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The Practice of Discipline is the Practice of Excellence

TBT 10 | Practice of Discipline

The biggest factor of success in that all aspects of life involve the practice of discipline. We need to look at discipline like a muscle that needs exercise in order for it to grow stronger. The stronger discipline gets, the better we respond to the situations in our life, and where some we have no control, we respond to it on reflex. The practice of discipline becomes a practice of excellence. Once we put our mind to a goal and we have mastered the discipline, there is nothing stopping us.

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The Practice of Discipline is the Practice of Excellence

I want to talk about discipline because discipline is one of the biggest success factors that we have in managing our time and energy and getting the results that we want. Very often, people say they want something. They create a goal, they make a verbal commitment or a resolution, but at the end of the day, they don’t do what it takes in order to meet that goal. Just because we say it and we said it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. We have to take action. We have to put forth effort. We may need to make sacrifices in order to make that happen if that goal is important to us. The more important it is to us, the more drive we’ll have in order to push through obstacles to get there.

There are some techniques to do that. I want to talk about the muscle of discipline because it is a muscle. We need to practice discipline in every area of our life to fill up the bank, to build that muscle up, so that when we need it, we can access those muscles. If we don’t exercise it and continue to exercise it in different areas, then that muscle will experience atrophy. It will shrink versus increase. We need to exhibit discipline in each area of our life. When it comes to our health, what kind of discipline do you show around the foods that you eat? Do you do what you know is good for you? Do you make up excuses and say, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” or make rationalizations of why this is okay for you when it’s not good for your body? You eat a lot of sugar but you know that it’s not good for you. Sugar is poison to our bodies. I’m not saying that you should give it up entirely. That’s a choice that you can make. However, how do you focus on doing the things that are best for your body so that you do everything in moderation? It requires discipline. It also requires discipline to exercise on a regular basis.

TBT 10 | Practice of Discipline

Practice of Discipline: Discipline is one of the biggest success factors that we have in managing our time and energy and getting the results that we want.

I was talking to my son about discipline because he’s very disciplined when it comes to his homework, but he’s not disciplined about his time on the computer. I asked him, “Why do you think that in the military, they have people make their beds? Is it important when they come back from whatever they’re doing that day that their beds are perfectly made? Is that important?” Often, he challenges me to say, “It’s not important. I don’t need to take out the trash right now because it’s not urgent. It’s not important.” I’m trying to help him to understand that we are building that muscle of discipline. That’s the reason why the military has people make their bed in the morning. It’s a practice of discipline. It’s another area where they can demonstrate that they are in control. They’re logical side of their brain is telling them that this is the rule. This is what needs to be done as part of the structure of the military. It gets to be done in excellence because whatever you do, that’s another form of discipline. It challenges them in other areas. It trains their brain to be thinking of other areas that they will be and show up disciplined and in excellence.

It is also something that you can control. It feels good to come back to a made bed because you start the day with something you can control. A lot of things might go out of your control, but when you come back to it, you’re reminded that there are some things that you do control in your life. You may not be able to control the circumstances around you, but you can control some of the aspects in your environment and you can control how you respond to various different things in your circumstances. It requires discipline.

I want you to challenge yourself as to where and what areas are you practicing discipline. Maybe it’s a simple thing that you can start by making your bed in excellence every morning. What else can you do that you could say, “I’m going to do that at a higher level. I’m going to do it in a greater form of excellence,” so training your discipline? I’d like you to find two areas. Making your bed is a simple one if you don’t already do that. If you do already do that, what is another area of your life that you could create greater discipline? I want you to do this for one week and then check in with us and let us know on the Facebook page associated with this podcast episode. How did that go for you? Did you notice a difference in how you felt? Did you notice a difference in being able to more easily exhibit discipline when you needed it in other areas?

The more you exercise your discipline, the bigger that muscle gets and the quicker you can respond with it. It makes you faster, more agile, and more flexible to meet the needs of the situation. That’s what we need. We need, in any particular moment, to know that we’ve got this, that we’ve got the discipline to approach this in the way that we need to in excellence. It also helps us to offset that impulsive side of ourselves. We have anger, sadness, hurt, fear, guilt, shame, those types of unproductive emotions. When we stay in them, they can derail what we do with our time. They can affect our time management incredibly. They can be a total time suck, a drain. By practicing discipline, we’re also practicing emotional discipline. It is the ability to recognize when we’re having thoughts and saying things that are not in our favor. We can be aware of it and we can shift it quickly. It’s amazing that that muscle of discipline can cross various different areas that are going to help us to take back time, to be more efficient and effective, to be more deliberate in what we do.

I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback. After week one, I challenge you to do a second week and see what the difference is between week zero, week one, and then week two. After that, you can decide. Do you want to stick with this and continue to build your discipline? Did you have enough and you did it, and it’s like anything else that you might start that you decide that it is not what you want to continue? That’s okay, that’s your choice, but I want to give you a higher level of awareness around discipline and the difference that it makes in your life.

Thanks for being here. This is Penny Zenker with Take Back Time. The choice is yours. Are you up for this challenge? I hope so.

The Billionaire Mindset with Brian Sidorsky

TBT 009 | Billionaire Mindset

A lot of us think that we get a lot of work done when we multitask. Often times, that is true, but there are also instances when we are just all over the place and get things done halfway. Brian Sidorsky has a billionaire mindset to finish one project at a time. There is no need to split your focus, if you don’t get the work done in the end. The trick is to prioritize, start and complete each task so you can be productive and save time for the next task that needs to be done.

We are interviewing Brian Sidorsky, who is an amazing entrepreneur. He’s the Founder and CEO of Lansdowne Equity Ventures which is a highly profitable, family-owned real estate business with operations in land banking, real estate development, and property management of commercial shopping centers and mobile home parks. This man has made his fortune through being the largest retail furniture in Calgary. From his strategic way of thinking to be that smart investor with what he earned and he kept. You’ve heard of so many different entrepreneurs who have made millions and at that billion-dollar mark. Then you hear about all of them who have lost it. They’ve made it, they’ve lost, and they’ve made it again. We all make mistakes along the way. We have to learn from those mistakes and we want to learn from others who have made those mistakes.

