top of page

Episode 305. How to Get More Done with Amanda McKinney

How to Get More Done with Amanda McKinney

Finding Clarity and Accountability in Entrepreneurship

Redefining Accountability – More Than a Checkbox

Accountability transcends the simplistic act of ticking off tasks on a to-do list. It's the sober acceptance of our choices and their outcomes, devoid of any self-imposed guilt or external blame. While our host, Amanda McKinney, aptly defines accountability as “total ownership of your actions, or lack thereof, regardless of the outcome,” she also imparts wisdom on focusing only on what we control. Leave the uncontrollable to the winds of change, and steer clear of throwing ourselves—or anyone else—under the proverbial bus.

Subheader: Accountability: A Definition Rooted in Ownership

This redefined perspective shifts the paradigm. Accountability isn't punitive; it's informative. It offers us data to adjust our sails, an empowerment that can genuinely propel our businesses forward. To foster a state where promises made to oneself are promises kept, we must cultivate honesty. Honest assessment of what we truly desire is the fulcrum of intentionality, which in turn is the bedrock of accountability.

To-Do or Today List? The Art of Setting Realistic Goals

A common pitfall for many entrepreneurs is the perpetual to-do list—a daunting litany of tasks that more often induces overwhelm than accomplishment. Amanda counsels a shift towards a “Today List,” a daily, realistic cache of to-dos that align with what can be feasibly accomplished. Determining ‘enough’ and recognizing your capacity can be transformative, exchanging feelings of failure for a sense of completion.

Subheader: Prioritizing Daily Intentions Over Endless Tasks

By concentrating on what needs to be done today rather than what one wishes to accomplish indefinitely, we ground our expectations in reality and pave the way for true productivity. The allure of a to-do list need not be abandoned; instead, it should be honed and personalized, reflecting true priorities while allowing us to conclude each day with 'I did enough.

Personalizing Productivity – Embrace What Works for You

Amanda reminds us that there's no 'one-size-fits-all’ approach to productivity tools or methods—individual preferences reign supreme. If a system speaks to you, whether it's a paper planner exploding in confetti or a digital tool aligning tasks with jazz, embrace it. Trial and error are parts of the journey—the key is persistence in the face of that initial learning curve.

Finding Your System in A Sea of Options

The advice is simple yet profound: discover what galvanizes you into action and disregard the rest. Entrepreneurship allows this liberty, and exercising it enables focus and efficiency. Grant yourself time and grace to establish the systems that resonate with you, observing their efficacy before moving on or adjusting.

Conclusion: The Human Element Behind the Business

In our conversation at "The Motivated CEO Podcast," we unravel the true nature of accountability and the mechanisms of personal productivity. Reconstructing our view of accountability empowers us to act with intention, while embracing systems that resonate with us sets the stage for focused progress. Above all, Amanda's insights underscore the profound truth that, at the core of accountability and productivity, lies a deeply human element—it’s about understanding ourselves to support our vision and mission as entrepreneurs. So as we close this episode, remember to give yourself the grace to identify what you want, to honor the systems that work for you, and to recognize that enough is truly enough.

Episode Links

Connect with Amanda on Instagram @theamandamckinney

Listen to The Unapologetic Entrepreneur here.

And get your FREE productivity quiz here.  

Grab Amy’s bestselling book, The CEO Method: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Success, for less than a dollar on Amazon!

I would love to hear your biggest takeaways! Connect with me in the DM’s over on Instagram @amytraugh

Join us for Coffee Talk. Our free virtual networking event for like-minded entrepreneurs, Click here for details.

Watch the video on our YouTube Channel here!

Transcript for Episode 305. How to Get More Done with Amanda McKinney

Amy [00:00:02]:

Welcome back into the motivated CEO podcast. Today we are demystifying one of those topics that, let's be honest, when we hear the word accountability can kind of send a chill down our spines, because at the end of the day, accountability is really ownership, ownership over your actions, or lack thereof. And today's guest put out an amazing post a while ago on Instagram. I'm like, you know what? She needs to come on the podcast because we need to talk about this topic because it's true. When we take that account, accountability and ownership, that's what's going to move the needle forward in our business. So without further ado, I would love to welcome in Amanda. Welcome to the podcast.

