166: How Quitting & Constraints Make You More Productive | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
March 17, 2020   |   Episode #:

166: How Quitting & Constraints Make You More Productive

In This Episode:

Quitting is one of those things that’s been given a bad wrap but in reality, can be quite great (and even necessary) on your journey toward reaching your goals. Quitting isn’t easy especially because a lot of people believe that winners never quit. But what if I told you that wasn’t accurate? What if I said that winners actually quit quite often? In this episode, we’ll be chatting about quitting what no longer serves us. I’ll be talking about using constraints to laser in on what’s most important and using those as safeguards to guide you to your goals and ambitions.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Quitting isn’t an end, it’s a beginning.

Questions I Answer

  • What do I need to do to quit?
  • How can I stop saying yes all the time?
  • How can I be more productive?
  • Why is quitting so hard?

Actions to Take

  • Begin to reframe how you look at quitting. Rather than seeing it as a failure, start to think of it as a strategy to get you closer to your goals and dreams.

Key Topics in the Show

  • Eliminating the negative connotation associated with quitting

  • Filling up our days in the pursuit of not being labeled a quitter

  • Giving ourselves permission to quit what doesn’t serve us

  • Using constraints to laser in on what’s most important and push you toward growth

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

This is Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast focused on using productivity not just to do more but to achieve what’s truly important to you, and this season is all about you, You 2.0. To learn more about yourself, take Tanya’s 

free quiz and discover your own productivity style at Tanyadalton.com. 

And now get ready. Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton. 

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is Episode 166. And today we are going to be talking about something that for many people feels a little bit, well taboo, quitting. Yup, that word, quitting, being a quitter. Because I wanted to talk about this, and I wanted to touch on it because quitting is a key part to becoming the best you, which is of course the whole theme of this season of You 2.0. It’s about becoming the best version of you, and it means you’re going to have to quit some things. I know that for me quitting is one of the things that happens right before I’m able to make a big impact. 

And actually, I’ll be talking in the midway point of this episode about a big announcement of something new that I’m doing because I quit something else. And when I decided to quit a few things, so I could do this new thing that I’ll be announcing here in just a bit, it got me thinking, because I thought about the fact that we should probably talk about this here on the podcast, because quitting isn’t easy, is it? It’s really hard. Quitting has a lot of really negative associations, doesn’t it? I mean, winners never quit and all that? After all, we live in a world where perseverance and busy-ness are put up on these pedestals. And depending on when you were born, it’s likely that you are expected to enter college right after you graduated high school, and go into your chosen major, then have a five-year plan clearly mapped out. And then, once that by the year plan came to fruition, you’re taught that supposedly you just keep going. And you go 9:00 to 5:00 jobs until that day comes that you finally retire at the age of 65, with a big fat bank account for your retirement, able to sustain you into old age. Yeah, that doesn’t really happen, does it? 

That scenario doesn’t generally work out and we all know that our culture is changing with more and more people choosing to delay college, or even forgo it all together, maybe to start their own businesses, or to follow alternative equally lucrative paths. Many college graduates never even use their degrees that they worked so hard to earn, or people return to school. The roadmap to life is not this simple, perfectly straight line. It’s a lot of twists, and turns, and stops, and starts. And yet somehow, this whole idea that winners never quit and quitters never win is still very much ingrained in our minds, isn’t it? The word quitter has a negative connotation to it. Nobody likes being called a quitter, because what is it? Quitters are lazy. They’re unsuccessful underachievers, but there’s something drastically wrong with that picture, 

The truth is there is power in quitting, right? I know that myself firsthand, my company inkWell Press, my course, my the Live Well Method, my book, The Joy of 

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Missing Out, this podcast, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for my decision to quit, right? I had to quit my previous company and close it down in order to start this. So we don’t always hear that there’s this secret positive side to quitting. But if you stop and think about it, you probably have seen this in your own life, and I bet you agree. You see for everything that we stopped doing, for all the tasks that we start outsourcing when we never thought we could, because no one else can do it better, for all the responsibilities that we say no to, or we quit, we delegate to someone else, we gain back the time, the energy, the focus that we were losing on the things that didn’t really serve us. We are filling up our days in the pursuit of not being a quitter. Think about that. We’re filling our plate full simply because we don’t want to be a quitter. 

