01:51 – The concept of flow
03:04 – The most profitable business model
05:40 – The idea of The X Journal
12:13 – Buried jewels
14:10 – When you’re over-ambitious
17:26 – The wrong type of work
20:41 – THIS is critical
25:15 – 4 amazing interview questions
28:50 – When your cup is full
36:05 – Focus on one task
37:34 – 21 tactics
Catch other world-class business experts in person at this year’s SuperFastBusiness Live
James: Our next guest is a contrarian. He’s a movie buff. He is a highly intelligent person. He’s memorized every single person at this event’s name. Seriously, he can do that. He’s one of the smartest people in Australia according to the IQ test. His whole job was helping students pass exams. But today, he’s going to help you be more productive with some counterintuitive productivity tips. Please welcome Dan Dobos.
James: Thank you.
Dan: Thanks, James. I don’t know anyone’s names.
Alright. So, the biggest wave surfed prior to 1996 was seven and a half metres.
But around 1996, something interesting happens, and from then on, people started surfing much bigger waves. So today, the biggest wave is around 30 metres.
The biggest gap, which was jumped prior to 1990 was around 12 metres.
And then at around after 1990, something interesting happened.
People started jumping a lot bigger gaps.
And today, the biggest gap is about 70 metres.
The interesting thing that happened was that this concept of flow was discovered.
Basically, it allowed elite athletes to really get into the zone and to take things to a much, much higher level. The interesting thing is that it’s not just something that athletes can use. It’s something that you can use when you are working in your business. So what caused this difference? It’s all about flow.
What is flow?
So what does flow really mean? Some characteristics of flow is that you’re only doing one thing.
You’re totally absorbed in it.
You forget yourself doing it.
Time distorts. So you might be working for 3 hours and it only feels like 15 minutes. Or we’ve had cases of mountain climbers who are falling and time just slowed down. They manage to quickly catch a rope. So time totally distorts.
You have this state of relaxed concentration.
“If you’re too relaxed, it’s not going to work.”
So if you’re too relaxed, for example, if you’re juggling, you’re too relaxed, it’s not going to work. But if you’re too focused, too tensed, that’s not going to work either. So it’s a state of relaxed concentration. This is the state you want to be when you’re producing your best work.
You’re at the edge of your comfort zone.
It’s deeply fulfilling.
And most importantly, you’re making the best possible decisions. So this is the state that we want to work in to be productive. But unfortunately, there are lots of things that get in the way of us being in that state. And that’s what we’re going to look at today.
7 things that kill flow
We’re going to look at the seven things that kill flow and that stop us from actually getting into that state.
We’re also going to look at what you can do to really avoid those seven things and really to make sure that you can spend as much as possible of your time in that state.
1 – The most profitable business model
So first thing here to look at is the most profitable business model.
So before we just get into that, here are some interesting things:
How often do you think you check your phone in a day?
Well, we don’t want to think about it, but the average person, it’s 150 times.
I think there are many people here who are above average. So it’s probably a lot more.
This is how we walk today.
This is how we eat.
This is how we rest.
This is how we sleep.
The most profitable business, I know James would like me to say it’s a subscription business, maybe someone else would like me to say it’s a high-priced coaching business, but the most profitable business is actually the distraction business.
“The most profitable business is the distraction business.”
If you look at Facebook, as great as Facebook can be, Facebook is actually scientifically designed to create nervous energy in you so that while you’re not on
Facebook, you’re actually thinking, ‘I should be checking Facebook.’ And they’re very good at it. It’s very hard. I’m not sure if you’ve ever joined a group and ever tried to unsubscribe from a group in Facebook. You like, click the cross button and they say, “OK you’re now only..” every highlight and then you click it again, and it’s now only every second highlight. So they’re very good at distracting you. That’s what they do.
There are thousands of people at Facebook who are just thinking about ‘How can we distract you?’ What can we do to get you to spend more time on Facebook because the more time you spend on Facebook, the more ads you’re going to click on, the more money they make.
So you’re not the customer when you’re consuming Facebook. You’re the product. The customer is the advertiser. So if you’re advertising on Facebook, you are the customer.
This comes at a price.
So when we’re consuming…
we’re not producing.
When we’re being reactive to things…
we are not being proactive.
When we’re responding to other people’s priorities…
we’re not working on our own priorities.
When we are object-oriented like we’re responding to our computer or iPhone…
we’re not being self-directed.
So we really got to think about this because it’s easy to go on a webinar, but it’s a lot harder to actually say, “I’m going to run my own webinar.” It’s easy to read a book, read an article. It’s a lot harder to create the article. It’s easy to read the news, it’s a lot harder to actually send something to a PR wanting to actually make the news.
