Episode #44 - How to Stay Focused While Trying to Grow Your Schoool, Academy, or Studio - Teacher Zone

Episode #44 – How to Stay Focused While Trying to Grow Your Schoool, Academy, or Studio

In a hectic and fast-paced world, we all need more focus. That’s true in our businesses and in our lives.

Believe us….we feel it big time too.

So instead of avoiding it, or feeling guilty about it, we decided to talk through it. We explore the topics and tips that we’re learning ourselves in order to stay focused in our lessons-business.

FOCUS – that’s what this episode is all about!

Watch it here

Listen to it here

Or Scan the show notes below

0:00:05.0 Tyler Marolf: Welcome to the next episode of The Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler. I’m Tyler Marolf, your co-host, here with Chris Bates, and today, we’re gonna focus on an important topic for business owners just like you. And the topic is focus.

0:00:22.0 Chris Bates: Focus. [chuckle]

0:00:24.0 TM: Pew, pew, pew, pew, pew.

0:00:27.3 CB: I do that… Okay… [chuckle] So the laser analogy… I wanna start with that, Tyler, ’cause you and I talked about this recently. That there’s a really cool analogy about a laser.

0:00:40.0 TM: Let’s back up. Wait. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up. What? Was that a laser sound? Could you do that again?

0:00:46.6 CB: That was a laser, good. That was a good… Pew pew. Oh there, that’s a little better.


0:00:52.6 TM: That’s a lispy laser, but it’s definitely a laser [chuckle]

0:00:57.9 CB: Yeah. I’ll work on my laser, but I might need help focusing. So the concept is this, laser intent. You hear about that. Laser-focus, you hear about that. What do we mean by that? We mean condensed. So the metaphor is this. If you… And someone said this recently, and they said you could take 50 watts of energy of photons of light, and you can warmly be in the room. A diffused, unfocused 50 watts lights the room. A focused condensed five watts can cut steel, right? So a laser, when we say laser-focus, is a condensed light. So when we talk about laser-focus, that’s what we mean. We mean not all over the place, not scattered. We mean pointed, right? That you hear the term pointed, focused. And so think about that, think about cutting steal with five watts of energy versus just lighting the room with 50. It’s pretty intense. It’s so much more can get done, and you can get laser-focus.

0:02:12.4 TM: Exactly, and email us in if you think we should get soundboard lasers and sound effects or if Chris should keep doing them. It’s [email protected], let us know.


0:02:28.4 TM: So today we’re gonna focus on… There’s gonna be a couple aspects. So we’re business owners, right? Or business leaders, or leaders in our companies, or directors or something, right? That’s usually who our listeners are and our customers are at teacherzone.com. So today we’re gonna be discussing things such as team focus. System… Byproducts of systems in place, allowing people through our leadership and systems being built, so they can focus. We’re gonna discuss owner focus, like, that top echelon of focus where the ship is literally being added to, cargo being put on it, shifted to a different destination altogether. Like we’re steering from the top. That takes focus. Otherwise, there’s a huge oil spill coming your way, and then you’re screwed. And that, we’ll call the oil spill unplanned work. So the third thing we’ll get into at some point, or maybe in the middle, are we setting ourselves up to not focus?

0:03:32.5 CB: Yeah, I think a lot of us really are. A lot of us have created an environment of where they see themselves and their staff as firefighters, and the problem with that is then you’ve just created chaos. So everyday you’re just waiting for a new challenge versus being focused and proactive.

0:03:50.2 TM: Right.

0:03:50.5 CB: And so, the cool thing, Tyler, is that all of us, if you’re listening to this, it’s likely that you’re in an education learning lesson space. So you actually… You have a business that does some sort of teaching. And think how important it is for learning with regard to focus, right? The younger the students you have, if you’re teaching little, little ones, five minutes, sit. And then you gotta be like, “Okay, everyone, stand up. Okay.” You gotta constantly re-invigorate the focus.

0:04:19.5 TM: Ten jumping jacks. Ten jumping jacks. Actually, Chris and I do a 10 jumping jack method too, so that’s not just focus.

0:04:24.7 CB: He and I are still five. And by the way, I know a lot of you suffer with ADD, okay? Just know this, you’re not alone. They actually call entrepreneurism the ADD disease. Because actually… I’m sorry. Did I say that right? My ADD got the best of me. No, the ADD… What is the phrase I always say? I’m not saying it how I normally say it. But basically, entrepreneurs are drawn to being an entrepreneur, usually, if your brain works really fast, and that’s what that means. So for a lot of us, your brain works so fast that you found a normal job just something you couldn’t do. So you chose…

0:05:14.9 TM: Oil and water, something you maybe it was a great job, but you’re like, “Something’s wrong.” This is just not me. It’s not your identity. It’s not how you’re built, ’cause people are built different ways, absolutely.

