Why Your Biology Affects Your Productivity That Much W/ Kate Northrup
Today we are joined by Kate Northrup. Kate is an author, an entrepreneur, a mom, and much much more. She specializes in a couple of different areas that I am really passionate about, including money and why we should use it in intelligent and conscientious ways to actually make our lives and the lives of those we love better, and also including one of my most favorite topics, productivity.
Kate recently published an all-new book in addition to her first best-selling book, Money, A Love Story. Her new book is about the cycles in which we can become more productive at specific things during specific periods in the month. I have to say that her method is tailored more towards women who have a cycle, but it is actually very interesting to anyone listening, not just because we all have women in our lives, but also because it turns out that even men have these kinds of cycles and can be more effective at different things at different times in the month.
I really enjoyed the conversation, I learned a lot, and we talked about so much more than just those few things. Please enjoy!
In this episode, we discuss:
- Who is Kate Northrup, what does she do, and how did she get here? [4:00]
- How did Kate get into helping women around money in the first place? [6:45]
- Kate Northrup's view on money and finances [8:50]
- What does money mean in Kate's personal life? [11:50]
- A piece of homework on the topic of money by Kate [15:45]
- Why Kate's take on productivity is different from what you are used to [17:55]
- The four cycles within a month [20:00]
- Apps that can help you keep track of these cycles [24:15]
- How these cycles appear in men [26:00]
- How to work based on your cycles [27:25]
- Taking a break when you are tired [29:30]
- What are some other things Kate does to keep herself productive? [31:00]
- A quick conversation on Yoga Nidra [35:00]
- What are some other skills, hacks, or routines that help Kate perform at a high level? [38:10]
- What is one product or service that Kate can't live without? [42:25]
- What are some books that have impacted Kate's life? [44:00]
- A few words on Kate Northrup's new book [45:00]
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want by Kate Northrup
- Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Busy Moms by Kate Northrup
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- Suze Orman's Books on Amazon
- Barbara Stanny's Books on Amazon
- David Bach's Books on Amazon
- Hormonology app
- Clue app
- MyFlo app
- Tracee Stanley
- Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation by Karen Brody
- Amazon Prime Now
- Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
- Kate Northrup's link for the book
- Kate Northrup's
Favorite Quotes from Kate Northrup:
Introduction: Welcome to the award-winning Superhuman Academy Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to give you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.
Jonathan Levi: Before we get started, I want to take a moment to talk to you guys about personal development. You see if I've learned anything over the last five years of hosting the show, it's that the journey of self-improvement never ends. There's always a way to improve and grow. That's why my team and I have recently launched Superhuman Squad. An all-access pass to our full library of personal development courses. Think of it as the Netflix of personal development for just $49 a month. You get access to each and every one of our premium courses, which sell for as much as $399 each best of all, you'll be the first to gain access to our new courses, courses that we're developing in partnership with some of the most esteemed thought leaders we've ever hosted on the show. To get started, simply visit superhumanacademy.com.
Greeting, Superfriends, and welcome. Welcome. Welcome to this week's episode, which is lovingly crafted. Thanks to a review from Chris Murphy, the sixth from the US of A. Five stars, highly recommended to people focused on growth. This podcast started out good and keeps getting better and better with every episode.
Thanks, Jonathan, for inspiring us and introducing me to so many great. Interesting and accomplished people. Well, wow. Thank you so much, Chris. I really do appreciate that review. And for those of you who have not left a review, please do so that I can read it out on the air. I read them all out except for the random one-star one that someone got really upset about.
Not sure what happened there. I do apologize that you didn't enjoy one episode of the show. We can't please everybody. But I think this episode will because today's guest is Kate Northrup. She is an author, entrepreneur, mom, and much, much, much more. Kate specializes in a couple of different areas that I am really, really passionate about, including money and why we should use it in intelligent and conscientious ways to actually make our lives and the lives of those. We love better, but also productivity. Now she's recently published an all-new book in addition to her first. Best-selling book Money, A Love Story. And her new book is about the cycles in which we can become more productive at specific things during specific periods in the month.
Now I will say her method is tailored more towards women who have a cycle, but it's actually very interesting for anyone listening, not just because we all have women in our lives, but also because it turns out that even men have. These kinds of cycles and can be more effective at different things at different times in the month, I really enjoyed the conversation.
I learned a lot and we talked about so much more than just those few things. So without any further ado, my new super friend, Kate Northrup,
Ms. Kate Northrup, welcome to the show. How are you doing today, My friend?
Kate Northrup: I'm doing great. Thank you. How are you?
Jonathan Levi: I'm doing really, really well, really excited about a new knitting project that I was telling you about before we hit record. So it's just, it's been an exhilarating day. I bet you've never heard that on a podcast before. Right?
Kate Northrup: Not exhilarating with the word knitting.
