Carey Nieuwhof | Incredible Productivity and Never Burn Out

Carey Nieuwhof | Incredible Productivity and Never Burn Out

In today’s episode, we cover peak performance and burnout with Carey Nieuwhof. Carey is the author of the best selling “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences” and the host of one of our favorite podcasts, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.

With all of the pressure to increase output and creativity these days, burn out is a real threat, so what are the warning signs you’re entering a dangerous burn out cycle, how can you avoid it, and how can you improve your skill set without risking burn out? 

What to Listen For

  • Introduction and Carey’s history with burnout – 2:00
  • How do you manage the risks of burnout when building a business or focusing on your career?  
  • What does it mean to be at your best? – 14:10
  • What is one of the biggest myths about building a fulfilling career and life?
  • What forms does burnout take and how can you recognize when you need help?
  • The stress spiral and how to avoid it  – 25:09 
  • What are the warning signs you are stuck in the destructive stress spiral?
  • What are the three types of energy zones we all have in a day and how do you identify them so you know when to do your best work and when to avoid doing work?
  • Always be working on your gifts and skills  – 43:45 
  • How do world-class performers work to improve their talents and abilities?
  • What do many of us allow our lives to be filled with that we should be saying no to?
  • What exercise can you use to easily structure your week ahead of time so you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed or burned out?
  • Why should you set goals for yourself if you want to learn how to start saying no effortlessly?

If you are feeling burnt out at work, it might have less to do with how much you’re working and more to do with when you’re trying to work. It has been shown that humans have a specific window of peak energy during the day, and if you try to push yourself too far outside of that window, the effects can be detrimental to your productivity as well as your physical and mental health. By structuring your day around your individual peak window, you can revitalize your passion and productivity while easily saying no to work and appointments that don’t serve you.

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Resources from this Episode

Speaker 1: Well go back to the art of charm podcast, a show designed to help you communicate with power and become unstoppable on your path from hidden genius to influential leader.

Speaker 2: Now we know you have what it takes to reach your full potential at each and every week. We share with you interviews and strategies to help you transform your life by helping you unlock your X factor, whether you're in sales, leadership, medicine, building client relationships, or looking for love. We got what you need. You shouldn't have to settle for anything less than extraordinary. I'm J

Speaker 1: And I'm Johnny. Now let's kick off today's show. Thank you everyone for tuning in today. We're speaking with our good friend, Carrie new Hoff. Carrie is the author of the bestselling book. Didn't see it coming overcoming the seven greatest challenges that no one expects, but everyone experiences and his newest book at your best, how to get time, energy and priorities working in your favor, came out this month. And we're excited to talk about it. He's also the host of one of our favorite leadership podcasts, the carry new Hoff leadership podcast. Now today's show is going to be a little bit different because you're joining an exciting conversation we had with Carrie. Normally we love to introduce the guests to start the show, but you're going to be hopping in to a lively conversation that Johnny and I enjoyed, and we want to share the whole conversation with you all. All right. Well, great to have you carry.

Speaker 3: It's a joy to be with you. Thanks so much for having me a J Johnny. Good to be with you.

Speaker 1: Yeah, we have definitely struggled with burnout ourselves. So we're excited to talk about your new book.

Speaker 3: Well, so am I, if I can ask you, I know you're interviewing me, but how did it show up in your life? Cause it shows up in everyone's life a little bit differently. Yeah.

Speaker 1: So for us, you know, the pandemic changed our entire business model. And in doing that, we were panic stricken, really struggling to get things moving. So we were just throwing everything we possibly could at the problem and working ourselves 24 7 freaking out panicked about how we were going to replace 85% of our revenue. And we definitely just thought if we just kept working as hard as humanly possible, we'd crack that code. And it wasn't until we got a business coach and took, took a few steps back and realized that a lot of the effort and energy we were putting at solving the problem was actually working against us and leading us off course. Gosh,

Speaker 3: There's some parallels in our story. I mean, my burnout happened without a pandemic. I didn't need one to almost kill myself. Uh, but yeah, that whole idea of more hours and just pedal to the metal and we'll make it through that such a such a common thing. I think for leaders, particularly for people who own their things like senior leaders, right? This is your baby. This is what you do. And, uh, I can totally empathize. I'm so sorry to hear that

Speaker 1: We feel a better now coming out the other end. And it was interesting. We saw a lot of parallels between your book and Kevin Cruise's book, who we had on the show. Uh, and it, it actually really helped Johnny restructure his day first and then me restructure my day. So this energy clock concept has been really prevalent for both of us and how we go about building our calendar, putting together meetings, et cetera.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Kevin's the way he put it together. As, as obviously a little different, you guys both have your takes on it. However, understanding when you're at your best and what you should be doing during that time and dividing up your schedule to correlate how you're feeling and what your energy level is completely changed. The way I went about my day and just fires me up, going to bed and knowing how my days laid out the next day, what I'm doing and what I'm not doing and what I can focus on. It's certainly helpful. I'm aware. We're definitely going to talk about that today.

Speaker 3: Well, I haven't, I haven't read Kevin's book, so I'll have to read it. Although he didn't interview me for Forbes, which was very kind of him. So I'm going to have to dig into that. But yeah, you know, these are very common problems and most leaders who have made it over like decade after decade have figured out some hack around it some way, not even a hack hack sounds really cheap, but uh, for me, it was a fundamental repositioning of my life to the point where I'm leading 10, 15 X, what I was when I burned out, like in terms of size, scope, reach, impact, and like, I have a good life after we hang up the mic, I'm going to jump on my bike and do a 25 K ride.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 3: I love it. Different mindset. I love it.

Speaker 2: I want to say, I agree with you. I, an AAJ, w w two on this idea of hacks, sounding like a cheap term, however, you cannot remove it's buzz-worthy penis and it's attention grabbing abilities, which drives me even crazier because then I have to re reduce myself to using such jargon.

Speaker 3: I empathize. I know, you know, cause I still do a lot of writing on my website and we're privileged to have a lot of traffic with leaders. But if I do like five ways to build a better life, everybody yawns, nobody clicks. If it's like a five hacks, it's better or five ways you'll destroy yourself as a leader, then it goes viral. So I try to write positive articles with, with negative headlines. I don't know. I wish we lived in a different world, but we don't live in that world.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Johnny certainly been playing around with that on our podcast titles. And it's, it's funny how I don't think they will work, but the, the numbers prove it. You know, for me, I'm like, yeah, we just go with ways or steps, but you gotta destroy things. You gotta annihilate things, newcomer,

Speaker 2: Six ways, nuclear diet into a blood. Aw. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Well, you know, there is a nuance to this too, that a lot of leaders, you only see their public facing persona and you see the success in their business. We've had to unfortunately work with a lot of leaders whose personal lives are a disaster because they haven't found a hack or a cheat code to dealing with burnout and their spouse, their kids, their personal life take the brunt of it. And you know, I'd love to unpack that in this conversation too. Obviously you just spoke to a lot of top performers in writing this book. And I think that's really a secret, a hidden secret that many don't realize when we look at the social media world and we see all these leaders, we look up to the dark side of what it takes to maintain, to succeed and the cost associated with that. And some of the poor choices that a lot of leaders make around their personal life.