Amanda [00:00:47]:

Hello. Hello. Thank you so much, Amy, for having me today.

Amy [00:00:50]:

I'm really excited to dive into this topic and really kind of take the ick out of accountability. But before we do that, tell us more about yourself, who you are, what you do, and who you serve.

Amanda [00:01:02]:

Oh, I love that question. And, you know, this will be really interesting. I'd love to hear from people, once they hear this, that very recently I was talking to someone and they said, have you ever tried to introduce yourself without any of your titles? And I thought, oh, my gosh, that is fascinating because I think so often, like, I am an entrepreneur. I am a wife. I am a stepmom. I am a dog mom. I am a friend. I am.

Amanda [00:01:27]:

And we get wrapped up in these titles and we think about, like, that being who we are. And so to introduce yourself without a title was incredibly difficult. And I still don't have really, all of the answers, I'm sure. But I think it's really interesting. So when you say, like, tell me a little bit about yourself, which I like that phrasing, I would say I am a very driven person who loves the sunshine, loves being out, really loves, and, like, finds joy when I can connect with my friends and lose track of time. These are the things about me that I don't necessarily think you learn. When I say I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a mom or a stepmom, I'm a wife, I'm a dog mom, these types of things. And so it's just interesting.

Amanda [00:02:14]:

How have you ever tried to do that?

Amy [00:02:17]:

Oh, my gosh. I don't think I could. Like, I really think I'd have to sit down and be intentional about it because it's so rote and automatic and ingrained in ourselves that we put ourselves into these boxes according to the title and way we want to portray ourselves. Oh, right.

Amanda [00:02:34]:

I know, it's like, and like I said, it's not. I don't have a perfect answer by any means, but it was really interesting to think about that. And I think specifically for entrepreneurs, I'll speak for myself, but I think a lot of us really get wrapped in that title. I definitely do. I love that title. I, and even, like, we, you and I both became authors recently, so that's another title. Podcast host, that's another title. And it's these things that we enjoy and we love.

Amanda [00:03:03]:

But when we strip all of that away, who are we? And I just think it's such a fascinating thing. I know that's not necessarily what we're talking about today, but I thought it was such an impactful question, and so I would pose that to anyone listening. It's like, how would you introduce yourself without any titles?

Amy [00:03:19]:

Yeah, I'm definitely going to dive into that. Like, you've given me something to reflect upon already. And I love that because we're always going, we're always doing, you're thinking that we have to do things a certain way. But at the end of the day, we get to choose. We get to choose how we're showing up, what actions we're taking, what we're not doing, what we're saying yes and no to. So just taking the time to answer that question. Oh, that's a juicy one. I like it.

Amanda [00:03:47]:

I know. I can't wait to hear what you come up with. So you'll have to message me later. And again, like, anyone who listens to this whenever it comes out, like, please share that. Because ever since I've been asked that question, I have asked other people, and I love hearing the answers. It's something I ask every now and then on instagram. And I love it because it's. It's really an eye opening experience for the person.

Amanda [00:04:09]:

At least it was for me and for anyone who shared, like yourself. And it's just this moment of like, oh, that's. That's a very interesting thing to reflect on.

Amy [00:04:18]:

Yeah. Because it goes deeper than the title. It does. Yeah. We're always trying to put ourselves into these boxes, but that just really takes it a level deeper. And you know what? It builds connection, too. Yeah. It's really humanizing our brand.

Amy [00:04:32]:

And in this noisy world, honestly, just being a human, really prioritizing connection and relationships, that's the key. That is the missing part. But that's easier said than done.

Amanda [00:04:46]:

Oh, my gosh. Yes. I have a recent episode, I don't know, again, when this is going to go live. I don't know the number on my podcast, but the guest is Sherelle, and she wears a bright yellow shirt, so you'll be able to see her on my website. She's beautiful. And we talked about loneliness as an entrepreneur, and it was really interesting. She said something that I have found myself repeating to a lot of people, which is, she said, you have to know the depth of the connection you're looking for, because that changes. Like, sometimes you're looking for podcast connections or connections to other people, and other times you're looking to be like, I need to be able to share the ups and the downs and the good and the bad.

