This week, Maggie sits down with life coach Cristina Roman to talk about time management and productivity.
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Cristina’s Pique Coaching
Email Cristina: [email protected]
Printable: How to get into a deep work state in 15 minutes
Atomic Habits by James Clear
James Lenhoff, CFP
“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”
Cristina Roman is a Washington, DC-based Certified Life Coach for antsy high-achievers ready to go all in on their own evolution with high-impact, low-frills coaching. She’s obsessed with the mind, intuition, creativity, and what really makes people tick. (Spoiler: It’s not usually money.) She half-jokes that she’s Cross Legged Coach; her goal is always to keep things casual but wildly impactful in her work.
To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.
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The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.
Maggie Germano: 00:00 Hey there. Welcome to the money circle podcast. My name is Maggie Germano and I am your host. Thank you so much for tuning in. Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe in your podcasting app so that more people will hear about the podcast and listen. This week’s episode is brought to you by Stitcher premium. Listen to some of your favorite podcasts. Ad-free was Stitcher premium like Conan O’Brien needs a friend, my favorite murder and more. Plus you can get access to situ originals like the neighborhood listen and groceries. Stitcher premium is only four 99 a month or 34 99 a year, but if you use the code money circle, you can get your first month free. I personally love free trials because it gives me the opportunity to test something out and see if I actually like it before I have to pay for it. So take advantage of that free month. Go to stitcher.com/premium to sign up today. This week, I’m sitting down with Christina Roman, who is a certified life coach for ANSI high achievers, ready to go all in on their own evolution with high impact, low frills coaching. She’s obsessed with the mind, intuition, creativity and whatever makes people tick. Christina and I talked about a wide range of things in this episode, but we really focus in on time management, productivity, delayed gratification and creating positive affirmations that actually work for you. I really enjoyed chatting with Christina and I know that you’ll have a lot to take away from our conversation. Enjoy.
Maggie Germano: 01:57 Okay. Welcome. Christina. Thank you so much for being on the money circle podcast today.
Cristina Roman: 02:03 I’m so excited to be here. We keep crossing paths online so I knew I had to reach out to you.
Maggie Germano: 02:07 Yeah, no, I’m happy you did. Um, so tell us a little bit about who you are and the work you do.
Cristina Roman: 02:14 Yeah, absolutely. So I am a life coach in DC. I know that you’re in DC as well. We’ve got to meet up in person one day. Um, but I work with a variety of different clients, so I do both. One on one coaching and I do group coaching as well. And so my clients come to me with a ton of different stuff, all kinds of things that are happening in their life. But one of the areas that I work on most is deep work. So it’s basically this idea that we need focused on interrupted blocks of time in order to do the most effective work professionally. And that when we do that professionally, it has trickle over effects for our personal life as well.
Maggie Germano: 02:50 That’s really interesting and that resonates with me because that’s something I definitely struggle with, especially working from home, I feel like it’s really easy to get distracted. Like I literally will get up and be like, Oh, I’m going to write on my chalkboard of like goals for the next month and then I’ll like, you know, erase something and then I walk into the other room and do something else before I even finished. So that resonates deeply with me.
Cristina Roman: 03:17 That’s what I hear from all of my clients. My client actually just yesterday was like, yeah. So I spent a lot of time Googling tricks on how to be more productive and I was like, yeah, you gotta stop doing that. Like that. We call it procrastalearning. Right? So just spending so much time learning and no time implementing. So I call my clients out a lot for that.
Maggie Germano: 03:37 That’s good. Yeah. Cause I feel like we don’t always recognize that we’re doing it and so it’s important to be called out on it. Um, and so how did you get into this line of work?
Cristina Roman: 03:47 It’s, it sounds really interesting, but yeah. How did you find it? Yeah, so I feel like it found me. So I’ve been wanting to be a life coach for seriously 10 years. I can remember there was a girl that I went to college with and she was becoming a life coach and I always just thought that was so interesting. And I actually was running an online community for women business owners at the time. And we would do these different features and we would interview different professionals. And I always wanted to reach out to life coaches and just learn about their work. And so I think it was, it’s always been in my mind. And then I had you know, winding career path that’s I think a lot of us do. I was a recruiter and then a customer success manager and I just remember standing on a street corner last July in Georgetown and I was like, it’s go time. And I just got this feeling and I think I make a lot of my life decisions kind of. I surprise everyone in my life cause I, they seem so sudden, but they’ve been brewing for a long time and I think you’ll appreciate this cause I know that you spoke at a lean in event, but I asked my lean in circle. I was like, should I build my business on the side or should I quit my job? And every single one of them said you should definitely build it on the side. And I was like, thank you so much. Totally great advice. I’m going to quit my job. And it was like I needed to bounce the idea off of them to really know that that’s what I wanted to do, that I wanted to go all in.
Maggie Germano: 05:10 Wow. That’s fascinating. And that’s so funny that you were like, what should I do? And they told you and then you were like, no, I’m going to do the other thing. Um, what, what made you decide to go that route?
Cristina Roman: 05:24 I just, honestly, when I think that I’m like, yeah, there was no other option. Like as soon as I think sometimes I ask these questions and as soon as they’re out of my mouth, I’m like, Oh, I already know the answer. And, and I totally respect and appreciate other’s opinion. And I think sometimes just hearing it out loud is what triggers me into action. And so, yeah. So once I decided to do it and it was just so obvious that I needed that, I wanted, I guess, the dedicated time and space to be able to really fully immerse myself in this world just so it’s panned out. It’s hard, but it’s fanned out.
Maggie Germano: 05:54 Oh yeah. No, I relate to that to that. That’s great. I’m glad that you know, taking that route ended up being the right decision for you. And so, you know, it sounds like you were really interested in being a life coach and that kind of work, but in terms of what you decided to really focus on within your coaching practice, how did you find that and why is that so important to you?
