PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Pete Williams talks to Dom Goucher about his productivity regime, which starts first thing in the morning, and discusses the importance of being clear on your goals and forming habits to help you reach them. There’s an update on the book, too.
Pete and Dom talk about productivity, goals and habits
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Start as You Mean to Go On
Dom Goucher: Okay buddy, how are you doing this week?
Pete Williams: Doing very well, mate. Doing very, very well. Yourself?
Dom: Yeah, I’m good. I’m having a few time zone challenges. As you know, a lot of my clients are over by you in your part of the world. In fact, increasingly so. I seem to kind of pick one up a week really, either inquiries or actual new clients.
Pete: Very cool.
Dom: My number of UK clients, which is my nearest country, is dwindling. Although I’ve got one client and they’ve got offices all over the world literally. I was talking to one of their operatives in the US last night and they said basically,” If you’re not careful, you can work 24 hours talking to our team.” And that has happened in this last week. I literally went on a 24-hour stint. They have a major launch coming up and their launch team is all over the world. And yeah, I just spent pretty much 24 hours. I had a day without sleep.
Pete: That is insane, my friend. That is insane.
Dom: Yeah. It’s insane and it’s unhealthy. Folks, if you’re listening out there, however important it seems that you have to stay up and stay awake, it isn’t. Sleep is far more important because it will catch you up.
Pete: Yeah. Absolutely.
Dom: It’s hit me hard. It’s the price of being a popular person and in being good at what you do. I could say I blame you because in your excellent presentation at the Going Pro Conference for Ed, you stood up and you talked about your totally mind-bendingly high-speed video production technique using the mind maps. That and the whole of your presentation, which is awesome, got you a standing ovation. Then you very kindly mentioned to a few people that I was a key part of that video production, and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
Pete: Good work. You do a good work and word spreads.
Dom: It seems to be the truth, it seems to be the truth. So how about you, what’s been happening with you this week?
Pete: I bought a new bike. That’s the biggest excitement of my week, so.
Dom: A push-bike?
Pete: Yeah, a push-bike for the Ironman triathlon. I’ve got training on that starting shortly, so I picked up a new bike. That’s pretty much the excitement that was this week, so. Haven’t had the chance to get out on it and actually hit the road with it yet, which is a little annoying. It’s sitting in the office just outside my window. I just sit there and look at it all day. So hopefully on Saturday, I’ll be able to get out and hit the pavement for a few hours with a podcast or two in the headphones and go for that. That should be fun.
Dom: I would make fun of you with the whole staring longingly at the bike thing. But I used to know a few competitive athletes who did the Ironman and things, and I know it’s a pretty big deal.
Dom: I will not ask you how much you paid.
Pete: Too much. Actually, I got a pretty good deal because I’ve helped the bike store with some marketing and bits and pieces, but still a lot for a bicycle. Especially a bicycle I’m only really planning on using for six months.
Dom: I think we’ll change the subject.
Dom: Well, let’s bring you down to Earth with a crash. How’s the book going?
Pete: Yeah, it’s slowly pushing through, gliding through. I guess that’s the battle of trying to ship. Progress is good. I think I’ve mentioned in last week’s episode I’m really looking forward to breaking the back of it poolside with a piña colada in Bali, so looking forward to that.
Dom: Did you cave and buy the keyboard for the iPad or are you going whole hog and taking the laptop with you?
Pete: I decided to go with the laptop. I’m just going to take the laptop with me. I thought, well, realistically, once I put the iPad and the keyboard in there, it’s not much smaller than a laptop.
Dom: Yeah, you just can’t let go of that laptop, I know.
Pete: Yeah, it’s joined to me at the hip.
Dom: There are too many shiny tools on it because of all the things that you do. It’s like me, I find myself, if I go near a machine that doesn’t have TextExpander on it for example.
Dom: I type some very odd things on the machine if it doesn’t have TextExpander.
Pete: I think it all comes back to having a very efficient workflow. Realistically, I could go away and still produce content and work and do most of the stuff I need to on the iPad and a keyboard, but it’s not going to be as efficient.