One of the things I remember him saying in a dinner that we were at together, he said that he always took counsel from those who made it and kept it. That’s who I want to learn from as well. It’s not necessarily those who lost it. Even though I’m sure they have great stories and they also have some great experiences to learn from. I want to learn from the people who made it, kept it, and continue to build it like Brian Sidorsky. He’s not just an investor. He doesn’t only invest his time and energy in making money. He invests his time and energy in giving back. He is a Chancellor for Junior Achievement Worldwide, developing financial literacy across the world for our youth. Brian has a world of experience. He’s also focused on making the world a better place.

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The Billionaire Mindset with Brian Sidorsky

This is Brian Sidorsky. This guy is amazing genius. I’m with him here and he started to share his wisdom. I’m like, “We have to share this because people need to hear what he has to say.”

I’m Chief Chancellor of Junior Achievement Worldwide or JA Worldwide, University of Success. We are putting together curriculum program to teach the world how to fish. We’re teaching financial literacy in 127 countries and 10 million students a year.

This man is super modest. He is mega successful, making more money than god. He works on incredible deals around the world. You made your fortune on a furniture company?

We had the largest retail furniture appliance store in Calgary at one time. We have two smaller stores though in the area. I’m not involved in the day to day. I have partners that run those. We’re in the mobile home park business. We just sold that recently. We’re in commercial shopping centers, land development, and subdivision development in the Calgary area.

This guy knows a thing or two about business, smart investor. He built his fortune by getting the proceeds from that and then investing. Being smart in his investments. When you want to learn from somebody, you want to learn from somebody who’s done it, who’s been there and understand what makes him tick. To see what success principles you can take away and implement in your own life. Brian, you were just going to share with us about multitasking.

Imagine that you’ve got a magnifying glass and you’re trying to burn a whole premise on in a piece of paper. We’re talking about multitasking and putting your energy and focus. If I said, “Can you burn a hole in that paper? I don’t want you to burn one hole. I want you to burn three holes and burn them all at the same time.” The moment you take your focus off, you’re multitasking. You have to stop what you’re doing then you start the next one. It doesn’t fit to complete this one, and this one starts unless it’ll move to the next one. If you’re going back and forth throughout your work, you’re multitasking. You’re not completing any of those tasks. There’s no such thing as multitasking that’s ever going to be effective. You need to start and finish one project at a time. Prioritize. Start and complete each task. You’ll accomplish a lot more each day in your productivity.

TBT 009 | Billionaire Mindset

Billionaire Mindset: There’s no such thing as multitasking that’s ever going to be effective. You need to start and finish one project at a time.

It’s so simple but so true. How many of us are splitting our attention, splitting our focus across multiple things, and not completing and not giving our full energy, thought, and attention. I would fold that paper into three parts and I would then gear that through so at the end I would have three holes. Sometimes you got to think strategically in the way that you approach something. That goes to Einstein’s thought that you take time to plan up front. Instead of multitasking and doing it the hard way and then never achieving your result, if you think about something smarter then you’re going to get the result a lot faster.

I’d never even considered that to get outside the nine dots to draw those lines together. You get outside of your normal thinking and creative thinking, that’s fold the paper. If it was a piece of wood, you couldn’t fold it up. Again, there’s always another application. The idea of productivity and multitasking, do one task at a time. Start and complete each task. Do it as creatively as you can. When we’re building furniture, they layout the plot to do one furniture, one set of sofa. They do the cutting. They’ll layer as many as 50 sofa cuts on one laser cut, then they all cut off 50. That’s your productivity. You think of a way of multiplying the productivity in the manufacturing process or in your day to day, in any process.

Any other tips on what helps you to take back your time? That’s the name of my new podcast, Take Back Time. What would you say a last tip?

I don’t think you can get it back once you’ve spent it.

If you work smarter, then you take it back in the context of you can spend it more wisely. 

You have to spend it wisely right at the time of spending it. Once you spend it, I don’t think you can get it back.

No, you can’t. I’m meaning in the context of when you think smarter and you approach things from a more strategic perspective, then you’re actually saving yourself time. That’s what I meant by take back time. 

TBT 009 | Billionaire Mindset

Billionaire Mindset: Think and Grow Rich

A couple of nuggets I will share with you. Everybody should read the book Think and Grow Rich, the major book by Napoleon Hill. Go online and look up Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, narrated by Earl Nightingale. It’s a 39-minute audio. You listen to that four or five times. It will absolutely change your life. I read the book over 500 times and I get something new every time I read it.

I’m going to go online and do that because the version that I got, it was ten hours long.

No, it’s only 39 minutes. There’s another one called The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, as well. Earl Nightingale is a wonderful man who’s no longer on the planet. His amazing wisdom is something I’ve become an ardent student of and benefit greatly from.

From a great successful man who’s telling you that one of the keys to success is to read other people’s successful tips and tricks mindset. What can you learn from others? You don’t need to have all the answers. You just need to, as Greg Reid said, “Take counsel from those who have been there and done it.”

The last words I’ll leave with you, as Napoleon Hill, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” You visualize it. You have a passion for it. Write down whatever it is you want. Find out what you really want, why you want it, write that down with a time and a date, and keep looking at it. Put it on your mirror. Put those goals right in front of you. Look at them. Download them into your subconscious mind. You will absolutely find that you achieved those results in those timeframe that you created.

Brian Sidorsky, thank you so much. 

Thank you.

