“If your life sucks, it’s your fault. If your life rocks, it’s your fault.”Kendra Wright, HeyKendra
Kendra Wright was by no means ordinary. She started her journey in this world with the bleakest of circumstances: She was born three months early to a 15-year old mom in a small midwestern town. She had a five percent chance of living. And early on, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsey, a movement disability, which led to many days spent learning how to walk.
Kendra spent her upbringing being sheltered from the world. She had dreams and aspirations, but she realized that she was held back by the F-word: FEAR.
Year of Fear Project
Then in 2012, Kendra challenged herself to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” by doing something (1) new, (2) different than her normal routine, or (3) outside her comfort zone…every single day for an entire year straight. She wrote a blog post about her Year of Fear here.
TEDxTalk: How To Face Your Fears
The project transformed Kendra’s relationship with fear and changed the course of her life. Kendra spoke about what she learned from the Year of Fear Project and doing over 850 self-inflicted comfort zone challenges at TEDxCoeurdalene. Check out her talk here.
Over the past few years, Kendra’s addiction slowly crept in the way of her living a kick-ass life. That addiction was work. And it can be an addiction for a lot of us. Work can lead to us experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, providing the highest of highs and lowest of lows.
“When work becomes your life or starts to destroy the best parts of your life, you have a problem.”Kendra Wright, HeyKendra
Kendra had to take a step back from work and reevaluate how she wanted to live her life. At Productivity Con, she shared her top three steps to break our addiction with work and design a life of awesome-ness. She showed us “How to Hustle with Heart.”
Most of us can be pretty busy and tend to pack our lives with stuff, people, and commitments. Steve Jobs once said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” If you want to have a remarkable life, we have to Quit More.
We have to decide what work we will not do.
Most of us have a bunch of personal and professional tasks that are utterly unnecessary or not important. However, we cannot just get rid of everything and have to delete that those things in our life that are not necessary. These deletions could include not attending meetings or calls that don’t matter, not doing tasks that are not urgent or important, or not going to events that you’re iffy about.
We have to find other people or services to help us out with our work.
We all have activities that need to get done but would be a waste of our own time and effort. Instead, these tasks can be better assigned to someone else or outsourced to another service provider to get done. These delegations could include hiring that additional person to help our team, paying the neighbor’s teen to mow our lawn, or getting advice from a mentor.
We can’t do it all, so we have to defer the work that we may do later.
Kendra is a planner, so if a task is essential to her, then she will schedule time on the calendar to do it later. However, she argues that most tasks we want to defer are unnecessary, or else we would plan for them. If they were important, then we would address them immediately.
Kendra’s pro tip is her “Black Hole” concept, which is an area in her task management application (Todoist) to delay tasks forever. To Kendra, these are the things that you talk about doing but are not important enough to come to fruition: the potential trips with others, the possible lunch plans with others, and the things you hate doing.
Ask Yourself: What can you dump into your black hole?
Kendra is amazing at planning, as she is excellent at organizing her weeks, scheduling her time, and setting boundaries. She shares three tips to Plan Better and provides a free resource to help you plan for your week.
Plan Your Week
Once a week, take 30 minutes to review your previous week and plan for your next week.
At the same time, every Sunday, Kendra has a weekly review session. Once every week, preferably at the same time, spend 30 minutes reflecting and planning. This session will involve reviewing the past week for your successes, your failures, and areas for improvement. Afterward, create a plan for the coming week that includes your essential priorities, tasks you need to accomplish, and meetings that you need to attend.
Color Code Your Calendar
Create multiple calendars, each with a different color, in your calendar application.
Color coding your calendar is a visual system of organizing your time. At a glance, the colors can give you a quick overview of what you have planned for that day or week. The colored calendars also help us separate different parts of our life from one another, including Work, Appointments, Travel, Admin, Exercise, and Fun. A week or day packed with the same color can be overwhelming (Are you really going to work out at the gym for 6 hours straight?), so you may have to move some time blocks around to achieve balance.
Create “Bumper Guards”
Identify the things and people that could prevent your progress and set boundaries.
Kendra anticipates the things and people that could derail her weekly progress by creating “bumper guards” or setting boundaries. Many things can hinder us, including social media, text notifications, or unnecessary phone calls. Thus, we need to establish boundaries for ourselves to eliminate distractions and for others to tell them how we want them to behave towards us.
Kendra shared a story in which she created “bumper guards” to reduce the number of times her clients could call her. As a result, she was able to be productive and get more work for those clients.
Ask Yourself: How would you plan your week during a 30-minute review session?
Always have something on your calendar you are looking forward to.
Gretchen Rubin, the author of the Happiness Project, tells us that one of the keys to happiness is to have something to look forward to. This anticipation of something enjoyable will mean that you get to experience joy longer and will help you through tough periods in your life.
In the day-to-day grind, you can incorporate fun breaks, working out, or meditating. Within more extended periods like weeks or months, you can try out a new restaurant, surprise your significant other, or take that incredible trip to an unfamiliar place. If you don’t know where to start, check out Kendra’s Year of Fear Project for ideas to get started.
Ask Yourself: What are the things that you can put on your calendar to look forward to?
Kendra Wright, Hey Kendra
This blog post is based on the talk given by Kendra Wright at Productivity Con in Austin in early 2020. She is an entrepreneur, self-help junkie, and rebel. Kendra helps individuals break out of their comfort zones and successfully build online businesses.