Jonathan Levi: Oh, there's nothing more superhuman than knitting. So Kate, I'm really excited to have you on the show today. Not least because we share two of our favorite topics, which are money and how to kind of use it in meaningful ways to add value in your life, but also productivity, which is my secret unique ability.
So I'm really happy to have you here today.
Kate Northrup: I'm so happy to be here.
Jonathan Levi: So I would love to hear your origin story because you like myself have jumped around and have become a thought leader on a couple of different topics. Where did this all start for you? How did you get into the field of helping people live better lives?
Kate Northrup: Yeah. I don't know really. I mean, a great question, and I, I did not do this on purpose. I will tell you that, um, it continues to come as a surprise to me that this is what I do for my career. Like I actually went to school for art history and I thought maybe I'd be a museum curator or an art dealer gallery owner.
Um, or maybe that I would be a real estate investor, so, or like a fixer-upper type, like flipping houses. So, and maybe I will still do some of those things. I don't know, because I really like you said, I do like I get really into something and then I get really into something else. And I've learned to begin to embrace that instead of think that there's something wrong with me for being interested in many things, but basically what happened is.
I was traveling the country, teaching these workshops on money for women. And then, I mean, the very short story is I was like blogging about it and using social media to promote them. And then I ended up being asked to write a book and then that turned into Money, A Love Story, my first book, and a whole.
Need a course on that and things. And then, then I kind of felt pretty dried up creatively and, uh, ended up getting married and having a kid and was just kind of figuring out what I wanted to do next. And then when I got pregnant with my first child, I was so tired that like, I could barely work half the amount I had worked before, and yet my husband and I needed to get the same results financially.
And so by accident through that pregnancy in the first year of parenthood came the work that I'm doing now around productivity and how we can get really great results through working less, essentially.
Jonathan Levi: That's really awesome. And I love how your story parallels, not only my story and figuring out like, Hey, if I want to actually.
Be a full-time student grow this business, have a social life, have a romantic like dah, dah, dah, dah. I'm going to have to get the same results in a fraction of the time, but also parallels the story of a couple of my friends, RA myself, Ben Hardy. Who's been like, Holy crap. I have five kids now, what do I do?
You know, like didn't plan to have twins and Oh boy. So, wow. Really, really cool. I do want to ask before though, how'd you get into the talking women through money? How did that become a passion for you?
Kate Northrup: Well, I started in the direct selling industry in network marketing when I was in high school. And so I was actually teaching those workshops as lead magnets for my network marketing team.
And that's how that workshop. Came about, because then I, I was just also really interested in the topic. Like I've always been, I mean, I started reading everything. I could get my hands on personal finance when I was in high school, like, uh, the super nerd that I was. So, I mean, I read all of Rich Dad, Poor Dad's books, uh, Susie Orman, um, Barbara Stanny who's now Barbara Houston.
It was David Bach. I was just into it. So I kind of put together everything I had learned and then also combine it with my own experience and started teaching these workshops. And I had gotten myself into quite a bit of credit card debt through just really not paying attention and being. You know, I just sort of like hoping that someday somebody would figure it out for me, honestly, which is such a bratty thing, but it's true.
And then, uh, I realized that wasn't going to happen. So I got myself figured out and squared away and I learned how to finally pay attention to my money from a place of love, as opposed to, from a place of beating myself up, which is how I had always approached it before and how it really, I find a lot of the personal finance industry approaches it really from a punitive place.
And that just really didn't work for me.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. I really love that. Now. I know you gave me a lovely hint therewith, you know, you are not feeling energized creatively writing about money anymore. So I, I don't want to spend too much time on it.
Kate Northrup: Oh, that's okay. Because that was then, and now I am actually like, it's so funny.
Things are cyclical, which is also what I hate about now that like stuff comes back.
Jonathan Levi: Totally. And yeah, I'm gearing up to do around of probably 150 interviews on learning and memory for my next book. And, uh, if you told me that a year ago, I probably would have jumped off a building, but now, you know, I'm like, yeah, I'm, re-energized about this.
So I will then indulge and ask you, I mean, what's your take on money? What is money and what does it mean for us?
Kate Northrup: Well, money is made up. First of all, it's not real. We as human beings just kind of agreed-upon this society. I mean, it dates back to the Phoenicians was the, like the ancient Phoenicians were the first people that, that had, you know, at least that's Britain history.
We actually have no idea what was going on thousands and thousands of years ago. But basically, we just agreed like, Oh, I have some stuff, you have some stuff. So I guess we need to trade. And instead of trading the actual stuff, let's have a stand-in for what. We think is valuable. And so that's what money became the problem with the financial system.
I mean, there are so many, but one of them is that it's, there, there are so many things that are actually valuable that money doesn't value. For example, all of the invisible work. Of caretaking of, you know, like we talk about working mothers versus stay-at-home mothers, for example, as though like there's any parents who aren't working, right.
There's just, you know, just all of the unspoken work that happens, that ends up being not valued. So, and then money becomes a stand-in for our personal sense of self-worth because as a society, we've all agreed to buy into the system. We just have to pay more attention to how we feel about money because how we feel about money drives our behavior.
