Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with L3 Founder, Doug Smith. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Doug, check out our show notes.
Doug Smith: 00:00 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 217
Doug Smith: 00:16 everyone, and welcome
Doug Smith: 00:17 to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host. I hope you’re doing well. In today’s episode, you’ll hear me share a lesson on how I get things done and stay motivated. Before we jump into that, just a few announcements. I want to let you know we’re hosting our first annual one-day L3 leadership conference on Friday, March Fifteenth, 2019 at the Marriott here inCranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Just 20 minutes outside of the city of Pittsburgh are keynote speakers for this year’s conference, or Matt Keller, the pastor of Next Level Church in Fort Myers, Florida. Dr. Chris Howard, the President of Robert Morris University, Saleem Ghubril, the executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise and Kim Fleming, the CEO of Heparin Tillotson. They’re going to be incredible. We also have a panel discussion on marketing with some local business leaders that are going to be amazing. We have breakout sessions and so much more and so I just want to encourage you to sign up for the conference were just over a month away.
Doug Smith: 01:11 You can learn more about the conference and sign up at L3one-day.com. Again, that’s L3one-day.com. I hope to see you there. I also want to thank our sponsor, Alex Tulandin. Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty and if you are looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy. He’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and he would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more at Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com. With that being said, let’s dive right into the lesson and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.
Doug Smith: 01:43 Hey everyone today I’d like to talk to you on the subject of how I get things done and stay motivated. This is something that comes up often when I’m meeting with people one on one. They say, how do you do everything that you do or how do you get so much done? In fact, someone actually recently challenged me to do a podcast episode on this very lesson, and so here it is, and so let’s dive right into this. I’m going to break this lesson into three different parts. Part one is focused on the mindsets and attitudes that you need to develop in order to be as productive as possible. Part two, which will be the bulk of the lesson, we’ll focus on tactical things you can do to be as productive as possible, and then part three, which I’ll wrap up in one or two minutes, or just be ways that I stay motivated.
Doug Smith: 02:20 Oftentimes people say, hey, you know, I, I get really excited and I can say discipline for a month, but then I started to burn out and lose motivation. How can I stay motivated over the long haul? So that I don’t burn out. And so I’ll just share some ways that I stay motivated. And, I believe there’ll be helpful to you. So let’s dive right into this. First, I want to talk to you about some mindsets and attitudes that you need to develop in order to be as productive as possible, and the first thing I would tell you under this category is something that I tell people all the time is that you need to wake up to the reality that this is the only life that you get. This is the only life that you get. You do not get another shot at this.
Doug Smith: 02:53 I love what Morrie Schwartz said in the book Tuesdays with Morrie, he said, everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody it. If we did, we would do things differently. Everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently. And unfortunately, I learned about how short life is. When I was 17 years old, my mom passed away and she only lived to be 55 years old. Two years later, my mother in law passed away. She was 47 when she passed. And so from a very young age, I realized that that life is so short. Whether you get 55 years or you get a hundred years, it is going to go by like a breeze and you get one shot at this thing called life, and so the principle here is the more aware you are of your mortality, the more seriously you’ll take being intentional with your life.
Doug Smith: 03:39 I’ll say that again. The more aware you are of your mortality, the more seriously you’ll take being intentional with your life. It’s an attitude you need to develop. You get one shot at this life. The second thing that I would encourage you to do is to become a student of time management. Become a student of time management. The reality is we all have the same 24 hours in a day and yet we don’t all accomplish the same amount of things and so if we’re going to be more productive than we need to get better at managing our time and to do that, you need to study and become a student of time management. One of my favorite resources in this area is a book by Brian Tracy. I try to read it every year in the beginning of the year. It’s called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy again.
Doug Smith: 04:16 That’s Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, one of the best books out there. Very easy read. I encourage you to pick it up today. Someone else said I would encourage you to study, when it comes to time management is Michael Hyatt. I’ll be talking about some of his systems in a minute, but Michael Hyatt has some excellent resources on time management as well. And the other thing is just to study and asked people how they use their time. You know, here are a few of my favorite questions when I’m meeting with leaders. Hey leader, in this season of your life, what is the greatest investment and use of your time? How do you manage your time daily? Can you run me through how you are as productive as possible on a daily basis? And then another idea is to actually write down everything that you do with your time every day and bring it to a leader or a mentor in your life and say, hey, look over my calendar.
