Ep 15 – Podcasting and Time Management

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Episode 15 – Full transcript


  1. Gimlet Academy podcast
  2. Ari Meisel – The Art of Less Doing

(Automated) Full transcript

Episode 15

Welcome before I start. Let me just say that I’m going to update you on my search for a guest next week, as well as talk to my first case study on this show as well. I think we can learn some things from, but I’ve actually been focusing on something different this week and that’s that problem of time.

I mentioned last time or more correctly, lack of it in a podcasting takes time. Right? A good podcast takes a lot of time. I’ve seen this trying to get guests, reaching out to people, editing transcripts, social media, blah, blah, blah. I’m constantly trying to get things right. You know, I don’t know what y’all like, but I never seemed to be happy with my episodes.

I keep trying to tweak them and rewrite them and record them again. And this show, can I make a hit podcast? It’s about seeing if it is possible to make a hit show with limited time and resources while holding down a full time job as well. And I think the natural reaction of people is to say, well, just try harder. But if you try harder and burnout, which I’ve done several times, you’re never going to make a hit show. So there’s gotta be another way. And this week I was determined to try and find one. And to be honest, it’s been quite a revelation things.

I thought wouldn’t work. I’m not saying I thought were silly, actually worked and things I could see would work were a lot harder than I thought too. So this episode is about what I learned about podcasting and time management.

This is a story then of an attempt to make a hit podcast documented in real time.

By me, Richard Mitson a former news editor and journalist and disillusioned podcaster is he I’ve tried to make five shows, but all of them are fizzled out in the internet claims it’s possible for anyone to make a hit show. So, is it actually true? Can someone with no budget, little time and a full time job really still create a hit I’m documenting the key moments each day on Twitter and Instagram with the username hit podcast 2020 that’s hit podcast 2020, and then running up everything.

And the things I missed out in this weekly podcast right here on your favorite podcast app. So is it still possible to make a hit show? Well, let’s find out.

I don’t know your process of podcasting, or if you’ve not started yet, maybe you can relate to this in other areas of your life. When I know I have to make an episode. I go through mixed emotions. You know, I love doing this, but my first thought is generally that there is this insurmountable, warm. I need to climb to get an episode out.

Know I need to get my ideas together. I need to structure them. I need to record them in a way. I like the sound of, I then need to edit that. Remove all my areas, produce social media updates, add titles, subtitles, captions, write tweets and Instagram updates. Last weekend. I actually spent eight hours doing this tinkering and trying to get the last episode of the show.

Right. And I still wasn’t happy.

I’m learning, which is what this show is all about, but it takes time, you know, I don’t think we can escape the reality that making a podcast is all about psychology. we may not be consciously thinking about it, but how can it be anything else if it’s all about feel, if it’s all about our standards, about what we want to express in audio.

Anything that’s creative as this has to be all about psychology. It has to be all in our mind

you know, after last week, when I tried to reach out to guests using the hard method, I just thought this is just so much work. . I realized that I need to start trying to bring this under control and turn podcasting from a chaotic creative explosion into creative machine, which is more manageable, satisfying, enjoyable, and productive enough to make a hit show in the spare time that I have, or you have after work.

so I put out the book by Harry Messel called the art of less doing, which is all about time management.

It’s quite a short book, but I was interested to see how I could actually apply this to podcasting, but I’ve got to be honest. I started getting impatient and some just reading the whole book and then going, Oh right, start now. I thought I’m just going to start applying it straight away

and I figured that one of the best ways of sharing this with you was by recording the process as I did it, because it’s really some of the mistakes I made as I went along, but some of the best lessons come out of.

So before I play that, let me just give you a little bit of context of two things that I need to work on. I’ve got a podcast related one because I’m trying to come up with another podcast concept, but there’s lots of potential issues around it. I’d been procrastinating on that now for two days.

So I want to get that done. And the other one I’ve been thinking about is whether to have a guest on this show, can I make a hit podcast to use as a case study? so as I say, I recruited myself doing all this I’ve edited out the silences, but I think it will help to show what I found in the book and the mistakes I made as it went along.

