195 Reinventing Productivity with Alignment over Willpower

Reinventing Productivity with Alignment over Willpower


Relying on willpower to achieve your goals? Discover how leaning into alignment can revolutionize your approach to productivity and time management. In this episode, I share my personal experience of how embracing alignment over willpower has significantly impacted my life and made tasks like starting a new exercise routine or blogging feel more natural and effortless.

In this episode, I dive deep into:

  • The concept of alignment and how it applies to activities you want to initiate, such as beginning a blog or a new exercise routine.
  • Learning the importance of understanding your own unique needs and how this knowledge is crucial for the activities you want to pursue.
  • Finding out how to recognize when you're relying on willpower and how to shift into alignment for a smoother journey towards your desired outcome.

Don't miss this opportunity to transform your approach to productivity, organization, and time management by aligning your beliefs and actions.

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00:00 Hey there. So a friend recently told me that they thought I had more willpower than anyone else they knew, and I found it fascinating, because I actually don't think I have willpower at all. In fact, i know I rely very, very little on willpower in my life to get things done. So it got me really thinking about. No, it's not willpower. What is it? And for me, it's the recognition of how much I lean into alignment when it comes to how I plan and manage my time. So that's what we're going to be talking about here today is this difference between willpower and alignment, and my hope for you is that you, too, can stop relying on willpower.

00:43 Welcome to the WorkLife Harmony podcast. I'm your host, megan Somerle. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, i'm juggling hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity, so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, i'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram, at Megan Somerle, with the word harmony, and my team will send it right over. Hey there, everyone. Welcome back to WorkLife Harmony.

01:40 Today I want to have a conversation around the differences between willpower and alignment, and the reason the timing of this has come up for me to have this conversation is I was recently told by a very dear friend we're having a conversation and I was telling her about how I made some shifts and changes and some things that I'm doing, and she said God, i just wish I could have your willpower, megan. And it kind of caught me off guard because I never in a million years would have labeled it as willpower. And so I kind of pause and I said you know, it isn't actually willpower, because these are things that are just naturally falling into place, and that's where leaning into alignment has been something that has been a complete game changer for me. So that was kind of the reason why this has been on my mind and I thought it'd be a great conversation for us to have here. So, as I talk about these differences between willpower and alignment, i think a couple examples that we could use to kind of talk through. This is one that a lot of people reference. A lot is maybe you're starting a new exercise routine like I recently have joined a new gym And so a lot of people say, oh, you got to have that willpower to get up and go exercise if it's something you're not wanting to do. Or maybe there's something else a friend of mine is starting a new blog and she's really excited about it, but she's also very nervous, and so I'll kind of use both of these examples here as we talk through this.

03:11 So before we dive in, i want to first just give a definition of each one of these terms. There's lots of different ones out here, so I pulled some together and first let's talk about the definition of willpower. One of the definitions is strong determination, and another one that I thought was interesting was exerted control to get something done. So I know, when I think about willpower, i am always thinking of typically something that you're like, oh, i need to do it, or maybe I want to do it, but the desire to take the steps to get it done might either feel hard, you're uncertain, maybe you're doing it because somebody told you you really need to be doing this like exercise, right? You're like, oh, ok, i've got to go do it. So when we think about willpower, i think for all of us what comes to mind is there's something in front of you that needs to get done. You very much want to avoid doing it, and so you need to muster up that determination and that control to actually get it done. Ok. So that's really what I'm talking about when I'm talking about willpower.

04:21 Now alignment instead and I love this definition is incorrect or appropriate relative positions, correct or appropriate relative positions The term. When we say alignment, a lot of times we think about our tires on our cars. We go actually get our tires in alignment, meaning that when they are aligned relatively correct one to another, then our car can drive at its best, and it also means it's going to be more efficient. It's not pulling one way or another. You're going to get better gas mileage, all of that. Things are just going to feel a lot smoother than if they are out of alignment.

05:03 Let's talk about, let's say, you are starting in on something new that you really do want to do, but the activities may feel hard. For instance, maybe you are starting that new blog and while you love to sit down and write, the thought of learning all the technology and everything, maybe you don't even know where to start with. That is so daunting that you just don't want to do it. Or maybe you're starting that new exercise routine and it means that you're going to set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and that alarm goes off. You're like man, i really don't want to be getting out of bed, right? So we can choose to exert willpower and just muster up that inner strength and just say I'm just going to power through and do it. But when we do that, we need to recognize there is a limit for how long that can last. Our brains, our bodies have a limited capacity to actually do stuff through sheer brute force and willpower. So you may be fine day one, you may be fine day two, you may be fine day three, but there will be a point at which you will run out of willpower and then you are going to be kind of back to where you started.