Amanda [00:05:26]:

And that's just a different level of connection. And so when we are trying to find someone to connect with, especially all of us who work online and we feel so lonely behind the screen, knowing the level of connection you need in this season of life is so critical.

Amy [00:05:43]:

Yeah, it really, really is. Which kind of brings us into this concept of accountability. Talking about critical pieces as an entrepreneur is that at the end of the day, we can be our worst enemy because we're always liking to blame other things, other people, other circumstances. But at the end of the day, this concept of accountability really comes back to being in complete ownership of our actions, or lack thereof. So what's your take on accountability? Why do we feel like it's such a guilt provoking, shameful thing when we hear we need to be accountable for yourself and for your actions?

Amanda [00:06:32]:

Right. It's a great question, and I love, it's really fun to see how when something captures people's attention. And so when I shared, you're talking about the post where I shared my definition of accountability on Instagram. And because what I found was whenever I introduce myself as, like, the entrepreneur who I am, and I say I'm an accountability coach, immediately people call themselves out and they're like, oh, gosh, I am so bad at holding myself accountable. It's not like people don't know. People are very aware of it, but the next level of it is, like, changing. Like, so if you're like, I'm aware that I do this thing, and then taking the ownership and changing is a different scenario. And so it's been a really interesting thing for me to introduce myself and to talk to people about accountability.

Amanda [00:07:28]:

And through all of that, someone asked me what my definition of being accountable was, and I just, like, said it, and it really resonated. It was on a podcast, and I was like, oh, oh, I should share this because it's different than what other people typically think. When people say to me, I can't, I don't hold myself accountable. They are typically not everyone, but most people are thinking about checking things off the to do list. You have a list, and if you didn't complete it, you didn't hold yourself accountable and you feel like crap. Let's just call it what it is. You feel bad because you told yourself on this list you were going to do it, and then you end up feeling terrible that you didn't do it. In my opinion, my definition is total ownership of your actions, or lack thereof, regardless of what the outcome is.

Amanda [00:08:18]:

And that is more important than checking things off the list, is taking accountability for what you did or did not do and simply using it as facts. And so the other part of my definition, and really the caveats and not really caveats, but the additional pieces is we have to own what we can control and let go of what we can't. There is always going to be things out of our control, and so we can't focus on that. We need to recognize it, because sometimes we can mitigate it in different ways or work around it because it happens all the time or whatever the case is, we need to recognize it, but we can't own it. We only can own what we can control. And I also like to add, no bus is allowed. We don't need to throw other people under the bus, and we don't need to throw ourself under the bus because it's not helpful. It doesn't help us move forward in any way.

Amanda [00:09:09]:

And so taking that ownership of our actions really allows us to move forward without the guilt, because like you said, it is so guilt provoking of, like, I didn't do what I said I was going to do, and you feel like crap. And that feeling is just heart wrenching for me. And that's what I realized. Most people say, like, what breaks your heart and then create a business around that. And so that's not what I did, but what I eventually came to do in my business was what breaks my heart is people feeling like they failed when there's usually some other situations at play. And I just really try and help people mitigate that so that they don't feel like a failure. It's really just taking ownership. This is what I can control.

Amanda [00:09:55]:

This is what happened, and this is how I'm going to move forward and do better tomorrow.

Amy [00:10:00]:

Yeah, it's information. And in taking ownership, it's empowering. That's equipping you with so much knowledge and resources and just information that you can now use as fuel, because you're absolutely right. There's so much out of our control in this world. But when we take that complete and total ownership of what we can control, that will propel us forward faster. Now we're keeping those promises that we're making to ourselves now we're living our lives for us instead of everyone else. Because at the end of the day, it starts and ends with us. And another concept you mentioned, too was, you know, let's toss this to do list and stop basing our worth off of this endless checklist.

Amy [00:10:56]:

And I will fully admit it. I am a recovering box checker. I went through life with the success to do list. You know, you go to college, you get married, you have the career, you have the kids, you have the house, you have the car, all of these things from the outside looking in. I was checking all the boxes, but it wasn't until I tossed society's to do lists to the side that I realized, guess what? At the end of the day, does any of that matter? So how have you overcome, like, the. And how do you coach clients on this? Just the idea of getting out of that to do list mentality that so many of us are just so attached to, and we're basing our worth off of these little checkboxes that really don't mean anything.