Cristina Roman: 06:23 That’s such a good question. I love to be a generalist, so I love working across all different areas, but I also understand that when people have a focus, both my clients and me, it really helps us dial in and really get traction in one area so that we can then expand those skills into other areas. So I have to constantly remind myself that focus is not the enemies, especially since it’s what I’m teaching. Um, and so I actually used to do productivity seminars way back in the day. I would go to different organizations and different networking groups and I would give hour long seminars on productivity, time management and it would be really focused on tips and tools like here’s an app that you can use, here’s a way that you can, um, you know, use this email plugin. But I never focused on the mindset side of things. And so then when I decided to become a life coach, it kinda clicked into place that I was focusing so much on mindset and I already had this background on strategies and tools and that if I combined that, that’s where the good stuff could happen.
Maggie Germano: 07:30 Yeah, I think that’s so important because that’s kind of how I approach things too where you know there is a lot of financial literacy information out there. You can just basically understand kind of like what you were saying, the tools, the tips, you, you basically know the general guidance, but how you can actually take that and run with it or take that and start implementing it in your life or change the way that you’re actually thinking about it. That’s something completely separate and that isn’t always discussed. So, um, I think that that’s really important that you decided to incorporate that.
Cristina Roman: 08:06 I’m curious, have you ever read James Clear’s book, uh, Atomic Habits?
Maggie Germano: 08:11 I have not.
Cristina Roman: 08:12 I highly recommend it. Somebody, a few people actually recommended it to me. And so it’s super interesting cause he talks about habit formation. But one of his points is that when you try to have habits that conflict with your identity, you’re not going to sustain those habits longterm. And I think he says it’s so well in the book because if you, I think in your case, right, if you believe you’re terrible with money and you’re trying to implement mint.com or whatever strategy you’re trying to implement, you’re going to have this conflict and eventually that’s system’s going to fall apart. And it’s the same thing with me and my clients is if you think on disorganized and bad at time management, I’m not punctual, which plenty of my clients think. And you try to hack it at the strategy level, you’re not going to sustain.
Maggie Germano: 08:56 That makes a whole lot of sense to me. Yeah. Cause that’s something that my clients and I work on a lot where it’s like, okay, what are the stories you’re telling yourself? What is the actual like personality that you have to, cause sometimes you just have to work with what you have in order to be able to make any kinds of changes down the line. And then when you’re able to actually see some of the changes you’re making some of that identity, some of that confidence is going to start changing because you’re already seeing what you’re able to do. But you need to start where you are first of all.
Cristina Roman: 09:29 Absolutely. Well and I think it’s, everything is a ripple effect and everything is a self fulfilling self fulfilling prophecy. And so that can either be an amazing thing or that can be really detrimental depending on what your thoughts are and what your actions are.
Maggie Germano: 09:43 Yeah, absolutely. Um, and so do you have an ideal client, you mentioned that you’re kind of a generalist, but do you have a type of client or a type of person that you really feel like you jive with or that you’re really trying to work with?
Cristina Roman: 09:59 Yeah, so I love working with, uh, in my group coaching program I’m working with women who have never been coached before, but they all identify as really introspective and self-aware. And so it’s so fun to basically be able to start working with somebody who already has that awareness piece but isn’t quite sure what to do with it. And to watch somebody get coached for the first time is so cool. Like it just to, watching the process happen is an honor for me as a coach. But also I know that my clients watching other people get coached just really powerful for them. It’s super intimidating sometimes to be in a group coaching setting. And I have friends who have told me, they’re like, I would never in a million years to do that, but other people understand the value of watching someone else get coached. And I always say to my clients, when you watch someone else, you can often see and then what you can’t yet see in yourself. So I always say I’m like pay attention because this is just human behavior happening. This what you think is just this person’s situation is something you’re doing in your life as well. That kind of answered your question at least.
Maggie Germano: 11:06 Yeah, no, I like that. That’s really interesting. How did you land on women who have never been coached before specifically? Cause that that’s a really interesting take on it.
Cristina Roman: 11:17 Okay. You know, I also coach some women from my program and I also coach men just for the record coach everybody. But um, I coached some women from my certification program and that’s so awesome and sacred as well because you’re coaching people who totally understand the methodology and what they do is sometimes they’ll jump in and they’ll try to coach themselves while you’re coaching. So it’s kind of this team coaching effort, which is fun in its own way for sure. But I think there’s something really neat about being able to introduce coaching methodologies to someone who’s never seen it but already has that level of introspection so you can just their introspection up a notch.
Maggie Germano: 11:55 Yeah. And you can help them work towards that transformation and really see how they’re able to change. Yeah. Great. I love that. Uh, so you’ve mentioned a couple of times things like time management and productivity and when you reached out to me initially that was kind of what, what you had mentioned wanting to talk a little bit about, uh, but tell me more about how the time management work, how that productivity work actually ties in to the work that you do.
Cristina Roman: 12:26 Yeah, so my signature offering is my deep work intensive, which has this idea that when you combine coaching with a deeper practice, which I can for sure define, that’s kind of where the magic happens, right? That combination of the mindset and the strategies. And so I have my clients, I work with them to come up with a custom plan for doing deep work. And so deeper can be defined however you want. But I generally define it as notifications are off. So phone is on airplane mode. All notifications on your computer are off. If you work in an environment where other people are likely to interrupt you, you plan for that. So a lot of my clients spend time, I was just talking to a client yesterday and he was like, you know, I might get pulled away so I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete my goal. And I was like, do you see the way that you say that pulled away and passive voice, like you have no control over it. So working with clients to set those kinds of boundaries so that they can actually go in to this focused state and produce higher quality work without constantly switching different apps or checking notifications. So working on that system and implementing that into everyday life is the work that I do with my clients. And then coaching against all of the things that come up in their brains. Because we’re not used to doing this. We’re not used to focusing. And so your brain who will rebel and I always say that’s fine, we can work with that.