One thing which I’ve started doing, and I’m going to create a product out of this, but I actually can’t think of the name, so I’ve just called it The X Journal.
This is something that’s really, really helped me to really stop the flood of information coming in and to really start to do things that are just more self-directed, that are more productive.
It’s based on the idea that the answers to your biggest challenges are not something that you’re going to find in a book, they’re not something that you’re going to find in a seminar.
There’s no seminar presenter, there’s no author that knows you as well as you. And you possess a unique intelligence about your own specific situation that no one else really understands. So the real answers have to come from you.
So what this idea is about is it’s about when you do some work, when you work hard, when you do something, you can give what you have.
“When you work hard, you can give what you have.”
All your experiences. And you can do that.
But it’s only when you stop and you actually think…
that you can actually obtain what you deserve and actually take it to the next level.
The idea behind this is that every day, what I really encourage you to do is to think about what happened yesterday and just write down your wins. Now they might not be massive wins. They might just be small wins. But write down all of your wins.
Then the other thing that I’ve recently also figured out after doing this, I’ve been doing this for about six months, only the last couple of months I’ve really figured this out, is not just to write down my wins but to actually write down my team’s wins. One of the things I’ve realized from managing people, something which I think a lot of people find quite challenging, is if there’s someone who you’re working with and they do something that’s not right, the obvious thing for everyone to do is to say, “Well, no, You did this wrong. Here’s how you should have done it.”
I’ve actually done quite a few studies into this, and I’ve actually found that that doesn’t do anything. If you say to someone, “This is what you did. It was wrong. Here’s what you should do instead,” people find that hard to do. Whereas instead what you should be doing is that whenever they do something right, you should just be trying to acknowledge that. The only way that people really learn is through positive reinforcement. When you go, “Yup. That was really good.” They just do more of the stuff that’s good.
So actually writing your team’s win. So it’s in your mind. It’s something that you’re going to actually reinforce. And then insights. Always some basic insights. So this should only take five minutes a day.
Now the interesting thing that happens, it’s not the daily process that’s the really interesting thing. That can be useful but you do it every day. You do it Tuesday, you do it Wednesday, you do it Thursday, you do it Friday. And then something really interesting happens, which is once a week, what I then do is I go through this and I write down the wins for the week.
So I actually just rewrite everything down, just rewrite the wins. What this does is it just brings out incredible ideas, I find. What often happens is you might have a win and then that’s a win, that’s good, but nothing really happens with it. Just sort of gets forgotten. So what it does is it takes these wins and it goes, OK, what’s the next action? How am I going to move this forward? Maybe I shouldn’t move it forward. Maybe I should’ve just left it there.
The other thing is sometimes you have days where you just don’t have any wins. And you just go why don’t I have wins? What’s happening here? So I found that this process has done some amazing things for me. It’s really made me realize, have I just been responding to things? Am I just replying to emails? Am I just wasting my time? There was no wins there. What’s actually happening here?
Another thing also that’s interesting that happens is that the biggest wins that you actually experience are not related to something you do on a particular day. One of the things that came out of it is that something that you actually started a few months ago and a few things came together and you realize that sometimes we’re just really short-term focused and we’re just looking at each day and actually there’s a much bigger picture.
Another interesting experience related to this, it’s actually a pretty full-on experience. A few years ago, a couple of friends of mine, they said, “Look, we’re going to go on this road trip.” They said, “Look, come over. Let’s do this all together.” I said, “No. You know what, I’ll actually just fly.” Tragically, there was a car accident. Two of them I didn’t actually know that well but sadly, they actually died. Two of my other friends actually were in a hospital for three or six months. It was a really, really full-on thing.
After that happened, I really actually became very conscious of just driving and what sort of happens on the road. I remember it was about a year after this accident happened, it was like a Sunday afternoon, there was nothing really pressing, nothing really urgent. I just sort of noticed that I was actually checking my email in the car. I just sort of like, ‘What’s happening to me? Why am I checking my email on a Sunday afternoon in the car? This is just craziness.’ There’s nothing in me that wants to do that. It’s just that I’ve somehow become sort of addicted to this process. And I just thought, ‘This is just silly.’ I actually got quite upset with myself. It’s quite funny actually, getting upset with yourself. But it was just staggering that I just thought like there’s no intention, but I’m actually doing this.
So what I decided to do is I said, “Look, what I’m going to do is I’m going to, for 24 hours, I’m going to delete it.” I’m going to actually delete the app. So the first thing I did was I deleted Facebook. I just deleted it for 24 hours.
I thought like, ‘Worst thing that happens is life is really bad. I can reinstall it.’ It was fine. It was just no issue. I thought, ‘Alright, that worked out OK. So I’ll do another 24-hour experiment, and I’ll delete Gmail from my phone.’
What it did is it just means that it made me realize that there’s a real opportunity cost when you are just checking things.