And if we want to be more conscious around our money and have more of it and also just make it managing it easier, we have to pay attention to how we feel about money. And a lot of people say like, Oh, well, you know, it's just business. It's not personal, or, Oh, it's just financial. It's not personal. Well, it's always personal because money comes with a lot of emotions.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. And one of the reasons I'm so passionate about money as well. I think there's a few reasons and it's worth mentioning. I mean, from the time I was 16, I was very blessed and I started a business and I had more money than I think most people around me. And, and if I'm honest with myself and acknowledge the extent to which I'm blessed, I was making more money than most people in the world will ever make.
I mean, if you look at a 61% of the world population base of pyramid perspective, And so I became obsessed with this question and I'm still obsessed with it of like, how can I actually use money to make my life better? Because you can't directly buy happiness. But, you know, as Joe Polish says, people who tell you, you can't buy happiness, just haven't given enough of it away.
So there is a formula to which I can use this resource that I've been blessed with to improve the lives of myself and the people that I care about. So that's on, on the one hand and on the other. I mean recently I've really dug in and done the work as to why is money so important to me when I don't consider myself materialistic when I'm not comfortable showing wealth and it ultimately comes down to, I believe that money is a vehicle for freedom and freedom is the ultimate currency.
Yeah. What's your take on money? I mean, what does money mean in your life and what is the. Approach towards money that you espouse when you work with clients. I mean, how should we be viewing it and how should we get our heads around it in a healthy way?
Kate Northrup: Well, I'm right on board with you. Money to me equals freedom choices.
Specifically, money allows us to have choices, and having choices brings greater happiness to a degree. Unfortunately, having unlimited choices actually decreases our happiness. So that's like a whole other thing, but, and then also money allows us to have a bigger impact. So like you shared the Joe Polish quote.
I love that. When we have more money, we can, I love the Mother Teresa quote. It takes a checkbook to change the world. We do live in a world. Yeah. Right.
Jonathan Levi: Never heard that. I love that.
Kate Northrup: So we live in a world that values money and it takes money. Is. You know, if you study the chakra system at all the seven chakras energy centers of the body, they each are associated with a different aspect of our lives.
And the second chakra is in our reproductive area of the body and it is associated with the areas of money. Sex and power. Those are all connected to the same energetic center of the body. It's really, really important that money and power and sex too. That's a whole other piece, but that money and power are associated because, in our world, we have all agreed that those who have the money have the power.
Right. And so that can be really problematic in certain ways. But for those. Who are going after abundance and being able to have to accumulate wealth? We have to know that that allows us like that. If you are somebody who maybe is having a spiritual hang-up or hangover about feeling like, Oh, it's not spiritual to be rich, really, to know that your ability to make waves in the world can be vastly amplified by your resources financially.
And so I think it's. And that's what I work with people around is their mindset. You know, just simply knowing that if you're judging people who have money, if you think having money is dirty, if you think you have to be greedy in order to make money, of course, your subconscious is never going to allow you to become one of those people.
And then I also just want to highlight that, you know, capitalism is complicated. We do live in a world where white supremacy is, you know, is a major. Issue overlying the whole, you know, really the whole world in a lot of ways. And so I also just want to highlight that when we have the conversations around money, I do understand that it does not affect everybody equally.
And that's why it is so important to, to examine. Our thoughts about money and to examine, especially when you get into the more woo world of like manifesting and law of attraction and stuff like that. To really know that that, yeah, like manifesting is real law of attraction is real. We do attract who we are in our vibration.
And also there are real systems that need to be dismantled that hold some people back more than others and marginalized folks. And so I just want to highlight that because I think that that's not talked about enough in conversations about. Money and creating wealth.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. It's incredible. How easy it is to make money when you have money or when the people around you.
Kate Northrup: Totally. Or like when you have an inheritance coming to you.
Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. And I did some work with folks startups right in the base of pyramids. So people living under $3 a day, then it was okay. And it's amazing to me, like all of the solutions that you would come with and be like, Oh, well, we could just do this.
And then we'd be able to generate a little economy. And it's like, well, no, we can't because you're dealing with people who literally have no means to acquire the wealth. Like we're talking unbanked, we're talking, don't have an ID number or talking. There's no way to get these people into the grid. And you're like, Oh, that's the problem.
So I really appreciate you saying that. A takeaway homework tip or something that people could do with regards to money. I mean, what's one thing that people can change today to be better about this and be more mindful.
Kate Northrup: Yeah. I love, you know, what I did when I was in a lot of debt and I just needed to start paying attention to my money because I found I was like a head in the sand person.
I was just a chronic avoider. And by the way, I'm still a recovering financial avoider, like left to my own devices. I still just want to ignore it. So. But the good news is like, we can all be better with money than we are today and what I did and that it's the number one step I recommend is to set. A calendar reminder every morning to check your bank account balance.