Maggie Germano: 13:53 Yeah. Again, I feel like I’m going to say I relate to that so much every time you say something. Um, but yeah, I, I’m the same way. Like I never, I never really used to consider myself someone who was scatterbrained or couldn’t focus, but ever since starting to work for myself full time and like working from home and feeling like there’s a hundred balls in the air at any moment or like, you know, the 18 different things that I would like to finish by the end of the day, I have found it much harder to actually just do one thing at a time to completion and then move on to the next one and yeah, there and now with like our phones and our email and just everything, there’s so much that can interrupt us and make it that much harder to actually get that work done.
Cristina Roman: 14:41 Yeah. And, I mean you just, you mentioned one of the like 10 different scenarios that happen with clients and with me as well, like I am not perfect by any means at this. And so you’ll say, Oh, I have these other 18 things to get done. And so you’ll just kind of be switching constantly between them. You’ll never, like you said, to complete anything or, um, you might just be completely overwhelmed, so you just don’t start at all. Right? Like some people will go to Netflix or some people will go to social media and that’s kind of analysis paralysis. So they just back back out, don’t work on it. And then this cycle is again self-fulfilling.
Maggie Germano: 15:19 Oh yeah, I definitely feel that because then you get to the end of the day and you’re like, what did I actually even get done? And then you kind of feel bad about yourself or you feel like you have to start all over again the next day. And that, like you said, is that self fulfilling prophecy of like feeling like you’re kind of on a hamster wheel without having much to show for it.
Cristina Roman: 15:38 Yeah. Well, I’m really curious, I don’t mean to start asking you questions cause this is what I tend to do, cause I also have a podcast. But when you are experiencing that, do you know what thoughts you’re generally thinking when you are like switching from task to task?
Maggie Germano: 15:51 I guess I’m not, I’m not always super aware of it or I’m not making a point to be aware of it. Um, but I think thinking about it now it’s like, Oh I have to do that thing too. Or like, Oh I can do that quickly and then come back to this. Or maybe that’s more important and I need to focus on that now when it’s like, or I could just finish this thing. That’ll take me five minutes to do if I just focus on it and then I can comfortably move on to that other thing and then comfortably move on to the next. Um, so yeah, I haven’t made the time to like really focus on the thoughts that are popping up, but I think that those are some of them.
Cristina Roman: 16:36 Yeah. Yeah. Um, it’s interesting to watch it for sure. Pay attention. We’ll have to communicate after the podcast and let me know what, what happens in your brain because I think a lot of people also, um, want that feeling. You keep mentioning completion, which is super interesting, right? And if you think of completion, you get a hit of satisfaction. And so you get this instant gratification and this instant satisfaction. But the downside of that is that you’re trading off longer term gains, but that’s totally normal, right? That’s what our brains like. I think you probably come up against this with money clients too, right? Is that instant gratification and set of being able to say, okay, how can I look at the longer term here?
Maggie Germano: 17:19 Yeah. So, so related to that, that kind of moves me into my next question for you, which is around the relationship between the productivity, the time management, the delayed gratification and the financial side of things. Like how that all might kind of connect, whether it is with money, whether it’s or I mean with work or with spending or just like how you’re spending your day, how in your opinion does all of that kind of relate and connect to each other?
Cristina Roman: 17:51 Yeah. So this is such a, I love this topic I have, I literally have a Google doc that I started after we exchanged emails and then I had a podcast recording yesterday and I was asking my podcast guest his opinion on this. So I’ve been thinking about this topic so much because I think there’s so many different elements. So I’ll try not to go too crazy here,
Maggie Germano: 18:09 but no, please do.
Cristina Roman: 18:10 Okay. And I also want to hear your opinion too cause I’m super curious. You asked the question and I figured there’s some kind of meaning behind why you asked it, which is awesome. So one of the things that I think the two, so I’m just going to say productivity and I’m going to use that to encompass time management as well, just for simplicity sake. So I think productivity and finances is both are things that happen in terms of action. And that action is always driven by a feeling. And whether or not we recognize the feeling it’s there. And so often with money, I’m sure there’s a lot of scarcity or there’s a lot of fear, um, or a lot of wanting instant gratification. And same thing with productivity, right? You want the instant gratification, you want to feel satisfied, um, you don’t want to train yourself to focus. So those are all, or you’re anxious, whatever that driving feeling is that creates the action. And then that feeling is always created by a thought. So that’s one of the commonalities that I see is that there’s this thought, feeling action with productivity and with money. I think the instant gratification, I mentioned that a few times, but I think that’s another really big piece that they share is that when you train yourself to do deep work, you’re training yourself to delay gratification in order to have a bigger trade off. And I think it’s the same thing with money, right? As you can go out and spend money haphazardly. But I think you would maybe agree that in order to have longterm stability, you have to make some trade offs in the short term. Do you agree with that? I assume?
Maggie Germano: 19:44 Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s a huge part of like what I talk about with clients, what I talk about on the podcast, what I blog about it. It’s like you’re giving up that immediate, maybe smaller excitement or happiness for that longer term, gain that longer term security or success that will actually help you and improve your life in a bigger way.
Cristina Roman: 20:09 Yeah, and I think with productivity and with money, it’s the, it’s sometimes the inability to sit with just comfort. So I’ll talk about productivity and then I would be curious how you would kind of paste that onto money. But with productivity, I see clients who want, again, the pleasure, but they also don’t want to feel bored. They don’t want to feel left out. They don’t want to feel, um, antsy or restless. And so they don’t focus and they satisfy themselves with it. I should include myself, we satisfy ourselves with our phones or with Netflix. Right? So we keep that constant hit of pleasure coming. Uh, and then the other, yeah. Is that, I assume you see that in money as well and make it a lot of assumptions here.
Maggie Germano: 20:57 Oh yeah. I mean, yeah, I think that even like the relationship between not wanting to feel bored and so like hopping on Amazon on your phone or like I always, I feel like I always bad mouth, um, Sephora, but I use that as an example cause I hear this a lot from clients like, Oh, they had this support app on their phone. Like just being able to just scroll through and then like easily buy things. It’s like a time wasting tactic that is also influencing your finances but giving you that dopamine hit of like getting something new. Yeah. So definitely. Really.
