Timeular Shared Spaces empowers you and your team to track time together in one place and take full advantage of the simplicity and accuracy of Timeular.
Especially now in challenging times like this, it’s even more important to know how we are spending our time. Either to focus on the important stuff or to find the right balance while working from home for the first time.
What can I use Shared Spaces for? 🚀
Shared Spaces allows you to create a common data structure to track time together and create insightful reports for everyone.
Everyday tasks such as handing in timesheets, billing projects, checking a project’s profitability, improving future estimations and many more things will all become effortless and more accurate.
Shared Spaces is very smart indeed. I love the reporting I can do for my clients – without prompts.
Shared Spaces Beta Tester
How do Spaces work? 🤔
First of all, Spaces are shared with no-one by default. You can create as many Spaces as you want and invite unlimited people of your choice or keep them private.
When inviting someone, you can choose if they’re an admin and therefore have insights into everyone’s time tracking (with a 24h delay) or if they’re a member and only able to see their own data.
Within a space you can create a common data structure by adding activities and tags that everyone can track time on, e.g. you could create a Space for the whole company, assign all of your company’s projects as activities and set tags such as #billable and #non-billable.
In the analytics, admins will see the same insightful charts you’re used to using, but for the whole team. The charts can be customized through our simple-to-use filters. If the charts are not what you’re looking for, you can export the data to CSV/XLSX and create your own charts in e.g. Google Sheets or Excel.
Built with privacy in mind 🔐
We started Timeular because we want to make time tracking for our users as simple and fun as possible. The users that matter to us the most are the people tracking time, hence privacy is important to us.
That’s why you’ll always have a Private Space to track your most sensitive things which no-one but you has access to.
That’s also why everyone’s time entries within Shared Spaces will only show up in the shared analytics after 24 hours, so no-one will be able to check-in on anyone else in real-time.
How to start using Spaces today 👩🏻🚀
To start using Spaces just update the app (in your Settings > App Settings or download it here) to the latest version.
Then go on creating your first Space and invite your colleagues by simply clicking on Add Space on the activity screen. It’s as simple as that.
Spaces is a Pro feature only, but you can start a 30-day Pro trial in the app right after clicking on Add Space.
Tobi Deckert works for two companies at the same time. As the CEO and product developer of ShredRack and tronature, he helps others to fulfil their ultimate adventures in travel and sports. Taking care of both companies brings with it many responsibilities and an ever growing to-do list.
Tobi started looking for a time tracking solution after becoming distracted by subtasks and struggling to stay focused. He was also interested in seeing much time he was spending on projects and how he could optimize how his time was being spent. That’s when he discovered Timeular.
Mornings with yoga, meditation … and Timeular
Tobi starts his day at 6am with a session of tabata, followed by yoga and a short meditation. “Throughout that procedure, my mind is completely focused.” After that he has a healthy shake for breakfast and starts writing down his daily plan.
His day is structured in 2 big tasks, one he has to do and one he wants to do. “This keeps me motivated working in my ‘zone’.”
“Discipline is most important. In order to push this I work with 20 minute ‘tomato timers’ and binaural frequencies (and classical music).”
As activities, he tracks the tasks within his companies and the ones he does for external partners too. This helps him seeing where every minute of his working day is spent and makes it easier when it comes to billing clients and planning new projects.
Now: 4 focused hours a day
Since using Timeular, Tobi now has 4 hours each day where he remains in the “zone” which wasn’t possible before. He also really likes the physical Tracker. “I forget to start or stop the timer less and pick the activities according to the people I work with”
Tobi’s tip: find your own personal morning routine
Over time, Tobi has noticed a marked improvement in his overall productivity levels and uses the analytics dashboard in the Timeular app to optimize his workflows. He can also provide more value to clients, with Timeular Pro giving him the option to download and share PDF reports of his time spent on different projects.
Tobi is now an advocate for time tracking and keen to inspire others to take control of their time.
“Try to find your (personal!) perfect morning routine (including nutrition and sport), learn to find your way how to structure yourself, there are many options and techniques, handwritten or digitally.”
Tobi also recommends looking at what others are doing to get some inspiration. “There are big speakers and mentors like Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins and Hal Elrod. Alternatively, you can speak with successful people in your environment, who have similar mindsets and see what has helped them.”
“It’s like a puzzle. First, you need to find the right pieces, then you need to try and see what happens and if they fit. It’s important to have the discipline or your own system to keep you accountable and to make it a habit/routine.”
Learn more about how Timeular can help you take control of your time and become more productive:
We have so many distractions nowadays, including social media, news, messages and calls, not forgetting family life and responsibilities are still not outdated. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and that we don’t have time for anything.
So, how to stay productive? Here are some time management practices to help you take control of your time and increase productivity.
1. Set goals
One of the first steps of successful time management is setting the right goals and knowing what you want to achieve. You need to be clear about this and do as much as you can to contribute to the achievement of that goal. Sit down, turn off the distractions and think about where you want to be. Then, write it down and set it somewhere so it can motivate you. This will drive you every day – your passions, dreams and goals.
2. Do something
Don’t wait for Monday or the Monday after that, don’t wait for anything to happen so you can get started. Just do something right away. You have set your goals? Great! Now sit down and make a first effort to achieve something. Maybe it’s just 1% of where you need to be but it’s one per cent further than where you were. Always aim to perform one task, one action, learn one thing every day that will help you arrive at your destination.
3. Don’t be lazy
We have all faced laziness at some point in our lives. However, it’s how you fight it that matters. Here are some simple tips to combat laziness:
Use the Pomodoro Technique – work for 25 minutes and then have a 5 minute break.
Start planning your actions and breaking them into manageable pieces.
Get others to keep you accountable — a friend or partner that will remind you of your plans if you don’t stick to them.
4. Eliminate distractions
Since it takes 23 minutes to focus on the task again, it can be pretty hard when you face interruptions every three minutes. So, turn off your phone, notifications on your computer, block social media pages (unless it’s a part of your job or current task), tell everyone not to bother you for a select amount of time and so on. Work in a quiet place as well.
5. Don’t do several things at once
Multi-tasking can be useful but it’s still one of the enemies of productivity. A multi-tasking mind is a distracted mind. You can’t focus properly on multiple things at once. We can only dedicate so much of our minds to this. So, when you are multi-tasking, your brain has to quickly switch between tasks and it impacts your efficiency negatively.
6. Set deadlines for yourself
When you don’t set any deadlines, you’ll just keep putting it off. Of course, make those deadlines reasonable so you don’t get discouraged, but make sure that they are tight enough so you don’t procrastinate.
7. Avoid checking email
Checking your email all the time makes you seem productive and like you are doing something that matters but you are creating a huge distraction for yourself. Responding to dozens of emails a day isn’t really productive. Instead, open your emails twice a day, at scheduled times.
8. Clear your inbox
When you check your emails, just delete the ones that are not relevant. Respond to emails that are and clear all the ones that aren’t. “Clutter in your emails or in your life is an enemy to your productivity. Get your email box to zero. The lack of clutter is inspiring,” says Josephine Myers a project manager at Writemyx.
9. Focus on priorities
Having a to-do list is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to organization and time management. Create a reasonable to-do list and list only the most important tasks in it. Focus on priority tasks – several things that you need to do in order to get closer to the goals you have set. Do the most important task first and then complete the rest.
10. Don’t mistake urgent for important
You need to realize that there is a huge difference between important and urgent. Let’s say that you want to start your own company but you are an employee at another company while you gather resources. Your employer needs a task done quickly, and you are writing down your business plan. The task you are doing for your boss is urgent but your business plan is important. Think about your priorities.
11. Write it down
Having an old-fashioned journal or planner where you can write things down is crucial. You memorise things better that way and you get a better grasp at what you need to do.
Timeular provides effortless time tracking to help you take control of your work and work-at-home time.
There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting and thinking about all the other things you could and should be doing. Unfortunately for most employees, this often happens with reoccurring meetings.
But there are instances where a meeting is essential. For example, a health and safety training session would probably be useful for all employees, while a business development meeting might only be relevant to those that it directly affects.
Going back to basics, a meeting happens to gather ideas, solve problems, gather feedback, and move projects forward. Yet it’s become commonplace for them to be utterly superfluous. And research suggests that most staff members consider them unproductive and a hindrance to overall performance.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why a meeting might become unproductive. Plus, the steps you can take to improve the outcome.
Reasons for Unproductive Meetings
No purpose The problem with unproductive meetings is that there’s no clear purpose or objective. It might be a good idea to go over the reason for the meeting and if it requires the attendance of all those invited. If everyone doesn’t really need to be there, consider sending out company updates and other internal communication via email to update non-attendees.
Inadequate time management A team meeting can quickly become unproductive due to poor time management. Make sure you have ground rules that ensure each topic discussion has a slot in the agenda.
Actioning Meetings are bound to go off the rails when there’s no clear procedure to guide the debate points. Try assigning an attendee to guide and prioritise discussion topics, as well as to make a plan for implementing tasks that need completing.
Attendees Meetings are likely to become unproductive if there’s a large number of irrelevant attendees. It’s important to identify the key members of the team that can attend the meeting and then pass down the information to their colleagues.
How to Improve Meeting Productivity
Keep an agenda Keeping an agenda ensures that your meeting is purposeful and that it achieves your desired objectives. It’s important to set the expectations of the meeting and to remind attendees of what they are. You can achieve this through proper preparations before the event. Send out an agenda beforehand detailing required meeting materials, aims, and desired outcomes. With this approach, staff members are aware of the requirements involved in attending.
Feedback Asking for feedback is an effective way of improving the productivity of your meetings. Employee feedback can help reveal areas of concerns within an organisation, employees are then made to feel valued. Offering your employees, the opportunity to voice their concerns can increase engagement.
Saying no to a meeting As employees, it’s sometimes hard to say no in the workplace. Partly out of fear of alienating yourself from your colleagues. However, if you receive an invite for a meeting you feel is counterproductive, then there are ways to decline the meeting without seeming rude or lazy. To avoid attending a meeting you feel would be unproductive, you can consider turning the meeting into a phone or conference call. This approach means you can save yourself some time. In turn, you can transfer this over to your other priorities. In cases where you feel your expertise isn’t required, you can either pass the invite onto a relevant colleague or hand it over to your boss. Finally, if you can’t recommend an alternative you can turn down the invite. You can provide honest feedback, such as suggesting your skills or time aren’t required for the meeting.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein
The key to good time management is planning. Without it, our brain feels overloaded and puts us in ‘overwhelmed’ mode making it almost impossible to get difficult work done.
I would suggest you start with this system and tweak it as you go along to figure out what works best for you:
When should you plan?
To be most effective, planning needs to be done daily. Each evening, before you finish work for the day, spend ten minutes doing the following:
Look at your To-Do list. What was completed and what still needs to be done? Your To-Do list should include a section for work and a section for personal tasks. If you’re looking for a great app, I use (and love) ToDoist.
Assess and prioritize each task (low-medium-high, 1-2-3, yellow-orange-red…whatever system works for you). What really needs to get done immediately? What big projects do you need to start making progress on?
For each item on your To-Do list, estimate how long you think it will take to complete. Be generous; most things take longer than we expect. At first, your estimations might be off, but over time you will become pretty precise, especially on repeating tasks.
4. Degree of Difficulty:
It is helpful to rank the degree of difficulty for each task. You can create your own scale or simply use 1 to represent easy, 2 for medium, and 3 for hard.
How should you plan?
This is where it all comes together!
6 steps to super-easy planning:
Each evening, look at what needs to get done. Each task should have an estimated time assigned to its well as a degree of difficulty. Update the list for new tasks and adjust the estimated time and degree of difficulty, as needed.
Take out your calendar and be sure to schedule. Fill in meetings (or classes if you’re a student) and other ‘fixed’ variables. Then, look at your list of tasks and decide which need to get done immediately. By prioritizing your to-do list every day, nothing will fall through the cracks or be forgotten. Your calendar is a great tool and will serve as your road map each day.
Include your personal ‘fixed’ items (an exercise class, pick-up basketball Wednesday evenings, etc.)
Consider the times during the day when you are most alert and attentive. Everyone has windows of peak performance. Put simply, it’s the time of day when you find it easiest to focus and get your most difficult work done. Schedule your harder tasks during these times but be sure to allow for regular breaks. If you find yourself tired and sluggish in the late afternoon, be sure to plan easier work to be done during that time.
Allow for regular breaks. Our brains can stay focused for up to 90 minutes. It’s important, especially if you are switching tasks, to let your brain relax and reset. Five minutes will do the trick (but be wary of taking a five-minute social media break; it’s amazing how quickly five minutes turns to fifty!)
The Pomodoro method. This method of time management was created in Italy in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique suggests using a timer set for 25 minutes of concentration followed by 5 minutes of relaxation. You can use this as a guide or adjust the 25 to 20 minutes if that’s your optimal working time.
Why should you plan?
Your calendar will serve as your road map each day. Scheduling a specific time to get work done will enable you to get your work done more efficiently and you should find that there is also time to do things you enjoy (dinner with friends, exercise, movies, etc.)
Blocking out time in your calendar for the personal things you enjoy will protect that time so work does not creep in.
Following a system like this helps you sleep better at night knowing what to expect the following day.
That being said, we often wake up to crises that need us to change our plans. Having a plan in place makes you more resilient and flexible in addressing surprises and handling stressful situations.
If you are a student, you can apply the same concepts (substitute classes for meetings, etc.)
This post was written by Sharon Feldman Danzger and first appeared on her blog.
Sharon Danzger is the founder of Control Chaos and author of ‘Super-Productive: 120 Strategies to Do More and Stress Less‘. Her firm helps clients improve personal productivity and performance through corporate training programs and individualized coaching.
We all have the same amount of hours each day. You can’t store time, borrow it, or save for later use. You can only decide how to allocate it, spending it on activities of higher rather than low value. Time management is a game of choices: projects to pursue, tasks to complete, routines to follow.
Adopting good time management techniques in your life isn’t about squeezing as many tasks as you can into your day. It’s about simplifying how you work, getting things done faster, and doing things better. By doing so, you’ll have more times for play, rest, and doing the things you love. Don’t try to work hard, invest in working smarter.
“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends. “ — Brian Tracy
The To-Don’t list
In Mathematics, there is a problem-solving technique called inversion. You start with results and work backwards to calculate the causes. Inversion is a powerful tool because it forces you to uncover hidden beliefs about the problem you are trying to solve. You need to think about how to minimize the negatives instead of maximizing the positives.
Let’s say you want to improve productivity. Thinking forward, you would list all the things you could do to be more productive. But if you look at the problem by inversion, you’d think about all the things you could do that would diminish productivity.
Enter the To-Don’t List.
Create your own by writing down all the habits you want to quit and activities you wish to eliminate from your life. Think about your possible workday — long meetings with people you don’t like and boring repetitive tasks — and work from there.
Create a To-Don’t list with all the habits you want to remove from your life. Use it as a guideline of what you don’t allow in your life. Here are a couple of examples:
– Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night – No morning meetings – Don’t say yes unless you’re 100% certain you can deliver – Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon – Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
The reason why inversion works is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” — Steve Jobs
This post was written by Daniel Silvestre and first appeared on Quora.
All of us strive to get the most out of life. Here are my Top 10 time management tips on work, life hacks and life lessons which helped me to start two companies, build 4 top 100 apps in different categories, have my articles featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Fortune and Inc and write a book on Amazon that hit #1 in the resumes category with over 40,000 Kindle downloads.
1. Say no to 1 hour meetings
“I love 1 hour meetings,” said no one ever. 1 hour meetings are often unnecessary. You can usually accomplish in 30 minutes what you thought you needed an hour for. 30 minutes will force you to be concise and on point.
2. Do the Steve Jobs walk
Steve Jobs often did some of his most important meetings while going for a walk. I do this all the time. First, doing meetings in conference rooms can feel very stiff. Second, getting people outside of their everyday environment may get them to see things from a new perspective. Third, being physically active during your meeting could help you think more clearly. So open the door, get some fresh air and go for a walk.
3. Visualize your success
Imagine 3 groups of basketball players.
*The first group would practice shooting free throws 20 minutes a day.
*The second group wouldn’t practice free throws but would visualize themselves making free throws.
*The third group would not practice or visualize at all.
What are the results? There was a significant improvement in the second group. In fact, they were almost as good as the first group. By the way, this is a real experiment that was conducted by Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson.
So if you want to get that new job, imagine yourself prepping for the interview, nailing it and signing the job offer. Visualize what you want your future to be.
4. Listen first before speaking
Seek to understand first. How can you make an intelligent remark on something if you haven’t taken the time to observe what’s happening first? You have two ears and only one mouth. There’s a reason for that.
5. Give credit where it’s due
People can’t stand it when someone takes credit for something they didn’t do. Don’t be that person. Recognize others when they do an awesome job. It creates trust among teammates and will you further as a company.
6. Set goals
If you don’t even know where you’re headed, how will you create the plan on how to get there? Set your destination first and then set sail.
7. Celebrate progress
The journey to your goal could be a long one. So make sure you take the time to celebrate your progress along the way. Eat a nice dinner. High five your teammates. Strike a gong. Do a fist pump. Yell out from the rooftops. Because success is worth celebrating.
8. Figure out your why
It’s a such a great question that isn’t asked enough. Why does it all matter? Figure out your why and that’ll be the fuel for your motivation. Whether it’s supporting your family or making an impact on the world, figuring out your why is critical to taking your work to the next level.
9. Understand your strengths and amplify those
You’ll be naturally talented in certain areas or you’ll practice a skill enough to become an expert at it. Therefore, focus your energy on amplifying those strengths rather than trying to be mediocre at everything. Better to be an expert at a few things than a mediocre jack of all trades!
10. Work smart
Why are we doing this? Does it have to be done this way? Is there a better way to do it? How can I get a better return in less time? Keep asking questions like this.
Working hard is great. Working smart and hard is even better. #WinningCombo
Nelson Wang is the founder of CEO Lifestyle where he helps entrepreneurs build a profitable, sustainable business. He founded 3 companies, traveled to over 100 cities, 19 countries, written an Amazon resumes bestseller, built 4 top 100 apps in Lifestyle, Business and Entertainment and his writing has been featured on Forbes, Inc., Business Insider, Fortune, Time, The Huffington Post, PopSugar, Thought Catalog, LifeHack and Quartz.