Amanda [00:11:45]:

Yeah. Gosh, there's so much in this one. So the first thing I would say is, if someone loves a list, because I love a list, I love crossing things off a list. I will add something to the list just so I can cross it off. Like, that is who I am. If that's who you are, use it to your advantage. Have the dang list and find the system that you think is the prettiest and celebrates you the most. When you check something off, there's confetti that goes off.

Amanda [00:12:14]:

Like, find the thing that works for you. Because I think a lot of people feel like, oh, I'm in this thing and I I like this thing, but I need to like something else. No, use what works for you. And I love lists. So I have found the tool that I love the most. And I say like, because it was the prettiest, because I used it. Like, these are the things that help me. If someone doesn't like a list, then ignore that.

Amanda [00:12:39]:

Don't use the list if that's not the problem. The problem really comes with what we put on the list, which is what you're talking about. Of like, other people's expectations, other people's list. So evaluating the list would be the next thing that's really, really important. And checking yourself. And I find myself talking about being honest about what you want a lot. That's something that typically comes up with all of my clients, and we are terrible about being honest about what we want, but we don't really recognize it at first because we have been told what to want in a lot of ways. I'm not trying to put blame on anyone else saying, amanda should want this, but the reality is I'm consuming information and I have to understand how that's impacting what my desires are.

Amanda [00:13:31]:

But your actions will really show a lot. So if you start to dig in and. And really understand, oh, what do I really like to do? What do I really want? And so not giving, not beating yourself up for setting the goal, that wasn't really the thing or whatever, it's. Sometimes it takes a little while. Sometimes it takes working with a coach. There's a lot of people I work with because they're like, I don't know what I want and I need some support figuring that out. I'm not a therapist. I never tried to be or pretend to be, but in terms of, like, business desires, it's like, okay, well, what do you want to do? And getting to that is often hard, but once we can be honest about what we actually want, then we can be very intentional with what goes on the to do list.

Amanda [00:14:18]:

The next very, very tactical thing I would say when it comes to to do list is I actually don't. I say I love list, and I do. I don't actually love a to do list because that's usually a running list, just one single list. I encourage people to have today list. What do you need to get done today? And most people are like, everything on the list. Well, that's not possible. We've lived our life and we know that's not possible. So we need to identify, like, what can we actually get done in the day? And chances are we're going to be wrong about that a lot because things happen in the middle of the day that change it or whatever.

Amanda [00:14:57]:

We're also terrible at gauging our time. Like, let's just call it what it is. We're really not good at that. And so you get better with time, but it's hard to understand what you can get done in a day. But the thing is, if you can have a today list instead of a to do list, you'll feel at the end of the day that you did enough, that is what actually people want. You don't actually need to complete everything on the list. You need to know what enough is. And taking that moment at the end of the day and saying, I did enough today, that is the magic sauce.

Amy [00:15:31]:

Oh, so much to unpack there. I mean, it really comes back to getting honest with yourself. And that's one of the first questions that I dive into when I'm working with clients. And it's the hardest thing for people to understand.

Amanda [00:15:44]:

So hard.

Amy [00:15:45]:

When you sit down and ask yourself, what do I really want? It's hard. It is so hard. And it's not easy to figure that out. And it's going to take trial and error. It's going to take some deep self reflection as to quieting the noise and really digging into what do you want. But when you do that, that's so, so powerful in moving you forward and designing a business that you love. And another thing that you said that's so important is finding what works for you. There are a million different solutions out there.

Amy [00:16:29]:

And, you know, I'm asked all the time, well, what's the best one?

Amanda [00:16:32]:


Amy [00:16:32]:

The one that works best is the system that works best for you. Our brains all function differently. So having that self awareness as to, okay, how do I function? What is going to help me? Again, it goes back to getting honest with yourself, knowing yourself, and then being intentional so that you can prioritize. I mean, for me, I absolutely experienced the time shiny object thing where it's like, oh, I can get these 80 things done in one day. Like, wait a minute, there's only 24 hours in a day. And then you feel defeated.