0:05:29.5 CB: Yeah, so it really is important that you understand that we actually value the fact that your brain works fast And so in focusing, we’re not trying to get you to be someone you’re not. We’re trying to get you to use that intelligence to be more impactful, to have more laser-focus to it. So what was the first thing you talked about? And let’s kinda get into that, ’cause I know systems…

0:05:54.3 TM: It’s more or less team focus. So if we’ve already built something, so let’s say you’ve got a few instructors at your school, maybe some administrators, and you have protocols, you got a policy in place, and there’s a lot of moving parts. Couple hundred students, maybe you’ve got 10 groups of popular yoga classes coming in and they’re full. Whatever it is, now you’ve got this bowl full of activity, personalities, delegations, responsibilities, there’s a lot in that bowl once there’s a few 100 people involved. You’re even 50. Team focus, if I can’t have team focus, I’m not sleeping at night as an owner, first of all. A couple of things could happen, right, Chris, I could either be putting out all the fires cause the team focus is screwed up. Then who’s putting out the fires, are they, is it me? Someone’s gotta do it.

0:06:52.3 CB: It typically goes upstream, as the owners we’re typically the ones taking all of the icky jobs, it’s like, “Oh, I’ll just do it, go ahead, I got this. Oh, I’ll just do it, I got this”. And you’re constantly diminishing your ability to help your team, which then hurts the team focus.

0:07:09.5 TM: Right, right, right. And they’re gonna feel more successful if they know they’re focused, but they aren’t there. Maybe they’re not the systems administrator, lead, developer, position guy. That’s us usually. If you’re a small business under two million, a lot of the time it’s still us, it really is.

0:07:30.6 CB: You’re still the janitor from time to time, you’re still the maintenance person, you’re everything.

0:07:37.0 TM: The 600K a year janitor while you’re growing your company. Anyway, the point being is that that team focus, they’re relying on us to be successful. They came to work probably for your company because you told them how much you love it, or your team loves it, and that we have a place for you.

0:07:56.8 CB: The number one component for team focus is structure. We all to have structure in our lesson businesses with regard to time. We typically all have… And if you don’t have… If you’re skewing, honestly, Tyler and I do have a viewpoint that recurring classes and lessons are ideal. You don’t always, right. All of us have tons of one-off and stuff, but recurring is ideal because the more consistency you can employ in your business, you’re gonna make more consistent revenue, you’re gonna have happier staff and their focus is gonna be better because they’re doing the same thing every week. They have a scheduled class, a scheduled event, a scheduled whatever it is and so, it’s super important to look at having systems and actually having your structure, as I said, in place.

0:08:49.0 TM: Right.

0:08:49.2 CB: So make sure you have structure.

0:08:50.4 TM: So, you have to wonder am I paying this person right, were there people there, did they show up, was the teacher even there, it’s payroll. There’s a lot of things if you don’t have it in place and streamline it, that you can’t delegate it to someone to watch it. “Oh my gosh, yeah, hey, hey Johnny, we’d love to hire you. You seem super smart. You’re highly recommended, get in here. By the way, see that pile of burning trash over in the corner, that’s your job. How’s that sound?” That’s what some people do.

0:09:23.1 CB: I made the embarrassing… In fact, I admitted Tyler, the other day I had dinner with some of my old buddies, I used to be in a business group, and I had dinner with those guys recently. And I actually… They all cracked up, ’cause they remembered. I said, “Guys, do you remember”, and they were like, “Chris, that was like nine years ago.” And I’m like,” Yeah.” I’m like, “Do you remember that meeting we had where I came in and I said… ” ’cause at the time, I had like 40 on staff, and I said, we were all talking about staff training. And I said, “I’m just not a fan. I think people that we hire the talent from the beginning, they shouldn’t need to be trained.” And I brought that to everybody the other night, I said, “I just wanna apologize, I was wrong.”

0:10:06.3 TM: Nine years later.

0:10:08.6 CB: I said I was way wrong.

0:10:10.9 TM: Did any of them not remember that? Or did they…

0:10:12.7 CB: No, they start cracking up and then Lawrence, when everybody started cracking up and he goes, “Bates, I can’t believe you’re apologize, that’s hilarious.” And I go, “Oh man.” I go, “I’m way wrong.” Because not only do we need to provide structure for everyone, we all need to, could be leveling up, it’s something that has to be built into our businesses, a constant structure of getting better. If you don’t have structure for your teams, then step number one of focus in your business is to really work with your teams on structure. And that can be a lot of things, we won’t go down that rabbit hole, but what’s the second thing?

