Are you managing your time wisely? Do you feel like the more you do, the more you have to get done? What is on your list of priorities of things you absolutely have to get done and does it bring you joy?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Steven Griffith about doing a time cleanse and practicing being present in the moment.
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Meet Steven Griffith
Steven Griffith is a nationally-recognized author, speaker, researcher, and performance
expert considered one of the leading authorities on the connection between time,
productivity, and performance. For over 25 years, Steven has been helping the
world’s most successful executives, CEO’s, military leaders, pro athletes, celebrities,
and organizations discover their true potential and perform at peak levels. Now he is
helping everyone get their time, energy, and focus back with his new book on time.
Steven Griffith’s Story
Steven Griffith has been featured as a keynote speaker and performance expert on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Style, and Esquire TV and has worked with a variety of organizations including “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the United States Military, Citibank, Wells Fargo, the Los Angeles Police Department, USC, UCLA, The National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL (teams, players and coaches).
In This Podcast
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Steven Griffith about doing a time cleanse and how to be productive without sacrificing your happiness.
Relationship with Time
As a culture, we are operating with outdated tools and tactics for time. We have been conditioned to believe that time is outside of us, which is not true.
Steven realized that was people were not present, and the use of technology changed the relationship with time.
Is this activity contributing or contaminating to my happiness and success.
Be present in the moment, increase the quality, experience, and performance with time. This starts with slowing it down and getting really clear on what’s important to you.
The Time Cleanse
Working hard is great, working smart is even greater.
- What’s really important to you and why?
- Time evaluation
- Look at where the best return on time is
- How to set up your day to perform – be clear on your top 3 priorities, then set the intentions behind them, have a period of self-reflection.
- Start clustering tasks
- Work rest intervals
- Predetermined reset strategy
- Prep for the next day
Hangover and Compound Effect
Every minute you do something that isn’t in your best interest for time, you have a hangover effect. This is the same as being around someone who is constantly negative.
The opposite of the hangover effect is the compound effect. This is when you’re investing in those areas that matter the most.
Click here to get access to Steven’s ‘time performance’ performance report.
Steven Griffith’s Book
Other Books Mentioned In This Episode
- How to Market Your Business | PoP 362
- Hal Elrod Has a Miracle Morning Routine | PoP 347
- Ask Joe a Question
- Starting a Practice
- Slow Down School
- Killin’It Camp
- Free Masterclass: How to Kill it in Private Practice
- Purchase the Practice of the Practice Magazine
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 363.
I’m Joe Sanok your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. You know we’re getting a lot of new listeners. We ran some Facebook ads around starting a practice recently and got a ton of people that signed up on our email list. We have this nine-part email series all about how to start a practice and if you are starting a practice and having joined that, it’s over at practiceofthepractice.com/start. But we were getting 40 to 50 people a day that are joining the list and we’ve seen the numbers really go up.
So, if you are new to this podcast, welcome. I’m so glad that you’re here. We are all about starting, growing, and scaling a private practice, but even more than that, we have the four I’s with Practice of the Practice; that we want to help you build income, we want to help you build innovation, influence and impact. Those are the things that really, we’re working on, and that can come in a variety of ways. That can be through your practice, but maybe once you get that practice going you might want to launch an ecourse or a podcast or do some keynotes, things that take you outside of your typical practice.
We are all about these innovative ways of just living life differently because you as counselors, as massage therapists, as psychiatrists, you are listening to the world in a way that is so different than the average person and you have skills that are going to reshape the world and using your time in a way that really kind of honors is really important. You know, I just this morning I had coffee with this friend of mine DC, who I met through my daughter’s school and he and his wife Jody, they have this chocolate company called Grocer’s Daughter and, they have amazing chocolate. We talked about how they got on to Belize to see the beans and to kind of watch it go all the way through.
And they have a chocolate tier that gets, you know, the basic bars going and then they do all this craft chocolate. And you know, it’s really cool to see someone go after that level of craft and he’s super into the science and into just figuring out how do you make chocolate just amazing for people. And we’re right now, exploring making Practice of the Practice molds for chocolate that we can send to all of our Next Level Practice people.
So, that cohort as you know, just launched and, the doors closed last week. And so, we’re doing these welcome boxes and you know, we sent our first welcome boxes to people with Next Level Practice with the seventh cohort and had our journal, our pop socket, sunglasses, fun things to help you rock out private practice, but also to really just, you know, have a little bit of fun.
And so, you know, we’re looking at how do we add a little more to that. And of course, why not have Practice of the Practice chocolate. But you know, when you have a business, you can do these crazy things. You can try things, see if they work, see if people like them and if they don’t, well, you know, move on to the next thing. And it’s all about kind of figuring out how do you creatively engage with the world.