What did you take away from Brian Sidorsky, who is a major entrepreneur who built his fortune and kept it? His goal was to reach $1 billion and he’s reaching his goal. Not only that, he’s making an impact worldwide on financial literacy by being a Chancellor for Junior Achievement around the world. What did you learn? He talked about two things. The funny thing is with my previous interview, we talked to Heidi Hannah talking about multitasking. From a doctor’s perspective, a brain perspective, how multitasking is not optimal and not effective.

Brian’s coming at it from a successful entrepreneur’s perspective. He’s telling you that whenever you split your time and attention, your energy and your focus, you’re not going to get the result that you want. Clean and simple. You prioritize. By prioritizing, it means give your time and attention to one task and complete it, and then move on to the next. Simple, yet that’s the recipe for success from Brian Sidorsky, billionaire. I would take that and say, “If it works for him, it’s probably going to work for me too.” Get more conscious of where you’re multitasking. Stop and break it down.

Right now, what’s happening is that you’re doing it unconsciously. It’s an autopilot that you’re managing these multiple things. Running from this screen to that screen, looking at different activities at the same time. Be aware of that. Every time you catch yourself doing it, with any habit or pattern of thought, break it. If you have a record or CD that’s playing, it plays the same song over and over again. That’s what happens in our brain. We repeat the same thoughts over and over again. We have 70,000 thoughts a day. The key thing is only 5% of those thoughts are new. That’s a confirmation that we are repeating the same thoughts over and over again.

We need to be in control of what’s being repeated. We are deliberate that that’s what’s impacting us in a positive way and moving us towards what we want in our life versus sabotaging us from the very things that we want. Get conscious of what those thoughts are and what those patterns are. If you find yourself multitasking, break that thought and say no, and come back to the one task that you’re prioritizing. Every time you break it, you come back to the task. You’ll find that you become more focused over time because it’s like an addiction.

When you’re addicted to something, like your phone or some type of distraction, when you recognize it, you’re going to reduce the number of times. You’re going to find it faster and you’re going to shift it. The more that you break that pattern, the less it’s going to show up. It may still show up. If you find yourself ten times a day multitasking, then as you practice this, being aware of it, and creating consciousness around it, the next day you might find that you’re only doing it eight times. The day after that, you’re only doing it six times, and so forth. You want to be able to recognize your progress as those impulses to do it are reducing down. You can get more clarity and more focus. I did the same exercise with a client of mine. Within one week, he was already 20% more productive because he was able to reduce the number of impulses to be distracted and to multitask.

That’s the first thing that Brian shared with us. Prioritize and stick with each task and complete each task. Then we talked about another aspect which was thinking about things. Taking a little bit more time to plan upfront how you’re going to approach something so you can use a more strategic approach. A little bit more time upfront is going to help you identify how you could create leverage. How can I do this in a smarter way so that I can do it faster so that I can do it more effectively? That is, at the end of the game, going to help you to take back time. Lastly, important advice and counsel from this genius was simply to take counsel from those like himself or other greats who have been successful and are teaching the principles of success.

He mentioned Napoleon Hill. Earl Nightingale doing a reading of Napoleon Hill’s work. I highly suggest that you click on that link and that you go and listen to that. Not just once but many times. You heard him say he listened to it 100 times because he was deliberately changing the way that he’s thinking by listening to that. That’s going to have an impact for you because you’re going to start to think more like that. It’s those principles of thinking that helped him to be smarter in the way that he approached things. To be more deliberate in getting what he wants.

That’s going to be your assignment. Go listen to that audio once a week. It’s 35 minutes. You can fit that into your schedule once a week. Listen to it for the next four weeks. Just take one month and listen to it four times. I’d love to hear how this changes your life and what specifically do you see changing for yourself. Potentially just because of that, you’re going to multitask less. You’re going to be more concentrated on what you want. Focus with your attention and energy, and blocking out distractions. You’re going to be thinking at a higher frequency. You’re going to be open to greater possibilities.

I’m so excited to hear what this does for you. That’s your assignment. Listen to the audio from Earl Nightingale. It’s about 35 minutes. It’s going to be about Think and Grow Rich from Napoleon Hill. You’re going to listen to it once a week, so that’s four times over a month. Then you’re going to report back to us on our Facebook page. Those are the tips from Brian Sidorsky who’s created a huge fortune by thinking smarter and investing. Doing the things that helped him to keep his fortune alive and to grow it. It’s to be focused and energized.

I look forward to having you on further episodes to have more tips and tricks about how you can take back time. This is Penny Zenker and we’ll see you in the next episode.

About Brian Sidorsky

TBT 009 | Billionaire MindsetBrian Sidorsky is the Founder and CEO of Lansdowne Equity Ventures Ltd., a highly profitable family-owned real estate business, with operations in land banking, real estate development and property management of commercial shopping centers and mobile home parks. In addition to his smart business sense, Brian is dedicated to financial literacy in our youth and is chancellor of Junior Achievement Worldwide.


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The Cost Of Resistance: How Much Are We Paying For It?

TBT 008 | Cost Of Resistance

Whatever we do becomes harder when we are resistant. Every effort and energy we put out seems to be magnified when we complain and criticize. Have you ever wondered what the physical cost of resistance is? Resistance hinders us from being present in the moment because we keep choosing that place where we complain, judge, and criticize. Learn how you can take away some nuggets of wisdom in life and in business in a state of resistance.

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The Cost Of Resistance: How Much Are We Paying For It?

We’re going to talk about resistance. We’re going to talk about what it looks like and also what it’s costing us. I’m going to endeavor in a challenge and I’m going to invite you to join me in that challenge. I share more about that, I want to tell you how I came up with this topic. I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been getting up early so that I can work with my development team who’s working on a new upgrade to my software and things haven’t been going well. We haven’t been getting the results that we were expecting and it’s taking a lot longer. Communication is difficult, and it’s left me a little bit frustrated. When we focus on our frustrations and we stay in that place, it affects everything that we do, especially because that’s my first thing in the morning. It taints my day. I didn’t realize the effect that it was having until I went to my workout. I could tell that I wasn’t as resilient. I wasn’t as present. I was feeling drained. When I’m pushed by my trainer, I’m not having that resilience that gets me to lean in to the workout. It’s more of a resistance of me fighting against the workout. I’m using the workout as a metaphor for everything in our life because when we’re in resistance, it makes everything that we do harder. That’s how it relates to Take Back Time because wherever we create resistance, we’re making it harder for ourselves to get things done. We’re making it harder to be happy, to be in a place of joy, to be in a place of peace, to be present.