So here we go. .

Okay. So So section one is doing right here is called know thyself. And what I’m getting from this is that he says that what you can track. You can improve. If you can’t track or measure what you’re doing, you can’t actually make any improvements So I think what he’s saying here is that we need to be really honest with. How we’re actually spending our time rather than the way we think we are. So my step one, my Mike, the first thing I need to do then is to write a proposal about podcasting for work. And I’m off work at the moment. This is something that I’m passionate about, but somehow I seem to put it off for two days.

so what I’ve done over the last half hour is I tried to start. Using this principle of tracking to see what actually did I have to say, it’s a little bit embarrassing, but I’m going to be brutally honest with you because I want to document this, right.

So what did I do when I started the process of trying to come up with this proposal? The first thing I did was. I went and got a drink. Then I had a chat with my partner. I can’t remember what it was about nothing essential. I then thought, where do I start? There’s so many notes here. What do I do with them all? Then I got into a conversation about a new story with my partner. You get the point, it was going nowhere. So, this is actually really good because by documenting what I’m doing, it’s actually making me aware of what I’m doing on what currently, what I’m not doing.

So as Ari says, if you’re tracking it, you can change it. what’s weird is I wasn’t aware just how much I was allowing myself to get distracted. you know, maybe you’re not as bad as me. I didn’t think I was though either. here’s a thought also that occurred to me as I was doing this. This actually made me burst out laughing a few moments ago, which I captured say I was giving advice to myself on how to complete this proposal. Right. And this was my advice to me in order to get this proposal done, you need to sit down, then get up, then get a drink, then talk to your partner, then discuss a new story.

This is how you will get the proposal done. Right. That sounds really stupid, but that’s exactly what I just did. Right. Let’s read on what’s he saying next?

Okay. So next thing he’s talking about is a thing called Parkinson’s law and the. Idea. There’s some, what he’s saying is that a task expands to the time that you allocate to it. So if you set sort of 30 minutes for a task, it will take 30 minutes. If you set two hours for the same task, it will take two hours.

Okay. Most of the time procrastination doesn’t relate to stress. He’s saying it relates to the fact you’ve given yourself enough time to stress yet. That’s a really good point. Okay. Well, best way to do this is to try this out. Isn’t it. So I have given myself three hours to work on this proposal today.

I’m going to set myself a target 30 minutes. That’s it to come up with the entire proposal. And I’m going to try that now.

Okay. Reporting back in the first thing I did was to try and look at my notes, but then I couldn’t access them because Chrome was frozen on my computer and my CPU is at a hundred percent. So I tried to sort that out. Then my partner asked me to help with the washing.

, this is what you see when you record what you’re doing. So clearly the problem is that at the moment, I’m just putting the deadline back.

So restart number two, it is 12:51 PM. And I’m going to have this proposal done. Whatever happens. By 1:21 PM. Here we go. Where do I even start? I’ve written the word proposal. It’s a start I so far.

the internet has now dropped out completely. I tried to fix that. Look at the delay. It’s okay. So I’ve got 27 minutes left now. . I’m just gonna have to work on this. I’ve determined to hit this deadline. So I’m going to just work on this and you do it from memory.

Okay. And then I could always tidy the thing up later.

I’m going to have to whisper here. I just had another conversation with my partner, 18 minutes left and I’m into a complex pro and cons analysis on this proposal now got to keep going.

12 minutes left pressure is on.

I’m into the proposal. And it’s interesting because I keep coming up with problems that I need to look at, but I don’t have time. This is what Eric was saying, I think is that when you set.

The deadline, you have to find a way to make it work. So I’m actually filtering out these problems to be looked at later so that I get the proposal done.

Four minutes left and I’m nearly there. I’ve just explained to my partner that I’m trying this time management thing and the conversations are stopped. So focus is clearly essential for this

one minute left. And I just said aloud to myself. Oh, that’s it. And I’m writing furiously. I think, I think I finally got this proposal right.

