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How To Better Manage Your Life with Paul Gallagher
What I love about this show is interviewing interesting people, some people famous, some people less famous, but everybody has the same challenge. That is a challenge of how to be more productive, how to do more with less, or just get more balanced in our life, and accelerate what we’re achieving in a more efficient and effective way. Whatever it is, time management is the issue that keeps coming back over time and this goes back way into Roman times. This isn’t a new concept. It’s not just because of the internet or anything. It is an age-old topic that we’re constantly trying to get on top of. I’m super excited to have Paul Gallagher with us. Paul has The Amazing Me Project, which he has written. He’s worked in commercial operations for the majority of his career starting in live music venues and especially transitioning to higher education and charity sectors.
He’s managing events and hospitality events around the world at some of the most prestigious universities. The Amazing Me Project has allowed Paul to bring his experience in organizational project management and fuse it with his passion for personal development and learning. The Amazing Me Project is an ongoing project in itself. Paul is committed to creating additional resources and support networks so that people can use the tools and the frameworks that are set out in the book and use it for themselves and become Amazing Me Project managers themselves. Paul, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me.
Life is a project. Everything that we do can be seen as a project. I like the idea that you’re bringing project management concepts into helping us to better manage our life.
That’s how it came about. I was doing some project management courses. Even though I’m doing project management in my career, I was doing some extra courses. I was also doing quite a lot of personal development as well as I normally do and it correlated. The project management aspect, the actual defined end-product that you have in a project management system and the product that you have in your personal life when you’re setting goals. When you have a real clear destination you try to get to and you allocate your resources backwards to get to that goal in the best way possible. These two things I was doing at the same time and all of the sudden I thought, “It’s the same concept.”
It just clicks. Why is it so difficult that we run our lives differently than we run our businesses? Why is that?
I don’t know. This is one of the problems that I’ve had and still do have a little bit. I can be one person at work and I can be someone else at home. I have my work role and my home role. I know the work role can be ruthless. It can be determined. It can be mean just to get the job done. It isn’t my character, it’s somebody else. How do I bring those kinds of aspects to my work and allow me to do well in both roles? How can I use that in my own personal life to still get results?
It’s a really important point. I haven’t thought of it like that. We’re all with many people. We have different people that we hang out with. We have friends who we like to laugh with and then maybe you’re the funny Paul. You’re with other people and you became the intense Paul. Maybe we are accessing different parts of ourselves in terms of resources as well. If we’re not conscious and purposeful of it, we are lacking in some of the resources that make us successful in other areas of our life. That’s the key.
I did mention that in the book as well. I don’t see a problem with having different personalities or different versions of yourself as long as you’re using that version to get the result you want. There’s no point in being somebody else and not achieving anything. There’s no point to do that.
You said that the project came from your work with project management. Is there anything else that you wanted to share the background about how this book in this project came together?
It was from doing these courses and it was from having done countless different personal development. I read hundreds of books on this subject, YouTube videos, Udemy courses, and all these things because I’ve always wanted to better myself. I had a bad year in 2018, to be honest. It’s not too great. Doing these things helped me get a bit more normal in my life. It just clicked that these things could be put towards making myself better while having a redefined end-goal for myself and how I work in that project to get that. It was just crazy. It wasn’t meant to be a book, but it ended up being. I had the idea for the framework and I was just going to do a twenty-page PDF or something to give it away. As I was writing it, I morphed myself as I was writing and it just took on a life of its own.
Let’s talk about some of the concepts and frameworks that you have in there. You talked about setting goals and having goals in each area of your life. If we don’t have clear goals, then we’re setting ourselves up for failure in a way. Most people, even though they know what clear goals are, they still don’t set clear goals.If you don't know why you're doing something, then you are destined to fail. Click To Tweet
I’m guilty of that myself in the past and maybe still guilty of it myself. I catch myself when I’m doing it wrong. Part of The Amazing Me Project is to recognize where you’re straying off the path a little bit. It’s about how to get back onto that path and how to use friends and other people to recognize when you are coming off your track and get you back on there. It wasn’t meant to be this book. It was from doing some personal development courses about goal-setting and about time management and the concept you need to be very defined. I’ve known this in my past. I’ve known this in my work. For some reason, it seemed to hit me this one time that you have to know what you do and you have to know where you’re going. You have to know how you’re going there. I use the word why a million times in the book making sure that people understand. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, then you are destined to fail over that.
You’re not connected to it. You can set a goal but some people’s goals aren’t even their own. They are goals that they think they should have. It’s so important to get connected to that and that creates passion and purpose. People know it, but it’s underutilized.
People need to do it. I knew this content. I’ve read Start With Why by Simon Sinek and Tony Robbins courses and they all say the same thing. It just hit me this one time. Another moment of clarity came to me with Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I’ve read that book. Everybody talks about that book and said, “This is the book that made me.” I was like, “I’ll read it.” I read it during my dull time. I’ve read it before, but for some reason, things came out in that book that I haven’t done before. It’s the same thing. It’s about knowing where you’re going, what you want, writing it down, and all the things that everybody teaches. Napoleon Hill says, “You will know when you’re ready for this.” That’s what it was to me. I was ready and it made sense. It’s like reading a new book.