That’s why I wanted to share this because there was a realization. My trainer is a funny guy. He makes training with him with this fun banter back and forth. One of the things that he said to me, because I must’ve been whining a little bit, which is sometimes what we do when we’re feeling drained than when we’re not feeling resilient, he said, “I can rent you my crying towel.” That made me laugh and it also made me think. What would it be if we had to pay every time that we had a complaint? Every time we had a criticism, every time we judge somebody or judged ourselves? All of those things create resistance. When we get defensive, when somebody is sharing feedback, that’s resistance, and all that resistance does is it keeps us from being present. It keeps us from leaning into the situation and going with the flow and finding a solution faster. In this case, being more resilient to do my work-out more effectively and to be there and be present and be in the workout.

I want you to think about that because I thought, “I wonder if I were to have to pay. I had to rent the crying towel and I know that that’s a joke, but I was thinking about it in reality, if we had to pay, would we complain less? Would we judge ourselves less if we had to pay? If it physically came out of our pocket? I want you to know something is we do pay. We pay every day. Whenever we complain, we criticize, we judge ourselves or others, we are paying. There is a cost to us. There’s a cost to our relationship, there’s a cost to our health, there’s a cost to our productivity and our results that we’re creating. When we create that resistance, we’re bringing more of that in. We’re building more and more resistance, which is keeping us from the very things that we want. It is costing us.

This whole thing brought me to a different level of thinking and I said,” What I want to do because I am a little bit in this funk and I want to pull myself out of it, is I want to be more conscious of when I’m going into that unproductive type of thinking or speaking, any type of complaining, criticizing, judging. I want to be aware.”In order to do that, I’m going to take a challenge and I’m going to invite you to join me with this challenge as well. That challenge is I’m going to put a jar on my desk and every time I make a complaint, or I criticize or I judge, I’m going to put a nickel, a dime, a dollar depending on how big it is and how many times I’m doing it. If you’re making the same complaint over and over again, then double the amount that you’re putting in the jar each time so that we can see at the end of the week, how much do we put in that jar. What is it costing us so that it becomes a physical reminder, a visual reminder of what it’s costing us? That could be our health that’s in that jar. That could be ourselves that are deteriorating, that are becoming cancerous because of what we’re feeding it, what we’re feeding our body and our brain. It could be the results that we’re missing. It could be the relationships that are breaking because we do have a cost when we’re not present, when we’re not resilient.

TBT 008 | Cost Of Resistance

Cost Of Resistance: Our brain is in autopilot and we’re like zombies and we go along with whatever we’re thinking.

All of these things, they create resistance. These ways of thinking, these ways of being, they create resistance. Our job is to make it what I call in my TEDx that I did, I said, “Making the unconscious conscious.”These are things that happen unconsciously. Our brain is in autopilot and we’re like zombies and we go along with whatever we’re thinking. It’s up to us to take control of our mind and to be deliberate in everything that we do. Deliberate in what we say and what we think so that we can get the results that we want. This is going to help us in this challenge and it doesn’t have to go on for a week, but let’s check in after a week and see how it’s brought that unconscious conscious to see where is it costing you and how is it costing you. Then continue to use that if it’s valuable for you and you could do it as a family, you can do it as a company. This doesn’t have to be contained within yourself.

Open up the challenge to others in your life. Once we create that unconscious and make it conscious, now that awareness allows us to make a change. We can shift it then we recognize ourselves saying those things and we recognize it faster, then we can reframe it and change it faster. Before you know it, the faster you recognize it and the faster you reframe it to something else, then what happens is, it starts to be in lightspeed. Before words come out of your mouth, you’ve already reframed it in your head. Before you make a complaint and say, “This person doesn’t know what they’re doing,” instead of, “Is this person doing the best they can, or this was a misunderstanding?” As opposed to criticizing somebody for doing it on purpose, if that’s what you’re saying. Or judging yourself and saying something to yourself like, “There you did it again.” Maybe you could say, “What did I learn from this?” Very quickly you can take those words of judgment, of resistance, of criticism, of complaining and you can shift them. You can only do that by creating awareness.

This challenge is going to help you to create that awareness, to take a look at where you’re creating resistance in your life and open up a new door so that you can get what you want faster, and so you can take back time. That’s the challenge. I look forward to hearing your results. Please do share it on Facebook and contact me. Let me know how this challenge went for you and what it meant for you, for your family, for your business. I’m going to keep you guys informed as well as to what my results were. I can only bring the challenge to you, what you do with it now is up to you. Put it into practice and take back time.


From Multitasking To Single-Tasking with Heidi Hanna

TBT 7 | Multitasking

At one point or another, our work environment has forced us to multitask. We have to take on different functions and wear different hats. Multitasking is actually counterproductive, and this is what Heidi Hanna has been teaching for the last ten years. She says that we only have a limited amount of brain power at any given time. Splitting that up between different tasks decreases how much we have. Different sources competing for your time and energy unnecessarily stress the brain, because it’s not designed to handle multiple things. The problem with doing multiple things at the same time is we don’t do each of them well, so the performance and productivity levels go down. Heidi explains we have to learn how to differentiate multiple priorities from multitasking. The key is building a support of rituals that are going to help us to do just one thing at a time in the moment when we’re feeling the pressure. The change process starts to happen when you train your brain like a muscle and strengthen your ability to single task. We are more successful if we do one thing at a time.