0:10:50.0 TM: Well, if you’re a new listener and you do want a little mini bible on the subject of that, just go to teacherzone.com/chaos and grab the… It’s called Chaos to Culture the five stages of growth, that can really help sort through a lot of that stuff. If you’re new and you haven’t heard about that, go there, there’s structure sides in there and a lot of other great stuff. The other thing we talked about, Chris, the second item was once the team focus is there, great, that’s perfect world. Everyone’s focused. We have our leadership focus, if we’re not putting out fires, what are we doing every day to move the needle? If our monthly recurring revenue is not somehow increasing, are we not focused? I don’t know, I suppose that could depend on markets and things like that and whatever, but I think the majority of us type A entrepreneurs, ADD folks, the only reason the needle is not moving is because of us.

0:11:57.3 CB: 100%. Here’s the thing, you can accomplish in one year, and we’ve embarrassingly seen a lot of other folks do that. They call a unicorn often for some of these tech companies and stuff like that, a similar concept. You can actually accomplish more in one year than some people will accomplish in 50.

0:12:20.8 TM: If you focus.

0:12:24.9 CB: A lot of times predicated on your focus.

0:12:25.1 TM: Right, and in a lot of decisions and different pillars of success, but either way, that’s why our minds work so fast. We have to capture that. It’s like the movie, The Matrix, reading all that data dripping down the screen, you gotta be able to look at everything at once, it’s like a big battle field. And if you’re gonna win, you have to focus and know what’s going to happen, a forecast and whatever, but the point is, if you don’t have a plan you’re done.

0:12:54.3 CB: And so, that’s a perfect tee-off for the concept of working on versus in. And a lot of you have read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, it talks about that, but it’s important to say that. So if number one is structure in your business, number two is a leader to get focused, you need to start focusing on working not in your business, working on your business. So what’s the difference? In your business is what we talked about with regard to fires, you’re gonna work in your business anyways, guys, it’s sot something you have to ask to do, right?

0:13:29.0 TM: Right, it’s gonna happen.

0:13:30.9 CB: I don’t have to ask Tyler to call that horrified parent because something weird happened, right? He’s gonna do it no matter what. Because it’s something that just has to be taken care of, we need to make sure that student’s okay, okay? That’s gonna happen. That’s a in-your-business, must-work-on deal. The problem is…

0:13:52.8 TM: It’s also called unplanned work, you’re already gonna have some of that, and some people call them fires, some people call it whatever, but the point is it has nothing to do with your list of amazing growth items that you wanna put in place. Maybe it’s a new marketing plan, maybe it’s a meeting with a new person that’s gonna help clarify your story, brand your messaging, and finally get your website, whatever it is, these are all…

0:14:19.3 CB: This is another thing, maybe it’s just running a stupid ad, like social media ad for like two bucks a day. ‘Cause some of you aren’t running ads and it’s like, all of us need to get better at marketing, all of us need to get better at our growth machines, all of us need to be able to create those. Right, and so in working on your business, it’s planned versus what Tyler said, unplanned work, which is in your business, so in your business…

0:14:43.5 TM: And there’s so many fun ideas here, we’ll get into Shiny Object Syndrome in a second, ’cause this is a shiny object. Post-pandemic, a yoga instructor can take their email list, and literally create a webinar on a topic of health and everything, and then invite them all and have a conversation for 12 minutes and get 20 new customers. There’s a ton of ways to grow that you could put on your list that isn’t unplanned work. So this kind of…

0:15:13.2 CB: Oh, I’ll give you an example for us, you and I did a podcast on this several years ago, I still haven’t taken in the time… Tyler used to be really good about going down and being a part of our… We have an awesome local community, and being a part of our awesome community and getting involved, and so he and I’ve been so busy. We haven’t been doing that. So we talked about it. That’s something that honestly I should be doing, I should be going to those Friday meetings with the whole town, I should be taking the time, I should be pressing palms with some business owners in town every day, that way when they think about… We happen to have a Performance Academy downtown. When they think about music lessons and Performance Academy, they’re like, “Oh yeah, Chris Bates or Tyler Marolf, call them.” They’re not thinking about it ’cause I didn’t take the time currently, necessarily, to do that, and so all your business starts to allow you to be more proactive, so that pro-activity and that planned work is another. So we’ll call it structure, we’ll call it planned work. And what’s the third one you have?