If you want to increase your productivity and achieve more in less time, read on for 10 hands-on tips that you can start implementing today:
1. Prepare before you get started.
Productivity doesn’t just happen “in the moment.”
It happens long before you even sit down and get to work. The more you prepare ahead of time, and get clear on exactly what it is you want, need, or should do, the easier and faster you will move once you start.
The reason why so many people struggle with “being productive” is because they skip this step, and when they sit down, they expect to start flying even though they haven’t even decided where it is they want to fly to.
2. Turn off all distractions.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that every time your phone buzzes, your e-mail pops up on your screen, your office door opens, your train of thought is ruined.
We like to believe we can both participate in a group chat via text and write our best-selling novel, but the truth is, we can’t — and to think we can is wishful and naive.
Your best work comes in silence.
It’s why people retreat and take vacations away from the busyness of life — to distance themselves from distraction.
3. Make your expectations flexible.
The hardest part about “productivity” is that we want it to exist on a static playing field.
We want there to be one formal definition for “being productive” and we want that definition to mean we got from point A to point B. But, depending on what you’re working on, sometimes you have to take the scenic route.
Sometimes the most productive thing you could possibly do right now is to brainstorm a million random ideas, play with a few of them, watch them fail before your eyes, and then come to a more refined conclusion of what it is you’re actually trying to build or “get done.” In many cases, people would see this as an afternoon failure. But on the contrary, it is necessary in order to better understand whatever it is you’re doing.
Don’t fight yourself when that happens.
4. Measure, measure, measure.
“If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.”
This is something my own mentors have gone to great lengths to teach me, and rightfully so. If you can’t measure it, you don’t know how to improve it — or worse, you spend too much time on the “scenic road” and you never actually reach a point of conclusion. Measurement doesn’t always have to do with time, or money, or something tangible.
Sometimes, the best way to measure is to simply look back at old pieces of work and see how and where you’ve improved stylistically. But be conscious of measurement, so that you can tweak as you go along and see where you can become more efficient.
5. Share what you’re working on — for feedback.
For the longest time, I never wanted to share or talk about anything I was working on.
I thought it was “bad luck” or would take me out of my flow. And I’ll admit, there are those moments when your ideas are best left to ruminate in your own head, but you should not be hesitant to share what you’re working on. Feedback is extremely important, and a lot of time can be saved by a single conversation where someone points out, very clearly, something that isn’t “working.”
It might not be easy to hear at the moment, but you will be thankful for it later.
6. Practice In public.
When we talk about productivity, we often think of ways to seclude ourselves in our bedroom or office, alone, in the dark, with only the light of our laptop to keep us illuminated.
But sometimes that approach actually ends up getting a poor return on your time investment because you aren’t getting outside feedback. Find ways to practice in public.
Use the digital tools we have access to, like social media, to release test versions of whatever it is you’re working on: Whether that’s a book, an album, a startup, a comedy sketch, anything.
Practicing in public gives you feedback, and feedback speeds up the learning and development process.
Need we really explain the productivity benefits of a black coffee with an extra shot of espresso?
To some, this would be a distraction, but I have always found light instrumental music in the background (Beethoven and Mozart, especially)to be quite the productivity booster.
As long as it isn’t filled with catchy melodies that take you out of the task at hand, music can be like that whirring fan in the background that acts as a subtle cue to your subconscious to stay on the task at hand.
9. Take Breaks.
Again, being “productive” does not necessarily mean sitting still for eight straight hours.
You might be able to swing that for a day or two, but you are not a robot. You will burn out. Productivity is all about flow. It’s about knowing your limits and being conscious of how to move within your own constraints.
Maybe you need to take 10-minute breaks after every 50 minutes of focus.
Great. Do that.
Or maybe you can work for four hours no problem, but then you need to take the afternoon before diving into another four-hour work session at night.
Great. Do that.
Do what works for you, and you only.
This isn’t about being productive based on someone else’s habits or way of doing things.
This is about knowing yourself and using your habits to your advantage.
10. Create a routine.
It is said the best musicians, athletes, innovators, etc., follow a daily routine that trains their subconscious to know when it is time to work and when it is time to relax.
There is absolutely something to be said for always practicing at the same time, or always going to the gym at the same time, or always writing at the same time, every day. You train yourself to know, as soon as that hour strikes, to fall into that mode of focus required to do your best work.
Trying to be productive when one day you are working in the morning, the next day you’re working at night, the next day you’re working in the middle of the day, it gets exhausting. Routine is extremely helpful, and inherently removes the distraction of adjustment to something “new.”
Consistency is what you’re after.
This post was written by Nicolas Cole and first appeared on Inc Magazine.
Nicolas Cole is an author, Top Writer on Quora, and the founder of Digital Press. His work has acquired over 30 million views online, and has been published in Time, Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, and more. He is best known for writing about creativity, entrepreneurship, productivity and personal growth.
When I was 21, I used to work incredibly long hours as I thought that would fuel my career success. Boy, was I wrong. Sure, I was productive over the short term. But then something funny happened.
I started to get really tired all the time. I couldn’t focus anymore during the late nights. I began to make mistakes. I wasn’t as polished in my presentations. I realized most people didn’t even care that I was putting in the extra hours. Then I burned out.
Over my 11 year career, I’ve learned to focus on working smarter. I’ve taken detailed notes from some of the top individual contributors and executives from companies like MTV, VMware, Cisco, Box and Optimizely. In those 11 years, I went from being a labor foreman to now being a VP at a fast-growing startup. I’ve also started a motivational website called CEO Lifestyle that has over 9,000 subscribers in just a few months.
So what did I learn?
Here’s the secret:
Optimize your work life so that you maximize your results.
I’ve put together a list of the top 10 ways to optimize your productivity.
Here are the top 10:
1. Pull a Mark Zuckerberg
Did you know that he wears a grey t-shirt all the time? Here’s his explanation: “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. I’m in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.” (This quote is from this article: Why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same clothes to work everyday) Here’s my point: simplify your life. Reduce the amount of trivial decisions you have to make every day so that you can focus your energy on the really important ones. Pull a Mark Zuckerberg. Oh, did I mention that Steve Jobs does this too? Just saying.
2. Use the 20 feet rule
Let’s say you’re working on a project at work. Have you ever stopped to check your phone randomly to look at Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat? If you’re doing this multiple times within an hour, it might be hurting your productivity. If your cell phone isn’t absolutely critical to your job, put it somewhere that is 20 feet away from your desk. This forces you to do quite a bit of walking to check your phone and helps you to focus on the work at hand.
3. Use the “Top 3” rule
To make your day ultra-focused and productive, ask yourself, “What are the 3 key things I really need to accomplish today?” Before you do anything else, make sure you crush those 3 objectives first. Prioritize ruthlessly.
4. Learn to batch tasks
For tasks that are not urgent, batch them. For example, how many times do you check your email every day? A lot of people will click refresh on their inbox and then respond to emails as they come in. If your job doesn’t require an immediate response on those emails, batch and check them every 3 hours throughout the day. This way, you won’t be constantly reacting to every email that comes in and you can prioritize your activities for the day.
5. Don’t let email run your life. #OperationInboxZero
Leverage the team – We get it. You want to be the hero. You want to be the one to deliver on that big project. You want to get the applause. After all, who doesn’t love the recognition? You absolutely want to work hard. You absolutely want to do a great job. What you don’t want is to burn out. Make sure you leverage the team to get the job done. If someone else is more talented and skilled than you in a certain area, collaborate with them to drive better results. For example, when I was working on our iPhone app, I tried to design it myself in Photoshop. Did I mention I suck at Photoshop? It turned out terribly. So what did I do next? I tapped my friend on the shoulder for help (he’s a rockstar designer) and within one day we had an amazing design that was ten times better than the original. By the time we went live with the app, we had a design that was amazing. Want proof? The app hit the top 100 in the Lifestyle category. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.
6. Virtual assistants are your best friends
Not literally. Well, unless you’re really good at building friendships over Skype. Then it might be possible. Anyway, virtual assistants can help to take on a lot of the administrative tasks that you may be overwhelmed with. Whether it’s data research, writing or language translation, there’s a ton of skills they bring to the table to help you scale your work.
7. Get rid of paper
If you don’t have to have a paper copy, create a digital one and store it in the cloud. There are a ton of cloud providers that offer a large amount of free storage like Box. For example, for my business receipts, instead of keeping the physical copies in a cabinet, I’ve created a folder in Box for all of the digital copies. I can then search for a specific receipt if I need to. It makes life so much easier. Here’s another great example: when I want to show someone marketing material, I’ll have it available on my mobile phone through the Box app. This way, I can look at it with them and I can also share it with them afterwards by sending a link right away. That’s productivity!
8. Work on what you’re passionate about
Life’s short. Do you really want to work on stuff you don’t enjoy? When you work with passion, your energy will be better, your focus will be more intense and you’ll have a sense of purpose in what you do. It’s a game changer. Don’t underestimate the power of happiness in work. Right now, I’m literally typing this article with a huge smile on my face and bobbing my head to music on Spotify. I’m so passionate about writing that I can often write multiple articles in a few hours. And it feels great too. It doesn’t even feel like work! It feels like a mission. A calling. A journey. Do what you love.
9. Constantly test
Your ideas are just that: ideas. Don’t spend too much time trying to come up with the perfect idea. At the end of the day, the only way to know if it’ll work is to test it. The data will tell you if it’s a good idea or not. Want to know how many apps it took for me to make 4 top 100 apps? 14 tries. When I first started out, I thought all of them could be big hits. That’s why it’s critical to test.
10. Have a “user” centric approach
Whenever people run into a tough challenge, you’ll often hear a couple of different suggestions on how the problem can be solved. One of the best ways to solve hard problems is to ask yourself, “What’s best for the user?” Having a user-centric approach as your guiding force will often drive you to the best answers. Put yourselves in their shoes. How do you make their lives better? How do you bring a sense of delight into their lives? How do you bring a huge smile to their face?
Bonus tip: Surround yourself with inspiring, sharp and positive people. Want to know why? It’s simple. Awesomeness is contagious.
This post was written by Nelson Wang and first appeared on Quora.
Nelson Wang is the founder of CEO Lifestyle where he helps entrepreneurs build a profitable, sustainable business. He founded 3 companies, traveled to over 100 cities, 19 countries, written an Amazon resumes bestseller, built 4 top 100 apps in Lifestyle, Business and Entertainment and his writing has been featured on Forbes, Inc., Business Insider, Fortune, Time, The Huffington Post, PopSugar, Thought Catalog, LifeHack and Quartz.
Juan Felipe Campos (@juannikin) is the host of the Productivity Masterminds Podcast. He serves as VP of Tech and Partner at Manos Accelerator via Google Launchpad. He has graduated his company NomadApp from the largest accelerator in the world, Plug and Play, and the Go Silicon Valley program. Juan helps run the largest digital marketing community in Silicon Valley with over 20,000 members. Juan’s companies have been featured in major publications including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes.
You’re not just managing your time, your managing other aspects of yourself as well: your attention, your intentionality, your energy, and finally your time. Managing time is just the beginning – managing all of the 4 aspects is super powerful.
You shouldn’t manage your time until you’ve asked yourself where you’re going. Intention without attention is powerless and attention without intention is aimless. Start with a big picture in your mind and then take the baby steps to get there.
You are mortal and your time is limited. If you don’t protect your time, other people are happy to waste it for you. Every activity comes at the cost of another one that you could have done instead.
Your time is valuable. Your time is depleting. It matters more than money because you can’t get it back. You can only enjoy it, learn from it, and do better.
[00:49] Hello and welcome to another episode of Productivity Masterminds. Today we have a very special guest. It’s me. I can tell you that running this podcast has been a huge learning experience for me and I just love to share with you what have been the biggest highlights and lessons learned on this season and what those things have been for me. My background is in tech entrepreneurship. I’m based in Silicon Valley and work with VC funded startups and I meet a lot of smart people every day who are pushing themselves to the max on productivity and time management, but if you want to manage your time like some of the top performers we’ve had on the podcast, like Yotam Cohen, who raised 30 million for his company or Jessica Chen, who is an Emmy award-winning content producer, or even like a top-notch productivity expert like David Allen, who is the author of the international bestseller “Getting Things Done” or Stever Robbins who hosts the get-it-done podcast.
[01:48] If you want to manage your time like these guys, you need to get on this totally new level of consciousness about the topic and the number one lesson for me has been: you’re quite simply just not managing just your time, you’re managing other aspects of yourself as well. You’re managing your attention, your intentionality, your energy, and your time. So let’s break it down. So again, you’re not just managing your time. You have to manage your attention, intention, energy, and time. On episode one, Mike talked about productivity and he says that
Productivity is the interplay between intention and attention.
So if you have an intention and attention, you’re productive. He says, if you have an intention, so a reason for doing things, okay, you have an intention, a reason for doing what you’re doing, but you don’t have attention than it’s powerless, right? Because you have all of the intentions, but you’re not taking action. So it’s powerless. It’s like a plan without action. But he says actually, that a lot of people have attention. They’re paying attention day in and day out, hustling and bustling, but they have no intention, no bigger picture, no plan. So it’s aimless. Uh, Sam Huber, on episode 14, he says that he starts with the big picture in mind, so he questions direction and purpose, and then finds the smaller baby steps to get there. That way he can be confident every day that he’s getting one step closer to the end goal because he has an end goal. He has an intention behind his actions. So that’s about attention and intention. But what about the other two? Right? What about energy? And of course time. Well, Manuel Bruschi, the Timeular CEO talks about energy management on episode 11 and how important it is to have the energy you need at the time you need to take care of the scary things and he has a good framework for it, by the way, on episode 11.
Finally about time management on episode five, Matt Kohn talks about tracking your time so you can see what tasks are taking up, what time, and you can be smart about creating processes so you can automate, delegate, or eliminate tasks, and he’s found that you can create 5, 10, 15, or even 20 hours extra per week if you just simplify and systemize non-mission-critical tasks so you can focus on getting in flow and operating in your genius zone. Okay, so those are the four different ones, right? We have attention, intention, energy, and time.
My conclusion again is that time management by itself is for beginners. The best top professionals are managing all four aspects: attention, intention, energy and time. These elements when combined are super powerful.
[04:38] My second big lesson has been that you shouldn’t manage your time until you take a first quick step and I’m about to tell you what that step is. Basically. Let me explain. If you just manage your time, two things are going to happen. Okay, so you get a tool or a product that manages your time because you were overwhelmed and you just start managing how you’re spending your time. Right? Day in and day out, you’re going to get to results. Number one is you’ll get a retrospective receipt of how you spent it so you look back at the end of the week, thanks to the tool that you’re using and you’ll realize that you didn’t do a good enough job at sticking to your ideal myself. So then you’ll try again the following week and the following week and time will go on and you’re not really fixing things quickly enough because you’re always looking backward at the receipt of how you did spend your time.
[05:26] So it always feels like you’re busy and you’re not actually making the impactful changes quickly enough. So if you just manage your time without managing the other things, you’re just pretty much always going to be busy and then that’s number one. And then number two, as you’ll be moving really quickly in the wrong direction, and this is, this has been the big lesson for me, is you shouldn’t manage your time until you fix this aspect. You may be moving really quickly in the wrong direction. So Stever said on episode two, he talked about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, and he says,
Efficiency means using little energy and resources to accomplish a task
So if you’re doing it quickly, it means you’re efficient, or if you’re using very little energy, if you’re using very little resources, you’re being very, very efficient,
…but effectiveness, on the other hand, means you’re doing the right thing.
[06:19] And think about that for a second, like what’s better? Doing the right thing slowly or doing the wrong thing very, very quickly. And that’s the point here. If you just manage your time, you run the risk of not zooming out far enough to understand whether or not you’re moving in the right direction. You may be moving quickly and it may trick you into thinking there’s momentum, but if you stop and think and zoom out, you can be both a strategist and an executor of your own life. Schedule your priorities in advance and then start managing your time to hold yourself accountable to speedy progress made in the right direction. I always say that
You can’t find the shortcuts if you don’t know where you’re going.
So by understanding your direction, you can understand what all these amazing guests understand, which is that time management should work in service of life goal management. I’ll say it again, time management should work in service of life goal management.
The third and last big lesson learned for me by recording season one of the Productivity Masterminds podcast is my favorite. It’s that you are mortal and your time is limited.
If you don’t protect your time, other people are happy to waste it for you.
Nicolas Cole talked in episode seven about opportunity costs and seeing every decision in life as an opportunity cost of doing something else. So an hour of watching Netflix – okay, that’s an hour that you’re not working on your goals. Time is limited. Every activity comes at the cost of another one that you could have done instead. Omar Khateeb explained in episode six, how to say no to time wasters by knowing what it is that you want out of life so you can more confidently defend if things are a yes or a no immediately by becoming binary.
[08:05] Yuval Rechter on episode four, he defines just three things to get done each day and goes all in on those. Everything else is a distraction or everything else gets done only after those three things have been done. John Trabelsi finds just one VIP task every day that will get done no matter what. So in the end, here’s the punchline.
Your time is valuable. Your time is depleting. It matters more than money because you can’t get it back. You can only enjoy it, learn from it, and do better.
So there you have it. Productivity masterminds directly from your host who has enjoyed about a dozen amazing conversations. My highlights, again, our number one, you’re not managing your time, you’re managing other aspects of yourself as well: your attention, your intentionality, your energy, and finally your time. Number two is you shouldn’t manage your time until you’ve asked yourself where you’re going. And number three is that you are mortal and your time is limited.
So here’s to much more productivity and fulfillment in your lives. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, I just ask for one thing and that is that you leave a five-star rating and review on your favorite podcast APP. You can find me on Twitter @juannikin which will be linked in the show notes, all the best Juan Campos and the Timeular team.
Every year before New Year we realize and wonder that a year has passed without really noticing it and very likely without having spent as much time on the important things as planned. In fact, 80% of New Year’s resolutions don’t last.
New Year is a deadline with an unusual dynamic. It’s not like all the other deadlines where we speed up and start getting done 5x as much stuff to meet it. Instead, we slow down, we look back, we recall all the exciting plans that we’ve made at the beginning of the year and wonder how few we’ve actually achieved.
And then that little sad voice in ourselves asks:
“Why did I not take care that much about my health, played with the kids, followed my passions or spent time exploring the world?”