And more importantly, when we give ourselves permission to quit those things that don’t serve us, we gain an opportunity to pursue the things that are aligned with our purpose. And that will leverage us the productivity that we want on our journey, towards the achievement of our goals, the dreams, the things we truly want in life, the things that are most meaningful. Now, I have heard from a lot of you that quitting feels scary, or maybe even unrealistic, even if that means that you are forced to stay at a dead end job, or in a career that brings you very little else but feelings of overwhelm. That whole mantra of “Well, this is just how life is.” That’s the battle cry of people afraid to change, and I get it. I do. 

I mentioned earlier that I believe there is power in quitting when you feel deep down that what you are doing no longer serves you or brings you joy. I would be lying if I said quitting has always come easily to me. It’s true, I know that quitting is important, but that doesn’t mean it’s simple. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not something you can just turn off and on. 

The other day I was actually coaching a woman who is an incredibly successful CEO. She has built up a business from the ground floor all the way up to eight figures, pretty impressive, right? But now is the time that she needs to close that door, and she needs to move on. And she and I were chatting, and I was telling her that closing my first business meant that I had to go through the stages of grief, including denial, pain, and guilt, anger, and depression. 

Even though I fully chose to quit, even though I made the decision to close my business, it was difficult. I had poured immense amounts of myself into it. I mean this business was like my third child, a very loud, obnoxious, bratty child. But still turning my back on it to pursue something new made me feel terrible amounts of grief, even though I was making that choice, and that is why it is difficult sometimes to close these doors. A lot of us have historically been failures at quitting, and that’s okay. We’ve all put too much of ourselves into projects, or tasks, or jobs that didn’t really deserve us, or relationships, let’s be honest here. But we’re all here to learn from our mistakes, and to take small steps towards a better and brighter future. 

Now, many of you have mentioned, too, to me in your DMs and in your emails that part of the problem for you in quitting is not necessarily the fear of quitting itself, but with the factors in place that make it feel impossible. Yeah, I get that. In certain 

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circumstances we all have constraints that hold us back in some way or another, things like financial constraints Yeah those budgets, it sure would be nice if we didn’t have budgets, right? And even thinking about the amount of time we have, the number of hours we have in each day, those are common constraints that we all share. They definitely can feel like obstacles. 

But in truth, most constraints are a blessing in disguise, because constraints help us laser in on what is most important. For one thing, constraints can force us to make decisions and sacrifices that will actually push us to the next level. We need to recognize that wanting to do it all, and trying to squeeze more and more into our day only leads to more overwhelm and exhaustion. And really having money, that you have extraordinary amounts of is not the solution either. Because truly, when we have constraints in place with our time and our finances, it allows us to be more innovative. It allows us to really think outside the box. It allows us to really focus in on what is going to make the most impact and the most difference. 

In business, for example, it’s tempting to want to sell to every single customer, even the ones that aren’t our ideal client, or to offer every product, every service. Even if it comes to the detriment of our own vision, we become fixated at offering everything, which means we end up standing for nothing. Those constraints, they help us to focus. Yes, even the constraints that we don’t like, like financial constraints and time, because constraints have a side bonus in that they can make us more innovative and creative, because they force us to think differently about solving the problem. When we have a limited number of resources available, whatever they may be, that helps us shift our perspective, which can really push ourselves, push our businesses, push our lives in very meaningful ways. I’ve put in quite a few constraints myself to help push me towards the growth that I want to see for myself and for my business in the coming years. 

