Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Mike Vardy: Get the Right Things Done Easier By Focusing On Your Energy (Episode 171)

Mike Vardy: Get the Right Things Done Easier By Focusing On Your Energy (Episode 171)

Mike Vardy, a show regular, joins Charlie to jam about using energy as the basis of your plans and reflections, rather than just time. They also talk about using feelings as a gauge for productivity, rather than mere output. A key goal of their work is to feel better physically and emotionally, and it’s important to address those aspects just as much, and maybe more, than what we’re getting done. Mike is the founder of Productivityist and has been a frequent guest on the podcast.

Key Takeaways:

[2:10] - So much of productivity is focused on time, when maybe focusing on energy-based productivity may give you more traction.

[4:30] - We’re all productive during different times of the day, and our ideal day is going look different because we have different circadian rhythms. Our most productive times come around certain certainties we have based on the time of day. For Mike, it’s at night when he knows his kids are going to be in bed. That’s when he can get a lot of work done.

[7:10] - It is important to set boundaries for your work and energy - this might be certain times of the day where you can fall into deep work without worrying about having to respond to others. These can happen naturally based on the times of day you are generally most productive.

[12:50] - Figure out when you’re at your best, and structure your to-do list around that, rather than just letting it happen to you. As you begin working through your to-do list, you have to focus on what you can accomplish in your peak energy levels.

[18:25] - Finding something to act as a trigger to keep you on track is important for making the best use of your energy. Mike gives some examples, like his kids watching Netflix or closing the rings on his Apple Watch. You can use these triggers to redirect you back to your priority tasks.

[24:35] - The idea of triggers sounds more complicated than it is - it’s essentially just asking “Why am I here?” If you find yourself getting in your own way, or notice you’re doing something different than the task at hand, you can ask yourself why, and get yourself back to the original task.

[26:30] - Mike and Charlie talk about intention versus attention - knowing what your intention is allows you to pay attention to whether you’re using your time and energy in the best way.

[28:16] - People often conflate clarity and certainty - you can have clarity about what you need to work on, but have no certainty about when it comes up on a given day. We have more control than we’d like to believe, but you have to pay attention - it is about putting a framework in place that supports you.

[35:43] - Sometimes, people are so focused on a linear model of time, when a circular model allows us to make the most of our time. There is flexibility in when you start your day, your week, or in Mike’s case, even the year. Having a plan and sticking to your plan can help make time work for you.

[39:11] - A lot of people want to get “all the things” done. When you begin to evaluate how you’re spending your time in relation to your energy levels, it may feel like you’re getting less done. The focus becomes getting the important things done well, rather than ticking off boxes on a list. Too many people are trying to get as many things done as possible, because they equate productivity with how many things they did.

[42:24] - Time is a valuable resource that we should spend wisely, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not okay to delay tasks to a later time, especially if you’re not equipped to get something done at that time. The important thing about putting off a task to a different time is to be intentional about when you’re going to pick it back up, or decide it’s not useful anymore.

[47:00] - The more you do, the more people are going to want your time. Having your “bucket” of things you know you want to get accomplished some time down the road can help you protect your time when people start reaching out. Having things planned ahead allows you to prioritize and hold yourself accountable. It gives you the ammunition to say no, but also gives you the clarity to say yes.

[51:05] - Mike encourages journaling, or some way to keep track of not just the quantitative aspects, but also the qualitative aspects of your energy and how you’re spending your time. Record how you feel physically and emotionally. This can also help you in the future to decide if it’s worth it for you to take on certain tasks.

[54:16] - Mike invites and challenges listeners to start organizing your to-do lists by energy levels. Instead of working by project all the time, work by your energy levels to accomplish your tasks.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Mike Vardy


The Front Nine, by Mike Vardy

Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.