Listen to the podcast here:

From Multitasking To Single-Tasking with Heidi Hanna

There are people out there who spend some time multitasking. I know that I never do, but maybe there are some other people. In your book, you said that there are studies that show that multitasking is counterproductive and not only creates a decline in our performance, but also unnecessarily stresses the brain.

It always surprises me that this is still a topic because I remember studying this and teaching this. I’ve been teaching this for the last ten years and more and more studies keep coming out.I kept thinking, “People know this by now. I don’t want to keep preaching the same things,” but it never fails. We always go back to this conversation about multitasking because people feel like it’s their only option. People feel like their work environment is forcing them to multitask. What I want people to understand is that we do have multiple priorities and that’s very different from multitasking. Yes, there are multiple things going on throughout the day and we have to take on a lot of different functions and wear different hats. The important thing is that when we do each task, we are fully engaged in that task.

What so often happens is that we start feeling the pressure, the stress to get more done in less time and so we shift out of energy focus and into time focus.Time focus tells us, “If I do two things at once, it’s better than doing one.” In fact, there’s a commercial out about that now that I show in my presentation that always makes me laugh. The problem with doing two things is that we don’t do either of them well and there are some very clear studies that show that performance and productivity levels go down. We only have a limited amount of brain power at any given time. In fact, you can actually measure that. I think it’shertz or something, but there’s a number.When we’re trying to split that up between different tasks, obviously that decreases how much we have.

We also have a limited amount of what we call critical real estate.The actual areas of the brain that can be working can only work on one thing at a time.You can see that in brain scans now. It’s bringing more light to this topic that,”We are looking inside the brain and seeing this doesn’t work so well for us.” The piece of it that I always try to focus on is regardless of productivity, you are unnecessarily stressing the brain because the brain is not designed to handle multiple things. Going back again, I always try to go back and think, “I know what Heidi thinks, but what does this brain thinking?”It is very primitive. If I were in a survival situation and I had to do multiple things at once and I was under a time deadline, that’s a threat to my survival. Those stress hormones go up hoping to support me in that in case there’s a need to fight or flight or freeze or whatever that stress response might be, but I’m sitting at my desk typing on a computer with all of those hormones flooding my system.

That’s becoming toxic. It causes an inflammatory response throughout the body and it also interferes with communication channels in the brain. You can see very clearly when people are under stress that the core of the brain or the amygdala center, the stress center is fired up and it actually interferes with communication to the logical, thoughtful part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex. Now, you can see very clearly what the problem is, what’s getting in the way. All of these different sources competing for your time and energy cause an increase in stress, which as a result increases that toxic cortisol to the brain.Cortisol can kill brain cells on contact. It is by far the worst thing for you from a long-term perspective for your health and aging and all those sorts of things. I could go on and on and on about multitasking.The challenge is, the story we tell ourselves that says, “I need to modify tasks. I need to get more done in less time,” even when our heart is believing that we will be more successful if we do one thing at a time.

The key is building in supportive rituals that are going to help us because in the moment, when we’re feeling the pressure, we’re going to slip back into autopilot, which is going to say, “Do more, do more, do more.”We need those rituals that are going to support us to do one thing at a time. Even if it’s every now and then, that’s the thing, training the brain like a muscle. If we can strengthen our ability to single task, the more that we do that, the more comfortable we get with that, the more multitasking is actually going to feel uncomfortable and that’s how the change process starts to happen.

In this case, practice makes perfection or perfect?

TBT 7 | Multitasking

Multitasking: Practice makes focus. It gives us a chance to actually rewire how our brain operates.

In this case, practice makes focus. It gives us a chance to actually rewire how our brain operates. That’s the exciting thing about brain science and neuroplasticity is that we may have done something a certain way our whole entire life, but if we give our brain the right training, in this case, if we train it to focus on one thing at a time and allow it the right recovery time to recover and repair from that, it will rebuild new pathways that will pull us in the right direction.

If we take that muscle example again, is that if we don’t put any focus there and we just go to the gym once, how effective is that for getting people fit to go once? “I went. I should be fine now.” I know there are a lot of people who think that when they join a gym membership in the beginning of the year.They go once and that’s good enough, but it’s that repetitive, getting a clear process together of consistently practicing it and also having that recovery in between. The most important thing is to support yourself with an environment that supports you in achieving that.

It might be a shocker for some of you out there, maybe not for those of you who know me, but I struggle with this deep-seated belief that says, “You’re going to get more done if you multitask.” I find that I need to set myself up with different structures around myself, whether it’s setting a timer and setting objectives before I sit down.What am I going to achieve in this 50-minute slot? What are my outcomes so that I’m very clearly focused on it and that helps me to eliminate everything else and also shut down the email and the text and all that other stuff that can possibly be distractions. It’s that supportive environment that I create,that helps me to continue to do that. It starts and then builds into a ritual if you’ve got the right tools and support around you.

The more basic steps of balancing brain chemistry, again, is that when we do that, when we do our deep breathing practice, our meditation practice, we’re building a more resilient system so that we can resist the temptation to multitask more effectively. It’s not just what we do around that timeframe that’s so important. As you mentioned, setting the right environment, that’s critical. We need to do that, but we also need to make sure that our brain isn’t all jacked up in stress hormones to start with, which is going to cause us to slide back into that by taking those breaks and setting them into your schedule and recognizing them as a priority. I’ve started to tell myself, my newest mantra is meditation is mandatory because for me, starting the morning with twenty minutes of breathing and ending my day that way and transitioning, I’m a totally different person. I used to recognize that about going to the gym, but now I recognize I need to do the same thing for my brain and I make better choices throughout the day. It’s not just the benefit that you get in that moment of practice, but the resilience that you build by doing that over time. 

