Hello and a big welcome to this special episode of The Career Success podcast titled “The Secret to Super Productivity”.

I’m joined by Christina, based just outside of Washington DC in the US. Christina is a former FBI violent crime analyst and senior manager. She’s now an author, speaker, podcast and YouTube channel host, as well as a self improvement guru. Christina specialises in super achieving and is on a mission to help others achieve more in life, mainly by getting out of there. Anyway, she currently does this through her books, podcast series, professional development courses and keynote speeches. Christina worked under the array of programs including the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program and the FBI’s Leadership Development Program, where she trained thousands of leaders. After advancing to a senior management position within the FBI before turning 40 Christine, that decided to open up her own business to help transform people’s personal and professional lives, Christina. Has offered free books. Developed a catalog of courses, and host a robust YouTube channel. Christine’s other publications include quit bleeping around 77 secrets to super achieving, and the secret to super productivity. So Christina with that introduction in mind. Welcome to this special episode. The secret to super productivity. Oh, thank you. I’m so excited to be here, so I’m kind of introduced you, but tell people a bit about you. We have done a previous episode on the Career Success Podcast where we talked. In depth about what you’ve done and we’re going to kind of get stuck straight into the secret of super productivity. But tell us a bit about you in brief, for people that haven’t maybe listened to that episode before, I know I’ve introduced you, though. Oh yes, so I am an escape room addict. I think that’s like one of the main things in my life. Love, escape rooms. I play tennis. I have two kids in their mid 20s. And I’m just loving life and tell us then the so you’ve become a guru of all things super productivity. How did you kind of get the experience to be in this place of masses of knowledge and writing? The book on the topic before we kind of go into it? Where where is this all kind of come from oh so First off, when I when I opened up my own business and became an entrepreneur I started doing things that I I know in love right? Which is professional development of folks. Emotional intelligence coaching, feedback, leadership development, all that stuff. And then when I started looking at OK, I want to. I want to publish a book right? I want to publish several books, but I started thinking about what comes naturally to me that perhaps others have some struggles with that was some great advice that I received actually is to think about that and it was hard to think about it. ’cause you know when something comes naturally to you, it’s it’s hard to realise that other people may have trouble with it. But then I thought back to even back to my elementary school. When I would get all my work done and then I would go around and annoy everybody else in the classroom and it’s like that’s been like a theme throughout my life. Like when I was with the FBI, I would do 30 to 40 reports a month when the other analysts were doing two to three to four to five. Maybe so I’m thinking OK, there’s a theme here. What is this about? Wasn’t reflective of that of the OR increasing course not, and that’s why I decided to become an entrepreneur so that I would be the only thing in the way of my pay-check. But anyway, so so I realised that it wasn’t that I managed my time well, it’s that I managed my energy well. So I started essentially studying myself and then interviewing others who were also high achievers and in high performers and able to get a lot of stuff done. A little bit of time. And that’s where I came up with the secret to super productivity. And I’m just gonna kind of kind of drill down on that point there because there’s so many books out there and people think the secrets, who not everybody but a lot of people think the secret to being greater, what you do or getting through loads of stuff is is time management and you you said their energy. Yes, yeah well tell us a bit about that because that’s an interesting concept and a lot of people think that the secret is good time management. Inference huge, and This is why you can get a forward. What is that book 4 hour work week or something someone mentioned that actually yesterday the four hour work week on a different podcast that I did. I I still haven’t read this book and it’s interesting that you’ve just bought. There is a sign there is. I need to read it. I mean, you know long time since I read that, but the specifics on it. But the idea is that there’s 24 in a day, right? But you cannot be productive for 24 a day, right? Of course, not exactly right. So sure, manage your time well that it’s important to do that. However, if you don’t have the energy to do what you need to do, it doesn’t matter how well you manage your time. You’re not going to get anything done right. That makes total sense itself. Yeah, yeah, so it’s about essentially harnessing your energy. ’cause when you are harnessing your energy in the most efficient way possible. I mean, for example, I worked 2 hours this morning and I got everything I needed done on my To Do List. Basically for the next couple of days, so I’ll even be able to do more tomorrow when I have more energy, but by harnessing it effectively, you’re able to get that much more done, and then that frees up. The rest of your time to do things you want, and it’s interesting. You say that because I work for myself and sometimes I feel like I have to be in the office between these pre prescribed hours because this is the day and you know, I do appreciate. I do a lot of management of people, but you know, I can sometimes get through all my work in just a couple of hours and that doesn’t always happen. That’s probably not always the case, but you know, I understand what you’re saying, and then I kind of feel like I’ve hit that lull where I I want to move on. Something else and it. Yeah, I think what you say about energy is is exactly correct, but not many people seem to look at it like that. Yeah, it’s a shift in perspective and so the system actually has three different steps, so it’s first knowing what your natural energy fluctuations are on any given day and understanding that they change and they adjust. You know, based on different things, right? But a kind of understanding your baseline essentially. And how do you understand that? How do you is that kind of an inner feeling or? So with the with the system that I created, it fits different personality types. So some people like to like document how they are each hour of the day, others it’s just. It’s more of an awareness of how they’re doing it each hour. But what I recommend is people essentially observe themselves for two weeks and check in every hour and see what their energy levels are and how do you do it. Now that I have put a system around it, I use awareness, but there’s even like a whole worksheet that you can use for defending all the different individuals, but I use it more intuitively now ’cause it’s just become part of my regular thing. And I could imagine being an analyst. You are analytical and probably when you first started this it was more of a documented type activity. Yeah, but self observation you essentially and it’s highly technical. There are four levels of energy and I’m being a brat right now.