Speaker 3: Well, that almost happened to me. So my burnout happened back in 2006. So about 15 years ago, I had been leading for about a decade and we were in a rapid growth environment and same thing, more growth, equaled, more hours, a formula that does not scale, almost threw me in the ditch. And it was the first time I realized guys, you become so numb. Like when I burned out, I felt so numb. I don't know what your emotional condition was like, but I can see that's why people end up, you know, drinking too much. It's like, I gotta, I got to numb the pain even further. I want to feel the buzz or why you end up having an affair. And for the first time, and I didn't, you know, I, I, that's not a road. I walked down today, but it's the first time I realized, oh, this is like the pain level that causes you to do things like that.

Speaker 3: Or let's say you don't have any of that drama. You're just never home. Or your laptop is always open or you're, you're always checking your phone and eventually your partner just goes, you know what? I didn't sign up for this. I'm gone. And, uh, and she leaves and my wife and I went through a really rough patch around that time that I burned out. We were able to stay together, work through it. She actually wrote a book on that as well, called before you split. But, uh, anyway, we worked through it. So it has a different ending, but yeah, I get it. Like there's, there's a personal carnage. And I think that's one of the reasons I wrote at your best is that I wanted to try to answer the question, like to win at work. Do you have to lose at home? And I think there's almost an invisible script that says, yeah, you've got to sell your soul somewhere along the line.

Speaker 3: And I don't think you do. And there is maybe a sub genre of leaders, but a very doable model you can use that will help you not sell your soul, not burn the midnight oil every night. Hey, we all have seasons. But if your season has no beginning and ending, then it's not a season, it's your life. So like, you're going to have a busy season, right. But if you can't put Christmas on the calendar or November 12th or January 15th on the calendar to say, the season is over book, launch season is over retool season is over. You just ended up living that way and everyone can get through a season, but it's, that becomes your life. Like you're, you're, you're damaged goods. Like it's not going to not gonna scale.

Speaker 2: I think that's incredibly important to realize, and that if you are going to go into a season to definitely book market, so know when you're coming out of it, you can think about other things. And I know for AIG and myself, as we were discussing about what we were doing during the pandemic and getting out of it, and then also what, there was some things that we had been neglecting or, and certainly in our own households of celebrating holidays and, and, and being kind of present to other things that are going on. And it was just a few weeks ago for labor. They were like, Hey, let's actually celebrate this by giving our staff off rather than, oh, Hey, it's labor day. I guess you guys don't have to work today. Like, let's actually show that we're present and we're here. And we're thinking about them because things do move rapidly fast, especially in today's world. Where if you're trying to keep up with all these changes, you're trying to keep up with your business. It is incredibly difficult that the focus on other things that are going on, and certainly if you're not spending any time being present, taking account, checking in on things, then you're going to get, you're going to get lost. Hmm.

Speaker 3: Well, we don't do the same thing, but I imagine a lot of your listeners are in a similar position to what you to do or what I do in the, in the sense that I would call ourselves creative. So right. We're creative work. You're creating content, you're creating courses. You're, you're creating a good podcast, that kind of thing. And there's a growing amount. Thank goodness for brain research. There's a growing amount of brain research out there. That's showing you that your brain is like a muscle that actually needs rest. I got to talk to David Allen from getting things done. His updated 20, 20, 20, 21 edition of getting things done has a whole section at the back about brain research. And in the same way that if you were training to be an elite athlete, you know, the recipe for that is go hard in the gym or run on the track for 18 hours a day.

Speaker 3: No, that's like a recipe to end up in the hospital in or die, right. Of a heart attack. But we think somehow that our brain is not a part of our body, that it can work full time. So the argument for labor day, and this is what I did. Like we went out on our boat. We had friends over for a barbecue in a hot tub in the backyard. I read somebody else's book rather than worked on my own. And what your brain does is your brain actually recharges. It's like plugging in your electric car. It's like charging your iPhone. Your brain actually moves back to a place of rest. It needs sleep. And then you can come back on Tuesday, right? If it's a long weekend. Cause I was the worst, like Monday of a long weekend as a bonus day to work well now I take Mondays off. And because as an owner, right, as an, as a, as a CEO type, as a senior leader, you're always like, wow. You know, days off are for weak people. And then you realize, no, now I'm one of those weak people. And I'm actually showing up with a full tank on Tuesday and your ideas are better. Your energy is better. Your co you ever noticed this, your kinder, when you're,

Speaker 2: I want to add to that as well as a leader, that how you come into that day off or, or around it is impacting how your employees are and that fact company culture. And if, and if you think that working, not working through this is for weak people, then they have to revise how they feel about themselves and what they're doing and how they're going into and into showing up to work. And, and it is it's quite difficult. And especially from all the leaders that we have interviewed, how important culture is to your productivity as a business to everyone, getting along to everyone, being fired up about your mission, which is why they should be in your company. And the first

Speaker 3: You're a hundred percent, right? People bring their whole selves into your work. And as a younger boss, I've been a boss for a couple of decades. I always thought, oh, I want to squeeze every little bit of juice out of the orange, right? So if they put in a few hours on Saturday, you're ahead or whatever, and now it's different. We have a small team, uh, but eight of us and like, it is regular policy that we don't do slack at night. We don't text each other. If there's a nuclear emergency, what's, there is a couple of times a year, but like we're a book launch season right now. And you know, we didn't text each other the weekend before the book launch because our systems were in place. And my first question for my assistant on, you know, the first, Monday back before book launch was like, how was your weekend?

Speaker 3: She said, I had a great weekend. We went to the beach, we had family over. I'm like, awesome. You've got to celebrate that. And now guess what? Her sleeves are rolled up and she wants to roll out this book beautifully. But it's very counterintuitive because you think by asking for more, you're going to get more, but by constantly asking for more, you actually get less and you get less out of yourself, you get less out of your team. So we're, we're into some really rich territory early on in this conversation, but you're, you guys are totally right. Yeah.

Speaker 1: And I think this is just a great jumping off point to talk about your newest book at your best. And let's just start with, what does it mean to you to be at your best?

Speaker 3: What it means to me is the ability to produce high quality work on a consistent basis, but also have a high quality life. There is a myth that to win at work, you've got to lose at home that you have to lose your family. If that's important to you, that you have to lose your family, that your kids have to grow up, hating you, that you know, your marriage has to be in tatters. If you're married or, um, that you're married to your work. And that's just, that's just not true. And I bought the lie for awhile. And after I burned out, burnout was very painful for me. And I ended up saying, how can I reconstruct my life? And so I started focusing on the three assets that we all get every day, we have to manage these, whether we're on whether you're retired or whether you're, you know, CEOs of a fast growing organization, time, energy, and priorities, every day, you're making decisions about those.

Speaker 3: And I realized my approach in my early years of leadership was fundamentally flawed. Thought about it, went to a lot of counseling, a lot of coaching read a lot of books. And over the years developed this new system where I re re uh, approach time, energy, and priorities differently. And when I did that, a lot of that focused on, on your green zone, your best energy in the day, I started to notice exponential results. And at first I thought it was idiosyncratic. I thought, oh, this works for me. This is great. Good for me. Yay. But then I intersect with leaders every day and they started asking questions. So I started sharing some of the principles. And then I realized, oh, these work like these are human things, not just unique things. And so I've been able to train thousands of leaders around the world in the system have seen great results. And now it's available in book form.

Speaker 1: And for many who are going through burnout, you don't even realize you're in burnout because we talked about this on last week's episode, you know, when it comes to chronic stress and your body's management of it, it becomes invisible to you. Of course, your team members know it. Your spouse knows it, your friends know it, but you can't really see it. So what was that turning point in your experience of burnout that made you realize like, this is just not working for me.