About Heidi Hanna

TBT 7 | MultitaskingAs an experienced speaker, Dr. Heidi Hanna has been featured at many national and global conferences, including the Fortune Magazine Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table. She is founder and Chief Energy Officer of Synergy, a consulting company providing brain-based health and performance programs for organizations, the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress, and a frequent lecturer at Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Hanna’s publications include the NY Times bestseller The SHARP Solution: A Brain-Based Approach for Optimal Performance (Wiley, Feb 2013), Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship With Stress (Wiley, Jan 2014) and Recharge: 5 Shifts to Energize Your Life (Synergy, 2015).

Defining Productivity and Being In The Productivity Zone

When you are running all over the office, you’d think things are getting done. But the reality of checking things off the list is that it isn’t just inefficient and ineffective, but also unproductive. However, this framework is still debatable because one person’s definition of productivity will differ from the other. We can be in a place where we are both efficient and effective and this is called the Productivity Zone. In this zone, you can also define productivity as a team so that everyone is on the same page, making work lighter, faster and fun.

Listen to the podcast here:

Defining Productivity and Being In The Productivity Zone

We’re going to talk about the definition of productivity. I did a radio show that I started back in 2015, and I did it for two years until I re-launched it here, and now it was called Take Charge of your Productivity. What I found was amazing is that each and every guest that I had on, I asked one simple question that was all the same. Everything else varied, depending on what the person’s background and what their expertise was, but the one question I asked everyone was, “What’s your definition of productivity and why?” What I found that was most interesting was not a single person gave me the same answer. Now, why do you think that is? What’s your definition of productivity?

Think about that. Write it down because it matters. If you’re going to be gauging and rating yourself on how productive you are, well then you need to be clear on what it is you’re rating yourself against. How will you know that you’re productive? How will you know that you’ve gotten done what makes you more productive? Because sometimes we might feel productive because we’re checking things off a list. Because our brain is getting hits of dopamine every time we check something off the list. But in reality that’s not productive. We might be busy, but that’s not necessarily productive. I want you to really think about and hone in on what’s your definition of productivity. My definition is very simple. It’s when we’re both efficient and effective. That’s why I created a framework called the Productivity Zone, which basically when we’re in the zone, we are both efficient and effective.

TBT 06 | Productivity Zone

Productivity Zone: Sometimes we might feel productive because we’re checking things off a list. We might be busy but that’s not necessarily productive.

That means we’re not under functioning and we’re not over-functioning. We’re in the zone, that productivity zone. If you’re a runner, you may have heard of that zone before. You know, when you just start running and it feels effortless and you’re just going and you’re in the zone. You probably also had those days where you got so much done. You felt like you did more today than you did last week. You were clear, you were focused, you went in plowed ahead. You know what it feels like to be in the flow, and so but we want to be in a productive flow, which means that we’re both efficient and effective. That’s my definition and what I’d like to do in this episode is just share with you some of the people that I had on my show and what were the definitions that they gave that I think that you’ll find really, really interesting. I want you to think about those and reflect upon each and every one of them.

Also as you reflect upon your own, I want you to think about the people that you work with around you. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you work with other people, you have partners, you have other people that you interact with that you might outsource to and so forth. I want you to think about not only what your definition is, but how are you interacting with others because they might have a different definition and that might put you in a different place. You might want to also include some discussion as you’re working together to get very clear on the things that you consider to be productive work. This was actually a topic for me with one of my clients who was used to working on his own. I was a financial planner and he brought in an assistant and he was really frustrated with this assistant because they were doing studying and other types of things during the workday and that in his opinion, was something that you do after work. He has a different idea of productivity than she does.

She’s obviously being productive because she’s studying for an important exam that’s going to help her in her career and that’s going to help her in her role with him. However, they have different ideas, different expectations, and when we work with others and we have different expectations that can be a challenge. It can create resistance, it can create conflict, and so it’s important that not only do you know your definition of productivity, but you get really clear in sharing that with other people or working together to create a common definition of productivity so that everybody is on the same page. Go ahead and enjoy the definitions of those that I’ve interviewed in the past. Go ahead and enjoy this next segment with the various different definitions of productivity from people who have been on my show in the past.

Do you know what productivity really means? Do you know what it means to you, in your life, with your relationships and environment and circumstances? Are you clear on exactly what you’re here to improve? How do you define productivity and why do you define it that way?

I define productivity so much of it around what happens when you’re not in the picture. I think it is about how productive they are but I believe that quantum productivity really starts with how effective are you when you’re not in the way.

What I would define as productivity is the constructive contribution a person makes to others that results in some lasting improvement. The constructive contribution that you’re capable of making to others that result in some lasting improvement could be a better mouse trap, could be a better team, could be a better marriage.

My definition of productivity is simply an equation of productivity equals your energy divided by the resistance or energy equals the amount of time and effort it takes to accomplish a task versus the resistance of getting those tasks finished.

The ability for you to get the things done that you want to get done the things done that you want to get done while essentially optimizing your body’s ability to function during that process because a lot of people get things done. They’re burnt out, they’re stressed. They can’t do it for very long because it’s not stable. It’s really the ability to get things done in a long-term sustainable way.

Productivity is obviously wanting to have something productive come out of it. You want to produce something. I think that oftentimes we look at the quantity or we look at how many things we can cross off of our to-do list and sometimes we actually have to slow down and do less in order to ultimately have more output.

There are two aspects to a process. You have output and you have inputs. Productivity is defined by the outputs need to go up, as the inputs need to go down. In a sense, the formula for that is productivity equals output over input.

Productivity to me is really about getting to the heart of what is the absolute most important thing for me to do and then really focusing on that and ignoring every other distraction.

Now, it’s your turn. Here’s the exercise. First, write down what is your definition of productivity? Do it now. Second, what has to happen in order for you to feel productive? List those things in a piece of paper. This is your first step in enabling you to create the championship psychology so that every day you can give your 100% to get your productivity so that you feel that you’re getting the most out of every day.