And when you check your bank account balance to give some gratitude for what you have now, there were days when I started this practice that I actually had a negative bank account balance. So I'm not saying you actually even have to have money literally to give gratitude for what you have, but it's to take a moment of gratitude for.
Some kind of abundance that's in your life. It could be a roof over your head. It could be that you have a friend's couch to sleep in. It could be, you know, I know, I remember days when I had a negative bank account balance and like, I really didn't have much in my fridge, but there were like some condiments.
You know, so I couldn't be grateful for some small things and what that does, especially if you're a financial avoider or you have fear around money and you just, you just are sort of doing the head in the sand. Well, maybe if I don't look at it, it'll just get better. The truth is it won't get better. If you don't look at it, it will get worse.
But we can rewire ourselves to begin to associate. It's kind of like a Pavlovian response. We can begin to associate looking at our money with a feeling of expansion and gratitude because if you train yourself every day to practice gratitude while looking at your bank account balance, you will begin to shift your automatic response.
So then be looking at your money starts to feel good instead of feeling bad.
Jonathan Levi: I like that. I really liked that. And that's it. I had a feeling you'd have a quick mindset thing that people could do. That would just be wonderful. So I appreciate that. Now, talk to me about productivity. I mean, yeah, that's such a big word.
You and I both, you know, have done a lot of writing on productivity and what it means. I think. Anything that says common and as big and as talked about is productivity. It's like dieting, right? There's going to be so much bad advice out there. So I'm going to ask you the controversial question that I love to ask, which is why did the world need another book on productivity?
Kate Northrup: Oh, I have a great answer for this because there are over 50,000 books on Amazon in the field of time management and personal productivity, and not one of them, except for the book that I wrote that I know of. Of course, I have not read all 50,000 of them, but the one that I wrote do less is the only one I know of that actually bases its system on how a female body's biology works.
The rest of them are built. On the fact that a man cycles hormonally every 24 hours. And so therefore we have a 24-hour system of a woman's cycle is hormonally every 28 days. And no system has ever been built for her.
Jonathan Levi: And tell him that, okay, this is really smart. A lot of our audience is male, but I just want to remind you all, like I'm listening largely because I feel like my productivity systems that I try to, of course, mansplained to my wife, do not work.
So tell me everything, Kate Northrup, please tell me all the things.
Kate Northrup: Well, I will tell you, I've had great conversations about this with some male podcast hosts and they've loved it. So I'm so glad that you're open to having this conversation. Yeah. So, and I will say like a lot of what I teach about, you know, with the do less philosophy, completely applies to men and women, but here's the part that is unique to women, which will help you with your wife and all the other women in your life.
Which is that women have these four phases hormonally every single month. The only parts that we've really been taught or the part where you either have your period, or you can get pregnant, but there's four actually not two there's four. And they all have really unique gifts in terms of how our brain is wired at that time for a specific type of productivity.
And by the way, these four energetic phases are the exact same energy as the four seasons. So they're really easy to remember, and it's no mistake that a woman's body goes through four seasons every month. And those four seasons obviously happen on the planet every year. And those four phases are the exact same energy as the lunar phases each month as well.
So this is like divine design. And it, I figured when I started studying this, I was like, well, If it's good enough for the planet and, you know, keeping all the beings alive, if it's good enough for making human beings, which the menstrual cycle is responsible for human life. And if it's good enough for gravity, you know, the lunar cycle, then probably it would be good enough for my project management and productivity.
Right. So, right. So the follicular phase is like the springtime of a woman's month. And it's the time. Where her brain is the most wired for new beginnings, for planning, for brainstorming, for initiating things. So that's a really good time to do those sorts of tasks. The next phase is obvious relation and that's the time when a woman is literally the most fertile, but also energetically is the most fertile.
So it's a really good time for being out there, like going to networking meetings, teaching a workshop, doing a webinar, right. Recording all of your podcasts. If you're doing batches, for example, launching it's like when you want your idea to be out into the world, open to cross-pollination. Then your luteal phase is the autumn of your cycle.
And this is the time when the brain is the most detail-oriented. So it's time to cross your T's dot your I's and to complete projects. And our bodies are so genius. They've made the ludial our bodies, the luteal phase is a little bit longer than the other phases because we all know it takes longer to finish something than it does to start it.
Right. So our bodies naturally have made this phase a little longer. It's about 10 days. Whereas the other phases are more like five or six days, and that's the time to, to bring things home. But your energy is more inward. You don't want to be out there like yapping on video chats or, and that's okay. It's totally natural and normal.
And we need to honor it by doing more of the inward, you know, just sitting at your desk kind of cranking away tasks. And then the wintertime of your cycle is. Is the time when you have your period. And that is the time when you least want to talk to other people. You're the most inward. And it is the time when your brain, your left hemisphere is the most interconnected with your right hemisphere and therefore your logic and your intuition are the most intertwined.
