I love asking top authors on medium how they work on their craft and stay productive. It inspires me, it keeps me motivated, and I often learn about new tools and techniques I didn’t know about.
A few months ago, I released 50 People Who Do, my most comprehensive expert roundup on productivity to date. It contains 35 interviews, 15 extra-long interviews, and 8 pages of recap with all the tools and the books mentioned, plus some fun data crunching. For instance, 60% of the people I asked wake up before or at 6am.
Most of my guests created their own business, and they got where they are today by successfully implementing self-discipline into their life. To each one of them, I ask questions about their life, their learnings, their tools, and sometimes about which celebrity they would like to have coffee with.
There are no rules for success, only consistency in the work you do. None of the people I interviewed are super-humans. They’re just dedicated, and they have a lot of awesome things to teach us.
Let’s get to it.
My guest for this episode is Fab Giovanetti. Fab is an award-winning entrepreneur, supporting people making a positive impact through their marketing. She is known as the founder of Creative Impact, a collective of hundreds of creatives making a positive impact on others and the planet. Through her community and her online mentoring, she touched over 100,000 people from all over the world — she is a keen speaker, writer, and published author, as well as guest lecturer across the UK.
Do you have a morning routine?
I used to have a very structured routine, but I won’t lie, it’s definitely not as strict anymore! However, I found a few key things I make sure I always religiously follow. I have a time-lock on most apps in the morning thanks to my iPhone until 9am.
First, I make myself a coffee — keeping the Italian stereotype alive, y’all. I meditate (actually, I watch Headspace’s Wake Up episode every morning, and then meditate.) I have been meditating daily for 8 years, and I still feel like every day I am learning something new about myself. Since the lockdown, I have been walking every morning before work, between 15 and 30 minutes.
I go for a morning walk in nature, often listening to an audiobook as I can work around chapter lengths. I have my notes app open to jot any idea from that. I come back and usually have Huel for breakfast, which is a complete meal replacement shake. I have been skeptical about it in the past, but honestly it allows me to have breakfast in a matter of minutes. I then get my planner and look at the tasks for the day, which I have jotted down the evening before. I write down 3 things I am excited about and grateful for, and an affirmation for the day.
What is the number one habit/routine you attribute the most to your success (online and/or offline)?
I would say meditation — mainly because it constantly heightens my awareness, which means I can more easily understand and monitor my mood during the day and be kinder to myself. Another more practical habit is adding buffer time between meetings. I can often have up to 5 hours of calls when I run a 3-hour workshop, and having buffer time and task-free days has been essential to keep me sane.
What is the number one productivity item you can’t live without?
I struggled with this one, as I have different things I use, but I’d say my calendar app and my Calendly link are pretty much running my life. I also just recently got a new assistant, and she is the best at helping me schedule my month, being aware of my commitments and making sure I do not double book myself.
Can you tell us about your use of journaling and goal tracking?
It’s mainly my morning routine really, that’s where I journal and write down tasks. I also take notes of my phone when listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and sketch doodles about article ideas for the week!
The One Book you recommend for self- improvement and/or productivity?
You write on medium, have your own website, manage a newsletter, a podcast… How do you split your time between all your projects?
Good question! I juggle being the founder of Creative Impact, and running a small team, with my writing, my consulting clients, running workshops. Creative Impact takes up most of my time, as we have a private membership, magazine, podcast and courses. I make sure everything is running via a simple schedule, and my team works Monday to Wednesday, which means I spend Thursdays mainly for my clients, and Fridays are often task and meeting free, so that I can focus on writing, picking up any outstanding tasks and more.
The hardest part is coordinating with the workshops I teach for an online MBA business school, but I try to get them booked up in advance and keep Fridays always as free as possible.
One thing I learned is the importance of mindset, flexibility and a strong mission. Mindset is key, as I answered in the question above. Flexibility allows you to adapt when something does not work as planned.
How important is time off for you, and what do you do when you take time off?
Again, my upcoming book Reclaim your Time Off is all about understanding how to find your own work-life balance, and how to create simple routines and habits to make that work for you. I went from being a workaholic and working over 60 hours a week to finding my own way to streamline my business and ultimately enjoy life more.
This book is not just for me, as multi-hyphen careers and remote working since Covid-19 have become the norm in our working culture. We need to understand how to juggle work and life coexisting in the same space, and how downtime is an essential part of productivity.
What’s the story behind your Creative Impact Collective?
I was frustrated with the idea of having to work harder and harder, chasing the hustle in order to successfully establish and grow a business online that could bring a legacy. Before we rebranded (we used to be called Health Bloggers Community), I ran the collective as a place for creatives to grow. As we rebranded as Creative Impact I realised that true legacy can be built not just by positively impacting yourself as an individual, but also cultivating a supportive community of like-minded souls with a passion for using their talents to benefit their audience in the long run.
I wanted marketing and content to be fun and inspiring, practical and educational. I am on an endless quest to improve my time management skills and develop small daily habits and actions to help me with minimal effort, and it’s something I want to bring to our members as well. Making a positive impact goes beyond your neighbour. It’s time we come together to support the planet we live in and love.
On marketing. Some people say the classic newsletter/email list model is dying when it comes to generating more online business. What is your opinion on this?
Good question, I was just writing a piece for Medium on this. I run a 3-hour workshop called “How to Create an Email Marketing Strategy That Stands the Test of Time”. I still believe emails, just like any other content, will never truly die. They may evolve, and you need to be able to adapt and evolve with them. More targeted and segmented email, shorter and mobile-friendly newsletters are going to be the future, as well as more interactive content. Podcasts and video are not going anywhere, and learning how to embrace these new formats will become key.
If you could have a coffee and talk about anything with a personality (dead or alive) you admire, who would it be and why?
Jim Morrison — as a big The Doors fan (and music journo in a past life). I’d love to ask him more about his last months, what truly happened to him, and where did his creativity come from. Would probably be in Paris, in a very stereotypical French bistro where he spent his last days.
There you have it. I want to personally thank my guest for taking the time to provide me and my readers with really insightful answers. I am deeply grateful to Fab Giovanetti. Thanks a lot, and keep up the great work!
And thanks to you for reading my content! I’ll keep releasing interviews once in a while, so stay tuned!
To get instant access to my 150+ page guide containing the 50 best interviews I conducted, download it for free here! This is road-tested advice from real people who get things done, hope it helps!