What’s one thing that you do to connect with that “why” that works for you?
It’s about writing down. I make it my daily project. One of my objectives every day is to read all my whys. I have my why which I call the overarching goal. That’s how I describe it in the book. That’s my life. That is what I want and that’s just for me. It’s not for anyone else. It’s not written down in the book. I don’t expect other people to go with it. I made sure that I read those whys all the time to really understand why it is. I’ve got it in my Amazing Me Project planner and it’s highlighted in yellow so I can see it. I made sure that I read that every couple of days to connect to it. It’s so easy just to go off track. I do it every day. If I’m being honest, even though I wrote this, I’ve got to walk the walk and talk the talk. I sometimes find myself doing things that aren’t necessarily on my project plan for that day. Capturing that and going, “Why am I doing that? If that is the best allocation of my resources at this time, I would have put it on my planner.”
Because you’re reviewing it every day and you’re keeping it top of mind and you’re staying connected to it, it helps you to be evaluating everything that you do and saying, “Is this in line with that?” I talk about aligning your tasks and your goals and that’s the same thing. If you’re not clear on what your goals are and you’re not reviewing them on a regular basis, then you stray more often. It’s just life.
You’ve got to be reviewing these objectives. Just because I’ve said, “I’m going to do this objective now.” It might take three days to complete this thing. If at some point I realized that it isn’t going to be the best outcome for me, then I’ll recognize that. I’m going to stop it now because you would spend two more days to do that. I already know I’m not going to make it to the goal, so why put any more of my resources to it? It’s aligning the resource with the outcome. If you don’t keep really what it is, then you go into autopilot so easily. That’s what I’ve tried to do and that’s what I’ve done in the past, which is why I had to make this framework anyway. I’m still learning. The book is not about me saying all the amazing things I’ve done. There are elements of that, but it’s also very honest that I say, “These are the areas I struggled with. This is why I had to be like this and I’m not there yet.” If I was there, then I wouldn’t be writing the book. There’s nothing in this book that’s going to tell you how to make a million pounds. I also say if your goal isn’t making a million pounds, then you’re not going to do it. You set the goal for what you wanted to be and adopt the framework for that.
We all are on this Me Project. We all have it. We all have a Me and we all are looking to be the best part of ourselves and achieve different things in our lives. What do you think is the biggest thing that you can advise people around the next step? After I get clear on what it is that I want to do and I’ve got those goals clear, what can help people stay consistent in their habits and behaviors? Consistency is one of the biggest challenges.
It’s about making that decision that you are going to do, you are going to check your plan every day. You are going to write your next day that evening. If you can’t commit to it, if you can’t make that decision, then you’re not going to do it anyway. If I was going to give people any advice, it’s being honest with yourself. You’ve got to be honest about where your strengths don’t lie. If you say, “My goal is going to be X.” If you already know that there’s going to be something along that way and you are not the best to do it, you’ve got to be honest and say, “I need to get some help there. I need to get someone else. I need to outsource it.”
In the book, I describe things in more of a personal development way. I always say to my staff or the managers who work with me, I’m like, “I’m not as good as you and that’s why I hired you.” I haven’t got that skill, so I bring in someone else to do this. It might be a personal trainer, it might be just a coach, or it might be some therapy that you get. You’re not going to get there if you’re not even honest with yourself. That’s the biggest piece of advice that I’d give to people, be honest. It’s one of the things that I’ve given people as a tool at the end of the book is to map out your life. Put it onto paper. It’s completely personal. It’s not online. No one sees it, but there are a lot of questions. Find which parts of your life are lacking the most.
Do you believe that there’s a life wheel where you take a look at all the different domains of your life and you set goals and objectives in each of those areas and check in with them on a regular basis? Is that part of your process?
I could explain to everybody how it works. It is similar to that because if you compare it to a wheel on a car, it’s not round. In the book, I call it my stable table. I refer to it as my overarching goal is the table top and then each area of my life. In my project, I have four and people can choose how many different areas they want. My table has four legs. Every day, I make sure that what I’m doing is contributing to each other’s legs to make sure it keeps its integrity, make sure it’s the same plan, and make sure it can hold the same goal. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about recognizing where my health, mind, and fitness table leg. Maybe that one’s okay for doing alone.You've got to be really honest about where your strengths don't lie. Click To Tweet
I train in, I feel okay in my mind, but I’m going to put a little bit more on my career or my plans or both table leg. It’s recognizing where it is. Don’t put all your time into one that maybe doesn’t need much time or maybe you need to put a little bit more first in your relationship. That’s what the project allows you to do. It gives you that stable table and how do you mind when you’re planning your day is you can see where you might want to put a little bit more focused and prioritize as well. I have a family and friends area and I try to make sure that I do those ones first. For me, the other ones don’t make any sense if I don’t have that. That’s the key so I need to make sure that that one is a priority because I’m doing it all for my family.
