February 21, 2024

Productive Capacity: How to do more, get more, be more

How to be productive and cultivate a life you love. Full of peace and freedom.

By the way… this also happens to be the best way to increase cash flow & sales revenue in your business over the long haul because these principles work under the same law of compounding. Focused productivity over the long haul leads to exponential results in your business & personal growth.

The Hypothesis

Start by doing what matters.

But before I can start, I’ve got to choose… got to get clear on what I THINK actually matters.

Most (myself included) skip this step, or we’re so lax about setting our priorities that we trick ourselves into thinking we’ve got a clear vision.

Clear goals.

A clear and ordered list of to dos.

But the fact that we say “our priorities” with an S proves that we’re not clear.

We can’t have priorites (plural).

We can only have a priority (singular) in any given moment.

When we recognize this, we can ask ourselves…

What actually matters?

What am I committed to?

Above all else…

What do I want to create?

Okay… so we answer the first question — what actually matters?

Then we start doing that thing.

And we immediately see that there are levels to the thing we’re working on.

For example…

In marketing, getting clients matters.

But I can’t put “get clients” on a to do list. I can’t “do” getting clients.

So I get curious about the work I can do that leads to getting clients.

And maybe that starts with me posting helpful conversation-starting content on social media, and then following up with 1-on-1 conversations with potential clients.

Now I’ve got enough clarity to say that what matters is me posting helpful content on social media and leveraging that content into 1-on-1 sales conversations.

At the same time, I could tell myself something else that matters is cultivating energy, because my energy directly impacts the quality of my work.

If I have low energy, my content suffers, my sales conversations suffer, and I simply do less work and the work I do is less effective.

But again, I can’t DO “cultivating energy.”

But I see all these podcasters and productivity experts talking about their morning routines.

They wake up at 5am. Pull out their gratitude journal, visualize their future self for 10 minutes, meditate, workout, get sun exposure, read 20 minutes of a business book and cap it all off with a cold plunge.

And I think…

This morning routine will help me cultivate energy.

So I’m going to say this elaborate morning routine is something that matters. Something that I can commit to doing daily.

Now I’ve got 2 things…

Cultivate energy daily with my morning routine.

And get clients with a daily publishing & follow up process.

But here’s the thing…

We’re still only on step 1: Do what matters.

Which brings me to step 2…

Pay attention to see if it actually matters.

Because if there’s anything I’ve learned in my 42 years of being a human it’s this…

Despite all of the data and history and stories of how things have gone in the past for us and others (even in similar situations)…

We are terrible predictors of the future.

And so, rather than assume that what I think matters actually matters, it would be wise for me to pay attention to see how right (or how wrong) I was when I chose what matters.

Going back to the 2 things that we’re using in this exampleb (morning routine & publishing content), once we get into the work we realize that we only get to our morning routine a few days here in there. It’s not consistent. We’re not consistent. So we get curious…

Turns out there’s a lot of friction to even get started with our morning routine because it takes so damn long to get through the whole checklist, and it feels like an all-or-nothing kind of thing.

But when we do do it, we feel great. We DO cultivate energy.

So what do we do?

Do we just power through? Tell ourselves that we need more discipline?

Or is there an opportunity for us to get curious…

Ask if there’s a scaled down version of the morning routine that we can adopt, that gives us the result we’re after (cultivate energy).

Because we also noticed that on the days where we maybe get through our morning routine, but maybe started it a bit later, and so we get into our “work day” a bit later, we tend to cram our publishing & follow up into a smaller window, if we even get to it before we end up handing over our focus to the requests of the day.

And what we realize is, the workout piece is the linchpin.

If we could just workout every morning, we would cultivate more energy.

So now I’m saying “working out” is the thing that matters, rather than an elaborate morning routine.

And if I take it a step further, I discover that I can workout any time of day and get the same result.

Sure. In a perfect world, I’d love to workout first thing in the morning every day. And of course I could make that a priority IF that does actually matter to me.

But right now my only job is to get curious…

So step 2 is: Pay attention to see if what I said matters actually matters.

And so I redefine what I’m going to tell myself actually matters, and that is:

Workout every day to cultivate energy.

Publish & follow up every day to get clients.

And as soon as I make this shift, it’s as if a whole new level of productivity is unlocked.

It’s easier for me to know what is most important each day for me to actually do.

And it’s easier for me to keep my committments to myself because I’ve done the hard work to get clear on what actually matters (and cleared out what doesn’t).

I get into the work.

I learn new things about when and how to fit in workouts throughout the week. I learn my own rhthyms and how different workouts at different times of day impact my energy & productivity.