Interestingly, the simple answer is to say that we did not have the time. But why? Well, almost always we go like: “I was too busy working”.
Turns out this is the #1 reason why as kids or elderly we have plenty of time but in between it’s a rare thing to have.
Don’t get us wrong. Work is a good thing, but the common work culture is not. When it comes down to decide between work and life, we almost always opt for work and there are good reasons to do so. Work pays the bills, gives us safety and makes us feel good. However, we at Timeular really believe, that if we do it right, we can still achieve great things at work and have a great life too.
The first thing we have to change is how we judge our performance
It’s not about how many hours we work, it’s about what meaningful outcome we achieve within those hours. It’s about saying no to all the distractions and fake-urgent things and focus on the really important tasks instead. In sports we all know that training a huge amount of hours a day is counter-productive, so why do we keep pretending it’s good at work?
We at Timeular want to change this by helping you to spend more time on your important things and keep being successful at work. We support you to understand where your time is going and to improve from there.
Imagine you could stop after 8, 7, 6 hours working very productively, then recharge by enjoying the other beloved things in life and come back the day after full of energy. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
We like to say instead of working harder and play harder, we have to work smarter and live healthier. It’s easy to be busy and it’s super hard to be not because you have to say no to many things, but believe us, once you get there, you’ll enjoy a much higher quality of life.
The #1 way to get there, is to start taking control over your precious time and prioritize how you spend it. It’s time to find out what you are spending most of your time on and what to change. The key to success here is to change one thing at a time. It’s a step by step journey where it will be easy to fall into old habits and to avoid that we need to start with only one goal. One! Sorry, we can’t stress it enough.
If you want to make 2019 better, apply this loop:
What’s currently your number one important thing you want to spend more time on? Trust your gut. How much time does that require per week? Common examples are doing sports twice a week, playing with the kids at least 1 hour every day and cooking a healthy dinner every day.
Measure where can you take the required time from and how e.g. you find out that you spend 3h per week in unnecessary update meetings which could also be done via email and asynchronously. Time to change that.
When you know that, start shifting time from that one thing to the other step by step. After you’re done start over with 1. again.
If you think it’s not possible to shift time because other things are more urgent and important, just look back at 2018 and at how often you or your boss thought something is super urgent and important and looking back as of today it was not.
What’s important to you personally should be your highest priority and if you manage to spend more time on those things you will see that next year in December the unusual thing will not be the New Year dynamic again. Instead, it will be you having a happy smile on your face because you and your life have both improved a lot.
And if it was us that helped you to do so, we will be smiling with you, because we want to make your time count!
P.S. If you want to increase your chances to succeed, share this article with your team members because you can’t change your team’s work culture alone.
Tommy Barav is the founder of Supertools: a community and blog that helps people become the most optimized version of themselves through technology. He is also a Forbes 30 under 30, a writer for some of the biggest tech magazines in Israel, and the host of his own podcast. Previously, he held a variety of positions in Israel’s startup ecosystem— most recently as Director of Marketing at MassChallenge. Let’s hear more from him on this episode of the podcast.
To-do lists can be overwhelming. Writing everything on your to-do list can be very overwhelming and not help you with productivity at all. To-do lists are very great for capturing but not really structured for managing your time.
You always want to do the easy, urgent tasks first. You do all these small things and forget about the big picture. You always move the tasks that are important for your growth, for your business to the next day, next week, next month. You get more stressed because of lack of prioritization.
We need to stop thinking about productivity and start talking about efficiency. It’s all about creating more impact with less energy and optimizing energy.
Use the Eisenhower Matrix. Separate the tasks that are urgent from the tasks that are important. Don’t forget about your big dream while writing all these emails.
Use Google Keep to not forget the big picture. Create your life dashboard on Google Keep. Create five cards: morning routine, today’s 5, weekly review, monthly review, and yearly review.
Juan: [01:18] Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Tommy Barav: [01:20] Thank you for inviting me.
Juan: [01:21] Tommy, you certainly know something about productivity and time management that most of us don’t. Can you tell me a little bit at a high level how you think about time?
Tommy Barav: [01:30] Yeah, sure. So if you’re thinking about time, I always think about my to-do list because I always manage my time with my to-do list because you know, my calendar was structured to manage meetings and manage my doctor meetings in my day-to-day. But as for productivity and for work, I use my to-do list and really thought about and after a while, I thought that everything is, is overwhelmed and I’m overwhelmed with so many tasks and it’s not very productive.
To-do lists are very great for capturing but not really structured for managing your time.
And I had to invent a different system and after working with a to-do list for a while, it became actually most stressed I became more stressed because you lack of prioritization and you don’t really know, uh, the big picture.
Tommy Barav: [02:35] Um, so this system really doesn’t work. And In productivity you want to get rid of, you know, of all these spending tasks as soon as possible. Um, so what do you do? You select the first thing that you want to get rid of, you know, many, many tasks. You just pick the easiest task in your to-do list. Okay? And then you have more complex tasks, you know, like the things that are impactful for your growth impactful for your life. You really, um, um, snooze them for, for the future, for the next day and the next day, the next week. And you always pick the easiest task. Um, so you know, you feel satisfied in the one end because you just completed like 20 different tasks. So you feel satisfied. But when you get to the end of the month, you ask yourself, what did I do this month that, you know, helped me grow my career, helped me grow my business, you know, what did I do?
Tommy Barav: [03:42] And I think that I asked myself this question all the time and I found out when I use a to-do list I always I’m more focused on the easy task, you know, emailing, calling other people’s, always busy with other with someone else’s priority and not my priority. So I had to find a different system. Um, so, um, so
We need to stop thinking about productivity and start talking about efficiency.
And what is really essential to our life because I don’t think is a, like when you talk about productivity or thinking about doing more in less time. Okay. It’s always like we need to do, you know, we need to do like 10 different meetings and 20 different tasks and we need to get more and more productive and more, you know. And I don’t think like that. I think that it’s all about creating more impact with less energy and when I think about less energy, I think about efficiency and actually optimizing energy.
Tommy Barav: [04:45] Okay. So you can save energy to your family, you can save your energy to spend some time with your kids to spend some time with side hustling. You can save your energy to do other stuff. And and the first thing that came to my mind when I, when I explained my, my method is a, is based actually on, on Eisenhower Matrix. So, which in my opinion is one of the best concepts. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, but let me explain it in one sentence. So we should separate tasks that are important from those that are urgent. Okay. So we have all these important tasks and all these urgent tasks. We always, we always focus on the urgent tasks because, you know, probably they are easy, easy to, to complete. There are not complex, but it’s something that is very urgent and we need to complete it now.
Tommy Barav: [05:40] So we are forgetting about the important and, and, and non-urgent tasks. You know, all these complex tasks that are associated with our growth and with our career growth and with the impact that we can bring into our life, you know, and shifting perspectives is finding the next thing I’m prepared to, I don’t know if your dream is to do a Ted talk, so you are always going to postpone it, because you are going to focus on all these urgent and small and annoying and stupid tasks. So we need clarity and the way that I, I actually, the tool that I use to get clarity to see the big picture is actually Google Keep, and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Google Keep, but this is, it’s a very popular tool.
Tommy Barav: [06:31] If like the Google ecosystem, you will love Google Keep. And I’m sure that many, many users are using this tool included in our listeners. But you know, you might use it for taking notes. You might use it for reminders and other things.
I took it to a whole new level and created my life’s dashboard on Google Keep.
This is the way I frame it and so you can really get clarity. So what you can you do, either you can wait a year for the New Year’s resolution, okay. To get some clarity, you know, a day in your year that you can really think about your life and then you can reflect the previous year and you can think, okay, I did so many emails, but I have this project that I want to do.
Tommy Barav: [07:36] I want to lose weight, I want to find another career. I wanted to do so many things. But, but you know, so, so you do this new year’s resolution and this big list of things that you want to do. But after a few weeks you, you look back and, and you go back to your old habits and you’d go back to your new a to-do list, which is probably filled out with many urgent tasks and not with the important task. So what we really need to do is to optimize the system to work for us so we can really choose the right system. So with Google Keep, I’ve decided that I’m going to create a canvas of five cards, five different cards. So imagine that you have one screen on your, uh, on your laptop and you can see five different cards. And for each card, I have a different panel.
I’m using these panels to first get a reflection of my life, of my goals, and also the to define my today’s five, the most important tasks of the day.
Tommy Barav: [08:42] So the way I do it. So imagine that I have a card and I’m sure that a, we’re going to upload a picture somewhere so people can actually see it. And maybe take this concept. So imagine that you have a screen and you can see the first card. My first card is actually my morning routine, so you have like a checklist of everything that I want to do in the mornings, something that, you know, tasks that boost my energy in the morning. And so this is the first one, the next one is my, today’s five. So today’s five a. The way I actually pick this task is by asking myself several questions is, you know, what is first of all, what will bring the most impact into my life, the most impact into my a company’s growth and what kind of tasks I, I’m the only person who can do them what kind of tasks you cannot delegate to anyone else and what kind of tasks are urgent for tomorrow.
Tommy Barav: [09:47] But I’m trying to keep all the urgent tasks important as well.
So if ever a task is urgent but not important, I’m trying to delegate it or to use outsourcing to complete it.
Um, some really focusing. I’m laser-focused on tasks that are important but not that are important and urgent and are important and are not urgent as well and I’m trying to be the biggest advocate of tasks that are important but not urgent because I think that these tasks are more that are more like projects that you really want to promote, but you always postpone it because they are not urgent so you can really, you cannot complete them because there are more like a sequence of tasks rather than one task that you can do. Um, so today’s five – I am asking all these questions, I’m always limiting it to five tasks and not more than that.
And I’m just, I’m trying to think about tasks that will keep my eyes closed during the night, you know like the will not bring me some thoughts so I can sleep better at night.
So I’m trying to complete like I’m trying to really think about the tasks that if I will do it, my life will be better. I will be a better husband, I will be a better worker, I will be a better entrepreneur, I will be a better boss. So this is the task that I’m always, always selecting, but what helped me select the tasks, my today’s five actually based on the free cards that I have on the right of this screen, which is my monthly goals and my yearly goals as well. And also have another card that I’m using. I’m sharing with my wife, uh, so you can share it with your spouse and this is like a something that you want to do together, some goals, mutual goals that you have to improve your family’s life and to improve, uh, your, your personal life.
Tommy Barav: [11:47] So I have like a mutual card with my wife as well.
And so with this framework with this canvas, you can really see the big picture because you can see your yearly goals and also limiting my yearly goals to five different goals.
And I’m trying to think big. I’m trying to think about what things that I really want to do. I’m trying to organize it in a way it will not be only for my work, it will be also for my personal life or my health or my fitness for my mind. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a holistic development process that I’m doing with myself, so I have it always listed, always can always see it and I can like always a look back and see what I have for my yearly goals. And then I can see based on my yearly goal, I can, I can, uh, create my monthly, my monthly goals based on my yearly goals.
Tommy Barav: [12:45] And then once I created my monthly goals, I can prepare my, today’s five, uh sorry, my weekly goals and then my two days five. So today’s five, weekly goals, monthly goals, and then yearly goals. And then you can really see the big picture in the process.
It’s like a funnel. You create a funnel of your life and when you create, let’s say, for example, I’m creating my monthly card with my monthly review card, my monthly goal.So when I’m thinking about my monthly goals, I’m basing that on my yearly goals. Okay, so in order that will not make any mistakes because if I have different tasks that are not connected to my yearly goal, I will not put it on the list.
Tommy Barav: [13:38] So this is a very simple concept, but I cannot even tell you how impactful this concept is. It’s the ultimate task lists for me because I know, you know, at first you reduce friction with a complex management, you know, to-do lists tool because it’s very simple, it’s very easy to update. You can put reminders, you can sync it with your calendar, it really boosts my efficiency. So you get always lays on the calendar, for example, like a small trick that I did. When you put a reminder on your monthly card, the monthly review card, um, it’s automatically integrated inside of your calendar. So each Friday I actually see this card. I’m sorry, my weekly review each Friday I can see my weekly goals card and then I can just click on my calendar and immediately this card opens up and I can update it in seconds again the same way to my monthly goals card – so once I click on my monthly card, each, each month when I click on my monthly goals card which appears on my calendar, I can immediately update it.
So I really try to live and to optimize the Google ecosystem for me and to keep it simple, to keep it clear and to really see the big picture.
Juan: [15:08] Tommy, that’s awesome. Makes perfect sense. Do you find that you’re actually editing your cards throughout the week or throughout the month or you only find one specific day that you make the edits and then you commit for that whole period of time before you edit it again, update it for the next cycle?
Tommy Barav: [15:21] Yeah, that’s a great question because I always see this as the dashboards. So when I’m, I need more clarity always go back to this dashboard, but uh, for me updating actually was, was a day like I’m creating my daily five and in the evening, each evening I’m sitting on like opening up a Google Keep updating today’s five and then forget about it. In the morning I have it always open, there’s a pink tab on Chrome, so I ever taught was open so I can see this dashboard all the time and if you’re using like an ultralight screen, like a big screen, you can put it all the time as well when you’re doing other tasks.
It will be like a great reminder, a great lighthouse for all your tasks.
So, and also each, each week I update it on Friday I have like a reminder on my calendar and also each month and of course by the end of the year, this is my new year’s resolution. I’m updating my yearly goals as well.
Juan: [16:37] Love that. Okay. There you have it. Productivity masterminds. Tommy has cracked Google keep to work for something that it’s not meant to do. Most of us use it for reminders, most of us use it for to-dos but what Tommy found is that most of us are operating on just to-do lists and we’re taking care of things that are only urgent but not important. So how do we fix this? We need to stop thinking about productivity and start thinking about efficiency and making sure that we’re doing the right thing. Tommy tackles this by using Google Keep, not for taking notes again or tracking reminders like most of us, but by actually creating a live dashboard on Google Keep and we will be sharing a picture of this in the show notes. This system helps Tommy focus on important tasks and not just on urgent tasks and it’s very easy.
Juan: [17:19] It’s just five cards left to right and you can replicate this at home or you can fire this up on your own Google Keep. On the lefthand side we have our morning routine followed by today’s five, which is the most impact, you know, you were answering things like what’s gonna have the most impact into my life what’s going to impact my company’s growth. What can’t I delegate? What is urgent and important, not just urgent for tomorrow. That’s the second card, right? Today’s five. Then the third card is your monthly goals followed by your yearly goals and then finally a mutual goals card to improve your family and personal life, which is actually shared with Tommy’s partner, with his wife. Tommy, thank you for sharing this with us. As you continue to grow and take your career forward, where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Tommy Barav: [18:04] Yeah. Basically, I have my own blog. Currently, it’s in Hebrew, but I’m going to translate it very soon to English. I live on emails, so like you can contact me all the time via email. I make sure to share my email with you and you know, and I have also, I just created a podcast which you can different podcasts where I am speaking about technology and make sure to share the link as well.
Juan: [18:36] Perfect. Okay. Tell me. Thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing all this with us.
Tommy Barav: [18:40] Thank you so much. It was Great.
Cooper Harris is the CEO & Founder of Klickly.com – an award-winning e-commerce company that helps you make faster purchases on the Internet. She is based in Venice CA, was recently nominated for Google’s “Young Innovators Award” and named a “Top Thought-Leader” by Adobe. She’s also a contributor to a number of publications like Forbes, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur and has taken the stage as a speaker at conferences including SXSW, CES, and General Assembly. Let’s hear more from her on this episode of the podcast.
Time is the number one thing you can’t get back. It’s really important if you want to build a business to be really diligent about how you allocate your time and where you allocate it.
Go laser focus on one thing at a time. Find something that sticks and then once you’ve found that you can go all in because the truth is too many people are trying to boil the ocean all at the same time and that’s not gonna work. So if you can focus on one thing that matters at a time, then you can go all in 100 percent.
Be diligent about your schedule. Do not waste time, not on Facebook, Instagram, or on Netflix, but just being diligent about your schedule and just being very aware of the things that matters.
Make promises to your calendar. Once you find things that matter, you put them on a calendar and you make promises to yourself for you to just stick to the things that are on your calendar.
The three steps of behavior change.
Antecedents. Set antecedents which are basically triggers. So if it’s working out, you need to make sure that you’re successful to workout by setting up your clothes the day before.
Doing it. Take action.
Consequences. Whether they’re positive or negative that you actually feel in order to affect your behavior change..
Juan: Cooper Harris is the CEO and founder of quickly and award-winning e-commerce company that helps you make faster purchases on the internet. She is based in Venice, California was recently nominated for Google’s young innovators award and named a top thought leader by Adobe. She’s also a contributor to a number of publications like Forbes, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur, and it’s taken the stage as a speaker at conferences, including South by southwest CES and general assembly. Let’s hear more from her on this episode of the podcast.
Juan: Cooper, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Cooper Harris: Oh, I’m excited to be here.
Juan: Cooper. So you certainly know something about productivity and time management that most of us don’t. Can you tell us a little bit at a high level how you think about time?
Cooper Harris: Yes. I, uh, I,
I battle with time every day. It is the number one thing you can’t get back, right?
Um, it literally is the one, if you want to call it, like constraining element in a solution that is life. It is, it is that it’s a chemistry term. Some folks will get that super nerdy, and you can’t make more. So it’s really important if you want to build a business to be really diligent about how you allocate your time and where you allocate it. I, I think of things very much. Um, one thing at a time I kind of multitask, but I found just as a general tenant in my life, I have to go really laser focus on one thing at a time. And that’s actually how I get the most out of my time and my energy, if that makes sense.
Juan: So how do you know what thing you should laser focus on?
Cooper Harris: It’s a really good question and you don’t always know at the beginning of let’s say an early stage company, a startup, a burgeoning venture if you will. You don’t always know what’s going to work. So I would say, you know.
Do an iterative process so that you are focusing on tests one after another after another and when you find something that sticks, like go hard on that.
And once you’ve built that for let’s say as an example, maybe a year, to whatever KPI you’re, you’re, you’re saying whether it’s a time milestone a year or maybe a usership milestone, like 5,000 users, whatever that KPI that says to you, we’ve, we’ve accomplished this and we’ve had success. Then you can start like let’s say an ancillary business or similar in different revenue stream or whatever.