Speaker 3: That's such a good discussion because I burned out when I was about 40 or 41. And when I was in my thirties, I was leading a fast-growing organization. I was young. So you have an energy when you're younger that you don't have, you know, a little bit later on in life. And people kept telling me, Carrie, you're going to burn out. You're going to burn out. And I'm like, no, I'm not. That's for weak people. And then one day when, when ironically things were at the top, I had, I'd given a keynote in front of 2,500 people, largest crowd I'd ever spoken to in Atlanta. Everybody said it was a knock it out of the park home run. I'm like, great. And I flew back to Toronto where I live, got off the plane. It's like, I fell off a cliff and I didn't declare a finish line.

Speaker 3: So my body did. And my body was just like, we're not doing this anymore. And it kind of broke up with my mind, lost all my energy, lost all my passion, which is terrifying because usually you're like, okay, I'll go to bed tonight. I'll be fine. I'll just get up tomorrow. It'll be a better day. I'll take the weekend off. And like no cause and effect none at all. So that was scary. And it took me about three or four months where I was just probably would have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Now, if you're in that kind of burnout, you know, nobody has to tell you, it's like, gosh, I just got all the air knocked out of me. Like I'm on the floor reeling. And by the grace of God, literally I got back. And, but probably it took me three to five years to really hit the new hundred percent. I was functioning at 70 or 80% when you've done this for a while, you have some muscle memory, you can do that. But to really have my heart alive, again was years

Speaker 2: Breaking super important public service announcement from the art of charm. You must certainly know repeatedly putting off anything that should be done today only leads the bigger problems down the road.

Speaker 1: There's another aspect of procrastination that isn't discussed as often, you see some habitual procrastinators, especially those who feel a drive to succeed. Also struggle with overwhelm.

Speaker 2: They're so busy dealing with demands from other people that their own priorities get put on the back burner. They

Speaker 1: What they really want because they keep giving priority to other people's concerns.

Speaker 2: Sure. You may want to help people. You may also want to be nice, but if you're going to get what you want to get from life, you can't procrastinate your priorities.

Speaker 1: You must become better at saying no. Think about it. What's just cluttering up your schedule in life right now.

Speaker 2: How many of these items are you doing to satisfy other people's expectations and demands? These things

Speaker 1: Have to go

Speaker 2: Remove them and you'll have more time for the meaningful actions that will get you to where you want to go

Speaker 1: Stop procrastinating and get started today. Unlocking your full potential in our X factor accelerator and join other driven leaders that are connecting with incredible people, reaching career success, and even finding the one

Speaker 2: Head on over to unlock your X-Factor dot com and stop procrastinating today.

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Speaker 3: I think there's another form of burnout and I'm not a doctor, not a, not a clinical psychologist, but I call it low grade burnout. And my working definition of that is the joy of life is gone, but the functions of life continue. So you're getting up every day, right? You recognize that Johnny like joy of life has gone functions. Continue

Speaker 2: To me. It's this it's either the analogy of a hamster wheel or this magic rope where you think this next thing will get us out of this mess or this next thing I'll, we'll, we'll, we'll be the next point. Then I'll be good. And you get there. And you only realize there's another part of the rope that you have to go and you convince yourself, it's that it's the next wrong. Or, and it just, it just continues. And it continues as long as you allow it to continue. And as you mentioned, your burnout, you're numb to everything else, but functioning at lay it's another day, it's another day of climbing this rope and, and making up excuses and continuing this process. And, and you, you continue to get more numb to the reality of the things that you enjoy in life and the things that enhance life. And you get more focused on the stupid, magical rope, because you're like at SCADA and somewhere,

Speaker 3: The next million downloads will make me happier than the last million downloads, right? Like, and we get into this game or the next location or the next staff member or whatever. And I think there's so many people we've actually run thousands of leaders through this burnout indicator test. And it's shocking how many score high for this mid-grade burnout, where you're going to your daughter's dance recital. You're going to the soccer game. You're going to the family functions, but you kind of checked out like you don't feel anything anymore. Your emotions don't work properly. Mostly you feel numb. Or when the emotions surface, they're all wrong. It's like, you know, your, your son forgot to take out the trash. Well, just, you know, it's important. You said, take out the trash, take out the trash. He didn't take out the trash. So he's an eight year old.

Speaker 3: So what, but you like meltdown, it's a three out of 10, but you behaved like it was a 12 out of 10 and you're like, that's not good. Or conversely, you hear the news that a really good friend, uh, had a baby and you're like, oh, they had their baby. And again, you're smiling on the outside, but the inside you feel nothing. That could be low grade burnout. And I, you know, my hope is that when people go through the framework of, at your best, they get out of that state. Cause that's a horrible way to live. Like your heart should be elastic enough to feel the highs and the lows. And here's the paradox of life today. The, the, you know, Alma, not quite mid 21st century, but we're getting up. There were a couple of decades in now. It's like people are building very successful lives and all they want to do is escape.

Speaker 3: It's like, I know I should be grateful. I know I should be thankful. I have a job. I got my own company. I got my own thing. Uh I'm with somebody I love, but like get me outta here. And when I was burning out, you know what my dream job was. So I was leading a church at the time, a growing church, but I wanted to stack boxes in a warehouse. It's like, just put me in a warehouse. I'm going to stack boxes because people never do what you ask them to do. Right. But boxes it's like, it was there. Now it's over here. That's a very good job. Maybe I'll mow lawns. It was long. Now it's cut.

Speaker 2: You can also check out. You got your AirPods in. You're jamming to your tunes. You're in your own world. And as long as you're stacking boxes, Hey, we're, we're good. And I could go home and smile. The other thing I wanted to add to that is having opportunities that should normally fire you up that normally would make you so happy that normally you get so excited about and they've lost their, their, their emotional pool. They've lost their magic. And all you're thinking about is, well, this is great, but I got this other thing that I, that that is just burning in my, in the back of my mind. And if I'm not doing that, then I can't enjoy this. And when it's like, well, how can you enjoy anything? If all you're thinking about is as the stuff that you're going to do next next week or on Monday, or when you have the chance, there's a detach mint there that you, you have to be able to trigger.

Speaker 3: Yeah, you're right. And it's not a healthy detachment. You're right. If you're burning out, if you're in that mid grade burnout or the full-on burnout, your detachment is, is really unhealthy and sad. And so I define it as the stress spiral. I was trying to think like, what do you call the condition that most people live in? So I gave it the name of the stress spiral, and it's basically, you're overwhelmed, overworked over committed. And that describes most of life for far too many people. And we are, this is, this is the part that gets me. We are the most prosperous humans who have ever been on the planet. Like it's crazy. I know globally speaking, most of the people listening to this podcast would be in that top 1%. I'm not talking about top 1% in America. I'm just talking about globally. Like you're doing pretty good. We're doing pretty good. And when you look at it historically like, oh my goodness, we are our great, great grandparents could not have dreamed of the life that we're living in, the choice that we have. And yet we're pretty miserable. So what is the cure to that? Well, I, I hope we can help people get out of that life that they want to escape from, by learning how to focus their time, leverage their energy and having other people stop hijacking their priorities.

