//Ep #46: Productivity & Multitasking

Ep #46: Productivity & Multitasking

Who doesn’t want to have an amazing day every day? You guys will enjoy this episode because I am going to be teaching you how to have consistently great days in which you get a lot of work done. For this episode to have its full impact, it’s imperative for you to have an organizational system in place, a calendar according to which your day is structured, so be sure to catch up with the previous episode if you haven’t yet. 

The next step is to become more productive within that framework. You might feel frustrated because you are not getting done what you set out to, wondering why you are making constant trips to the fridge and checking your phone every few minutes. Here’s the problem: the real solution to productivity feels terrible. No one wants to do it. So, what do we do?

I’m going to share with you not only the KEY to productivity but also how to overcome the many obstacles in your pursuit of productivity. Technology is a major culprit here, cleverly designed to get you distracted and hooked!

But it’s not all bad of course, the important thing is to learn how to use technology and social media intentionally, scheduling specific times in which to scroll through Instagram and attend to your email. Doing one thing at a time is the alpha way.

Want to know more about what I do and how I can help you? Sign up for a free 45-minute session with me, and I’ll show you how this works!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The real solution to being more productive.
  • How the beta condition causes distraction.
  • Why technology is so detrimental to focus.
  • How you could be ruining your brain with multitasking. 
  • Practical advice for training your brain to focus.
  • What to do when you have the urge to check your phone.
  • Accepting and owning the feeling of resistance.
  • A healthy, helpful context in which to engage technology and social media.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:



[0:00:09.6] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Alpha Male Coach podcast. The only podcast that teaches men the cognitive mastery and alpha mindset that it takes to become an influential and irresistible man of confidence. Here is your host, certified life coach and international man of mystery, Kevin Aillaud.


[0:00:32.5] What’s up my brothers. Welcome back to the Alpha Male Coach podcast. I am your host, Kevin Aillaud and my day is going amazing. In fact, I’m happy to report to you that many of my days are better than great and I’m telling you this for a reason. Not to make you envious which we both know is impossible.

Only you have the power to make yourself envious but I’m telling you this because I’m going to teach you how to have consistently amazing days. See, I got up this morning, I did my gratitude work, my identity work, I went for a run and I did a workout after that. I made breakfast, I ate breakfast, I read the newspaper, took a shower, practiced a foreign language, did my mind management work, I meditated, I got dressed, I did all of my social media posts so I did a post on Facebook, on Instagram, on Instagram television, we did the Instagram television channel show.

Then, I did a live for the Elevated Alpha Society Facebook group. I even had time to call my brother this morning. Now, I’m recording this podcast for you and it isn’t even noon, it’s not even 12:00. Now, why am I telling you this? I’m not gloating and I’m not boasting. I’m telling you this because I’ve managed to stay on track with my productivity and even make up time to account for delays and it’s because I understand what creates productivity, there is a secret to productivity and it’s really simple but no one wants to do it.

I’m going to teach it to you today. Before I get into this, I want you to know that last week’s podcast taught you how to organize your workflow and calendar so that you can accomplish any goal in 30 days. I definitely recommend that you listen to that if you haven’t already. Now, you don’t have to. You can still get something out of this podcast episode if you don’t go back and listen to last week’s.

[0:02:25.6] But, I just think that it would be more powerful, these two episodes when used together because this episode, I’m going to talk about distraction and focusing and if you don’t have an organizational system for your work and calendar, then you have a bigger problem than you have to solve before you can use or develop the ability to try to focus.

If you do not have this organizational system on how to accomplish any goal in 30 days, then check out the Elevated Alpha Society Spartans this month. We are all taking a 30-day goal and we’re making it into a reality, right? I’m going to write a book and you’re going to hear all about that in future podcasts but you can still join the Elevated Alpha Society Spartans for September and create your 30 day goal and believing into your life.

