People tend to spend a lot of time on personal stuff and on things that don’t matter. Those spaces occupy our time but don’t make us do anything productive. In this episode, Ken Courtright talks about those dark spaces and sacred cows that don’t just waste your time but also drains your energy. Asking the big question, “What are you doing in your business that is an absolute time suck?” he shares some tips on what you can do to push yourself to get right into work and be more productive.
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I’m prepping all the talks, thinking about the last Digital Footprint, what went great, what we could improve on? I was reminded since this episode and every episode leading up to Digital Footprint is sponsored by Digital Footprint. I always try to think of what other little nuggets can I talk about Digital Footprint. I forgot one of the bigger ones and that is, we have a cool app that we built called The Next Step Tool. I mentioned it in the last podcast and it’s incredible. You put a website in. It tells you what’s broken, what you need to write on, what your competition is doing, and where your competition is kicking your butt. It tells you exactly what to do to beat your competition.
We sell that app for $8,500. We give it away with our bigger sites, more than $300,000 and it’s cool. We did a little demo of the tool. We put it on the screen, showed everybody what it does, that was Friday morning, and we said, “We’re making a contest and we’re going to give away an iPad. A brand-new iPad with this app embedded on it to whoever can go through this weekend and find the most Digital Footprints or in other words, the most things from stage that they could replicate in their own business.” To say it differently, I wanted them to look in three days through 25 speakers. What did some of these speakers say that they could go home for free and apply in their business to grow their business?
What was said from the stage that was completely duplicatable, completely replicable, didn’t cost anything, didn’t have to buy anything, but could be applied? There were so many people tracking their spiral notebooks with little nuggets they could take home that there were three ladies left. One lady found 180 things that could be duplicated, one was 190 and the winner had 218 that were verified by speakers and our panel. Every one of those things could be duplicated. For Digital Footprint, if you haven’t got your $200 ticket, you might want to consider it. I remember back in the day, I was mentored by a gentleman and he got in my space a little bit, and he said, “What do you think your sacred cow is?”
I said, “What do you mean my sacred cow?” He goes, “What in your personal life do you spend a lot of time on that doesn’t help your business, doesn’t help your family. It’s a complete waste of time, you know it. It’s great for downtime. It’s not a negative.” I’m like, “I don’t know. Give me some examples.” He goes, “Do you fish every day? Do you watch TV every day? Do you do this?” I’m like, “I watch TV.” He challenged me to add up the time that I spend watching TV and to see if I could carve out a percentage of it or even the whole thing. We were talking and he goes, “As much as there are time sucks, there are energy sucks.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He’s like, “How much time do you think about X? How much time do you spend strategizing or tightening your to-do list? Little things that don’t have to be done, but they take up your energy.” I had a laundry list there too.
The bottom line is, this gentleman challenged me and I went to a period of four years where I convinced my wife to get the TV out of our house. That would be the same thing as a husband, convincing his wife never to open Facebook. For some of the people that love Facebook and I know there are a lot of guys that love Facebook as much as ladies, but I’m trying to make a point here. A sacred cow is what you do in the dark time, in the dark space when nobody’s watching. That is a vacuum sucking your time and your energy. The bottom line is, this gentleman challenged me. I can tell you, four years later, our business was on fire. I replaced what I had removed with other stuff that was still not business but it wasn’t as egregiously bad for my brain. It didn’t suck my energy.
Let’s flip this over to something as impactful. As much as every single person following this podcast has a personal sacred cow that is sucking their time and energy. Could be a girlfriend, it could be TV, could be Facebook, could be Twitter, could be LinkedIn, it’s something, everybody has it. I challenge you to find a way to remove 10% to 100% of that. Here’s the key, for a period of time, 90 days, 30 days, 6 months, a year, measure results and productivity. Here’s where this gets serious, as much as people have dark space in their personal life, businesses have dark space also. What does that mean? What is your business doing that is an absolute time suck? What is your business doing, and this is on a regular basis, every day, every week, that has an absolute energy suck?Remove you sacred cows to avoid drain of energy and time and to be more productive. Click To Tweet
Let me give you some examples. Years ago, I remember hearing Microsoft removed the doors from one of their major office buildings and the chairs and I’m like, “What the heck’s going on?” Bill Gates goes, “We did an audit of time and we realized we had a tremendous time suck.” He didn’t use the word time-suck, I’m rephrasing. “We had a tremendous time waste of meandering, sitting down too long, staying too late, our meetings were unproductive. We removed the doors so we could eliminate the matter of time of standing outside a door waiting to talk to someone.” That’s one great example of a micro audit finding a time suck. When it comes to business, I’m thinking much deeper.
I’m thinking of the bigger energy drains. How much time are you still spending on a technique of marketing that worked 1, 3, 7, 10 years ago, but you know or you have this sneaky suspicion that it might not be as productive as it used to be. You might even know competitors that are marketing differently. That is both a time and an energy suck because you know in the back of your mind that you’re not doing research and development, you’re not trying something else. Here are a couple of nuggets in business. It’s going to sound strange, but I want you to get into the office 90 minutes later than normal for a week. Why? It’s going to force you five days in a row, which you’re losing seven and a half hours, it is going to force you to get right to work.
I want you to leave at the same time. You don’t stay 90 minutes late. It’s going to force you to immediately get to what matters. It is going to expose for you like nobody’s business, the 90 minutes and energy sucks you do that are frivolous, trivial, and meaningless. Here’s another one, these are options. I want you to go to work in a time spot that you never do. Maybe on a Sunday for four hours, maybe on a Saturday morning from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM or maybe you stay late one day a week until midnight. I’m curious. What do you do? What changes? What do you find out when you go to the office when nobody else is there? Maybe you’re like me? I have a work from home office. Sometimes on the weekend, when nobody in the company is working, because I like people to turn their brains off Saturday and Sunday and listen to God, listen to the world, listen to themselves.
It’s like yoga for your business. I kick people out. We kicked people out for two weeks over Christmas. Two weeks’ pay doesn’t count for their vacation. Shut your brain off, go home, lock eyeballs with your children, lock eyeballs with your spouse and your friends, play, turn off your brain. We do not rest from our work on the weekends. We work from our rest. When we’re not working, I think God talks to us, the world talks to us. When we’re not working, we can hear and listen. This is a lot of why certain religions meditate at the highest levels. I believe in, we do not rest from our work. We work from our rest. John Maxwell, a pastor who went on to occupy more shelf space in Barnes & Noble than any author, in any industry, in history, any genre, fiction, and nonfiction, has more shelf space.
Eleven of his twelve best-sellers have the word leadership in the title. I believe that man is inspired. I was with John Maxwell one time when he said, “Most of my books are written in the dark hours at 2:00 in the morning on strange times because I have a notebook in my hand at all times. In my quiet times, I wake up from a nap or right before I fall asleep, I have an idea and that’s when I write my books.” He doesn’t write his books from 9 to 5 when he’s getting texts on Skype in this and that. He writes his books during the dark time. He writes his books when he quiets himself and he listens. What are you doing in your life? What are you doing in your business that’s a time and energy drain that you can unplug because you know you should? You can replace it maybe with thinking time, remember guys the book is called Think and Grow Rich. It’s not think and grow rich. It’s called think and grow rich. See you on the trail.