Amanda [00:17:07]:


Amy [00:17:08]:

We're so focused on what we did not accomplish that we forget about all of the things that we did accomplish, and it just becomes this endless thought loop. So something that was a game changer for me was focusing on, okay, let's, like you said, prioritize it. I'm only going to put three things at the top of that list that if nothing else gets done, okay, at least the bare minimum got accomplished, and I'm going to feel good about that. That works for me, and that may not work for someone else, and that's okay. It's, again, taking that action to figure out what is going to work best for you. Because if you're not, like, I still have a paper planner. Paper planner. I'm a visual person that works for me.

Amy [00:17:51]:

Other people love their computer planner stuff, right? Like you do you boo, right?

Amanda [00:17:57]:


Amy [00:17:58]:

We need to start leaning in and leveraging that as entrepreneurs, because that's the really cool part. There's no right or wrong way to go about this, right?

Amanda [00:18:08]:

I love it. I think it's so important for us to figure out what works for us and put the freaking blinders on and ignore what works for other people. Now, I will say sometimes it takes time to find what works for you and that can be frustrating. So I always like to acknowledge that because let's say someone's trying to figure out, like some sort of task management, they try paper, it's not working. They try one tool, it's not working. They try another tool, it's not working. Give yourself that time to figure it out. And if it's a tool, it's a little less of a rub with, like, paper planners because it's something you're writing down and it's less of a tool.

Amanda [00:18:48]:

In terms of the online ones, those do take a little bit to learn. So you got to give yourself some time to actually learn the technology. But really lean into. Is this coming easy to me? I know I still have to figure out some things, but is it working for me? Does it visually look appealing to me? Because that can throw people off. I know it sounds really silly, but it's something that matters. So if it matters to you, lean into that. And it's all about just figuring out what works for you and then ignoring the rest. Because there's always going to be another tool that someone's like, it's awesome.

Amanda [00:19:26]:

You have to try it and you have to say, no, I don't. I found what works for me.

Amy [00:19:31]:

Right. Because what ends up happening is then we're switching from thing to thing to thing and we're not giving any of the things a fair chance to work. It's like expecting a kid to hop on a bicycle and learn how to ride the bicycle the first time. No, you're going to fall down. But what do you do? You get more proficient at it. The more you use it, the more you try and do that task over and over. So I love that you mentioned, like, give yourself time, give it a fair chance to work because it could potentially work. There's just always going to be that learning curve.

Amanda [00:20:05]:

Right. And some people really need this. So take it or leave it if you need it or not. Some people need a timeline. Like, how long should I try this thing? My rule of thumb for most things in business is 90 days.

Amy [00:20:19]:


Amanda [00:20:20]:

Like, give something 90 days. Now, if you. If you have like a free trial, that's 14 days of a new tool, and you freaking hate it. Don't pay for the dang thing, and then go for 90 days, move on to the next one. But if you find something and you're like, you know what? I think I like this one, but I know I need to keep learning. Give it 90 days, and if you. And then move on from it, from there, um, you don't really want to, like, be beating your head against a wall with something that's, like, really not working for too long. And I use that term or that frame of 90 days very loosely.

Amanda [00:20:54]:

I'm not saying it's a rule. Some people just need it. And for those people who are super, super structured, that ask me for that. That's why I like to throw in a timeline. And that's what I think. 90 day goals are great versus annual, because so many things can change in a year. Annual goals are fine, but it's like, looking at that timeframe, it's kind of like overestimating what we can do in a day. We absolutely overestimate what we can do in a year.

Amy [00:21:21]:

Yeah, I think we've all been there as entrepreneurs. We're like, oh, I'm going to get this and this and this and this. Then we lose our focus. We lose that momentum, because now our energy is scattered. It's scattered everywhere, and we're not really actually moving the needle forward. So that's why I love breaking things down. Quarterly, I do my quarterly focus, and that way you keep the blinders on, and then at the end of the quarter, you stop for a minute and assess. Okay, how did it go? Where am I now and where am I going? When you take that intentional pause, it's really key.

Amy [00:21:59]:

And again, it feels counterintuitive to stop and pause amongst the hustle, because we're conditioned to think that more, more hustle, more work, more processes, more systems, that's going to create faster results. But the inverse is true. Sometimes you have to slow down just a little bit, throttle back to assess and analyze so that you can speed back up. It's like refueling on the highway. You know, you've got to put the gas in the car in order to keep it going. You can't just expect to drive like, I'm in Ohio. I can't drive to California on one tank of gas. It's not realistic.

