Leslie Boyd 1:25
Yeah. So my name is Leslie Boyd and I'm in the United States in North Carolina, and I'm married and I have a stepson who's 25, and then I've got two girls who are 14 and 16. So, they are super busy. I actually work a full time job. I work for the federal government, and I have for 28 years, so I have always have a lot going on. My kids have always... I've worked and they've been been in infant and daycare. I've always volunteered was an elected official in 2014 through 2019. So, I always have a lot going on.
Gillian Duncan 2:07
Yeah, it sounds like it!
Leslie Boyd 2:08
Yeah, I do. But I find that um, you know, I hate to use the word balance, because that makes it seem like it's equal. But I've made a way to make this work while still keeping my priorities, my priorities.
Gillian Duncan 2:24
Leslie Boyd 2:25
So, I initially started my business in 2017. Like, as I mentioned, I've got 28 years in and so I'll be retiring from that soon. So I thought, well, let me get my ducks in a row now. You know, spend maybe like five years, kind of, you know, getting ready, planning, because when my husband retires, he wants to do nothing.
Gillian Duncan 2:45
Leslie Boyd 2:45
Take care of grandkids. I know that I'm going to need something to do. So I took a great course. And next thing you know, I have my LLC. I'm out doing things and it kind of took off and I thought, 'Okay!'. It just kind of evolved. It's like, once I started moving into it, and getting into my purpose, things started moving a little bit quicker than I anticipated. So that's how it started. And, and it's, you know, it's evolved since then, from what I started doing, but I could see that I had to find a way to continue to, to work this in the capacity I could, until I took it full time.
Gillian Duncan 3:28
Yeah, brilliant. I think that is something that a lot of people don't really think about is, when they're working full time or when they're managing the kids, then all of a sudden, the kids, they've got their own life and they're off and then your life with your job. Or perhaps you're thinking about moving on from your job. Like you say, what about retirement? And a lot of people don't get to that point and then all of a sudden it hits them and they feel a bit lost and a bit, 'Oh, I don't really know what to do!'. So it's great that you're thinking ahead and planning ahead with this and getting your business all set up and ready for that time.
Leslie Boyd 4:00
That's right. And it's, and it's what I started doing in my business what I did for myself. So it was really easy, because as you mentioned, I see people, and my kids are 14 and 16. So even the needs that they have of me now, are different. There are weekends when they're gone, you know, and doing their thing. And so my husband and I are getting a taste of what it's going to be like we're fully empty nesters. And so it's these different seasons of your life. And that's one of the reasons why I started teaching this because my girls are 22 months apart. So there have been different times of my life where I could do certain things, that I couldn't do certain things, and that's why I love to work with women to, pretty much, work with what you've got, and how to make it work.
Gillian Duncan 4:47
Absolutely. I'm very similar to yourself. I got two boys are teenagers, and there's 18 months between them. And, like yourself, there was times I couldn't do anything. Times that I had a little bit more freedom. And now that they're teenagers, as you say, there are weekends that are, you know, filled with taxiing them somewhere. Dropping them off and then seeing them a few hours later. It's a completely different life from the life I had even two or three years ago. So, I know that you've developed this fantastic strategy called the Three Step Strategy. Now, would you be able to tell us all about this, this is really exciting, and how it came to be?