0:16:16.5 TM: Well, basically, once the owner focus is achieved, it’s kind of like I just wanted to get into a little bit of a workshop format with you, what is the opposite of owner focus? Let’s give him, you just gave him an example, we thought of three years ago at Nam, did a live podcast about how if we went out to five of the most amazing business leaders in San Juan Capistrano, California, and there’s 32,000 people, really neat town. And just did something, it would be amazing. And we didn’t do it. So I’d like you to expand on Shiny Object Syndrome, first of all, because that is the antithesis of focus, it can be. To an entrepreneur, I’d like to get into that, but also what are owners doing to set themselves up to not be focused, was the workshop. What are we doing? I’ll tell you right now, what am I doing to not be focused? I am not… If I’m not making a list and putting one, two or three things into a category of what I could accomplish that day, no matter what that would make Chris in my life better. If that list, let’s say I even do make that list…

0:17:26.7 TM: “Oh, good job.” Pat myself on the back, I had a cup of coffee and made a list, and four days later, that list is sitting there covered in pens and nothing happened. What happened? A death in the family? Like what happened?

0:17:42.1 CB: It’s typically not… We call it procrastination. I think it’s distraction more than procrastination. I think for a lot of us, we’ve lived enough life that we’re not necessarily putting it off, we’re just distracted, and the number one distraction are these devices. Let’s face it, our phones are horrible when it comes to focus.

0:18:05.2 TM: If you don’t believe me, turn on that thing that tracks your… It’s right, it’s like you just select “Yes” on your new iPhone and it tracks your… Which app you’re on the most, it shows you a graph and a pie chart of what you’re on. You’ll be surprised, you… There’s people I know, and I’m not the best at it, but that are on social media for eight hours a day on those little charts, and they don’t even realize it. So there’s that…

0:18:32.3 CB: Yeah and I skew on mine. Mine skews email. And my kids think that’s so weird, but it actually… That’s not necessarily good either, because now I’m going down the email rabbit hole, so this idea of Shiny Object Syndrome and what is the antidote to Shiny Object Syndrome? I think number one and two can really go a long way with structure and planned work, because what you’re basically saying is, “I’m not gonna let this really exciting… ” Okay, so what will happen that we’re an entrepreneur and Tyler will come up with a really cool idea, and immediately he has to tell me.

0:19:12.2 TM: Or Chris reads another book, like one day later after the other book, that we in our staff meeting, we are getting this huge colorful summary in 90 seconds of what… How awesome this book is. And then he tells me, not on audio, and I’m like, “Oh man, I can’t read it then.” Or something like, those are shiny objects, even though Chris is the best at downloading valuable information, too much information isn’t good either. You have to [0:19:41.9] ____.

0:19:43.0 CB: That’s a good point. So I use… I don’t know if some of you are like me, but I personally, because I love learning, I didn’t have to teach someone fast, and it’s usually Tyler.


0:19:56.8 CB: I have to teach him one fast or I’m gonna forget what I learned. So for me, my shining object…

0:20:03.1 TM: And subconsciously, he’s throwing a little fish hook out in the water to see if that shining object is worth having. So I’m like validating it, and if I perk up and go, “Dude”, and then all of a sudden he’s got double power on it, maybe the list and maybe…

0:20:18.2 CB: It doesn’t make it… Yeah. And so it can be powerful, but I think that what we’re saying is that that doesn’t make it any better, guys. Just because it’s something you like, like I like learning, doesn’t mean that it’s better that I just cut into Tyler’s focus time right now to tell him about this cool thing I just read, like…

0:20:37.2 TM: Hold on. Chris isn’t reading. That’s not good either. And I’ll make a point of that right now. Is Chris telling me about these awesome things that we… And then we don’t implement any? There might be a little value there because Chris is bettering himself. He’s trying to grow, so as long as we don’t pivot our company and ruin things by pivoting into shiny objects that don’t work… It’s not a detriment. Meanwhile, let’s value these two: Chris getting five new amazing ideas and we never implement them, or Tyler reading fantasy books that have nothing to do it with our business at all.

0:21:17.4 CB: Same difference.

0:21:17.8 TM: There’s no difference, I might as well be on a boat, listening to a…

0:21:22.2 CB: But you lie to yourself. You lie to yourself and you’re like… Because I was cleaning the bathroom, because I was reading a business book, because I was talking to this parent of one of my students, because I was doing whatever you’re lying to yourself about, you tell yourself that you’re doing planned or at least what you’re supposed to be doing. And I would argue that that’s unplanned work, and just don’t lie to yourself about it, and it’s okay to plan unplanned work.