So, today I’m really excited about Steven Griffith, who’s going to be on the show and I talked to him and we are totally on the same page. You know, whether it’s Slow Down School, the conference we host in the summer here on the beaches of Northern Michigan, or Killin’It Camp. We’re talking about how do you optimize your time to live the life you want to live and impact the world in the way that you want to impact it.
That when we look at innovation and income and influence and impact, those four things that we talk about all the time, it’s all about using our time wisely here on earth. And, you know, we’re routinely reminded of this. A friend of mine’s mom who was 64 just passed away. And you know, when I’m at that funeral watching these people my age, you know, we have to honor the fact that we have a limited amount of time and we need to do good things for the world. But that doesn’t mean that we hustle the whole time and we go crazy. It means that we really intentionally say, “Where do I want to spend my time? Where do I want to impact and what’s my corner of the world that I can impact to the positive?” And so, without any further ado, I want to give you the one and the only, the never replicated, Steven Griffith.
Well, today in the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Steven Griffith. He’s a nationally recognized author, speaker, researcher, and performance expert, considered one of the leading authorities on the connection between time, productivity, and performance. For over 25 years, Steven has been helping the world’s most successful executives, CEOs, military leaders, pro athletes, celebrities and organizations to discover their true potential.
He’s been featured as a keynote speaker and performance expert on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox Style, and Esquire TV and has worked with a variety of organizations including Jimmy Kimmel Live, the U.S. Military, Citibank, Wells Fargo, LAPD, and UCLA. Stephen, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[STEVEN]: Joe, thanks for having me buddy.
[JOE]: Man, we should just say you’ve been on all the major networks and that would save that all [crosstalk].
[STEVEN]: I’m going to make that adjustment.
[JOE]: No, it’s awesome to see all you’ve done and all the people that you’ve helped. It’s always nice to have this caliber of guests here on the Practice of the Practice podcast. Well, I want to go back a little bit and just hear how did you get into this work, because you know, you started out with a much different path that I get to know, but our audience doesn’t know. How’d you get into this type of work?
[STEVEN]: Well, I was a performance coach in the physical where I was a strength and conditioning coach for elite athletes. I mean 30 plus years ago. And as I continued to do that work, you know, my calling was bringing me to work on the mental and emotional aspect of performance. So, in 2000, I started my company High Performance Coaching to work to improve the performance of individuals, organizations, and teams. And in about five years ago, I saw a big problem that was happening with my clients and it was in one week, six, seven clients in routines and organizations, they said the same thing. “I don’t have enough time. I need more time.”
[JOE]: I hear that all the time with, with my clinicians. I was actually just at a mastermind group recently and doing a Q&A with them and they were just like, “How do I spend my time wisely? How do I decide where to put my time?” And I’m really excited to kind of dive into some of that in a few minutes. How do you, when you first got going with that, how did you attract such big teams and names? Were you already pretty well connected in that world? Is that how it happened or were there some ways that you reached out to them?
[STEVEN]: Well, it was a steady growth. I mean I started as a performance coach professionally in 2000 and that was the front-end coaching. So, that was the very beginning. And what I did is, I had some great work, some great results with some individuals and organizations that I moved into organizations and then I started doing more speaking and it was the speaking that I always suggest if it’s a clinician, a coach is where you’re going to get, and podcasts as a form of speaking is where going to get bigger audiences. So, that’s what I did consistently and just continued to grow my business from there.
[JOE]: Wow. Okay. So, take us into what you started to discover as these teams and people you were coaching were saying, “Man, I just don’t have the time.” Like what light bulbs went off for you at that moment?
[STEVEN]: Well, what was happening to me is, you know, in a lot of these people, I had already been coaching for some time and you know, I have a big background and had been working in the field with mindfulness. So, I’ve studied mindfulness in Japan and Thailand and then going through some structured programs here in the U.S., but about 10 years ago I introduced that into my practice and I was like, “Okay, so what’s happening with people is they’re not present.”
And what was happening is this use of technology that came out of nowhere, all of a sudden changed our relationship with time. And what started happening, I was like, “Okay, so, how can I effectively create a solution that gets people more present in their use of time and its relationship to performance?” And that, that took me on a five-year journey of, you know, working with neuroscientists, traveling to Japan and Thailand, looking at Einstein’s theories. And what I came up with Joe was that we were, as a culture, operating with outdated tools and tactics full time and that our relationship with time was something that was adversarial and that we’d be conditioned to believe that time was outside of us, which is not true.
[JOE]: Now, when you think about that journey of kind of your own discovery of going to Japan and Thailand and working with neuroscientists, are there moments that are kind of burned in your memory of like ‘that was really kind of core or pivotal to me putting this theory together’?