Pete: And then it’s that question mark. When I’m actually doing some work for a couple of hours every day over a 10-day period, I want to be efficient. There’s that routine element of it as well. When you listen to people who are serial authors or creators — I can’t remember who this quote is from, but a quote I’ve always loved is, “I always just wait for inspiration to strike before I write. Luckily, it strikes at 9:01 AM every morning.“ Basically, the whole premise of that is that you get in that routine and that routine is what’s causing the creativity.
So as weird as it might sound, I really do think if I did have the iPad and a keyboard, I could get work done but I wouldn’t be efficient because I’d be just fiddling, trying to make stuff happen because I wouldn’t have Scrivener to do my writing on. I’d have to be doing it in text files. I can still produce, but as soon as that routine breaks, that workflow breaks, you actually can lose some of that creativity or that spark because your mind has to go off about, ”Oh, how do I do this?” It doesn’t stay on track.
It also comes back to the way Gary Halbert used to write copy. What a lot of the great copywriters do is when they’re wanting to find out about the actual dynamics of the product they’re talking about, a golf club I think is the example that Ed Dale uses when he tells this story. Gary Halbert is writing copy one day and he just got into that routine of writing copy. When he wanted to actually start talking about what the grip of the golf club is made out of in the draft letter he wrote, he just wrote the foreskin of albino whales or something really obscure like that because it stood out to him. After the draft, he’d actually pick that up and write the exact structural material the grip was made out of that helps you swing better.
So it’s all about rituals and routines, and getting in that routine. I tried and developed a bit more of a morning routine with the stuff I’m doing, which seems to be working really well from a productivity perspective which we can touch on at some stage. But I think it is about rituals and that’s really important. So taking that laptop with me means that I can stay in that creative ritual that I’ve got in terms of how I go about writing something or producing some sort of content. I don’t have to break that flow, so to speak.
Dom: Thinking about it now and you positioning it that way, I completely agree. When we first talked about it last week, about iPad versus laptop, and my brain was thinking overloading the amount of kit that you’re taking, and I was thinking just having too much work you kind of stuffed with you on holiday. But when it comes down to it, I completely agree. Just being away from the machine that I’ve got, my work machine, even if I take out the fact that I need a high-powered processor to do the video and audio editing; as you said, you have a tool for writing — Scrivener, and you know the keyboard shortcuts for it. You know where everything is.
If you were to work efficiently on the iPad — we do know people that do. Ed Dale is probably the most famous exponent of the iPad workflow. But he’s worked on that for months and months and months to get all the tools lined up, to pick the right tool, to know how to use it. The guy’s got basically the equivalent of keyboard shortcuts on an iPad.
And you’re right because a lot of people talk about this. It’s slightly different but they do, they talk about, don’t upgrade software, don’t change things in the middle of a creative process because you’ll actually get caught up in fiddling with the software and not doing the work.
Pete: Exactly. And that was my mindset and the positive constraint part of the argument as well was really important. If I’m going to have that positive constraint of only two hours of work a day while I’m away poolside in Bali, I don’t want to be spending two-thirds of that time trying to work out how the heck to actually copy and paste the paragraph.
If I get in that flow and I need to make some arrangements or some changes to what I’ve written on the iPad, I have to go and then learn the tech. So that’s not going to be the most effective use of my two hours a day. How can I be effective the best way in that positive constraint that I’m giving myself? That’s why I’m taking the laptop because it will allow me to be effective and efficient inside that positive constraint that I’m setting myself.
Dom: Absolutely. One of the reasons I like working with you is because of your ability to have that high-level perspective over things. And while my initial response was based on the bleeding obvious, you stood back and actually looked at it from a more strategic point of view. And as usual, I kind of go, ‘Yeah, good point. Fair enough.” The other thing, and you talked about this regularity and creative and positive constraints and things, I think it was Stephen King, that creativity at 9:01.
Dom: He’s selling his book, which escapes me so I will say ‘foreskin of the albino whale.’ And then insert a note in the show notes about…
Pete: It’s about On Writing? Is that what you’re referring to?