Your mind is distracted and it was just a freeing of my mind. I can’t tell you like, I really just encourage you to try it for 24 hours and just see what happens. Now when you’re traveling, you may wish to put it back on. Sometimes, maybe once a month, I’ll go, “You know what, I’m on the train now. I’ve got nothing to do. I’ll reinstall Gmail and then I’ll delete it afterwards.”
But having the default position as deleted, and I’ve actually got to do something, I’ve got to actually spend some energy to actually then intentionally distract myself, I think is a much better position to be. So I really encourage you to just try it. Try it for 24 hours, see what happens.
2 – Buried jewels
Number two is this concept of buried jewels. I really got this from an amazing book, which I encourage you to all check out.
It’s called Big Magic. Incredible book by Elizabeth Gilbert.
One of the things that is sort of the themes from this book is that if you’re in this situation where there’s a bit of friction and you feel like you’re working hard but you’re not quite getting the results you feel you deserve, sometimes you’re actually just doing the wrong work. Sometimes the work that you’re doing isn’t the right work that is going to bring you the results that you want to get.
One of the lines, one of my favorite lines from this book is what she says is she says, “The universe buries strange jewels deep within our soul.
And then stands back to see if we can find them.”
I think a lot of people here probably have something, which you know that you could be doing, but there’s a bit of a risk to actually go and pursue it.
An interesting thing that she talks about is how if you want to be creative, you want to do something new, there’s usually, with every pace of creativity, there’s usually the same amount of fear because it’s something new.
What she says though is that if you want to actually get to that point where you’re doing the thing that’s unique to you, where you’re exercising your highest power, doing the thing that matters most is you really need to think about that and you really need to think, ‘What is that thing?’ and actually make it happen, even if it’s only an hour or two a day to do that.
Three prerequisites for flow
If you look at three pre-requisites for flow, it’s similar to what James has said before, do I love it? Does this matter? Am I good at it?
Those are the three things you have to have to get into flow. If you don’t have those things to begin with, you’re not going to get into flow in the first place.
The fourth one, which I’d add to that, is, is our business model behind it? So you want to make sure that there is an actual, sustainable model behind that.
3 – Over ambition
Number three is this concept of over ambition. The whole idea here is that a lot of the time, we’re just trying to do too much. We are trying to get too much done, and as a result, we’re not actually doing anything that really matters.
So Warren Buffett had this story where what he did is he was helping this guy with his career goals.
So what he said to this guy is he says, “What I want you to do is I want you to write down your top 25 goals.” And so this guy, he wrote down his top 25 goals.
And then he says, “OK. Now what I want you to do is I want you to isolate the top five goals.
So out of all the 25 things that you’ve written down, what are the five most important things? So he writes down the five most important things, and then Buffett says, “OK great. So you now got two lists. So you’ve got your top five goals, and you’ve got your other 20 goals.”
And he says, “OK. So now what do you think you should do?” And this guy says, “Well, I guess I’ll definitely focus on the top five goals, and from time to time, I’ll spend some time on the other 20 goals.” And Buffett says, “No. That’s totally wrong.” He says, “Those other 20 goals, that’s your avoid-at-all-costs list. Whatever’s on that list, you have to make sure you do not touch.” He goes, “This is what’s going to distract you. These are going to be your temptations. These are going to be the things that stop you from achieving your top five goals.” It’s a really interesting idea. I think what a lot of the time we miss is that there’s a big opportunity cost. If you’re spending time on list B, if you’re spending time on your other 20 goals, that’s time you’re taking away from the top five goals.
Derek Sivers, he created a company called CDBaby, which he sold, and he’s got a really interesting question.
His question is either hell yeah or no. OK. So if someone asks him, “Do you want to take up a speaking engagement?” It’s either hell yeah,
which he interestingly describes as “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!”
If you want to hire someone, are they absolutely amazing incredible or no? So be tough with yourself. ‘A lot of the time ago, oh yeah, maybe they could be something interesting.’ No. There’s a big opportunity cost to doing something that’s not related to those top five goals. It means that you’re not doing the things that are the most important.
So what’s the most valuable use of your time? If you think about this question, it’s actually quite a difficult question. What’s the most valuable use of your time? Really, what I think the answer to this question is it’s to focus your energy on the one thing that will move your business forward. That’s the most valuable use of your time because if you’re spending out energy on other things, then that’s stopping you from achieving the most important thing.
That’s over ambition. We get ambitious, we try and do so much, and as a result, we don’t actually achieve the number one thing. So we get into that trap of not really appreciating the opportunity cost.
4 – Wrong type of work
Number four is the wrong type of work. So let’s assume you figured out, this is the most important priority, and you’re focusing on that important priority. The problem is sometimes the way that people approach that can be a problem.