Speaker 2: Well, let's talk about this stress spiral. You have brought it up and it's very unique. And for a lot of us who may not realize that we're already stuck in it, what are the warning signs are the indicators of the symptoms here that, that, that you are possibly stuck? Well, we should probably start off with giving it a solid definition as well, at least to find it. And then we can discuss how to realize that we're at how recognize

Speaker 3: That. So the easy way to spot yourself in the stress spiral is you feel most days like on a chronic basis, overwhelmed over committed and overworked. It's like, there's way too much stuff. I said yes, to too many things. And all this other stuff keeps pouring in and I don't know what to do with it. And I I'm, I'm so overwhelmed. I don't even know where to find the bottom. So that would be the quick working definition. And I think we all get there in seasons, but again, you know, for a lot of us, this has become life. And it happens because we're often using our time, energy and priorities on strategically. So we don't think of time in terms of what Kevin Cruz said, what I've suggested, you know, that, um, you only have a limited amount of time. You have to use it in particular ways.

Speaker 3: And if you use it where you're leveraging your energy and connection with your time, it's going to go better. And then we, we have so much inbound when I was writing the book and I took, took me a few years to put together. So this isn't just pandemic related. Like we were stressed long before COVID we were stressed long before the global pandemic came along. But I counted up the number of inboxes I had at the time. So this is like circuit 2019. I have a leaven inboxes, which is silly, like your parents and grandparents, they had a post office box, like a mailbox at their front door or at the end of their driveway. And once a day, the letter carrier would drop off some mail. That was it. And maybe you had a neighbor who knocked on your door. Once now, everywhere you go on every device you own, people are messaging.

Speaker 3: You, you go to social media, you've got inboxes. You go to personal public inboxes, multiple email addresses. You have inbox. You go to LinkedIn, there's an inbox over there everywhere you turn, someone is asking you for something. And it's, it's overwhelming. There's a psychologist, Robin Dunbar. Have you guys ever heard of Dunbar's number? It's not particularly well-known. Yeah, I haven't. So how many friends can one person have number 150? That that's how many people we are wired to know. And almost all of us would have, well over 150 social media followers. In many cases, thousands, tens of thousands, millions. We're not wired to know that many people. And that leaves us in the stress spiral, overwhelmed over committed overworked.

Speaker 1: And what's so fascinating about that is all of those inboxes are constantly notifying. You dims your ability to listen to your own personal notifications, right? Those own warning signals. You have that my energy is low. That I'm way too emotional about things that I'm not showing up at my fullest. You know, unfortunately everywhere we turn, there's a little red circle with a number in it on every single application we interact with. And if like me, I don't want to see that. So I'm constantly trying to get to inbox zero, get this clear this out, move this around. And I'm expending so much energy on things that ultimately don't matter to my own core values, to my own mission, to what actually gets me up in the morning. And part of what we learned in restructuring our own day is yes, we all get the same amount of time, but we don't have the same rhythm to our time. So I'm much better early in the morning. And I didn't really know that I was making tons of excuses that would allow me to sleep in, to deal with the burnout. And then when I actually started focusing on my mornings, getting up earlier, working out then getting into my day when I was able to orient my time around when I was at my best and then structure my day around that, I was exactly like you said, leveraging it to see those exponential results.

Speaker 3: See this stuff makes me so happy. AIJ because that's exactly what the book's about. Right? So as you started diving into this material and the whole concept there is, everybody's got three to five hours in a day where they are at their best. And this is now brain research is, is proving in the last decade. What I figured out anecdotally on my own is I painfully tried to reconstruct my life. But like, I like to think of myself as a robot, right? I can just go 18 hours a day. And I can't. And I'm, I have a lot of energy. If you follow the Enneagram, I'm an eight, we're the challenger we're big and bold entrepreneur, right? That kind of thing. So it's like, if there's a wall, I'm going to break through it. And what I learned is apparently I'm also human. Apparently my energy does not stay the same throughout the day.

Speaker 3: So I encourage everybody and I will play this little game. If you guys are willing to identify the green, yellow, and red zone. So thinking of your day as three types of energy zones, green being what you've already hinted at when you're at your best, your energy is flowing. You're bright. You're generally speaking. You know, assuming you didn't have a crazy night, the night before the toddler, didn't wake up at 3:00 AM screaming, but just in normal days, this tends to be the time of day where you're at your peak, your mood is good, your energy's flowing. You're in the flow, uh, for creatives like us, if you're writing something, you feel really good. Johnny, if you're composing a song, you know, it's flowing the lyrics flow in the music's flowing, that kind of stuff. So you're just in that flow. When would you guys say that is for you J you said morning, right? So do you have particular hours, like 6:00 AM, 8:00 AM. When, when does that flow start?

Speaker 1: I'm up by five. My flow starts around six. So it's basically about an hour ish. If I sleep until six, then it's seven, but I try my best to be up by five because I know that those early morning hours, the other reason for me is, and as a leader, many of our listeners will, uh, agree with this. I get more done when others are asleep, because as a leader, your team needs stuff from you and you want to be there and you want to be supportive. So for me to get up before the Slack's going crazy before my inbox is dinging and, and all the things that I try to do to wall that off, I still am human. So I've found that, that space in the morning, my phone's not ringing. I'm not getting requests on slack. I don't have check-ins with the team.

Speaker 1: That is my moment to really shine, to get through all the big, heavy duty tasks that I need to feel like I accomplished something and then structuring my day on the backend meetings and then getting into my inbox when I'm lowest in energy. I used to think, however, based on my college experience and graduate school and my struggles with procrastination, that I'm a night owl and, you know, I could pound out an essay at night. I could get my research in and get those results when everyone was out of the lab. And that just became what I thought I was. So I would hit the snooze bar sleep in orient meetings. Later in the day, we even started our training program later because we were both night hours and we would make excuses around it. And then we started to realize, uh, in training for the half marathon and working with our personal trainer, that he only really had time to train us in the morning. So it kept waking us up earlier and earlier and earlier. And what do you know, getting some, uh, shuttle sprints in at five in the morning coming off that exercise feeling like I'm in my complete flow state. I'm like, why was I sleeping through these hours? What was I thinking?

Speaker 3: Oh gosh, you know, I'm in my final year of college, I picked all of my courses to not start before 11:00 AM. I didn't even care what the subject was. It's like, don't start now. I'm up like you, I'm up at four 30 to 6:00 AM most days. Uh, how about you Johnny night, owl morning person? What are you these days?

Speaker 2: At least in my 47 later in my later years, I have come to be comfortable with the idea that I'm a morning person. I get, I am, I do my best in the morning. I don't know what that was like in my early thirties. I could say some different things, but, but the, the productivity and my mood and how I, my energy all coincides with that. And, and what, what I do for, to wake up is I'm usually up between six and six 30, I have a, uh, a 6 45 alarm set up, which is the, the, you can't sleep any longer than this, but if you're that beat up, then you can sleep till this time that rarely happens. I can count that on one hand and a month, but, uh, usually up and by at the gym at, uh, at the latest six 30 and, and that, and once I'm in the gym, I'm slogging it out.

Speaker 2: But I'm at, I feel amazing after the gym shower and having that first cup of coffee. And, and that's when I start, I start looking over stuff that I want to do. I started ranching my schedule. I'm, I'm fired up. I'm looking at how the rest of my day is going to go, what needs to be scheduled, if anything else, uh, it hasn't made it to my calendar. Uh, but, but the problem with that and knowing and understanding that is I run into the trouble of slamming too much stuff up front, because I'm the most excited at that time. And so I'll start piling everything during, from that nine to 12, 8, 8 to 12 time period. And sometimes I get, I fill it up too much and, um, I don't get done what I need to get done. Then I get angry. I get frustrated at 90 to just chill out of like glisten.