Dom: On Writing, thank you. Thank you. I didn’t want to break my creative flow by going and researching that, so.
Pete: I just rudely interrupted.
Dom: But no, good thank you.
Pete: On Writing, great book.
Dom: It’s good. I’d laugh for about half an hour about that. I managed not to laugh when you said it the first time. Bless Gary Halbert, makes me laugh all the time. But yeah, the other thing, I’ve been working on a top secret project recently, which we were talking about before the show. And one of the big topics in that project, it’s a training course and the people in it are talking about — and this is something that a lot of people talk about in the information marketing industry, about when you do certain things and that when you do it, that’s what you’re doing. Don’t mix it up.
So your example, if you’re writing, don’t go researching about what the golf handle is made of. You insert a silly word and come back because it’s just a draft. And Ed Dale when he talks about speed writing and things like that, that’s a big point he makes — just write. Just write, edit second. Write first, write only. Comeback to it later and edit.
Pete: It’s the downdraft-updraft argument.
Dom: Yeah, you’ve talked about that as well in the past. But the other thing, a part of what I’m working on at the moment for someone talks about researching and curation. And the moment this product gets released, everybody listening to this will know exactly what I’m talking about. But they talk about curation and they say basically, look, if you’re researching, reading about information in your market and pinging out quick opinions about it, that’s great.
But if you come across something, you go, “You know what? Actually that’s inspired me to write a big article. I’m going to go and write a big article.” Don’t. Whatever you do, don’t do it. Make yourself a little note, have a little inbox if you want to talk about GTD. Maybe put something in your inbox in OmniFocus. If it was URI, you can use OmniFocus all day long.
Put a note somewhere to say, look, big article on this — anything you can think of, then get back to that main task. It’s a slight detour from what we were talking about, but that’s one of those things that if you’ve got a lot of things to do: one, having a constraint and saying I’m going to do it at this time everyday, whether it’s creative or whether it’s mundane, I think, is a good thing.
And the other thing is: one, stick to it; but two — and this is the thing that made the difference to me, have a system or a place that you can put the things that occur to you while you’re doing that thing but are not relevant right now. So in your case, if you’re writing creatively while you’re in Bali and you think, ”Oh, crikey. Yeah, I need to change the logo on my shipping invoices for the headset company.” Instead of stopping your creative writing and winging off an email to your staff or whatever, you just have a little pad on the side that says ‘logo, header’ or whatever, or you fire up OmniFocus because you’ve got your laptop.
Pete: Option + spacebar, baby. Option + spacebar.
Dom: There you go, option + spacebar. That’s going out and going in an intro somewhere, definitely. It’s just keeping that momentum within that space, and that’s it. Bringing it back on topic, it’s all about keeping the momentum. Having a place where you start the momentum, blocking out a time with the positive constraints, and then keeping it. That’s something that I definitely struggled with in the past.
Pete: Again, the high-level perspective is not only a momentum in the moment of creation or the moment of writing, but also momentum on a weekly, monthly basis. If you can make the commitment every day to write at 9AM, or have a morning ritual when you get up every morning — the first hour of my day is going to incorporate these X amount of things. The more you do that on a daily basis as well, that will also build up momentum.
So momentum is a huge force that’s not really harnessed as much as it should be by entrepreneurs. There’s no structured momentum because that goes against the whole creative vibe. But all people who seem creative, that’s not how it works.
Dom: Yeah. Ed Dale’s a big person that talks about that, the big names. He likes to talk about the big names and people like Stephen King. Stephen King’s book On Writing really does lay that one out quite clearly. There’s a good story behind, it as you would hope so with Stephen King. But the truth of the matter is the guy has a desk and a place that never moves. He has the same things on the desk. And at the same time everyday, up he gets and then he goes.
The psychologists would say that it takes 30 days to properly form a habit, 30 consecutive whatever. You can do it in less, but to really make it solid… And I think that’s it. Once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. One of the things that people struggle with, and this is something that when I was younger, I have a little story about this. When I was younger, the idea of something taking a long period of time and doing the same thing everyday used to be crazy to me. These things always are when you’re younger. As a child you think, “Oh, crikey. When I’m 18, that’s a long way away.” And now I’m a long way away from 18 on the other side.
