Are You Guilty of Being Delusional About Your Productivity?

by NoteTakingNerd2 | CLICK to Follow Him on Twitter

dan-kennedy-renegade-time-management, mynotetakingnerd

Today I want to share some of my notes with you that I took on the Dan Kennedy Renegade Time Management course.

The ultimate good news/bad news joke about being an entrepreneur is…

“The good news is: You’re your own boss. The bad news is: You’ve got a REAAALLLY shitty, dysfunctional, and incompetent boss.”

An entrepreneur has a little bit of accountability pressure in the fact that work needs to be delivered to clients, but beyond this, there is no accountability pressure for the moment-by-moment, function-by-function basis.

So with this being the case, the only accountability available to the entrepreneur is hitting or missing time and money targets.

Most people try to get the job done with “pressure to deliver on promises” alone.

A smaller segment of entrepreneurs strive for money targets… “I want to be making $100,000.00 dollars every month.”

But it’s the time targets that make up the day-to-day activity that TRULY make it possible to hit the money targets.

If you’re waiting till the end of the month to see if you hit your sales quota or not and then judging yourself as to whether or not you’re successful or not based on your hitting the target or not… you’re too late.

You want predictive indicators, not historic indicators.

Predictive indicators of money to be made are made visible via the use of your time.

THIS is how you hold yourself accountable.

Dan talks about how the fact that he met all but one of his time targets for that day, is very predictive of what his bank balance is gonna look like at the end of the month.

If he’d missed 4 or 5 of them he’d be annoyed with himself and want to look at why this occurred.

Was it faulty assessment of how long it’d take to do something? If this is the case why did it take longer than I thought it would?

Answers to these questions ensure you don’t make the same mistake again.

And one the best ways to give yourself an excellent chance of being happy with your assessments is to make sure that you’re not violating the following rule…

Number #1 Rule About Getting Shit Done: Don’t Bullshit Yourself About The Environment You Perform Best In

Life doesn’t always cater to us.

Things don’t always unfold exactly as we wish they would.

Shitty surprises happen more than we would like. 

And this is why we all need a part of us that when life throws the unexpected at us, it says, “I don’t give a fuck what the conditions are, I’m going to find a way to get this task completed.”

Now… unless you’ve got the worst luck in the world, you’re not constantly being blindsided with unforeseeable events that derail all of your best laid plans.

And something to keep in mind is that most people have a very broad definitions as to what qualifies as an “Emergency” or a “Crisis.”

Nothing is ever as bad, or incidentally as good, as it first appears to be. And the corollary to this is that very few things are as urgent as they first appear to be or as other people think that they are.

You need to assess your definition of what gets tagged as an emergency and what doesn’t.

This Hollywood True Story illustrates this point beautifully…

One of the movie production guys is trying to get a hold of John Wayne.

He’s badgering his secretary with call after call and she finally interrupts John and tells him “So and so from the studio is calling back now every hour and he says it’s urgent.”

John Wayne’s answer was, “The next time he calls back, ask him who it’s urgent for – him or me.”

This story makes the terrific point that just because something is urgent to someone else… doesn’t mean it’s urgent to you.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re a savage when it comes to guarding your time and attention… most of the time you will decide what environment you will be working in and under what conditions.  

Now when it comes to making a decision about this environment, entrepreneurs usually fall into one of three categories…

1. Entrepreneurs who play the victim role

These are the people who have a choice to do things, big and small, to create or put themselves into an environment that allows them to flourish… but they won’t do so.

They cheap out on the right tools for the job.

They lie to themselves about the real reasons why they want to work in coffee shops.

They tell themselves they’re going to get work done while they’re at the airport, on their flight, in the hotel room early in the morning after having stayed out late drinking.

And then when shit doesn’t get done, they throw up their hands and cite all their excuses for why shit didn’t get done.

These are the people who wait till the last second to address unsavory situations.

This leads to their work being hurried and they are constantly stressed as the result of self-imposed emergencies (vastly different than actual emergencies) that emerge in their life that are the results of neglect.

It is one thing to improvise and hack your way to honoring your commitments to clients by developing a less-than-ideal make-shift work environment in the hospital because your spouse had a massive heart attack.