[STEVEN]: Well, yes, and it was the more present I became, the more connected I was to my head, heart, and spirit, and the more I can perform. And I look back at all the athletic things, I grew up as an athlete, and it was just very clear. The more present you are, the more you can slow things down, the greater results. And that was the core where I started building this whole-time plan system that’s in my book is introducing this concept, what I call time fullness. And time fullness is being present in the moment, increasing the quality experience and performance with time, but that starts with slowing it down and being really clear on what’s important to you and then using the tools and tactics that I teach to then perform the time. And this idea of is completely outdated now.
[JOE]: I mean that, you’re talking my language. Every summer I host this event called Slow Down School where we hang out on the beaches of Northern Michigan for a couple of days. And I just encourage people to turn their phones off for that time and we hang out in the beach and we go for hikes and I bring in a massage therapist and meditation teacher and then on the Wednesday of that week, we start working on their business and to see what we do during that two and a half days of working on their business compared to if we had just jumped into it. I mean, most people when they go to a conference, you know, their plane was running late and they’re stressed out and they finally get there and they’re barely even present for the speakers. And so, in a lot of ways that first day can be a total waste.
And so, we actually reverse it where we say, “Let’s slow down first and we’ll do these things called sprints on Wednesday and Thursday where, you know, stealing that from the IT world where people will define for 20 minutes, where are they going to work on? And they talk to their small group about what they’re going to work on and, you know, what do they need to prepare for that sprint. And then we literally set a timer for 20 minutes and then, you know, end it. Seeing what people get done in those 20 minutes, I mean, we had one lady, she named her consulting business, bought the URL, sketched out her entire consulting package, and then already had set her price points.
I mean, these are things that take people months oftentimes. Another guy was working on a book about like marriage therapy and he had really been struggling with it and he sketched out all eight chapters, the first eight chapters with all these bullet points underneath each one, all in 20 minutes. And it’s amazing to me as I see in my own life, the more that I set really clear boundaries on my time on my limits, how I actually feel like I’m more creative in the time that I’m working by having that downtime. Do you find that to be true also with your clients and kind of with the research you’ve done?
[STEVEN]: Absolutely. Your wisdom there that I was just taking in is right on. And I’ll throw a little science behind that, you know, stuff you probably already know, but there’s something called the three-day effect. So, I’ve done a lot of retreat work with teens and in five days, they surrender their technology. Half the week is in silence. But the three-day effect, when you disconnect from technology and become present, it takes about three days especially if your nature, it happens a little bit faster when you reset your core.
And when you reset that, now you’re connecting to your creativity, your cognitive function and what’s most important to you. And so, the other thing is when you set time limits, and this is something that is very powerful as a tip, you will expand or shrink your capacity to the time that’s available. So, it’s like if you have a project that’s three months away, what do we do? We wait. But if someone says, “Hey Steven, you got to be on stage right now and deliver your time plans and you’ve got 20 minutes. I will put that together in 20 minutes.
[JOE]: Yeah, I think, is that Parkinson’s law that work expands to –? I think people will like create something and then they’ll like second guess it or reevaluate it. And that first kind of gut reaction of what their keynote, for example, should be is often like the best one. And then when they refine it over and over it kind of gets watered down and they second guess themselves.
[STEVEN]: Absolutely. And that’s one of the biggest challenges that’s happening today in this 24/7 connected world, Joe, is that we are being constantly distracted, we’re overstimulated, and our time is being hijacked from us, and days are flying by. And that’s what the time cleanse is about. It’s about stopping, creating some awareness, and asking is what I’m doing with my time right now still efficient and effective to what matters most.
And as we go through the process, we ask one simple question in the process. And I love this. This is a question that came up in my research that I use throughout and it’s the core time crunch question. Is this activity behavior or mental thought, et cetera contributing or contaminating to my happiness and success? And we intuitively know that but we’re not stopping. And that’s the beauty of the clients to stop and evaluate and we haven’t been taught how to do it.
[JOE]: Well, let’s walk through the time cleanse a little bit more. Take us through kind of some of the main pillars, stories, research points, so that we can have an idea of the framework.
[STEVEN]: So, the cleanse is very simple. And when I say it’s simple, I always think, you know, things that are simpler get the greatest results with. But it just starts with identifying what you’re committed to harbor. What’s really important to you and why? So, a lot of extra mile is what we want but we don’t know why. So, we get connected to that core ‘why’. And you know, I had a client recently, an insurance executive. When he came to me, he was just grinding it out.
I mean, this guy was a hard worker, former professional athlete, and he was in this adversary relationship with time. He was fighting against time. And so, we got him clear on the things that were no longer important to him. So, he committed to dropping some way, spending more time with his family as well as run his business. Then he’s alive because he wanted to have that energy and time longevity with his family to make those memories.
And then we looked at every area of his life, the activities, the people he lives with, the places he was going. There are several categories that we use and then we just evaluated with him what was contributing, what was contaminating. And after an hour process of going through the time plans, he reclaimed 25 hours back. 25 hours of wasted time where he then got to reinvest it in the areas that mattered most.