Kind of delved straight into. Now it the secret of super productivity where we go. Yes, I think we’re into it now. We’re going in a flow, although I haven’t properly said we’re into it, we’re in so ugly. All good. Yeah no. I meant I’m being sarcastic on the highly technical. I’m great, I want to hear. I want to hear about the four energy levels. Please share this with us so there’s and it’s subjective, but a super productive. So that’s when you feel like you can easily reach the state of flow right where you look up in time is like wow. wow. hours have passed. I got so much done, so that’s where you are able to tackle anything that comes your way and you’re enthusiastic and you’re just bursting full of energy. That’s all. Six cylinders are firing, that’s it. Yep, so that’s super productive. That’s level. Or Level 3 is productive, so you’re getting stuff done, but you’re not like bursting with energy may are you getting it done? Level 2 is I turned at the May level. I think that’s a good description. Yeah, so it’s like you’re able to do stuff, but you don’t want to think about it, right? So it may be those activities that it’s like when I put together like training materials, right? Is it stuff? It doesn’t require thought I can still do things, but it’s not requiring my conscious attention. And then, yeah, and then there’s zombie level, and that’s where the you know the lights are on, but nobody’s home. This is like your next, your next Netflix Binge mode mine, anyway. Exactly mine as well. I think that and when you spend too much time in the six cylinder mode level 4, you can find yourself very quickly in Zombieland. Yes, yeah, yeah, if you don’t harness it correctly, right? So so that’s that. And then of course just being unconscious like hopefully ’cause you’re sleeping. That’s level 0. OK, yeah, that’s an interesting concept. So the first step then is awareness of what is your baseline. You know what? So technically I would say typically I’m in super productive mode in the morning and then I have a slump right after lunch and then I I kick back up into maybe productive mode, but then after four or five PM I’m I’m not worth anything.

Because I’m completely the opposite. In the morning I I would say I’m probably between 9:00 to 10:00 on level 2, and then I sort of accelerates into the afternoon. Yeah, my most productive time level 4 for me is in the afternoon and I I’m guessing it’s different for everyone. Yes, Yep, and that’s why. It’s awareness of you know that person’s you know whatever they’re natural energy levels are and what I have with this system is if people want to actually like, identify and add up the numbers. There’s like a number that you have on a typical day. Like minus so it’s just awareness of that and it’s completely subjective. Like your number could be 60 or and it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s not a competition right? It’s just that’s your baseline is the higher the level, the more productive you are. Yeah, very well, the more you’re harnessing your energy essentially because Step 2 is. You have your baseline, but it think of it as like a budget that you get every day. You can manipulate it a little bit, so Step 2 is mind your ECS and your ECS or your energy consumers and your energy creators. So those are things that each of us have that either give us energy or take your energy away. So for me what gives me energy and for most people is good self care right? Good proper nutrition, exercise, sleep. That’s like the number one for everyone. But there’s other things. 2 positive emotions. They bring us energy and it’s just awareness of that right. They bring us energy and routines in systems were able to conserve energy. The more we put in routines and systems. That’s why we have like a, you know, a daily routine for getting ready so we don’t have to think about it. It doesn’t take up mental energy for us, so those would be energy creators, right? And then energy consumers for most people negative emotions would take it. They take away our energy, it drains. Us more and it’s not saying that we should never have negative emotions, it’s just being aware of when you’re going through something. Give yourself more space and don’t push yourself too much because it’s going to take away your energy. I I completely everything you’re saying is is really resonating with me. I think things like anxiety that they’re draining. They they take up a lot of energy and you know you feel tired. Yeah, you know when you’re going through these kind of emotions, I say that as someone who has suffered anxiety for. Yeah, most of my life and I know that you know that. That definitely puts me into category one or level one. When I I’m going through those kind of emotions so you know, I I relate to what you’re saying there about the self care. Yeah, simply a cup of coffee is going to put you into turbo mode level. Actually exactly right. But it’s knowing what those are for each of us individually, so we each have. So while there are some that are universal, like for example energy consumer, we all have one maybe 2. Hopefully not more than that. People in our lives that are energy vampires like you spend 10 minutes with them and you’re just