A couple of weeks ago in Episode 163, when we talked about the importance of ridding unnecessary apologies from our talking, apologizing all the time, that’s a constraint, stopping the apologizing so I can feel more confident. Another constraint that I’ve intentionally added is that I’ve removed the phrase, “I don’t have the time for my vocabulary.” How many times do you say, “I don’t have the time?” Do you have any idea how often we use that as our excuse? I know for me it was a lot, a lot. And no matter how many times a day or a week that you say it, it’s too much, because here’s the truth, we do have the time. We have the ability to shift life, and to choose what we do with our time. It’s no different from asking yourself if you have a few thousand bucks to spend right now. Right now you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, I sure don’t have a couple thousand dollars in my pocket,” but somehow if your car breaks down, and you have to shell out the cash, you can make that happen, can’t you? You prioritize it, and it’s exactly the same with time. 

When I use the phrase, “I don’t have the time,” I am lying to myself. I am simply choosing not to prioritize whatever it is that demands that space. We all have the same amount of time, but it’s how we choose to use that time that makes a difference. I now say, “That’s not a priority for me right now,” or, “I don’t want to give this my time,” which makes it a lot easier to recognize that the way my day is spent is 

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me choosing how it’s spent. So those are two examples of constraints that I have put in. For you, you may need to prioritize for the vision of your team, or the goals of your company, or for your personal growth. You may need to prioritize for your professional growth. Think about how that’s going to help you to add a constraint, like thinking about your time, that you do have a limited amount. Let’s laser in and focus on what’s most important. 

like to look at constraints that I put in place as safeguards. They are safeguards for my goals, and my ambitions. They act as guideposts reminding me that I have a destination in mind that I want to reach, and they ensure that I don’t get too far off the path that will lead me there. We spread ourselves way too thin when We juggle too much, and we burn ourselves out, which then causes our productivity and the quality of our work to backslide. Decisions about how much time we spend on social media, or binge watching TV, or even working on projects that don’t really tick the boxes of what’s going to move you forward, the hours we make ourselves available for meetings and phone calls at work, even the jobs that we will and will not do, all of those can be viewed as constraints or limitations that we voluntarily put in place, and that require us to make small tweaks and changes in our lives, like what we’ve been talking about all season long, right? These small tweaks and changes to 

get us to our best version of ourselves, constraints can help us do that. Quitting can help us to do that. 

In thinking about the limited number of hours that we have available to us, we become forced to decide how we’re spending that time. And in this way, constraints can become catalysts that foster our personal and professional growth. And they can also keep us from packing way too much into our days, and to keep ourselves honest about when it is time to call it quits on certain things. Here’s the truth. I am a people pleaser, maybe you are too. So I do love to give, I like to give everyone everything they need even at the expense of my own wellbeing. 

And for a while here, you may have noticed I was doing this weekly podcast, two blog posts, and a YouTube video, because I wanted everyone to feel like they could find what they needed, no matter how they like to learn or which platform they were on, and I was wearing myself out. Seriously exhausted, grumpy, frustrated, all words my kids might’ve used to describe me. And here’s the thing I knew I was not doing things that truly brought me joy. So you may have noticed I quit with the weekly video, and I scaled down to one blog post a week. And with that time I gained back, I decided to devote more time to make this podcast even better. And I wanted to do something that I would feel was more like a way for us, for you, and for me to feel connected. 

So that actually leads me to my big announcement. I have decided to quit doing so much, so that I can do fewer things better like connecting with you. So as of today, I’m officially unveiling my morning text club called Morning Momentum. It’s a way for us to connect with an audio message from me every morning, Monday through Friday. And we’ll vary it up day to day with things like insights on what I’m learning, sneak peaks, and to what I’m researching, and writing with my new book, and upcoming podcast episodes. And there’ll be some quick actionable steps that you 

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can take that day to make it great. It’s kind of like getting a pep talk from me each morning. And I am so insanely excited about this idea, because this is what I really want, to connect deeper with you, to have you feel like I am right beside you, cheering you on, coaching you, supporting you. 