Doug Smith: 05:00 Look over my to-do list, look over how I spend my time and give me feedback. What areas do you see that I could grow in? Are there things I could delegate? Are there things that I’m spending my time on that I shouldn’t be, etc. And have people coach you on time management. That’s the only way that you’ll get better. Become a student of time management. The third mentality that I will tell you to adopt this, to always be adapting, always be adapting. There’s a story I love that Bob Beal shared. He was shadowing a psychologist and they were meeting with clients and this was a husband and wife and they just had their third child and they were talking and the husband said, you know, doc, we just had our third kid in life seems absolutely crazy and almost unmanageable and I just I’m having a really hard time with this.
Doug Smith: 05:41 Can you tell me, doc, when his life going to go back to normal and the doctor smarter than said, you know, sir, this is the new normal. This is the new normal and you need to adjust. It’s never going to go back to being as easy as it was when you had two kids or one kid or we’re just married. This never going to go back. This is a new normal and so you need to adjust and I can tell you that that is absolutely true in life. You’re gonna learn. You’re going to have to always be adapting to new seasons because what worked in one season may not work in another. You know, I tell my wife often and there’s a line in a song that Eminem and yes, I’m quoting Eminem and a productivity podcast episode, but he said, I’m not a rapper,
Doug Smith: 06:20 I’m an adapter, I can adjust. And when Laura and I enter into a new season that seems like it’s going to be complex, I just tell her that. I said, listen, we’re adapters, we can adjust. We’ll make this work. We’ll figure out a new system. This is our new normal and we will make it work. And so you always have to be adapting. If you’re going to be as productive as possible, and the fourth mentality that I would tell you to adopt in the last one is when you’ve reached your capacity, get help. When you’ve reached your capacity, get help. In fact, I would probably tell you to get help before you’ve reached your capacity. But I found that a lot of times people aren’t willing to ask for help until they’ve reached it. And so if you’re willing to and humble enough to ask for help before you need it, ask for help up front.
Doug Smith: 07:00 But if not, when you’ve reached your capacity when you feel like you can’t possibly squeeze anything else into your life, you need to ask for help so you can ask other people to help, volunteer, to help you. You can pay other people, but at some point, you need to be willing to ask for help if you’re going to get everything done that you need to. So those are some mindsets that I want you to develop before we dive into the tactical parts. I hope they encouraged you. So let’s dive right into the tactical part of the lesson. The first thing I would tell you if you want to be as productive as possible is that you need to get a vision for your life and then you need to create a life plan. You need to get a vision for your life and create a life plan.
Doug Smith: 07:36 It’s been said that without a vision, people perish. And that’s why I think so many people aren’t productive with their lives is because they have no vision. And so they get to the end of their lives and they look back and say, what did I do? And the reality is the answer is nothing. Why? Because you never took the time to get a vision and to create a life plan and to be intentional with your life. And so how do you get a vision for your life? Again, I’m a person of faith so I have to be real and open and honest with you. I believe you find your vision and you find your calling in life by pursuing God. You know, they say that the two greatest days in your life are the day that you were born and then the day that you find out why, and I believe that if you pursue God, that he is a specific plan for your life and he will reveal that to you and that is how you get vision for your life.
Doug Smith: 08:15 So that’s me personally on how I get vision for my life, it’s just following God and then I would encourage you to create a life plan and I learned this concept from Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. They wrote a book on this concept called living forward and it actually will walk you step by step through the process of creating a life plan, but all you do and creating a life plan is to take the areas of life and I’ll just show them quickly. Your family, work and career, spiritual, financial, friends in health and fitness. You take those areas and say, okay, at the end of my life, what would I want to say about that area of my life and the way that I lived or stewarded? That part of my life. So, hey, at the end of my life, what do I want people to be able to say about the way I stewarded my finances?