exhausted mutes overs. I call them. Yes mood hoovers. I love it yes so that would be an example of an energy consumer right? So part of that assessment. Is we’re identifying K what brings us energy and what takes away energy and what brings us energy in a healthy way. So like I know sometimes there’s you know get that mid afternoon slump and there’s that temptation to reach for the candy bar and realising that if you do while you may get energy created for 15 minutes, you’re also going to be. It’s it’s actually more of an energy consumer. ’cause you’re going to nosedive after that initial burst of energy. So it’s being really aware of that. What gives us energy? What takes it away? And then the final step is essentially plan accordingly. If you’re able to completely control your schedule, whatever you have. So First off I I look at my task list every day and I assign an energy level to it.

So today I actually, yeah, I know. So today I had what I do. I had to create a course that which would require level for energy for me. I wanted to be level for energy for you, right? So I looked at. Me and everyone listening to that really, really appreciate that. Thank you so well. On a typical day. Then what you would do is schedule out your level 4 tasks when you’re at level 4. Energy your Level 3 tasks when you’re at Level 3 energy and I save those like lower level tasks for when I’m not at full energy. But see here’s the thing when we start when we feel like we’re on top of the world and we’re just full of energy, our tendency is to want to push off that hard thing from our list and get done. The 20 easy things. ’cause we can get through him quickly. Right, But what we have to do is force ourselves to get through that level 4. I can’t tell you how many times I saw it this morning, and I started on that workbook and I was like Oh no. But I could do this this and then no get back. Chris focus on it. ’cause I knew that if I tried to work on that course this afternoon that I would just, I wouldn’t do it justice. I can see from what you’re saying, why when you first started this, you would need to record it and write it because there’s and I can see how it can. In time, but like anything become yeah a habit and and it seems to me like it’s very much a default way of thinking for you now. Yeah, yeah, it’s so you do have to adjust and turn it into a habit of the way that you think about things. Thank you. Such an incredible way of thinking about things and but did because one thing that popped into my mind when you were saying it is social activities. People can abuse themselves in level 4 as well as be productive in level 4 or I’m like Oh yeah. You know, if you’re putting in and burning the candle at both ends and you’re going out and having a wild time on a Saturday night in Level 4 mode, that is going to deplete some of level 4. Yes, you need it during the week. Yes, yes it is which which is along those lines. So that’s if we can completely control our schedule, right? We do those level 4 activities, events, meetings, etc. When we’re in level 4, but oftentimes we can’t write just so like now. Normally at this time. I’m like in level 2, but I knew I needed to be at level 4 for you because I wanted to be. Then I adjusted my day, so actually right before you and I started talking, I was chilling out when I normally would be trying to fit in a lot of other stuff. So it’s adjusting. So for example, I as much as you can eliminate energy consumers. So I had a healthy lunch and then I just sat and I actually just watched a couple of shows on Netflix. Sounds like a beautiful way to start the day. And I do agree with you because even today I I was very aware, but I had a naughty lunch and that definitely put me into probably level if if is such a thing, yeah it it can be whatever you want it to be. So I, you know, and its self care is is very important and it’s you know, the way you talk. It’s very much an entrepreneurs way of thinking. It’s you know there’s so many hours in the day I’ve got all these different things to do and you know, to be productive and I I think you make a really good point with the self care, it’s it’s. It’s not enough just to to be present it. If you’re not looking after yourself and that’s that’s over the last kind of year I’ve put a really big focus on that. But you know, it’s it’s because I fell into the trap. Christina of running my business, not looking after myself working all hours of the day and then you know, finding myself, getting very unwell. And yeah you know I think that’s a trap. Many people fall into and they say I just don’t have the time for this. I just don’t have the time for that actually now by giving myself this time for the self care it’s allowed me to be in better levels but actually I’m getting more work done, working less hours so it yeah it’s very true. Yes it is. And you know what I like and and I can’t claim this as my own, but I and I can’t remember where I heard it. But anytime I hear someone say I don’t have enough time, I actually asked them to replace that with. It’s not a priority. Like instead of. I don’t have enough time to eat a nutritious lunch. It’s not a priority to eat a nutritious lunch and you know what