But I think it’s very important to establish what’s working. Get a solid foundation of revenue or daily active users and only when that’s very well oiled and really well established. Only then do you want to go onto that second thing, and that’s been kind of the ethos of everything I build is really finding what works. Doing it for a considerable amount of time to where it’s set steady and solid because I see, and again I’m rambling, but I’m passionate about this. I see so many startups and young companies fail because they’re trying to boil the ocean. They’re trying to be everything to everyone and they’re all over the place and it is insane. No one would win doing that and so
I think it’s very important for us to understand like we need to be disciplined, very disciplined and do what’s working. Set it up to a place where you can be successful.
Almost run itself perhaps an only then launch the second revenue stream or that ancillary business or whatever it is.
Juan: I love that because I think most of us in our professions, we try to find how we can be like really well rounded and we can tackle as many things as possible and that’s what’s so attractive about even content like this. We people want to know how they can get more done in less time and it sounds like what you’re saying, it’s actually about becoming more one dimensional and finding like the one thing that you’re going to go all in on. Yes, there is some testing behind it. You’re going to try three, four or five different things probably over the course of two months or a year. However much time you give yourself to reach those KPIs, but once you find that that one strategy, then you go all in on that and it’s actually in that focus that you’re able to accomplish more in less time as opposed to just trying to juggle too many things without letting plates at the floor. So that’s really interesting. So true way you approach it.
Cooper Harris: Yes, that’s exactly how I think of it and part of it too is we have to recognize when you switch tracks and when you switch your focus and in between everything you do in your day, when you go from one thing to another, you’re using valuable time, you’re wasting time because your brain and your everything about you and us as humans, we take a moment to adjust in between. Right? So there’s the opportunity cost of actually every time you switch gears so to speak, you will actually lose an amount of efficiency. In my mind, you actually want to do that as little as possible.
Juan: So Cooper, what kind of advice would you have for someone that maybe isn’t coming from the opportunity that maybe we may have as entrepreneurs where we can actually manage pretty much all of our time, but let’s say someone that works at a company and they’re thinking, cooper, I can’t just focus on one thing. I have like all these different stakeholders, all of these different tasks. What kind of advice would you have for someone like that that actually has to shift their attention between tasks? Every day and they have multiple KIPs they are trying to meet. How would they kind of apply your thesis into their life?
Cooper Harris: I would apply it by quitting your job. I say that literally. And I don’t mean to be disrespectful and I also have insanely high-risk tolerance and I’m a little bit delusional so, so I really actually somewhat believe that. I think if you’re really like gung-ho about starting something, like you should just start it because if you don’t have a plan B, you will make plan A work by and large most of the time. Now that’s a huge generalization and that definitely won’t be possible for a huge number of people. So you have to keep in mind if that’s actually like a safe thing to do. I don’t want to tell you to do something stupid, but I think if you’re really passionate you genuinely want to start something and you have somewhat of the resources or the ability to do it. I think you should just do it. I quit a TV show to start my first company, which actually, fortunately, worked out well. But yeah, just walked, so that was insane and I don’t want that anyone should do that, but that kind of idea, I think that’s the number one thing that will galvanize you. There are other ways that I do actually recommend that are tactical for people who have a lower risk tolerance or want to be more practical about it because that’s not for everyone. Um, and those would be:
Use your calendar. I’ve made a promise to my calendar that I will do what it says and therefore when something comes up on my calendar that I don’t want to do it, it doesn’t matter because I have to.
So if you can make that kind of a promise to your calendar and then be very diligent about putting those antecedents in. Antecedents are things that cause an outcome, right? So if you want to become a writer, your antecedent is a, you put in every single night at 7:00 PM. Once you get home and you eat and you eat quickly so you don’t waste time. You put in, I’m going to write for an hour and a half every single evening. Guess what? I mean? That’s a lot. But if you did that, you’d have a very good chance of just by virtue of them mount of content you were putting out there, you would have good chance of you would be a writer because you’d be writing. But then too, you’d have so much content out there that that it’s just a lot more likely that that thing would happen. And again, a better example would be like fitness. Fitness is a really good example because it’s not dependent on other people. If you worked out for an hour and a half every single night at seven, you would be the fittest mofo out there.
Juan: Yeah. Yeah. Cooper, I love that. I think this really helps me understand a lot about like what’s under what’s behind your success because honestly I think that the hardest promises for us to keep are the ones we make to ourselves. I think whenever it’s like a very real deadline, like you tell someone that your pitch deck is going to be done on a certain day or you tell someone that you’re going to have a dinner on Thursday at 6:00 PM and you’re going to present the 30, 60, 90 day growth plan, like whatever it is. Those are easier to keep. But whenever you promise yourself that you’re going to work out at 7:00 PM your way flakier to your own ambitions than you are with other people and if you can somehow crack that, if you can make promises and then you actually believe in yourself enough to know that you are going to uphold that promise, that’s when things really started locking. So I love hearing that. You’re like, I literally just like set up things on my calendar and then I do what I say I’m going to do and I take myself seriously enough to accomplish that. I think that’s like a major, major, major key.
Cooper Harris: Well that’s cool. I mean there is a way to crack that and I can tell it to you right now. It’s probably about behavioral therapy. Yeah.
When you want to change a behavior, there are three parts to that behavior change. The first part is an antecedent. It’s what do you put in place before to make it lately as an outcome?
Juan: So like triggers or. Okay.
Cooper Harris: Yeah. Antecedents, anything kind of the preliminary set up that makes it likely for you to do this thing. The second thing is you actually doing it. You have to do. If you set the time in your calendar to go to the gym, that’s an antecedent. Then the second thing is actually doing. You have to go to the gym, right, but then the third thing is the one that’s the most overlooked and this is the reason it is easier to skip the gym and not be accountable to ourselves than it is to let’s say skip a major deadline at work they actually don’t care about and here’s why and all comes down to this. It’s the third piece of the behavior change rule which says that there have to be consequences that we feel if we are to affect behavior change and if you don’t have consequences there, which you don’t really nothing urgent there. I’m like, but if you don’t turn in your work at work, you likely will be fired and we’re very keenly aware of that. But if, if literally, you would, I don’t know, some dreadful consequences from not going to the gym, we will be as accountable to ourselves or more and I think it’s so important to press to really understand that and I’m still just really trying to internalize it myself, but we, because of consequences they are the things that screw us up because there are natural consequences at work, we take work more seriously than we do the actual dreams and visions that we have for ourselves in our lives.
So you have to put in serious consequences for the things you actually want to make them happen or they won’t.
Juan: Got It. Okay. So just like we create the artificial carrot of delayed gratification, if we can somehow create artificial sticks that are actually negative consequences for us to not move towards the carrot, then that’s when we finally have the full circle,
Cooper Harris: Yes, negative or positive, negative or positive. So here’s the other thing you could after if you started working out and after every workout, let’s say you wanted to put in a consequence that wasn’t shaming or or you did both, you weighed yourself and then you also walked by like, I’m going to be really crude here, but like a yoga class full of hot women, if you’re a dude, the more you walk by that class and see their reaction, that’s an immediate consequence. So we, after you did that, after six weeks and then suddenly you’re looking buff and you’re getting tram or whatever, that’s a very primal consequence there that will trigger in your brain. So this the important thing is that it releases some chemical in your brain, either a positive or a negative consequence,
Juan: And then the key there is to make sure that the rewards you have are actually positive rewards and you’re not rewarding yourself with then grabbing in and out right afterwards. So as long as he can have good consequences or it could be like kind of punishments that you set for yourself, then that’s like a trigger. At the end of this amazing, Cooper. Okay. Do you have any like wrapping up thoughts about how you think about time or productivity time management tips here?
Cooper Harris: I do. I mean here, here’s what I use. You guys are gonna think I’m insane. I use slack for everything on my team of course, and then I integrate that into my personal trello board and have a really tight trello board that I’ve actually built in swim lanes too and I have a swim lane for every single element of my life, my investments, my health and actually beauty because my hair care is in there because if I’m spending $100 every, I mean the rough numbers every six weeks on my hair. Like I need to budget that out and you need to plan that out. It’s going to be two hours of my time. Right? So everything is in there.
Juan: Like nutrition, everything,…
Cooper Harris: Everything. Yep. Everything. So it all becomes this like machine that just kind of runs itself. Every single thing has a due date and then they just pop up and then you just do them and it becomes like if you pull yourself out of your feelings and your emotions and you program Trello as a, as a businessperson, it’s not actual programming, but if you program Trello to get the outcome you want and then you just follow it, you will actually do it.
Juan: Yeah, you need to put yourself in a position where it is paint by the dot success at that point yet, but that’s only gonna happen if you like. Actually zoom out long enough for you to look at it in that way.
And put in those consequences or discipline such that when it pops up and you don’t want to do it, you do it anyway.
Juan: There you have it. Productivity masterminds. Cooper Harris, battles with her time every day one, and she sees that as the one constraining element in life and the the one thing that you can’t get back. She kind of multitasks, but she’s found that you have to laser focus on one thing at a time to really do it well. In this comes from doing an iterative process to find something that sticks and then once you’ve found that you can go all in because the truth is too many people, like Cooper says, are trying to boil the ocean all at the same time and that’s not gonna work. So if you can focus on one thing that matters at a time, then you can go 100 percent of your time. Then you can go all in 100 percent. So this starts by being diligent about your schedule, not wasting time, not on facebook than on Instagram, not on Netflix, but just being diligent about your schedule and just being very aware of the things that matters.
Once you find things that matter, you put them on a calendar and you make promises to yourself for you to just stick to the things that are on your calendar. You can do this by first setting an antecedent which are basically triggers and preliminary setups, so if it’s working out, you need to make sure that you’re successful to workout by setting up your clothes the day before. Setting up your alarm, having those antecedents. Number two, you actually have to take action and then finally you have to have consequences, whether they’re positive or negative that you actually feel in order to affect your behavior change.
Cooper uses slack for everything on our team and has swim lanes on Trello so she can see items go from left to right on her screen and make sure that she’s actually holding herself accountable to getting things done and that she has specific expectations for what it means once something gets done and those are the consequences that she talked about.
Cooper, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all this with us as you continue to grow and take your career forward. Where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Cooper Harris: Yeah, I think, I mean social, right? So I’m @cooperharris. Just one word. Um, I’m, I’m still very active on Twitter. I’m on Instagram and then, um, I think, you know, business wise at Linkedin is a great platform and I use it frequently.
Juan: Excellent. Cooper, thank you again for coming on the show and sharing all of this with us.
Cooper Harris: Thank you so much and for your amazingly succinct encapsulation of what I said there. I feel like I could listen to that again and again. You are brilliant.
Do you ever get the feeling that you don’t have enough time or that you haven’t accomplished a fraction of what you’ve planned for your day? Well, whatever be the case, chances are that either you are not fully engaged or you need to be more productive at work. One way to make it happen is tracking every minute being spent at work and using that information to improve your time management skills.
In this article, you’ll find the list of ways in which better time management and time tracking can help you boost your productivity. But first, let’s start off by discussing the various challenges that might be the root cause holding your productivity back. So, here is the list of some of the most recognized factors that usually affect your productivity level at work. Let’s have a look at them.
Poor work management
Lack of delegation
Working against the internal clock
If any of these situations resemble your daily work routine, now is the time to put a time tracking tool in place.
Here’s how you can improve your productivity with time tracking
With an advanced time tracking tool, you can:
1. Develop a sense of accountability
The biggest advantage of time tracking is that it helps you and your team to develop a sense of accountability and urgency during the work process. It gives you the ability to organize and manage tasks across a project based on their priority. This way, it helps you to focus on one task/activity at a time and give your complete attention to what needs to be completed first.
2. Stay focused
With time tracking, it is less likely that you’ll invest your time in anything else apart from your work. This will help you to remain focused on your tasks and projects. As a result, you will be able to get your work done faster and more efficiently.
3. Ensure efficient utilization of time
You think you’re being efficient with your time. But is the same being reflected in your work? The simplest way to find an answer to this question is by using time tracking. With time tracking, you can see how you much time you have spent working on a task from start to finish. This information helps you to consider the possibility of being more productive at work by utilizing your time in the most efficient manner.
4. Eliminate potential bottlenecks from the project
In every team, there are members who take more time to complete their tasks and assignments as compared to others. Now, there can be two reasons – one, they are very dedicated and two, they have too much on their to-do list. Having a time tracking tool allows project managers and business owners to develop a better understanding of everyone’s time and work. It helps them to identify potential bottlenecks in a project and take necessary steps to improve the overall performance.
5. Experience a sense of satisfaction
Seeing your tasks and projects get completed as planned is an amazing feeling. And with time tracking, you can actually experience it each day. You can schedule tasks, allocate time, and at the end of the day, you can see how much you have accomplished from your list. this gives you satisfaction and motivates to finish everything on time as efficiently as possible.
A couple of time tracking tools you can try
Tracking your time at work is a serious matter, but it does not need to be complicated. In fact, there are ways in which you can make time tracking more effective and simpler. You can grab a feature-rich time tracking tool or software and start keeping a record of what you are working on, what time you start working on a task, when did you finish the task, and most importantly, how much time did you spend working on that task.
With time tracking becoming increasingly popular in the industry, more businesses and teams are considering the idea of having a dedicated time tracking tool in place to improve their productivity. since there are hundreds of time tracking tools, apps, and software available out there, making the right choice could be difficult. But there are some popular time tracking tools in the market that stand out from the crowd because of their easy-to-use interface and native time management features. For example Timeular, ProofHub, Toggl, Harvest, etc.
Using time tracking at work is a really smart choice. It is undoubtedly one of the simplest ways to improve your productivity and achieve the much desired work-life balance. With the right tool or software in place, it only takes a few seconds to know where you spent your time throughout the day and how can you be more efficient with your time. It makes you think twice before wasting time at work and keeps you focused towards your goals.
Want to improve your productivity? Go ahead, give time tracking a try!
Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2017. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dane Sanders is a coach, consultant, and keynote speaker. After growing his own photography business to more than 6 figures, he founded Fastermind.co, a community of freelancers looking to scale beyond themselves. Today, he serves on the executive team of AlphaUSA.org and is the author of two best-selling business books for creatives through America’s largest publisher of its kind, Penguin Random House. Let’s hear more from him on this episode of Productivity Masterminds.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZhbmNob3IuZm0lMkZwcm9kdWN0aXZpdHktbWFzdGVybWluZHMlMkZlbWJlZCUyRmVwaXNvZGVzJTJGRXAtMTctRGFuZS1TYW5kZXJzLS0tSGFjay1Qcm9kdWN0aXZpdHktYnktUmVmaW5pbmctWW91ci1EaXJlY3Rpb24tZTF0amhmJTIyJTIwaGVpZ2h0JTNEJTIyMTAycHglMjIlMjB3aWR0aCUzRCUyMjYwMHB4JTIyJTIwZnJhbWVib3JkZXIlM0QlMjIwJTIyJTIwc2Nyb2xsaW5nJTNEJTIybm8lMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZpZnJhbWUlM0U=[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Super performers are not sleepwalking through life. Time is a finite resource and can’t actually be managed. It is coming and going all the time for everyone at the same pace exactly. It has more to do with awakeness. You are super trustworthy when you’re awake, but when you’re sleepwalking through your life, you are not trustworthy.
Try to not be consumed by Social Media. You need to relate with your life more like an art form and figure out ways to dance with the power that we get from digital without being consumed by it.
An addiction is a desire for a feeling. It is a discipline to keep your phone in your pocket and almost count the seconds and figuring out “What am I feeling right now?” And when you do that, you are more awake and therefore get much more accomplished.
All productivity and time management hacks have one thing in common: consciousness. All these hacks are trying to get us to a place of consciousness and when that consciousness is in play you get more done.
Think big picture. If you’re asking bigger and bigger questions, you can look for the tools that can help you do those things faster, but if you’re not doing that, you’re not thinking big picture enough yet, then no matter short-term tactics are going to help you win.
Juan: [00:00] Dane, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Dane Sanders: [01:23] My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Juan: [01:26] Dane, you’re a top performer. You’re running multiple brands who are helping entrepreneurs and freelancers make the best life that they can, make the best use of their time and take their business forward. You’ve authored multiple books. You’re a speaker, you’ve endorsed, you’ve been endorsed by people like Seth Godin, Ann Hanley, you know, something about time management that most of us don’t. Can you walk us a little bit through how you think about time in general?
Dane Sanders: [01:46] Sure. I mean probably the best way to start is what everybody does already know and that’s, that time can’t actually be managed. It’s, it’s a finite resource that is coming and going all the time for everyone at the same pace exactly. So if it is a finite resource and it’s happening, whether we’re paying attention to it or not and everyone gets the same amount of it, um, how is it that there are some super performers who seem to be able to get so much more from it? I think that’s the really interesting question. And what are, what are they actually doing? Um, and I don’t think it has very much at all to do with time. Ironically.
I think it has more to do with awakeness, people’s ability to stay awake at the wheel. Like I’m super trustworthy when I’m awake, but when I’m sleepwalking through life, I’m not trustworthy.
It’s only when I’m conscious. Examples of that are things like, how do I find myself or any of us, uh, you know, the cliche now to be lost in a social media scroll. Um, you know, just blank eyes staring off into space, looking for the next step would mean head. It’s kind of ridiculous. Or you know, you’re standing around at a party, no one’s talking to you, do you, do you grab your phone or I’m paying attention to distractions or I’m so into Netflix and getting constantly entertained or there’s just an overabundance of content that I feel even responsible to consume. Um, but I don’t have enough time to do it. So these are all symptoms. They’re not the problem, they are symptoms of a much bigger concern. And what I’m interested in is how can I design my life to match my commitments?
[03:25] So, or another way to say that is how do I stay awake to my commitments, um, and how do I do that in a way that is really humanly informed where I’m really thinking about it from the perspective of what is true of humans regardless of the area you’re born in. And what I’m learning is that life like that means that I need to not plug my life into like an Internet culture, like a robot, uh, or mimic artificial intelligence – we’re smarter than AI and we always will be.
I need to relate with my life more like an art form and to figure out ways to dance with the power that we get from digital without being consumed by it.
Juan: Sure. And how do we do that?
