Medium Top Authors Interviews: 10 Questions with Jana Bergant
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 Jana Bergant. Jana has traveled the path of self-taught web development for 20 years, to reach the level of a full-stack developer with a passion for chatbot technology. She has successfully delivered web solutions and chatbot systems, and she is an active consultant to numerous customers throughout the world. She writes about her passion on Medium, but she also has over 23,000 students enrolled on Udemy.
Do you have a morning routine?
My morning routine is my anchor. It grounds me. Sometimes I fly high and think I’m a superwoman. At other times I feel like I’m all alone, forgotten with no hope. But my morning routine has my back. First, I exercise; then, I journal. I write down everything that comes to mind. Sometimes it’s dull, occasionally full of emotions. Sometimes a revelation comes, and sometimes I keep rambling about the same problem, the same relationship.
When I skip my morning routine and don’t do it for several days, I know I’m off track; there’s something I’m trying to avoid.
I do my morning routine after taking my child to school when I’m alone with my two cats.
What is the number one habit/routine you attribute the most to your success (online and/or offline)?
This is a simple question; it’s not giving up. And I measure my success only by comparing it to myself, not the big fish.
What is the number one productivity item you can’t live without?
Can you tell us about your use of journaling and goal tracking?
I’ve been journaling most of my life. On and off. I love to see moments when my journals change a theme. That means I’m over some problems. I try not to beat myself down when I don’t achieve my goals. I prefer to set higher goals and achieve half of them. But I like to set them. If I have my goal written down, it’s like a map, a direction for me to pursue. I don’t feel lost. I also like to plan my weekends. Having a good plan for hiking or visiting some beautiful places in nature gives me something to look forward to.
The One Book you recommend for self improvement and/or productivity?
I would recommend The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s the book I’m reading right now, and it resonates with me on a deeper level. It also has some practical exercises and suggestions to try out.
I love to read. For me, the sound and the smell of a good book is something special, comforting. Probably in the next few months, I will have another favorite book.
What advice do you have for people who struggle to actually start working on the projects they have?
I would ask you two questions. They come from a great book, Tools of Titans from Tim Ferriss (another great author about productivity). He asks all the right questions.
One of his questions I like is:
- What would this look like if it were easy?
And the other one:
- What might you do to accomplish your 10-year goals in the next six months, if you had a gun against your head? (Yes, I know, shocking method)
Both questions teach you to never complicate stuff and to eliminate the unnecessary hurdles.
How important is time off for you, and what do you do when you take time off?
I’m over 40, a single mom with a 5-year-old and autoimmune disease. I need time off. Without it, I would burn out, get sick, and get depressed. I was there, and I don’t want to go back.
What I like to do is plan my weekends. So I have something to look forward to. I love to spend time in nature, alone or with my child. Nature is what regenerates me — and meeting friends, having pleasant conversations, doing stuff together.
I also like to do sports, walking, bicycling, winter sports; you name it. If there is a chance and some free time, then I go. It’s very different being tired from a good workout in nature than being tired from sitting behind a computer all day. I prefer the first one.
A few weeks ago, I also started practicing the Wim Hof technique. Wim Hof includes breathing exercises, super cold water, and mental preparation. So far, I had amazing results with it. It reduces stress, and I hope it will help reduce autoimmune disease. Slovenia has so many beautiful places and rivers, and this makes the Wim Hof more exciting.
Investing in yourself is key to success. What is one of the most recent ways you’ve invested in yourself?
I enrolled in two online programs from Marie Forleo. It cost me a fortune, but they were good. They also showed me how to do online courses better. I take all sorts of online courses, and I read tons of books.
A warning! I feel that if you are too obsessed with self-improvement, it can get in your way. Sometimes the answer is to love yourself the way you are. But it never hurts to learn how to do marketing better, or how to change a mindset. A small mindset change can do wonders in your life. Just don’t let the self-improvement market take you hostage.
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?
People are used to being on social media and to using chat applications. I would say the future is to engage with people there.
Chatbots can do some significant work for you and can engage your audience. The best part is that people are already there; we use chat most of our day. I open my email once or twice per day, but chat is where I spend way more time (I teach chatbots on Udemy). I do have a mailing list, and a YouTube channel too.
If you could have a coffee and talk about anything with a personality (dead or alive) you admire, who would it be and why?
I want to meet Brooke Castillo. Somehow I started listening to her podcasts. She works a lot with the mindset. I would love to be in her mastermind group and meet with them regularly.
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 Jana Bergant. 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!