And time’s up. I guess what? I have a proposal in front of me. I have a lot of questions, but the proposals there. So in fact, in 30 minutes, rather than three, two days and three hours, I’ve actually done a full protocol analysis. I might’ve missed a few things out, but whatever. in fact, the proposals clear enough that I could literally go into a meeting right now and present that I have to say, I am quite amazed.

it’s now 15 minutes since I finished.

I’m still in that state of mind where I’m really focused and Nina has sometimes time races past. It really feels like it’s slowed down. It’s almost like your brain goes into a different state

so actually I’m giving us a big thumbs up. As Ari says here, the more you limit yourself, the more efficient you become and you actually force yourself to do it.

as I was reading through his book, I actually ignored one section or skimmed over it because I just didn’t think it was relevant. And he talked about working in sprints. So whereby you do like a sort of , 25 minute blog, and then you have five minutes off. And I thought this was absolutely ridiculous when I read it, but having just done that.

That seems to make a lot of sense. He’s saying here in the book that our minds work best when we get into, into a flow. in fact, he says that when you get distracted for one minute,

it actually takes you 23 minutes to get back into flow again. So one minute distraction is actually terrible.

Okay. I need to move on with the book. So the next thing he talks about then is the parade of principle. And I’ve actually heard of this before, but I’ve never thought about it in terms of podcasting.

And the principle is, is 80% of what you want to achieve can be done with 20% of the tasks involved. So the theory is that you may not be able to do a hundred percent of what you need, but if you do 20% of the staff, you’ll get 80% of the results. Okay. So let’s try and apply this to the next task I need to do, which is to go through the pros and cons and look at all those issues that I had left over. I don’t see how you can do this.

what I can do though, the email proposal I need to send. I only needs to have 20% of all the things I need to say. So what are the 20% of the things I need to include in that email that will sum up everything else? It will give me 80% of the result without writing in a thousand word essay.

I think what becomes clear here is that knowing what the goal is rather than what needs to be done. Is the best way to approach this? You know, I could say I need to write a proposal, but what does that actually mean?

It could mean a list of a hundred items, which go into great detail about every point. But if I say that I need something that explains the idea in a few sentences, then that changes the entire to do list into something else. And my objective actually here was to explain the whole idea in a few sentences.

So in terms of sitting down to make a podcast, if I’m looking for these special guests I’ve been talking about in the other episodes, is there a quicker way of me finding them that will get 80% of the result rather than spending hours trying to get a hundred percent

what I want to do now is try it on a second issue to see if I can apply it again. So this time I’ve got another question about the podcast, right? Someone reached out to me and offered to appear as a guest on this show. Now I never even thought of actually having guests on Canon mega hit podcast. And so far, I couldn’t decide whether I, I liked the idea, nothing wrong with a guest. I just couldn’t decide if I want to guess on this particular program, I’ve been toying with this idea for weeks. So here we go. Right. I’m going to do the same again.

I’m going to do a sprint in 20 minutes time. I will know. So here’s my clear go. Whether I want to invite on a guest, I will have messaged them. If I do, I will know what I want to ask them all that in 20 minutes. Feels a bit ambitious, but let’s give it a go.

there are three minutes left and I’m sending them a message now to invite them on love it.

It is 18 minutes after I recorded that last message and they have agreed to repair and we’re going to record on Monday. There we go. 20 minutes, the whole process, a few minutes longer to get a reply from them. Awesome. And I think he’s right about having to do this. Cycles of spurts. So you do 25 minutes and five minutes off. that because I actually left it too long. I think between them and getting back into flow, as he was saying can be really hard.

So you, I think you need to do a series of spurts before you have a break

I think that’s enough for testing those principles so far, but let’s just have a look at a couple of the other things that he was saying. And he talks about the idea of dumping ideas so that they don’t stress the brain. The brain simply can’t handle all the thoughts he’s saying. And I’ve, I’ve actually been doing this for years.