[JOE]: So, take us through that jump because I hear that, how did that happen when he found 25 hours? Like what are practical things like he started doing this and that gave him an hour. He did this, that saved him two hours. Like what does that mean?
[STEVEN]: So, we’ll take technology for example. He was constantly on his new feeds. He was watching and checking news several times a day. He was jumping on Facebook and what he was doing it was wasting multiple hours just with technology. So, we just cut it out. He wasn’t even aware that he was spending basically an hour to an hour and a half a day just on the news. Just on the news.
And so, we started looking at, “Can you check the news 10 minutes at the end of the day?” “Yes.” “Facebook cut it out.” He was a big binge on Netflix at home where he was doing an hour or two at night. Just in that first category and we recovered a couple hours just there. And then looking at how he was scheduling his day. You know, he wasn’t putting out what I call clustering. So, if you, clustering is a very effective performance tool when you put similar activities together all at once. So, he made all his sales calls at once. He did his emails on a cluster of time. He did his follow-up calls. Just that reclaimed an hour or two a day. And then he readjusted where and how he was traveling to meet his clients. When we calculated it all together and put these new strategies and that’s how we got the time back.
[JOE]: So, then what’s the next step after that? So, you kind of look at what’s important. You do kind of this time valuation; you start clustering then what?
[STEVEN]: Well, once you get your time back then this is the powerful part. It’s what I call your high ROT (return on time). It’s looking at your personal life and your professional life and saying, “Okay, where is the best return on time?” And so, for him we look at what he was committed to and that was to grow his business, more time with his family, and drop some weight. So, he took that 25 hours and then reinvested specifically in those areas.
And then what I have like my clients do at the end of each day, look in the mirror, I got this from David Goggins from his book, You Can’t Hurt Me, is look in the mirror and just ask your simple question. “Did I commit myself and followed through with my calendar?” And if you didn’t, no problem, be honest and make the adjustments for the next day.
[JOE]: Why do you think it’s important to be honest and not come down too hard on yourself and just make adjustments?
[STEVEN]: Well, we’re in a society where things are happening so fast and it goes back to your concept and one that I shared with you. By slowing it down and evaluating, that’s how we improve our performance. We’ve got to evaluate how we’re doing what we’re doing, and in that process, we’ll see blind spots, we’ll see places where we could have done better. But when we do that, it’s an evaluation with curiosity, curiosity and kindness with self. “Okay, I could have been better in that meeting. I want to reschedule, now what do I just come out in 1% adjustment today?” As you know, those are huge changes in a week, in a month, in a quarter.
[JOE]: Yeah. I mean, even just like at the beginning of this year, so, I joined last year, this group called Front Row Dads that I’ve talked about on the podcast quite a bit. I don’t have any affiliate with them or anything like that, I’m just really enjoying the group. But one challenge they did is for the first five weeks of the new year, we use this app called Spar where you can kind of set different factors.
And so, the challenge that we did is to just sweat every single day and every day you didn’t sweat, I got charged $5 and that went to a communal pool and then whoever got to the end, you know, split up that pool. So, even though it’s like five bucks isn’t that much, you know, I didn’t want to be out of the running for that. And so, even though, you know, some days that sweating was, you know, blowing snow, other days it was going in swimming, I’ve never sweat every day for five weeks in a row in my entire life. And so, I did it and you know, I was one of the winners of it and then I signed up for another one.
But that small change I’m just saying, I just need to sweat. It wasn’t even, “I need to go to the gym or I need to do all these other things,” made such a difference in just committing to something for five weeks, sweating every day and sometimes at the end of the day being like, “Crap I haven’t sweat. I need to do some pushups.” And just like, you know, get my sweat and so that I don’t lose my five bucks. It’s amazing how those small little changes really do help you change your mind set on what you can achieve.
[STEVEN]: Well, that’s what I call in my concept of time, things that are non-negotiable. It’s a box. You don’t have a lot of them but you made something that was non-negotiable and that was the sweat. And that’s where we want to focus on time because it was important to you. There’s a why behind that.
[JOE]: Is your practice going really well? Is it growing and scaling but you need time to step back? Imagine if you had time to slow down and work on your best ideas. I want to tell you about Slow Down School. Slow Down School is the event that I put on every summer on the beaches of Northern Michigan where we sit back and we relax for two days. I bring in massage therapists, we hang out on the beach, we go for hikes and my favorite places, and then for two and a half days we run full tilt towards your business. Then we go wine tasting on Friday and celebrate what we got done this week. I know that you believe in your practice, your big ideas and you want to fast forward your growth. If that sounds like you Slow Down School might be for you. At the core of Slow Down School, we’ve seen the biggest breakthroughs come when first we slow down.