Look at poker. So if you look at a professional poker player, and you were to ask a professional poker player, “What is the most important skill to being a professional poker table?”
Some people will say, “It’s your ability to read people’s body language.” Other people will say, “No, no, no. It’s counting cards.” It turns out it’s neither of those two things. The most important skill is choosing the right table because if you go to a table with lots of poker sharks, it’s going to be hard. You’re probably going to lose.
“The most important skill is choosing the right table.”
Whereas if you go to a table where everyone is hopeless, even if you are not that good, you’re going to crush it. So the most important thing is showing up at the right table. And it’s the same when you’re in your business. The most important thing before you even do the work, it’s choosing which work it is that you’re going to do.
So for example if we look at sales, all the time we think, ‘We’ve got to make sales. We’ve got to make sales.’ So it’s like, ‘Where can I get my next sale? I’ve got to go and get my next sale.’ Now that’s the wrong question.
A much better question is to say, “Well, how can I improve my selling system?’
What’s the difference?
The difference is leverage. The difference is you’re asking a question that is producing leverage. You’re asking a question that’s building systems that’s creating something that’s operating without you.
Another example, actually an interesting way of looking at this is Basecamp. Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, the guy who created the company, he had this really interesting tweet.
And what he says, he says, “Working more than 40 hours a week doesn’t mean you’re working hard. It just means you are working more than 40 hours a week.”
I thought it was very clever because it’s a lot easier to work hard. It’s a lot easier to spend more than 40 hours a week. It’s a lot harder to actually say, “What am I going to do in those 40 hours that are really going to have the biggest impact?”
So instead of telling everyone I’m working so hard, I’m working so hard, actually think about what does working hard mean. To me, working hard means that you are actually working intensely. You may only be working for 40 hours, but you are working intensely and you are doing the hard things as opposed to spending lots and lots of hours doing things that don’t really matter.
How can I produce great work?
Well, instead of saying how can I produce great work? which is a good question to ask, how can I build a system which over delivers?
What’s the difference?
Again, it’s all leverage.
Some questions to think about is what are different offers that I can test? How can I improve my conversion rate at each stage of the funnel?
So these are questions which involve leverage. These are questions which are going to build your business. How can I help my team come up with more ideas? How can I improve the culture?
So have a think about some leverage questions. Have a think about questions that are really going to move your business forward. So that was the wrong type of work.
5 – Wrong team
The next thing is the wrong team. So the team is critical because if you don’t have the right team, you’re going to end up doing everything, and you’re not going to end up doing the most important work.
So let’s look at conversion rate optimization. Let’s just say you want to hire someone who can help you grow your business. Now a lot of people say, “Well you know, look this person, he looks good, he’s a capable person.” What I found is that when I started in business, I initially hired people. I think a lot of people have done this as well, where you might say, “Go to the Philippines,” or “You might hire an admin person in Australia full time,” and when you do that, the primary thing that you’re looking for is you’re looking for, is this a good person, someone I can rely on, is this someone I can trust. Attitude does matter. But what I found as you start to hire more senior people, as you start to hire people where their results really matter, where you’re really trusting them to do really, really important things, attitude still is important but you need a lot more than attitude.
So I was hiring someone for conversion rate optimization. I basically said to someone, I said, “Look, can you give me an example of something you’ve done in the past? Can you show me the before and can you show me the after?” A couple of people who I spoke to, they said, “Well, the client won’t really release the pages. I can tell you what I can do. Here’s some ideas for your page.” They sounded like very capable, they sounded like very smart people. But I decided, no I’m not going to do that. I want to see a before and after. And then I got to one guy and he said, “Yup. Here’s my before.” He gave me the exact percentages. It was doing for example 5.3%. “Here’s my after.” It was doing 8.9%. “Oh and by the way, here’s why it improved.” “Here’s another example. Here’s the before, here’s the after.” This guy turned out to be unbelievable. He improved our conversion rate. It was from something like 6% to about 15%.
Being actually tough and really insisting that the people you hire are able to show you a before, this is a scenario, this is where it was before, and here’s an after, I found, has been a really, really valuable thing in terms of really making sure that we’re hiring the right type of person.
So ask them about their weight loss infomercial test. So think of a weight loss infomercial. There’s the before…
And there’s the after.
So can they show you something like that with their work? If they can’t show you something like that, ideally with numbers, if they can’t show you something like that, then keep looking.
Use that same Derek Sivers question. It’s either hell yes, they’ve done this, they’re amazing, absolutely. Imagine if they did that in my business, or no, or keep looking. Being patient and just holding out for that really, really good person is absolutely worth it.
