Welcome back to the Productivity Giants Series! We took a break, but now we’re back interviewing interesting and motivating people on all things productivity and workflow. Stay tuned to see who we feature this season!
Let’s kick it off with Sonya Looney, a multi-hyphenate if we’ve ever seen one – World Champion Mountain Biker, Top 100 Podcast Host, Brand Owner and Designer, Freelance Writer, Keynote Speaker, High-Performance Health Coach…the list goes on!
Sonya has certainly led a successful and prestigious career, and now she’s giving back by teaching others her tips on building a resilient inner narrative using positive psychology, mental toughness, and mindfulness-based techniques. She focuses on helping others enjoy challenges, explore their potential, and find more energy and fulfillment in life.
Sonya’s mission statement is “You can do hard things! I’ll teach you how.” We were curious to see how Sonya finds the time and energy to both push herself and others to do hard things every day. Check out her insights below!
On her morning routine
I had my first baby mid-March. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is notice the feeling of each individual toe touching the floor, and then I take a few breaths. I drink a glass of water and then I have coffee and play with my son. After he goes for a nap, I eat my daily breakfast (steel cut oats, hemp hearts, ground flax, berries, and maple syrup), answer emails, and look at what I plan to accomplish for the day.
The productivity tip she swears by
I always put everything in my Google Calendar a week in advance. I recommend you also put your workouts on the calendar. I use the Notes app to dictate my ideas and Reminders on my phone to keep me organized.
Her #1 email tip
Never underestimate the power of a follow-up.
How she combats distractions
Distraction and having too many things on my to-do list. I do my best to stay focused on just one thing instead of “multi-tasking” which actually doesn’t exist!
On regaining focus
It’s like a meditation practice when you realize your mind has wandered (or your browser…or your hands have picked up your phone without you realizing it). Bring the attention back to what you are doing and start again. Having browser windows closed, your phone in a different room, the internet turned off if you are trying to write, or setting a timer for how long you’re allowed to work on something helps with productivity. I really like the timer trick because it fools your brain into staying extra focused.
Her favorite failure
Every failure is an opportunity to learn. Without them, we would not be able to get better. Failure doesn’t feel good, but I try to be excited about it because it means I’m just going to come back stronger and smarter.
The book that’s made an impact on her life
The most worthwhile investment she’s made
Always invest in your own personal growth and education.
The habit that’s improving her life
Listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I’m committed to learning and my education has gone through the roof with the ability to listen to books and learn from others.
What she’s getting better at saying no to
Requests that aren’t in line with my purpose, which is to help people be better every day in the areas of mindset, plant-based nutrition, and overall health.
What the last 12 months have taught her
You don’t have to stop your sport because of pregnancy and childbirth (as long as you are healthy). Hard work and commitment pay off and other peoples’ limiting beliefs don’t have to become you. I was able to ride my mountain bike until the day before my son was born, get back on my bike a week later, and achieve peak fitness in only a few months.
On life hacks
There are no hacks. Commit to the long game and doing the work.
Her best advice for getting things done
START! Start before you are ready. There will never be a perfect time and you’ll never have prepared enough to feel like you’re ready. Mood follows action – start and the motivation will follow. Commit to showing up every day because starting and showing up is often the hardest part. Consistency is what gives you results.
Her top ingredient for work-life balance
Intentional imbalance. Choose how you want to spend your time and realize balance doesn’t exist.