Doug Smith: 08:59 What do I want to say about the way that I raised my family, etc. Right? And so you take each of those areas and then all of a sudden, boom, you have a vision for that area. Hey, here’s what I want my family life to look like 50 years from now and we’re going to go into it. But that’s when you start to break it down into goals. Okay? If at the end of my life I want my family to look like this, then what do I need to start doing today in order to get there? Right? To the destination. And those are called goals, which we’ll jump into. But so I wanna encourage you just to buy the book Living Forward. And this is a bonus assignment, which may sound a little creepy. But I think you’re going to leave an impact. It’s something that I’ve done.
Doug Smith: 09:35 I actually did with a group of people. But I want to encourage you, when you’re doing a life plan, go to a cemetery, go to a cemetery, bring a journal, and just spend a little bit of time just going around and looking at the tombstones, you know, see what people wrote on their tombstones to summarize their life. Just look at the dash in between the dates and just realize life is short. I think there’s something about, again, going back to the brevity of life and how short it is, there’s something about realizing that we’re not here forever that will cause you to be more intentional and I think it’ll help you dream a little bit about the areas of your life and your life plan. So get a vision and develop a life plan. Once you have a life plan, the great thing is, and a vision for your life, that is what helps you focus your days, your weeks and your months and your years to make sure that they’re going in the right direction.
Doug Smith: 10:19 They’re intentional and that’s when you start to get really, really excited about, about just being intentional and productive with your life. So once you have a life plan, everything else becomes pretty simple. So let’s talk about goal setting for a second. So how do you set goals? People always have trouble with this. Well, I set my annual goals based on my life plan. I set my annual goals based on my life plan. Okay. So I’m going to go through all of those areas. I’m going to go through family, my work, my spiritual life, my financial life, my friends, my health and fitness and say okay, based on my life plan of where I want my life to end up, what do I need to do this year to take steps towards that. Right? So, based on my life plan, what do I need my finances to look like at the end of 2019, my relationships, my work, et cetera.
Doug Smith: 11:02 And so that’s how I process and think through goals. And then for me personally, this is what I do to write down goals and I just write down 10 crazy, awesome things that I want to accomplish by the end of the year. And they’re usually in those categories of the life plan. I just write down 10 crazy awesome things I would like to accomplish. I will just share mine in case it’s helpful for you for 2019 and I will say this, I rewrite my goals every week and so some of these will change by the end of the year, but here’s my current goals. Number one, I want to continue to save a big as a down payment as we can for our next house while continuing Dave Ramsey’s baby steps four, five and six simultaneously. We want to go on one family vacation together in 2019. We want to have one monthly date night and one monthly family memory outing each month.
Doug Smith: 11:48 That’s our family goal every month. For my career, I need to raise x amount of money for the Light of Life Rescue Mission in addition to the capital campaign. For L3 Leadership, I wouldn’t have 300 leaders at L3 one-day. Speaking of what, you should be there, March 15th. If you’re listening to this, we’d love to see you here in Pittsburgh. The already talked about that, I guess in the intro. But anyway, 300 leaders, we want to see there, we want to have 200 members of L3 Leadership by the end of the year and bringing the annual revenue of x. I want to know God intimately by spending time, daily time with him in prayer and just getting quiet. I want to work out and track what I eat, five to seven days a week and stay between 180 and 185 pounds all year. I want once a month, one to intentionally invest in family, a friend or a leader once a month, and then I want to create written content and curriculum in addition to the L3 podcast for L3 Leadership.
Doug Smith: 12:39 Those are my top 10 goals for the year and so I encourage you to write down your goals every year, but base it off your life plan, so some gold tips for you. If you’re not great at setting goals, I do encourage you to write out your top 10 goals every week in your journal. That way it keeps them in front of you. Some of the goals that you’ve set initially at the beginning of the year may not end up being goals when you write them week after week. So write them down every week. Write down why you want to accomplish them. I truly believe that the more reasons you have to do something, the more likely you are to do it. So why do you want to accomplish that? I said, make sure that you’re including next steps in your weekly to-do list. I’ll talk about that in a minute. Write down your reward.