Speaker 2: You, you have tomorrow just put that in. But, but, but in learning that made me very excited to schedule things during that time, because I know that I'm going to not only engage with it, but I'm going to do it with a lot of energy and excited. And I also don't mind trying new things at that time because I'm my energy and how I treat myself is much better. So if I get frustrated, I'm learning something new. It's okay, I'll have a pour myself, another cup of coffee. I'll relax, I'll work through it. I know that I'll learn, um, where if I try to do those things later on, I just start beating myself up. And, and my I'm not as resilient as I am at that time. So all of that plays a role. And so my day is scheduled, uh, through that. And from the yellow time and the red time as well,

Speaker 1: I was just going to share what I also found. So I used to be a proponent of the typical American breakfast. My family raised me that if I didn't finish breakfast in the morning, I couldn't leave for school. And I was forced to chug that glass of milk. I had to finish breakfast and it took a while to break out of that. But when I actually started intermittent fasting, so not having breakfast at all and waiting until lunch, when I'm starting to hit my yellow zone, it actually created a green zone for me after lunch. Whereas when I was doing the heavy morning breakfast, I was just feeling lethargic and robbing myself of that green energy cycle. Oh,

Speaker 3: Brilliant. Well, this is a good case. Study two case studies in real time. So people are wondering what we're talking about. It sounds like the morning club, don't beat yourself up if you're not a morning person. So I find for a lot of leaders, a lot of people who do what we do mornings are the green zone for most people. But the point is simply this and it's transferrable. If you're a night owl, I actually, according to Daniel pink, most people are afternoon. People believe it or not midday people they're not morning. They're not evening. But the idea is you have three to five peak hours of energy a day. Cal Newport says you have about four other brain researchers say about three to five hours. And for all three of us on this show, it happens to be in the morning. And what, what you do is you're to do what you're best at when you're at your best in your green zone.

Speaker 3: Then the other two zones, just to get those out of the way. So people understand red zone, you're tired. Then you feel like you need some caffeine or a nap or run around the block or someone to punch you so that you can stay awake at the meeting. For me, that happens around 4 35 every day, uh, where I either need to get on my bike, have a nap, or do something mindless like empty email, my inbox, right? And then everything in between is yellow. You're not at your best. You're not at your peak zone, but you're functioning. Okay. You're just not going to do your best work. So to drill down on the green zone a little bit, and this is where the exponential returns happen and you, everybody will approach it a little bit differently. You now need to, can, I know when I'm at my best.

Speaker 3: So figure out those three to five hours and the spike after lunch. I get that too. Um, I also get that little spike between one and two. I can accomplish some really, really good creative things. If it's a good day, uh, you won't get more than five good hours in a day. It's just not the way humans are wired. It's not in our DNA. So you're not going to get that. Nobody's nobody's that good. So three to five hours, what you then do is figure out what is the most important thing in your case for the art of charm that you do. And it could be interview prep. So I got to read this book and ask, you know, cultivate the questions or get the interview flow down, or it could be you're working on a new course, which as you know, I've seen your products, they take a lot of attention and a lot of focus, you're not doing that in between phone calls or zoom calls or that kind of thing.

Speaker 3: Like you've got to sit down, it's deep work, um, for others that might be strategy, or we're not growing with the problem that you started this podcast episode with, right? Oh my gosh, it's the pandemic. 85% of what we do just went down the toilet. Now, what do we do? You're not going to solve that in a five minute break between meetings that takes your deep focus. So whatever, if you're an accounting, it's like a better PNL or a really good pivot spreadsheet, or it's a pivot table in your spreadsheet or something like that. You can tell I'm not from accounting, but, um, you know, my son writes code. I have an adult son who writes code for a living and he's got three to five hours where he has to write beautiful code. There is such a thing. And so what you want to do is when you figure out, okay, that is my most, most meaningful contribution for me these days, it's content, it's editing the book.

Speaker 3: It's prepping. I have a podcast as well. You know, it's prepping for the big interview. It's doing background research. It's figuring out where my industry is going and how I can take my company there before it gets there. So if I do that most days for three to five hours, you are so far ahead of the curve. And then Johnny to get into what you were saying, where sometimes you can beat yourself up because you try to cram too much in it's the repeated discipline. It's like going to the gym. You know, one day is not going to qualify you for the half marathon it's going in there and doing the 45 minutes or the 30 minutes or the hour, you know, four days a week, over multiple months. That's what gets you ready? Same with your green zone. What happens to a lot of gifted people?

Speaker 3: And we all have a gift somewhere is we end up using our gift, but never developing it. So I'm a communicator. If you were to put me, let's say we're at a conference together. You're like Carrie, the keynote guy, he just canceled. You know, his, plane's not going to land on time. Can you get up there and give a talk on productivity? No notice I could probably do it. And I would do an okay job because I've done this most of my life. Uh, but if you do that time after time, and what happens when you don't do this, right? The course is due. You've got to ship it out and you guys would never do this, but we've all been caught once or twice by shipping a substandard product where we're like, you know, if I only had one more month, if I only had one more week to work on it.

Speaker 3: And that's when you cheat your gift because you use it, but you never develop it. So in your green zone, do what Malcolm Gladwell said as he popularized and outliers start developing your gift. Don't just work on the project. Read a book about the field. When I was in law, you know, how do I become a better person at cross-examination? How do I read the case law that nobody else is reading? So next time I go to court and face the situation. I've got an argument. The opponent will not have. I'm not going to use that right now. That's how you become best in the world at something. If you're doing, let's say three hours of really important, significant work that moves the needle most days in your green zone. And then you spend that half hour, hour, a day reading in your field, developing your skillset, taking a course, um, going to the eighth draft rather than the third draft of whatever project you're working on. That is like putting money in the bank that just produces interest. At first, you don't really notice it, but boy, three years from now, you're going to, you're going to crush your former skillset. And that's where the real productivity in thinking of your day in green, yellow, and red goes, because otherwise you don't get it done and you go home and you're stressed and you throw up all over your family because you didn't get it done again.

Speaker 1: I love about this. And the science is clear. Procrastination is an emotional dysregulation. So we procrastinate about things that are causing us anxiety. What I've found that fifth draft, that six draft giving that practice. Talk one more time in your green zone, doesn't feel like work. It is something that actually lines up with your gifts and you're passionate about, and you have the energy to match. But if you're working on that eighth draft in your yellow zone or in your red zone at the end of the day, you know, you're likely to cheat your gift and just quit then and there and be like, this is good enough ship. It done is better than perfect. I got to get on to the next thing. I'm in my red zone. And those who are the best understand that you have to keep working on your gifts, just because it's something that you're talented at doesn't mean that you will maintain that level. And it certainly doesn't mean that you can put it off until the very end and feel like you can just turn it on. And we've been fortunate to have some amazing top performers on here who still practice their gifts to this day. And our listeners would be like, wow. You know, I can't believe that to hear that on the show. It's like, absolutely.