It is an entirely different thing to be scrounging resources together because you were too fucking lazy to say “No” to leisure… and now you’re backed into a corner where people are breathing down your neck to get their work from you… but you can’t pay your internet or phone bill… so now you’re sitting in your car trying to Skype with an international client from the McDonald’s parking lot.

This is the entirely wrong environment for the task at hand.

And these people wonder why all their client relationships eventually fizz out and are tainted with bad blood.

“If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”

~Deion Sanders – Hall of Fame NFL Player

This quote can directly be correlated to the environment you work in.

If your work environment looks good to you, you feel good. If you feel good, you work good. If your work is good, they pay good.

And the term, “Look Good” is relative here. Some people have messy work environments that they produce brilliant work in.

But even if it’s messy, they still have home court advantage where they perform at their very best.

People make the process of kicking ass way harder than it needs to be by waiting until the last second to get shit done.

So for example, you’ve been given four months to finish a project.

When you wait until the last week to finish the last half of the project because you “work better under pressure”, you’re rolling the dice that nothing is going to happen in the next seven days that is going to force you out of the workspace you are most productive in.

Now you’re trying to meet a deadline in a busy ass hospital room as you’re trying to support your brother who got into a car accident.

Always trying to get shit done on the fly is like running a marathon with ankle weights on.

Yeah, it’s possible, but it is a fuck-ton easier to do WITHOUT the additional impediment.  

Work can be hard by itself.

I don’t understand why a person would not want to come at their work with as many obstacles cleared out of their way as is humanly possible.  

Does this category define the way you’re going about work?

Or does next one do so…

2. Entrepreneurs who have genuinely been dealt a bad hand 

I think of a story that John McCormack told Tony Robbins when I think of this category.

John had gone from being a cop… to turning $3,000 dollars into $100,000.00 dollars… in a very short amount time with stocks.

He was so successful that the head of the stock brokerage firm asked to meet with John.

He sat down with him and said, “Look, you need to get in this business.”

They started him out as a clerk and he moved his way up to being a broker himself.

In less than a year, John had taken his $100,000 dollars… and turned it into a Million Dollars.

And then… he lost it ALL… PLUS $250,000 he borrowed while chasing his losses.

John told Tony about a man named Abe who helped him turn this impossible situation around.

Abe said, “Let me ask you a question. You think your life’s pretty screwed up don’t you?”

And John said “Well, yeah, I’ve got some major challenges.”

Abe said, “You know how to do a balance sheet?”

John said, “Of course, I’m a stockbroker.”

Abe said, “How do you do it?”

John said, “You draw a line down the middle and you put your assets down one side and your liabilities down the other one.”

Abe said, “Let’s do it with your life.” and he drew a line down the middle of a piece of paper and said, “O.K., let’s start.”

John said, “Here’s my liabilities, I owe a quarter of a million dollars.”

And Abe looked at him and said “Why are you starting on your liabilities side?”

John said, “Well… I guess that’s what I’m focusing on. I know more about my liabilities than my assets.”

Abe Said . . .

“Any Man Who Knows More About His Liabilities Than His Assets Will Never Be A Winner”

He said, “You’ve gotta start on the assets side and build up from there. You get enough assets, you can handle any liabilities.”

John said, “Well, I don’t have any assets.”

Abe said, “Come on, your assets aren’t just financial. What schooling do you have?”

John said, “I’ve got a high school diploma.”

Abe said, “Put it down.”

John said, “I’ve been through the police academy.”

Abe said, “Put it down. What else?”

John said, “That’s about it.”

Abe said, “Do you speak English?”

John said, “What?”

Abe said, “DO… YOU… SPEAK… ENGLISH?”

John said, “Well, yeah.”

Abe said, “Write it down. That’s an asset in this country. Do you know currency?”

John said, “Well, yeah, as a stockbroker I learned how to convert dollars to yen.”

Abe said, “No. Do you know currency, how to exchange money, dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, that kind of stuff?”

John said, “Of course.”

Abe said, “Write down ‘know currency, you speak English, you’ve got this schooling. What else?”

John said, “Well, I don’t think there is anything else.”

Abe said, “Come on, do you have any friends?”

John said, “Well, not very many left.”

Abe said, “Do you have any?

John said, “Yeah.”

Abe said, “Put ‘em down. Do you have family? Put it down. Do you know your way around the Burroughs? Do you know your way around town?”