Doug Smith: 13:16 Hey, so once I hit this goal, what am I going to do? Are we going to go out to dinner? Are we going to go on a trip? What am I going to do once I hit this goal? Journal again, I talked about this a little bit, but reflect on your goals every single week, your progress, et cetera. some people like to write their goals on index cards and keep them with them again as a way to keep them in front of them. And then lastly, I put to share your goals with others. Go public. So, hey, I just shared my top 10 goals with you, that’s public, so that creates some accountability and inspiration for me. I’ve blogged about them in the past, I share them on social media. I also, I’m in a mastermind group and so we share goals with our entire mastermind group, but go public, it’ll help you with your goals.
Doug Smith: 13:54 So again, the big concept there, set your annual goals, quarterly goals, et cetera, off of your life plan, and then just start to break them into little steps. All right, so now you’ve developed your life plan and have a vision for your life and you’ve broken that life plan into annual goals. Now let’s talk about the actual tactical day to day. How do you work in a way that day to day you’re moving the ball forward in such a way that you accomplish everything that you want to accomplish and that’s in your heart. Let’s talk about that. The resource that I’ll recommend to you here that I swear by and I’ve been telling everyone about is the full focus planner. It’s a tool developed by Michael Hyatt, a journal. It’s a game changer. I’ve been using it since October 2018 and it’s taken my productivity to an entirely new level.
Doug Smith: 14:35 My wife would say the same thing. We absolutely love it and swear by it, and so the full focus planner by Michael Hyatt. Everything that I’m about to mention is in the full focus planner and format it really nice and it’s extremely easy to use it so I can’t recommend it enough, so here’s what I do on a day to day basis to make sure that I’m as productive as possible. The first thing I do is I plan out my day and my full focus planner. I write out all the appointments for the day after I review my calendar and then I write down my to-do list for the day again it may be 30 things. It might be five things. It doesn’t really matter, but I write out everything that I can think of that needs done that day out of my to-do list. I then determined my top three priorities, so hey, out of everything I’ve written down if I don’t get anything else done, here are the three things I must get done to move the ball forward and I make those my priorities.
Doug Smith: 15:21 And then I basically, I don’t go to bed unless I haven’t accomplished my top three priorities and that’s all I do for planning my day. And then I basically have that open all throughout the day and I’m checking things off and making sure that I’m getting things done. It’s awesome. So you plan out your day and then you execute it and just keep the full focus planner with you. I also put, just as a side note, schedule everything. Schedule everything. John Maxwell once said, the question isn’t whether your calendar before the question is who will fill your calendar. And so schedule your workout, those top your workout throughout the day. You know, those three top priorities, put them in your calendar. Hey, from 9:00 to 10:00, I’m focused on priority 1, 10 to 11 priority two, hey, here’s what I’m going to work out.
Doug Smith: 16:03 Here’s when I’m eating lunch, schedule, everything, and here’s just a side note. If you have side hustles, Chalene Johnson said this one thing, it was a game changer. She said I’m scheduled three hours of execution time on your goals. Schedule three hours of execution time each week on your goals and so maybe some of you need to do that for some of your side hustles or dreams that you don’t have time to get to a throughout your regular work week. The other thing I would tell you when it comes to being productive is take advantage of your morning time or evening time. Some of you are morning people, some of you are evening time. Take advantage of that time. Do not waste that time. Don’t spend five hours a night watching Netflix when you could be getting things done unless you don’t care about getting things done, but if you want to be as productive as possible, take advantage of those times.
Doug Smith: 16:44 For me, I’m a morning person. I’m worthless past 8:00 at night. I’m ready for bed, but in the mornings from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM, I’m on fire and so every morning I spend time reading, I pray, I go through my full focus planner and plan my day and plan out my work. I actually get some work done. I work out and get ready for my day. Again, that’s my sweet time where I get tons and tons of execution done during those three hours. So I encourage you whether it’s morning time or evening time, take advantage of those hours that you have. And the last thing that’s enabled me to be as productive as possible is doing a weekly review. This is also in the full focus planner, but when you do a weekly review, every week you, you share your top three to five biggest wins from the previous week.
Doug Smith: 17:24 You have to write down the progress that you made on the top three priorities that you set the previous week. And then based on how you did with that progress, you write down what worked and what didn’t. That was a game changer for me. What I realized early on in doing this was I was never making any progress towards my top three priorities. Basically, I was just writing them down because I knew they were important, but I actually didn’t schedule them and so I had to get real with myself on why aren’t I making progress with these priorities and that the changes that enabled me to make have been a game changer. You do a list sweep every week. This has been awesome as well. I used to write down to do list on pieces of paper and, and sometImes on Evernote and I’d go back and forth and I’d have 100 to do lists.
