That’s What Pros Do

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In January, I…

  • Published 17 blog posts
  • Organized, promoted and conducted 4 conference calls (3 for the blog, 1 for my private Creation Tribe)
  • Processed more than 6,000 emails
  • Updated my Facebook status dozens of times
  • Tweeted hundreds of times
  • Read hundreds of posts, articles and a few books
  • Had 14 skype/phone meetings and interviews
  • Attended 5 face-to-face meetings and events,
  • Meditated, moved my body and played guitar every day
  • Ate breakfast and dinner with my family nearly every day, and…
  • Wrote 25,000 words and completed the manuscript for my next book

And, that’s not an unusual month for me.

I get asked some variation of the same question all the time:

How do you do so much?

There are tons of ways to answer that question.

I could share how I batch my activities, so while it looks like I’m all over the place, online all the time, there’s actually a bit more science to it.

I could talk about how I hyper-focus, if I’m writing or creating, how I don’t answer anyone, pick up the phone or respond to anything but emergencies.

I could reveal how my meditation creates so much clarity and fresh ideas, I literally can’t bring them all to life (I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s logjam)

But, truth is, I get so much done…

Because that’s what pros do.

There’s no magic to it.

There’s nothing superhuman or even exceptional about it.

Being prolific is how I earn my living.

Being ubiquitous is how I earn my living.

Building relationships, online and offline, is how I earn my living.

Helping people with whatever time I have is how I earn my living.

Listening and devouring knowledge is how I earn my living.

Solving problems and adding value is how I earn my living.

I get so much done BECAUSE IT’S MY JOB and I LOVE IT!

Tools strategies, tactics, apps and vehicles are all great.

But, it starts with being willing to hunker down.

Day in, day out, regardless of the weather.

Show up. Dig in. Own the work.

Because that’s what pros do.

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89 responses

89 responses to “That’s What Pros Do”

  1. Jess says:

    I get asked this question all the time ‘do you sleep?’.

    Oh yes. I sleep 8 hours, and boy do I need those hours. But when I’m awake, I’m working, planning, thinking, making and doing.

    Now I can just send them here when they ask me how I do so much πŸ˜‰

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Haha, yep I get that a lot, too. Now, if you can just write a post on that, I can send people to yours, too. πŸ˜‰

  2. Great job Pro Jonathan – You are the BOMB! Important thing – MEDITATE!!!!
    In light and love,

  3. Alexis Neely says:

    Yes Jonathan, I LOVE this post! And I totally get what you are saying about that writer’s logjam. I was just saying the other day that I felt like I had blog content backed up my spine.

    Congratulations on getting that manuscript turned in. The world is now a better place.


  4. Thanks for the motivation, Jonathan – a much needed reminder that what we accomplish in biz and life is determined so much by how hard we work, which is greatly dictated by the work we do.

    Great food for thought. TY -Nate

  5. This is why I have such intense respect for you, Jonathan. No excuses, no BS. Just pure passion and commitment to what you believe in. My hat goes off to you once again – not only for doing all of the things on your list, but sharing it with the rest of us.

    I’ve been burning the midnight oil myself lately on a project that I’m passionate about and just had an awesome creative session with my friend about another upcoming project we are working on. It’s another amazing opportunity that somehow has to be fit into the already crowded pipeline. But reading this, I’m reminded that it just has to happen, period.

    Thanks for the incredibly well-timed inspiration!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey B, Remember too, the other side is saying no or tabling stuff mid-process if needed to focus on what matter most. Not an easy dance…but that’s what pros do, lol

  6. Charles Tutt says:

    Love your blog and this one was useful to me as I’ve viewed myself as having MID (Multiple Interest Disorder) and though focused in the moment, I to flutter from moment to moment.

    I dislike that annoying popup asking me to subscribe when I’m already subscribed though.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Charles, you should only see that once then never again, if it’s happened more than that, let me know and I’ll have my team look into it. Tx!

      • dogear6 says:

        The pop-up came back after I cleaned out the cookies and history, which makes sense. I hadn’t seen it until then.