The example of doing a little thing everyday or setting something in motion and then just checking on it, is one of those things a lot of people talk about. Just allocating half an hour a day or an hour can just mass up the most phenomenal amount of content or progress on a project as long as you do that positive constraint thing. It’s like, “This is what I’m doing, and I’m going to try and get it done in this time.” Focusing your mind on that task for that period of time and then doing it consistently: one, it’s habit-forming if you do it consistently; and two, the amount you can get done is phenomenal.
Pete: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. The thing that I think is a great way too, if you want to get a bit granular and implement that, make it stick and make it a bit of a lever for your business, your life, your day, or your week is do that thing first thing in the morning. An awesome, awesome quote that I got from Joe Polish who has another great podcast, I Love Marketing, which I think marketers should really listen to after they listen to our episode every week.
But what Joe talks about, he was involved with Bill Phillips who started the whole Body for Life phenomenon — the books, the infomercials and all that sort of amazing stuff. And while working with Bill, Joe asked him a question. The question was, out of everything that you do to control your body and get it right, what’s the one trick, the one secret, the lever, the minimum effective dose? And Bill’s reply was, “Start off with the perfect breakfast.” And the reason for that was because you are less likely to cheat, you are less likely to get off track, and you’re more likely to have that whole commitment and consistency factor work.
If you start off with a perfect breakfast, at lunch you’re going to go, “Well, I had a good breakfast. I’m not going to cheat. I might as well keep it going.” Whereas, if you had a lousy breakfast, you’re going to go, “I’ll eat while at lunch and have a good dinner.” By lunch, you’ll go, “I had a shit breakfast, don’t worry about it.” So I’ve always been one,, even before I’ve even heard Joe mention that, to actually make sure that my morning starts strong.
While I’ve always been a morning person, I’ve never been a night person. I go against most internet people and business people to a certain extent as well because I’d rather go to bed at 10:00 and get up at 4:30 or 5:00 and start the day well. Because I think that if I commit to that morning action, I’ll become consistent with that throughout the day, which makes the rest of my day more efficient. And I’ve only really forced myself and disciplined myself for that very first thing, that very first hour in the morning, or hour and a half in the morning. Just through self-influence, I’m then going to be consistent with that and have a better-performing day without even needing to be as focused and disciplined for the rest of the day.
Dom: I have to agree with you on that. The challenge I have is that my other half is a night owl and we can miss each other. We can kind of not spend a lot of time with each other during any given week if I’m working on things because my preference is to get up and get on with it. And the other thing, slightly to one side but connected to what you just talked about, years ago when I first got interested in the whole GTD and productivity stuff, one of the big, big names was Leo Babauta, the guy who wrote the blog Zen Habits.
Dom: One of the first things I ever read of his was an article that said ‘start with the big rocks.’ If you’re going to do something, find the biggest, hardest, nastiest problem that you’ve got to deal with, and beat that one first. If you’ve got lots of things to do in a day, do the hardest one first thing in the morning. Get it out of the way. It’s kind of like what you’re talking about — it’s a sense of achievement for the day. Get on with it. Get it done. Get it out of the way. And then everything else is easy.
Pete: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
Dom: That works, that works — the whole ‘start the day well.’ If I start the day badly, I go to the point sometimes of literally not speaking to anybody. I’ll communicate with the cats as I feed them because that’s the downside of getting up early. My other half said, “Well, you got up first. You feed the cats.” I’ll communicate with the cats and then I’ll shut the office door and that’s it. No Skypes, no emails, no negative influence whatsoever, no chance of negative influence. Just get on with what I’ve got to get on with. That’s one of my ‘start the day positively’ kind of ways.
Pete: So do you have a ritual that you do every morning like a sequence of stuff that you do consistently every morning or not?
Dom: No and that’s why I’m still not the Zen master of the stuff that you are. I bet you do, so I’m going to scribble notes furtively as you tell us what it is.