OK now, for full-time staff, what I found is that that’s not enough because, with full-time staff, there’s a big commitment. When you’re working with someone, especially if you’re working in the same office, you’ve really got to think about who the person is. I’ve worked with a number of very interesting people over the years. One of the things that I really come to really appreciate that really matters is it’s who they are as a person. It’s their ability to really not just get on with people, but it’s really their ability to be committed and to be able to work well with you.
Recently, I had an experience where I was working with someone who was quite emotional. It really made it hard. It really made it hard to really get things done. I found myself like I’m usually pretty calm and I was like screaming and I was like, what have I become?
As a result of this experience, what I did is I came up with four questions, which I now use. I’ve had some unbelievable experiences with this.
So this is what I do. I do an interview and you do all the basic, give me an example of this, and when you’re in this job, tell me how you did that. So you go through all the basic skills like you do with every interview. Topgrading is a really good book to ask all the standard interview questions. You’re wanting to make sure that they’ve got those skills. So you do the skill stuff. Going through the interview, you’ve done 40 or 50 minutes of interview, and then I ask them these four questions.
What makes you angry?
So the first question, what makes you angry? Now, most people have never been asked this question. I’ve had some really, really interesting answers. I had one person who said to me, he says, “Sometimes I give someone a task to do.” And this was like a management-type position. “I give someone a task to do. They know that it needs to be done in a week’s time. Then they don’t do it. They don’t even tell me. That frustrates me.” I was just thinking, ‘You idiot.’ You should be managing the person. You should be understanding their situation. You’re just getting frustrated. Not the type of person I want.
Other people have said things like, “When people lie.” What that sort of question really gets at is people are really raw. I’ve never been asked that type of question. It’s like, you really get an honest response.
What makes you happy?
The next question I ask them is what makes you happy? Now, this is a bit of a red herring question. There’s really no point to this question. It’s no value to you. The only reason you ask this question is you make them think that you’re not going to ask them another tough question. So you get them to relax for a little bit before you hit them with the next one. We don’t really care what they say to this question.
Most people always say, “It’s just results. Success makes me happy.” It’s a stupid question.
What are you grateful for?
Question three then. What are you grateful for? I have one person saying “I’m grateful for my possessions. Oh no no, it’s my health.”
So it’s a question where again most people don’t ask it in an interview. People respond with really interesting answers. People respond with honest answers and you get a sense for who they are as a person.
Who do you respect?
And then the last question I ask is who do you respect? And again, this is a tough question. Most people haven’t thought about the answer to this question. I’ve had some incredible answers to this. I had one guy who actually worked, you may have heard of the motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, this guy actually employed Nick Vujicic’s dad when he was a security guard. His dad couldn’t actually afford a hall to help his son start his motivational speaking career. This guy actually helped Nick Vujicic’s dad actually set up a hall and he said, “I really respect someone who’s working 12 hours a day and trying to help his son who had this difficult condition.” You get some really interesting stories, and when people start to tell you stories when people start to tell you who they really are, you really start to understand, is this the person who I really want to work with? Or is this someone where I know it’s not hell yeah, it’s just let’s keep looking.
So number 5 is the wrong team.
6 – The cup is full
Number six is the cup is full. Really, what this is about is it’s this idea that a lot of the time, our heads are just too full of stuff. We’ve just got too much stuff in our head. We’ve got too many thoughts. It’s based on this idea that there was once this young kid and he wanted to learn all the ways of the world.
So he spent all this time, he went up this mountain three days three nights, went to this master and said, “Master, teach me the ways of the world,” and he said, “I can’t teach you.” He says, “What do you mean? I’ve come all this way.” And the master says, “Your cup is full. If I was to pour water in your cup, it would go around the edges of the cup, and your cup is full.” So he says, “You need to go back down to the village, empty your cup, empty your thoughts and only then can you actually learn something.”
It’s the same when we actually start working ourselves. If our cup is full, if our thoughts are full, if our head is full, it’s going to be hard to produce anything of any real substance.
I often get this question, where someone’s done something bad.
Should I get angry? There’s a really interesting book called “Wherever You Go, There You Are.”
Phenomenal book. I really encourage you to actually specifically go…
There’s a chapter on cat food. I just want to tell you very briefly about this chapter. But I really encourage you to read that chapter. What it’s about is it’s this guy who’s a husband, father, and he is at the sink and he sees cat food in the sink, and this makes him furious. He hates cat food, he gets upset, he screams at his wife, he screams at his daughter. And he says, “How dare they leave cat food at the sink. They know that it really upsets me.”
Then he realizes that you know what, after some time, it’s not the cat food so much that upsets him. It’s the fact that they don’t respect him. And really what the cat food was, it was the trigger that caused him to think they’re not really thinking about him, they’re just leaving it there, they don’t respect him.
And then he comes to realize, you know what, do they really not respect me? Actually, my wife, she does all these great things. She says it’s slightly different philosophy.