And you will be the wisest and have the greatest instincts. So when my girlfriends or my clients call me up with big problems that they need to solve, I asked them. What phase of your cycle are you in? And they will tell me, and I will say, is it possible? Can you wait to make that decision until you have your period?
And if they can, they wait. And within like 10 minutes, they have the right answer as opposed to obsessing about
Jonathan Levi: it all month long. That's really interesting. I like this because you know, anyone, male or female who's ever met, a woman knows that her capabilities and strengths, and to some extent also personality varies a few times throughout the month.
So I really, I don't know. I know he's ever thought about this. You know, it's like I have a different hormonal balance at a different point in the month. I think it's really, really smart.
Kate Northrup: Can actually go through those four seasons every 24 hours. So I think that's also really important to note for guys listening, you know, pay attention to how you feel seasonally throughout the day, and then organize your day as much as possible.
According to what you actually feel like doing, because so much of our culture focuses on pushing through and doing the thing that we don't feel like doing. And while, listen, obviously there's a lot of things that we don't feel like doing that we need to do, but if we can do them at the time that we most feel like doing them, we get a lot more done in a lot less time with way less rug burn.
Like there's just less friction.
Jonathan Levi: That's really, really cool. Now I imagine you have a recommended app for people to track what phase they're
Kate Northrup: in at a given time. I do. I really liked there's three that I recommend. I like the hormonology app, the clue app and the, my flow app for women.
Jonathan Levi: Awesome. So we're a clue household.
Great. Yeah, that's really good. All right. At this point, I want to pause and take a moment to thank our sponsor Four Sigmatic. Who's making it easy for everyday people to unlock the incredible health benefits of mushrooms. I originally learned about four Sigmatic when I met their founder at a conference in 2015, and I have been pretty much obsessed with their products ever since personally, I use their reishi mushroom tea.
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Just visit foursigmatic.com/superhuman. Today. All right. Back to the show. So tell me a little bit about these kinds of differences, right? Like, are there certain tasks that you only do in, in certain phases? I would also like to know about the men. I mean, how do we know. Cause I didn't know that I went through these four
Kate Northrup: phases.
Isn't that cool? I would say so I'm not like the world's leading expert on men's hormonal health. So you'd have to do a little bit more research, but I do know that there's like your testosterone surges from like 6:00 AM to one to 2:00 PM. And actually interestingly enough, like that's your best time to get your work done.
That needs requires the most focus. And also to get your workout and also to have sex. So that's like a lot of things to do in about a six-hour period, you know, six to seven hour period. So, but each man is going to be different. Um, so I would just kind of track throughout the day, like set a timer every hour and just look back retroactively and say like, w how did I feel the last hour?
And you could literally just do like a quick. Was it more summer, winter, spring, or fall like energetically? And that might be a little too qualitative for you. I'm sure somebody could come up with a better system because I'm making this up as I'm talking about it, but just check it out and just see how you feel and then schedule accordingly.
And obviously, that's huge productivity. If I'm not the first person to say, like do the thing, you know, that requires the most focus when you feel the most energized, but that is really helpful. I will say for myself, listen, I have two small children. I run a seven-figure company with my husband. It's not like I can just completely do my schedule according to where I am in my cycle, because we also work with other people and it just doesn't work that way.
However, I recommend can you just do like 5% of tasks during the week that matches up with the phase that you're in? Because to me it just. It makes that 5% feel better. And I get so much more done. For example, I knew I needed to do editorial planning recently. And I was like, Oh, when am I going to be in my follicular phase next?
Because I know that's the time when my brain will really feel like planning and I'll do it the best. And it happened to be the following week. So I just put it in the calendar. And then like when I have my period, I just don't schedule back-to-back meetings that day. So super, super simple. But the decision-making part.
Yeah. Uh, really makes a huge difference for women to know that they can make their best decisions while they have their period. And then also the hugest thing honestly, is to know that as women, yeah, we are different throughout the month, but we're different in a really predictable way. And so that's also just so calming for ourselves, but also for our partners, for our coworkers, for our kids, everyone can expect it in a very predictable way.
Jonathan Levi: I was going to say, I mean, I definitely don't want to make this all about us men, but that's a life-changing thing for me because we did a, a Colby assessment of my wife and I, and I'd done it many times, but I wanted to get her Colby because I had some suspicions, you know, I'm a typical entrepreneur.
Potentially like you and your husband are as well, really high Quickstart, not a lot of fact-finders. I want to just dive in and try things out. She is a high fact finder, so needs to go through a lot of processes before making a decision. And just knowing that that could be a little bit less friction. At a certain time in the month.
I mean, I know what time of the month to not approach her about it, but that's not very helpful. Right?
Kate Northrup: Yeah, totally, totally. But I think, you know, regardless for, you know, just for humans in general, regardless of you know, what gender you were born as, or what gender you identify as. Some really interesting data is that most of us are just working way more than we need to.