What did you think? Did it make you change your definition of productivity a little bit? Did it enable you to see some other perspectives? I’m sure it did and as we open up our perspectives, we get wiser. We can be more strategic in the way that we approach things and that’s our objective here. I hope that gave you some additional reflections, some other perspectives to think about, maybe it changed your definition of productivity, or maybe it just enhanced your overall view of the topic, getting you to think in a more strategic in a wider way. That’s what this whole show is about. That was, “What is productivity?” and we’ll look forward to other great episodes that are coming up. I’m really excited of what we’ve got on deck and the people that we’ve got to interview, so make sure that you’re here for the future episode and I’ll see you in the next episode.

I hope that expanded your horizons a little bit and opened up perspectives for you to think a little bit more about what definition you’re really giving your productivity, and how you’re looking at it, and how you’re interacting with others. I’m glad that you were here and continue with us for other great episodes that are going to talk about important topics, tools, tips and books that are going to help to support you in taking back your time.

Thanks for being here for another great episode of Take Back Time. My name is Penny Zenker. I’ll see you in the next episode.

Important Links:

Keeping It Simple with Ron Klein, The Grandfather Of Possibilities

TBT 05 | Keeping It Simple

Ron Klein is known as the grandfather of possibilities. His innovations and creations, things that we don’t really think much about, have become part of our everyday life, like the magnetic strip on the credit card, MLS for real estate, and voice response for the banking industry, among others. He shares that keeping it simple is the key to being an innovator. His innovations stem from solving a problem and how you go about doing it. What he does when he wants to convey an idea or a concept of how to simplify or come up with a solution to a problem is how he communicates. Get back to the basics, break down the problem and solve it. Everything else is the minutia in the journey.

We’re going to talk about problem-solving. As a special guest with a short interview, I have Ron Klein. Ron Klein is an ordinary man who accomplishes extraordinary things. He is a problem solver and every solution that he has come up with has resulted in monumental change, either in a new invention or a simple solution. His innovative ideas have changed the world. He is the inventor of the magnetic strip on the credit card, the credit card validity checking system, and the developer of computerized system for real estate, which is the MLS, Multi-Listing Service, which millions of people use around the world. He has also developed a voice response for the banking industry and bond quotation and trade Information for the New York Stock Exchange. This man is an innovator, is creative, and most importantly, he’s a problem-solver. Ron’s latest patent is for a device that enables a visually impaired person the ability to identify an item when in physical range of the item. It utilizes a special smart phone and special coded adhesive labels. He is solving various different problems and I wanted to bring him for a short interview so that you could hear what and how an innovator of this type solves problems.

Listen to the podcast here:

Keeping It Simple with Ron Klein, The Grandfather Of Possibilities

With this premier of Take Back Time, a new podcast that I’m doing, I’m meeting some amazing people, Ron Klein. I can’t even talk about all the accomplishments that he has achieved and the inventions that he’s done. He’s such a strategic thinker, such an incredible person as well. Ron, I wouldn’t do you justice in talking about some of the things that you have invented. I’d love you to introduce yourself and tell us what has meant the most to you in those accomplishments.

The ability to solve problems and provide benefits for people and give back. The thing that is so exciting is I am not empty yet, and I can still contribute, so that’s what’s important to me.

What are some of those problems that you have solved? Some people might not be familiar with your work.

A couple of simple things. I invented the magnetic strip on the credit card, MLS for real estate, voice response for the banking industry, when you get your account information back in voice. I automated the New York Stock Exchange, provided program in trading, developed a bond quotation and trading system for corporate listed bonds, the treasury system.

What sparks some of these ideas? Is it a problem you’re personally having that you go to solve? Did somebody come to you and say, “I have this problem”?

I never classified myself as an inventor. I say I’m an innovator because inventors sit there and think about, “What am I going to invent today?” I don’t do that. I look at things as if someone comes to me with a problem or a challenge, I identify that challenge, I simplify everything tremendously. I identify what’s the given that I’m working with and what is the solution we’re looking for. I don’t get caught up in the minutia, the journey in between. Those things we solve along the way because to be an innovator, you have to be smart, daring, and different. When I say smart, I don’t mean a PhD from Harvard. I mean be aware and learn something new every day, pay attention. There’s an offer from everybody that can teach us something new. To be daring, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning anything. If you painted the wrong color the first time, paint it a different color. The last thing that’s so important, we don’t sell ideas, we provide benefits. If you provide a benefit that you’re smart, then you’ll reap from it.

I want to come back to simplicity. You know that somebody has a great gift when they can simplify something. It’s easy to make things complex and it’s hard to make things simple. What do you do to stay away from the minutia, from all those noise that keeps you from being clear?

We learned that in eighth grade in school when they gave us word problems. All the ancillary information that was combined and condensed in the word problem, you have to sift out what is the issue? What is the given that you have to work with? What do you personally want to solve or what do you want to solve business-wise? Everything else is the minutia in the journey. Along the way, if you hit a roadblock on the interstate, get off and get back on at some other location. That’s pretty simple.

If we go back to the basics of what we learned in grade school and in our early learning process, we learned how to keep it simple and how to break down problems, and then somewhere along the line, we forget.

I always say, “I refuse to have a battle of wits with another person.” What I want to do is if I want to convey my idea or my concept of how to simplify or come up with a solution to a problem, I find out what it is that the other person can understand or is familiar with that I can equate my challenge to them so that we begin communicating. That is what is so important.

TBT 05 | Keeping It Simple

Keeping It Simple: Work at understanding that there’s no difference between work and play, it’s just how you govern your time.

The theme of my new podcast is Take Back Time. It’s related about how we can think more strategically to create more time for ourselves. What would your tip for the audience be from a strategic thinker, from a billionaire mindset? What advice can you give or counsel can you give?

Work at understanding that there’s no difference between work and play, it’s just how you govern your time.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

The podcast is going to have great people like Ron Klein and other amazing business experts, leaders, and entrepreneurs that I’m going to share their wisdom with you. It’s Take Back Time.

