The Big Idea
Feedback comes from a place of love. Criticism comes from somewhere else entirely.
Questions I Answer
- How do I align goals with my vision?
- How do I find a good accountability partner?
- What do I do if my family doesn’t agree with my goal?
- How can I spend more time with my kids?
- How can I get my business ready for growth?
Key Topics in the Show
Want to be the best accountability partner? I’m sharing how you can ensure you’re providing value to your partner
What to do if a family member isn’t on board with your goals or systems
How to get the most out of your downtime with your family
The most important thing you can do in the early stages of your business to help you grow and expand
Resources and Links
Welcome to season eight of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton. A podcast focused on using productivity not just to do more, but to achieve what’s most important to you. Join Tanya this season as she focuses on planning for success using proven productivity strategies. To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast.
To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast.
And now here’s your host Tanya Dalton.
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton and this episode 101. All season long, we have been talking about planning for success. We talked about laying the groundwork for our plans. We’ve talked about setting milestones. We’ve talked about goal setting, all different ways for you to plan for success. I’ve had some great questions submitted about this idea of how do you play for success. I wanted to take an episode to go through and answer your questions.
Today is an Ask Tanya episode. What I’ve done is I’ve gone through all the questions that have been submitted to me through inkWELLpress.com/question, or asked to me through direct message, or other areas. What I do is I choose a few that I think really applies to a lot of people and I go ahead and answer them now. Let’s go ahead and get started so we can answer as many questions as possible. All right, the first question, “I want to be supportive of my friends, and I love the idea of having an accountability partner to keep me on track. One of the ways I think to do this might be to do a swap of sorts with a friend. I keep her accountable and she does the same for me. My question is, how can I be a good accountability partner?” Linda in Pflugerville, Texas.
Linda, this is a great question because as you know, from our last episode, having an accountability partner is really key to being successful with your goals. If you remember, we talked about that study that showed that if you have an accountability counter that you meet with on a regular basis, there is a 95% chance of success. That’s pretty good odds, I’d say. What I love about this question though is this, I love that you’re not asking me about what others can do for you, it’s really what you can do for them. I think that’s really important because we want to be a good accountability partner.
The first thing I would suggest is to take time and really understand their expectations. It’s not just your own expectations of what their goal is. Really dig in and try to make sure you understand what it is they want to accomplish, and how they want to accomplish it. Sometimes, we get into a partnership and we have our own ideas of what we want to have happen, and really when you’re somebody else’s accountability partner, it really is somewhat on their terms of they want to have happen. We touched on this during the episode when we talked about, you set your
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own goals, the accountability partner helps reinforce that. You want to this person that you’re partnering with, you want them to set those expectations for you.
The second thing I would suggest is, make sure you’re supporting them in the way that works best for them. Ask them what they need. I find that knowing the person’s love language really helps me with this because then I’m really able to support them in the way that they receive it best. That’s just a little extra tip. If there’s a way for you to know their love language, that can really help with when you’re talking to them. But really, honestly, ask them. What is the way that I can support you best? Do you like words of encouragement? Would it help you if did, you know, other things for you? What is it that would really help you?
Make sure that you’re regularly checking in. Encourage them to set the appointments with you, because as I said, it’s on their terms, but that doesn’t mean that you are limited to just checking in during those times. You could set a reminder
on your phone, or in your planner to just give a quick spontaneous check in from time to time. Feeling that extra layer of support can really help encourage the person you’re holding accountable and can really make them feel a little more supported and a little more loved. I think we can all agree when we’re feeling a little more supported, and a little more loved, we’re a little more motivated as well.
Really, I think, the most important thing is that being an accountability partner is about encouragement and support, not nagging, or telling them all the things they’ve done wrong. We need to make sure that we’re helping them, especially when they get off track. That we can word our, you know, encouragement in positive ways instead of pointing out all the things they’ve done wrong. Now, obviously, we don’t want to pretend like if they’ve gotten off track, that’s okay. We want to try to give them a little bit of, you know, encouragement, but at the same time, a little bit of tough love too. Tough love comes from a place of love.
We’ve talked about before that idea of feedback and criticism. I often say feedback comes from a place of love. Criticism comes from somewhere else entirely. If you are really giving them feedback from a place of love, they’re going to feel that. That really does help encourage us. It’s not just about what we’ve done well. We need to be told what we need to get back on track with as well. Everyone needs a little kick in the pants from time to time. Let me give you an example of how I’ve been holding my son Jack accountable because this is something that I’m actually working through with him right now, as we speak, through school, and other things.