Amanda [00:22:36]:

Right. I love what you're talking about, because we have to do that. But for people who are really driven, high achieving, it's like the opposite of what we want to do. And for. I'm not going to put words in your mouth, but I'll, I'll say that I believe this for myself and many people that I work with. When we have that mentality, when we have that characteristic of wanting to go, when things get stressful and they're not working, we double down and keep going faster and harder and doing more, and it's the opposite of what we need to do. So I have learned that I need reminders to do that. 90 day goals certainly help with that.

Amanda [00:23:14]:

So that there is that intentional pause. And also, you know, we're talking about accountability and taking ownership of things. And one of the things that I think is important to distinguish is the difference between busy and productive. Being busy. By my definition, I make definitions up all the time. I love it. So by my definition, being busy is constant action. Being productive is intentional action.

Amanda [00:23:44]:

And so when you think about it, like, for me, what I recognized, which is highly uncomfortable for me, so I'll just call myself out on that. I love being busy. I enjoy movement. I enjoy getting things done, doing things. I feel productive when I'm busy. That's not the case. Productive is intentional action. So it's often less things that actually got crossed off, less things that I'm working on, but they move the needle forward more.

Amy [00:24:16]:


Amanda [00:24:17]:

And so I'm calling myself out on that because I think a lot of people are nervous to admit that they love being busy and we just need to, it's all about owning what, what's happening. Like, I love being busy, so I have to take ownership of that and. Okay, well, how can I mitigate against that? Because I know I love to fill my calendar with things and my. My task list with things. How can I be more productive instead of just busy? What it has allowed me to do is I get a lot done in a day because that is a characteristic of mine. But now that I know what to work on and be intentional with it, I can be working on the right things instead of. Instead of just anything.

Amy [00:24:58]:

Yes. You are speaking to my soul. Oh, my goodness. I, seriously, I could talk to you all day, but in the interest of time, we are going to wrap this up and take what Amanda taught you in this episode and give yourself a little bit of grace. Give yourself permission to start running a business in a way that feels good for you, to toss aside everyone else's expectations and really reformat that to do list and move the needle forward intentionally. Intentionally not being busy for the sake of being busy. Because Amanda. Yeah, I'm right.

Amy [00:25:45]:

There, too. I like to be. Thank you. So I'm not alone? Absolutely. You're not alone. So thank you for being transparent in that, because I am right there with you, and that's okay. And it all goes back to taking ownership. Taking ownership is truly key.

Amy [00:26:01]:

Amanda, how can we get into your world? How can we learn all of the things about you?

Amanda [00:26:06]:

Oh, everything can be found on my I'm the amanda McKinney on Instagram and LinkedIn and all those places. And I also want to just say that we talked a lot about finding what works for you and all of that. And I shared a lot of tips, and I always like to make sure that I'm very, very clear that just because I'm sharing tips doesn't mean I do it perfectly. So if anyone is thinking, oh, Amanda, or Amy's got it pulled together, and they do it perfectly, no, I aim for 80% of the time, and if I can get to 80%, I celebrate in huge ways. I don't do it awesome, but I try and do it better every day. And so I hope that that is, again, just being as transparent as possible, because I think it's so easy to listen or watch other people and think that they've got it figured out and it's always perfect, and it's not. So give yourself a lot of grace on this road to being accountable and productive in all things in your business, because it's.

Amanda [00:27:06]:

It's not. No one has the same life, and so you can't compare.

Amy [00:27:11]:

Exactly. I could not have stated it any better. Yeah, we're all just figuring it out as we go. I still have my challenges, my setbacks, my roadblocks, all of that. So if you're looking at watching this video on YouTube, if you're listening in your Airpods, please know you're not alone. We're right alongside of you taking action and figuring it out as we go. Amanda, thank you so much for taking time to pour into our listeners today.

Amanda [00:27:41]:

Thank you so much, Amy, for having me. It's been such a pleasure.

Amy [00:27:44]:

It really has been awesome. And until next time, cheers. To making the money you want so that you can create the impact you desire.


bottom of page