Cristina Roman: 21:33 Yeah. Well, and the other interesting thing, I was just talking to a client today who, one of her life mantras is YOLO. And I was like, for a while I didn’t say anything. And you know, we have a continued coaching relationship. And so today I made the point, I was like, yolo, I would imagine feeds you back into this cycle of instant gratification, right? And in case anyone doesn’t know who’s listening, you only live once. And it’s really this kind of mentality of gotta get your fun and now and got to get your happiness and now cause you might die soon. And so that’s really interesting to watch as those things that we say and society that seems so innocent that actually have a pretty big ripple effect in productivity and in, in money and savings. And then the other thing that, sorry, go ahead.
Maggie Germano: 22:24 Oh, I was just gonna say another one of those sayings is treat yourself as, again, I’m not against that. I enjoyed the parks and rec episodes where they would have the treat yourself days and like have all that fun. And I think there was a time and a place for that. But it’s really easy to fall into that and use it as a justification for every behavior that you have. Whether it’s, you know, going over budget or going into credit card debt or having more stuff than you can afford or then that you have even room for. And so it’s, it’s like in theory Yolo is a good way to kind of think about life cause you’re not putting off all the things that you’ve always wanted to do. And in theory treat yourself as nice cause you’re like putting yourself first and like doing the things that you really care about. But once you’re using that kind of as a crutch or as an excuse or justification for things that maybe aren’t as good for you, that’s when it, when it starts to kind of snowball into something more negative.
Cristina Roman: 23:26 Yeah. I love that observation and I always noticed this with my clients is that some thoughts that they mentioned seem so noble, even so noble or responsible or whatever kind of positive thing that they seem. And then if you dig deeper, it’s actually creating a that they don’t want to be feeling. And so, I’m trying to think of a good example, but um, yeah, I don’t have an, I don’t have an example off the top of my head, but I think it’s really interesting to start watching your thoughts and think about the things that seem really positive that actually are causing you feelings that are then driving actions that you don’t want to be doing. Yeah, that’s a really good thing to think about. The other big thing that I was thinking between money and productivity is this idea of procrastinator learning. Like I’d mentioned before, but this idea of always learning more instead of taking action. And I see this in myself for sure sometimes and I see this in clients as well, is being like, well, you know, I would open a bank account but I need to make sure that the savings is the best savings rate. And I’m like, your money’s not making any, any interest because you don’t have it in there. Or, um, I was just mentioning you have this client who spends a lot of time Googling productivity techniques and I was like, none of it matters cause you don’t do any of them. So I’m pretty blunt with my client.
Maggie Germano: 24:53 That’s good. No, I feel like people need that a lot cause otherwise they’re just not gonna have to face it. Yeah.
Cristina Roman: 25:01 Yeah. And then I think the last piece I’ve, like I said, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but the last piece that I think is really important to highlight between the priority of activity and the money, and this actually credit to my guest on my podcast. His name is James Lynn Hoffman. He’s a financial advisor, smart as a whip. Um, but we were talking about this yesterday and he was saying that if you also think of automation and think about the different ways that you can automate different parts of your life, that becomes more efficient and it can also save you money. So the example we were talking about is mint.com where you can automate your finances. And so that’s actually giving you more visibility into your finances. But it’s also helping you save time because you’re not constantly fiddling with things.
Maggie Germano: 25:47 Yeah, absolutely. I’m a huge proponent of automating as much as you can and identifying and implementing systems that will help you to not have to pay as much attention. I mean, I think it’s incredibly important to make sure you’re paying attention. Um, but you like when you can automate the things that you can, it’s going to take some of that time away, like not a way, but like give you some of that time back and also give you that confidence and that knowing that it’s being handled and you don’t have to worry about it as much. And um, I have a client, if they’re a couple, a married couple actually, and they have pretty much automated almost everything in their finances, which they’ve never really had before. They’ve been so disorganized with their finances historically that they couldn’t automate anything because they never knew if there was going to be enough money to actually pay for things.
Maggie Germano: 26:40 So now that they have a couple of, uh, bank accounts set up so that it’s like, bills are always coming out of this one. So there’s always plenty of money in there. Uh, the spending is in this account. So there’s, you know, I always know how much we have available to be spending because the bills are already taken care of and they’re able to start automating those bills. And so they have some of that confidence in that knowledge that everything pretty much is going to be taken care of. But then they still want to sit down and like look at their spreadsheets and make sure, okay, that’s how much we put towards that debt this month. This is, you know, we need to set this aside for the, this car maintenance a thing over here. And, but there’s more comfort around them sitting down and taking those actions because there’s that knowledge of most of the things being taken care of and it takes much less time to actually sit down and check in and makes sure everything’s okay because they took the time to make things more efficient.
Cristina Roman: 27:37 I love that. And like they’re probably not terrified, right? Cause they’re like, Oh my God, I don’t know if you have an explicit rating or not, so I won’t curse. But, but just that idea where you sit down and you’re like, I have no idea what I’m about to find is terrifying for people and cripples people. Right. And so then people get stuck in that paralysis where they just hide more and more. And I think that happens with productivity as well. Right? So people don’t actually make a plan because they’re afraid of what they’re going to find. But once you take those first steps, it’s pretty, pretty awesome to watch.
Maggie Germano: 28:11 Exactly. Yeah. And I’ll, you know, one of the first things I do with clients is I send a budget spreadsheet and I’m like, just start filling this out. Like whatever information you have. So that I, I say it’s two so that I understand exactly where they’re coming from financially, but it ends up being super, super important and helpful for them to understand where they’re coming from. And more. Most of the time, probably 90% of my clients are like, I already feel so much better just having filled that in because now I actually know what it is. And maybe it was worse than they thought. Maybe it was better than they thought, but now they actually know and it’s not behind this curtain that they’re afraid to look behind. Um, so you were saying that this, that that approach, it kind of applies to the productivity side of things too. So what are some of the ways that you have your clients get started with that process?