First of all, let me point out that my son Jack is 15. My role with him has shifted. I’m not trying to tell him what to do and how to do it all the time. Yes, I’m still in that parenting role, but I’m in this weird transition where I’m really trying to get him to be much more responsible for himself because, in just a few short years, he is going to be on his one. I need him really invested in making these decisions about what he wants to do and about holding himself accountable. It’s been kind of this really interesting thing now that he’s a sophomore in high school because I don’t want to tell him exactly what to do and how to do it. I need him to help get to that decision. There’s a lot of this gentle pushing that’s going on.
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One of the things he’s been working on is he’s in this AP history class and he has this big project, a recurring project. The teacher refers to it as the packet of doom, if that gives you an idea. Don’t get me started on teachers who assign projects that they call a packet of doom because as a former teacher myself, I’m like, okay, really? Anyways, it’s a giant packet. He was struggling a little bit with staying on track with making sure to get it done. I met with him and we discussed what he needs to do. He said he needed help with figuring out his milestones. I had him sit down, write out when the project was due. He used his planner. He wrote out when the milestones were, when he wanted to have each chapter done, and each section of this project to be done.
Now, I made sure the project deadlines that he’s setting are really achievable. That’s one of the ways I’m holding him accountable, but he his setting those deadlines, not me. Again, it’s really about him being invested in this instead of me telling him what to do, and how to do it. And then, we sit down, and each day I had set a reminder on my phone to check in with him around 7:00 at night. I set the reminder because otherwise, I might forget. And so, I found that when I was checking in with him every evening at 7:00, one of his struggles was using his after-school time effectively. I started to notice a pattern of this.
I created a planning document for him to plan out his time from 4:00 pm to 11:00 at night. He has this little document that I created. What I told him I wanted him to do is to have it filled out by 4:00 and to show it to me. He’s been doing this for a couple of weeks now. What he does is he shows it to me at 4:00 and then I give him feedback. A lot of times, one of the things he’s not scheduling in there are his breaks. I’m really a big advocate of making sure you’re taking breaks. I’ll say to him, “You have a two-hour block here. That’s too long to work. Let’s break that down and maybe you work for an hour and a half, and then you need to, you know, put in a break kind of a thing.”
What I did too, to help hold him accountable, is I’m checking that every day at 4:00. I’m making sure it’s achievable. I got him a timer so he’s in charge of making sure he’s staying on track with his time, something other than his phone, so that way he can keep it on his desk, without getting, you know, distracted. Really, honestly, this has been working like a dream. He is holding himself accountable. He’s doing the work. I am simply being the encourager. I’m one on the sidelines encouraging him and cheering him on, and I’m making sure he’s moving those next steps forward. I think that’s really what’s key is I’m not doing the work for him. He’s doing all of the work himself.
I think that’s what a good accountability partner does. If you want, I’d be happy to post the document I made for Jack, in my Facebook group this week because maybe you’d find that helpful, especially if you’re struggling with your own kids, and helping to keep them accountable. That way you can see what I’ve done. It’s really simple, but it’s working. A lot of times, simple is what works. I will post that this week in my Facebook group if you want to take a look at that. Okay, so I hope Linda that helps you get an idea of how to be a good accountability partner.
My next question is, “What do you do if one family member refuses to buy in?” This is from Nicole in Birmingham, Alabama. Yeah, that’s a tough one. That’s
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something that I see a lot of people struggle with. When they have someone they love who doesn’t buy into the systems that they’re trying to create. Or, maybe they criticize your goals or your dreams, or you know, just isn’t supportive in general of the things you want to accomplish. That can be really defeating. And so, first, I want to say, Nicole, I’m so sorry that you’re dealing what, but do know, you’re not alone in that. A lot of people struggle with family members or friends, you know, really understanding what they’re wanting to do, or what they’re dreams are, and then encouraging them.
The first thing I would tell you to do it is to accept that it’s going to happen. We need to accept that this is kind of who this family member is. That doesn’t mean that we have to love that. We don’t need to push back, but we have to accept it, instead of getting so upset every single time. I would really encourage you to open up more. Don’t use this as a springboard to shut down. We want to keep the conversation going because conversation is how healing happens. Really, it’s the back and forth conversation. There is a possibility, and this may be true or not true in your case, but sometimes, those people don’t even realize they’re not buying in.