It’s just a really interesting story about how someone who goes from a point of such intense anger, ‘how dare they leave the cat food,’ to actually reconsidering the whole situation and realizing that everyone just had a slightly different philosophy and a slightly different way of doing things.
After some time, he came to this conclusion, which to put it in slightly different words…
Often anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. It’s interesting that when you get angry, you often cause more damage to yourself than to anything else.
There are a number of ways with dealing with anger. Sometimes, when I get really, really angry, something interesting happens, and that is that instead of screaming at people, I actually get really quiet and it actually really focuses my energy, and I actually really isolate what it is that I’m really upset about. It’s actually an incredibly strong motivator. So slightly different way to think about anger.
But the basic idea here is that whether it’s anger, or it may not even be anger, if something negative happens, maybe the opposite, maybe amazing success…
It may be that you’ve just achieved something and you’re thinking, ‘Yes, I’m awesome. Fantastic. This has worked really well.’ Or it may have been failure. It may have been, you worked really hard at something and you’re feeling, ‘Oh my goodness. This has been a disaster.’ In each of these situations, we often overreact.
What I’ve sort of come to realize is that nothing is ever as good as we think it is. We might have this amazing success. ‘I’m fantastic. I’m awesome. Amazing.’ And similarly, nothing is as bad as we think it is.
An interesting quick story, I was doing a seminar and at this seminar, there was a massive traffic jam. So what actually happened was that both myself and the two seminar assistants were actually late to our own seminar. Imagine if you were late to your own seminar. So there were people in the room. There was like 40, 50, 60 people in the room of the seminar and we were arriving late at the seminar. I was thinking this is going to be an absolute disaster. What could be more humiliating than coming in the room?
So anyways, we get in the room. I got there before anyone else and I go in, and I thought, I’ve just got to start the seminar. So I just, “Hi,” Get going. Now strange thing that happened from that seminar was, I didn’t have any slides because no one had come and set it up, strange thing that happened from that seminar was I actually got, not the highest, but one of the highest conversion rates that I’ve ever had at any seminar.
The reason why that happened, it was really interesting, was because I didn’t have the slides, what happened was, and this is something now that I actually started to do, something that I did, if you imagine there’s no slides here, so now all the attention is on me.
What it actually did was because there was less attention on the slides, there was more focus on me. And as a result, there was something that actually got people to relate more to me. Whereas if you used the slides, you’re just going, it’s just a slide, it’s just a slide. Then you’ve got no authority.
So one of the things that I actually learned from that is whenever I’m presenting, I try as much as possible to actually make the slides black at certain times, there’s actually more attention on the actual person. So the point is, (if we could go back just to the slides, thanks), that nothing is ever as bad as it is.
Like I could have thought that was an absolute disaster. But in the end, there was a valuable lesson, there was a great conversion rate. So the thing is, it just is what it is.
It’s very hard. Like we never actually see things as they are. We all have our filters. We all have our screens.
But what I’ve always tried to do is instead of spending energy commentating on the situation, saying, “Oh it’s good, it’s bad, it’s horrible, it’s amazing.” Just to try and spend that energy moving forward.
And really, this is work. If you go to the gym, that is work.
You’ve got to go to the gym, you build your muscles, you feel good, that is work. To get to that state where you don’t have a cup that’s always full of thoughts, to get to a state where you don’t react to things instantly but you process it and then you choose to respond, I found that’s work. And you actually have to practice some form of mindfulness. What you choose to do is up to you. It may be just going for a run, it may be surfing, it may be juggling, it may be some form of meditation. But for me, that’s been incredibly valuable to clear the mind and really be able to get into the work.
7 – Brother and sister task
Number seven is brother and sister task. This is just a really practical thing. If you are writing and then you start writing and then you think, ‘Oh I’ve made a mistake.’ And then you start editing. It’s like having a car engine and pouring sand in the engine. It stops all the creative process. If you are planning something, you’re coming up with a strategy…
I’ll just quickly go and do this thing. Then doing the work is not what you should be doing. If you’re being creative, ‘I’m going to just quickly analyze this thing.’ So you really want to try and keep these things separate. When you’re creative, don’t be analytical. When you are planning the work, just plan the work and don’t do the work.
When you’re writing, don’t do any editing. Save those processes for later. Just think about when you’re doing a type of task, what type of task is it? Is it a creative, expressive type task? Don’t put any analytical type task in there. Just focus on one type of task at the same time.
Killer app for creative tasks is not an app.
It’s just a pen and paper. It’s amazing how I think we just get deluded by, ‘Oh, there’s this amazing new app and it’s going to do 17,000 things for me.’ Pen and paper. I don’t how this just gets forgotten. Just going in a cafe with a pen and paper, nothing else, it’s unbelievable. What can actually happen?