Pete: Okay. It depends. Obviously, if I’m in the process of training for a marathon, Ironman, or something like that, then the first thing I’ll do is I’ll literally get up; bath, glass of water and train. A way to force myself to do that and to jump out of bed in really freezing mornings in winter and go out for a run at 5AM or 5:30, it’s only a small thing but it’s actually having my running gear or my training gear out ready the night before. It’s a small thing but that makes a big difference to me. Well, it definitely made a big difference to me to build that habit. My alarm doesn’t go off, I don’t lie in bed going, “Where are my running shorts at? Which drawer are they in? Are they in the wash or are they on the clothesline? Where are they?” The longer you stay in bed, the less chance you’re getting out.
So that’s one little trick — I have it all laid out the night before. It’s almost I made that commitment and consistency. Again, I’ve committed to put the running gear out. The shoes are out, the socks are out, everything is ready to go. My GPS or whatever it might be is sitting next to my shoes. I’ll just get them on and go without any excuse. That’s how the day starts if I actually got a training session.
And then in terms of a ritual from a business perspective, it’s changed and adapted over the years. I actually wrote about my original process in my first book. Where is it? I can’t find it here. It was seven years ago. Where is it? Sorry, I’m just flipping through…
Dom: Well, while you’re flipping, is that the book that you’re giving away the audio of?
Pete: It is indeed. Thank you for doing that.
Dom: And how might people get hold of that audio?
Pete: Head over to PeteWilliams.com.au or PreneurMarketing.com. They’ll have options there to join the newsletter list. And as part of that, the very first thing you get is a downloadable audio version. I got the rights back to this book from John Wiley & Sons, the publishers who I did this book with years ago. Part of the deal was for me to get the rights back after a certain time period, which I have now. So I thought I’d just get the audio book created and give it away because it had done everything I needed it to do for me.
What I spoke about in that book was what I referred to as a Daily Success Planner. It was simply something I do the night before and it’d be my four current goals, my four top things I’m working towards and have that listed down, and then what I’ll do each day to get me closer to each goal. So funnily enough, I guess you might say this is a bit GTD before David Allen’s book came out. I never thought about that. That’s kind of cool.
Pete: So it’s literally just four things. The question was, what will I do tomorrow to get me closer to each goal? And it’s just, what’s the action I’m going to take the following day to rate each of the goals above? I have a Tomorrow’s ‘friend’ contact and Tomorrow’s ‘business’ contact. So every day, I try and stay in touch with a friend via an email or a phone call. I’ll make a note of who I want to talk to tomorrow and try to make contact with just to keep in contact with friends and not lose them.
Business contact was a business person I try and touch base or network with. Then I had a bit of a daily checklist which was: run a minimum of 5km today — because back then all I was doing was running; eat two pieces of fruit; repeat my affirmations; do daily sit-ups; do daily push-ups; and then complete the Daily Success Planner for tomorrow. So that was sort of a tool that I use myself to have that ritual. And that ritual sort of adapted over time.
My checklist now, if I go through it, is about an hour, and 10 minutes of that I try and do almost immediately in the morning is Inbox Zero. It takes me about 15 minutes generally most days to get to Inbox Zero. It doesn’t mean I actually action everything. I don’t actually reply to every email or do what needs to be done. It’s at least allocating those emails to my OmniFocus inbox or replying to emails if I can do it quickly or forwarding it onto a PA, or a VA, or a staff member. So that’s the first thing I do. A lot of people say don’t check your emails first thing in the morning, I actually do. It’s the very first thing I do. I haven’t really tested what my life would be like if I didn’t do that. I’m a bit of an addict. I want to see what’s going on and it’s working for me, which is fine. So that’s the first thing.
Then it’s OmniFocus GTD plans. So I’ll then go into my plan and just get a bit of a mental note of what has to happen today and quickly run through my OmniFocus inbox and try and clean that, and allocate those actions to the various projects and just have that plan organized. Solid breakfast, I note that for myself because sometimes I don’t always eat as much food as I should, particularly coming closer to the Ironman. I have to really make sure I consume a lot more calories than I normally do and make sure that they’re the right calories. Vitamins, water — just two other quick ticks.