Leslie Boyd 5:24
Yes. So when I first started out, you know, I've done a lot of learning and a lot of training. So I am a business coach. But that's so broad, and I feel like my area that I really want to say is my jam is productivity coaching. Being able, I see so many of my ideal clients, the people that I normally work with, are creative female entrepreneurs. So, think coaches, you know, bloggers, graphic, anybody that kind of creates course content, writers, you know, those types of, you know, online businesses. And what we find is that we spend so much time planning, creating, planning, but not really implementing because we get so overwhelmed. We can see the big thing we want. But breaking it down is so hard. And I learned, years ago, that New Year's resolutions didn't work for me because they were so arbitrary. It's like, 'Oh, I want to go to the gym'. 'Oh, I want to lose weight'. Yeah, just that. But when I really sat down and looked at the intentionality - you've heard me talk about my husband and I, we have very specific life vision goals. Things that we want to do in our retirement years. And so everything that I do, moves me toward that step, and the 'what' is the same but 'how' is a little different. So, in order to reduce that overwhelm, I had to come up with a way to incorporate my goals into my day to day life. Because I see so many people, especially women, that try to shove 20 hours worth of work into five. And sometimes we have to double down, right? We're in the middle of something, a launch or you know, season and we have to work a lot. But it shouldn't be, every day shouldn't be double down day. So the three step strategy, I started thinking, what can I do today to move me forward to my goals for tomorrow? Because all the big goals are simply just a bunch of little goals, little steps along the way. So, I thought to myself, one thing a day wasn't enough, five is too many. So the three step strategy is very simple. And very, you do three things today to move you closer to your goals. Now this is the part that gets a little tricky, because we had things that we have to do every day, right? Like you mentioned shuttle our kids to and from - my girls are in sports, are you know, dance. There's doctors appointments, there's meetings. There's all these things that we have to do. So, I have my calendar, I put all of those things in. These are the things that I have to do. So with the time left, what are three things I can do to bring me closer to my goals? And some days are busier than others. So your three things may be smaller, but on, you know, the next day, you may have more time. So it's the thing is to reduce the overwhelm. You don't have to write the entire blog post in one day. You don't have to write your content strategy in one day. Break it down. What are the three things that you can do? And since I've implemented that, and I've worked with women, it just really takes the pressure off of them.
Gillian Duncan 8:48
Yeah, it takes away the guilt actually, that you haven't completed something, perhaps. Because we are very guilty of over-tasking ourselves, and then if we don't complete them all, we then come back on ourselves in a very negative way, saying, well, we should have done that, it was in the book to do, we didn't achieve it. And we get very negative about it, don't we?
Leslie Boyd 9:09
Absolutely. And that's one of the things, we've got to reduce the failure. So there's two things here that I saw when I was working with women, that it's the groundhog day list. That's what I call like, you make your list, and then you just push it over to the next day, and the next day. And so I do coach, my women and I say, it's fine to have a step that may take you two or three days to do, but recognise the parts of it, how you break it down. I mean, just everything is broken down. A blog post becomes an outline. Course content creation becomes graphics one day. It becomes the actual outline of posting when and where. So you may be working on one long step over five days, but it's the different pieces of it. And that's the difference. And that's what I want everyone to understand that it's moving you forward, moving you on, because what happens is, we get so overwhelmed that we don't do anything at all. We shut down. We procrastinate by folding laundry, or cleaning out, you know, junk drawers, or whatever, and we don't do anything. So, I say, if you do just a little something, at the end of the week, you've done, you've accomplished more than you would have, if you did, you know, that chalked up in the beginning.
Gillian Duncan 10:27
Oh I completely understand that whole feeling of being overwhelmed. And then you look at your list, and you just feel so exhausted looking at, that you don't do anything. You back away from it, you avoid it, and as you say, all of a sudden cleaning the kids room is really, really attractive. So is nibbling it down, isn't it, into little chunks. That's just a brilliant way to knock down those big goals and be able to cope better, with positivity.
Leslie Boyd 10:58
Absolutely. And I teach this, I know that there are so many systems out there in terms of how you use a planner. Some people like a paper planner, some people like a digital planner. So the thing about my system, is I teach you how to come up with the tasks and the items, and then you can put that in any system that makes you feel good. You know, it's not like you have to adopt my system. I do have a layout that people can go through and kind of figure it out. But then, whatever it is kind of planner system you use, you can use that along with this to input it in to make that strategy.
Gillian Duncan 11:36
So you are personalising it. Yeah. Brilliant. So, can you share, I know we've covered some of it, I'm sure, but would you be able to share some of the things in your own day that you use your three step strategy for? How do you go ahead, for yourself, and plan your day and plan your week using your three steps?