When we look at health and we look at family, it doesn’t make sense, but those seem to be the ones that get put to the wayside even though we know they’re the most important things for us. We know that truly our values is our family and taking care of our health. At the same time, many people sacrifice those two areas of their life. They’re so obsessed with what they’re doing at work or stressed or whatever it is. I’m no exception. I have these times where I’m just so obsessed with what I’m doing and just want to finish it. The key is to take those areas that support your values and the things that are most important to you and do them first. When you do that and you have that planned in your calendar, they’re fixed. They’re not things that are going to get thrown off the calendar or not done, if those are your rules. You’re more likely to find that stability because you’ve already secured the things that are most important to you.
As I said, it forms my whys as well also in my career, my wealth and finance table leg because I want to create an abundance of wealth for my children so I can do things that I talked about in my family and friends. I can’t do that if these table legs are crooked. I have to get that balance. That’s the way I manage it. They can do it however they want. It’s not prescriptive. No one’s going to stop you if you do anything wrong. It’s what works for you and that’s why you’ve got to be honest with yourself about what you want to be. You got to be honest with yourself about your progress as well.
Progress is using and understanding and being honest with yourself in regular monitoring and controlling and tracking. Isn’t that the thing where people say, “I don’t have the time to reflect back and take a look at what works and what doesn’t work.” That’s the biggest mistake that people make. They move onto the next thing or they’re just constantly doing, doing, doing without reflecting that they don’t get to take advantage of the momentum factor and they don’t see what doesn’t work.
That’s one of the things from the project management side and having the lessons learned log really brings it back. If you have a friend who is good at motivating to go to the gym, write it down because later on when you’ve got a bigger goal, you might want to tap into that and get that person to play more of a role in doing these goals when you go right or when you go wrong. That’s what you do in project management. That’s how you learn. That’s how your next projects have the biggest success.
What would happen on a project when you didn’t check in with the different people on the team and you just checked in at the end when it was due?
The framework sets up for that to not happen. It is where the amazing new project does differ in a way where we’re playing all the roles of the project team, which is why it’s so more important to be honest with yourself. I do a big thing in the book called accountability buddies. That’s the thing that I’m trying to build like a network of people who can support people because you can’t do it on your own. Some people might struggle. Maybe they don’t feel confident telling people what their goals are. Maybe they don’t have anyone that they can rely on and that’s what I’m building on social media and email lists. I’m trying to get people to put their stories forward and put their lessons learned forward. Put them out there for people to read.
The project would fail. The truth is, that project that didn’t check in at all, it would be over budget. People would have gone in all different directions and not stayed true. Their pieces might not fit together. There are so many different things they could go wrong and that’s why you have to take that reflection time regularly. Review your goals and see how things are going, plan your weeks and things like that. That’s totally critical. Tell us what’s next for the project.
I’m working on my project. I’m building up the network of people slowly. I do have the time and try to make sure that all the goals are smart. I can measure them and they’ll be a framework around that. That’s what I’m focusing on at the moment. People can get the book. They can buy the book on Amazon or they can just go to the website and download it. This isn’t me trying to make money off this book. It is more about getting the ideas out there and create that community. That’s what I’m working on at the moment. I have a long-term plan for this, but at the moment, it is more just about getting that community built and being there and trying to do things out there. I’m having a presence online to help people and advice. That’s good for my personal life and it’s good for my mental health as well so I should be doing such things.
What’s the website that they can go to?
It’s www.TheAmazingMeProject.com. It’s on Facebook as well. There is a Facebook page and the accountability group at Facebook.com/AmazingMeProject. I do a blog as well. I do post articles twice a week or once a week to be able to get more resource there. The Facebook page is a good place for you to start.
Thank you so much for being here and for sharing your journey. It’s hard to be vulnerable and to share with people, “This is where I’ve fallen down and this is what helped me get up.” I appreciate you doing that and revealing so much of yourself in your book that people can relate and then they can see how it could work for them too. Thank you so much.
Thank you very much.
Thank you so much for being here and I hope you’ve made the connection. If you spend your life in each area of your life like a project, then you could have a structure. A framework that would support you in being more successful in getting to where you want to go faster and being happier in the process. Go on and check out the website. Check that out and download the book and get yourself a hard copy. Check out the frameworks and the approaches that Paul is giving you here because it’s worth its weight in gold. I know you have read one time management book or you’ve read two or three, but the more you read and the more you interact, that something is going to give you that a-ha moment. That moment of clarity that’s going to make all the difference for you. Keep reading and keep pursuing different ideas so that you could put together in your life what works. Thank you for being here and we’ll see you in the next episode.
- The Amazing Me Project
- Start With Why
- Think and Grow Rich
About Paul Gallagher
Paul Gallagher is creating a movement to help others better manage their life through combining project management techniques with personal development. Having worked in commercial operations for the majority of his career, starting in live music venues and eventually transitioning to the higher education and charity sectors managing the events and hospitality areas of one of the world’s most prestigious universities. The Amazing Me Project has allowed Paul to bring his experience in organizational project management, fusing it with his passion for personal development and learning. The Amazing Me Project is an ongoing project in itself and Paul is committed to creating additional resources and support networks so that people can use the tools and framework set out in the book for their own use and become Amazing Me Project Managers themselves.