Sometimes, we need to make sure that we tell them, “When you say this, it makes me feel … however, you’re feeling. You need to keep that conversation open and be receptive to what they say and then converse back. What I tell my kids is, a conversation is back and forth, it’s not one person fussing, and then other person fussing back. It’s really taking the time to listen. Make sure that they even realize that they’re not buying in. You need to be prepared for whatever their objections are. I think it’s really important when you’re having this conversation, to be clear about what it is you need.
What is it for you that makes them buy in? Is it that they ask you about what’s going on with it? Is it that they are present for, you know, whatever it is that you’re doing? What is it that you need? You need to make sure that you’re really clear with that. If you’re not clear with that, we can’t get frustrated, you know, when they don’t show up at the race that you’re doing and you wanting them to show up. If you haven’t told them that, they might not know. Make sure you’re clear about what you need.
Anytime that we’re having a conversation, like this, that can be a little bit, you know, tumultuous, we want to make sure that we start and end with compassion. It’s not an attack. It is, you know, first, telling them what you want and what you need, and trying to understand where they come from. I think what’s really important too is, the next thing I want you to really think about is, where’s this criticism coming from? Is there a root cause for their behavior? Let’s say they’re not buying into the idea of adhering to your budget that you’ve set. You know, maybe is that due to the tight finances that they lived with as a kid, so they’re kind of pushing back against that? Maybe they had a really regimented childhood, so planning things might hit a nerve and make them feel afraid that they’re going to be too much like their own parent.
I really want you to think about this and make sure you’re holding that into account when you’re talking to them. If there is a root cause, it’s important to address that and make them feel supported as well. It’s not just about you getting support, it’s also about you supporting them back. That creates a stronger foundation. Here’s
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the other thing to keep in mind. I want you separate the fact from fiction. Is this just their own emotional reaction? Or is there any tiny shred or truth, or a grain of truth involved? Is it that, you know, they’re seeing something that you’re doing that makes them feel small, or makes them feel unsuccessful? In which case, that’s not really a fact, that’s a fiction. Keep that in mind.
There might be a few grains of truth in what they’re saying. Really make sure that you’re listening and think about when they’re sharing this with you, is it may be that they’re feeling excluded from whatever your big goal is. But really, at the end of the day, it’s important to address your expectations. Allow this family member to buy in, in small chunks. When they do something, even if it’s teeny tiny, where they are buying into you, they’re showing some sort of level of support, even it’s not the really big things, the tiny things, reinforce that good behavior. That will encourage them to continue to buy in, in the future. I think that’s really important.
Ultimately, what it boils down to is opening up a conversation, making sure that you’re clear on your own expectations, and then having that conversation back and forth, and really listening to one another. Again, I really am sorry that you’re dealing with because I know how frustrating that is. I do want to give you just a quick book recommendation that might help too. There’s a book by Danny Silk, called Keep Your Love On, which I think you might find helpful. If that’s something you struggle with, I would definitely check that out. It’s not a new book. It’s a book that’s been out for quite some time, but do check that one out.
Okay, my next question is from Jaime, in Gilbert, Arizona, who asks, “How do you plan and maximize your downtime with kids?” Well, Jaime, I love this because I actually just did an Instagram highlight because I have this Ask Tanya part of my Instagram highlights where people can ask me questions, someone asked me a question about, do I have times where I don’t plan? The funny answer here is and this is what I said too in my response in this Insta story was, the crazy part is, I plan for unplanned time. I really plan to have unstructured time because I really believe in having unstructured time. I don’t believe we need to live our life that’s super regimented or disciplined. I think that sounds really miserable, to be honest with you.
I think we need that freedom to really be free. But, what helps here is that because I’ve planned for downtime, I feel absolutely guilt free because that’s what that time was planned for. It’s planned to do nothing, basically. I want you to realize, this is an investment. If you’re doing downtime for yourself, that’s an investment in yourself. If you’re doing downtime with your kids, that an investment into who they are as well, and getting them to grow into the people that we want them to be. The way that I have really found to be helpful for planning for unstructured time, is I do a Thursday night planning.