We use the best neuroscience principles to help you optimize your brain so that you’ll slow down and then speed your business up. Imagine if you had a small group of high achievers that choose to pause the hustle to define what matters most and then to sprint towards reshaping their businesses. Wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? If you want expert guides, a supportive community, and time to slow down to speed up your business, apply for Slow Down School today. I personally talk to each applicant to make sure you are a fit for Slow Down School and then it’s really going to help you. Head on over to slowdownschool.com to apply today.
So, then after people are looking at their return on time, where do they go next?
[STEVEN]: So, now it is what I’m excited about. I do a whole chapter in the book. It’s how to set up your data perform. So, once you know where you’re going to invest it, so, kind of globally, now it’s looking at, “How am I setting up my day to perform?” And this is, you know, if you have time, so, first you don’t have the time, you get the time back. That’s one of the things you need. But then you need to know how to perform with it today.
Today is not the same as it was 20 years ago. And you know the techniques that we were taught for time management were awesome, before we had smartphones in our pocket. But those tools do not work today. So, we need to upgrade our thinking and use new strategies to actually perform at our highest level during the day and make a difference for ourselves or families or clients.
So, once you have your time back, it’s setting up your day. And my day is set up. What I teach is in three parts; it’s before, during, and after. Break it in three parts. So, the before, Joe is really, really simple, is what are you doing to prepare yourself to have a great day? What are you doing? And so, for me, what I teach is this, be clear in your top three priorities. You’ll have action steps and things that go with it but pick three and then set the intentions behind them, what your intentions are for them.
So, a goal is a future event and time and intention is a present beingness in time. So, for example, if you know, your goal is to lose 10 pounds, that’s your goal. The intention for the day would be, you know, “I prepare my meals, I eat every three to four hours with my prepared meals.” That’s the intention. So, we set the intention. Then also, I suggest a period of self-reflection before the day starts. And that could be anything from prayer, meditation, I meditate, but there can be many different things. There can be a contemplation to get your mind, body, and spirit ready to go. But it’s —
[JOE]: Let me pause you right there just because I want to make sure that listeners that didn’t check out the podcast, we had Hal Elrod who has the Miracle Morning [crosstalk] and, you know, a month ago or so. And so, I actually pretty soon get to hang out with him down in Austin to meet up with him and the other Front Row Dads. That podcast I feel like would really go well with this one.
So, if you’re listening like, “Oh, I want my morning to kick off right.” Go back earlier this year in 2019 if you’re listening in the future, the earlier ones in 2019. We had some other performers that were just amazing and Hal’s podcast is definitely one that you’ll want to check out to go along with this one. So, sorry to interrupt there Steven.
[STEVEN]: No, I love Hal. I know Hal. I’ve gotten into some masterminds with him.
[JOE]: Oh, great.
[STEVEN]: Yeah. His stuff is great and that’s the alignment because how you start anything has a big impact. How you start anything has a big impact. So, that’s your —
[JOE]: How do most people start their day? So, like, what would you say is the norm
[STEVEN]: The norm is that, stumble around, so, here’s what we know from research. The alarm goes off, most people don’t get up when the alarm goes off. Okay. That does not send a good signal to the world. What that says is, “I’m not ready.” So, one of the things that I do coach is, when the alarm goes off, get up. You can set two alarms. There’s no issue with that. So, if you want to just wake yourself up 15 minutes before the start of your day, no problem.
But when you commit to the time that you’re starting your day, you’ve got to take action because it’s setting your tone for the day. Most people don’t do that. And most people kind of fumble around between, you know, personal hygiene, eating, sort of getting ready for their day. Most people do not prepare for the day. That’s the norm.
[JOE]: I found even, you know, one thing that my parents did for me as a kid that I’ve still done all the way through adulthood and with my kids, that to me just sets up the day is to just get my clothes out for the next day, the night before, you know. So, just having one less thing, you know, to have to have the coffee pot ready to go in the morning, to have as much prepped, you know, the kid’s lunches done the night before because I mean, the way I think about it is that extra five minutes of either sleep or just not having jumped right into the day in the morning versus the five minutes in the evening. I feel like the value for me in the morning is to have less to do in the morning and less is going to stress me out for the day versus staying up five or 10 minutes later to get my stuff ready. It just feels like I start the day just, it’s way smoother.
[STEVEN]: Absolutely. It’s a better return on your time in the evening. But the five minutes, you know, we’re not even awake, right? We’re barely, we’re still going around and our best thinking doesn’t happen then. So, when we’re awake to prepare, absolutely is a great idea. And so, after we get done with what I call the prepared, then it’s the doing and the doing is when you perform. So, you set yourself up to perform and here’s where there’s a lot of tools and techniques now that can be implemented.