  7. Jackie Lee says:

    What an excellent post.I particularly love the last section that that’s what pros do. I have a lot of people who seem amazed at all I do, but really I just do what I have to do to make my business run. It’s not magic, it’s just what I have to do. Thanks for such a clearly written example of what a pro does.

  8. Lewis Howes says:

    During this post all I could think about was when I was a pro playing football…

    Everyday I got up, went to morning practice, then ate, went back to the gym for 2 hours of intensive lifting/training, ate, went to the pool for a swim workout, ate, went back to the field to catch footballs on the speed machine (basically standing 5-10 yards away and catching footballs at 35-55 mph)..

    We do the things necessary to make a living with the things we love doing the most… thanks for reminding my and others about the hustle and the payoffs of being a pro πŸ™‚

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Um, yeah, that regime you just laid out, makes me look like a complete slacker, lol

    • Martin Ferguson says:

      Lewis, I’m so impressed with you. You do all that and still find time to hound someone on Twitter for three days (last year), threatening to kick their ass because they didn’t bow down to your greatness?

      THAT takes commitment…

  9. congrats on the book – can’t wait to sing it’s praises!

  10. John Sherry says:

    Pros are more pinnacle people in a profession and thus get more done through being more themselves. They have reached a higher point than most others choose to and that’s why you’ve packed so much into January Jonathan. What’s it like up there? And keep good hold of the rope as I’m on my way!

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Brogan, Grant Griffiths, Erik Proulx, Jessica Van Den, IanSanders and others. IanSanders said: Love this RT @LewisHowes: That's What Pros Do – by @jonathanfields […]

  12. Bridget says:

    I appreciate that you do this, and I wonder about why you do this.

    What drives you to live this way? Do you feel that you were born with your clock set at this speed? What is the value of living this way? Does your work sustain you or do you find ways to sustain yourself to do the work?

    Yes, pros do this. Yes, artists ship. I get that. But what is the why that drives you?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Actually, all that stuff gets done in a remarkably short amount of time. With the exception of big deadlines or launches, I live a pretty chill and even-paced day with lots of breaks for walks, family, and other stuff. In fact, it’s the breaks that let me go so deep into the bursts.

      I am as much a pro about living, embracing and engaging in my bigger life as I am my work.

      And what drives me is that I love what I do, who I do it with and who I do it for. Doesn’t get much better than that. πŸ™‚

      • Sandi Amorim says:

        Don’t know how I could love this post even more than I did 3 minutes ago when I first commented, but your comment to Bridget makes that happen! I love how you’ve created a business that serves your life, rather than what’s common, becoming a slave to your business. Thanks for being such a down-to-earth and inspiring model of what’s possible!

      • marie-jeanne juilland says:

        “And what drives me is that I love what I do, who I do it with and who I do it for. Doesn’t get much better than that. :-)”

        Ok, what you said above, That’s the KEY! It’s where I’m headed. Actually, already there πŸ™‚ working with Alexis in her Money Map program as a Master coach. Thrilled to have escaped Silicon Valley and the corporate world!

        Thanks to Briget for asking you the question.

      • Bridget says:

        Thanks Jonathan! You expanded my experience greatly by answering my questions, and you’ve given me lots to think about.

  13. Really looking forward to the book.

    I’m hitting one of those proverbial walls lately – finding myself bogged down in all kinds of work that is NOT the work I love, feeling drained, used, and missing my moments of inspiration and elation.

    I have a little app on my iPhone called “Oblique.” It’s a virtual deck of random cards with words and phrases that are meant to help you look at things from a new perspective. It’s kind of like a sophisticated 8-ball. Anyway – I was thinking about how to get to a place where I can slow things down, focus more on what’s important to me and my family and my work, and find my joy. The “answer” I got from the app was “Reverse.”

    Interesting. Maybe it’s right – maybe to move forward, I need to take a few steps back. Stranger things have turned out true.

    Anyway – love the post & can’t wait for the book. You rock!

  14. Brett says:

    Pure inspiration.

    Because that’s what pros (like you) give me.

    As always, excellent work, JF.

  15. Obviously, you’re not trading your time for money…

  16. Hiro Boga says:

    Jonathan, hooray for finishing your manuscript! I’m looking forward to reading and celebrating your next book.

    My own rhythms of creation and productivity are tidal.

    Showing up for work is the ground of my business. But showing up, for me, can mean consciously disconnecting from the horizontal world, to enter into deeper connection with the vertical. And the other way around.

    Staying in either ebb or flow for too long leaves me depleted or drifting. Shifting with the inner tide works best for me.

  17. Sandi Amorim says:

    Love, love, love this post! It blows away the myth that some of us are better than others at getting things done, being entrepreneurs, etc. There’s no myth –> there’s just showing up and hunkering down!

  18. Tim Brownson says:

    Oh man, I was just talking to a client about them getting off medication and it was obviously in my head, because twice when you wrote meditate, I read medicate.

    I was like “Holy crap, I’m not big on medication, but I want what this guy is taking” πŸ˜‰

  19. Jayne says:


  20. Hey Jonathan,

    Thanks for the great post and reminding me of the things I ten to forget sometimes. Congrats on getting the manuscript in – looking forward as always to reading more from you.

  21. I have made so many changes and improvements lately it’s scary. But one thing I have yet to succeed with is meditating daily.

    People wonder if pros do certain things because they have the attitude and the mindset, or do they have the attitude and mindset because they do certain things.

    After even barely scratching the surface with “modeling” others in my own life, I can say it’s effective.

  22. Great post. How many of these activities generate revenue — directly or indirectly (and how)?

    I spend a lot of time like “the pros,” too, but also wanted to take on a personal (non-revenue-generating) task recently and launched The Betterment Blog, which I find rewarding. This type of balance of professional and personal activities helps me be better at both (I think!).

  23. A says:

    I’d love to hear about how you ‘batch’ your various endeavours and responsibilities to get good flow. I often feel too all-over-the-place! Thanks for your always-useful blog.

  24. Great post, Jonathan! Extremely motivating. And I just wanted to mention that I love to read this blog not only because you have great posts, but because the comments you receive on them are insightful, positive and interesting – not defensive and degrading, like you find so many other places. I always learn something!

  25. Thanks for sharing, Jonathan. Looking forward to read your book!

  26. Lynn S says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Congratulations on your admirable productivity! It’s an inspiration.

    AND, I just gotta ask:
    Do you have children?
    Do you make their lunches?
    Do you take them or pick them up from school?
    Do you help them with their homework?
    Do you take them to their after-school activities, lessons, sports?
    Do you comfort them when they are feeling discouraged (that usually doesn’t happen on a schedule)?
    Do you cook any meals at home?
    Do you do any housework?
    What about the laundry? Drycleaning? Mending?
    How about home repairs and maintenance?
    Do you pay your own bills?
    Do you take vacations? Who does the planning and organizing?
    Who coordinates your social life?
    Do you do your taxes?
    Do you keep up with your filing?
    Do you keep your vehicle clean and well maintained? Who fills up the tank?

    Please do tell: I would love to know which parts of your life you delegate!

    In appreciation:
    Lynn S

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Yes to all of the above, except for things we outsource to pros, like accountants, or send out, like laundry. And, my car, well that puppy could use a good washing, but at 11 years old, I’m afraid the dirt might be the only thing holding it together (my wife drives the cool car).

      My wife and I share in all of the things pretty evenly, and both of us are very present parents and spouses. My wife is an astonishingly cool and competent woman. But, I don’t delegate being a dad and husband.

      BUT, just like anyone else who needs to rise to the challenge of earning a living while working at home or at an office, when I’m working, I’m working. It’s like I’m at an office, except I get to build my hours around the things you mentioned above. I get to make my daughter breakfast and lunch, take breaks to pick her up from school or have lunch with my wife. These are scheduled in mostly and sometimes spontaneous.

      One of the greatest challenges of any working parent, be them moms or dads, is creating a mutual understanding with the family about when you are accessible and what you are accessible for. Without that agreement, it becomes near impossible to work from home. My friend, Lynn Terry, who’s an affiliate marketer who works from home has specific office hours that her kids know must be respected.

      Of course, if true emergencies arise and I’m home, I’m there.

      Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  27. Hi Jonathan,

    I’ve been lurking for awhile and loving the brilliance you share. This post was finally the one that made me say, “ah, I must throw my hat into the ring here”.

    I love this post. You simply do it. When I decided that a wanted, WANTED that teaching degree, I did what it took to get it. I had 3 kids under the age of 7, worked 2 part time jobs and was a fulltime student…and I loved every second of it.

    Now having my own business and older children, well that brings it’s own set of challenges, but again…I LOVE IT. I feel fully alive, vibrating at a higher and truer level, and feeling more fully present in the here and now. I have found that being an entrepreneur is very much like that time when I was a fulltime student. My curiosity is always piqued, I’m always engaged and learning, I’m sharing my knowledge and passion, and it’s AMAZING πŸ™‚

    Thank you…I believe you have inspired a blog post inthe near future:)


  28. Thanks for this inside look Jonathan. I’d actually be interested in your methodology as well. I’m still working on mine.

    What do you do when you begin feeling unproductive, like nothing is going right? Do you take a break or march through it?

  29. Nate Dodson says:

    Hells yeah! Nothing like hard work and dedication. You are a true pro – that’s why I read your book and thats why I read your blog.

  30. Being a Pro does involve a considerable amount of dedication and effort…so it helps to be passionate about what you do and what you are.

    In fact, I don’t think it is possible to succeed unless your are passionate.

    I would also be interested in learning about your workflow should that be something you are interested to share.


  31. Do what you love, what greases your wheels, and it’s easy to work like a pro. When I first entered the teaching profession, I worked almost 24/7; it was total heart work.

    I still love it, but my desire to place my attention on different things these days is the number one clue it’s time to redefine where, how, what, and who I teach. Where I’m headed personally no longer jives with traditional education, so I’m embracing the shift instead of beating that poor, dead horse.

    Now, if you could just tell me how to be a pro with less interesting aspects of life like toilet scrubbing and going to the dentist, my whole life will be fixed.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Yeah, that is always one of the biggest challenges, figuring out how to evolve our work to consistently mirror what makes us come alive and gives us the greatest opportunity to contribute…while also paying the bills.

  32. Jonathan,

    You said it. It’s all about showing up ultimately. Many of us, even those of us who pursue a passion for a living, forget that that’s not enough. It’s the brute “attendance” and attention we give our work on a consistent basis that makes us pros at what we do.
    Thanks, J


  33. […] by two awesome posts – one by Jonathan Fields and one by Seth Godin – I’ve had yet another […]

  34. David Willis says:

    Really enjoyed this post. Direct. To the point. Inspiring. I just subscribed to your RSS feed. Look forward to reading more.

  35. Dan Perez says:

    Funny, the pros I know just “do” without feeling the need to blow their own horn to the whole world about it. Glad you’re so in tune with your own greatness.
    The rest of us will just go about our feeble little lives and wish we were you…Happy February!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Dan,

      Love it! The whole idea of the post is the exact opposite of what you perceived. Seems I may have failed to get my point across as effectively as I could have (still learning the whole writing thing, lol).

      What I said in the post was essentially that my January checklist was NOT worthy of blowing horns, adulation, blah, blah, blah. There was nothing extraordinary about it. It’s just what you do when you’ve got a job to be done. I was showing up, same way a committed sheet-rocker, a house-painter, a lawyer, a banker…or a filmmaker would.

      And it was, at least in part, a response to a lot of the common online wisdom that there are magic bullets, hacks and other voodoo that let people fit 20 hours into 10. There are tools, but there’s no substitute for showing up and working hard every day. That was the point, and the only point.

      My list? No different or worthy of “boasting” than anyone else who shows up every day and works hard. Just an example of how it unfolded in 1 month in my world. Because people like to see examples.

      Hope that clarifies. πŸ˜‰

      And…Happy February back ya!

      • Wow, Jonathan, nice way of providing a substantive reply without becoming defensive.

      • Dan Perez says:

        Thanks for taking the time to clarify. It appeared, at first, as if you were tooting your own horn in an attempt to shame the rest of us. The way I see it, there’s already enough of that going on online.
        As an entrepreneur and business owner myself, I can surely relate to showing up and gettng things done whilst still making time to “play the guitar” and have dinner with our families.
        Moreover, that was an excellent job of humbling me and diffusing my original facetious comment with your appreciation of my work…glad you enjoyed it. Now get back to work πŸ˜‰

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      P.S. – Just spent some time on your site, watched the video you did of Mathew’s story. Wow. As a dad, it really hit me on an emotional level. Really powerful, beautifully filmed, edited, sountracked and told.

  36. Jonathan,

    I feel lucky I checked this post on your blog. What you manage to do is admirable and it made me feel really bad about my productivity in January. Luckily with a new month comes a new chance to improve the stats and I will work on it.
    However I would like to add to a point mentioned in your article. In my experience with offline business there were days when I got 20 – 40 calls and quite some emails – and it is really easy to fill your day with that only. As soon as I realized the trap I organized it rather in mild Tim Ferris way – I take calls in certain hours only and I set up another time for emails. It is really helping me and in no way it must be so extreme that some people say πŸ™‚

  37. calceola says:

    Dear Jonathan,

    thank you for the Reminder, focus thats how pros do, nothing more. So back to work or call it my live.

  38. Sukhi says:

    Big J,
    I’m all over your goodness like flies on poop. My intro to you was with the call, you and La Porte!

    You are a super human man, it’s awesome and such a breathe of fresh air. I’ve had a super productive month and my manuscript for my book is sent for final editing, so I know that feeling. I expanded my offline world into the online last month too. It’s all so new to me, so I love all the great value you provide.

    I was wondering how you handle your logjams after your creative juices are overflowing from getting blissed out. I seem to go off on tangents sometimes and overwhelming myself with all the to do’s. Any insights would be appreciated.

    Be well!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great question, Sukhi, one I’m working on right now as I emerge from the book bubble and a mountain of potential next projects vie for my attention. I post about this very soon.

  39. Sukhi says:

    Sweet! Look forward to it.

  40. Dustin says:

    Inspiring to see how much you get done. Ok, that’s it. I’m going to word on developing an efficiency system.

    Thanks for the motivation. I look forward to your upcoming book as well.

  41. ElizOF says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    I’m tempted to start with “Awesome post!” but I don’t want to sound like a spammer… This is brilliant and confirms that if we make time, we will find time. Meditation is vital to the process πŸ™‚
    And yeah, Awesome post! πŸ™‚

  42. […] Habits DailyBlogTips -15 Things I Wish I Knew… Problogger – Boost Your Traffic Jonathan Fields – That’s What Pros Do JeffBullas – 105 Tips ZenHabits – Goals & Motivation Chris Guillebeau’s – […]

  43. […] the meantime, just read Jonathan Fields‘ amazing post That’s What Pros Do. How are you planning to “Show up. Dig in. Own the […]

  44. […] of the lastposts I want to share this week is one from Jonathan Fields called That’s what Β Pros Do. I was really impressed with this post for a couple reasons… the first is kind of selfish. I […]

  45. TomC says:

    You know this is the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I am completely incapable of living like other people. Everything is a struggle and I must be inferior. On some level, I know it’s not true but the my daily life seems like proof otherwise.

    A great topic for me might be: How to get people to act on things that look like work. Or better yet how to get focused on what you are doing to make a living. Or even better yet, how to know what to be focused on to make a living. And finally, how to make a living doing specifically what I am trying to do.

    The secret isn’t simply hunkering down, because I work quite a bit. Perhaps part of the secret is knowing what to hunker down on to be productive. Another part is knowing that what you’re hunkering down on is probably going to help you be productive. Another part of the secret is getting some reward for your work, enough to continue.

    Perhaps my biggest problem is trying to make even remotely accurate predictions about how much time something actually takes. Its been said that people have all the time in the world but there are deadlines and bills due that don’t seem to run by that philosophy.

    Perhaps Pros know what to do, know they can do it (and within a certain time frame) and then do it and get rewarded enough to keep doing it. The reward could just be the love of the work, knowing they are making a difference, monetary, or a mix, or whatever…

  46. Jonathan,

    You put the rest of us to shame. It’s amazing that you’d have time to do so much in one month.

    Most people don’t even do all that in one year!

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  47. Juanita says:

    Wow!! Thank you for being such an inspiration Jonathan!

  48. Great example Jonathan of showing us just what’s possible when one just gets down to it!

    I notice that some comments above are about people feeling inferior or they feel you are putting them to shame (which is clearly not your intention at all).

    But I bet the only thing that differentiates you and others is that you get DOWN to it and do whatever it takes to get stuff done. I learnt this the hard way myself, after many months of procrastination and “planning”.

    So the takeaway for me from your post is to decide what I want to do – and just do it!

  49. Awesome post Jonathan. I think I did everything too except skipped the guitar and only did 2 face to face meetings. Love it bro! Awesome site, great content!

  50. […] in a triathlon. I also took large strides growing this blog. (If I’m starting to sound like Jonathan Fields, I apologize, but I have similar intentions with this […]

  51. […] If you want to create something you can be proud of, work hard. Again, there’s no way around it. Like Jonathan Fields said: That’s what pros do. […]

  52. Susan Cain says:

    I also think it helps to be ridiculously in love with your work, as you clearly are! For the last few years I’ve been writing a book (and now a blog), and I find myself doing whatever it takes (incl. getting only 3 hours of sleep a night) to care for the book as well as my two kids. But I used to be a corporate lawyer, and even though I was pretty “professional,” I resented every minute of evening and weekend time I put in.

    I found you just now through the wonderful Debbie Stier, and so glad I did. Thanks.

  53. Susan Cain says:

    P.S. I am a fellow dark-chocolate-loving Wall Street law firm (Cleary Gottlieb) refugee!

  54. […] document.getElementById("ck_email")); A few weeks ago, I shared a list of things I got done in a one-month window.And it generated a lot of conversation. A lot.The point […]

  55. Connie says:

    So, I’m curious….which activities produced the best results? It’s not the “doing” that is tough for me, it’s the “choosing.” Should I spend more time blogging…posting…tweeting…e-booking…

    I know it’s a mix, but would love to hear your percentage perspective.

    …enjoying your blog, btw!

  56. Hi Jonathan, it is inspiring to see you in action on a daily basis. I definitely find that the more I write and discover my purpose and move towards it the more invigorated I feel. Maybe when you can see you’re making real progress and being rewarded for your work the momentum starts to build and you become unstoppable?

    Great to have you to guide me:)

  57. I too agree with your post Jonathon, Be a PRO!!! What i feel makes oneself a true pro is to absolutely love their work and what it is that they do. The problem is that, once a person does not see the rewards of what they may feel is the hardest they have ever tried, they may become disappointed and feel they wasted their time…right? A pro must be able to overcome and conquer these feelings of self letdown. We must all find our personal strengths and run with them..the other side of the coin is what do we do to control the stress of hardship…Me personally i find that meditating on helps so much! Thanks for the great post and please keep sharing with all of us!

  58. […] original plan of action was inspired by Jonathan Fields’ recap of his own stunning prolificness. The guy writes a lot of stuff, and he is great at what he writes. But as I work to write for this […]

  59. […] Jonathan Fields puts it, “that’s what pros do.” In January alone he published 17 blog posts, […]

  60. […] Jonathan Fields puts it, “that’s what pros do.” In January alone he published 17 blog posts, […]

  61. Ashley says:

    All I gotta say is that this post is pro.

  62. […] Jonathan Fields puts it, β€œthat’s what pros do.” In January alone he published 17 blog posts, wrote 25,000 […]

  63. […] we talked, both of us were bemoaning our productivity. And noting our peers (like our dear buddy Jonathan Fields) who seem to have no problem cranking out tens of thousands of words a month, while meditating […]

  64. Jonathan: I have three words for you – You da man!!

    Seriously, I’m inspired by your hustle and your constant generosity. You are a true pro indeed.