I learn that the content I post immediately after working out tends to have a different energy rippling through it, which turns into better follow up sales conversations, and turns into more & better clients.

And then I learn that all these new clients have presented a new problem (albeit a good problem) and that is in service.

Now that I’ve got all these new clients coming in, they want my time & attention.

I hit what Dan Martell calls “the pain line”

The pain line is where an entrepreneur hits a point of friction where continuing to grow actually hurts.

If I continue getting more clients, they continue to want more of my time. But I want to spend my time working out, publishing & following up.

So… if I’m not intentional about how I handle this, I’ll slowly stop doing the things that matter.

I’ll miss workouts.

I’ll stop posting… or post sporadically at best.

I’ll be slow to respond in new follow up conversations.

And all this leads to less energy and less clients.

So what can I do about it?

That’s step 3: buy back your time.

Dan Martell covers this process perfectly in his book, so I’ll just point you over there to get his system (the same one I’ve adopted), but here’s the summary.

Step 1: Do what matters

Step 2: Pay attention and see if it actually matters (edit & test)

Step 3: Buy back your time, so that you’re spending your time only on what matters (understanding that what matters will shift over time)

What’s important is to recognize what actually matters, how that shifts over time, and getting clear about the things that only you can do.

Nobody else can workout for me, so that will always be on my list (I actually have a very short list that I call my Core Four… these are 4 things I do daily that only I can do and are things I know that I will never delegate).

But when it comes to publishing, follow up and now client fulifllment, there certainly are opportunities for my to hire someone else to help me buy back time so I can continue doing the things only I can do AND lean into new & bigger levels of work that actually matters.

In this case, I realize that only I can write, speak & record myself from my point of view.

But I can get help editing and posting the things I write, speak & record.

And I can get help handling those follow up conversations with potential new clients.

And I can get help delivering on the promises made in those sales conversations.

And so I buy back my time.

Hire help.

Delegate work that matters but can be done by someone else.

And return to doing two types of work…

  1. Work that only I can do
  2. Work that matters

And I continue repeating the process with that second type of work (work that matters) because there will always be new levels of work that matters in life & business.

The work that matters as a single man is different than that of a newlywed.

And the “work” I do as a father of 4, husband of 1, is much different than it was than when my wife and I just had our first baby.

The same is true for your business.

What matters (the work) is constantly changing even if what matters (the values & results) stays the same.

This post is work that matters for me, and my prayer is something in these words resonates with you too.

In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Earlier in this post, I mentioned what I call my “Core Four”

They are 4 daily disciplines that I have gotten clear on. That I have committed to.

These are the 4 things that I know, if I stay consistent with, no days off, for the next 1,000+ days, that everything I want in life is on the other side.

In fact, everything I want in life is INSIDE these 4 things.

And I share my list to inspire you to create yours.

Feel free to adopt my list.

But even better if you ask yourself…

“What am I willing to do for the next 1,000 days in a row, no days off, if I new it guaranteed it would help me create the life I want?”

So here’s my list:

  1. Reflect
  2. Sweat
  3. Publish
  4. Team Davis

In reverse order, Team Davis just means that I put a daily focus on my family first. That I recognize we are quite literally on a team together, orchestrated by God (He put us together, not me), and I should pay attention every day to ways of pouring into my family and working together as a team.

Publish… more specifically… publishing to serve is all about me sharing the best of what I’ve learned in the trenches, for free, with the world. For me, this really falls into the area of business, and even more specifically in building customer acquisition systems. Improving your website, getting leads & clients, help with your marketing and increasing sales revenue. I post every day about this stuff, because I know this is the gateway to long-term compounding success in business.

Sweat every day, because like I shared in my example, I’ve gotten really clear that I am a better husband, father, entrepreneur, leader & friend when I am consistently working out. It’s how I cultivate energy. It is THE one thing on this list that makes the rest of the list easier.

And finally, the first thing on the list, which is literally what led to the creation of this post… reflect every day. Every day I spend 5-10 minutes writing about the previous day and what I notice. Anything I’m learning. Maybe something I’m frustrated about or have shame over. I get curious. I examine it. And I make a new committment in response.

This morning, I was writing in my reMarkable, reflecting on yesterday, when the idea for this post popped up.

And while I don’t typically turn my 10 minute reflection session into a 60 minute blogwriting session, today I did.

Because I know what matters.

And for me, this level of reflection matters, because it’s the only way I am able to learn and grow.

By paying attention to what I said matters.

Paying attention to what I did or didn’t do.

Paying attention to how I felt about what I did or didn’t do.

Getting curious.

Examining it.

And making a new commitment.

So I’ll ask you this…

What are you committed to?

What are you creating?

What actually matters for you?

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