0:21:54.6 CB: I actually have in my afternoon, because Tyler and I are early risers, in my afternoon, between 3:00 PM and 4:30 PM, I’m off the grid. I don’t plan anything, I don’t answer my phone, I don’t look at anything, I am just off the grid. I need that downtime everyday. That’s usually when I read and relax and maybe do a 20-minute power nap. And that’s my time to just sort of unplug for a second. So it’s plan unplanned. It’s like, I don’t know if I’m gonna be laying out on my hammock, I don’t know if I’m gonna be chilling and go to my bedroom. I don’t know if I’m on my couch. I don’t know if I’m even at our Rock School and sitting in one of the live rooms working on something that I enjoy. I don’t know what it is. I don’t care. It’s just, I know during that time…

0:22:44.7 TM: That’s directly related to balance. So the thing about all this guys like, Okay, so we’ve talked about all the crazy stuff. We wanted to kinda just let you into our lives a little bit that we’re not a lot much different than you. You might do different stuff, different businesses or whatever, but we’re the same. We have a lot going on in our heads. We’re passionate. We’re excited. We know we should be at point B. This point B looks like this and we know it. We’re not there yet. And all these feelings, emotions and thoughts, but here’s the deal, we also need to recharge just like Chris said. But here’s the deal: If you… If we… Not you, I’m gonna stop saying you. If we can get our team focus and systems and delegations on point, at least an A minus, right? Good. Where they’re happy, we’re happy. And then we get our owner focus, because if they’re happy, it’s really easy to say, “You know what, let’s go golf,” or something. You know what I mean?

0:23:45.0 CB: You can give yourself that gift. And so here’s what I think in closing.

0:23:50.0 TM: But you could plan those gifts too is what I was gonna say. Well, the gifts… If you’re planning now and if you’re focused, you can be like, “You know what, if I stay focused, which is actually the easier softer way than chaos, and it took a little work to get there: Team focused, delegation focused, my lists are actually moving the needle, then I can plan a three-day weekend. I can focus on…

0:24:19.0 CB: My old business partner used to annoy me to know him because I’m a seven day a week, 12-hour day, in theory is how I always have my work. I’ve changed now, and I’ll tell you guys about that, but he used to go off the grid and he was our CTO. And this is a software company. And he was the guy that was the smartest guy out of all of us, and he knew what was going on. And he’d literally… Tyler knows him well. He’s a total engineer, total nerd…

0:24:50.4 TM: Scientist.

0:24:52.1 CB: Scientist. Super smart. So smart that he would plan his time so perfectly that when he was done on Friday, and it could be at like 10:00 AM on Friday. When he was done, tup… Everything’s off. He’s gone. He’s disappeared. He’s gone. And so one time our servers crashed.


0:25:10.7 CB: I used to roust him all the time, “I’m answering to people on weekend,” and he’s like, “That’s your problem, that’s not mine.” Like in other words, I wasn’t figuring out how to have this… To let people know that we don’t answer on weekends, whatever it is. He’s like, “I plan mine. This is my deal.” So I show up on a Saturday. “Dude, the servers are down, I’ve tried… The team and I’ve tried. We can’t get anything back, we need your brilliance.” And I’m standing in his front door and he’s eating something, he’s all, “Alright.” And I’m like… And then I’m frustrated, and I go, “See, this is why you need to be on the grid”. And he goes, “No, it isn’t?” And I go, “What do you mean?” And he goes, “You just proved my point”. And he goes, “You found me. Didn’t you?”


0:25:54.8 TM: That’s good… Let’s just agree, you just told me that before, but that hit home even more now.

0:26:02.8 CB: So it’s like, hey, you know what, he’s right, he plans to be off, and he’s like, “If it’s bad enough, they’re gonna find me.” [laughter] It has to be solved that bad. Which honestly, we were partners about 10 years, that was the only moment that it ever happened, once in 10 years, so why would he be on the grid for 10 years straight when there was only one moment where he was truly needed.

0:26:24.2 TM: What a perspective and enlightening story that is a perspective-based, it’s how you look at it, and maybe his scientist ways are why he was so methodical and smart to be able to know that ’cause a lot of us are like… What is it? Right brain. Is it right? The right side brain that’s engineer’s left. No, no, no, opposite.

0:26:50.3 CB: Yeah, yeah, it’s opposite. So, yeah, yeah, so… The left brain is your engineer, scientist. Right brain is your creator.

0:26:58.2 TM: Okay, and then Jimi Hendrix with full right brain. That was that how I always remember it.

0:27:03.9 CB: So Tyler?

0:27:04.9 TM: And we didn’t learn until how many years later that we should be like that? 15.