Lumosity is something that I’ve been playing with for a little while, which is a really cool online tool. L-U-M-O-S-I-T-Y, lumosity, and it’s just a brain training thing. It’s about $20 a month. It’s maybe even less actually, probably a lot less than that. What it does is it’s simply a tool. You play games, but they’re all cognitive mind games to help you with your spatial awareness, your attention, your number thinking, your memory. You actually can join a lot of little programs. I’m still coming to the end of the basic training and that gives you about five different games every morning that takes about 10 to 15 minutes. I’m just going through that basic training, then I’ll pick the intermediate and then advanced. It’s just a way to turn my brain on, so to speak, help with the memory, which is really cool.
The next thing I‘ve got is Send Out Cards. Send Out Cards is a tool that I use to send out postcards and greeting cards through the internet. The cards are then physically stamped and posted with real-word stamps, and the font’s in my handwriting — really cool service. So every day, I send a Send Out Cards to someone I’ve spoken to or met with the day before. To give you an example, yesterday, a friend of mine got a promotion at his job. So today’s card was to say congratulations to him.
Today, I got phone call from one of my best friends who is looking at going to a new business venture. So probably tomorrow’s card would mostly be a card to him saying ‘congratulations, good luck. If I can help, let me know.’ It’s just a bit of a way to network, and that can either be a business card or personal card I send out every day.
The next thing on the list is email a Facebook friend, so just send a friend a message thru Facebook or an email just saying, “Hi, how are you doing? What’s going on?” Just to make sure I stay in contact. Forum post replies — people who have seen my Going Pro presentation at Ed Dale’s event, which you can get at www.ed-ucationonline.com/goingpro-conference/session15a. Basically, you can buy on there the talk about my forum posting process. I do about 10 minutes of that.
Then I’ve got about 10 minutes of writing out swipe file copy just to ensure that I’m continually thinking of good ways to communicate, and sell and write. It’s literally just going and spending 10 minutes rewriting a good swipe piece. Whether it’s headlines or a Gary Halbert letter, I’ll go thru that.
And then the final thing on my checklist here is change two passwords. So I’ll just get into my 1Password and just change a couple of passwords to make sure that’s up and updated. That last one I do cheat on quite a bit. I should be trying to change two passwords a day just to make sure I’m secured and all, but I don’t do it as much as I should.
But that’s fundamentally my first hour on the laptop of starting my day. Health and fitness is in there, work and business is in there, family and friends in there, and mind and spirit is in there a little bit as well through a few different things. That’s just my quick morning ritual, that’s my first hour of the day.
Dom: That was me just catching my breath for you.
Pete: Look, this is what I work towards. I think I’m pretty close to being there most days. There will be days when I will not change a password. I definitely want to do forum posting every single day. But it’s a continuing work in progress to make sure I’m as close to it as possible and I’m doing pretty good. So it’s all about momentum.
Dom: So your book’s seven years ago.
Dom: And then you had your process, which is a good process. It is one that a lot of people have talked about. How on earth are you going to get anything done? I think the best way to put it is, how on earth are you going to get anything done today if you don’t know what you’re going to do?
Pete: That’s awesome.
Dom: Because the first thing you should always make sure you’ve got before you start work on any day is a list of what you’re going to do. Having that list done the night before means that you don’t waste brain cells doing it in the morning.
Pete: I actually had a discussion at the office the other day with one of the head SEO guys about the subconscious brain and how much it actually exists or not. I love him to death. He’s a great person to have a conversation with. He’s very skeptical about a lot of things, it’s fantastic. I love him to death. A discussion about can you listen to an audio book subconsciously and will you actually learn it was where the conversation started, and we kind of get into that whole subconscious thing.
But to bring that to your point, I think by actually getting it into a list ready the night before, it does allow you to let your subconscious mind drift, think about things, and come up with ideas, solutions and thought processes before you even start the day, which is really handy. Whether you think that works or not, that’s up to you to believe.