Speaker 3: Well, you guys interviewed Kobe Bryant before his untimely death. And I've gotten to know Rob Pelinka, his former agent now the VP basketball operations over at the Lakers. And Rob and I have talked about, um, what players do like you think about it. The, at the most elite level, that group of top performers has the most coaches because LeBron is working on prehab, not just rehab, he's working on his sleep. Um, it's estimated, and I didn't get this from Rob, but that LeBron will spend a million dollars a year on his development because you think, oh, he's just naturally gifted. And he explodes onto the court for, you know, 60 minutes. And does all this stuff, no, there is so much work that goes into preparation and rest and diet and focus and skills training. Rob told me this story, uh, I think this is, yeah, this was with Kobe before Kobe died.

Speaker 3: Uh, when he was his agent, uh, Rob said, what are you gonna do next season? Because the thing is, you get really, really good at your gift. And then the other team figures it out. They're just watching game film day in and day out. And they're like, oh, we see his move. He's doing this. And I don't know a lot about basketball, but anyway, so Coby or, uh, uh, yeah, Kobe decided that he was going to study great white sharks. So he gets into the Pacific with Rob they're in scuba gear. They go down into a dive cage and they're watching great white sharks and they're there for an hour. They finally see one. And Rob's like, this is, this is like a complete waste of time. Anyway, great white sharks move very, very slow, very fluidly. And then at the very last minute, boom, they go in for the kill next season on the court.

Speaker 3: What did Kobe do? Very slow, very fluid. And then boom goes in for the kill. And then it was another season until they figured it out. That is like an extreme example of developing your gift. And you would think, well, Kobe doesn't need to do that, but that's why he became one of the greatest people to ever play basketball is because he did that kind of thing. So if you want to become, world-class, that's exactly the kind of weird stuff that you're doing in your green zone. And then, you know, you're right. If you're doing that stuff in your red zone and your yellow zone, or if you don't apply these principles and everything feels like a red zone, cause you're always tired. You're always exhausted. You're always frustrated. It just feels like work.

Speaker 1: You know, we had some off-air chats with Coby during that episode. And I was fortunate enough to go to his last game. And at that point, you know, he was getting a lot of heat for taking all the helicopter rides and for, you know, basically being an expensive cost to the Lakers, but he understood that his prehab and his rehab was far more important than anything happening on the court, just for him to get on the court at that age. And that helicopter ride. If you live here in LA, like me, that shaves hours off. So you could actually be in your green zone when the time is there and that's what top performers do they understand this to such a high level. And you know, I'd love to talk a little bit more about what you learned in your research for this book. From top performers. We, we jokingly talked about hacks, but they understand themselves and how to leverage those gifts to the best of their ability. That's what makes them top performers while the rest of us feel like we're playing catch up. So

Speaker 3: There's a quality that always amazed me about the best leaders I've met. And like you, I have the privilege of interviewing some of the best leaders in the world for what I do. And again, it's one of those things that if you can get into that, that zone, that space where you do this repeatedly, you're like, how do I even get paid for this? Like, how is this my life? Like, it's a, it's a good day, most days. Right. But what I've noticed and you probably seen this, like when they show up, they're not distracted. They have all the time in the world for you. They make you think like they've done all kinds of research, which often they have done. And they're never rushed and they're never hurried. I've never been to Necker island, but apparently if you go, Richard Branson greets you there.

Speaker 3: And I've had friends who have been, and he just acts like, he's not running hundreds of companies, but like, oh, nice to see you. It's good. You, you want something to drink? You want to sit on the beach. What do you want to do? You want to go out for a jet ski? Like let me know. And what that is is they've learned how to say no, they know what's important. So that when something, one of the things I encourage people to do with their time is reject the whole idea of living a balanced life. I think it's a waste of time because number one, I've tried it for many years and I've never succeeded. And secondly, you ever noticed that balanced people never seem to change the world passionate people do. And so what I encourage people to do is give up on the idea of balance because balance feels like a retreat balance is like, I'm going to do less at work.

Speaker 3: I'm going to do less of this. I'm going to do less of that. I don't want to do less with my life, but I want to carefully choose what I decide to do more of. And now what I want to do is whatever I allow on my calendar, I want to pursue with passion. So if I'm going to do a podcast, I'm going to prep. Well, if I'm going to write a book, I'm really going to go deep. If I'm going to meet with this key client, I am going to go in prepared. If I'm going to read my kids' bedtime stories, I'm not going to skip pages. Okay? I'm not going to like do that little hack where you pretend there was no extra page and they won't notice. Cause they're little, I'm going to be fully present. If I'm in a sleep, I'm going to sleep for seven or eight hours and not apologize for it and refuel my body because a, there was a quote from a 17th century, 18th century figure, John Wesley, who said, uh, set a person on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch a burn.

Speaker 3: And I think there's something very true to that. So what I want to do, what I allow on my calendar, whether that's social or work-related or speaking engagement, I want to do passionately. And then it's no to all the rest is Greg McKeown says, and this is a paraphrase of his book from essential ism. But on a scale of one to 10, if it's not a nine it's a zero. And I think a lot of us allow our lives to be filled with sixes, sevens and eights. We know what to do with the twos and threes. It's like, nah, I'm not going to do that. But we get so overwhelmed because our life, our calendar is a whole series of like six sevens and eights. So as a filter for decision-making, if you're going to show up, it's a nine out of 10 and then you're going to be fully present. You're going to go all there.

Speaker 2: I love this and that, and we're in this world where abundance now is what everyone has. We have it in, in every area of our lives, where we had to fight from scarcity. And so in recognizing that it's about subtracting out of our lives, all these things that we can have doesn't mean that you should have them. And they're just distraction. And for a while I considered myself and other people consider me a bit of a minimalist. I don't own a TV. I'm not interested in what's on it or any of these types of things. And I don't own a car. And there's some other things in my life that I just ha just had grown, used to not having round and focus my life on, on other areas that were, those things would take away from, from that. So with television, what am I taking away from?

Speaker 2: I'm taking away time that I could be playing music that I could be reading, that I could be getting better if I had a car, well, I'm taking away time from walking down the strip and seeing what's going on and feeling the atmosphere and being present in the city. Those things are important to me. So I don't see them as being a minimalist. I see them as being a maximizer because I'm maximizing the things that do enhance my life that do bring me joy and that do make every day that much exciting. And I love that quote that you had mentioned. I never heard of before set them on fire or passion and people will come to watch and burn. I think it's just beautiful because when you, when you are focusing on your priorities and the things that do fire you up, well, then yeah, you're going to be living with a lot of patterns.

Speaker 3: Well, and that's attributed to John Wesley. Yeah. And attracting people. The quote is attributed John Wesley. And you know, it's fascinating to me too, because one of the other things and making choices, life is a series of choices and a myth that I used to fall for all the time is that I didn't have the time to do things. And I think if, if, if, if you look inside and you start auditing your speech 15 years ago, when I burned out, I was filled with people all through my thirties where like, Carrie, you should write a book. You should write a book. And I would always say, I don't have time for that. I don't have time to write a book. And then one day I was reading this book. I think it was written for children. I don't know how I ended up with it, whether my kids got it or whatever, but it was, it was what the president of the United States does with their time.

Speaker 3: And I thought, you know what, Carrie, if you became president of the United States, you'd be so overwhelmed. Like the free world would just disappear because you can't even decide what to have for breakfast. And it hit me. If I become president of the United States, nobody's giving me an extra hour. Like I have to manage, nobody's giving me an eighth day a week. I would have to manage the free world with the same 24 hours in a day. And that really haunted me because then I started to think, actually I had the time to write a book. I had the time to do a better job on this talk. I'm delivering. I had the time to be present with my wife, who I love. I had the time to listen to my kids fully. When they came home from school, I didn't take it. I had the time to get the project done.