So, we talked about one, clustering similar activities. When the brain is doing similar activities, it performs at a much higher level. Two, use work rest intervals. And this is a game changer. It was a game changer when I wrote this book last year, it increased my productivity probably three to five times what it normally would have been and that is completely focused. I use the 55 minutes of work and then seven to 10 minutes of rest. You can do 25 and five but you want to work with no distractions. So, I shut off all distractions. There’s no dinging, ringing or flushing on any of my devices. I do the work at hand, then I rest for 10 minutes.
[JOE]: Steven, you’re making me feel really good about my flow. Like sometimes on these interviews it’s like, “Oh, I got a lot to do.” But, yeah, I put my phone on mute. I don’t have anything on my computer that pops up or dings while I’m working. I’ll actually set a timer so that I don’t even have to keep checking the clock to just get done what I need to get done when I’m working on something.
[STEVEN]: Yeah, you’re right on track. So, we do that and then, so, —
[JOE]: But before we move on from that, I want to just quickly talk about a study that, I don’t know if I’ve talked about it in the podcast, but University of Illinois did this study on vigilance decrement. Vigilance, how well we pay attention to something decrement meaning breaking down over time. And they did this study between college students that had a really boring task. Like they had a four-digit number that popped up and whenever that number popped up they’re supposed to hit a button. And so, they’re just watching numbers for an hour and they noticed that over the hour, the vigilance, how well they paid attention to things went down, so the decrement
So, what they did is at the one third mark, they interrupted and gave them a one-minute break. And then at the two thirds mark, they gave another one-minute break and they actually found there was zero vigilance decrement in that kind of group from that just one-minute break. And so, we know that those short breaks are super important if you’re not paying attention because the brain then sees that as, you know, a potential enemy. “I need more awareness. I need, I’m going back into something new even with those short breaks.” So, just wanted to kind of underline what you said there Steven because I think that’s so important to just even have those micro breaks in between things.
[STEVEN]: Absolutely. And this philosophy of grinding, keep pushing, you know, those old work ethics, you know, working hard is great, working smart is even greater. And the fact is when you fully engage, you get greater productivity and that means eliminating multitasking. That means maybe just focus on what you’re doing and then resting and your body loves that. Your mind loves that.
And so, the other thing that’s super important that I coach and it’s in the book, is to have a predetermined reset strategy. This tool right here, 99% of people do not have and they’ve never thought about. And I got it because I didn’t either. But you have a predetermined strategy when either you, your physiology is off, you’re not focusing anymore, you’re tired and/or your schedule’s off. A meeting goes late, you know, a session went over. You need to have a strategy. First identify it and then what to do when it happens.
Because if you don’t, and most people don’t, your whole day can be thrown off. And so, one of the things that I recommend is having awareness, alarm on your phone just to alert you every hour, checking what you’re doing, what you present to. Are you on track? And then the strategies are, you know, it can be a breathing technique, it can be some meditation, it can be a technique that I call head, heart, body, where you check in what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, and how your body is, and then you reset back into your day.
And that’s a powerful tool to make sure that you’re performing with the highs and lows. And then lastly, it’s just the after part of the day and after is your recovery. There’s a window that I’ve identified from the end of work and it’s the next one to three hours that can be a high ROT time where you can invest in your exercise, you know, learning a new language, investing in your relationship. That time, many people waste being online, watching TV.
And then the second part of the after is then the prep as you talked about before, for your next day. I have a worksheet that I use where I look at the top three successes and the challenges, the tools that you have to overcome the challenges, and then setting your three intentions for the next day with goals. That’s how you set up your day.
[JOE]: When you’re looking forward to the next day, kind of you’re wrapping up your day, is that something you do at the end of the workday or you do dinner time or right before bed? Are there better or worse times?
[STEVEN]: Right before bed.
[STEVEN]: I like to do it an hour before bed. So, you’re looking at what you’re grateful for. You’re setting your goals, all that stuff because it primes the subconscious mind before you got to bed. You complete the day, there’s a completion mentally and now you’re focusing on what you want to accomplish the next day while you take that into the dream state.
[JOE]: Yeah. The amount of times that I’ve worked things out in dreams is just amazing. I’ll actually top infographic on Pinterest, I don’t know how many times it’s been re-pinned. It was in the middle of the night. I woke up and was like, “Oh my gosh.” And I, I’m so glad I went and wrote it down because our brain continues, we know that, I mean we’re psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers. Like we should know this stuff.
So, I’m wondering, I want to go back to maybe this is more of like a case example. So, when I was doing a Q&A in one of the mastermind groups recently, a number of the people were really struggling with, they have 10 or 15 things in front of them to work on. They all feel like they’re the same and how do you figure out what to work on it? And I’ll share what I kind of advised them on, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that first. Like is there a framework for really saying, “Okay, I’ve got all these things. I don’t have enough time to work on all of them right now, nor should I.” How do I figure out what to do first, second and third?