0:27:10.9 CB: I know, he was a slow learners man, we’re all slow learners. So guys, to get back on topic as we end, let’s end on focus. So we’ve talked about structure, we talked about planned work, we talked about not letting this shiny object syndrome, take you somewhere. So let’s give you a tactic, okay. And so here’s the tactic that I think would be helpful, since the attention span of the human goes somewhere between five to 20 minutes, 20 minutes is considered like a mature adult’s attention span, they have a thing that some of you utilize called the Pomodoro, and what that is, Pomodoro in Italian means tomato. And so, Pomodoro timers are like tomato timers, and they say that ’cause I think they used to go to 20 minutes, but it’s basically the concept is get a little plastic timer on your desk for 20 minutes, and you’re telling yourself like, seriously, focus work for this 20 minutes.

0:28:04.0 TM: Or just, “Hey, Siri, set the timer for 20 minutes.”

0:28:06.3 CB: Right. That’s the modern Pomodoro. Hey, Siri, set a Pomodoro timer for 20 minutes.

0:28:15.5 TM: Aren’t people buying little cool…

[background conversation]

0:28:19.1 TM: Isn’t it a kind of a big movement right now though, the way people are buying cool little timers and making that part of their lives, is that the thing.

0:28:28.3 CB: Yeah, did you Google it? There’s timers, There’s journals, there’s all sorts of journals, so what you could do is you dictate it, if I do… I’m sorry, I used to have a success coach, so I wanna end on the Pomodoro, which is a 20 minutes or less focus, and then number two on what are your most important things for the day with those two things.

0:28:46.9 TM: Okay, okay.

0:28:47.3 CB: Those are good tactics for us personally, your most important things of the day, lots of people espouse to it. I don’t remember if it was the Carnegie, Dale Carnegie or one of those guys, but they used to talk about how the most successful people in the world would do the… Some people say seven. Some people say five. Some people say three, do what feels good to you.

0:29:10.6 TM: Items, right?

0:29:10.7 CB: We’ll call them five. What are the five things? The tasks, if I only do those today, and I didn’t do anything else, so the first hour of the day, I did all five of those. Let’s say, okay, and I didn’t do anything else that I’d feel good about. And those should be planned proactive work. And so for some of you, if you just wanna dip your toe, then do one thing, start with one, I don’t care, it’s we’re all making it up anyways, make it up good.

0:29:39.6 TM: That’s your homework.

0:29:41.7 CB: So, that’s your homework, do one a day. So every day, what’s the one thing I have to-do today. Tyler and I do this in our to do list. So we create a to-do list, and…

0:29:50.4 TM: By the way, if one of your items is payroll, that doesn’t count.

0:29:55.2 CB: Right, it’s not a to-do… It’s not a task list, that’s what we’re saying.

0:29:58.2 TM: That’s already planned. It’s already planned. I’m not saying don’t have that list, don’t forget payroll or whatever you guys do for that, so you’ve got your list but what…

0:30:09.5 CB: This is a proactive, focus list.

0:30:14.3 TM: The needle that are gonna grow and maybe it creates a new list, because you initiated a new relationship you needed to get your goal for number one done, and then all of a sudden it’s a new goal the next day because you’ve gotta talk to another guy or whatever it is.

0:30:28.8 CB: Which is great…

0:30:29.4 TM: You grow those…

0:30:30.9 CB: That’s a huge point, major, because what Tyler just said, if you listen to what he just said, the corrects of what he just said is that things like payroll that every single one of us would deem super high importance, it’s still sort of in that unplanned work category, meaning it’s gonna get done regardless. It has to. It’s like a fire that needs water, it’s gonna happen. So you don’t put those things. You don’t put those things that you’re gonna do…

0:30:58.7 TM: Right. Chris, if I don’t care if you are the owner, and you still are doing payroll, I’m not… I will not call that owner-focus mentality, that’s not… If I’m focused on that…

0:31:09.0 CB: It’s not something you have to do is not what we’re talking about because everyone can focus when they have to. We’re talking about forced focus, laser-focus on things that you feel that you want to do to drive the business to the next level, it’s proactive, planned work to help you push your staff, your team, your structure, your systems, everything to another level. So, A, come up with the list, one to seven things that you must get done today, that’s proactive every day. Now, for me, to be honest, I am only proactive. Alright, I’m gonna spill the beans here. [laughter] I’ve now changed. Okay. And this stage of my life, I am proactive four days a week. I’m only proactive Monday through Thursday, purposefully. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I still get some work done, but I actually consider it fun. ‘Cause I’ll just make a floaty list of like fun work things that I know I should do, and I knock those out, like while we’re at maybe at the beach or whatever. I’m sitting there with a laptop or my notepad or book or whatever.