I generally write down all my brainstorms in capture docs on Google docs and I put anything and everything there so that it’s not constantly playing around in my mind, or I feel I need to do something. There’s another thought, I don’t know whether you use a tooling tool as well. I use one called skid Powell where I literally put everything in my life, all the thoughts of things I need to do, and it sheds my day for me. And I love the fact it does that. But the problem is that again, when I think about that, they’re all the realistic to dues.

Rather than a set of goals. So I need to adjust that.

What else is he saying here? He he’s, I’m not sure I buy this one. He talks about using an hour of power when you’re at your best during the day. And he says that you can, identify this by tapping on an app to not entirely sure about, but I mean, realistically for me, my best time is probably 9:00 PM at night, but that’s also when the house is winding down.

So I can’t really do it then my worst time is probably 8:00 AM in the morning, but that’s when I start work or try to start work more rarely no, I’m not a big fan of that.

interestingly, that’s it for time management in his book now.

And he’s actually moving on to a section about automation. So I will have a look at that. I think next time.

so there we go. That’s the recording of what happened when I tried to do it. So let’s sum up what I learned about podcasting and time management. I think here are the key things, right? First of all, set a goal as an objective, not a to do item. What do you need by the end of it?

then set the time by when you will have done that by. So I will have X by 12:30 PM. Even if I have nothing. Now this is what I will have on the page by then spurts clearly work, but it does take a lot of discipline, the better the goal.

I think the more chances of success, it is inevitable that you come up with lots of ideas as you’re doing this, but you need to put them to the side and keep focused on the end goal. trace what you are doing every so often to check what you are really doing, particularly with procrastination.

That was such a revelation for me.

and stick ruthlessly to the time limit you set, whether that means you need to tell people about it, or you need to switch off your phone or anything like that. You know, my rant, natural reaction as well, is that when you get into that sort of state of flow, where you’re really in the zone, my natural reaction is when I get into flow is to just sort of keep going, well, that’s like four or five hours, but it actually defeats the whole object to this.

And although it sounds contradictory, like, well, if you’re in the flow, why wouldn’t you keep going? Because I think the logic is, you probably are being incredibly inefficient. You might be enjoying the process, but are you actually achieving your objective? You know, if I could have booked six guests in the time it took me to do one really well.

What I ended up with a better result. One of the principles I talked about in one of the very first episodes of this show was the one hour rule that I set for myself. And that’s how much time I will spend on podcasting. Each night, I always break it always go a bit over. But by doing that, it’s actually been the biggest thing to keep me motivated and not getting burned out because you then, at the end of that hour, you want to do more.

So you come back the next day, just as excited. So that has been really powerful for me. There is still more in that book. In fact, the next section he talks about is automation. And I’m been trying to get my head around that and I will share that with you in future, because the reality is, is that time management has got to become part of this show in this process so that we can actually make a hit show.

With the limited time we have, let me sum this all up. As I said at the beginning, podcasting has to be all about psychology, right? And how we think, because that’s what podcasting is. It is a creative. Thing. how can such a creative pursuit be?

Anything else, anything that makes us spend hours of our own time working on something we hope will entertain and inform others for no, or very little money has to be a pursuit of passion. I E emotion. So psychology is everything. Whether you’re into this sort of mind stuff, mumbo jumbo, whenever you want to call it, if you don’t like it, Or you think psychology is interesting.

You know, I found these spurts to be immensely powerful and next week I’m going to start booking my three guests that I’ve already got, and I’m going to apply the principles I’ve learned this week to the process of trying to get three more landmark guests as well.

I know I need to use the hard method if you don’t know what I mean, have a listen back to last episode. And that is time consuming, that is what got me into this whole time management question in the first place. So now I want to apply the time management techniques directly to that to see if that will help me get landmark guests in half the time.

Well, it works well. That’s fine that I speak to you next week.

Published by Richard

25 years in the communications business. Former news editor, journalist, political public relations professional, social media content creator, and podcast host of www.ThePublicRelationsPodcast.com

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