You basically believe it now and then it shows up in your life. I’m going to show you how to make that happen. This episode is for the guys doing it and struggling with staying productive. I’m assuming that you do have a system and you aren’t getting as much done as you want then it’s because you aren’t being as productive as you could be. Or you have a perfectionist illusion, right?

About everything you can get done and I’ve already addressed the perfectionist illusion and tomorrow thinking in previous episodes. This is more about focusing in the moment, staying here. Here is the thing about not being productive or as not being as productive as you want, it’s not a moral issue, bro. It’s not a character flaw.

[0:03:53.3] I think in our society, between the Puritan influences and the building of America and definitely with the capitalism, you know, that work hard mentality, we think of productivity the way we think of cleanliness. You know, that old saying of cleanliness is next to godliness. I think for Americans, a lot of Americans, a lot of us think that productivity is next to godliness as well.

We tend to adhere to some moral imperative with productivity. This is erroneous, right? How productive you are is not say that you’re a better person, right? It’s an optional value and the reverse of that is true as well, brother. That lack of productivity is also not a moral issue. Being unproductive is a completely natural result of the conditions that I’m going to describe to you in this episode. Now, the reason why there are so many books and podcasts and courses about productivity is that the real solution to productivity feels terrible.

Nobody wants to do it. The real answer is focusing. I’m going to teach you how. I’m not saying that you should already know how. Most of us don’t know how to focus. The beta condition does not like to focus. It wants to constantly scan the environment for pleasure or pain. The beta condition is always asking, is there something to eat, is there someone to have sex with, is there someone that might be trying to kill me?

Is there something that is trying to do all three of these things, right? Now, your brain is always scanning around looking for anything different, right? Anything out of place or anything that has changed that might alert it to something to eat or have sex with or something that might kill you.

[0:05:34.8] That’s the primitive brain, right? That’s what the beta condition is always asking. First we have a brain that’s always scanning for anything different or new or distracting or changing and then second, we have a prefrontal cortex which could help us focus but is usually dormant and busy, allowing the beta condition to thank me in thoughts about your abilities and your performance.

About your capabilities basically, about what you can do. Basically, what is happening is you don’t want to focus using the part of your brain that can focus which is the alpha state, right? The consciousness, because you’re thinking subconsciously that all that’s going to entail is a bunch of negative thoughts about yourself and all the feelings that go along with that.

You really don’t want to do the thing that you’re trying to focus on anyway. There’s this resistance, you know, this is the resistance and we will take a deep dive into procrastination next week, right? What that resistance looks like. Already we have an uphill battle.

We have this primitive part of your brain that just wants to always look for reason to be distracted and look around and see if anything’s changed and check, again and again. And then, the dormant alpha that this more developed part of your brain that could help you focus on more substantive concepts or hard work.

[0:06:54.6] But is also the part of your brain that’s being super mean and critical to you because it isn’t a wake, right? It’s not under your control to supervise this beta condition. It’s one of the reasons we do the thought work on our self-critical thinking, right? That negative thinking, we elevate our alpha and train the brain, right? We recondition the beta condition.

Now, on top of that, you know, what that organic brain is doing and making a mess of all the neutral data and circumstances around it. Now factor in that most of us are using technology that is literally designed to make it impossible for us to focus. Yeah, you heard me say that right. I am not saying that technology is bad or good, technology is neutral but I’m saying, your software, your computer, your phone.

These are all designed to make it difficult for you to pay attention to anything. Like I said, I’m not blaming these neutral items, I’m just saying that for your brain, it’s very distracting and this is not on accident brother, this is on purpose. Billions of dollars have gone into research and development to make these things distracting to your brain.

You see, your brain evolved to be constantly scanning for food or sex or danger. Your phone is designed to mimic all the things that your brain pays attention to in nature, right? Color, pattern, sound, movement, vibration. This is not an accident. The more time you spend on your phone, the more money you spend on your phone.