So let’s look at 21 tactics. Because those are seven of the big picture ideas. Let’s look at some specific things as well.
21 – Momentum dash
Number 21, we’re actually going to go up. So this is something called momentum dash. I think, James, we can send everyone the links to all of these. But it’s basically a Chrome extension. Whenever you open a tab in Chrome, you see a beautiful photo and it just adds a little bit of extra color to your day. So I thought I’d show you that.
20 – Authenticator
Number 20, Authenticator. Almost every password has been hacked into. So I really, really recommend that you get this for your most important online account. So your Gmail account, maybe if you’re doing any development, a GitHub account, maybe your Dropbox account. And what this does is after you put in your password, you also put in a code.
So when your account gets hacked into, which inevitably will happen, you’ll just put in one of these codes and it’s going to be a lot harder for the hackers to actually get into your stuff. So definitely worth checking out.
19 – Split at selected tab
Number 19 is something which I use every day. It’s a Chrome extension. It’s called split at selected tab. What it is, let’s say you’ve got two tabs next to each other and you think, wouldn’t it be great if I could see these two tabs side by side. Wouldn’t it be good if I could just press one button and do that? That’s what this does.
You just press one button and then bang. They’re side by side. It’s absolutely awesome. So check that out.
Common text. A lot of the time, you might be just writing stuff whenever you’re outsourcing. You might have the same sort of thing. You write all the time. So you could write that every single time, which would be really annoying, or you could just write one word like oskype for example, and it will then replace oskype with all of that text.
18A – PhraseExpress
So if you’re using a PC, PhraseExpress is a great one to use.
18B – TextExpander / aText
If you’re using Mac, you can get TextExpander or now something called aText, which is only $5. So you should definitely be using that.
17 – Multiple clipboards
Multiple clipboards. Again something I use every single day. A lot of the time, you’re pressing copy and you copy, copy, you’re copying all this different stuff.
And so in the clipboard, you’ve got all of this stuff in the clipboard. Now sometimes it’s really useful to get something which you copied three minutes ago and there’s lots of different apps you can get. But I really recommend you do that. Saves a lot of time.
16 – Zapier
Number 16 is Zapier. The thing about today is that apps are getting more and more specialized. What Zapier does is it allows you to have all your apps to come and speak to each other. So it’s something that everyone should know about to really make everything come together and sing together.
15 – WorkFlowy
Number 15, WorkFlowy. I really like this one. I use this often for planning.
It’s really just a way of outlining and you can hide, and you can get focused on one thing. So check out WorkFlowy. Really useful free tool.
14 – Soundproof headphones
I cannot tell you how amazing this has been for me to just sort of isolate myself. I often like to have one song, which I put on repeat. Just as a way of really focusing on one thing. So I just choose a song. It sort of helps me get into the zone.
13 – AdBlock
I’m just shocked by how many people watch YouTube and they actually watch the ads at the start.
I don’t know why anyone would do that. Just get AdBlock so you never watch an ad at the start of a YouTube video. I just see people doing that all the time. It just shocks me. So get AdBlock. It’s a Chrome extension.
12 – FUT.IO
Next one, follow up then. What you can do with this is really cool.
Say someone sends you an email and you think, it would be great if I was reminded about this in three days.
So you just send an email to 3days@followupthen or fut.io, and it actually sends you back the email in three days. I probably use that every day as well.
Works on all platforms as well. It doesn’t matter what email or device you’re using, or [email protected].
Last time I checked, it was totally free as well. So super useful too.
A lot of the time, we’ll get distracted by all these things. So even if you’re distracted, even if you check your email, for me this is a saving grace because you can just get rid of it and let me know at typically in the afternoon, I’ll find it’s a lot better if we’re dealing with less productive things. So that’s good as well.
11 – Do Note / Do Photo
Now, this is a really good one. It’s called Do Note and Do Photo. If you’re on the phone and you want to sort of write a note and you want to put it in a different app, so what you can do with this is, this is Simplenote, which I really like as a lightweight note editor, so what you do is with Simplenote, you basically just..
they have a send on Simplenote.
You then have Do Note as sort of like an outward extension here. So you click on Do Note and then what it does is it connects you to all the different apps you want.
So for example in this case, what I did is whenever I thought of an idea, say for this presentation, I would send that to an Evernote note. So what it would do is it would send all those notes to an Evernote note and then the Evernote note would have like a list of all those notes. And you can use it with Google docs as well. So it’s just a really good way of connecting note-taking apps all on your phone.
And they have the same thing for photos.
So let’s just say you take a photo and you want to say send that to a to-do app for example. It’s really awesome.
10 – Better browser
This is a really cool one. Something I was shocked at.