Speaker 3: I didn't take it. So what I did, and this is a good hack. If you want to think about using your time more strategically, as you were saying, Johnny, you know, I don't have a TV. What does that allow me to do? What allows me to walk down the strip and be fully present, right? I would encourage you to say, stop saying, you don't have the time and start admitting to yourself. You didn't make it. I didn't make the time to write the book. I didn't make the time to call my mom. I didn't make the time to tuck my kids into bed tonight. I didn't make the time to finish that project. Like I promised aji would I didn't do it. And then what happens is you start to be ruthlessly, honest with yourself and it's like, well, am I ever going to write a book or not? Well, in the last decade, I've written five and a release five. So that, that is a real pivot point. Now is a blood, sweat and tears. You bet it is. Is it worth it? You bet it is. But I was fully present when I was writing the book and you have the time to do whatever you want. What do you want to do? Launch a podcast fall in love. Like, do you want to, you want to travel? Yeah.

Speaker 1: Well, many of us don't realize all of the time sinks we have in our life. Just like we don't realize all the calories we consume or all the drinks we had. We always underestimate what's happening in our lives. And we think we have this clairvoyance to see it. And with our clients, the first thing I hear when I, when I hear, I don't have the time is all right, let's do an audit of what your day actually looks like, set a timer every 15 minutes and just jot down what you're doing and be ruthlessly honest, if you want to improve. And they'll come back to me with that journal. And then I'll say, okay, now open up your iPhone and let me see screen time. And let's look at screen time, which is going to be even more honest with me. How many hours do you think we're losing?

Speaker 1: We're not even realizing it. And then we're, we're saying, oh, I just don't have the time. I just don't have the time. We always have that choice. And for Johnny, the choice was simple. Remove the, you know, we have, we have clients who are like, oh, I don't have the social life that I want. I'm not dating the people that I want. Well, how many hours are you watching Netflix? Oh, well, you know, I just throw it out at the end of the day when I'm in the red zone. Yeah. But that's time, you could be setting up an online dating profile. That's time. You could be sending out messages to all your friends to invite them, to go do something on the weekend. Every minute you're spending, they're just sitting around consuming other content, right? Can instead of creating, consuming your, removing that valuable time from the equation and what we love about our older clients who will be in the room with some of our younger clients is they'll, they'll turn it and say, man, I wish I knew this when I was your age, because you don't get that time back.

Speaker 1: You know, we lost some money over the pandemic. We gain some money after the pandemic money comes and goes, but that time spent pulling our hair out, freaking out, burning out. We're not getting that back to go on a long bike ride tomorrow. I'm not magically getting blessed with an eighth day, a second Sunday to enjoy it's not happening. And those who ruthlessly prioritize their time are the ones who seem like they have it all and they can get it done. They've unlocked that success in their life. And you talked about this, the power of no. And this was something that I really struggled with as I was raised a people pleaser. I love helping others. It, it brightens my day when I can do favors and help support those around me. But it also takes a lot from me at the end of the day to do all of that.

Speaker 1: And it was very hard for me to say no to small projects, big projects. Oh, just be a guest on this. Oh, come on this show. Oh, can you speak on this stage? Oh, it's just a zoom. And it's easy to get caught up in that and not realize that, oh, I did all these favors for everyone else around me, but I didn't get to the things that I needed to get done. I wasn't present for my fiance. I didn't get to actually enjoy my evening. So when it comes to saying no, if you're like me in the audience and you're struggling with saying no and prioritizing, what were the lessons that you drew from the book that could really help our audience? Yeah.

Speaker 3: I still struggle with it. So I think I wrote that section for me. And like most people listening to this, uh, interview, the opportunities available will always exceed the time available, whether that's socially, you know, and you make some really good points, like, okay, I'm trying to date and meet somebody, but my buddies want to go out with me every, you know, three times a week. Well, you could actually invest one of those nights to do something else. So almost all of life, unless you have no life, which, which is almost nobody, uh, is involved saying no. So a couple of things you have to think about, start thinking about if it's not a nine it's a zero. So that makes it easy. But where a lot of us struggle, it's that fear of missing out? It's that idea that, well, it is only a zoom call, but not everybody gets an opportunity to do it and they want to pay me to do it.

Speaker 3: So should I do. And you have to have a really clear internal sense of your priorities. Like what matters to you. And I've got a whole exercise in, at your best, the book that will help people focus in on what really matters, what actually doesn't matter to, to run it through that filter. And then what I do is, uh, and I've trained my whole team to do this is you let people down gently. Now, if you can say this with integrity, and usually I can, I would say something like, man, I would love to be able to speak at your event. Thank you so much. I'm honored. You had asked me in order to fulfill the other commitments on my calendar, I'm unable to do it. I really do appreciate you asking me. Thank you so much. Keep me in mind for a further opportunity.

Speaker 3: Sincerely carry something like that. Now I would want to say that with integrity. So if you really don't want to do the event, you don't have to say that. Then you can just say, thank you so much for the invitation. I appreciate it. Unfortunately, I'm not able to do it. Have a great day, Carrie, something like that. But you know, you got to get good at saying no and being Canadian. I think we figured out how to do it nicely, or at least we're trying to figure out how to do it nicely. The other thing I would say that trips up a lot of people, and I talk about this in, at your best, but I believe you have a maximum number of things you can do in a week. So this took me a long time to figure out my number is 12 to 15.

Speaker 3: So a blank calendar. If most people look at their calendar, like look, three months in advance, um, what do you actually have in your calendar? The answer for most people is nothing. Got nothing in my calendar and you think great, you know, December is going to be amazing. But the reality is December is going to be just as busy as September was just as busy as October was. Cause by the time you get to December, it's going to be jammed with all these things, right? So, um, I have a magic number of 12 to 15. Once there are more than 12 to 15 appointments in my calendar for a week, I am full. So if you look at a full week for me, about 80% of my time is free and unstructured. 70% of my time is free and unstructured at work. Um, why is that?

Speaker 3: Because I work in a creative role. And so I need that green zone to be protected. I can't fill it up with meetings. I know that if I go above 15, I get stressed. I get angry. I get frustrated. I get rattled. If I go below 12, I get bored. And then I start to create some chaos. So I know for me, the magic number is 12 to 15. If you become a student of yourself, you'll realize that two nights out a week is plenty. Or I can do three meetings in a row, but I can't do five meetings in a row, or I need a 15 minute break or I can't do all day meetings. So for me, Monday, generally speaking in a normal non book launch season is a free in the morning, a few meetings in the afternoon, Tuesday, I have no meetings.

Speaker 3: They have to go on the calendar with my permission. Wednesday morning, no meetings, Thursday or Wednesday afternoon podcast interviews. Thursday is pretty much a solid meeting day, but it's only one day. And then Friday is open. Now you might say, well, that looks like a pretty easy week. Yeah. But that's why I can produce content that gets access to over a million and a half times a month. Because otherwise what happens is what stuff inevitably breaks. And so suddenly some of my writing time got taken up because I had to solve this crisis or somebody had a problem or whatever. And so you're going to be a lot busier than you think you are. So under schedule yourself. And when you, when I look at a week, like if you said, okay, a month from now, Carrie, can you XYZ? I would look at it and go, oh, 15 meetings.