So, yes, like I don't believe in women pushing through when they're having their period, like just take a freaking break when you're tired, but all human beings, we all need to just take a freaking break when we're tired because what the data shows is that when we work past the point of exhaustion and I'm sure you know this from your work already, but like, We start to distract ourselves.
So because we actually need a break. What ends up happening is your brain is trying to stimulate itself into focus, but then you end up context switching, which on average takes. 25 minutes to get refocused after. So what ends up happening is you're, you're working along and then, and then you get tired and it's really actually time for a break.
But what you end up doing is starting a new task or picking up your phone or open a new tab on your browser. When really like a walk around the block would have been the thing. And so what the data shows is that for each of us, the ideal workflow is working 52 minutes on with a 17-minute break. Now, of course, everybody can just adjust for themselves.
I do about 45 minutes with a 15-minute break because it feels cleaner, but like those sorts of things are really important. And to take an actual break at your first sign of fatigue does make you more productive throughout the day.
Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. Now, I'm glad that you went down this tangent because I, I do want to ask what are some of your others, I mean, I find that people who geek out and write productivity books well that are productivity geeks, right?
Walks like a duck quacks like a duck. So what are some of the other things that you do to keep yourself productive throughout the day? And, and at any point in the month,
Kate Northrup: Yeah. So, I mean, mine are going to be different than probably other people who you might read their stuff or have on your show. Like I'll lie on the floor.
For example, I just really find that like for me, and actually, the data proves this,, for the human brain, we need more space. And so we think that staying at our computer and doing more work is going to get us the best results. And it's actually usually the opposite. So the average American works 47 hours a week, but at just 49 hours a week, our health indicators start to plummet.
Particularly for women, mental health starts to decrease dramatically. Heart disease increases all kinds of stress. So what's really interesting though, is that like. The average person, not even the average person, even super, super high achievers can only focus on things that move the needle like four to five hours a day.
So I really, one of the productivity tips that I do is I just focus on what is my body need, because I know my body is my source of energy and I need energy. In order to do my best work. And so I need to tend to my energy instead of my time. And I do that, like, by, like I just said, lying on the floor, going and standing in the sunshine for five minutes, taking a walk around the block, putting on a song and dancing, obviously taking my supplements, eating vegetables, drinking water, but I really tend to my body first.
I have a mantra body first business second, because if I don't have my body working optimally.
Jonathan Levi: I really love that. And I have an idea for a podcast that I keep teasing and threatening that I'm going to do, which is it's all about entrepreneurs who put their lives first and themselves first and not their businesses because I'm so sick of the rhetoric saying you need to bleed from the eyes to be
Kate Northrup: successful.
You just do not. And you know, I love like Richard Branson says his number one tip for success is exercise. I love it. It just works to tend to your body and to your wellbeing when whatever way that means. And, you know, and, and for me too, it means like I take weekends off. For example, which may not sound that revolutionary, but for me, it's really huge for my productivity.
Like I really just don't work on the weekends and I usually don't work after four o'clock in the afternoon. Cause my little girls come home and then it's family time. And then after seven I'm kind of done. I'm just like toast. So I've clear boundaries.
Jonathan Levi: Oh, yeah. I mean, talk about productivity tips. I'm in strategic coach, Dan Sullivan's program for entrepreneurs, and one of their biggest productivity and coaching improvements is you need to take three full free days a week, not days where you kind of check-in with the office, like, and not just Saturday three full three days a week.
Kate Northrup: That's great. I love that.
Jonathan Levi: And I'm achieving more with three full free days, you know, then I think I would, I mean, I haven't, I haven't worked at seven day week in a decade, so either in that one pretty early on, but, um, I love that. Why laying on the floor specifically?
Kate Northrup: What is it about the floor? You know what?
I just like, I'm a yoga practitioner. I am a trained yoga teacher. I don't actually teach, but I just think like there's something about the receptivity and the full surrender that I just I'm a very kinesthetic person. And in order to like, experience something, I have to really feel it in my body. So if I want to let go and make more mental space, I really just have to let go in my body.
And the only way I can totally let go is by laying on the floor.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. Is this a supine or what are we talking? Yes.
Kate Northrup: Yes. Like Shavasana. So laying on the ground, you know, just legs, fully relaxed, hands, you know, everything fully relaxed. I also am a huge fan of yoga Nidra. I don't know. Have you heard of yoga nature before?
Jonathan Levi: I've heard of it? I don't actually
Kate Northrup: know what it is though. So this is cool from a neuroscience and productivity hacking perspective. So yoga major is a guided meditation, but it's essentially yoga sleep. So it's. You lie down on the ground. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes and you can download them, you know, you can get them for free on YouTube.
You can download them from iTunes. I really like Tracy Stanley's, you know, Guinea dries and also Karen Brody who wrote a great book on it called daring to rest, but basically in a 15 to 20-minute yoga Nidra. Sleep, you know, yoga sleep nap, um, or yoga can nap. What they found is that you get the same amount of brain restoration as you would in a three hour nap, but it only takes like 15 to 20 minutes.
