Episode 16 – Charles Byrd
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?
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.