TPP #2: Planning Life Before Work with Johny O’Donnell

Welcome to Productive People, my blog and podcast series dedicated to learning from productive people who are smashing their goals and getting stuff done.

For one of my first podcast episodes for The Productivity Podcast I had the great pleasure of interviewing my good friend, Johny O'Donnell. Johny has built a lifestyle business that he can run from anywhere in the world using just his laptop. In fact when his laptop broke recently, he ran his business using just his phone.

In this episode we talk about how he's built his business and what he's doing to plan his time, prioritise tasks and make sure work doesn't take over his life.

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1. Simplify!

One of the keys to Johny's success is his ability to simplify. By taking a big topic like online business and making it easy to understand he's able to help people and businesses to transition to the online world. By fully understanding his topic and the problems and needs of his customers he's able to present this intimidating subject in an easy to learn way. The big thing we can can learn from this is that simplicity comes through understanding.

2. Plan Your Life Around Personal Goals

Johny is an incredibly productive person and he takes an unconventional yet awesome approach to planning his time. Instead of allocating a set 40-60 hours a week to building his business, he plans time for his personal goals and aspirations and then uses the spare time to build his business. At the beginning of the year he'll look at his wall planner and work out when and where he's going to travel, when he's going to visit friends and how much time every week he's going to spend on his business. It's completely backwards to the way 95% of us are planning our time but it really is the way things should be. Who wouldn't want to list everything they want to do and have a business that supports those goals and aspirations?

3. Work Out What Your Time is Worth

Johny works out how much he'd like to earn and how many hours a week he'd like to work to come up with a target hourly rate. This number guides most of Johny's decisions. When he faces a task he'll look at the sticky note on his desk that reminds him to ask: “Is this task going to earn me $(hourly rate)?”. If something isn't worth Johny's time, he'll delegate it to someone else. In the words of Chris Ducker (the virtual CEO) “Work out what you do best and delegate the rest”.

4. Work from a “Space of Flow”

Instead of working a set number of hours, Johny prefers to work within a “space of flow”. This is the state when you can really focus on a task and pump out your best creative work. If Johny doesn't feel like he's in this space, he won't waste time producing poor quality work. Instead he'll go for a walk and come back to the task when he's in a better headspace.

5. Take Time Out to be Present

As people who are focused on self-improvement and achieving more, we're constantly moving the goal posts. i.e. when we reach a goal, we quickly set a new one. This is great and is typical behaviour of people who want to get the most out of life. But it's important to take time to be present and value what you have and where you've come from. Keep this in mind on a daily basis. Johny uses an alarm on his phone to remind himself to be present and check-in with himself and evaluate what's he's doing. Make sure you take time to be present and step back from what you're doing to remember where you are and what you're doing.

Johny and I had a great chat about where he's come from and how he currently works. If you're interested in starting a business or wish you could escape the 9-5 grind, then this is the episode for you!


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