Cristina Roman: 29:04 I actually love that you just spent some mention this spreadsheet because I also will have my clients do a time tracking spreadsheet. I don’t know, this is such a little cliche phrase, but they say where attention goes, energy flows. And so I mean that’s true of healthy eating, right? If people are using my fitness pal or if people are using a Fitbit to track their exercise or a budget spreadsheet, just that awareness piece, it can often be enough to move you into action as you obviously see with your clients too. And so I don’t make every single client do time-tracking. But it is super helpful because again, society, we walk around often saying, I’m too busy. I have so much on my plate, I’m so overwhelmed. And often when people do the spreadsheet, they’re like, Oh, Oh yeah, I’ve been saying I’m so busy. But turns out I’m actually not busy at all.
Cristina Roman: 29:53 And then often you can identify that maybe there’s another issue. It’s usually your thoughts, but, but there can also be like energy management, right? Where someone’s just tired. But they’re confusing that with not having time. And so that awareness is huge. So that’s a huge first step. And then I have a 15 minute process for getting into a deep work state. And so it’s literally minute by minute. It’s like, here’s what you do in minute one, here’s what you do, minutes two, three, four. And that process is basically acknowledging everything that’s gonna come up for you when you do try to be focused. So one of the big things I have is a principal and you have an area for you to list everything. So let’s say you decide to do deep work for an hour, you spend 15 minutes preparing and then you’d go into a deep work session for an hour.
Cristina Roman: 30:37 In that hour, you are going to think of everything that you need to do in your entire life and you’re going to want to act on it. And so I’m like, just use this principle and write down everything that comes up and just put it aside, write, write it and put it aside over and over. And then I have another area where you’re just documenting your thoughts and your thoughts are going to be things like, what if my clients are mad at me for not answering my phone or I’m so hungry, I need a snack or I have to go to the bathroom. All these things that are going to come up. But it’s really about that process of just watching it happen. I don’t know. Do you know the term, the watcher from Eckhart Tolle?
Maggie Germano: 31:19 I should because I’ve read some of his books, but I was going to say that this sounds a whole lot about, or a whole lot like meditation. So, yeah, explain that about that.
Cristina Roman: 31:31 Yeah, so the Watchers basically just this term for for de touching and de-identifying with your thoughts and understanding that your thoughts are just thoughts and they’re not necessarily the essence of who you are. And I think if that sounds super woo and weird to you, it’s still super helpful to just think of it from a practical perspective is that you’re always just thinking all of these thoughts and the second that you can just get an inch away and just notice without identifying you get so much more clarity. So I actually did this exercise recently with a client. He was having a lot of trouble. So he was having a lot of trouble picking apart like the essence of who he was from all of his thoughts. And so I had him do this really visual exercise where I had him reach into his brain like literally he would like pluck a thought and it was so goofy. But he, he was great at bearing witness me cluck a thought from his brain and hold it in front of him. Like he was reading a fortune cookie and look at that thought and understand that that thought was just the thought and not the core of who he is. And so that visual exercise sounds so ridiculous, but it’s so helpful if you’re completely in your thoughts and you can’t see them with some clarity and objectivity.
Maggie Germano: 32:58 I love that and I want to do that now for myself. Even watching you do the motion it, I forget what it, it kind of reminds me of like Harry Potter when they’re like pulling their memories from their brains. Um, but the, that must have been really an interesting experiment for your client because I could see how if you’ve never thought about that as like your thoughts are just thoughts that are happening. They don’t define you and they’re not necessarily even true. How that can be really life changing to even recognize that it’s huge.
Cristina Roman: 33:35 I mean, I felt goofy as a coach asking him to do it right. Like I felt self conscious. I’m sure he felt self conscious, but we kinda got over it together. Just in the interest of really putting a visual metaphor behind this whole idea. And I think I kind of can hear in people’s minds, because I work with so many clients who have this thought too. It’s like that’s so weird. That’s, so again, we’ll, we’ll, but once you start doing it, like you said, you just get this level of clarity that can be so helpful for moving forward on anything that you’re stuck on.
Maggie Germano: 34:08 Yeah, absolutely. And that reminds me a little bit of how I’ve recently been telling both clients as well as people that come to my money circle meetups that it can be really helpful to look at your financial situation as just a matter of fact as like this is just kind of how it is. There isn’t a moral judgment. It doesn’t actually define you. It’s just how it is. Whether it’s, you know, I came from wealth so I always had plenty of money. So I have a hard time like relating to my friends or my partner or whatever. Or maybe I didn’t come from wealth. And so I’m a little bit resentful of the other people that seem like they’re having an easier time or you know, I did this, blah, blah, blah, whatever it might be. Trying to look at it as, I mean, it literally could be like pulling it out of your brain and looking at it in front of you and being like, this is true. Or maybe it’s not true. Like maybe you aren’t really terrible at money. You just didn’t really learn it growing up. And so how could you be expected to know exactly what to do, but what can you do now moving forward? And so trying to look at it more objectively, like you said, and not putting a value judgment, not putting a moral judgment on it, and then deciding how you want to move forward and what you want to do with it.
Cristina Roman: 35:28 Absolutely. And the other question is, because I think people really get stuck on, well it’s true. And like, yeah, some they can be true and not be serving you at all to be focusing on it. So I kind of, I sometimes argued truth with my clients where I’m like, that thing you think is true is just factually not true. Like that’s not a fact. But there are sometimes where I’m like, okay, hold on to the fact that you think this is true, but then ask yourself, well, is it serving you to focus on it? And I love your point about kind of taking out all the moral judgments and separating that from just the number. And what I tell my clients is because people have so many thoughts about the number in their bank account or their net worth or their salary. And I always say, just think that that number is neutral and you have a thought about it and everyone else in the world is going to have a different thought about that same number. And so that’s how you know that your thoughts are subjective because everyone’s gonna have a different opinion about what $50,000 or a hundred thousand or a million is.