Leslie Boyd 11:58
Okay, so what I do is, because, of course, I am the goal person, I have what I call 12 month goals. And that's important because you didn't hear me say yearly goals. Because yearly goals, people think you have to set it in January. And so here we are in September and people think, 'Oh, I didn't get anything done. Oh my gosh, I'll just wait until January'. No, no, 12 months. Start where you are. So your 12 month could be September to September. So, I have my 12 month goals. I have my quarterly goals. And then what I'll do is, I have my weekly goals. Now, I don't work on Sunday. That's, that's something that's Incorporated. That works for my family nice. So, I don't work on Sunday. So, I have to be very diligent. On Saturday, Friday or Saturday, I sit down and I look at my week. And I look at all that I have going on, how many meetings I have, how many whatevers, and I look at that and I say, 'Okay, of my quarterly plan, how much can I get done this week?', and I'll set three weekly goals. And I'm a big advocate on our goals, being our life goals. We are more than just our business. If we only set business goals, it will cause friction in your personal life. Because, whatever, even if you're not married and don't have kids, there's something - you work out, you take care of, some people take care of their parents, or whatever it is. So I always say have some life goals in there and incorporate that too. So, I have a business goal, I have a personal goal, and then I have what's called a relational goal. So that could be family, personal, could be my health, or whatever it is. So, I pick my three weekly goals, and then I look at all the tasks. Because, remember, a goal is an outcome. Because I see it gets confusing with a goal and a task. The goal is the outcome. And the tasks are the things that have to be done to achieve that outcome. So, I have my goals and then, what are the tasks under there, that have to be done? And have those tasks, those are where I will choose my three. Now, sometimes people will pick one of their tasks - today one will be, like, one will be relational, one will be business, but I say whatever works for you. I've mentioned I don't work on Sunday, but it's in the quarter, September, October, November and December. It's very important for me to cook family meals. I know my family eats dinner every night, but over the summer, we're vacationing, we're a little bit more lax, and in the fall, I really try to get them eating more home cooked meals. So, one of my goals is to cook about four home cooked meals a week. So, that's on my weekly list. So part of that means I have to meal plan, I have to grocery shop, and meal prep. Well, my three steps on Sunday, all have to do with food, since I don't work. So, I go the grocery store. I'm meal plan. I do all of that. And then, so I look at all my tasks, to go along with my weekly goals and figure out the priority, which three has to be done first, and I just start on Monday, do those three, until they're finished. And then I picked three more. Because they're all, it has to be intentional to move you forward. That's the whole purpose. Because the other life things are going to get done, because I have to, you know, you have to take your kids to and from, you have to take the garbage out. So, that's how I incorporate that into my day.
Gillian Duncan 15:30
By doing that you're not sidestepping it at all, are you? You're making it so intentional that, as you say, it's not getting lost in with all this other tasks and chores that you must do. You're actually making that time to say, 'Actually, I'm doing that now. I'm doing that today. And this is where I'm heading with that'.
Leslie Boyd 15:47
Right. And I take the time to plan for me. I like to do it the night before, because it helps me sleep better. It really does. Even if I have a really busy day. If I already know that, and I already know I'm going to be out and about and pack a lunch, I sleep better, even though I have a busier day because I'm prepared for it mentally.
Gillian Duncan 16:07
Yeah, that's the word, 'preparation', isn't it? So, can you share with us some of your best time management tips? Because we are all busy and time can get lost very easily, in a day. We've all got the same amount of hours in that day, and for some reason some people seem to achieve more in their day. And it's just really to see where you find that extra time or you set aside that extra time to get those achievable tasks done.
Leslie Boyd 16:39
Mm hmm. Yeah, well, there's a couple things that I do all the time. And it seems it's very simple, but it's not really something that we think about, as I do the timer method. So, I remember doing this with my kids. I would say, 'Okay, here's a contest. Who can clean up the most in five minutes?', and we've all had these friends that have rang and said, 'Hey, I'm going to be in your neighbourhood in an hour. Can I stop by?'. Well, you straighten up your whole house in an hour when you know that's all the time you have. So, I set a timer. Right? Right, I set a timer for 25 minutes, and I focus on one task. One task. No multitasking. One task for 25 minutes, and just plough through it. And you'd be amazed at how much you can get done. You turn off the TV. You turn off all your tabs. You don't answer you know, you know, you don't answer the phone, no emails, you focus on that one task for 25 minutes. And then you give yourself a 10 minute break. And if you have time, you can do it again. So, that's that's up to you. So, I do power hours with two 25 minute focus tasks with a 10 minute break. And I get so much done and so do my clients in 25 minutes, that it really is scary. Well you think that if I've got 24 hours why can't I... but, that's just, that's just how our mind works. We can focus on something 25 minutes, you know. I've said the three steps, we can do three steps. We have to work with what our mind will let us do without that overwhelm and in that peace, so that's one of my major things that I do, the timer method.