0:32:22.4 CB: Like last weekend, Tyler, I was working on that extreme growth book, and I was kinda going through your nice product focus and stuff like that. But that was fun work. I literally was sitting on a beach, like literally. Mercy and I are sitting there, she’s napping, and I’m sitting there reading a book, right. Taking notes, having fun, but I consider that part of my off time, so what I’m saying is that I am only using this technique Monday through Thursday. And so what I do is I plan the things I have to do that day. For me, it’s typically five, and so I’ll do five things that I have to do, and then sometimes some of those things, some take longer than others, and that’s where that Pomodoro comes in. Don’t give yourself more than 20 minutes on the clock. Get up, stretch. Get a glass of water. Maybe take care of a couple of fires, check your email.

0:33:03.6 TM: Do not look at your phone while you’re on the 20-minute task.

0:33:08.3 CB: That’s the goal. You don’t do anything during the 20 minutes that you’re on. And then when you take a break, if you gotta look at an email, If you gotta call someone back, so be it, but once you get back on that 20 minutes, and if it’s too much for you start with five or ten. But once you get back on it, you just do that. I mean, leave your phone in the other room if you can’t handle it.

0:33:31.3 TM: And we know that you all probably have been to time management seminars or read the books, and that you can block your gym time and your checking voicemails time. I only check voicemails between 9 AM and 9:15 AM, and then I itemize them into most important to least important. Yes, time blocking is huge, but you need to place your 20-minute blocks in that are coinciding with the list Chris is talking about. Just ’cause you’re managing the rest of your day and you think you’re on top of stuff, but if you’re not doing what Chris just mentioned to move the business forward, those 20 minutes better be a block somehow too. Even if you don’t know what you’re gonna do in them.

0:34:16.3 CB: Yeah, and then guys, I look at my week like this: I look at my week personally, Mondays, I usually work like 15-hour days, Mondays are my nutty day, that is my most proactive day of the week.

0:34:29.2 TM: Monday and Tuesday just blend together. I’m sorry.

0:34:31.5 CB: Yeah, they kind of do.

0:34:32.5 TM: Yesterday [0:34:38.4] ____.

0:34:38.5 CB: Tyler and I, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, he and I crush it, right? And those are like our days to just like crush it, then Thursday, he and I do about half effort. And it’s because, “Hey, we killed it, we crushed the beginning of the week” and so Thursday is like, we’re weaning off of it. By Friday, we’ll still do stuff, but at that point, it’s whatever’s left over, and it’s less its not really planned, it’s like, Okay, we’ll just kinda make sure. But then we start again on Monday.

0:35:05.5 TM: Friday, sometimes as an emergency to fill in the blanks of getting something done, ’cause you don’t know what the… And it might be kind of unplanned work situation. But…

0:35:11.4 CB: Tyler and I will do a marketing meeting or something, we have to do on a Friday.

0:35:14.5 TM: But it’s like… It doesn’t feel compressed with everything else on each side of it, like bookends so it’s actually kind of fun. Like, “Hey, what’s up, man, we got two hours. Let’s hang out. Let’s get this off.”

0:35:29.9 CB: Right. And then as long as you don’t flake on Monday through… In our case, Monday through Wednesday, really ’cause Thursday we’re starting to slow down. Monday through Wednesday, as long as he and I don’t flake and we haven’t for a very long time, Monday through Wednesday, we’re literally doing probably more in those three days than some of you are doing in three months. And that’s just the reality. And then we look at other people’s business, even Tyler and I. There’s businesses that he and I are friends with and scripts we’re in that blow us out, they make us look like nats. And when we look at the activities of the owners, they make us look lazy in there, and they also are so laser-focused and they’re… At this point, their delegation is so Jedi, they’re super heroes that they’re actually on a whole another level. Just know that this isn’t like a “Oh, Once I get the process”. It’s a game. We’re just paying a game, so keep leveling up.

0:36:27.3 TM: It’s the focus game. Can you stay focused or you’re gonna set yourself up to not focus. And then throw a little balance in there, make sure you have your batteries recharged, but you always should have that leader-based top of the chain focus system in place. If you don’t have one and you’re just spitballing and jazz improving, I don’t think that is the most successful route unless you’ve already got $10 mil in the bank, then do whatever you want. But for those of you trying to grow to that ultimate amazing level so that money start accruing, wealth starts to happen, you’re gonna need a top level focus task list system. Period. And then you just start checking stuff off.

0:37:18.4 CB: You can’t… You’ve heard the term growth stacking, you can’t growth stack without being super proactive, and that doesn’t mean you have to be the one by the way. As leaders, it is not by the way. Let’s end on this, okay. If you own… And I’m assuming a lot of you are owners listening to this, if you own your business, okay, are you the worst boss ever to yourself? Because your job is not to do all the work. That is not… As an owner, we don’t have a job, do you realize that? Technically as an owner, you can move to Aruba and never show up again, and it should have zero bearing on the business.