[0:08:30.2] Thee more your phone is a part of your daily life, the more you will spend money on the actual phone on buying things of the phone, on buying apps, or just looking at things where advertisers can sell you stuff. Like Instagram is free. The more you look at Instagram, the more you’ll see advertisers as they’re hoping eventually you’ll buy. And let me tell you something brother, it’s not just the money, even if you’d never spend any money on your phone or gadgets or computers.

You spend vast amount of time on these apps too. Apps and games are designed to drip out dopamine form your brain in patterns that are specifically put together to keep you coming back for more. Hardware companies, software companies, advertisers, they’re all trying to make the product as addictive as possible.

The more you scroll, the more you spend time or money either directly or indirectly. Now, the same is true of your computer. More and more especially as we start to use applications that work across multiple platforms, right? You think about Gmail, think about Slack, we have all these other chat platforms like Facebook and Instagram and we use them on multiple platforms so that they’re with us all the time, we close our computer, we still got our iPad, we still got our iPad, we still got our android.

All of these brightly colored badges and pings and rings and flashing notifications. Those are all designed to keep you hooked on the dopamine hit of getting something new. See, the brain is curious, that’s its job, to be curious, to again, seek pleasure, avoid pain.

[0:10:09.1] If it sees a box, it wants to know what’s inside, there might be food, there might be sex, there might be danger. That’s pretty much how you see your email. I want you to think about this. Your email is like a box, it’s like a surprise. How often do you check your email in anticipation, right? There’s either going to be someone saying something nice about you or reaching out to you or validating you in some way, so your brain is seeking that pleasure or there might be something dangerous, right?

Someone criticizing you or wanting something from you that you don’t know how to do. It wants to avoid that pain, right? And being scared about that danger. You know what it’s really like? Here’s what it’s really like. It’s basically, it’s like gambling. You know, when I go to Vegas, I like to play Craps, that’s my game of choice and it’s the same dopamine hit that I would get when I went gambling, when I would partake in craps, every time that ding or beep goes off, letting you know that you’ve got mail, it’s like throwing dice.

You know, I throw the dice and I either get a seven winner, seven 11 or I get the Craps, loser. Now, of course I do the odds and I play on the button and all that. But either way, my point is that every time you throw the dice, every time you make a roll, it’s your brain. My brain is seeking, it’s what it’s –

That anticipation of what comes next, it’s the mixture of is it the fear of losing versus the joy of winning, right? It’s that anticipation, it’s so addictive. It’s positive or negative, your brain is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, it’s looking for pleasure or trying to avoid pain and being scared about that being you know, avoiding that pain.

It’s the same with your email. Consider civilized life, especially if you have a desk job. It’s essentially an all day, every day electronic orchestra of rings and dings and pings and flashes and vibrations that keep your brain constantly distracted and looking for the next stimulation.

[0:12:14.1] Now, when you’re already disinclined to focus on something because you have negative thoughts about your own ability to do something, to do this thing. Or you’re thinking about all the other things you have to do, you’re kind of indulging it, being feeling overwhelmed, then you’re so willing to be distracted, right?

You want to be pulled away. There’s really no way for you to be productive when you’re responding to all the stimuli on your phone and computer and avoiding the negative self-talk that’s happening in your brain. Now, let me explain this, this is not an excuse for you brother, all right?

It’s not excuse for you to be unproductive, it’s just the way your brain responds to stimulus. Here’s what you’re going to do. Here’s what I want you to do right now. I want you to turn it all off, just turn it off right now. Now, you guys know I’m not a behavior coach and I don’t tell my students what to do, I’m a causal coach, I help my students see their lives in a more objective way so that they can determine the subjectivity that will serve them the best.

The reason I said that, the reason I told you to turn off all your gadgetry and technology is because I want you to notice right now, in this moment, how resistant you might feel to me saying that. If you have resistance to that, you’ll know. I want you to notice your mind, notice your emotion. If you have resistance, you’re probably feeling pretty nasty right now.

[0:13:37.1] Who is he to tell me to turn off my phone? Or you don’t want to turn it off, you resist the idea or you’re telling yourself you can’t. It’s something you can’t do, you can’t be out of communication. In fact, what you’re probably doing, now that you’re thinking about it is you probably want to go check your phone, right?