Gillian Duncan 18:13
I love this. I've got to be honest, I do use a timer method for my violin practice. Now, I've just sat my, at the beginning of the year, I sat my grade six violin exam. After all these years of not playing the violin, I went back to study it with my boys, who took up the instrument, and said, 'Oh, yeah, I'll come along and I'll learn it along with you and sit my exams too', not realising really, not remembering, how much work and effort goes into these exams. And, but you know, I kept my word and I went for it. And I have issues, just like everybody else, of playing scales. Scales. I don't like playing scales. Nobody likes playing scales. So I set a timer and said, 'Right, well, if I even just played them for five minutes or 10 minutes or 15 minutes'. And that's what I did. I set a short timer and then I increased it as I went through it. just so I could focus on scales and scales alone. It made me do it. So I love, I really do love the, the timer plan to get things done.
Leslie Boyd 19:16
So, that's one, and the second one is, so I've got multitasking. So, I have what I consider bad multitasking, and good multitasking. So you know, bad multitasking is where you're on a conference call and you're trying to read emails, right? We've all been there where someone says, 'So, Leslie, what do you think?', and you're like, ' Oh! Can you repeat that, please?'. But I have good multitasking. So, I'm a TV junkie. I love to watch TV, so I have to set it up so that I can watch that after I reward myself. So what I'll do is I do my, what I call, my good multitasking. So, every time I'm watching a TV show, that's what I'm folding clothes. Whenever I'm, you know, if I'm driving, I'm listening to a podcast getting motivation. So those are, you know, finding the good multitasking, things that I can do. I, my mother in law loves to chat, until we get on the phone and we take about 30 minutes. I'll clean out my closet while I'm chatting with her. Yeah, so those are some things that I really, whenever I'm out, you know, if I'm driving somewhere, I'm always listening to a podcast, or I'm returning telephone calls, if I don't have to write. So, I'm always finding ways to effectively multitask because we do the bad multitasking all the time. But, if I'm ever sitting here watching TV, I am, you know, meal planning. I'm clipping coupons. Something mindless that I can do while I'm watching TV because if I miss something on a TV show, it's not going to be detrimental. So, I'm always doing. When I'm doing something kind of fun, I'm making sure that I'm doing something else. I never get in the car for drive without listening to something, whether it's a book or something different. Not difficult, so that different, So that's something else I do for time management.
Gillian Duncan 21:06
That's super. Now I know that you've got a community on facebook and it's called the Three Step Community.
Leslie Boyd 21:14
It is, yeah.
Gillian Duncan 21:15
Would you be able to tell us more about this exciting community?
Leslie Boyd 21:18
Well in this community, this is where we work on our three steps and, and it's, it sounds so like, I'm like, 'What three steps are you doing?'. We actually have a, I have master classes just like the weekly, I gave you my weekly rundown.
Gillian Duncan 21:34
Leslie Boyd 21:34
Well, we actually have a masterclass where I went through it for 30 minutes. I've provided them a worksheet. I've had them, we've done a life vision challenge where they've written their life vision statement. Currently, we're doing the three step morning, where we are getting up earlier in the morning and again, one of the biggest things in our communities that, we give grace. I find that as women, we're so hard on ourselves, and we need to do, as much as I advocate for the three steps, I advocate for giving grace. If things don't go the way that they, you know, that we plan. So, in that I say, you know, for the three set morning, either get up 20 minutes earlier, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever will work, but I asked them to get up this, it's a challenge over getting up every morning. And the only thing we're working on are our three steps. Either planning them, either working on them. I'm having that focus time, just that time. So it's kind of like the timer method, whatever that time is. So, we're doing that we, we talk about where we're stuck, we motivate each other. And, you know, surprisingly, you know, I will do that once a month. I'll have a coffee chat where they can ask me anything. So, it's basically a way to say, 'We're not alone. We're here. We're all trying to create a plan. We're all in business for ourselves. How can we reduce this overwhelm and increase productivity, but have fun too?' I mean, my community, I go in there and we talked about, my daughter is almost 16. And she's learning to drive. So, we talk about that too!
