Your Process is the Problem

Welcome to another episode of Uncommonly More. I’m really, really, really looking forward to today’s conversation. And really mostly I’m looking forward to you talking back to today’s conversation, because when I sit down with clients in our quarterly production calls or people who join me for just a single strategy session, this is the conversation we most frequently need to have. However, it’s very rarely the question they come in with because, ultimately, this piece is what makes the difference in how you feel about podcasting.

So last week we talked about purpose and that really is more about making sure you’re sharing the right thing, making sure that the podcast content is aligned. Whereas today’s is really more about the mechanics of how your podcast gets done, front to back, soup to nuts, A to Z, whatever version of that you would like to put in here, right? And so we’re going to talk about that today because these are two of the three places that I see problems so, so often.

And when I sit down with clients for one-on-one sessions, which by the way, I almost forgot to tell you this, by the way, there is a brand new way to book those with me. And so I opened up a few extra ones because I’m really excited. So if you head over to the Uncommonly More site,, you will find an option to grab a one-on-one spot with me. You can link to it right there on the homepage. If you scroll down, there’s literally the three ways to work with us: launch packages, production packages, or a single session. Click on the single session and you’ll see the new page all about working one-on-one with me outside of a production contract. So this is a really great complement if you already have a production team or you’re DIY-ing your show and you’re not ready to hand it over, you don’t have any interest handing over whatever. These are a great way to book these single sessions with me.

And what we’re going to talk about today is something that comes up so often in those single sessions, because we’ll start with questions around, like, “I just can’t get into a rhythm,” or like, “I don’t understand how people batch so many episodes,” or, “I get into these lulls where I’m just not sure what I want to say.” And so we always come down to sort of these three categories. Last week’s was purpose. Next week we’ll talk about the third one. And today is the process. And the process is generally what’s responsible for the symptom that is causing those other questions like, “I don’t know how to batch,” the symptom being like I’m constantly being in catch up and I can’t get out of the hamster wheel of doing a show. I’m not even going to say producing a show. I’m going to say doing a show because there’s different things. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Process, process, process, process.

And immediately, immediately, there is often a pushback to this conversation around process, because I am blessed to know so many wonderful creative people who credit their creativity with their resistance to process, which is fine. You get to believe what you want to believe, love. But one of the things that I love, love, love hearing from our clients who lovingly get placed into our process is that they’re changing the way they’re recording. They’re changing the way they’re structuring their shows. They’re changing the way they’re structuring getting done. And they’re able to actually step in and out of podcasting instead of feeling like they are stuck in that loop.

And so I say this because I want it to be really clear that even if you’re telling me me, or whoever, “For me, it’s really about not having a process and just like showing up and talking and like…” That’s cool. That’s cool, but that’s a process. Your air quotes, “not having a process,” and yes, I had to say air quotes there because I needed you to be clear that it was layered in sarcasm. Your not having a process is a process. It’s just exhausting in addition to being a process. It’s just not a very good one is really what it comes down to. And so I want you to look at, how can I improve this process that is not serving how I want to move through podcasting? And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. But first I had to get you on board with the fact that no process is a process. That’s your process. It’s one of those things where so often not answering is an answer. So yeah. So I want to talk about three points with your process today, because I think these three places are what’s causing so much discomfort.

The first one that I want you to know about process is it is not one size fits all.

I think that our agency has an incredible process that we put clients through. And for the most part, that process is exactly the same across all of our clients. Certainly the parts we handle as far as like what it looks like to edit, what it looks like to get our show notes done, what it looks like to get it up on the website, what it looks like to get graphics done, all of those things, right? So we have those pieces and they’re kind of set. Where the customization comes in, though, is still our clients, because every podcaster has to find their own rhythm.

I’ve talked in the past about, should you be scripting your episodes or not? And that’s process stuff. That is… It depends. And certainly go listen to that episode because I talk about it much more at length than I’m going to here, but you get to decide what your process is. And yeah, there are a lot of people who the process looks similar for, but you get to find yours. And your process can be everything from how many episodes do you record at a time, to how you prep for those episodes, to how many you record during the week versus off times. You can figure out whatever magic works for you, but you have to trial and error and figure it out.

So I’m going to let you in a little bit on what my process is right now. So for me recording right now, I go in to our dashboard and I see what I’m supposed to be talking about. And I sit down and I outline the show. I try to outline four shows at a time. And this happens just during a regular work day. There’s not a set time or day that I do these. It’s just, if I know I’m going to be recording in the next couple of days, I will make sure that’s on my calendar as time to prep. And so that’s where I’m going in, and if there’s research I need to do, I’m doing research. If there are pieces I want to include, I’m gathering those pieces. I’m outlining the structure of the episode and I’m putting it together.

And honestly, 9 out of 10 times, that is three to six bullet points on a document. There are times where it’s longer, there are times where there’s research and there’s… Especially if whatever I’m talking about is inspired by some sort of podcasting news, there’s stuff to do. So all of that happens in one day and I outline those afforded time. The whole process generally takes me about an hour and a half for four episodes. Because again, I’m just outlining, I’m just starting to put the idea into my head.