Doug Smith: 18:06 Now I have it all in one journal and I’m able to go back over the last week and do a list sweep and go through each day and say, what didn’t I get to that I wrote down that I want to get to. And then you actually put that on an entirely new what list, which becomes your to-do list for the following week. It’s awesome, but you have to see It in the full focus planner. And then you just write down what your next three priorities are for the following week and then you just go to the day to day tactical things. Again, you start scheduling out your days. The only other thing I would add is I also do a weekly staff meeting with Laura and so we’ll go through our week and our calendar and talk about what’s important, what needs to be done, et cetera. And that’s been a game changer as well.
Doug Smith: 18:41 So pretty simple stuff. I mean more than anything, the solution here is, hey, go buy Full Focus Planner, I think it will change your life. And so that’s what I do on a day to day basis to stay productive and all in this lesson. Just sharing a few things that I do to stay motivated. That’s something that people often ask me is how to a, how do I stay motivated because it’s so easy to burn out and just give up. But here’s what I do to stay motivated. I have a personal growth plan and I do something every day to grow in the areas that I want to grow in. So every day I read books, every day I listen to podcasts, and every day I connect with leaders that are excelling in areas that I want to grow in and that keeps me inspired and motivated. So the daily growth, if you don’t have a daily personal growth plan, I encourage you to develop one that could be a whole different episode and maybe I’ll do one day. Second is I’m in a mastermind group.
Doug Smith: 19:26 I tell people this often, we have mastermind groups here at l three, but it’s been the biggest source of growth for me over the past four years that keeps me motivated knowing that I’m going to meet with a group of 10 to 12 guys every two weeks and be accountable for my goals and being encouraged, et cetera. The Full Focus Planner has helped me stay motivated again, it enables me to go over my goals on a weekly basis and the progress that I’ve made and be grateful for the progress you’ve made. You may not have made all the progress you want, but any progress is progress. So be grateful for it and celebrate it. I encourage you, if you have a spouse or significant other, meet with them and go over your goals and your progress and celebrate each other and encourage each other.
Doug Smith: 20:06 I also work out and eat healthy as often as I can. I also found that this helps me to stay motivated and focused. I wrote if you’re a person of faith, pray and stay connected with God on a daily basis that will help you stay motivated. And then I just wrote down lastly and kind of where we started, but remember that life is short, but it’s also long. I’ll say that again, life is short, but it’s also long and I know that may contradict what I said earlier, but the reality is we often overestimate what we can do in a year, but we underestimate what we can do in five years or 10 years or 20 years. And so just keep growing every day. Hey, you may not see the results as fast as you want to, but if you just keep doing what you should be doing day in and day out and day in and day out and just be consistent, the results will come, just keep going. So that’s the lesson. That’s how I stay as productive as possible. I hope that maybe you were able to take a few things from this and apply them in your life and be a little more productive today than you were yesterday. Thanks so much and I look forward to talking to you next episode.
Doug Smith: 21:07 Hey everyone. thank you so much for listening to my lesson on how I get things done and stay motivated. I hope that it added value to your life. You can get key takeaways and links to everything that I mentioned in the episode in the show notes at L3leadership.org/episode217. I want to thank our sponsor, Henne Jewelers, their jewelry by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura and I got our engagement and our wedding rings through many jewelers and we just think they’re an incredible company. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every engaged couple that comes into their store, a book to help them prepare for marriage. And we just love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com,
Doug Smith: 21:46 you can also stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 Leadership by signing up for our email list. And when you sign up you’ll get a free copy of my ebook Making the Most of Mentoring, which is my step by step process for getting in, cultivating mentoring relationships with leaders. I think it’ll add massive value to your life, so make sure you sign up for that on our website as well. And as always, I like to end with a quote and I will quote John Maxwell as I have to do, and he said this, he said, “Goals help leaders do better, but growth helps leaders become better.” I’ll say that again. “Goals help leaders do better, but growth helps leaders become better.” Thanks so much for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next week.