You’ve heard about my Sunday planning. I’ve done a video on that where we do a big family plan. On Thursday nights, I do kind of a mini-plan, where it’s really just me and John together, and we plan for our weekend ahead. What is it we want to do? What is something fun we want to do? I try to structure in and schedule in some activities and some adventures for us, but I also schedule in some serious downtime because I like weekends to feel very relaxing. It’s a great time for us to kind of
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together as a team. One of the things I do is, I gather local resources. Basically, what can we do, you know?
Sometimes, what happens is, we get this downtime and then we think, I don’t know what to do with myself, or I don’t know what to do with the kids? We default to the same thing. You know, maybe watching a movie on Netflix or doing the same things over and over again. What I do is I keep a running list of different activities and different things that we can do. I started off by just doing a brainstorm of all different kinds of things. You know, going to the bookstore, taking the kids bowling, going swimming, going for a hike. And so, I have a big list of that. I also have bookmarks or I do pins on Pinterest, where I pin different activities as I’m finding them.
I follow a lot of local resources and I pin things when I find ideas. That way, I have a well to dip into when I have this downtime of what we want to do. A good tip is to subscribe to some local area tourism guides. I know that seems weird because you live in your city, but sometimes you have to act like a tourist in your city. You know, I live in Asheville, North Carolina and there’s a lot of tourism sites, so I subscribe to a couple of those for people who live out of town, but it’s a great resource for me because it helps me think outside of the box.
Speaking of boxes, one of the other things that I have done with my kids is I created something that I call the Boredom Box. It’s just this wooden box that I created. I usually just have it full of a couple of things. Maybe I’ve read about a fun craft, or when I was at the craft store, I picked up a couple of those little craft kits, and I’ll keep them in there, or it’s got a new game in it, or a puzzle, or something like that. I call it the Boredom Box because I use that as my little, you know, tool in my back pocket. Let’s say we have a snow day, or it’s raining outside and we had planned to go for a hike. I’ll say, “Okay, let’s open up the Boredom Box and see what’s inside.”
We open it up and there’s always something for us to do. It’s kind of nice. I just gather supplies for that as I think of them. I always have a few things going on. Anyway, subscribing to magazines like Family Fun, or different crafting websites. When I see something that looks really fun, I go ahead, I get the supplies, I gather them together, and then I’ll just pop them into that Boredom Box. That gives me something to do when I’m not sure what to do, which can happen sometimes with kids. Here’s the thing, really what your kids want is time with you, quality time. Time without you tapping away at your phone, or scrolling through social media. Like, don’t even put it on vibrate. Show them that they are a priority for you.
Even if it is just you sitting and playing cards with them, or you sitting and really listening and hearing about what’s going on, on the playground, that’s a meaningful time for your kids. I would really encourage you to just keep that in mind. Your kids don’t really need to do go do things. They need you, and so, give them that time that they’re looking for. I have another book recommendation, which is a book by Dr. Ross Campbell. This is my all time, number one, favorite parenting book. It’s called, How To Really Love Your Child. I really feel like it’s a great read. It’s a short, quick, easy read. That is a book that I reread at least once a year. I feel like that has helped me be the parent I really want to be. I would encourage you to check that out.
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Okay, the last question. I know I’m running a little bit long, but I want to take one more question. This is from Cecilia in Arlington, Texas. She asks, “What is the single most important thing you did in the early stages of your business to help you grow and expand?” Well, Cecilia, quite honestly, I always treated my business like a big business, even when I was running things with my shipping department really being my dining room, and my studio as my extra bedroom because that’s where I started. I started my first business with $50.00. That’s all I had and I was running it while my kids took naps.
I found these little pockets of time. Even though it was this little tiny business where, you know, when I first started, I was only selling to friends, and maybe friends of friends. I always treated like it was a big business. I think that’s really one of the biggest secrets is you know, I always primed myself for growth. Even though I was doing everything, I was wearing all the hats, I wrote out my processes. I wrote them out like operation manuals. I timed a lot of what I did. I worked out and figured out what were the things that were my bottlenecks.
Just like a big business does that were they have operation manuals. That allowed me to create systems where I could take myself out of it, where I could stop being the bottleneck, which is what was happening as I grew and grew. A good example, of this, is, you know when I first started, I did all of my own customer service. I answered every email. I did all of that myself. When I would answer a customer, I would write it down. Like, here’s what I decided and here’s how I answered them, or whatever. And then, what happened was, that allowed me to scale. Now, it feels tedious when it’s just you, and you’re doing everything. It feels like, why am I doing this?