Gillian Duncan 23:13
Leslie Boyd 23:14
Challenging days! And so, yeah, so we have, you know, a lot of fun. It's a new group, it just started the end of July, but it's great. And so that's what we're all in there, just motivating each other and you know, high five in each other and getting to know each other. So it's really fun.
Gillian Duncan 23:31
So, it's lots of support. I love that idea of getting up an extra 20 minutes earlier in the morning just to jot things down, for the day ahead. The best time in the day is the morning, that's when your heads the clearest, isn't it? You can see things so much cleaner in the morning. So that time is so precious.
Leslie Boyd 23:47
Gillian Duncan 23:48
Leslie Boyd 23:49
Yes, it is. It is, and they're like, 'I'm in! I'm in! I can do that!'. So it's, it's the small things. I want the small wins because they lead up to the big wins.
Gillian Duncan 23:59
Brilliant! I also know that you've got a life vision exercise that's on your website. Would you be able to tell us about that as well, please?
Leslie Boyd 24:07
Yes. So, I call it the 'Life Vision Statement'. So, every big company has a vision statement. So, I think that our life, we need to have the basis as to why we're doing what we're doing. We wake up every morning, and we hustle hard. So, why are we doing that? It's a reminder to us, as to why we are doing what we're doing. We also look at that when things get tough, right? Like, there's some days where we're like, 'Oh, why are we doing this?'
Gillian Duncan 24:35
Leslie Boyd 24:36
And you're like, 'Oh, this is why we're doing this'. Because we want to do, you know, x, y, z, and it's really about, like, our goals. I say, it's more about how they make us feel, and less about what we want. It's, I always start this exercise. Now, pretend it's your hundredth birthday, and all your friends and family around you. What would they say about you? What do you want them to say about you? And whatever it is you want them to say about you, you have to start living that now. You know, I want people to say that I inspired thousands of women to live out their dreams. That I was the best wife and mother that I could be. That I inspired and empowered and motivated, that I lifted up my community. All those things are important to me. So, I have to start living that out now. So that when I'm 100, that's what they'll say. That's the basis of your life vision statement.
Gillian Duncan 25:34
Oh that is powerful, isn't it? It does make you think, doesn't it? It make you, it takes you away from today and moves you on in thinking, 'Oh, that's where I want to be. How am I going to get there?' Well, I will list details of your community, and of this exercise on your website. And I will list that on the post here on the Clarity Junction website, so people can come through to you and contact you, and get to know you more. And hopefully join up for your community and get more involved with the Three Step Strategy. It sounds a fantastic way to cope with overwhelm, and actually really get more things done. Thank you so much, Leslie, for joining me today. It's been an absolute pleasure to chat with you. I've learned an awful lot from what you've been telling me today. And I really encourage everybody to come along to your website and to your Facebook group, and join up and get chatting with everybody, and get involved in that Three Step Strategy.
Leslie Boyd 26:32
Well, thank you so much. This was so fun. It was, it's been nice to get to know you, and be able to share a little bit about what I do and what I love.
Gillian Duncan 26:41
Thank you, Leslie. It's been a pleasure. Let's chat soon.
Leslie Boyd 26:43
Thanks, talk to you soon.
Gillian Duncan 26:45
That's all for this episode. My thanks go to Leslie Boyd for sharing so much with us today. To find out how to connect with Leslie, and for links to her Facebook community and free life vision exercise. Go to www.clarityjunction.com/increaseproductivity. Thanks for listening, and remember to head over to www.clarityjunction.com and sign up for our free membership. Bye for now, and keep being awesome.