sometimes came this week. Yeah it is. Isn’t it is a priority. Of course, having a healthy lunch is a priority. Well in sometimes, you know, sometimes you know like you won’t go out and have fun with friends and be level for you. Know all Saturday evening or whatever. Just realise that. Well, first of all, adjust right. Adjust how you’re going to be the next day knowing that you just won’t be as. Productive, so I think what it also brings is intense awareness of how our choices, our life choices, the consequences that come from those. And sometimes it’s OK. Have you know a couple of drinks if that’s what you want to do. Just realise that you’re choosing what comes after that, right? I’m kind of aware that I think I even practiced this, but not in a way where I’m putting a number on things, but I know if I’ve got a difficult task in the afternoon, I’m not going to put in a massively difficult task in the morning. There you go. You know, maybe I’m I’m doing it, but yeah, consciously yeah, that’s it. And just bringing more awareness to it, right? So you can use the system at whatever level you want intuitively, right? With like what you’ve been doing with maybe just a little bit more awareness up to if someone wants to. I know some people like to do that. I don’t, you know, but like planning out hour by hour energy level, by energy level it, it just helps for an awareness like I know if I’m going to be teaching, say, two workshops in a day when I’m not at my high level, I’m not going to what I normally would do is put in a couple hours work before that first workshop. I’m not going to do that, I’m going to relax. I’m going to give myself permission to maybe play some games on my iPad and just have a nice breakfast and relaxing time. Instead of trying to fit in two to three hours of work before I go into workshops for six to 8 hours, a workshop, definitely a level four. Yeah, so it’s almost gives you permission to to take that down time knowing that you’re going to be for lack of a term, banking up that energy to use when you absolutely need to be on. Do you think that’s kind of the the real key to being super productive? Is it all evolves around this, or is there kind of elements as well? No, I think it’s it’s it’s a awareness. Awareness of your energy well and once it’s, it’s almost like two. I I liken it to have you ever heard of like the cash? The envelope system for budgeting? No, so I I can’t remember when I was younger. I who was it the total money makeover? I cannot remember the guys name but he had developed a system where you wouldn’t. If it’s for budgeting, so you you put different envelopes, you know like one for food, one for rent, one for car or entertainment or whatever, and you put your cash in each of those envelopes each month, and then once that envelope the money is spent the money is spent. You can’t be sick, can’t spend anymore money on that part. So it reminds me, kind of that. Like right? I have this amount of energy in the envelope that I can use today. How do I best want to spend it so it kind of turns it more into that. So naturally, you’re going to manage your time a little better because you realise that your energy is a commodity, right? That that, yeah, it’s something that you need to budget. I kind of use this way of looking at relationships, but it really kind of, I think, applies to this this system as well. Are you always say about, you know, depositing and withdrawing from a relationship you get. You know when you get someone who just wants to withdraw, withdraw, well in whatever way that is emotionally or listening, and the scales aren’t balanced. That’s when you know a relationship tends to fail. And yeah, it’s you know. I guess it’s very similar to this. You can do things that are gonna deposit energy. You know the most obvious one being sleep, exercise, eating healthy. But there’s the list probably just goes on and on and on and on. We exactly to do deposit. But yeah, I think that you know what we always do and I think. I think so. In the entrepreneurs are guilty of this is we we focus so much on the withdrawing sides and not being kind to ourselves. And then you know, especially when you’re running a business. And then that’s when you really run into problems, and I think ’cause there’s so many books about and I was saying this earlier about time management, but this the principle you’ve got here, I’ve you were the first ever person who told me about this and I would like to think that I’m fairly educated when it comes to. Methods, but well, why is it that this isn’t? You know what? Why is it that not many people seem to think like this? Or maybe they do and I’m just not aware of it is a big thing. I don’t know. You tell me Christy. Well, in in every time I’ve talked about this, people like, oh that makes sense, right? So it’s it’s almost like it’s there but it’s I I don’t know like it doesn’t come up to the awareness portion of it. And then in today’s society we’ve we’ve developed so many stories over how we need to just organise our time better for getting that. Essentially are. You know our bodies are vehicles and we need to make sure that they have enough gas and they’re well maintained so that we can continue on that