Maggie Germano: 36:29 That is so true. And I assume that that applies to the productivity side of things too, where it’s like, Oh, that’s amazing. If you got like one thing done today versus other people who are like, no, you have to get like 20 things done in a day. And so it doesn’t really matter what other people think or what other people might think. It’s like, what? What’s actually serving you? What actually needs to get done? What do you actually need or want to get done and how that is all subjective even if it doesn’t feel that way.
Cristina Roman: 37:02 I love that point. I was actually just working with a different client on productivity, time management and I could tell she was so in the weeds with her thoughts that everything on her plate was so much right. She kept saying it. She’s like, this is so much, this is so much, and she thinks that that’s a fact. She thinks that factually that’s so much. But I was like, imagine Oprah. Do you think Oprah thinks that the five assignments you got from your boss is so much, and that’s not to, and that’s not an as a critical thing to say. You shouldn’t be overwhelmed, but it’s to say that’s just subjective. That’s the way that you’re choosing to think about it. And that’s optional and that can’t be changed.
Maggie Germano: 37:41 Yeah, I really liked that. And then I’m sure that that often helps people get a little bit of a different perspective. And like you said, not as like a Oprah would think this is easy, like get up and just do it. But as like everyone’s circumstances are different. So like what do you need to do about it now in order to make it feel better, make it feel different so that you can actually take action on it.
Cristina Roman: 38:06 100% cause then I’m like you can totally then start judging yourself based on your thoughts. And so often in coaching, right, you get this mirror reflected back on all your thoughts and you can take that and be like, Oh wow, I am a horrible person with horrible thoughts. Or I always say to my clients, I’m like, listen, you’re normal, you’re doing a very normal human thing, but it’s solvable. So don’t act. Don’t compound your pain with judgment.
Maggie Germano: 38:31 Yes, that is, that’s a big part of my, my work too, where it’s, we’re all getting so much judgment from every corner of the world. We’re all on social media and comparing ourselves to other people, assuming we know what’s true and what isn’t. We’re not productive enough. We don’t have enough money, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so, you know, if you’re already struggling with like debt or trying to make ends meet or whatever it is, adding on top of that, like, I’m, I’m lazy or I’m not focused or I’m, you know, irresponsible, like that’s just gonna make things worse and make it harder to take action. And Brene Brown talks about that a lot where like if you’re ashamed of yourself, you’re going to be paralyzed. And it’s just, I mean, again, the self fulfilling prophecy of like, I’m so bad at this and now I’m not doing anything about it. So it’s like getting worse and worse.
Cristina Roman: 39:27 I love that point. And then I would add on top of that, that then I see a lot of people try to go to the opposite extreme. So they’d be like from, I’m so bad at money to like I’m fantastic at money and they’ll repeat that affirmation to themselves. But if you’re not believing it, it’s going to have a really hard time thinking in. And so there’s this concept called ladder thoughts, which I did not come up with. It’s from the life coach school and it’s this idea that there’s just rungs of a ladder. So on one side you have on the, I’m terrible with money and on the other side you have, I’m amazing with money and you can bridge the gap then between those two beliefs step-by-step. So you might be something like, I’m open to believing I’m not bad at money or I’m open to believing I’m good with money. And so you just kind of rung yourself up. I don’t think that’s a verb. Just take one step at a time until you actually are living from that different belief instead of trying to leapfrog all the way to the incredible positive belief.
Maggie Germano: 40:22 I really liked that because I think in with the positive affirmation approach to things, I like doing that. And I will often ask my clients to come up with some positive affirmations and I was just talking to my husband last night about how he needs to develop some positive affirmations about some things. Um, but yeah, I’ve noticed both personally and with clients that it’s, it feels really fake to go from like, Oh my God, I suck at this too. Oh my God, I’m so amazing. Cause like you don’t actually believe that you can’t go go from one extreme to another authentically. And so I’ve struggled a little bit with the affirmation side of things because there is that disconnect. So I like how you literally are filling it in one step at a time by starting really, really, really small as like that incremental movement towards where you want to end up being. I think that that’s really helpful.
Cristina Roman: 41:18 Yeah, I love that. Use the word authentic. I used to, I used to hate that word because I felt like it was so overused and now I’m like totally, it’s totally authentic. I think Brene Brown helped me embrace that word, but no, absolutely is. I also asked my clients, I’ll be like, do you believe that? And so clear when somebody doesn’t believe something and they, you can try, you can see them body language tone, you can see them trying to convince themselves into it, but it’s so clear. And so I guess that would be my challenge for anyone listening is if you are struggling with whether or not you believe something and like if you’re struggling you probably don’t believe it, but make sure that it’s a belief that you actually fully 100% to your bones believe and then work your way up.
Maggie Germano: 41:58 I like that. I really like that. I think that that is, that’s going to be a really important takeaway for people for sure. Um, so you talked a little bit about the delayed gratification side of things and I think it’s like pretty clear when it comes to like money. Like you have to hold off on buying that, you know, skirt or whatever it might be, so that you have, you can save up for a trip later or whatever it might be. But can you talk a little bit more about what you need by delayed gratification when it comes to time management productivity, um, and why you think that that is so impactful and so important?
Cristina Roman: 42:43 Yeah. You know, it’s funny as you ask the question, I was struggling with part of it because in a deep work state, if you actually implement this into your life, I say that you need to experience delayed gratification, but that becomes insanely gratifying in the same way that I think you have to be willing to experience delayed gratification with your finances, but then the whole process can become so gratifying in and of itself. So I hope that doesn’t make me sound hypocritical because I still think you have to be willing to give up the instant gratification, but then you have to be able to ask yourself, well, how the heck am I going to enjoy this process, right? Like, how am I going to make it so that I’m enjoying deep work and I’m enjoying focus. So that’s part of it. And I’ll see the rest of your question. Um, I’m trying to think about, could you ask the last part of your question again? Sorry.