06:22 It is really, really important for us to understand that willpower is simply a limited resource. It is not sustainable. Now, does that mean that we don't ever use willpower for anything? Personally, i don't think so. There are times where I know I am very consciously saying, well, this is going to be hard, it's going to need some willpower for me to do it, but then what I'm ultimately after is learning. Ok, now that I'm doing this, what am I learning about it? to then help me now say, how can I shift out of willpower and into alignment so that this new activity is something that doesn't feel so hard and brute force? So, again, when we're talking about willpower, we need to understand it'll only get you so far. Now alignment, when we're thinking about activities, things that we want to be doing, ways in which we are spending our time, where the real magic is is figuring out for ourselves when are the best pockets of time, either in our days, our weeks or our months to do certain activities so that they don't feel hard, heavy, requiring exertion, et cetera. And this is going to be uniquely different for every single person. 

07:52 I've shared some examples here on the show in my personal life on how alignment where I really lean into that. So one example is any time I am doing creative writing type of work where I am actually physically writing articles or things like that. If I were to sit down at two or three o'clock in the afternoon to do it, it is going to take willpower, 100% willpower, for me to get that done. Every part of my being is kicking and screaming and not wanting to do it, and the only way that task would get done late afternoon is through willpower. And can I do that for one day? I could, but it would not be something that would be sustainable day after day after day after day. Now, on the flip side, if I take those same activities, that writing activity, and I plan on doing it at nine o'clock in the morning, i still may groan a little bit because it's not an activity I love. But I am not going to have to muster up all of that willpower to get it done because I am aligning it at a time of day where that work is easier for me to do And I can actually get into a flow state and then I'm not just forcing this thing to get done at a time that's really hard for me. 

09:12 Another example again is kind of exercise related. It's so fascinating to me when I meet people and there are people are like I cannot exercise in the morning, and then there are other people that are like if I don't exercise in the morning it's never going to happen. Right, neither one's wrong. It's what is uniquely right for you. I know for myself. I'm one of those. If I don't do it first thing in the morning, it's not going to happen. If I were to go do a rigorous exercise routine any time in the afternoon, it would take probably more willpower than I have to go and do that, But to do it in the morning it's maybe just that initial 30 second. Oh, here we go. But I've aligned it at the time of day where I can get into the groove really, really quickly. 

09:55 So when we learn how to recognize the signs in our own selves of when we are forcing and using willpower to get stuff done, what that opens the door for is for us to take a step back and say, okay, is this something that needs to get done? Is this truly a have to? And if the answer is yes, now we get to dig deeper and say how can I shift out of willpower mode and create the right pockets of time so that I can start to move and actually have more alignment in place? Because when we are open to moving things around almost like a puzzle and saying, well, if I do this here, that reduces the amount of willpower I need, if I do it over here, it reduces the amount of willpower I need, and what that does is it just sets us up for success, for long term sustainable action, instead of willpower, until we run out of willpower and then it all stops. Now there's another little piece to it that I was introduced to recently and I love it, and it's recognizing that anytime we're starting something new, right, so let's use I think exercise is a great example for this one. Let's use exercise right And we say, okay, well, i believe if I go, start on whatever my exercise routine is that I am going to hit a desired outcome that I have right. 

11:24 So maybe it's I'm going to start lifting weights because I want to feel stronger, or I'm going to start walking more because I want to be able to improve my cardiovascular health All right. So at the beginning, you have the action you want to take, which is maybe go lifting weights, you have the belief that it's going to help you feel stronger. Now you need to have that belief that you're going to get the outcome that you want. If you don't have the belief, you're never going to be able to get started. If I think, well, lifting weights isn't going to help me at all, there's no amount of willpower that's going to help me get started. 

12:27 So anytime I find that I'm doing an action and it's not getting easier for me to do it I know that that's something where now I need to have a gut check with myself to say do I have the belief that these are the right actions? Because if I don't, then I'm probably going to be stuck in willpower mode and run out of juice to willpower my way through something. All right, so the next time you're embarking on something new, start off by making sure that you have the belief that you're going to get the outcome that you want, all right, and that you think that this action is going to lead to that. Then, day one, go start that action And it might be a lot of willpower that first time And then learn from that to say, okay, was this consecutively hard? Do I need to start figuring out how to realign this in a way so that I'm not leaning on willpower And instead we start to shift into the right kind of alignment? All right, everyone, i hope you have a fantastic week and I'll see you back here again next week.

13:36 Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the App Store or Google Play and download the PinkBee app. It's one word, the PinkBee. It is jam-packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review. 


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