And people who struggle with sleep, which we know is huge for our brain development and memory and learning and productivity, everything, people who are not sleeping well. If they start doing yoga Nidra sometimes throughout the day, it actually improves the quality of the sleep that they are getting, because it does something with our brainwaves and gets us into a different state in a very quick period of time.
And when I do it, when I'm tired and I don't really have time to like, you know, or whatever the baby's been up, like there's just traveling. There's there's lot of reasons. Sometimes I can't sleep the amount I want to, if I can get in a yoga Nidra, I really do feel like I just took a three-hour nap in 20 minutes.
Jonathan Levi: Fascinating. Okay. What do I do?
Kate Northrup: Well, I mean, it really like, you just download the thing and then listen to it. But essentially they take you, you know, you just lie down, you relax and then they, they just take you through a whole experience and you don't actually. Fall asleep. Like you are conscious, but you're only, semi-conscious, it's a little hard to describe, but they like take you through a body scan and you know, and relaxing various points of your body.
And now I feel like I'm in, I'm just like I'm in an altered state and then they bring you back, and then there you are. And you're ready to go. So just try it out.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. How is that different from meditation. I wonder. meditation. I wonder.
Kate Northrup: Yeah, great question. I don't know. Other than meditation, to me, I'm much more alert. It's not really like the same.
I don't feel like I'm going into an altered state of consciousness to the same degree. Like in meditation, I'm sitting, I'm much more aware of my surroundings and my breath and my thoughts, yoga Nidra is like really about letting go. And, you know, like sometimes you may actually fall asleep doing yoga nidra, but the idea is to stay conscious somewhat, and it just.
Feels like yoga Nidra feels like I really like kind of am taking an energetic elevator and going down several floors versus meditation feels like I stay on the same floor. Does that make sense?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. I really liked that and I get it because I've, I think I've accidentally done this when I've not followed my meditative instructions and I've laid down and meditated and it's like, you don't really fall asleep, but boy, do you wake up refreshed?
Yeah, totally. Awesome. Okay. So I know we're coming up on time here at Kate. I do want to ask you, what are some of the other skills habits, routines that you feel make you perform at a higher level as a mom, as a business owner, as a yoga practitioner? Hmm.
Kate Northrup: So sleeping back to sleep. I really like talking about it.
It's so important. I always prioritize sleep. So I am going to be the first one to leave a party. I really don't go to things that start after like eight o'clock at night. It would have to be so spectacular, like for me to go out and go do something late at night because I just. As for me, my performance and my ability to be present and happy requires me to get the seven, eight.
I mean, it's amazing on a night when I can get nine hours of sleep. And since becoming a mother, I am fundamentally pretty depleted and I find that this is common with parents. So I just do whatever I can to fill that sleep jar whenever possible. Sleep napping for sure. And then another thing that I do that I think is unique in the productivity world is making a weekly to-do list instead of a daily to-do list.
This has been a game-changer for me because I used to make a to-do list that was essentially like a brain dump of everything I could possibly ever think of that I needed to do. And it really was written from a place of anxiety thinking that if I just wrote everything down, then I would feel less anxious, but then.
What ended up happening is I would read the list and every time I read the list, I would feel that same anxiety because it was way too long. So now what I do is I ask myself three questions before something ends up on the list and I do the list on Sunday nights or Monday mornings. And they are, does this need to be done?
Because so often we put things down on a list to feel busy, to validate ourselves through feeling like we have a lot to do, or because we're just like have all these ideas. And so we put it down, but the list gets too long. So does this even needs to be done or we over-complicate things. And the second question is.
Does this need to be done by me? So if it does need to be done well, maybe it doesn't need to be done by me. Could my husband do it? Could my daughter and she's only three and a half, but honestly there are things she could do. Could someone on my team do it? Is there software that could do this? You know, who else could do this?
Could one of the other moms at the daycare do it? And then. The final one is, does this need to be done right now? And so if it doesn't need to be done right now, it does not belong on this week's to-do list. It belongs either on my calendar or in my project management software. So what ends up happening is like, I have my to-do list.
I'm looking at it for the week right now. And there are like seven items on it. And it's Monday. And that makes me feel like I have space to live my life and run my business. I'm not overwhelmed. And I keep my to-do list to one-half of one side of an eight and a half by 11 pieces of paper. And if more than that, Comes, I just can't.
I just don't do it. I just say no, or move it out or whatever. Like it just, if we want to be more effective, it's the same thing. As the weight-loss philosophy. If you want to lose weight, you eat off a smaller plate. If we want to be more effective with our time, we need to edge out essentially all the unnecessary so that we have a smaller amount of time.
And then we become more effective.
Jonathan Levi: That's brilliant. And I started doing the weekly to-do list as well, and we're not doing it team-wide which is what are my crucial results this week. It's not what are all the things that could possibly aspire to do this week that I'm not going to be at all accountable for, but I'm going to list them out and tell everyone that I'm going to do them.