Maggie Germano: 43:49 So I guess like why you think it’s so important? So I liked what you were just saying about like how you’ll, it’ll end up being like a positive, gratifying experience once you like break through all the distractions and learn how to do that deep work. And I think, I think that the difference between the two is like the instant gratification is like, I didn’t have to push through any discomfort. I can just get on Instagram and scroll versus like, I’m actually making these big strides and reaching these things in and being productive where I want to be, which is like that greater gratification that we’re all ultimately really looking for. Um, so I liked the clarification that, um, and maybe that kind of answers the followup question, which is like, why you think reaching that delayed gratification is so important?
Cristina Roman: 44:41 Well, yes. Thank you so much. I feel like you did a very good job of rehabbing what I said too. So thank you for picking up where I kind of dropped the ball there. Um, but I think the other really interesting piece, and so I saw this with the client where she spends a lot of money and she spends a lot of money in pursuit of happiness. And she is just an example of, Oh, a lot of people, right? Spending money in pursuit of happiness and pleasure, but the consequence is that that be like, reaches a tipping point where it’s no longer satisfying. Right? So the entire purpose was you wanted happiness and pleasure, and yet you spent so much time in guilt or remorse or, um, avoidance or kind of pre disappointment that you can’t ignore it anymore. Right. So I always ask, I actually got this from my last job where we, it was a sales world, but the question to our clients was always, what is the cost to your business of this doing this or not doing this? And so I always ask my clients that to it. What is the cost to your life? Uh, focusing on instant gratification. And by the time the clients come to me, and I’d be curious your perspective too with your clients, but I’m like, by the time a clients come to me, they already are feeling that cost or they wouldn’t be coming to me, right? They would be just in that cycle over and over and over. But I think people kind of have a wake up call with drinking, with spending, with eating, with not working out with productivity with all of these areas, right? Like pick your, pick your vice of choice where the net negative starts to creep up and you can’t really ignore it anymore. And that sounds really ominous and I actually don’t mean it in an ominous way. I actually mean it in a really cool, hopeful way that’s triggering you into action. And so you are finally feeling that costs enough that you’re like, you know what, I don’t want to do this anymore and I want it to be a different situation.
Maggie Germano: 46:46 And I definitely ask similar questions with my clients where it’s like, okay, so if you do stop at target on the way home and you spend $100, how do you actually feel afterwards? Like what is the impact of that? Are you like happy? Like that was the right decision? Are you feeling guilty? Are you stressed? A lot of the time it’s a negative emotion. Afterwards it was like, I really want to go to target. I had a bad day at work, so I’m going to go and I’m going to spend and I’m going to ignore Maggie and I’m going to ignore my budget. Um, but then it doesn’t end up being worth it emotionally or financially. So like tying back to that feeling and helping them, like remember that that’s usually the negative reaction they’re having can help kind of deter some of that behavior in the future. Cause you’re not actually getting what you’re seeking.
Cristina Roman: 47:37 Oh, 100% and I think that the other really helpful question is, okay, let’s say that you go and you spent in your, with your clients, right? $100 at target. How do you think you’re going to feel afterwards? And if they have a lot of self awareness, they might be like, I’ll probably feel shame and embarrassment, whatever. But a lot of times people are like, I think I’ll feel happy. I think I’ll feel satisfied. I think that I’ll feel, um, whatever other emotion you think that you’re going to feel when you get that thing or do that thing or productivity. The example, I was just talking to a client and I said, you know, how will you feel if you do accomplish this thing that you’ve been wanting to accomplish? He’s like, I’ll feel satisfied. I’m like, you think you’re gonna feel satisfied when you do that thing? But I want you to feel satisfied now. So how can you on demand create for yourself a feeling of satisfaction without having to create the result first? How can you feel that now? And then from that feeling, move into action and set of waiting for the action to give you the feeling. Does that make sense?
Maggie Germano: 48:43 Yes. That’s, that’s a really important distinction because I think I struggle with that too. Like, I’ll feel really accomplished. I’ll feel really good and successful when I finish this big thing. But then I’m like afraid of that big thing because I’m afraid of all of the steps to get there. So then that fear and relying on that end result feeling is paralyzing me and preventing me from taking any of the steps that I need to move forward. So what are some of the steps, and I’m sure it dif it’s different based on the individual sometimes, but like what are some of the steps that you recommend your clients start taking or people in general take so that they can start getting some of that, um, positive feeling in the beginning before they get started?
Cristina Roman: 49:31 Yeah, so it’s often as simple as saying, well, what do you, when you think about what you want to achieve, so let’s say you want to achieve a financial goal or you want to achieve, um, a weight loss goal, a productivity goal, like you want to write a book, whatever it is, how do you think you’re going to feel when you have that thing or when you do that then? And people again will say satisfied, proud, accomplished, and then you just ask, okay, what is accessible to you right now? What thought can you tap into that makes you feel that feeling right now? So if somebody thinks that they’ll feel proud when they finish a book, one of the questions is just what makes you feel proud right now? And people resist this, right? They’ll be like, well, I don’t have a reason to feel proud.
Cristina Roman: 50:13 I can’t feel proud right now because I’m going to delay that until I finished my project. But I had like, no, go there right now and think about what sparks PRI for you. And often I want to over glorify this and say that it always happens this quickly, but sometimes someone will be sitting in a session and they tap into a thought and it’s just kind of that magical thought that I was like, wow. Like I feel so proud thinking that thing and they want to get off the call and go do all these 20 action steps. But those action steps are then driven by pride and not by anxiety and fear and Discontentment.