And so that is why I have quit several things because I want to do this better. I want to offer a way for us to connect better. And to make it even easier for your first month, you can get your morning texts from me for just $1.99. Seriously, for the first month, $1.99. Just use the code PODCAST. After that, it’s a low monthly charge, costing about the same as a fancy cup of coffee. Only, you can think about this as your cup of caffeine to tackle the day, minus the long wait at the drive through window, right? So if you go to Tanyadalton.com/morning, all the information is there, so you can start. Just make sure to use that code, PODCAST, because that way you can start your first month for that $1.99. 

Here’s the truth. This is what I really wanted to do. This is what’s going to bring me joy. This is what I am excited about, because this is a way for us to connect each 

and every morning. And it would not be possible if I hadn’t chosen to quit the things that were not bringing me joy. Sometimes when a new opportunity arises, like when I came up for the idea for Morning Momentum, it gives you a fresh perspective on quitting. Especially if, like me, you don’t really allow yourself to say, “You can’t do it, because you don’t have the time.” Other times though, it is hard to know whether you should quit or not. 

You know, we’ve talked about the power of quitting, and constraints, and how these two can go hand in hand, but how exactly do we know when it’s time to let it go? I’ve run into this question an awful lot and truthfully the answer is, you need to stop every now and again and do a quick little check-in, see how you’re feeling about the things that are filling your plate, because let’s be truthful here and admit your plate is full. We need to take a few things off of it. So one thing that I want to mention right away is that if you feel like what you’re doing, whether it’s a specific task, or a project, or maybe it’s a toxic job altogether, whatever it is, if it’s something that you find more frustrating than rewarding, it may be time to consider making some changes, just stopping, taking an account of how you’re feeling, how things are moving forward. 

Because chances are you already know, deep down, we know when it’s time to call it quits on something that no longer serves us or brings us joy. It doesn’t bring us a sense of success we want. We hear that in our head. We know it in our hearts, and yet we push it aside because, “Oh, this is just the way life is.” It’s that battle cry of people afraid of change. Let’s let go of that battle cry, and let’s embrace that it’s okay to change. It’s okay to shift. It’s okay to quit. It’s really important to give yourself permission to honor those feelings when they arise, and to turn your focus on the things that will bring you the happiness and the success that you truly do deserve. 

I get it that it’s hard. I get it that that voice, we don’t want to listen to it, because change is difficult. But when we do, when we make those steps, it can make 

a world of difference in our lives. So I want to talk about this idea. How do we take 

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what we’ve talked about today and reframe the way that we look and feel about quitting? Because it is important for us to do from time to time. I’m not saying we got to quit everything. We got to do some things, even some things we don’t really love or enjoy, but we can spend the majority of our time on the things that do drive us forward, that give us that feeling of happiness and joy. It’s important to feel like we don’t feel stuck doing tasks and jobs that don’t resonate with us. 

So whenever you’re seriously contemplating quitting some aspect of your day, whether that’s answering some emails you could delegate to someone else, or even wearing yourself thin by taking on too many meetings, and other people’s priority projects, things that prevent you from doing some serious focused work that’ll drive you to your goals, I want you to think of your desire to quit, not as a failure, but as a strategy. When we start viewing the very act of quitting as something strategic that we can use to our advantage, it becomes less of this giant, scary, taboo topic that we feel we have to avoid. It starts to feel less of a failure and more of a positive step forward that actually benefits us when it comes to our personal and professional goals when it comes to our productivity. And in this way, quitting becomes intentional, and that’s what’s key. 

When I was writing my book, The Joy of Missing Out, I had to get behind this idea of quitting strategically. If I didn’t, I never would have been able to add Bestselling Author to my list of accolades. In order to write the book, I needed to quit other parts of my day to make that time for the deep-focused work that writing requires. So I started looking at quitting as strategic, and viewing the very act of quitting as strategic allows us to look at ourselves as winners, not as people who,”! never quit anything,” right? People use that as a badge of honor that they’ve never quit anything. Gosh, that just means they’re doing a whole lot of things they don’t really love. Let’s start viewing ourselves as winners, as smart quitters who quit often. 