[STEVEN]: Okay, great question. So, one of the things to put this in perspective is what your outcome is. So, why people get stuck is they have all these things to do, but they haven’t identified what is my top three outcomes for the day? And if you don’t do that and then you just have a list of 25 things, you will not know where to go. You will not. You will just absolutely not.
So, you know, if it’s a therapist or counselor, you got to understand, “Okay, what is my top priority for the day?” And then look at the list and the things that matched up. I mean, you know, there’s the urgent things, there’s the things that can wait. One of the things that I do with my business clients is simple. It’s, should I do it right now? Is it something that I can delegate or delay? And depending on what my outcome is, that’s going to dictate what I need to do. And by setting the top three priorities with intentions on a regular basis, you naturally start to streamline and start training your brain on what needs to be done.
[JOE]: Yeah. So, I guess when people really, Oh, I guess I said I was going to tell you how I told them. So, when I said to them is, you know, ultimately you have a business to build a lifestyle and all of that, but a business first and foremost needs to, you know, make money. And so, looking at your things that are in front of you and say, “What are things that are going to bring in money?” But then also, “What are things that are going to free up time? Because I think what a lot of therapists in particular get stuck doing is they’re doing things that ultimately, they could outsource so much cheaper than their hourly rate. You know, unlike most careers, I mean our hourly rate can be, you know, 100, 200, 300 dollars an hour depending on where we’re at.
And so, almost making a matrix of which thing is going to free up the most time for you and it’s also going to bring in the most money. So, for example, if your billing coordinator, you know, isn’t bringing the money in after you’ve done counseling, you probably need to work on that. Whereas you know, something that may free up some time like, you know, cleaning the office, but you know, it’s not going to bring in money. Yes, you need to kind of build those systems, but that’s not going to be priority number one to find a person to clean your office right away unless your office is trashed. And so, that was just kind of a simple way that I explained it to them, is to just make a list of where do you get the best kind of money return, but then also time return for yourself? So, yeah, that’s how I described it.
[STEVEN]: I think that’s great advice. It goes back to what I call your highest return on time. So, I have all my clients write down what are the activities that generate the highest return on your time. And for this case what you’re talking about is generating income for clients. And then there’s one piece of research that you know like, it was 6,000 people they interviewed from multiple countries, buying back your time. And what they found was buying back your time, increased happiness. And so, that’s, you know, paying somebody to wash your car or mow your lawn or clean your house. It actually has happiness elevators as well as getting back time for where you can invest you ROT activities.
[JOE]: Well, and for me, whether it’s in my personal life or my business to say I really want to do the things that I love doing. And so, I want to be making the podcast. I want to be working with the membership community or on Slow Down School. I don’t really want to do accounting. Yeah. I don’t want to do all the law stuff. I want to have a lawyer do that. And I feel like as you surround yourself with people that support your business, you just feel like more of a professional. But then you’re also putting your most creative energy into the things you should be spending your energy on. The same in your personal life. I’d rather, you know, have a cleaning person come once a week to do a kind of deep clean. I’d rather have someone else do that than to miss out on that time with my kids.
[STEVEN]: Well, Joe, another great point. I call it the hangover effect. And you’re like us. So, every minute you do something that isn’t, you know, in your best interest for time that can be actually a contaminant, you have a hangover effect. It’s like engaging with a friend that’s constantly negative, right? You spend 10 minutes with them, the hangover effect is the hours afterwards that it affects you.
[JOE]: The debrief with my wife at dinner saying, “Can you believe what he said?
[JOE]: Instead of having a good date night, I’m complaining about this friend. Yeah.
[STEVEN]: Right. And that’s why we want to really identify in the crunch, what are the toxic things? What are the contaminants? And then the opposite of the hangover effect is the compound effect. The compound effect is investing in those areas that matter the most. It can be revenue generating, it could be fitness, and then how that goes into other areas of your life. You know, you start getting more fit, you have a better relationship with your community, and engagement, and your wife, your kids. It’s a compounding effect.
[JOE]: So, Steven, what haven’t we hit on from this cleanse that you think is important that we make sure we hit on?
[STEVEN]: I think that the most important thing for your listeners is that to be 100% responsible for your time, to go on that what I call your time excuse guy and commit to what’s important and really look at the things that are contributing or contaminating, you know, make the adjustments and that absolutely, absolutely practice being present in the moment. And when you do that, you start performing with time. Time pressure goes away and your overall performance and health next levels in every area of your life.
[JOE]: Wow. That’s so awesome. And you may have already answered this kind of through that, but if every counselor in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[STEVEN]: Well, it comes down to this. It’s that you are time. Time comes from you and you are 100% responsible for it.