Maggie Germano: 50:51 I really liked that. That’s, that’s such a good way to approach it. Cause even if it can be hard to get answers to that cause I think that we don’t necessarily get encouraged to think that way. Like what am I proud of now? It’s like I have to be proving myself in order to feel this way. That can be a really good exercise because it helps people recognize like you’re already doing things that you should be proud of. You are a person made that you should be proud of it. You don’t have to be proving yourself in these different ways. And yeah, I often ask my clients like, what is something that you have been successful in, in the past that you can look to as a motivator to move forward with like your money? Cause sometimes people think like if, if they’ve never been good with their money in the past, they can’t possibly change. And so I try to get them to think of like other areas of their life that they’ve been able to be successful or change a habit or whatever it might be. And there’s almost always a good example that can then be applied. So I think that’s a really good exercise.
Cristina Roman: 51:56 I do, I do a similar version of that exercise too. I love that you’re, that we’re on the same way of like this, but I have my clients brainstorm an area of their life that they feel super confident in. And then I say, not only like what does that make you feel, but what beliefs do you have about that area of your life? And so for me, like I’m very confident in my career and so I asked myself intentionally on a pretty regular basis, why am I so confident in my career? And then I come up with beliefs like when I know, I know or I was born for this, or, um, I know that if I work the system or like if I worth the process, things will pan out. I know that I can trust in the process, right? Those kinds of things. And I’m like, if I could apply that to my dating life, I’d be golden. But it’s like we all have these areas, right? We have this area where they’re like, I got this on lock and we have other areas where like, not so much, but I love to think about that too as the beliefs that you can transfer into other areas of your life.
Maggie Germano: 52:56 Yeah. Because if you can feel it in one area of your life, theoretically it’s possible to feel it somewhere else. Like you’re capable of feeling this way or doing this thing. So why not do it, you know, in another area of your life. I love that. Yeah. Um, so we could obviously talk about this all day, but I want to be respectful of your time. Um, so is there anything else you want to make sure that listeners take away from this conversation? Whether it’s about, you know, how to start the process of feeling, you know, more productive and getting more focused, um, or you know, why those things are important in general. Anything you want to make sure people get out of this?
Cristina Roman: 53:37 Yeah. I think one of the, another kind of cliche thing that actually makes a ton of sense is this idea that you can’t give a map to someone if you don’t know where they are. And so are you can’t give GPS directions 2019 you can’t give GPS directions to somebody unless you know where they are. And so this is super helpful when you’re self coaching yourself is to take time to figure out where you are and why you’re there. And so I always say to my clients, we’re going to break down the current results that you have in your life as much as we are going to build on the results that you actually want to be having.
Cristina Roman: 54:10 So an example of that in practice is you might, if your finances is your thing, you might take your net worth and write it down and then look at that and say, what is my thought about that? What do I feel when I think that thought? What actions do I take when I feel that feeling? And then what actions do I not take when I feel that feeling? And then what is the result of that? And that result should always, if it’s, if you’re working the system right, that result should always validate that original thought. So again, super simplified, but I’m bad at money. You’re going to end up having a result that you’re not liking. And if you think I’m stellar at money, you’re going to do things that you like and admiring yourself and that’s going to have a different result. And so just take a look at that, get super honest with yourself. And that’s a really good starting point for understanding what your beliefs about yourself really are and where you want to go next.
Maggie Germano: 55:08 I love that. That sounds really perfect and I love that what you said about how you can’t give someone directions unless you know where they are. Cause that’s so true. You don’t know which direction to go in if you don’t know where you’re starting from. So I love that exercise. Um, is there anything you would like to promote to listeners about yourself for your business? Anything?
Cristina Roman: 55:32 Sure. Um, so my website is peak coaching.co and on there you can find the peak podcast. And so the peak podcast is, I always say I’m like, it’s about life, you know, super specific, but it’s really about emotional wellness, intuition and personal mastery. And so I just talked to a very wide range of different practitioners about all kinds of topics. So it’s really about kind of knowing yourself and going inward in whatever method works for you. So that’s one thing. And then I also have a group coaching program for women. So if anybody’s interested in doing group coaching in a, in a group setting or coaching in a group setting, I should say, that can be a really powerful experience. So I welcome anybody who wants to work on things outside of money, if any of your business and that’s on your website as well. The group coaching. Yeah. And you can also shoot me an email. Um, so it’s just, [email protected] and that’s the best way to get in contact to my group coaching so we can have a little dialogue into a mini session. Oh, perfect. Anywhere else that listeners can get in touch with you online or elsewhere? I’m on Instagram. I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been pretty consistent, although I have to turn it off for my deep work, you know, balance, but it’s just a C M Roman on instagram.
Maggie Germano: 56:54 Great. And I will include all of that in the show notes as well so that people can click through and get in touch with you. Um, well thank you so much for reaching out and being on the podcast today. I think this has been a very interesting conversation for me and I know that the deep work and the productivity and all of that is still something that I very much struggle with and I’m sure that a lot of listeners do as well. So, um, I already have some action steps and takeaways from this too.
Cristina Roman: 57:22 Awesome. Well thank you so much for having me. I’m really glad that we connected and I’m sure I’ll see you around town.
Maggie Germano: 57:26 Oh, absolutely. Thank you. have a good one. Bye.
Cristina Roman: 57:30 Take care.
Maggie Germano: 57:34 Thanks for tuning in to the money circle podcast this week. Make sure that you rate, review and subscribe so that you never miss an episode. It might not seem all that important, but subscribing and rating actually helps to get the money Circle podcast in other people’s ears. If you’d like to get more connected with money circle or with me, there are lots of ways you can do that. To join the free Facebook group, visit facebook.com/groups/moneycirclegroup. To stay informed of any upcoming events, subscribe to my weekly newsletter at maggiegermano.com/subscribe. If you’d like to join the virtual money circle membership group, visit Maggiegermano.podia.com/inner-circle. To learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings, or just to read my blog, visit Maggiegermano.com. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Maggie Germano. Thanks so much for listening. Bye.
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