You want to pause this podcast, hop on Instagram real quick or check your email or even better, what you really want to do is both, right? You want to check your email and Instagram while you’re listening to this podcast. All of this has to do with what the computer age has brought us which is a new concept, all of us have gotten used to called multitasking.

I call it a concept, multitasking is a concept because it’s not really multitasking at all. Multitasking is a lie. Multitasking is a complete lie. You cannot do more than one thing that requires mental attention at the same time. Computers don’t even do this, computers do not do more than one thing at the same time. They just move so fast that they appear to do so much at the same time, right?

They take small bits of information from different processes so quickly, it looks like it’s happening simultaneously. Now, you can do more than one thing at the same time if one activity is governed by the part of your brain that encoded repeated action sequences that can operate subconsciously once they’ve been learned.

You’ve all – you guys know that once you are able to drive somewhere, if you know the route really well then you can probably get to and from using this route without really paying much attention to it, right? You have done it so often that your brain can subconsciously do it, right? It is the same with walking, you can walk and talk or chew gum at the same time. You can take out the trash and think about something else other than taking out the trash.

Because you have taken out the trash so many times, you can do it subconsciously or unconsciously but you can’t drive somewhere new while trying to pay attention to the directions and have someone talking to you at the same time. I know I don’t like that. If I am trying to go somewhere new, I don’t know where I am going. I am trying to pay attention to the directions. You know I am trying to cross traffic or take a right turn and a left turn.

And I’ve got so many talking to me about something complicated I am either not listening to what they are saying or I am going to get us lost, right? Because I am not paying attention to the new directions. Multitasking is a pernicious lie. Many of us try to write an email while we are on a conference call but we don’t try to write an email and send a text message at the same time because we need our thumbs for both. You know we’ll try to do one and maybe the other.

Maybe do half and half but studies show that switching back and forth is bad as trying to do two things at the same time and I think that most of us really think of multitasking as doing two things at the same time, right? I mean that is really what we mean. We really what we are talking about is, “Oh I am going to watch this video while I write this email” right? It’s almost like, “Can I listen to this while I type this?” and we know that we can’t do this.

[0:16:29.1] We know that every time we switch back and forth we lose between 20 minutes and hours even trying to switch our focus between two things. So just repeat it after me Alphas, multitasking is a lie and switching between different screens and apps and tasks and rapid succession is damaging your productivity. It is also damaging your brain. It impairs concentration and damages your short-term memory among other things.

So if you want to increase your productivity and not ruin your brain, you got to learn how to focus. Now, the way we learn to focus is that we do it for short periods of time and build it up. It is like working out a muscle, right? You start with a low weight and as you get stronger you increase the weight. You might start with 10 minutes of working on one task and shutting off all notifications and work your way from there. Now that means that you have to exit your email, right?

You got to exit Slack, you got to exit your email, shut off all Facebook, Instagram, mute your phone, put your phone in another room, in fact turn it off and put it in a drawer, right? Because even just seeing it will make your brain want to check it. Silence your computer so you don’t get any notifications. Exit all the software other than what you are working on and if possible, try to do your work off the computer. I will tell you guys, I do a lot of work on paper.

It’s true that I use a computer but I actually start with a pen and a notepad, you know like a lawyer I go through a lot of legal pads. Now regardless, however you want to do it, whatever you can do it, you want to close out everything else and you work on one thing, just one thing for 10 minutes and I pick 10 minutes because I know some of you have thoughts. A lot of you are going to have resisting thoughts that you have to be immediately available for anything at all times.

[0:18:14.8] I know you parents with kids like you are thinking I got to be available to my kids if there is an emergency. Let me tell you something, here is the thing guys. I have worked with students who have brought their personal value to the world in the form of trauma surgeons. I have worked with trauma surgeons. I have worked with trial lawyers. I have worked with military special operators, okay? I have worked with entrepreneurs that earn seven figures.