Dom: I hundred percent believe it does. A few years ago, I read a book and it actually is still on my desk. I’m a highly visual person. One of the things that I found out completely by accident was that the amount of visual clutter in a room affects me quite badly. If I can see a lot of visual clutter, my brain is constantly trying to read it, organize it, catalogue it, everything. It was a massive energy strain that I didn’t know about. It was one of the really weird things. Now what I do is, I’m not quite the purchaser of inspirational photos and posters, and all that crap. Even the funny ones.
But I do have my reading list, it’s a pile of box on a shelf. Pick one up as you walk past. When you finish one, pick the next one up, that kind of thing. Also, I have a couple of, visual reminders. They’re just the books I’m really inspired by and they’re at the back of my desk in a pile. So the spines are there, visible. My brain doesn’t have to even rotate the words to read them. One of those books is a book called Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind.
Pete: Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, okay.
Dom: Hare as in H-A-R-E, as in The Tortoise and the Hare.
Dom: It’s a massive book, really. It’s quite a heavy read, folks, by the way. But I can summarize it.
Pete: Is there an audio version?
Dom: Probably. I can summarize it very quickly. It’s very simple. Basically, stick something in there and leave it. And eventually, something really good will come back out. It’s a bit like Ed Dale’s idea of fueling up by going and reading lots of stuff before you start trying to write about a topic. Just go read a load. I’ve actually convinced a guy that I’m training at the moment — I’m training up a guy to become an After Effects operator, that’s a real change of topic. And I said to him, “Look, just go and watch a load of these inspirational tutorials where people are doing this stuff, producing these great motion graphics things. But don’t worry about actually paying attention to the keystrokes and stuff. Don’t worry about trying to learn the product, just look at what they do because it will inspire you later to come up with you own stuff.”
It’s like reading somebody else’s swipe file. So, yeah, one of the more practical uses of that, I totally believe, is that you sort out the night before what you’re going to do. Because that also dovetails with that idea of putting out what you’re going to wear. Here’s one for you. You are in a company of giants, or is it On the Shoulders of Giants?
Pete: On the Shoulders of Giants, yep. What else is on that list? Go through your list. I’m keen to hear what’s in your top books.
Dom: No, not today because we’re nearly off the time. We’ll do top books in another one.
Dom: But I’ll let you know that The 4-Hour Workweek is in there.
Dom: But not for the same reasons as a lot of people have it, okay? And Tony Buzan’s The Mind Map Book.
Pete: Yes, awesome.
Dom: And all three of David Allen’s GTD books, but we’ll talk about that some other time. But On the Shoulders of Giants, I originally heard of, ‘get yourself ready for tomorrow.’ The first person I heard of it was Einstein.
Pete: Very cool.
Dom: And he said, “I always choose what I’m going to wear tomorrow the night before and I lay it out. Because my day should be focused on thinking and producing work, not deciding what shirt to wear.”
Dom: So at the end of the day, he decides the first thing he’s going to do tomorrow, in this case, it was the clothes he was going to wear. I think it was bit of a sound byte rather than practicality because I imagine that he also wrote a list of which equations he wanted to solve and which physical phenomenon he wanted to prove or disprove. And he had a little note by the side of his bed, ‘Prove quantum theory tomorrow morning,’ and so on. Oh, the physicists are slapping their foreheads.
But yeah, that inspired me. It really did. Even before I’d even heard of GTD and all these other things, and that made a difference to me. Putting out what I was going to wear is a trivial thing, especially for me who really doesn’t care what I look like unlike you who is a well-dressed man. But it made a difference, and so does deciding what you’re going to do. And again, not very recently where somebody said, and I wish I could remember who it was. I’m going to probably just attribute it to Ed Dale if I can’t think of anybody better, ‘How can you work effectively during the day if you don’t know what you’re going to do?’
Pete: Yeah. Absolutely.
Dom: So seven years ago you were already clued into this and now you’ve evolved this process.
Pete: But don’t put that all on me. I’m that sort of uber-nerdy geek. I was going to business seminars and events when I was 17. So as much as I’d love to say that I’ve dreamt that whole set of process up in my mind, I have no doubt that that came off the back of devouring a lot of other people’s content when I was young.