Think about it, smart quitters quit using their phones to access social media when they feel like it’s too time consuming. Smart quitters quit answering emails at the drop of a hat, so they can make time for more productive, high-priority task items. Smart quitters quit binge watching TV after work, so they can be more present with their families, or they can use that time to work on hobbies and projects that are more worthwhile and so forth. Smart quitters quit all of the time, and they are more successful because of it. So, let’s reframe quitting in your own life. 

I want you to talk to yourself as you would a close friend or a colleague who’s considering quitting something that no longer serves them. Think about it. What advice would you give to someone else when they tell you that they’re feeling overwhelmed, and they feel like it’s time for some changes? How would you help that person get right back on track to their goals and their big dreams? Would you put them down, and berate them and belittle them, and make them feel bad, like how we beat ourselves up? Absolutely not, you wouldn’t. You would tell them, “This isn’t serving you. It’s time to quit,” right? You would not expect someone else close to you to remain married to a toxic job, or a task that’s running them ragged. Then, let’s not expect ourselves to stay married to things in our own life that don’t bring us joy and 

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success. Give yourself permission to let those things go. Give yourself permission to quit the things that are not serving you. 

And here’s the thing, we‘ve got to take our ego out of the picture, especially when it comes to quitting. Our ego is what stands in our way. It tries to tell us that quitting is synonymous with failing. When you feel your ego creeping in to sabotage you, flip your tendency to focus on the wrong questions. Questions like, “Amla failure,” or “Am I good enough?” And instead, choose to ask yourself, “What do I need to make me happy? What’s good for me when it comes to my goals and dreams?” Redirect your focus more and more to these solution-oriented questions, and that will make a huge difference. You’ll see that it becomes easier. 

And here’s the thing, I touched on this a little bit earlier, but not everything you do is going to bring you rainbows, and sunshine, is going to feel good. There’s always going to be parts of our jobs. There’s going to be parts of our lives that are more difficult, that are harder, or that are things that we do not enjoy, but it doesn’t all have to be that way. Life can be easier. It’s hard to feel light sometimes, isn’t it? It’s easy to feel heavy, and that life is just life, and this is just how it is. Let’s put down that battle cry. Let’s realize that quitting the things that do not serve us is really opening up our opportunities for the things that will, not just for ourselves, but for our families, for our loved ones, for our professional careers, for all the good that you deserve. You have to make that space. You have to carve out that room for it to settle in. And if your plate is so full because you’ve not quit anything, there is not space on your plate. Let’s make that room for you, because you absolutely deserve it. 

That’s what I want you to walk away from today’s episode, remembering and realizing, you do deserve to work on things that bring you joy. Let’s let go of that. You know, mantra of winners never quit, because winners quit all the time, and you my friend, you’re a winner, remember that. All right, I’m excited to hear more about what you’re going to be quitting, because I think it’s going to make a huge difference for you. This season has really been a great one for me. I’ve loved every minute of it, and the emails and the DMS, and the reviews you guys have been leaving lately have been incredible. And they’ve been telling me that, yup, this is exactly what you needed, and it’s exactly what I needed. I’m also excited too because next week we are going to be talking about willpower, and grit, and talking about why we don’t need nearly as much of that as we think we do. 

And I want to remind you, too, to go sign up for Morning Momentum. Go to Tanyadalton.com/morning, Tanya with an O and a Y. And then, use that code, PODCAST. It makes the first month $1.99. Give it a try. See what you think. I can promise you I have some really great things lined up. I have some ideas and thoughts about where we can go with this morning momentum. I’m really excited about it because it truly will be a message from me to you to help get you out of bed, get you fired up about your day, and get you moving towards those big dreams and goals. It’s almost like hearing a little bit of a pep talk from me every morning, Monday through Friday. So Tanyadalton.com/morning, use that code, PODCAST. All right, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week. 

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Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. Want to learn more about your own productivity style? Simply go to Tanyadalton.com to take her free quiz and get free 

resources designed just for you. 

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