And if you want to know who the busiest people are who really have very little time, I mean they block everything in and they work with their calendars to make sure that work is efficiently as possible, is these people and I am telling you now that there is nothing that anybody, trauma surgeon, trial lawyer, military like Navy SEAL right? Seven, eight figure entrepreneur, there is nothing that anyone has providing the world that can’t be put on hold for 10 minutes so that you can increase your productivity and create even more value to offer the world.

So just try it, right? Your beta condition about not being able to shut off your technology for 10 minutes is your beta condition lying to you. Everyone can shut their notifications off for 10 minutes and I will warn you, for some of you this is going to be excruciating. For some of you this is going to be very painful. You are going to be itching to check your phone immediately, you know?

The minute your brain has to actually think about something challenging like your 30-day goal manifestation as an Elevated Alpha Society Spartan, it is going to whisper to you, “Hey, hey buddy, maybe that person on Tinder has message you back. You should check your phone” I know this. The beta condition is going to come up and most of us are completely habituated to checking our phone, right?

[0:20:00.2] Any moment that our hands are idle in the elevator, walking down the street, waiting for food in the restaurant or anytime that we have to think about something or we’re having a feeing and we don’t want to do one of those two things right? Think about something or feel something, anytime we want to resist the moment, we go to our phone it is buffering brother. Checking your phone is buffering. It is the same thing as learning to stop checking your phone is the same thing as learning to stop smoking or learning to drink less.

Or learning to stop emotional eating or learning to stop watching pornography. It’s going to be a withdrawal. You are going to have deprivation. Now this isn’t true for everyone and I am not telling you this to scare you off. You can totally do it and I am going to teach you a little bit more about how to do that in a minute but I am going to tell you this because it is going to be very intense for some of you and that is going to be good to know going in.

So that you won’t expect it to be easy and that you don’t shame yourself if it isn’t easy or that you think something’s gone wrong or something is wrong with you because there is nothing wrong with you and nothing has gone wrong. It just isn’t easy, right? You have to go through that withdrawal that deprivation. These devices have been designed to be addictive for you and that isn’t an excuse for you and that doesn’t mean that you can’t be in charge of your relationship with it.

You can, right? Because you are the alpha. You are the alpha so you are in charge of your cognition. You are in charge of your thoughts about the device, which is your relationship with the device and like any dopamine dependent habit, you have to expect, it is going to feel uncomfortable not to answer the urge to check your phone. You are habituated all right? So here is what you do, here is what you do when you get the urge to check your phone or email during your 10 minutes of focused work time.

[0:21:44.3] It is the same as any other buffer you have the urge to act on right? It is the same as having an urge to watch pornography or have an urge to go drink alcohol or have an urge to walk to the refrigerator. You allow the urge to be in your body and you don’t act on it. You don’t resist it and you don’t white knuckle it. You don’t try to fight it off. It is just an emotion right? It is just a vibration in your body. It is no big deal. You just want to allow it and be curious about it.

What does it feel like in your body, where is it? Is it hot or cold, fast or slow, expanding, contracting? What does it feel like to have this urge and not answer it? Because learning how to allow your urges without acting on them is incredibly powerful work and it can apply to any dopamine driven habit you have for more information on this, check out the podcast on buffering because social media is a buffer and just like the trip to the fridge right?

It is resisting the moment. The urge to grab your phone is in resistance to what you are thinking and feeling now rather than resist what you are thinking and feeling now, sit with it, feel it brother because when you feel it then you own it instead of it owning you. Now as you get better at it, you can work your way up and that is the move. You can go to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, a whole hour. In the elevated alpha society, we aim to get 60 to 90 minutes of focus time a day.

The best days, I have productivity wise are the days that start the night before. When I turn off my phone before I go to bed and then I don’t turn it back on or even log into my computer until about one or two in the afternoon, right? So I get an insane amount of thinking and creating done on those mornings, on those days. Now I know it is not going to be feasible for all of you but you can start with 10 minutes and you can work your way up.