It's like, what are my crucial results this week? That's great. And if you only name one, that's great. But you know, to the team. Okay. But, um, it's been a game-changer for us and I even sometimes we'll just do it on a Sunday morning, jotting down. Okay. These are the things that I want to get done for me.
Personal and professional. It's rarely more than five. I also really loved the process that you took us through. It's like, does it really need to get done? And then does it really need to get done by me? Because it's, we all love to talk about automation and delegation, but how many of us actually stop in the tracks of whatever it is we're doing?
Before we dive in and start doing the stupid busywork. I really love that. Cool. I love that Kate what's one product or service you simply could not live without.
Kate Northrup: I mean, Y obviously, but recently we'll say grocery delivery has been a tremendous time saver for me and my family. We are having our groceries delivered.
And this may not sound that revolutionary to people who've been doing this for years, but I live in a small town in Maine and this only became available like a couple of weeks and it is changing my life.
Jonathan Levi: Awesome. What's your service of choice? It sounds like you don't have a choice, but I
Kate Northrup: will. Yeah. I only have one choice and it's the Amazon, it's the prime, you know, the whole foods, whatever.
I don't know what the app is called. Prime something. It's orange.
Jonathan Levi: Love it prime now. Thank you. Yes. Love that. And that's a game-changer for me as well. And we've started having groceries delivered and then we have someone coming, cook the groceries.
Kate Northrup: We also do that. It's amazing, right? Where you were making some financial shifts earlier this year.
And I really was like, you know what? I'm going to give up a lot of things before I'm going to give up, having somebody cook for us because. It's not in either my husband or my wheelhouse, neither of us are particularly good at it. Neither of us particularly love it. And so I would much rather do what I need to do to make more money to make that happen.
Jonathan Levi: Agreed. And we figured out that, uh, if you compare it to Uber eats, we're actually saving money.
Kate Northrup: So that's probably true. We also don't have Uber eats, but I know what you're talking.
Jonathan Levi: Okay. If you compare it to eating it, you have restaurants in
Kate Northrup: Maine. We do. We have restaurants. No, totally. You do save money and so much healthier.
Right? Cause you know, body first business second.
Jonathan Levi: Totally. I love that. I love that. Now, again, we're up on time here, but I want to ask you, especially because we share the finance geekiness and the productivity geekiness, what are a few books that have changed your life?
Kate Northrup: Oh, okay. So recently I read a great one called emergent strategy.
By Adrian Marie Brown. I freaking loved it. It's about biomimicry and how we can look to the natural world to find solutions to our very human problems. Very much through the lens of social justice, but also, you know, just also how we work and how we make change in the world. So loved that book. Really a game-changer.
I loved essentialism by Greg McCowan. I'm sure you've read it phenomenal. I also really loved to drop the ball. By Tiffany Dufu, particularly for the women out there who feel like they are holding too much of the bag on the Homefront really, really recommend the book drop the ball.
Jonathan Levi: Love it. Heard of any of those who accept essentialism?
So I'm really excited always to get new books and new perspectives for folks to check out. Now, since we're coming up on the end here, Kate, tell us about the new book. I mean this whole productivity ideology is actually articulated in your new book. Tell us all about that.
Kate Northrup: Yeah. So do less is about a revolutionary approach to time and energy management.
I say for ambitious women, but I have had some men who loved the book as well, but really like if you are wanting to tap into a time management and energy management system, that is. Specifically designed for the way women work, biologically, this is going to be for you and it combines data. It combines spirituality.
It's kind of like the perfect combination of neuroscience and woos and practical. And it's organized according to 14 different experiments. So you can just try things out and see how they work for you.
Jonathan Levi: It sounds like the productivity book for the Oprah crowd. That is precisely awesome. If you haven't already trademarked that trademark, that awesome.
And Kate, where can people pick up a copy of the book and where should we also send them so that they can get in touch with you, learn more about everything you're doing. Get on your mailing list, all that good stuff.
Kate Northrup: So you can get the book anywhere books are sold and then head over to Kate North of.com forward slash book.
So you can enter your info and get a bunch of goodies that come with the book, including a workshop on how to set boundaries and say no, which is a huge productivity hack. And then just find firstname.lastname@example.org. I've got a weekly planning ritual. That'll save you two hours a day. If you head over there for free.
And then on Instagram at Kate Northrup.
Jonathan Levi: Love it, Kate, it has been such a pleasure chatting with you. I always love when I totally clicked with the guests. So we just have a wonderful conversation. So thank you for coming on today.
Kate Northrup: That was so much fun. Thanks for having me.
Jonathan Levi: All right. Let's keep in touch.
Closing: Thanks for tuning into the award-winning Superhuman Academy Podcast. For more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit superhuman.blog while you're at it. Please take a moment to share this episode with a friend and review on iTunes. We'll see you again next week.