Dane Sanders: Yeah. So, um, you know, I suspect your listeners especially are up on the latest life hacks. You know, there’s so many tips and tricks. Uh, in fact, I think there’s so many. We’re, um, we’re, we’re, we’re kind of tired of them. Uh, I, I, I love them, I’m always looking for a sense of doing things more efficiently, but underneath the surface what it really trying to do is deal with these phenomenon, these things we described and I have, um, I have found that if I treat the, all those dynamics that I just mentioned really as symptomatic versus problem and I go, okay, what’s the real problem? So here’s a practical thing you could do. I think of like guys like Russell Brand who wrote a really fascinating book, the Comedian Russell Brand on a, on addiction. And I have a dear friend who’s going through recovery right now in this book became a book he and I read together. And as I was reading it, I was so struck by his, uh, example of basically saying like, if you’re, if you’re on, say, like heroin, you know, you have an addiction problem.
[05:15] Like there’s no – everyone in the whole planet knows you have an addiction problem, but if you, if you just check your phone a lot, it’s tempting to think that, um, you know, that’s just what everybody struggles with or whatever. And not call it addiction. And I think that’s so helpful to see it as a spectrum that we’re all connected to some in horrific ways, some in a lighter weight ways, but still just as dire. And if that’s true and addiction is really a desire for a feeling, Gosh, how can I, how can I slow the train down and let myself feel the parts of life that I’m, I’m avoiding the, the, um, uh, the anxiety that comes up when I’m standing by myself in a room and no one’s talking to me instead of checking my phone. It’s a discipline for me to keep my phone in my pocket and almost count the seconds almost just figuring out like, what am I feeling right now? [06:03] Can I get in touch with that? Because when I do that, I tend to be more awake. And when I’m more awake, I tend to be more trustworthy and when I’m more trustworthy, I tend to get more accomplished, like radically, much more accomplished. A mentor of mine, a guy named Seth, you mentioned earlier, Seth Godin. Seth says all the time I’ve asked him directly, Seth, uh, how do you get so much ridiculous things done? And his response was, well, I have nine more hours than most humans because they’re all watching television or they’re getting entertained or, and, and you just cut that out. It’s Kinda like diets, like if you just cut out soda and alcohol and sugar, you’re going to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. It’s just without doing anything and that’s where I would say these hacks are pointing to, but they’re not –
You need to think what is the hack actually trying to accomplish and it’s trying to get us to a place of consciousness and when that consciousness is in play, those people conscious people get more done. They are super performers and that is what we’re fighting for.
Juan: [07:01] Yeah. No, those are really good points. That makes a lot of sense. Dane, have you found that it’s better to eliminate that addiction by treating like the real problem or is it more about replacing the addiction and rewiring, retaining the addiction into better habits? Like which of the two is it because it sounds more like removing a need for that kind of self-medicating behavior as opposed to maybe replacing it with better habits, which are the two?
Dane Sanders: [07:29] Yeah, I’d probably go. Well, so I think about it. First of all, I just want to get clear on what’s actually happening. Making sure that I’m clear. What is a symptom an a problem is. When identify the symptoms I want to go look, let’s not make these bad, let’s get curious about them. What are they telling me that I’m, I’m going on for me underneath the hood and, and, and in a similar way, like so funny that the sponsor for the show,
Timeular, I, I love their little dice tracker thing because I use it as a tracker. It’s not, it’s, it’s really meant to tell me current reality and if I’m very elegantly able to track my time without overthinking not doing a ton of clicking or buttoning or anything like an analog device and just twisting and turning and at the end of the day I can go, Oh wow, that’s fascinating, that I did life that way.
Even Apple’s new update where they are tracking your use, I don’t think very many people are checking their use because they’re nervous about what it’s going to tell you, but if anyone did it, that would be a way to get sober really quickly and go, oh, that’s fascinating. What, what is that telling me about me that I’m drawn to? And um, so I don’t, I guess that’s kind of a, a way to reverse the habits or gain awareness of the why’s behind the habits or maybe get curious with them. But I think it begins there if you don’t have a sense of what current reality actually is and you go straight to like, oh, I’m going to build new habit. A, you’re probably going to land back in the old habit. This is why people can do like New Year’s resolutions every year have the same ones for 10 years in a row because they didn’t actually get to the source of why they keep drawing their lives in the wrong direction. When they get clear on that and they align right and they just practice aligning right relative to where they were aligning wrong, they have a different experience. Um, so I, I liked the idea of getting a current reality check in. And I also love the idea of when you get to new habits, really going slow. Like one of the most significant habit hacks for me in my life was like flossing my teeth. I just knew I didn’t want to do it. It turned out flossing my teeth first thing before I went to the restroom was one of the most critical things I could do because it got me awake right away. I didn’t want to do it. I always, I tied it directly to, um, uh, and by the way, you should get on James Clear onto your show. His new book on atomic habits relate to this. When you start habit stacking and, and really, um, engineering your life for consciousness, uh, there’s so much that can open up for you.
Juan: [10:02] It’s so fitting, Dane, given your background that you studied philosophy because if you really look at some of the themes that you’re bringing up your operating on even a topic like time management from a very zoomed out approach, you’re thinking more about human connection community, like legacy, like it’s operates from a very zoomed out approach, am I going in the right direction with my life and then reverse engineering what your daily habits look like and I think you’re so onto something with those principles because most of us really do just get caught up on the how do I squeeze an extra five minutes here or there? You’re saying you want extra time and here’s an extra nine hours and it’s actually based on something that you’re not addressing, which is your need to again, just self medicate with non constructive behaviors.
Dane Sanders: [10:50] Yeah. Well it’s funny, you know, aristotle talks a lot about the good life and he called it eudaimonia and this notion of what does it mean to flourish as a human? And I’d argue that’s probably the, the fundamental question of being human. Even when you suffer, like whether you’re reading guys like, um, like reading man’s search for meaning, you know, an amazing book about a guy who suffers in the Holocaust and his conclusion at the end of it, he’s basically asking the question, how come some people suffer and they get crushed, they got crushed and other people suffer and they get stronger. What’s the difference between those two people that relates to. And it turns out there’s a lot of habits of mind and body that really influenced your capacity in those moments. Um, I think of other folks like I, I’m a Christian. I love Jesus. I think he’s like the most resourceful human on the theater of life ever who’s walked the earth, uh, someone who doesn’t believe that it’s Ryan Holiday, but he’s my favorite atheist because his commitment to stoicism really, um, it, it gets people into a philosophy of life that you’re going to start getting being able to measure results from those philosophies and to see does it hold water the way, uh, the proponents of it say it should. And I, I honestly,
I like the idea that truth takes you wherever you needed to go.And like if you, if you’re committed to following truth, wherever it takes you, no matter what, you’re going to get to a good place.
And I have a hunch, Ryan and I will get to the same place someday, but the point is that you’re taking your life seriously enough to, to wrap it around a rule of life that you, that makes sense, that’s going to have something you’re gonna look back on and go, I’m, I’m glad I spent my life that way. And again, most people I think are just kind of sleepwalking and, and they’re wondering like, well, why do I do life the way that I do with these kinds of habits over and over and over again? And I think it’s a very important question. And if people get serious about looking for the answers they’re going to get, they’re going to discover a lot more than answers to those questions are going to discover a life that could really become something significant.
Juan: [12:53] That’s fantastic. Dane there, I think you’re really hitting on so many important points here. I think the temptation is to look for technique or tool and what you’re suggesting is much higher level than that. You need to be looking for a purpose. You need to be looking for things that are triggering the distractions and the actions that are wasting your time, and if you’re really bringing it back to those triggers and what it is that’s wasting your time, then you’ll start asking yourself the right questions that guide you towards a bigger purpose.
Dane Sanders: [13:19] Yeah, you nailed it. I just. Well, let me comment real quick. Like I.
We are so much more than a hack. Humans are more than a hack.
And I love the way you articulated that because it. It’s just so tempting in the fury of life, that is the pace of digital culture. It’s just tempting to think that we’re not humans that we’re just like rat race doesn’t even capture it anymore. That’s what people used to call it in the fifties and sixties, so this isn’t a rat race anymore. This is like a flurry of, and we call it life where there’s this old quote, “People settle for a level of despair they can tolerate and call it happiness.” , I think it was Soren Kierkegaard that came up with that and that’s such a discouraging and haunting quote because most people have settled for so little when so much is available and and it starts with moving above technique and looking at what is your reason for being and when you start there you actually find things like meaning and purpose and that informs your actions and people’s whole lives can be transformed just from that thought experiment.
Juan: [14:24] Amazing. So these teams you are bringing up in a community and legacy. You’re basically proposing that every human has a philosophy in life, whether we know it or not, and in you know in your case it’s Christianity and your faith in Jesus and for listeners at home they might be something else, but it all comes down to what is my productivity for? And those are the right questions to be asking yourself and all of this. All of this efficiency is instrumental to a bigger mission or vision, so you’ll be more astute if have a bigger sense of purpose.
If you’re asking bigger and bigger questions, then you can look for the tools that can help you do those things faster, but if you’re not doing that, you’re not thinking big picture enough yet, then no matter short term tactics are going to help you win.
And something that you’ve said before that I love is that the war is really between the 12 inches between your ears and what you’re paying attention to. So as we started zooming out into that, we can start creating a plan of action for productivity that is practical, but it does start with a bit of philosophy essentially.
Dane Sanders: Yeah. At least good practical philosophy. Yeah, that’s right. By the way, I’d say one, I would love to sit at your feet and learn, man, you, you’re such a great position to be picking these things up from folks and your capacity to articulate it back. You make me sound better than I am, so I really am grateful.
Juan: Thank you so much, Dane. It’s been a fantastic experience getting to talk to so many productivity experts and people in this space, top performers, it’s made a huge impact in my life, so I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to this with me, with us listeners at home, and Dane I just want to ask you, as you continue to take your career forward, uh, where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Dane Sanders: Well, they can certainly go to danesanders.com to get to know me or reach out, but I would say the most exciting project I’m in the middle of right now is this thing called fastermind.co. And faster mind is really a whole community of people who are trying to live this out. They’re trying to, they recognize that, uh, whether you’re a freelancer, you’re like you’re in a non scaling business or you’re an entrepreneur and you’re trying to really build something that’s bigger than you, regardless you’re still a human being, navigating a very complex world and doing it solo is very challenging. So we built a little community that is is growing and intimate and, and, and we’re trying to sort these things out together in real life around real businesses with real business owners and even employees of big companies that are, they just want their life to matter differently. And I’d say, if that sounds interesting, I’d encourage folks to, to pop over there and say hi, and let’s start a conversation.
Juan: Amazing. Dane, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all of this with us.
Dane Sanders: Hey, my pleasure. Thank you, Juan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Charles Byrd is a passionate productivity and Evernote certified influencer specializing in joint ventures, marketing and creative communications. His online courses have reached over a million people in 2017. As a productivity expert, Charles coaches CEOs and entrepreneurs how to “Kill the Chaos” of information overload.
Charles works with partners such as Brian Tracy, Eben Pagan, Josh Turner, & Mike Filsaime. Let’s hear more from him on this episode of the podcast.
The power trifecta. It’s the combination of tools, workflows, and habits because you could have the best tool in the world, but if you don’t know how to apply it to your life and your business, it’s worthless.
Use your five-second superpower. Learn how to use tags in Evernote and be able to find everything you need in five seconds.
Ring the I-dig-it-I-need-it bell. It’s the bell that goes off in your head when you figure out that something’s either interesting or important. And when you hear that, that is your cue to put that information into Evernote right then and there and tag it.
Understand the secret of tagging. The secret of tagging is focusing on the who, what, when, where, why. And not that you need five tags, but if you simply walk yourself through that it makes it super easy to capture what it is.
Evernote is not just a tool for to-dos. It’s a place to document your step by step processes so you can do them again faster later and make it easier to delegate to other team members.
The Tracker helps you stay focused. When you pick a side to put the device on, you don’t want to pick it up again in two seconds and flip it so it helps you stay on that task and to make the most out of your day.
Juan: Charles Byrd is a passionate productivity and Evernote certified influencer specializing in joint ventures, marketing, and creative communications. His online courses have reached over a million people as a productivity expert, Charles coaches, CEOs and entrepreneurs how to kill the chaos of information overload. Charles works with partners such as Brian Tracy, Eben Pagan, Josh Turner and Mike Filsaime. Let’s hear more from him on this episode of the podcast. Charles, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Charles Byrd: [01:22] My pleasure. Thanks for having me,
Juan: [01:24] Charles. You’re an expert in productivity and your work with lots of top notch professionals. You certainly know something about productivity and time management most of us don’t. Can you walk us a little bit through your framework and how you think about time?
Charles Byrd: [01:35] Yeah, absolutely. So, um, I, I have a corporate background. I worked in the Silicon Valley for 15 years. I was a project manager, program manager and director at a billion dollar software company and I create trainings and really the systems I created were primarily for my own survival and being able to, you know, handle 12 enterprise projects at a time and things like that where, where the stress is high and there’s so many pieces to manage. So, um, I, I remember one of the catalysts for, for creating the system I teach today. I walked, walked into the office and one of the VPs was like, we’re looking forward to your presentation. I’m like, Yep, next Tuesday, like usual. And he’s like, no, we need it in half an hour. So I walk in my office, I’m sweating bullets, my stomachs and not.
I’m trying to find stuff I can’t find that fast and I vowed to create a system that would not put me in that situation again and that system is very much based on using Evernote.
[02:39] So at this point I’m an Evernote certified consultant. I teach Evernote to hundreds of thousands of people a year and some of the tricks to the trade, really it’s something I call the power trifecta. It’s the combination of tools, workflows, and habits, because you could have the best tool in the world, but if you don’t know how to apply it to your life and your business, you don’t have Evernote sitting on your phone, you have hashtag never note and nevernote doesn’t hook you up all that often. So, or if you know how to use the tool, you’ve got the tool, but you don’t have the habits in place to capture what is interesting or important when it comes across your awareness, whether you think of it or it comes in your inbox or your web browser, then it won’t be there when you need it. So that’s really what I focus on the power trifecta.
[03:28] And one of the easiest ways to find things is by learning how to use tags in Evernote and tags – they enable you, what I call your five-second superpower, to put your finger on anything you need in five seconds. And so to be able to do that, we simply need to recognize when something is either interesting or important.
It’s what I call the I-dig-it-I-need-it bell, it’s the bell that goes off in your head when you figure out that something’s either interesting or important.
So when the testimonial comes in from one of your lead clients and you’re like, sweet, I can’t wait to use this again, that’s when the bell interesting and important would go off. Sounds like that in your head. And when you hear that, that is your cue to put that information into Evernote right then and there and tag it.
[04:22] And you want to know the secret of tagging. That’s a loaded a leading question. Yes. The secret of tagging is focusing on the who, what, when, where, why. And not that you need five tags, but if you simply walk yourself through that, who, what, when, where, why, it makes it super easy to capture what it is. In fact, I have a note up right now. It’s tagged with your name. It’s tagged with Timeular and it’s tagged with podcast. Who, what, when, where, why. Again, you don’t need all five, but see how in the future I’d be able to pull this up and two seconds by typing a word or two. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s kind of the backbone of what I teach and um, it’s, it’s been a really fun ride going from corporate with zero connections and trying to learn online marketing and all of that to now working with some of the biggest people in the world. Both you and I separately had David Allen on our shows a week or two ago. We work with other people you have on this podcast, my friend Mike Vardy and so many others. So it, it’s very satisfying to be able to help people at scale. And that’s really what I’m passionate about.
Juan: [05:39] Wow, that’s wonderful. Charles. There’s a few things for us to kind of break down here. I really understand the tools and habits. I think that’s pretty universal. The workflows isn’t too clear for me right now. What, what exactly are you talking about with workflows? Is that just the habits of having the tags and things like that. It’s kind of the mechanics
Charles Byrd: [05:56] For example a tool like Evernote, we could be talking about Asana or anything else, but you can have the tool sitting there, but you need specific workflows to know how to apply it in specific situations. So just as an example, I spoke with a 30 year veteran of consulting yesterday and, and I do consulting myself but certainly haven’t been doing it 30 years, so he gave me this wonderful onboarding document and so I need to know the workflow, what to do with that. So obviously I put it straight into the Evernote, tag it template, tag it consulting so I know exactly what to do with different types of information. Is this something for reference? Is this something actionable? And basically it’s designing the workflows within the tools so the tools bring the benefits that they promise because most people have Evernote on their phones, 94 percent of people have heard of it, three fourths of them have it. And when I survey them, how many of you know you could be using it better or plan to use it more? It’s 95 percent.
Juan: Oh wow. And even something as simple as tags. I, I personally like using Google keep and I have only used Evernote to tinker with it for a little bit. But what I like about what you’re suggesting with using tags is that I can also look up stuff very easily on my google keep, but it’s not all organized in my head. It’s just a bunch of sticky notes in like an APP version. But what you’re doing with tags is actually being intentional about cataloging each of these ideas and you, you’re putting the burden of cataloging on yourself as a human and not just on the tech and letting the tech find what you’re looking for six months from now, but you actually remember how you’re organizing things in a very visual way. You know, you have like 15 different folders that make up your life, let’s say.
Charles Byrd: [07:47] Because I have, I have friends like my friend Dr Ron Friedman. He’s like, well I can search for things and evernote is going to find it. And he’s absolutely right. And there’s, there’s the front end effort of putting these tags. But really how much effort is it to type podcast, Timeular, Juan. So – not a lot of effort.
And here’s the thing, like if I search Evernote for the word car, it’s going to find all kinds of stuff. Any other word that has car in it? It, it’s gonna find a mountain of stuff. But if I search for the tag car, it’s only going to get what it should be getting, right?
Juan: No, it makes perfect sense. Yeah. Okay. So someone’s sitting at home right now and they’re listening to this like, okay, I get it. There’s tools, there’s workflows, there’s habits. I see how everything fits together. Now how does this tie into your brand? You’re a productivity expert. So the more that I take ownership of these aspects of my life, how do I now leverage that into productivity?
Charles Byrd: [08:56] Okay. So for one, learning my systems simply with the Evernote side will save you three hours a week and by saving three hours a week minimum, that adds up to 144 hours a year or 18 working days of reclaim time. That’s just learning one of my systems and tools. Now when you combine that with task management solutions, project management solutions, email and so forth, and integrate them into a, a beautiful web of magic productivity sauce, it, uh, it, it just streamlines businesses, teams, things like using slack and so forth. You integrate multiple tools together to create workflows across what you do as a company or an individual. Uh, so as noted just with the Evernote course, if that’s saving that much time, which it, which it is my Evernote trainings, um, then the other things combined you, you start saving more and more. You just keep optimizing. It’s Kaizen continuous improvement. You keep adding layers to simplify, which sounds ironic, but that’s how it works.