John said, “Of course.”

Abe said, “Put it down. Now look at your balance sheet. How do you feel?”

John said, “I still feel like shit.”

Abe said, “Come on, look at you, you’ve got your quarter of million on the liabilities side. It’s an asset.

“How many people do you know John, who could convince someone to loan them a quarter of a million dollars? Somebody with that kind of skill has got some real assets inside. Put that over on your assets side.”

John did. Abe asked, “Now how do you feel?”

John said, “I still feel like shit.”

Abe said, “John, you’re not listening. You don’t have a right. You’ve gotta remember something young man.

“How many people have come to this country who didn’t have any of your assets, they didn’t speak English, they didn’t know their way around town, they didn’t know currency, they had no friends, no family here with them.

“They couldn’t speak the language and the became MILLIONAIRES. They’re part of our history, John. You have no excuse.

“You must find these people who have started with nothing, none of the assets you have, who in the worst of times, have done the best.

“Find out what they know, seek out their information, their ideas, their strategies, learn from them and you will prosper too.

“You must spend the next three years of your life working for these kinds of people specifically, immigrants, people who’ve come with nothing and have created tremendous abundance for themselves and others.

“Start working washing their floors if you have to if necessary. Start at whatever level you can but learn what they know and apply it and you will live your dream.”

Most entrepreneurs fall more into John’s category than they do the immigrants category.

They have a leg up on a ton of people… but they choose to focus on their liabilities.

And if immigrants can go to foreign lands and turn nothing into something… like Abe said, you have no right to whine when you’ve got far more intangible and tangible assets than they do.

And this brings us to our third category of entrepreneur…

3. People who consciously design the environment that facilitates them getting the most shit done

Dan Kennedy is the person who truly opened my eyes as to how to do this.

At the peak of his productivity, he was writing three newsletters a month . . .

As a copywriter, he was doing 5-10 major client projects a month . . .

He was writing advertising and sales copy, as well as creating product for the business he was involved in . . .

He was averaging 4-6 full-day consultations a month . . .

He had 72 people in coaching groups who require a little of his personal attention . . .

He had at least one book a year published for the last decade . . .

He was still speaking at least once a month. . .

He was doing day to day business stuff . . .

He was managing his money . . .

And he was fooling around with his racehorses.

You can’t be THIS productive in environments that distract you and block you from getting the job done.

The only way Dan was able to consistently get all of this shit done was because he meticulously built himself an environment that allows his best self to emerge.

You Can’t Do Million Dollar Thinking In An Environment That Makes You Feel Like a Pauper

Why is the environment you work in so important?

Some people can work under the worst circumstances and pretty much block everything out.

For instance, Dan talked about being able to write copy in a crowded airport.

Most people can’t do this.

And he admits that it is not advisable to do this even if you have the ability to do so.

You want to give yourself every advantage you possibly can if you want to be as productive as you possibly can. The environment you’re in is a HUGE part of doing so.

There are practical things pertaining to this topic and there are psychological things.

And people who get the practical part right; tend to miss the psychological stuff.

You want to remember that the subconscious mind is the most important part of all of this.

It is worth it to go through the trouble of catering to both.

Just take a second to think about how the act of painting landscapes and the act of something like bookkeeping flourish in completely different environments.

One of the primary reasons why people don’t allow their subconscious mind to work at maximum efficiency is because they don’t put their bodies in the right place.

The Imagineers at Disney – the creative staff (of all ages) responsible for making the park bigger, brighter, and more fun – go out and ride a few rides before they sit down to work on a new attraction they’re setting out to design.

These guys and gals are priming their subconscious for the work at hand by doing this.

And they’ll work on this design in a different place than the guys who work on budgets or financial forecasts.

Now here a few examples of how Dan sets up his environment…

Psychological Triggers In Your Environment

This is stuff that you see in your environment – pictures, objects, posters, paintings – that surround you in your workspace.

Now Dan believes you’ve gotta keep the mind focused on what’s next… what’s next… what’s the next thing I want to have happening/emerging in my life?

Dan harness races horses.

On his wall, he’s got pictures taken at the end of the races he’s won as a driver or… his horse has won. He always keeps an empty frame up there.