I didn’t know. You know when you’re on Google you see 10 results? And then you’ve got to press the next button. So that’s kind of annoying. So wouldn’t it be good if instead of doing that, you just scroll down, you’ll see that it says, ‘Loading’ for about one second, and then it just goes to the next page. So you never actually have to press the next button. So it’s just called better browser. I don’t know why Google doesn’t just do that.
9 – Leadmachine
Next thing is, look I put LeadMachine. This is my business. But really make sure that you’re using a CRM or marketing automation system. Make sure that you are creating systems so that you’re doing something once and it works for you over and over and over again.
8 – Speed things up
OK next thing. We’re now going to play an audio. So hopefully this will work.
[Audio: It is we who teach our children to live their life looking outward by spending our time and energy on our own looks and acquisitions.]
So I think everyone could understand that. That was a bit random but I think we could all understand that. There was no issues understanding that.
Now, that was actually played at 1.5x speed. So now, I want you to actually listen to this. This is actually at 1.0.
[Audio: It is we who teach our children to live their life looking outward by spending our time and energy on our own looks and acquisitions.]
So sorry to do that. It was really, obviously annoying having to listen to it again. But the whole point was just to show you the difference that whenever you listen to audio, everyone can listen to it at 1.5.
So whenever you’re listening to audio, if it’s a YouTube video, you can use Enounce and you can increase the speed to 1.5, and you’re not going to notice a single thing. If you’re on your phone, you can use Swiff player. With Audible, you can change it to 1.5 and similarly with podcasts. 1.5, you should not notice any difference at all. Once you start doing this a little bit, you actually find that you start going to 2 and sometimes even 2.5. So check that out.
7 – Slack
Slack, as James has mentioned many times, Slack changes everything. It just means all your notifications are in one place. The great thing about Slack, which I don’t think gets mentioned enough is when you actually connect it to other apps. It’s when you can actually get notifications from what’s happening in all your other apps and they actually appear in a certain channel in Slack. That’s when things start to become really, really interesting. I’ll just give you a couple of quick examples.
6 – Slack plugin: LMBOT
So for example, say with LeadMachine, if you want to find a contact…
Bang! You’ve got a contact just be pressing a few things.
5 – Statsbot
Another one is Statsbot.
That connects your Google Analytics. This is unbelievable. So for example, every day, you can get in your channel a notification for these are how many people actually visited my website. Did it go up compared to the previous day? You don’t need to login to Google Analytics and see what happened. It all just comes in a Slack channel. So super, super useful tool is Statsbot. Just put it in one of your channels in Slack.
4 – Gmail undo send
This has saved my life at least 100 times. So if you don’t have it enabled, I strongly recommend you do. Just go into the settings, so that whenever you send an email, you can undo it. Super useful.
3 – Daily walk
Number three, I cannot tell you how much a daily walk has been a positive thing in my life because when I go for a walk, what it does is it does like five things at one time. For a start, it’s good exercise. Secondly, you’re getting out of the house, and thirdly, probably the biggest thing is I just get so many ideas when I go for a walk. Now it may not be a walk, it may be a run, it may be some form of exercise, but just doing that every single day has been unbelievable.
2 – Stand up meetings
Number two is some form of standup desk, and if it’s not a standup desk, definitely have your meetings standing up. You’ll be shocked as to how much more you achieve while you’re standing up. No one really wants to be standing up, so you get the meeting over a whole lot faster, and actually having a whiteboard where you can use, write things down, you get things done a lot quicker.
1 – Hot & cold shower
Number one is something which a friend of mine told me only about four weeks ago, and probably half of the room are going to think I’m crazy, the other half of the room have probably actually done this and just think, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ But what it is, is every morning when you have a shower, most people we just have a hot shower, so one of my friends, he taught me was, what you do is have your normal shower, but then you start making it hotter. You make it as hot as you can actually withstand. You have it hot for a while, and steam and it’s really hot, and then turn it off, and you go straight cold. You have a cold shower for a while.
I don’t know if anyone has done this before, but first time you do it, it’s not that fun. First time you do it, you’re thinking, ‘This guy is insane.’ But after you’ve done it, even the first time you do it, it’s like having 15 coffees at once. Like it is an unbelievable energy boost. And the great thing about this is that there’s no opportunity cost because you’re anyway going to have a shower. So it’s just like free energy.
So this idea of having a hot and cold shower, I do this now every day, and I just look forward to it like you don’t understand. So I really, really recommend you check that out.
Alright. So those are the tactics. If anyone has any questions about anything we covered, those are my details. Feel free to email, send me a text. Thanks very much.
James: Thank you, Dan. That was amazing.
CLICK HERE to access other previous SuperFastBusiness Live presentations
Visit our iTunes channel and rate this podcast.