0:38:01.5 TM: I did not hire me. I just [0:38:05.3] ____.

0:38:05.8 CB: Right, and then you were a terrible boss to yourself. And that’s what ends up happening. You’re wearing like 50 hats. So…

0:38:15.3 TM: And that’s how it is in the beginning, guys, you’re a technician first, you roll, you hire first couple of people, but down the road, if your goal is to stay a technician, because maybe you are the chef that has the family secret and you won’t give it to anybody, ’cause you’re stubborn. Sure, fine, work in the kitchen till you die, whatever you want. That’s not what we’re doing here. This podcast is not about that, it’s about life, friendships, relationships, growth, impact on people’s lives, learning and joy.

0:38:46.7 CB: Now to your point, Tyler, one of our customers and dear friends, owns six locations and still works in the business, so just so you know, if you enjoy being the chef, go for it, just be very proactive in your delegation, be very proactive.

0:39:05.1 TM: And make it on your effort, be the chef that chills. And if you wanna keep teaching, teach that epic, the Friday morning at 10:00 AM yoga class, that’s like the most crowded, where all your fans go, and there’s a waiting list, do that… Cultivate the tribe, you know what I mean? Have fun with it, don’t just grind for 12 hours every day, seven days of the week.

0:39:31.2 CB: There’s a… I was gonna look him up, there’s a company called WP Engine, and I got to meet with Jason Cohen, and I got to meet with Jason in Austin and with their business group some years back, and giant company, back then they were 50 million, they’re probably 150 million now, and so Jason walks in and has a total blast with us, we had lunch with him and stuff, he was just hilarious, but he fired himself, it was so hilarious. A guy with a business that big fired himself from being the leader, and he’s like, “It’s my third giant business,” so obviously, he’s super talented, but he goes, “I’m terrible at it.” And we all start laughing, like.

0:40:08.8 CB: “If you are terrible, then we’re really terrible.” He goes, “No,” he goes, “What I mean by that,” he goes, “Clearly, I pulled it off.” He goes, “But I’m miserable,” he goes, “I’m a nerd, man. I’m only happy when I’m in the code.” He goes, “So,” he had fired himself, I don’t know how much earlier before we arrived, but he had hired a new CEO and he’d fired himself and made himself just one of the tech managers. He’s like, “So now my job, literally, is just to go hang out with the team doing what I love.” So the point…

0:40:41.7 TM: Oh my gosh. None of that makes sense to me, but I like… I’m happy for him.

0:40:41.8 CB: It’s brilliant. Yeah I know. He’s obviously a total unicorn, just a super weirdo, amazing. But the thing is that Jason was smart enough to say, “You know what, I can’t keep being proactive in this role, I’m better off serving in this role and I’m gonna hire other proactive folks to do it,” so just know that, delegation, as you grow, is an important part of keeping your sanity, but it’s also important part of keeping that laser-focus that we keep talking about. So if you’re bigger, then just translate some of the stuff we’ve said, to delegation.

0:41:20.8 TM: So, goals, one to seven things that you want to write down and accomplish, Check off. Put them into 20-minute increments where nothing else disturbs you, but the third thing, I want you guys to envision, because of all these stories we just told, where you would like to see yourself, if you can imagine that you’ve gotten this focused and you’ve been able to do… Even accomplish a third of what you dreamed of. And what does that look like? Does it mean like you’re from WP Engine? Does it mean that you focus long enough to where there’s $130,000-$200,000 budget to get someone to do that, so he could be a coder and have fun. The focus can get you to your dreams, you have to know what those look like. So you need to have fun and look at what that lifestyle would be like if you could focus enough, team focus, leader focus, accomplish growth items, check things off, and a year from now, what does that look like to you? More work in the business in a different aspect? Less work in the business? Living in Spain during the winter? I don’t know what it is, but you need to write that down too, that’s part of your homework also. What will the focus get you if you pulled it off. Chris, this was an awesome one man. Thank you for all your insight again.

0:42:44.7 CB: Likewise, focus, guys, Is really hard. We know, we know that you’re doing a lot. We know that there’s a lot of pressure and the weight of the world on your shoulders and your staff needs you, and your family needs you, and everybody needs you, and so because of that, it’s important that we work on our focus, that we work on that structure and those planned events, and we make sure that each day we’re doing those one to seven proactive things, and so, good luck, man. Good luck everybody, ’cause it’s a journey each day.

0:43:17.1 TM: Well, we’re doing it too, we practice what we preach. And we’ll see you on the next episode of The Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler. Have a great week, everybody. See you later.

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