That was Ron Klein who’s the grandfather of possibilities, an innovator that has brought great change and innovation to our day-to-day life. He does it through keeping it simple, through getting very clear on what the problem is that he’s looking to solve, and to block out all the other noise that is irrelevant. He looks at the facts the way that they are. He doesn’t make things better than they are or worse than they are. He understands them just as they are. That’s one of the things that’s going to help us to take back time is being able to solve problems faster, to be able to get very clear on what the problem is, to break it down, and then to solve the problem. I want to add a few things to what Ron said to get clear of how you can simplify things and use techniques to take back time regarding faster problem-solving.

The first thing might sound counterproductive but you need to make more time for defining the problem. That may sound counterproductive but the fact is it’s not because many people define the problem either too high. The problem is unsolvable because it’s not specific enough or they’re working with others and they don’t have a common clear definition of what the problem is. Each of the different people who are working on the project have a slightly different understanding of what the problem is. You want to get clear on defining the problem. To reinforce this fact, Einstein has a quote and he said, “If I had an hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.” Here’s one of the great thinkers, along with Ron Klein, who have said that defining the problem is absolutely key. The first thing is to make sure you’re defining the problem in the right way. You have to challenge assumptions that come along with what your initial solutions are that you’re thinking about. Challenge your assumptions around the problem. That’s going to help you get even more specific about the problem and it’s going to help you to eliminate some blocks that you might have because of assumptions that you’ve made that are not relevant, that are more noise that keep you from getting to the solution that you want.

I want to give you a business example that will help you to take a look at that. I was working with a flight school organization and they were looking to get more people into their flight school. What happened was when I came into the picture, they had just hired a company to do their search engine optimization, which was to bring in more traffic to their website because their assumption of the problem was that they needed more traffic. That in itself might be fine. That is a strategy to get more sales, but when we looked at the big picture and understanding all the facts of where their business was, and we looked at the website itself and who it was targeting and how it was targeting the group, they actually were not using the right language, the right pictures, and they were doing nothing to capture any of the people that were coming to the website. Therefore, spending money on generating traffic for the website is a great strategy when that is the current problem. That wasn’t the current problem because they weren’t going to be able to capture anybody who came to the website and they are not attracting the people that they were doing the search engine optimization for were not being spoken to on the site as it was.

They were a step ahead of themselves. They didn’t define the problem in the right way for where they were at that time. They were throwing money away. What we needed to do was to go back in and define what the problem was. We understand that the goal was to make more sales. That was the goal. They had a very specific goal of how many new people they wanted to be registering for flight courses and training every single month. Then we need to look at who is it that they’re targeting. Are we targeting the right people? That was the problem with where they were at that point in time. It was they were not targeting the right people for this training. The website needed to be completely updated and also have a place to capture information that when they drove people to the site, they’d be able to immediately capture information for those who were ready to take the next step. That was the problem at that particular time.

That’s why it’s so important to define and understanding clearly where you are now. If this is your business and you’re looking for innovation in your business. What is the current problem? What is the first thing that you need to solve, so that you can then get to the next thing and then the next thing in the bigger picture? You need to break it down. The higher level problem was they weren’t getting enough people, but you need to break that problem down into as specific as possible because if you think about it, at the high level that the problem is we’re not getting enough people to sign up, it’s too high level. Therefore, you might think it can be solved in a lot of different ways because it’s so high level. When you can get more specific about where exactly is the problem for you right now with where you stand, then you’re going to be able to come up with a much clearer and better solution that’s going to solve the current problem. You can then find out what the next challenge or obstacle is, so that you can get to the bigger problem.

TBT 05 | Keeping It Simple

Keeping It Simple: If you hit a roadblock on the interstate, get off and get back on at some other location.

I hope I’ve made that clear for you and that you’re able to walk away with breaking things down, make it simpler. Ron said, “It’s about simplifying, it’s about removing the noise. The way that you do that is you break that problem down and you spend time understanding the problem.” As Einstein said, “You take probably more time than you think you need to in making sure that you define the right problem, because the solution comes quite easily and quickly when you’ve defined the problem in the right way and you’re going to be challenging it and then you’re going to make a decision and you’re going to move forward.” In that whole process, that’s going to make you more efficient and effective. It may take a little bit more time upfront, but it’s going to save you time on the backend because you are going to be coming up with better solutions and they’re going to be implemented faster. They’re going to be getting you the results that you want rather than coming up with a solution like that flight company did that spent a lot of money. It wasn’t the right thing for that particular time in their business.

This can be applied in any area of your life. This can be applied according to weight loss, if that’s where you’re looking to be more effective in your problem-solving and identifying that the problem is in your nutrition or finding out specifically where the area is that that you need to solve that problem. The choice is yours what you do next with this information. It’s not just about understanding and hearing it. It’s about putting it into practice in your life. Where can you simplify, block out the noise, and get clearer on what the challenges are that you face in specifics so that you can solve those problems.

Join us again next time when we’re going to bring other great interviews. We’re going to bring other great tips and we’re going to help you to take back time.

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About Ron Klein

TBT 05 | Keeping It SimpleRon Klein is an ordinary man who accomplishes extraordinary things. He is a PROBLEM SOLVER. Every solution has resulted in monumental change, either in a new invention or a simple solution. His innovative ideas have changed the world. He is the inventor of the Magnetic Strip on the Credit Card, Credit Card Validity Checking System and the developer of computerized systems for Real Estate (MLS) Multiple Listing Services, Voice Response for the Banking Industry and BOND Quotation and Trade Information for the New York Stock Exchange.

Ron‘s latest patent is for a device that enables a visually impaired person the ability to identify an item when in physical range of that item. It utilizes a smartphone and special coded adhesive labels. Visit www.EnvisionEli.com for additional information and to download the free app.