Juan: Funny enough, how would you encourage someone to actually start coming up with these workflows and integrations themselves? Like, I guess Evernote is easy enough. It’s looking up the tutorials. It’s contacting an expert like yourself. Byrdword.com and learning more about your services in general. How would I start now tagging along like what you’re saying, the slacks and the troubles of the world and making this applicable for my business life.
Charles Byrd: Sure. So there’s a few ways to do it.
One of the easiest ways to do it is going to an expert who will save the savior of the time of figuring out. That’s why so many people who have Evernote are not using it. They don’t know how to apply it to their business and their life.
Juan: [10:53] It’s like having a treadmill at the house, but unless you have a personal trainer, you probably liked that accountability. Right? Or at least a workout buddy.
Charles Byrd: Yeah, and it’s basically they would have to take the time to design the system. Now I think it’s worth it, but if you just handed me the playbook, I mean it’s going to make it far easier to get up and going and that’s not to say you can’t work on this stuff yourself. If you come up with a good solution for something, simply document it so you can repeat it next time and if something’s working really well for you can share it with one of your team members and try to make it a standard for how you manage certain information. It’s like SOP – , standard operating procedures at work. If you come up with whatever your field is, but let’s use marketing examples, if you figured out a great way to build a landing page for promotion or something, just document those steps in Evernote and or whatever, google docs, whatever you’re using and then that way you can start taking each system that works well and iterating and improving and tracking those along the way so you, you do end up overtime building kind of a, an arsenal of, of um, duplicatable systems
Juan: [12:09] That, okay, that makes a lot of sense because basically how you’re using Evernote, it’s totally different than how I’m using Google keep or even a lot of people use sticky notes or to do lists at home.
You’re actually using Evernote as a tool to document processes as you’re doing them in real time, as long as you know that you’re going to do it again and you end up polishing these processes and they become just your step by step kind of recipe cookbook guides on how you can do it again better and faster next time.
So instead of all the information residing in your head, now it’s in digital format, which is not only very easy for you to pull it back up later, but also it’s very easy to then delegate. I imagined as well. It’s a great advantage of this. You can just send someone, hey, this is how I do my podcast. This is how I do my videos, this is how I do my landing pages.
Charles Byrd: [12:50] Exactly, exactly. So we do a lot of online trainings. I’ve got, I have one right after this interview and when I created the whole workflow between all the different tools, I documented each step and I shot a little video showing how to do it and that made it super easy to hand off to my team.
So there’s something I’m very excited about and I know you are. It’s a product from a company called Timeular. Have you heard of them?
Juan: I have heard of them.
Charles Byrd: Okay. So a little bit funny story. I’d mapped out my own physical product for time tracking. I’d have the whole idea laid out and then I get a facebook-ad with your product it, I’m like, yes.
Juan: Was it similar? Did it look anything like what you imagined?
Charles Byrd: Well, I am basically cubes that uh, you can track time against specific projects and you set it on this coaster and it tracks your pomodoros and things like that. Um, so bluetooth software, it was very similar actually. So I was quite stoked to find this and reached out to your company, meet immediately. Um, and I wanted to share with you a few ways I use this. And by the way, I, I share this and teach it with all my private clients. I’m in different mastermind groups. Everyone I bring it up to just gets very excited about it. Um, so it’s definitely, definitely a winner. I’ve helped you guys move quite a few of these, which makes me feel happy because I’m helping those people have a lot more visibility as to where their time is going. When I left, one of my first big clients was like, oh, can you track your time using this system? And I was a director at a billion dollar software company.
Time tracking to me felt really lame. I did not like it and it was annoying. But this tool is a tool for you to see where your time’s going.
It’s visibility like I’ve never had because you’re tracking in real time. So there’s minimal effort or there can be no effort other than turning the device. And then you can see where your time is really going. So if you say this much time should be going to new lead generation or revenue generation a week, now you have a way to track that. You’re actually doing that, right? Make sure you’re meeting your own goals. So I get very excited about that. Um, and it, it’s also had one other effect that I love and that is, you know, throughout your day you’re looking at your calendar and email comes in, you click on that. Then you remember you’re supposed to email Susan and you’re just flowing through the day like rabbit holes everywhere. And what I’ve found is:
When I pick a side to put the device on, I don’t want to pick it up again in two seconds and flip it so it helps me stay on task.
Juan: That’s great. I really liked your take on that Charles, because I think a lot of people see a device like this and they hear time tracking and they just start thinking time sheets and they start thinking reporting and they start thinking micromanagement. They’re very, like, they have a very negative reaction to time tracking, which I think is a shame because all of us could benefit from just getting more out of our lives. We all have limited time. We all have the same 24 hours a day. If all of us were more intentional about our time, then we could be just living more of the life we want, whatever that looks like. And so your interpretation of it, it’s like, no, this is a device for you to get more than what you, more of what you want out of your life and your time as opposed to just a reporting tool set. Then you can export the time sheets and be like, oh, here you go. This is how much I worked. It’s not just a reporting tool for your boss.
Charles Byrd: Yeah, exactly. It’s, it’s, I’m a huge fan of the pomodoro technique that 25 minute timers and all of that. And uh, this, uh, the way I’ve always used Pomodoros, I get them, they, they helped me get up and going stay focused on something. And then I get in the groove of that task and I actually stopped using them because I’m already in the flow. They helped me get into the flow state. I’m getting traction on focusing and then I have no idea how much time I really put on the project because I stopped using the Pomodoros, which after you’re in the flow, I find become a distraction where this device lets you also get in the flow and it tracks the real time. I can tell you to the minute how much time I’ve spent with each of my clients, how much time I’ve spent getting new business, how much time I’ve been fulfilling for clients and trainings and things like that.
And it’s a level of visibility I’ve never had ever. So it’s pretty remarkable.
Juan: There you have it. Productivity masterminds. So Charles worked in Silicon Valley for 15 years in tech, doing trainings and leading teams. He started doing trainings by himself to have an infrastructure to handle multiple big projects for a billion dollar tech company. And the system he created was based on evernote. What he’s now a certified consultant for. He works off of what he calls the power-trifecta, which is understanding tools, workflows, habits, and how they fit together. So tools and habits are pretty easy to understand. It’s getting in the habit and every day of taking advantage of your tools, but then the workflows is interesting. It’s understanding how to apply the tools and specific situations and that’s what he does the training for for entrepreneurs, experts, authors, professionals, and one of the biggest things that he suggested we do is to use tags in evernote in order to have info at hand within five seconds. He uses the I-dig-it-I-need-it bell and so that’s basically understanding if it’s something that you need to reference down the road or not and he encourages us to think to ourselves who, what, when, where, and why – when we’re trying to come up with what tags to use on these evernote tasks. This is super important: evernote is not just a tool for to do’s. It’s a place to document your step by step processes so you can do them again faster later and make it easier to delegate to other team members. One less thing that Charles spoke about is ZEI, the time tracking physical device by Timeular, which makes it really easy to stay accountable to yourself about what you’re doing with your time so you can make the most out of your day. Charles, as you continue to take your career forward and move, move your business to the next level. Where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Charles Byrd: [19:20] Sure, so a) people can go to our main website, byrdword.com. We also are a big fan of helping people kill the chaos of information overload. You can find us at killthechaos.pro.
We want you to be a pro at killing the chaos so you can create space to focus on your business instead of being in your business, on your profession, focus on what matters to you to create a space station for procreation, the infiltration of a new sensation like meditation, the inebriation, the dedication of the productive nation need. I mentioned this new dimension. I have your attention. Now. Here’s your mission.
If you want to change these things in your life, you take the simple steps to do it popping over to killthechaos.pro to check out our Evernote training will get you down that path. We have a free webinar that will walk you through everything in more detail that I just covered and I I get very excited about helping people make the difference in this world that they want to achieve their goals and do it with less stress.
Juan: [20:22] Perfect. That was so awesome. It will be linking to all of this in the show notes to the Evernote Webinar and to Charles’ website. Charles, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all of this with us.
Charles Byrd: My pleasure. Thanks for having me Juan.
Yotam is the co-founder and COO of Wibbitz – a video production web tool that powers thousands of videos every day for partners like Reuters, Bloomberg, Forbes and Time Inc., helping them increase their audience engagement and revenue through video. (Think of it like a Canva for video.) Wibbitz has raised more than $30MM USD in investment and now has offices in New York, Tel-Aviv, and Paris. To accomplish all this, Yotam has created his own productivity strategy called Another Hour a Day. Let’s hear more from him in this episode of Productivity Masterminds.
Have all your tasks in one place. Many people have their tasks in different places. They are losing a lot of time by just going through all those lists. Avoid this by having your personal and work tasks on the same list. (Trello-board template from Yotam Cohen)
Prioritize. Prioritize your tasks according to what time it takes you to achieve them and what impact this task is going to achieve.
Have an inbox-zero. The idea is to clear the email, slack and every other message app and focus on the things you actually want to achieve for the day and not let people or other stuff take your time.
Learn how to get to a zero-email-inbox. Start your day by clearing all messages and if it takes less than five minutes, just get it done. If it takes longer, put it on your list as a task to get it done later. Batch all these messages into different sections: morning, lunchtime, evening, night and make sure you get that awesome feeling of there is nothing that hasn’t been tackled today.
Juan: [00:00] Yotam Cohen is the Co-founder and COO of Wibbitz video production web tool that powers thousands of videos everyday for partners like Bloomberg, Forbes, and Time Inc, helping them increase their audience engagement and revenue through video. Think of it like a canva for video. Wibbitz has raised more than $30 million dollars in investment and now has offices in New York, Tel Aviv, and Paris. To accomplish all of this, Yotam has created his own productivity strategy called another-hour-a-day. Let’s hear more from him in this episode of productivity masterminds.
Juan: Yotam, thank you for coming on the show.
Yotam Cohen: [01:28] Thanks for having me.
Juan: [01:31] Yotam, so you are a Rockstar entrepreneur, a founder, a productivity expert, and you have come up with a different paradigm to help us maximize our time. Can you walk us a little bit through how you think about time and what that paradigm is?
Yotam Cohen: [01:42] Definitely so the way of kind of like I called it: it’s another hour a day. And the reason is that after working with several people and helping them to actually maximize their day they told me that it actually created another hour, hour in a day for them. And the idea behind that is really not about the tool. I think that a lot of people around the world are thinking that if they will have this crazy app or this tool that they can manage their task with, it will solve their problems. And what I saw is that that’s really far from the truth. Um, a lot of people are managing their tasks on different places like the calendar and maybe the write on a notepad and also kind of like a to-do app or other stuff they are using.
The main problem is that they are managing their tasks in different places.
So I came up with a new system that helps people to actually create a very, very clear system to manage your tasks. The first thing in this system is to have all your tasks in one place. This is the most important thing. Your personal and your work tasks, and I know it sounds a bit weird, but to have all of them in the same place in the end when you think about yourself, you need to think about yourself as a resource. One resource that needs to do several types of tasks. And if you don’t have all those tasks in one place, you will find yourself in the end trying to jump from one list to another from, I don’t know, ordering a plumber to actually closing a research that you need to do in your work.
The idea is to have everything in one place.
After you have everything there, and just as personal note, I use Trello to do that, but you can use any tool you want. After having everything there, you need to prioritize it of course, according to what you want to achieve by today, tomorrow, the next two weeks or something which I call the backlog task.
[03:43] So afterwards if you want, you can go to my blog post and actually see the trello-board that I use. It’s a template that will help you to get started, but in the end it’s really divided into what are the tasks I want to achieve today, what are the tasks I want to achieve tomorrow? And then looking, let’s say a week or two weeks ahead and all the rest will be in the backlog.
I will prioritize according to one, how much time it will take me to achieve this task. And the second thing is how much impact this task is actually gonna achieve.
The second thing that is super important, I know a lot of blog posts and other I was talking about and I really believe in it, is having an email zero and I know if it’s something that is a big thing, I know it sounds like impossible to achieve, but I can guarantee you that I have at least 200 emails every day and I get to zero three times a day and the way I do it is by actually having a really an organized system throughout the day.
[04:44] So first thing I do in the morning is clearing my inbox and when I’m saying inbox it means also slack. Other messaging things you’re using in your world, clear everything and all the emails that are long, you know, that I need actually to think about or respond or is it use it as a test. I actually add them as a task to my trello board and all the ones that are not important. Of course I delete. And and all the, you know, all the things I can postpone. Sometimes you can use boomerang or other staff to respond only if it’s actually related to a specific date. Then you can also do that, but don’t really use misuse this feature and so the second thing, as I said is, is having an email zero and to have a very systematic way of how you go about your emails throughout the day.
[05:38] So I do it in the morning, I do it after lunch and I do think in the evening when I leave work and again in the night. So if you do it four times a day, you, every time you’re going to go over, I don’t know, tens of emails but not hundreds and you will be able to have your email in zero all for the day. Another really cool thing about it, it does a really nice psychological effect on you, right? I think feeling and know a lot of people in the world don’t feel that feeling, but it’s amazing to actually have it and the way to do it is having really a set of routines that you go throughout the day and clear your emails. Again, you can see it in my blog post afterwards. They are already organized how you’re going to run it.
The idea, in the end, is really to clear the email and clear slack and, and move and focus on the things you actually want to achieve for the day and not let people or other stuff take your time.
Juan: [06:33] So and Yotam, you must have gotten really good at saying, no, this is a little bit of a curve ball question, but not all emails you can just say yes and let’s follow up. Yes and let’s schedule a meeting. How are you actually dealing with turning down opportunities and knowing what not to do?
Yotam Cohen: [06:47] Yeah, I think it’s really all about focus. Like you mentioned. I think it’s really around prioritization in the end, you know, you have 24 hours a day. I didn’t see someone who can actually change that, so if you have 24 hours, this is what you can achieve, so you want to achieve the things that will actually make impact and the way to do it it’s just to prioritize and understand what are the things you need to focus on and what’s not and in the end it’s all about that. You you won’t be able to achieve all the things on your trello board and it’s okay. It’s a matter of actually getting the right things done first and the way to do it is really to have a very systematic way on how you go about your tasks and not just to come in the morning, okay, what do I have to do?
[07:31] Okay, open the emails. Okay, let’s go with them and then you jump back to your notes and go back to emails. If I came back from a meeting and I have 15 minutes, they are very productive. I know exactly what I need to offer because I just go to the next card that I have on my list because I already prepared it in the morning.
I know exactly what I need to work on so I don’t have this 15 minutes between meetings that I’m not productive in.
I’m actually getting things done in 10 minutes because I know exactly what I need to work on.
Juan: [07:59] So do you start your day? Okay, so let me. Let me get this right. You Start Your Day by actually going through your emails and your messages first or do you start your day by scheduling out your priorities? Which one comes first?
Yotam Cohen: [08:10] First is clearing all the places that can actually generate tasks for you. So first I go over all my emails, slack channels, Eh, whatsapp messages if you have or other stuff that you actually get things from. And then I put everything that are tasks that came out from those emails in the Trello Board. It could be going over the email that Uwe sent me and and answering about it. It sounds weird, but then I prioritize this email compared to other tasks that need to do and sometimes it I will answer two days, maybe I will just answer him, I will look at it and then in two days I will actually answer it because that’s the right time that they actually need to work on this email and not because email just push up all this things that I know that according to time and not according to priority. Right?
Juan: [09:00] Right. Do you have a structure for how you actually think about, you mentioned impact versus time. Are you thinking about them? Like on a scale of one to 10, how much time is this going to take it on a scale of one to 10, how impactful this is. Do you have anything like that?
Yotam Cohen: [09:13] I started to do that. I must say it was a bit kind of like weird. So what I do try to do is really to break the tasks as much as possible. So for example, if I need to decide on a specific vendor for my company for Wibbitz, then you know, I’ll do one task of research, one task of setting goals, one of setting a table too to compare and one task, maybe to make a decision, right?
So I will try to break those big tasks into smaller tasks or be able to achieve them in a shorter amount of time.
And I think it also really helps you to, like I said, to get things done and not just to put light on a two days a task, right? Then you know, you, you always won’t be able to go to it because it sounds too big.
[09:58] But in the end it’s more about an impact that you think. And again, in impact could be something personal as well, right? If you have something urgent at home, you need to, you need to solve it, right? And other tasks might need to go back. Right? So you need, you need to see everything in one pic in one place. And I think if I look back at, you know, all the people that I manage today and look and I worked with them on this, I saw that the biggest thing that most people do are managing those tasks in different places. One of the things a lot of people are doing are either mark and read or style or stuff like that. When you do that, it’s actually a list if you think about it, right? So you have a list in the email, you have a list in other places, and then you find yourself jumped from one to another throughout the day and trying to think what’s next. And if you set it from the get go in one place, you will know what you need to work on.
Juan: [10:50] Okay, that’s amazing. And we’ll actually have your terms trello-board template in the show notes of this episode so that you can actually download it and see what he’s talking about. Okay? So let me make sure I have this right. You Start Your Day by clearing out all your inboxes were, tasks could even be created and then you start prioritizing the tasks that come in, whether it’s through slack, whatsapp, email, wherever that is, you start prioritizing them and then you go through your day, but now as you’re saying, it basically sounds like from then on it’s just autopilot because you go, you do your things in batches and you never have to actually put any creative energy about what to do next. You were kind of at that point by your to do list and since everything about your personal and professional life or in the same dashboard, then you can really just lean back and trust the process.
Yotam Cohen: [11:35] Exactly. And, and you know, we all know that life is unexpected, sometimes so.
If something urgent happens and it’s okay, you just put it in the top and take something out for tomorrow.
Right? So that’s, that’s exactly what you said. You have autopilot, you know exactly what you need to work on. Something happens, you just switch it, then it’s okay. Finish the day again. Just a reminder, I do go over the emails also after lunch, also on the evening before I leave the office and do the same process every time and change priority sometimes when I need to.