Speaker 3: You know what? That, week's not good for me. I'm pretty full. Sorry about that. Uh, do you have another week where we could, we could have that conversation. So I think we over-schedule ourselves and in this crisis. Right. And I don't know when we're getting out of it, but it's going to be awhile. But in this crisis, we then are in a place where we're always in crisis mode and we're always overwhelmed. So I would say, be a student of yourself, figure out your maximum number. And then once you hit 12, 15, 17, 8, whatever your number is you're full for that week, then you have to move on to the next week.

Speaker 1: I love that. The best advice I ever received on saying no that's been the most impactful in my life is to create three goals for myself every year, write them down. And anytime I'm given a request, look at those three goals and say, honestly, does this move me closer to those three goals? And if it doesn't politely decline and my three goals this year have been to double AOC is revenue coming off of that horrendous year of the pandemic. It's been to travel more before I have kids, I'm going to get married and I'm going to start having a family. And all of my friends who have kids are not traveling. So any opportunity I can have to travel, I was just in Seattle with a buddy of mine who happens to have two kids, was able to just barely get away for a weekend. He said, where do you want to go? I said, anywhere I'm in. And my third is break 80 in golf. Oh,

Speaker 3: That's a pretty big goal.

Speaker 1: You know, I've broke 90, I'm working my way towards 80. And if it's a golf trip, it can solve two of those. And I have to be honest, like, is this actually going to help me double AOC revenue not make me a couple dollars by hopping on zoom, not give another free favor in hopes that, you know, maybe in two, three years, this will come back and that's allowed me to ruthlessly guard and prioritize my own time. And it sounds selfish at first. And I remember when I first heard it, I was like, man, that's, that's not a lot of stuff that you can really say yes to. And man, that's going to be really tough to be saying no. And since implementing it, people actually respect you more when you say no, because when you say yes and it's a half, yes. And you have to cancel later or you don't show up at your best or you don't give it your all, you're actually damaging yourself more than being respectful and saying, no, I'm not a good fit at this time. I wish you the best on the event. It sounds fantastic. Thank you for thinking of me, right?

Speaker 3: That is such good advice. That should make the second edition of the book. I know it was just released, but if we have a second edition, that should make it and I'll give you a case. In point, I read a lot of theology given my background and one of the top theologians alive today, he's 70 years old, uh, was diagnosed last year with pancreatic cancer, right after the pandemic started. And I've had a conversation with him and you know, pancreatic cancer never goes well. And I said, what are you learning? And he said that I have spent too much of my time doing what other people have asked me to do and what millions of us who follow him, his name's Tim Keller wish he would do is write more books. Cause he's one of the most unique voices we have alive on the planet today in his field.

Speaker 3: And to hear Tim say that just blew me away. And you know, it gets in the way of your unique contribution. I love that idea of three clear things, whatever that happens to be. And then if it doesn't help you accomplish that and you're right. People do respect you more. I just had to say no to one of those 20 minute zoom calls for a friend who texted me over the weekend. Like, Hey, you know, we're going to study your book. You want to do a half hour, 20 minute zoom call. I said, no, unfortunately I'm pretty booked up, but thank you so much for studying the book. Really appreciate it. He got back to me like, we'll pay you X number of dollars. It was very generous for a thousand. I'm like, thank you very much. I'm going to have to pass. And ironically, you feel like, oh, could he use that money or whatever, but I think long-term that the respect rises for you. And if that's a good decision, then you're going to be able to spend that time more valuably doing other things. Yeah.

Speaker 1: And I think coming out of the pandemic, everyone should have a pretty easy opportunity to write down those three things. We've all been stuck inside. We've all seen what happens when the world completely stops and what we don't have any time for when the world stops. So finding those three things to prioritize for me have now become, oh, it's in my phone. And I, I get the requests all the time. And the more successful you get those who are younger in the audience, these requests are not going to stop. It's like an endless line of requests. And I used to get so excited and say yes to everything only to be half at my best, not be in a great mood. Then people come away saying, wow, that wasn't a great first impression. I thought he's charismatic. I thought he's charming. And I was just burning myself out by saying yes to everything.

Speaker 3: Well, and there's an opportunity cost to that as well. Right? If you fill up your calendar with all these B level C level opportunities, and again, I'm not trying to be judgemental or anything like that, but if you do that and then the art of charm calls and says, are you available on you're like, actually I'm totally, you know, busy until next year. You sometimes miss out on those opportunities for good. So if you keep some margin in your calendar for last minute, things that are really important or to take it outside of the career world, you know, your mom calls and says, Hey, you want to come over for dinner. We got a whole bunch of family gathering. You're like, ah, I have space to be able to do that. Yeah.

Speaker 1: What a relief. Well, we love asking every guest what their X factor is. What is that? That makes you extraordinary carry?

Speaker 3: I would say for me, it's a lot of grace. The grace of God has come, uh, you know, to me in a, in a very real way, I've made so many mistakes and the fact that I still get to do what I do, I'm very grateful for. Um, and I would just say to people who maybe feel like they're in a season where they blown it don't give up. When my world came to a crashing halt from burnout 15 years ago, I thought it was over. I thought I was done. And there is a way through, there is a way out. There's plenty of grace. You'll find it. Um, just keep going, just keep going. Uh, one of my favorite leadership quotes, Winston Churchill, who said leadership is moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. There's a lot of resonance in that quote,

Speaker 1: What a beautiful way to end it. Thank you so much for giving us the time today, Carrie. It was a joy,

Speaker 3: Uh, Johnny AIJ. Thank you so much. It's been a joy

Speaker 4: [inaudible]

Speaker 1: Johnny. Those are one of my favorite conversations that we have on the podcast where not only are we sharing stories with the guests and hearing about their experiences, but Carrie's framework for finally putting the right priorities into your life and understanding how to use your time wisely has helped both of us tremendously. Yes.

Speaker 2: Couldn't stop thinking about my priorities and the energy cloud concept. Are they green? Are they red or the yellow? But as we were talking about discussing that, understanding what those priorities are and putting them in improper place on your schedule, not only do you find yourself being productive, you also find more time.

Speaker 1: And with that time you can create and deepen every relationship that you want in your life. And that's why we love having carry on and definitely check out his podcast on leadership as well.

Speaker 2: I know two dry just dudes that are going to be on that podcast.

Speaker 1: That's right, Johnny, this week, shout out, goes to Colin from our X-Factor accelerator. He was visiting Denver and he used the conversation formula to strike up a conversation with someone in line at the grocery store next to him, that fun conversation led to him recognizing emotional bids and making a deeper connection after spending some time together. He's now excited to visit her in Denver and ski with her this winter. Are you ready to start meeting and connecting with amazing people everywhere you go like Colin, joining us

Speaker 2: Or group of driven geniuses, unlocking their true potential and our X factor accelerator unlock your X-Factor dot com apply today at unlock your X-Factor dot com.

Speaker 1: Before we go, could you do us and the art of charm team, a huge favor, pause this show and rate and review us in apple podcasts. It would really mean the world to us, and it helps great guests like Carrie, get involved in the show and even people like you find us because of all those stellar reviews.

Speaker 2: The charm podcast is produced by Michael Harold and Eric Montgomery until next week I'm Johnny

Speaker 1: And I'm AAJ stay charming.

Speaker 4: [inaudible].

Check in with AJ and Johnny!

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