Here’s the key, when you’re writing down your operations, and you’re writing down how you do things, that’s really what allows you to scale. It allows you to bring on help quickly. Let’s say that you have a sale, and it does really well, or you know, during the holidays when you need anyone and everyone to come in. Maybe it’s your mom, or maybe it’s your best friend, it really allows you to bring in help quickly because you can literally say to them, “Here’s the operations manual. Here’s how I do this.” Whether it’s customer service, or how you package your orders before you ship them out.
Whatever it is, it allows you to take yourself out of the equation so you’re not standing over them. Really, the benefit of having someone come in to help you, is that then you should be working on something else, right. They’re doing the packaging or the customer service. If you have this written down, they can read through it on their own, come to you with questions, and you can check in from time to time. Really, what this does is it allows you to pass what I like to call the bus test. If you get hit by a bus and you’re laid up in the hospital and you still need your business to run, if you have a little manual written down of all the things that you do, someone else can help run that for you until you’re back up on your feet running again.
It allows you to do it in that situation. It also allows, as you’re growing, to bring more people in. One of the other things that I really was adamant about from the very start with my business is, I always, always made my family feel included. I’ve always run my businesses as a family business. I continue to run my business as a
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family business. My kids still come in. They still make boxes. My kids know what I do on a daily basis because they come in on a regular basis themselves, and they help out. They do little things around the office. Even when they were tiny because I started my first business when they were little, little, little’s. They would help with stamping boxes, or I’d have them do check marks on orders.
I didn’t need those check marks on those orders. I really was just looking for them to be a part of this. I think it goes back to that question we had, you know, a little bit earlier in the podcast where we talked about having family members buy in. If you bring your family into what you’re doing, if you make them a part of what this goal is or this big dream that you’re creating for yourself, if you make them a part of it, they are much more likely to buy in. They want to support you. They get excited. They understand what you’re doing. I think that’s really a big part of it.
I was able to grow and scale my business because I did bring my husband in. I brought my kids in and then they all were excited when things were doing well. They were happy to pitch in because they always felt included from the very start, even when I didn’t feel like I needed them. You know, I didn’t need my kids when they were five years old to help out, but it really did make them feel like they were part of the business that I run today. Even now, Kate, I mean, I might have to post some of the things that Kate does because she’s always talking about Productivity Paradox, or she’s you know, parroting me.
She told me the other day, I thought this was so funny. I was talking to her about the podcast and she said something about a podcast episode and I was like, “You’re listening to the podcast?” I was shocked. She said, “Yeah, you know, when I get to school in the morning and we have to walk … ” They do this thing where they have to walk outside in the morning until the bell rings. She goes, “I listen to the podcast while I’m walking and I really like listening to what you have to say.” I felt so pleased at that moment, not just that she was listening, that she really felt like she a part of this. Kate, if you’re listening now, I love it. I think that’s really important. Keep your friends and family members involved.
All right, I feel like I’ve run so far over time, but I felt these were such great questions, and I really wanted to make sure that I took the time to answer and every one of them. Please do keep the questions coming. I love answering questions. The more questions I get, the more often I’ll do these Ask Tanya episodes. You can submit questions anytime, even it’s, you know, not right before one of these episodes. You just go to inkWELLpress.com/question and I have a whole form there for you to fill out. And then, I take the ones that I feel really fit the season and then I answer them here.
I also want to make sure and encourage you to make sure to do my giveaway. You know, last week was our 100th episode, which was a very exciting milestone, so I am giving away one free spot of my Live Well Method course. That’s opening back up in January. It’s my signature five-week course. All you have to do is leave a five-star review on iTunes, or wherever you listen to your podcast. It doesn’t have to be five starts, technically, but I do love the five stars. I do read all the reviews. Leave me a review, send us a screenshot, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll be announcing the
winner very soon. If you need details on that giveaway, just go to inkWELLpress.com/ 100episodes.
All right, I look forward to reading your reviews. Now, next week, I have a fabulous show planned. I’m really excited about it because I have Mandy Harvey on the show. If you’re not familiar with Mandy Harvey, you probably saw her video from America’s Got Talent. She’s the amazing singer with a beautiful voice who happens to be deaf. She is going to be talking to us about how she overcame this obstacle to become the singer and songwriter, the award-winning singer and songwriter that she is today. It is such an inspirational talk. I know you won’t want to miss it. All right, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. To get free access to Tanya’s valuable checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast.