Business psychology

“Fall in love with the problems you’re trying to solve”: Dr Amantha Imber on boosting your productivity

- November 22, 2022 4 MIN READ

From dissecting consumer behaviour in the world of advertising to developing an impressive career in behavioural psychology, Dr Amantha Imber has a wealth of knowledge to share with small business owners.

She knows exactly what it takes to harness your productivity habits and dominate your day. Throughout her career, and now through her podcast, How I Work, Amantha has helped thousands of business leaders and business owners to become more effective and productive. She joins Cec Busby, Editor of Flying Solo, to share her top tips for making the most out of your productivity potential.

Understanding the problem you’re trying to solve

Off the back of a diverse career in the advertising industry, Dr Amantha Imber launched herself into her own solo venture, hoping to use her knowledge of consumer behaviour to help business owners grow their brands.

“I wanted to be helping people develop skills that were useful and really help people in a way that felt more meaningful to me,” she says. “I started Inventium as a planned plan B and just sort of hoped for the best.”

With a knack for translating complex scientific concepts into easy-to-understand ideas, she has helped a number of organisations and businesses apply strategies to increase their productivity, reach, and profit.

“The biggest and most important lesson that it taught me was about the importance of brand and standing for something that is unique,” Amantha says. “Something I thought that was unique that I could bring to the brand was naturally being a science geek.”

If Amantha has one learning to share with business owners from her years in consumer advertising, it’s the importance of recognising the crossover between what matters to the customer and what makes your business unique.

“One of the most important things that I’ve learned is the importance of falling in love with the problems that you’re trying to solve and not falling in love with the solutions and the ideas,” says Amantha.

To Amantha, the best innovation comes from staying attached to what are the big problems that you can solve for your customers, not just the initial idea.

“It’s really easy to get attached to ideas because they’re these sort of bright sexy things,” says Amantha. “But if we get attached to an idea, we lose sight of when that idea is not actually connecting with our customers.”

Listen to Dr Amantha Imber on the Flying Solo podcast:

Rituals and rules for maximum productivity

After four years of hosting her podcast, How I Work, and a diverse career in behavioural psychology, Amantha has gathered a wealth of knowledge from all kinds of prosperous people.

“I talk to some of the world’s most successful people and understand how they use their time so well and achieve so much more than the rest of us mere mortals,” she says.

Speaking to a number of people who have mastered their own unique patterns of productivity, Dr Amantha Imber has become an expert on the importance of chronotypes. Our individual chronotype depends on the natural peaks and troughs in our energy levels over a 24-hour period.

According to Amantha, there are generally three chronotypes out there, all largely genetically predetermined. There are stereotypical morning people, or larks, night owls, and ‘middle birds’, who are typically most alert between 9am and midday. Recognising her own alignment with the morning larks, Amantha has shifted her routine to complement her energy peaks and troughs.

“I always do my work that requires the deepest amount of thinking and focus and attention in the morning,” she says. “I also time block, so I book meetings with myself to work on those important tasks so that there’s no procrastination.”

No matter your predetermined chronotype, to increase your productivity and avoid burnout Amantha insists the most important consideration is prioritising your daily tasks and recognising when you need a break.

“I’m not a heart surgeon, I don’t really have too many work emergencies, and they’re certainly not a matter of life or death,” she says. “So, people know that I am very reliable and very conscientious, and I will get back to them.”

Advice for time-poor small business owners

While some business owners have successfully delegated, moving into a position where they work on the business as opposed to in the business, many budding entrepreneurs are still the first point of call for their customers.

“There’s not too many business owners that couldn’t afford to be off their email for just one hour in the morning, or whenever your peak thinking time is,” says Amantha.

Challenging business owners to block off an hour of their day to progress toward their goals, Amantha says resisting digital distractions is a necessity, one that demands either strong willpower or brute force.

“Willpower is a limited resource,” Amantha says. “Instead, you wanna use what I’ve heard referred to as brute force approaches that basically put a big barrier in the way of you engaging in the behaviour that you’re trying to avoid doing.”

In addition to working to your chronotype and limiting digital distractions, Dr Amantha says business owners must get better at saying no. Speaking to dozens of impressive business people on her podcast, she notes some common strategies. According to Amantha, enforcing a simple rephasing habit aligns the practice with your identity, making your answer non-negotiable.

“I’m always fascinated how really successful people who are asked to do lots and lots of things, they get a lot of practice at saying no,” Amantha says. “They’ve learned that it’s far more helpful to frame these things as ‘I don’t’ instead of ‘I can’t’.”

You can read more about Dr Amantha Imber on her website, or by tuning in to her number-one ranking business podcast, How I Work.

Dr Amantha Imber on Flying Solo podcast

For more tips and wisdom from Amantha, listen to the full Flying Solo episode now.

Listen to the latest episode of the Flying Solo podcast now:

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