And then I wait two or three days before I actually record. And part of that is because part of my process is between that outline and the time where I go to sit down, I will have added more things to the outline. I will have edited things in the outline, I will have here and there got an idea and made a note. And so I, this is going to sound so crazy, I really like having time to sort of marinate between the outline and the actual recording session. So I do not outline and then record right away.

So I have that time, I sit down to record, right? I put some headphones in, because I listen to music while I’m recording the show. Sometimes it’s something very like binaural beats-y. Today, full disclosure, it is a like early 2000s pop punk playlist on Apple Music. Sometimes it has words, sometimes it doesn’t. I needed a little more mojo today. I need it to be a little more hyped. So we’ve got real music. We’ve got stuff that fires me up. So I’m sitting here with my AirPods in listening to music through my iPad.

Also on my iPad are, I have Goodnotes open and that is where my actual structure and outline for the show is and all of my points. And I’m just recording. I will do, honestly right now, two, maybe three episodes today. I have four on my calendar. I don’t know if I’ll get there. I’m going to try really hard though, but we’ll see. I may only do these two. Two are what I’m definitely, definitely going to get done today. So I’ve got those ready, ready, ready to go.

I only have the outlines for the episodes I’m definitely going to record today in front of me. In fact, I actually have only have the outline for the episode I’m recording right now actually visible to me on my iPad. So that way I’m all the way in this. The other thing is, is I’m sitting in front of my computer. And so it is critical that the only thing visible to me on my desktop is GarageBand, which is what I record into, because it’s just real, real easy.

So I record into this, that allows me to keep an idea on what my levels are. Before I sit down and record, I do a sound check. And then again, I just, I go for it and I record. When I’m done with this episode, I will stand up, stretch a little bit, move around a little bit. And then I will do episode two that I’m going to do today. If I have time, I will flip the page and I, well, the virtual page, it’s on my iPad. I will flip to the next page and I will do the next two episodes, and we’ll see how that goes. But that’s the recording part of my process.

And then we go into the production process, which we’ll talk about in another episode, next week actually. But for me, and for our clients, and for a lot, a lot, a lot of the women I talk to in these one-on-one sessions, the problem is not in the production part of their process, it’s in the recording part of their process. And really it’s in the prep part of their process. And so that’s what I want you to look at right now, is what is your process for actually recording? The other part of the process that I really want you to look at is in planning what you’re going to talk about.

So the thing I didn’t talk about when I was just talking about my process is, how do I actually have the ideas of what’s going to happen? So when I go look at my dashboard and I see what episodes I need to record, how did those get there? That happens in a quarterly planning session. Again, this is something we do with our production clients. This is a great way to use a one-on-one call. I sit down frequently and sort of talk to Cali about this, who is our production manager at Uncommonly More, and my right hand.

So it’s really, really, really, really, really, really, really important to me that I get outside of my head on this and I get 12 weeks of episode ideas planned. We also have a spot on all of our dashboards called Episode Ideas, and that’s a place for the random ideas that come up so that when we have those calls and we have those points or those planning sessions, we have a pool of ideas to grab out of. And that list is just sort of a living list and it’s happening all the time. It’s growing all the time.

So, I want you to be looking at where can you spend some time planning 12 episodes. All you’re doing is coming up with the idea. Every once in a while we’ll jot down some bullet points mostly so that we can solidify what the idea means, because I have written things down and been like, “I know these words are English. I do not know what they mean when they’re in this particular sequence.” So, especially ideas that come up from like showers, the middle of the night, or while exercising, they often do not make sense to me to a, not in that moment brain later.

So those planning sessions are the other key piece to your process, but you can figure out how that works.

Maybe you have those planning sessions once a month. I like having them once a quarter. We sit down with our clients and have them once a quarter, I have them once a quarter, but a lot of our clients then sit down with somebody else on their team and refine it, or they sit down on their own on a monthly basis and reconnect with what we decided for that month when we did our quarterly plan. Find what works for you. Just make sure that you’re not doing this week by week, because these planning sessions do need to be able to give you a forecast, a big picture overview of what’s ahead. Cool. But again, find your rhythm for these process pieces. The other piece I want to on before we wrap up is.

There is no one-size-fits-all here, but there’s also no one-size-fits-all-forever.

So it’s not always just about not worrying too much about how someone else is doing it, but also not worrying too much about feeling called to evolve your process, to change something. I have been hosting this show for very nearly eight years. The show will turn eight this year, this fall. It’s crazy. I’ve been a part of lots and lots of shows at this point. And I will say the one, one singular universal truth is that they evolved, they changed, they grew, and they learned, and different things worked in different seasons of their show.

And I don’t mean seasons like season one, season two. I mean like different time periods. As you know, I’ve done this show nonstop for the last seven years. So it isn’t necessarily that, “Oh, well this season I’m going to try…” No, it’s just like, “Huh, this isn’t working anymore. What can I tweak 1% and see a huge change?” “What thing can I do a tiny bit differently, or step can I replace, or hand off, or whatever, to get some new perspectives, some new energy, all of that. Those are the changes that you will keep making over, and over, and over again.