Juan: [12:11] Okay, perfect. So let’s get into the show notes now so that we can recap all of this and learn Yotam’s habits for success in productivity and time management. So Yotam has this paradigm called “another-hour-a-day” and he found after helping lots of people maximize their day, that people, it was taking them a whole other hour just to be productive and to start managing their time. So the problem that he finds is that people are thinking that they need just one more tool to help manage their time. That’s really not the best way to do it. You don’t need another tool. What you actually need is a system and infrastructure that helps keep all your tasks in the same place. This is your personal and your work tasks. So you need to start thinking of yourself as a resource and you need all your tasks in the same place to make the best use of your resource, which is you and your time. Yotam actually uses Trello to do this. He starts by having his board ordered by day, so today than tomorrow than two weeks, and then he even has a column for backlog tasks. He starts gauging all of this by time and impact to make sure that he’s doing the things that are impactful and that don’t take a lot of time if they don’t take a lot of time, they get done faster and sooner. He also has this policy. It’s the email zero policy, which is basically having the zero email inbox and how he does it is he starts his day by clearing all messages from slack, email, whatsapp, and if it takes less than five minutes, he just gets it done. If it takes longer than he puts it on Trello as a task to get it done later, then the last thing he does is he patches it all of these messages into four different sections. That’s in the morning, lunchtime, evening, and then at night to make sure that he gets that awesome feeling of there is nothing that hasn’t been tackled today. Everything has either been organized or handled. Yotam starts his day by clearing his inboxes and then prioritize his tasks to fit into each other. Everything is on the same place, which is Trello and we will be sharing the Trello board in the show notes of this episode so you can use Yotam’s habits of success and productivity in your own life.
Yotam, as you continue to grow and growing your company, which is super exciting. Where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about you?
Yotam Cohen: [14:12] You can reach me on Linkedin it’s Yotam Cohen, Wibbitz and you can find it there and you can also see my blog there. You can also follow me on twitter, Yotam C um, and yeah, that’s it. My company or my side wibbitz.com
Juan: [14:35] And that will also be in the show notes. It’s an awesome tech startup that will help you create tons of content moving forward your time. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Samuel Huber is the founder and CEO of Admix, a VC-funded startup based in London that helps Virtual Reality and AR developers monetize their creations through native and non intrusive ads. He previously worked as an engineer in Formula 1, founded Kout.io, raised funds through an accelerator, made and grew his own app to over 8,000 daily players which he later sold, and raised close to a quarter million $$ for a gamified video sharing platform. He currently balances multiple projects under the vision of pushing the VR and AR industries forward. Let’s hear more from him in this episode of Productivity Masterminds.
Have a vision: everything starts with having a vision. After knowing that vision, make sure that everything you do is always getting you a little bit closer to that goal.
Step by step: when having your big vision, try to deconstruct it into tangible, workable goals. This makes it more manageable. Just take it step by step and every day try to work towards it.
Urgency and importance. Work with that framework to say no to things that do not fit in. What’s important is very seldom urgent and what’s urgent is very seldom important.
Communication. To get people helping you achieve your vision, you need to find good ways to communicate it so that people can actually understand it. Let them know that this is going to happen. With or without them.
Juan: You must know something about time that most professionals don’t, and that’s the whole point of the podcast, to highlight these experiences and these lessons learned. Can you share with us a little bit about how you’re actually thinking about time and maybe how you’re prioritizing different tasks?
Samuel Huber: [01:45] Sure, yeah. It’s funny you see it as different things and I think that’s really the key for me, is that I started with a goal. I have a vision and everything I do to get one step closer to that vision and, you know, even if it’s maybe multiple projects, one of it is the tech side of the development. The other is the sales, hiring, finding an office, expanding to San Francisco. All of that actually is just one step, a little tiny step closer to the goal. And so if, I think if you start, you know, taking a step back and looking at the macro, what do you want to achieve?
Think about what you want to achieve and then you just make sure that everything you do is always getting you a little bit closer. Every time you go to bed, you’re a little bit closer to your goal than when you woke up. I think that’s the best way to manage your time.
Juan: [02:31] That’s perfect. That’s such good advice. How did you come up with what that bigger picture vision was in the first place?
Samuel Huber: [02:39] I guess I’ve always been more of a kind of a creative kid and you know, even a teenager I always had big plans and thinking ‘it would be great to have this,’ and then trying to find a way to actually make it work. So instead of just, you know, getting to develop something and then eventually figuring out where it might be. I’ll always start with a big idea a big concept. And then some of them we pursue and some of them, you know, I would just leave I guess for other people to do. Yeah, it’s basically like I said, it started as an idea and then thinking, you know, ‘how big could this get?’ And eventually ended up working on it. And uh, you know, every vision is not like necessarily set in stone. It’s something that evolves with time as well. I guess when you walk on it, if you think that actually can get bigger, it’s getting even more exciting. That’s when you know that you’ve made something interesting.
Juan: [03:38] So the way that you think about it is you’re always, it’s basically giving yourself permission to pivot and change the bigger picture idea as new information comes in, new experiences and the opportunities come in. But basically, always going all-in on whatever the opportunity at hand is. And just trusting that as long as you’re going all-in on every opportunity, or on the opportunities that fit the bigger vision, that the bigger vision will eventually take shape. As long as you’re working towards that, you’re making that the measure for success, then everyday you’ll be successful because everyday you’re actually working towards that goal.
Samuel Huber: [04:13] Right, right. And I think more than pivot, it would be more refined. So you know, you have these kind of big idea like I really want to help VR developers make money. That’s like a super broad idea and then you start figuring out, ‘okay, well I need to develop a product that enables advertisers, for example, to place content.’ But then that’s still very broad. Right? And so as you work towards it, as you meet people, you actually refine it and then it becomes a very tangible goal that you can actually walk towards in a matter of weeks maybe. And so if you walk that way and really started the big vision and then try to deconstruct it into tangible, workable goals, I think it makes it a lot more manageable.
Sometimes it can feel very intimidating to have a big vision and you don’t really know where to take it, but you just take it step by step and everyday try to work towards it.
Juan: [05:07] So I guess it’s fair to say the Samuel Huber way of thinking about time and goals, you start by thinking of big goals, then you try to find the opportunities and the resources and the people that will actually make that vision a reality. And then you take those bigger goals and you chop them up into more bite size pieces. So, you’re basically working your way backwards, you’re reverse engineering the end result.
Samuel Huber: [05:32] That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I’m not thinking, ‘okay, what is possible?’ And then you know, based on what’s available, where can we get to. It’s more like, ‘I really want to do this, let’s see how we can do it.’ Right?
It’s to some extent like, ‘let’s go to Mars, okay, well then we need to build a ship.’ It’s not like ‘let’s build a ship and see how far we can get,’ because it’s very unlikely that you would get to Mars if you were using that method.
Juan: [05:57] Do you have a framework on how you actually turn down opportunities that are fighting for your attention? Like, let’s meet for coffee, let’s talk. Let me pick your brain.
Samuel Huber: [06:07] Yeah. Yeah. I mean again, it’s the same framework which is, is it getting closer to my vision and that’s basically what it is and sometimes you don’t know and you have to allow for serendipity and you know, I love meeting people. You never know what’s going to happen, but you know, as you get more granular goals and you have to put in the time as well, it actually gets fairly easy to figure out if, okay, is this going to be helping me towards my vision or not? And I guess there’s two things, right? It can’t. It could help you maybe in five years’ time. So, you also have to prioritize based on the urgency of the situation. I think it’s not something I follow very religiously, but there’s an Eisenhower method or something, the president of the United States and he said that
What’s important is very seldom urgent and what’s urgent is very seldom important.
It’s very interesting to make the distinction between the two. because you always have stuff, especially in these days like emails and calls and, but that’s not necessarily urgent. So, I think urgency is something very interesting and actually one of the challenges I’ve always had a big feeling of urgency. I think, you know, every minute of the day we should be productive and do something. But it’s very hard to instigate that feeling with people that work for you. And that’s something that, you know, I’m, I’m still learning how, how can we make them understand that, you know, it should be done today, not tomorrow. And of course it’s very hard because it’s not their business, right? As much as I’m trying to communicate the vision at the end of the day, you know, it’s just a job for them and I have to be comfortable with that. So it’s been a challenge and I’m still trying to find the best ways to be able to communicate that sense of urgency.
Juan: [07:55] Do you have any kind of advice for that maybe you found it over the last few months or years of having that experience and actually instilling the urgency or right now you’re still testing out different things?
Samuel Huber: [08:05] No, I think, I mean, you know, obviously the best way is not shouting at people, it’s definitely to make them part of the vision as well. If they believe in the vision, they would want it to happen and they would want it to happen quickly.
My only tip of the day isfind something big that you really want to work towards and find good ways to communicate it so that people can actually understand it and also want to help you achieve it.
Juan: [08:35] Right. Which just goes back to focus. If you don’t have focus on your bigger vision, then there’s no way that you can actually inspire a team of people, let alone other allies and partners to come onboard. You have to get people to a position where they believe that it’s going to happen with or without them, and that’s the kind of the best negotiation technique because they’re like, ‘okay, it’s going to happen. I want to jump on board’ and make this happen. But if you are unsure or your vision isn’t focused enough, then it’s understandable for people to be even less excited about it than you are. And so if you’re like a 4 out of a 10, then they’re going to be like a one out of a 10.. You know what I mean? Like unexcited and committed.
Samuel Huber: [09:13] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And what’s also important is the sense of urgency is not only created by my vision necessarily, but in my case, which is developing something for virtual and augmented reality, we’re talking about a market that is also exploding, right? So, with or without me, VR and AR would happen.
If you find an industry that is also on the verge of explosion, it makes it a lot easier to motivate people because they can see something happening, they want to be a part of it and they know that they have the opportunity to make it happen.
I used to work on like, you know, gaming or ecommerce which is a proven market. It’s not exploding, so it’s not as exciting to be working on because you’re not a pioneer and you know, if it’s not done today, we can do it tomorrow. You’re not worried about someone necessarily doing the same thing.
Juan: [10:07] One thing you lightly touched on in the last point you were saying, you just got to put in the time. I don’t know, Samuel, if you remember whenever I asked you to come on the show and I asked you about your tips for productivity. Do you remember what you told me?
Samuel Huber: [10:21] I think I do, yes. Yeah.
Juan: Well what did you say?
Samuel Huber: I basically said that I don’t have any, you know, time management techniques. I just kind of work all the time. And what I mean by that is like awesome advice.
Juan: Yeah. Can you, can you expand on that?
Samuel Huber: Yeah. It’s not that I don’t do anything else. It’s like I’m basically setting myself to, you know, at work, I don’t really have time to look at productivity tips, you know, it’s like I just do what I need to do and um, and I think if you need to kind of force yourself to like find ways to be more productive, um, you know, I think all of that, uh, tactics, right? I’m more talking about like the religion of getting towards my goal and that’s basically what it is.
I kind of plan at least my weekday life around work so that I don’t have many distractions during the week and I can just focus on what I need to do because at the end of the day, you can try any type of tools and productivity, but you know, you just got to get down to the email and pick up the phone and do whatever.
Juan: [11:29] Any productivity tool or tip is just kind of has to work in service of you already putting in the time. I think, you know, going, approaching this from the standpoint of ‘I want to be working less hours, I want to be putting in less time. How do I make sure that the time that I do put in is the most productive?’ You kind of have to graduate into that level of retirement mentality. That’s after you’re already in a really good position like either financially or professionally, but for most of us that are on the up and up, if we’re already thinking in terms of ‘how do I make sure that I’m already only working four hours a week,’ you know, Tim Ferriss’ book, the 4-hour work week, the four hour workweek, it really plays to people’s like they want to be sipping a Margarita on the beach way before they’ve actually put in the time to do that. And so what you’re saying is like, yeah, ‘I mean I love the tactics and the tips and the tools and everything, but it’s actually much more important to just putting like put in the time, have a focus, rally up a team and go all in and you can then start optimizing from that.’ But that has to be your starting point. Not ‘how do I work less hours.’
Samuel Huber: [12:37] I’m not trying to force anyone to work long hours. I’m talking as to what I’m interested in myself. I know that people, some people want lifestyle businesses and being able to work four hours a week and make, you know, whatever Tim ferris advocates that you can make, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. That’s just not really the way that I want to lead my company. I don’t think that, you know, I’m not here really for the lifestyle and so I cannot talk to people who like are really committed to making something happen and putting in long hours. Right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think tools are very important, but mostly to communicate that to the rest of the team as you start growing. So, like we use a lot of simple tools like Trello for example, we have like balls for everything and people can just follow on the progress and you can assign it to someone and you can take what has been done that’s just fantastic. Right? Or like slack, everyone can communicate on the same platform. So yeah, I mean we use a lot of tools but mostly sort of simple tools, trying to not overcomplicate what’s already complicated, and you don’t have to learn the platform and here it just makes sense.
Juan: [13:42] That’s perfect. What is the best way for people to stay in touch with you, what you’re up to and follow your career as you continue to grow?
Samuel Huber: [13:49] Uh, so I have a personal website, SamHuber.com, where you can see pretty much all the talks that I do about virtual reality advertising and all of that. And you can also check what the company does, which is admix.in and yeah, that’s about it.
Juan: [14:04] Perfect. Thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing this with us.
Samuel Huber: No problem. And thanks for having me.
David Allen is the author of international best-seller Getting Things Done. Published in over 28 languages, TIME magazine heralded it as “the defining self-help business book of its time.” He’s been recognized by Forbes as one of the top five executive coaches in the United States, and as one of the “Top 100 thought leaders” by Leadership magazine. He is the engineer of the GTD® methodology, which has shown millions how to transform their lives to produce successful outcomes. Let’s hear more from him on this episode of the podcast.
The game is always on. The big key is building out an inventory and a menu of all the options. Think about all the things you should do. Review and reflect on them the right time to make a good choice about what to do. Because if they are always on your mind, you won’t get anything done.
The five steps of the GTD-methodology: capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage.
Capture: notice what’s got your attention (e.g. oh I need cat food)
Clarify: clarify it and define exactly what those tasks need to look like
Organize: organize and you categorize things so that they are in the right order
Reflect: reflect on them and visualize what those tasks are going to look like
Juan: [01:22] David, thank you so much for coming on the show. David, so you’re a speaker, you’re a best-selling author, you’re a coach, you are running a big company that is doing things internationally. You certainly know things about time that most of us don’t. Can you walk us a little bit through how you think about time and your main core pillars of success?
David Allen: [01:41]
I don’t think about time so much. I think much more about my attention than time.
Time is a component like spaces too. I need to know when I need to be on this phone call. I need to know when I need to have a doctor’s appointment. So being aware of time and how you manage it is an important component, but it’s certainly not. That’s not the essence of productivity. The essence is where do you put your focus and is it on the right thing.
Juan: [02:10] Do you have a framework for how you determine if something is worth the focus or not?
David Allen: [02:16] Well, you know, the whole Getting Things Done methodology I uncovered over the last 35 years is, how do you get the clear space inside your head, so you can make a really good priority decision about what to do. Should I take a nap? Should I have a beer? Should I work on this project? Should I call this person, should I go do this errand? And all of those are, you know, minute to minute, moment to moment decisions.
We’re all making all the time. So you’re constantly making priority decisions.
The trick is do you feel comfortable about the decision you’ve made? So the whole idea, if anybody thinks they’re procrastinating, it’s just they feel uncomfortable that they should’ve done something they didn’t do as opposed to look what I chose to do was exactly the right thing to do, but you can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know what you’re not doing and most people don’t have a clue of how many things they’ve committed to, how many things have gotten in their inventory of stuff that are banging around in there in their head, which is actually a crappy office and most people are trying to keep a whole lot of their life and their commitments and remember stuff in their head and your brain did not evolve to do that. So a lot of what my methodology is, get it out of your head besides sooner than later what that stuff really means to you. What you’re going to do about it. If anything, and then have some trusted external brain system that you parked the stuff in that you review and reflect on it the right time to make a good choice about what to do. That’s what I do. I constantly have to keep doing that myself. It doesn’t end when you’re always needing. The world was changing. I’m growing. I’m getting different perspectives, so I’m constantly need to be on, so this is not something, some silver bullet that you swallow, you swallow the pill and suddenly you will know this for the rest of your life. It’s like, hey guys, here’s the game. Here’s how you play it.
The game is always on.
Juan: [03:56] David, if you had to break down that GTD methodology into maybe like a few different faces, can you walk us through what that looks like?
David Allen: [04:04] Yeah. I just mentioned the five steps. It’s capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage. That’s how you get your kitchen under control. How you get your consciousness over control. I didn’t make it up. I just recognize what you do. First of all, you notice what’s got your attention, what’s not on cruise control, what’s not on autopilot right now, and you don’t have to go very far. Just notice what’s got your attention. What’s what’s pulling on your mind, oh, I need cat food, or I need a life, or oh my, should I get divorced? So should I buy a house? Should I ask for a raise? You know, all of those things need to be captured outside your head and then parked in some truck trusted place. That’s the capture function and then you need to sooner than later, disciple what’s the next step about asking for a raise? What do you need to do next? What’s the very next thing you need to do and is that something you’re actually going to move on or you want to park that to review it in two months, what you know, so you need to then get some clarity about those things that you do have attention on. So that’s step two, so it’s capture the new clarify. Then if you say, oh, okay, that’s a phone call I need to make here, that’s a website I need to search. And you can’t do it that very second then you can park some reminder to do it at the right time. So that’s where you need to trust a list. Benefits, we’re like, keep listening. The errands I need to run, stuff I need to do on the web stuff, I need to talk to my partner about the, you know, whatever, and so you keep track of the work to do where you’ve defined what the specific work is and that’s step three, which is the organized. Let me, once I’ve determined what these things mean, let me put reference where that goes. You put trash with that goes, let me put a reminder, I need to see two months from now where that goes and what’s the next step on any of these things I have attention on. I need to move on. Where do I park that? What’s the project, if there’s anything that one step we’ll finish that I need to keep track of. So those are.
That’s a thinking process and there’s no tool that does that except your forebrain.
That’s a required thinking process. You have to apply to all the stuff that you get out of your head and then once you got a good organization system where you park all that stuff on the right place, if you’ve got an afternoon, you might run errands, go look at your list, go reflect and review on the content of what you’ve got.