[0:23:36.4] I have said this before and I am going to say it again, the calendar and future focus thinking is the most difficult for people who make the shift. I had a client recently who had a very high-level executive job and he came to me with thousands of emails in this inbox and no time on his calendar to do any work. He was in meetings right? He was in meetings all the time. He is always in emails. He had all of these notifications on all the time.

He responded to emails immediately as they came in. His door was always open so respond to people immediately and he was always interrupted. He is always interrupted when he was in his office by something on his computer or person and when we started together, I had him turn off his email notification and close his door for one hour, 60 minutes and had him work on actual substantive work during that hour and then he would spend an hour responding to email.

So he would split these two times up, he would dedicate an hour to email rather than answering them in the moment and he would dedicate an hour to focus where he would answer no email at all and I did cover this in another podcast episode where you need to get specific about what you are going to do in each block of time and you’ve got to save time for your email or Slack or whatever but this is the focus theme of the Elevated Alpha Society Spartans in the month of September.

So you can definitely check that out but back to my student, I mean he would fight me on this. Guys, he was a high-level executive. He was very, very successful. Telling this man to shut of his email and close his door was not what his beta condition wanted to hear. There was a lot of resistance and of course, he also hired me and so he trusted me, and it was a good thing he did because in a few weeks, he was getting down to inbox zero at the end of the day, every day.

[0:25:26.3] And he is getting a lot more work done than he had in years. All of these apps, all of these emails, all of the social media, what do they have in common? They’re all circumstances. They are all completely neutral. They can be useful and enjoyable and great and they need to be done one at a time on purpose and not just constantly checked whenever you get a notification. Don’t misunderstand me guys. I am not saying you should never check social media.

I am not saying you should ever check your phone. I am not saying you should never play a game. What I am saying is you want to do these things with intention. You want to do these things as you plan them. I have a Facebook group. The Elevated Society Facebook Group. I obviously don’t think that Facebook is inherently terrible for you to use. In fact, you all know it that I think it is neutral but what I would never recommend to you is that you get on the Facebook group while you are listening to music.

And texting people and with the TV on and trying to do your work and writing a book and creating your business all at the same time. You can’t do all of these things at once effectively. You know it will be much better off scheduling a half an hour to scroll Instagram, scheduling half an hour to participate in the Elevated Alpha Spartan conversations. Scheduling half an hour to watch Netflix. Scheduling a couple of hours to work on your book and doing all of these things separately.

When you try to do everything at once and you bounce back and forth, everything takes longer and it doesn’t feel rewarding and the quality is lower. There is just no benefit to trying to do it all at once or jumping back and forth and responding to all of these notifications as they come in. You want to set aside time to go through your email, set aside time to go through your notifications and set aside time to hang out on Instagram too and to watch Netflix or do whatever it is that brings you joy.

[0:27:09.6] You know participate in these things but do it on purpose and don’t try to do them all at once. You do not need to get certified in some sort of time management or neuro linguistic programming just so you can get more done. All you need to do is turn off everything that is trying to distract you, everything that wants to make money off your attention because if you learn how to tolerate the discomfort of focusing and not answering the urge to distract yourself.

That is how you’ll get to be the one who makes money off your own attention rather than giving it away to somebody else who is profiting off of your attention while you get nothing and that’s what I got for you today, brother. Now look, if you are struggling with productivity and multitasking then today is the day to join the Elevated Alpha Society Spartans because this month’s themed workbook is going to walk you through setting goals for this process.

And evaluating your progress and dealing with those urges. Not only will you create something for yourself that you don’t have now within 30 days, you will also learn how to manage your mind around productivity, resistance, procrastination and negative self-talk. So turn everything off and be productive my brother and until next week, elevate your Alpha.


[0:28:45.1] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Alpha Male Coach Podcast. If you enjoyed what you’ve heard and want even more, sign up for Unleash Your Alpha, your guide to shifting to the alpha mindset, at the alphamalecoach.com/unleash.


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