[JOE]: Oh, so awesome. Well, Stephen, I know you’ve got a book coming out. Probably by the time this goes live it’s going to be pretty close to coming out. Tell us a little bit more about that book and you’ve got also some resources for people that want to do a little more work around their time.
[STEVEN]: Sure. Well the book is The Time Cleanse. It comes out March 22nd from McGraw Hill and, a great publisher and it’s really about, you know, reinvesting your time, being your full potential, and eliminating things that are wasting time and changing your relationship with time. And it’s a step by step guide that is very interactive that I guarantee if you read that book, you’ll get a minimum of 10 hours back a week. Most people get 20, but it’ll change your most important relationship. And that’s with time.
And by doing that, you’ll see results in every area of your life and actually have time for what matters most. And also, you know, for your listeners, I’ve got a special report for them. It’s a time performance, performance report, tools and tactics and tips so they can get their time back right now and increase their performance. They can get that www.stevengriffith.com/practice. And for those listeners that preorder the book I’m giving away my free online time plans masterclass. So, it’s several videos, walk them step by step and I wanted to provide that for your listeners and, you know, that’s at the same web address.
[JOE]: Oh, awesome. So, great to learn from you. I feel like we could have gone on and on to really help people learn more about time management, prioritizing all of this. Go get the book if you want to dive deeper. We’ll make sure that that link is in the show notes for you. We covered a lot stuff today. Thanks, so much Steven, for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[STEVEN]: Joe, thank you buddy, and for your commitment to making a difference.
You know, when you start to really focus in on exactly how you’re spending time, it’s amazing how quickly you can grow and scale. A number of years ago when I was working at the community college, I had the podcast and I had my blog and I had the practice and I really had to decide what was worth spending time on. And I continued that after I left the community college. And even still, I look at, where is the money coming in? Where’s the impact happening and where’s my time going?
And looking for the things that give me the best return on investment for my time, because, you know, even Warren Buffett and other people say, you know, time is the only commodity we can’t get more of. And to be able to say this minute I’m going to spend it on X, Y, and Z, and to make sure that you’re maximizing the time that you’re working because you’re taking that time away from your family, your friends, your hobbies, your goals, your health.
Those are all things that you could be doing. And if you spend an extra 10 minutes a day dinking around on something, well that’s a lot of time over. I mean that’s, you know, about an hour a week, you know, if you’re dinking around every single day. And so, I mean, that’s 52 hours a year. So, if you spend even just an extra 10 minutes of focused energy, you know, you’re getting an extra week of work a year out of that little bit. So, focus in, do the time cleanse, check out the book.
It’s, you know, released right now as we do this. We timed it so that you could go get that and pick that up and get the free stuff that goes along with it. Also, you know, we’re going to be doing tickets for Slow Down School pretty soon here, taking applications. So, make sure if you are interested in talking to me about that, I’m going to jump on the phone with every single person that’s interested to make sure that you’re a good fit, to make sure we’re a good fit.
I don’t want you to just go buy a ticket. I want you to know that it’s a good fit. And just so you know, Slow Down School is really aimed at the people that are growing and scaling a practice so that they probably have some sort of group practice where they’re really kind of really killing it in their solo practice. So, you’re going to be around a $100,000 a year or higher. Now, that’s not a hard number. There are some people who are at 60, but they really kind of have a mindset that aligns with Slow Down School. But we’re going to slow down for a couple days and then we’re going to run full tilt towards your business and have a whole lot of fun in the process.
If you’re kind of below that, you can be at Killin’It Camp. That’s the conference for you. Really. That’s where we’re selling tickets like that. Like mad, we’ve been promoting it, doing Facebook ads. We’ve got all of our speakers helping promote it. We’ve got some huge giveaways coming up and in April we have that How to Kill It in Private Practice webinar. That’s going to be, you can sign up for that over a practiceofthepractice.com/live.
And so, we’re really doing a lot of things to reshape private practice. We just had our magazine go out to over 2000 of you that requested to get a free copy of the first ever printed Practice of the Practice magazine. So, you’ve probably been enjoying that. It’s pretty awesome to see and to think that we’re making the kind of impact together. It’s not me, it’s not just our team. It’s you sharing this with people. It’s you letting people know about this podcast and we really, really appreciate it.
And lastly, we just want to thank Therapy Notes for being a sponsor. We couldn’t do this podcast without the funding of sponsors like Therapy Notes. Therapy Notes is the premier electronic medical records. I’ve recommended other medical records in the past but Therapy Notes really is the one that so many of our listeners are subscribing to and enjoying and getting really great results from and it’s just increased the flow of their practice in such a positive way. Head on over to the therapynotes.com, use promo code [JOE] and you’ll get two months for free to check it out, make sure it’s a fit and make sure it’s a fit for all that you’re doing in your practice.
Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome day.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither of the host or the guest or the producer or rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. You need a professional, you should find one.
Thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for that intro music.