Dom: But I’m going to make an important point, and this is my smoke-blowing for the week. It’s not just at you, I’ve said this to quite a few of people. You don’t have to be the guy that came up with the idea. That’s not what makes you good at what you do. That’s not what makes you a clever person. Okay, yes, there are some geniuses out there that come up with these systems — David Allen and his team. What makes you the smart guy is looking at the system, working out that it will fit into what you do or working out how it fits into what you do, and then effing well doing it.
Pete: That’s it, that’s it. That is the ticket. That is the ticket — it is taking the actual ride, doing the extra effort, making it work.
Dom: I’m going to say this and this is going to get me flamed somewhere. Internet marketing is full of some of the most average people from an intelligent point of view that I’ve ever met. I’m generalizing wildly and I do not mean anyone any insult. But what I mean is internet marketing is not full of the geniuses of this world. Yes, there are some true luminaries. I have sat and had my mind truly melted by people like Robert Sommerville.
Pete: Oh, mate, seriously. Whoa, the Forbes rich list is exactly the same.
Dom: Exactly, exactly. It’s just a bit more famous. There are some luminaries on there. There are some pretty sharp guys. But get me on this, the rank-and-file of the incredibly successful people on those lists, whether they’re the internet marketing successful people or whether they’re the Forbes rich list, they don’t have to be PhD-grade genius whatever people. They are the people that got off their backsides and did it. They found a system that worked. They didn’t maybe even come up with that system. They just found one that worked and did it.
Pete: I couldn’t agree with you more. As much as I’m sure Frank wouldn’t mind me saying this and he said it himself many times, he installed dog fences. And now he’s one of the best markers in the world because he tested more than everybody else, he emailed more than anybody else, he studied as hard if not harder than anybody else, and he sat his butt in the chair and actually did work for a few solid hours a day, and then surfed the rest of it. But in those solid hours of work, he actually did what was needed, focused on the right stuff, and shipped.
Dom: Yeah, shipped it — Seth Godin. There you go. Bless that man. He is a genius but everybody can learn from him the simple stuff. I think the important thing to say here to really clarify what I’m trying to say because I get a lot of this being in video production. Video production is seen as like the Holy Grail and, the let me get the right word, anathema. Is that the right word? It makes you do the scariest thing in the planet.
Dom: It’s like this evil object. Everybody knows that it’s one of the most powerful things you can do in marketing. This year is the year of video. There’s Video Boss 2, and again it’s going to make you even more money.
Pete: Great course, by the way.
Dom: Great course, by the way. Great course, by the way. Can’t fault him. But people are looking at that. They know it’s valuable, they know it’s important. But then they go, “But it’s so difficult. It’s so expensive. It’s so complicated.” It’s so this, so that, so whatever. The great thing about the presentation that you did at Ed’s Going Pro was you just absolutely wiped the flaw with that opinion. It didn’t matter whether it was video production, whether it was website creation — it didn’t matter what it was. Because you showed people how to think about this stuff, which is do the stuff that you need to do.
You generate a mind map and you pull the pen out and throw it over the wall. I catch it and I do what I do. You found me, I do that for you. What matters to you is the business and the content, that’s what you do. You don’t have to be a video genius. But I’ll let you in on a secret folks, he’s very good at this stuff. And it’s the same with internet marketing and wherever else. You don’t have to be able to do all those things that are on your list of things to do today. Go find somebody else that can do them. Just make sure they get done, that’s your role.
Pete: Exactly. Absolutely.
Dom: We are so way over time on this. So on that hopefully inspirational note, folks, which is roughly summarized as anyone can do this stuff, get out there and do it, we’ll sign off for this week.
Pete: Catch you next week.
Dom: Yeah, Pete. Catch you in Bali, I believe.
Pete: Yeah. I think next week I’m in Bali — I have no idea. It’s in my calendar. I’ll check it the night before.
Dom: Awesome. Well, wherever you are mate, catch you then.
Pete: See you.
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