For example, I outline a little more or a little less depending on the show. This particular batch is at a time where I’m testing a lot of things and trying a lot of things, not just in the show, but in my business. And so I did this one a little bit differently. I’ve got slightly heavier notes than I usually have because there are some core principles that I want to start talking about in these episodes. And these episodes are me sort of feeling that out for the first time. And so I’ve got a little more there because for this time period, that’s what I need.

So I want you to really look at not just it not being a one-size-fits-all for everybody, but also even just for yourself. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a one-size-fits-all forever or one-size-fits-you forever. Really, really, really, really look at, what do I need now for this to feel good? What do I need now for this to feel doable? Honestly, sometimes that’s the bar I’m looking for. What do I need right now to just make this happen, to just get this mother loving over? Because sometimes the bar is not all the way up at how do I make this feel good, right? So look at what you need in those pieces. So, like I said, there’s three pieces to our process that I wanted to cover today. The one size doesn’t fit all. This can grow and change, so one size isn’t going to fit you forever.

The third piece is the production piece.

We’re going to talk a ton more about this next week, because production is the third sort of category of possible places we can find the fix to a show that’s not working. But we’re going to talk about it a little bit different next time. Next week we’re going to talk about working with your production team, working with your production process, and really getting the most out of that. And so we’ll talk about that, again, in depth next week.

But before that, I wanted to talk about just the process side of it. And so when we talk about production, we’re talking about one of three things: pre production, production, or post-production. All of our pre-production is the planning stuff we talked about earlier. The outlining of the show, scripting if you’re scripting, research time. All of that is pre production. Actual production is you recording. That’s actually this moment right now, this is production. This is me producing the core piece of thing we’re going to deliver. That’s actual production. And then post-production. Post-production is the editing, your show notes, getting it up, all of that stuff. My team, and a lot of what we’re going to talk about next week is going to be in the post-production part of this. Where I want you to look is what is your process for pre-production and actual production. And that’s where you’re going to then apply what we talked about earlier, of finding your recording process, of finding your planning process. And then of course, letting that process evolve over time.

So look at each of these pieces and identify very simply, what are you doing now? This is not about about you changing it, it’s not about listening to how I go through my production process and being like, “Ooh, yeah, I’m going to do that too.” No. I want you to very, very simply identify what’s having now and identify what in that process feels really good, and what in that process feels really sticky. And I say sticky, because oftentimes this is not actually about the things in the process that suck. Often, this is actually not about the things that are blaringly, obvious inconveniences. Most often, this is about the things, and this is a word my friend and client and coach Tara Newman uses a lot that, we are tolerating.

And I smile because she’s got a CEO debrief tool that I use. And one of the questions on there is, what are you tolerating? And every time I see that question, I want to avoid it. But it is the question I now use so often when I look at production processes with clients and go, “Okay, so what in this are you tolerating right now?” Especially, especially if you are DIY-ing your show, because those things that you were tolerating are likely things you are not doing particularly well and are the easiest, low level fruit things to identify as either delegation or delete. If you’re having a gnarly time editing your show, great. Is it time to delegate that or unapologetically put out an unedited show? Both of those things can work. With the right production process, you can really minimize your post-production needs and it can work.

We have clients now who we handle post-production for, obviously, who for a long time just recorded and released. And that’s how they built their shows. And they saw a lot of success with that. Their shows were really good with that. And so when we came in and we started doing post-production, they were able to really shift that show from good to great, but they just said really honestly, “Hey, this is what I’m doing. I want to talk to you. I want to connect with you. So here’s what the show is going to sound like. And if that bothers you cool, don’t listen. But if it doesn’t, we’re going to have a good time here.” And that’s a really cool, really empowered thing to make.

And so, again, when you’re going through that doc that is your process and you’re looking at things, when you see things that are like, “Oh, it’s just sticky. I’m just, I’m tolerating it,” make note of that. Make note of that. And sometimes we tolerate things for a good reason and that’s fine, but watch it. Keep an eye on it. All right? All right.

This was a long and windy one. And so I want you to really make sure if you haven’t yet, reach out, ask questions, connect. One of the things I’m doing now is playing with my email a little bit. So if you’re already on my email list, you’re already signed up to get emails from me or to get emails from us at Uncommonly More, you will likely have noticed I’m emailing a bit more. And that’s because I’m having more conversations via email than just notices that there’s a new show out or that we have spots open for one-on-one sessions or whatever. I’m using it to really connect. And it’s really, really, really, really, really fun. I’m enjoying it a lot. And so we’ll be doing it for the very least through February, but it will likely stick around for awhile in some version.

So if you’re not yet and you would like to be, just go over to and you can get yourself on the list to receive those emails. They’re personal emails from me. I write them the day before or the day out, the day of that they go out. And so a lot of it is really just what’s happening in podcasting right now, or in business right now, or in the world right now, or with me today. You never know. So I love them.

If you are already on the list and getting those emails, make sure you’re hitting reply and saying hi, because that has been the best part of this experiment, is sort of taking the conversations I used to have more briefly in DMs to a place where I can have a little bit more solid conversation. Yeah. All right. That’s it for today. I will see you again next week.

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