trip. Technology is making it easier to you know, run this system. Or do you think it’s actually working to you? Know the detriments of people always being connected to a mobile phone or or whatever it ’cause it seems to me like this system does involve a lot of self discipline. Yes, yeah, great. Great question, because actually I think people’s use of technology is a detriment to it. One of the top three energy consumers that I found when I was doing research for the book were distractions. And mainly technology distractions so it’s hard as it is. I will keep my phone away from me, you know when I’m doing some downtime or you know if I am because multitasking which actually doesn’t really exist as part of the distractions because it’s our brain switching back and forth between two. OK conscious focusing, consciously focusing on two different tasks at the same time. Our brain has to switch back and forth. It can’t focus on both of them at the same time, so that takes up more energy so that. Goes along the lines with technology. So for example, we’re having an online meeting. We may, which we wouldn’t do in person right? We’d be constantly checking our email, maybe looking at Facebook or social media while we’re in a meeting that completely drains our energy. Versus if we were completely focused in the meeting, paying attention. Yeah, yeah, you do. Personally, to what? What’s your kind of? ’cause? Maybe this might help other people. What do you do to deposit energy? What what’s your kind of routine? Ooh, so definitely. Throughout the day I eat small meals, healthy meals throughout the day. Of course I have that glass of wine at night, but they’re out the day glass. Or you know, that’s that’s yeah it’s not a bottle and that’s very self discipline because I know that when one glass is poured it is very easy to move onto glass too. Yes yeah, well and now in my late 40s that that second glass tends to look for some reason. Wake me up every two hours at night and I am a stickler about my sleep. So sleep would be the other one and then I need like fish like physical exercise like I’ve played intense tennis. Well, I will be playing intense tennis 4 times this week and then of course, hitting the gym a couple of times, but that that’s what my body needs so it. It’s awareness of what your body needs right so some people yoga. Some people prefer yoga more. It’s more like a Comer type sport. Some people it’s just whatever. Rome, it’s absolute hell I’ve I’ve tried it and it just does not. You know I I would love to love it. ’cause I think it’s so relaxing. But yeah, I’ve tried it a few times and so yeah I put me in one of those postures and it’s it’s just not happening. But yeah, I I relate that’s why I don’t think you’ll get sweaty mess and you know they’re saying all these breathing exercises and I’m just like you know, go out of here now. It’s not happening but no I I think you know it sounds to me like. I was wondering if there was any secret Nuggets there, but I think lots of these things. You’re saying, you know, but it it makes sense. But I think, yeah, a lot of common sense. It is common sense, but I think I think the one point that you really make it is about self awareness. And I think, yeah, I I’ve become very self aware but I I think that’s only something that I’ve become aware of in. I think he’s something that happens with age a bit more as well. I think it’s about knowing yourself and you know it. It seems to it took me. You know a good few years to become I. I thought I was self aware, but then I now I look back and I think we actually know that I wasn’t really self aware. I was kind of driving in autopilot and autopilot wasn’t healthy. Well yeah, for a machine it works, but not for a you know, a human. You need to be aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling. Yeah yeah it’s Self awareness can come with age but it is more so with intention. Maybe because I know some some individuals that could really use more self-awareness, and they’re not young. Yeah, so with intention it comes, but it it can come a little more naturally. Maybe as we get older ’cause we have more to look at. More to know ourselves about exactly. I agree. If people want to I think this has been a really fascinating conversation and I I think that what you’ve said about energy really resonates with me and I thank you for giving me the awareness. But if you don’t want to find out more about this and they want to delve deeper into these kind of principles and this way with the system. That you have. Where can they go to to find out more? Well, thank you for asking so I just put everything now under Christina Eanes com so all of my resources are under there. They can find the secret to super productivity there. Great Christina. This has been a fascinating conversation and thank you for taking part on this special episode. The secret to super productivity? You’ve really simplified it and I think that’s been absolutely very helpful. Oh, thank you. It’s been my pleasure. That’s Christina is from just outside of Washington DC. I’m Jason Connolly. This was a special episode to Career Success podcast until next time goodbye.

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