You’re sitting down to have dinner with or spend a few minutes talking to your partner about the business of life stuff you’ve kind of worked together. What’s the list of things you need to come up with it? You need to talk to him or her about, you know, and motor, all the projects that you need to keep track of on some at least weekly basis. Would you see that inventory on a regular basis. So you need to build in some sort of reflection, that review process. Once you put the content in your external brain, you need to then use your brain. It’s kind of funny. You’ve got to actually think. You actually have to use your brain to shut right up. Another gem to use your mind to look at all your stuff like you, you, you look at your calendar and say, okay, this is what I need to do right now.
I don’t need to worry about any of this stuff. I’ve already looked at it and so you’re already doing this and everybody listening to this is already doing this to some degree because most people aren’t really going up the way that you really need to do it. If you were able to keep a clear head and then step five is an engaged, then you make choices about them – how you put your attention into actions based upon what you’ve captured, clarified, organized, and reflected on. So it’s that in a sentence that simple, but that’s a pretty profound thing to do actually. If you build that practice in.
Juan: [07:16] Okay, so the fifth step after reflect, what is the name of that fifth step?
David Allen: [07:20] Engage.
Juan: [07:22] Engage.
David Allen: [07:22] Yeah. That could be taken a beer. Have a thinking about a proposal of Dr Bause, whatever’s next that you figure is the best thing to be doing at that point. Give up all the options you have.
The big key is building out an inventory and a menu of all the options. Otherwise, you’re going to be driven by latest and loudest and then you just hope that what you’re doing is right, but you know, subliminally there’s other stuff in there you’re not thinking about and maybe this isn’t the right thing to do.
Oh my God, and that’s this, this, this sort of angst that most people walk around, but because they frankly are keeping a whole lot of stuff in their head.
Juan: [08:02] Totally. And you know, something I really like about your approach, David, is it seems like you really give your full attention to whatever it is that you’re doing, so you’re actually able to unplug yourself from the clutter by kind of batching all of these steps. And then once you actually move on to the engagement phase, you’re fully engaged in that task. Right? Which is very different than most of us. We can’t unplug from the stress
David Allen: [08:22] That’s the most productive place to operate from. It’s the best place to get a golf ball from, getting it from, or fire somebody from or whatever, when there’s nothing on your mind, but that.
So the big key about getting things done, it’s not so much about getting things done. It’s about managing that you’re, that you’re appropriately engaging with all of your different commitments in an appropriate way so that you can be fully present with whatever you’re doing.
That is the most productive state to operate from – the healthiest place to operate from. The most stress-free place to operate from. If you’re in your zone and time is disappeared. There’s no distinction between work and life. This is what’s next.
Juan: [08:59] Sure. So David, I imagine if we go and pick up one of your books or we sign up to take a certification program through that, through Gtd are, are there specific tools or like worksheets that you encourage people to actually help them guide through this process? Or is it mostly have a strategy that we need to own intellectually and put ourselves through? Is it a part of the tools or it’s more about that actual concept of this?
David Allen: [09:22] Well, the methodology is quite rigorous in quite detail. So if you were wanting a training or to be a coach for this. There’s a lot of training you need to go through and make sure you understand because you’re going to need, you may need to sit down with a CEO of a company, you may sit down with a 12 year old kid and you may need to sit down with the dad that you may get all kinds of people who’ve got all kinds of tools and all kinds of things they might want to use and know how to engage with them appropriately as opposed to having some some hard nose kind of template that you’re trying to over structure into somebody’s life that, that they’re not ready for. So there’s quite a bit of sophistication about understanding what this methodology is and how you would apply it in almost any circumstance. So it’s not a lightweight process to get certified to do this.
Juan: [10:08] Absolutely. Do you have any preferred tools that you, that you could recommend that you’ve found worked really well here? Like I don’t know, Trello, Asana, Google keep, anything like that? No? Do you have any worksheets that we could get from your website? I think you have some white papers and templates that are pretty useful. Right?
David Allen: [10:24] It describes the methodology, but it’s. Any tool works.
Juan: [10:29] I love that.
David Allen: [10:30]
You can use Trello. You can use Asana, you can use a paper based planner or you can use Post-its. It doesn’t matter.
Right? Right. So you know, a lot of people want a new tool because they think the tool’s going to solve it for them and then they want a new new tool because they think that tool didn’t work that well, now they going to try to get the new new and new and you’re dead in the water. You know you’re in your into productivity port so you know you’re not. That doesn’t work.
Once you understand this methodology – you can make any tool work.
Then you can find one that’s cool and one you want to work with, what you like to use, that’s fine, but they’re all lives matter. They’re coming out weekly by the way. There are over 300.
Juan: [11:13] Yeah. What’s fascinating is you’re actually able to translate this, like you’re saying, into different pockets of people, whether it’s a 12 year old or an executive. You recently moved over this methodology over to a brand new niche. It seems like for you, which is a fourteens, right? You wrote the book gtd Teens, um, how do the concepts translate over to a younger generation and how are they different?
David Allen: [11:35] The subtitle is staying focused in a distracting world, so you know a lot of what the young folks are dealing with is this plethora of just bombarded inputs and potentially ways to get addicted to distraction to keep you from focusing on what you need to do. That could be homework or get ready for the prom or, or get ready for college or whatever you do. So we just translated, we, we, we took an frankly, my two coauthors did most of the heavy lifting. Those are the ones that have kids and are working with kids. But basically it’s the same methodology. We didn’t step it down at all. It’s just an executive when they come back from a board meeting they need to empty their briefcase with business cards, they collected and then meeting notes, they took a nine year old needs to enter their pack and get all the notes from the teacher that the parents need to sign.
[12:23] Same thing, same process. There’s different content, so all we did was trying to frame this for caring adults that are dealing with teens because come on as soon as you leave high school, if you’re in the US and you know mom is no longer a trusted system and so this whole graduated process as you grew up at some point you couldn’t feed yourself – they fed you, at some point you couldn’t dress yourself – they dressed you. Then you had to do it yourself. At some point you couldn’t do your homework by yourself. They needed to help. Now you’re on your own, so you’ve grown up through a graduated process of having to take home on your own accountability to or have your own structure to manage thing is self manage. Right? So that’s been a graduated process, but most kids are not trained to do any of that.
So that’s what we tried to do is to bring this down into, to take this methodology, is that okay, how would you translate this through those different skill levels as kids need that then take more accountability for how they manage their life as opposed to just waiting until they’ve thrown out after high school and then the fire hose of life and then very easily get off track because they didn’t know how to manage their freedom.
Juan: [13:34] Absolutely. So as we move on to the later part of this show, we will go through the show notes here. David Allen has created a framework that helps you focus on your attention and not time management and the system basically helps you determine whether or not something is worth your attention. It’s a five step system. You first start by getting things out of your head in the capture phase. You unclutter your mind and get it into the physical world. That’s number one. Number two, you clarify it and you define exactly what those tasks need to look like. Number three, you organize and you categorize things so that they are in the right order. Then you reflect on them and kind of visualize what those tasks are going to look like and finally you engage in doing the tasks. David’s concepts have been translated to more than 28 languages and are now transferred over to a younger generation in Gtd teens, so these are things that are tried and true and are not just a new tool for you to get started in. You can check out more of his work on gettingthingsdone.com, and we will copy all of this in the show notes. David, as you continue to take your career forward and move your business to the next level, where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’re doing.
David Allen: [14:37] So gettingthingsdone.com as you mentioned is a good place. You’ll sort of see that and you can follow me on twitter – I’m gpdguy. On Instagram I am dallen45. I think there is a Facebook page. Our folks sort of made a thing for this. So you can kind of circle around. I’m around all the time. I’ve done three fedexes is so you can just do a web search for David Allen of GPD and they’re going to see tons of things to play around with.
Juan: [15:02] Amazing. David, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Jessica Chen is an Emmy-Award-winning content producer and CEO of Soulcast Media, a storytelling agency that helps brands communicate their company’s story to the public. Jessica has also been awarded an Associated Press award for her work at Time Warner Cable News. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Good Earth Foundation. Jessica is a top performer who balances lots of projects in her professional life. Let’s hear more from her in this episode of Productivity Masterminds.
Divide your time into three different parts. 60% are doing a lot of research, brainstorming, changing the company – this determines how you will move forward and who you will contact. The next 20% are selling. And the other 20% are taking meetings in person or on the phone – building relationships, connections and just getting to know people.
Always have a plan B: As a reporter, Jessica had to deliver a new, finished story every day by 4pm. Through this, she became an expert at prioritizing tasks and making sure she always had a plan B, C or even D. If your work depends on external input, make sure you have plan B to not get stopped by external blockers.
Focus on your strengths: Don’t underestimate your transferable skills that you will have built up through experience and focus on these strengths. If there are certain weaknesses you want to work on, don’t be afraid to ask for help and reach out to people who can teach or mentor you.
The first priority should be the people who are like, yeah, let’s see what we can do. If there was an actual interest in having people wanting to work with you, be quick and forward your plan to work with them. This is the way you should prioritize who you’re talking to. If the people are lukewarm, of course, you still have to follow up with them and continue to communicate with them, but the first priority is the people who are like, yeah, let’s see what we can do.
Jessica: [01:15] So I’ll start from the beginning. My background as a news reporter, we were really careful and conscious about time because every day we had deadlines and the deadline was when the news would go on. So no matter how crazy your day was, you still had to hit your deadlines so that therefore, you know, we had to work very efficiently. We had to prioritize. So that was kind of a reporter mentality that we had and as an entrepreneur, you know, it has shifted a little bit.
And the way I think about time now is I divide it into three different parts.
I would say I spend most of my time as an entrepreneur really just doing a lot of the research, brainstorming, brainstorming ways of how I can grow, change the company. And I think that is like really big because of course that determines how you will move forward and who you will contact. And then I’d say the next 20 percent of how I spend my time is really the selling, the pitching. And of course this is really important because this is where you get your clients. So 20 percent is that. And of course that also had to do with a lot of the brainstorming and research I did beforehand and then I would say the other 20 percent are just me taking meetings, meeting people on the phone or in person. And a lot of that is just kind of like building connections, building relationships, just getting to know people.
Juan: [02:32] So it’s like investing in future opportunities. Whereas the other 80 percent is on more immediate return, whether it’s a brainstorming for something that you’re going to be doing this week or even later on that day. And then also just pitching for new business. Then you reserve 20 percent for kind of new opportunities.
Jessica: [02:46] Exactly, yeah. That 20 percent, you know, there’s really no intention other than just to get to know new people, get to talk to people, hear about what they’re doing, building new connections.
I think as an entrepreneur it is really important to be open-minded, to meet people from different backgrounds.
You’d be surprised about once you become an entrepreneur, I found, there is a whole group of people, you are introduced to. It’s so cool you’re talking, getting to know them. So I do try to allocate at least 20 percent of my time just meeting people for fun and professionally too.
Juan: [03:19] That’s awesome. And so I’m really interested because there’s a lot that we can learn about what you were doing with your journalism career and how you were able to meet those really, really tight deadlines. Can you tell us a little bit about how you were finding kind of like trimming the fat of this is not important, this not is important, this is mission critical, and going all in on the things that are mission critical. I’m sure we can all relate in each of our professions, you know, weeding out the bad opportunities from what actually matters. How, how were you doing that?
Jessica: [03:48] Yeah. I mean, as a reporter, every day we would start the day, first of all, every day is completely different, you know, meaning because your assignments, your story of the day is different. When you start your day you have a focus of like: this is my targeted story of the day, therefore these are my targeted actions that I need to take.
Juan: [04:09] And you’re never working on longer term projects? It’s always just what that day holds? And you take it a day at a time?
Jessica: [04:16] As a general assignment reporter, which is what I was, it is. Every day is completely different. So it is kind of you are a jack of all trades. One day you’re doing a political story. The next day you’re doing a business story, the next day you’re doing a fun feature story. So you really have to be flexible. And I think in terms of time and how you manage it, we start our day, and I think this is relevant for anybody. You know, you go when you wake up and you’re like, okay, this is what I have to do today. Meaning as a reporter, this is who I have to try to talk to today for my story and that’s when you start reaching out to people and, a lot of that really is dependent on whether this person will get back to you and I think the key is you can’t rely on just like one person to get back to you because what if that person doesn’t? Right?
Juan: [05:03] Because you have to talk to them that day. And before 4pm. It sounds like you still have to coordinate where are we gonna meet, what time am I going to get there? And you have to balance out the other stories that you’re working on, right?
Jessica: [05:03] Exactly.
Juan: [05:14] The other people that you have to talk to. That’s crazy. So you’re a total counter puncher. I mean because you’d never know if you’re going to hit traffic on the way there or if it’s going to take too long or even if they’re going to be there. And then you have to just react and react, react, react.So that’s probably a skill you’ve really developed over years of being in that industry.
Jessica: [05:32] Yeah.
You had to be really good at having a plan B, C, D, all the way to Z.
Juan: [05:35] It sounds like entrepreneurship. No wonder you’re doing this. Wow.
Jessica: [05:40] Yeah. Because you know, you walk out of the newsroom, for example, thinking your story’s going to be this way and you’re going to be talking to this person, but there’s so many factors working against you every day for like the person you’re supposed to talk to or you’re supposed to meet whether there’s traffic, all these things can determine how your day goes. So you really have to be flexible. And I would say of course, don’t put, in a sense all your eggs in one basket. Relying on this one person or relying on this one project. Make sure you have a backup in case it doesn’t work out.
Juan: [06:10] Okay. So it sounds like – to translate this into other industries – it sounds like the big takeaways are having backup plans, rolling with the punches and knowing that no plan is actually going to be exactly as you imagined it originally. And then how are you actually prioritizing mission critical things? Are you laser focused on just the story that people I have to talk to and then everything else needs to fall together in service of that? Or are you thinking of it as like a bigger task list? What does that look like in your head? Like prioritizing the things that have to get done?
Jessica: [06:44] As an entrepreneur, like, so when it’s the day where I’m, for example, selling and pitching, you know, I’m sending a bunch emails out that day, I’ve dedicated, let’s say four hours to, you know, I had this list of people that I want to contact. I send out that list and I’m not necessarily waiting for anybody or everybody to get back to me because you just don’t know if they will. And so once I do that and I send it out and then once I start getting responses, depending on what they say, whether there’s interest or not, that’s how I prioritize who I respond to. If there was actual real interest in having them wanting to work with me, then I’m really quick and I’m forwarding them my spreadsheets, my plan to work with them. So when there’s real interest and then that’s I think the way you should prioritize who you’re talking to and if the people who are lukewarm, you know, of course you still have to follow up with them and continue to communicate with them. But I would say the first priority is the people who are like, yeah, let’s see what we can do.
Juan: [07:44] And this is where your people skills really kick in. You are actually reading each conversation to gauge how far along the sales process, so to speak, they are. And then you prioritize based on that from an order from “most likely to purchase right now, essentially like tomorrow” to “this is a conversation that I need to nurture and so it will kind of take a backseat until I’ve knocked out the ones that are ready for tomorrow, for today”. Right? Is that kind of your structure for it?
Jessica: [08:12] Exactly. That is a hundred percent right. And you know, there are certain people who totally get what you’re doing from the get go and they want to work with you and those are the people you’re like, yeah, so we have to seize this opportunity. You have to respond immediately and then there’s some people who, you know, they have to warm up to you a little bit. You have to kind of explain things a little bit more and there’s people who completely are just like, sorry, not right now, but that doesn’t mean you don’t follow up with them.
Following up is really important. Maybe following up in the week or a month, but you know, following up I think is super important.
Juan: [08:39] I love the parallels between what you’re working on now and how journalism works. It seems like the same. I mean you were, you were sending out messages. Some respond right away, some don’t, some respond in a little bit, but there are actually more willing to do an interview or jump on a call sooner rather than later. And so you just kind of you’re constantly re-prioritizing and then now what you’re doing in entrepreneurship? Yeah, it’s a 60/20/20 split, but that’s more like a 60/40 split. It’s 40 percent talking to other people whether it’s selling or working on like expansion, new opportunities and then 60 percent just brainstorming and being kind of introspective in terms of where you want to take the business, but that 40 percent that is related with people, it’s the exact same skill set that you’ve developed from day to day reporting and basically being able to read people. That sounds like it’s your super power in this sense. Would you agree? Is that kind of how you see it or even that, that intentional? Do you realize that about yourself? It seems like a super interesting way to tackle it. You’re doing the same thing that you were doing before now applied into a new industry, but it’s the same skill set.
Jessica: [09:41] Yeah, it is really funny because back then when I was a reporter, I never thought some of these day to day skills are really transferable, but I do think as a reporter and doing that, your mentality changes when you’re in this environment and you know, now that I’m an entrepreneur, it is very interesting to kind of see how much of the skill sets is like really valuable to being an entrepreneur.
Juan: [10:06] Definitely and especially I love hearing different perspectives from people that are crushing it because they always arrive at that level of excellence from different paths and
I love seeing that really any strength is a superpower if you just run with it.
But people are so obsessed with like thinking about their weaknesses and what they’re lacking and it’s like, Oh, Jessica does that. Now we need to take a course on how I can be better at that thing instead of being like, Oh, Jessica does that. I think that’s something that I do, now let me be more intentional about that strength that I already have because this is a person that looks like me, that has my same skill set and she was able to take it all the way to as far as you got professionally even being awarded an Emmy, even working with ABC News even all the way to the end zone and it’s like, yeah, off the skill set of being a counter puncher, being able to read people and understanding how to prioritize my time and any of us that are listening that kind of identify with that, that’s, it’s more a call to action to double down on the skills that you do have. If they are this, then realizing, oh, I don’t have that. Oh, I should take a class on it. Oh, I’m missing all of these things and it’s so cool jumping on these conversations and hearing different people that have totally different ways of approaching time and still got so far and it’s just about resonating with those stories.
Jessica: [11:21] Yeah. No, I totally agree. I think for me, I know my strengths and I know what my weaknesses are and I think it’s really just what I know I’m good at, really just focusing on that and whatever I can’t do, you know, reach out to people who can teach you, but you know, with any industry, whether you want to stay in your industry or you want to change industries:
There is something that you’re great at. Figure what that is. Figure out what that is and just run with it.
Juan: [11:49]I love it. Jessica, people that want to stay in touch with you, they want to follow up on your career. Where’s the best place for them to learn that?
Jessica: [11:55] You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn. I also have an Instagram page. Both of those you can find me at Jessica Chen Page, so very easy to remember. Jessica Chen Page and my website is www.soulcastmedia.com.
Juan: [12:10] Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us.