Here’s what inspired this idea…

When you win a golf tournament they give you a uniformly sized medallion – something like an oversized hood ornament.

Dan learned that Arnold Palmer has this giant table in his office where he’d embed the medallions that he’d won in the top of the table.

Every time he embedded one, he routed out a new hole for the next one.

The message you’re sending to yourself and others is that there’s gonna be another win.

Dan’s empty picture frame on the wall is just a reminder that there’s another win coming down the road.

One of his clients has pictures on the wall of his private office of clients who’ve been worth over $250,000 dollars to him. He keeps an empty picture frame on the wall ready for the next one.

There’s a way to do this for every business or career.

This psychological device in your environment serves as an unconscious goal setting mechanism.

Optimally, you want to be thinking 10 steps ahead both from the standpoint of stimulating your subconscious mind to get it interested in doing something to help you, from the practical standpoint of making shit happen.

Most people don’t have a vision beyond their next break from work or the weekend when it comes to what they’re going to be doing in their business or their life.

You need to realize that goals/aspirations don’t only exert control over the present but also over the future by pondering the idea of…

It doesn’t make any kind of sense to try to hit an invisible target.

You need to know what your definition of “being productive” is.

Most people don’t give thought to this.

They just live life in “reaction mode” running around shooting arrows at a target that doesn’t exist.

And by playing the game this way… you might hit your target… but the odds are stacked against you.

You want to be able to have a litmus test where you can hold up what you accomplished and compare it to your definition of productivity and see if you’ve hit the mark or not. Otherwise, you’re deluding yourself.

Dan’s definition of productivity is . . . “The use of your time, talent, and resources in a way that moves you measurably closer to your meaningful goals.”

“Feeling better about yourself” is better than “feeling shitty about yourself” but it’s not measurable.

“Losing 5 pounds this month” is something measurable and you can rest assured you’ll “feel better about yourself” as a result of making progress toward your meaningful goals this way.

You want to set goals up in a way where a panel of judges could look at your results and gauge whether you’re moving closer to your meaningful goals or not.

Efficiency In Your Environment

The practical part of this is having a work environment that supports efficiency.

One of Dan’s favorite gifts he got for Christmas was a coffee cup warmer that keeps your coffee warm for you.

He feels this saves him all kinds of time spread across the year where he’d get jamming… forget about his coffee… it’d get cold… and if he wanted more coffee he has to stop working to go get more warm coffee.

This little device ended that.

Dan tells another story from way back in the day.

He was meeting with the head of the largest ad agency in Akron, Ohio.

Dan shows up to find the guy out in front of the building mowing the lawn.

Well, Dan goes up and starts talking with the guy as he’s mowing along and while they’re talking, the wheel to the mower falls off.

It occurs to Dan, based on this guy’s response that this isn’t the first time this has happened.

The guy drags the mower all the way through the building, all the way across the back lot to a shed where there’s a wrench and he proceeds to fix the wheel.

It was at this point that Dan decided he didn’t want the meeting.

Aside from the guy being too cheap to have someone else cut his lawn or… to get the mower fixed by a pro or… to buy a new mower… he was too dumb to carry the wrench with him so that if the wheel falls off.. he could fix it on the spot.

Or… he could’ve just walked back to the shed without the mower and grabbed the wrench.

There’s a number of smarter things the guy could’ve done… that he didn’t do.

Most people operate in their environment in a similar manner.

You look at where people work from and more times than not, it is incredibly inefficient.

Take a second to think about your answer to the following question…

Where Are You Taking Your Important Client Phone Calls?

On your cell phone while sprawled out on your mattress?

Wrong answer.

Kennedy talks about how you not only want to have important client calls scheduled – done by appointment only… but that you also want to be having this conversation in a place that supports the importance of the subject being discussed if at all possible.

For him, he prefers to be in his office, in the specific place in his office where he does phone, which is different than the place in his office where he writes or where he does bookkeeping.

He wants to have that person’s file in front of him.

Maybe he’s got some notes jotted down on a 4 x 6 card to jog his memory on points he wants to make sure and cover, he’s got his glass of water and he’s ready to roll.

But this is the opposite of what happens when you just let people call you or… you don’t give any consideration to the environment.

And in this day and age, you can easily come across some dildos taking important business while pissing in the urinals at the airport.

How effective can you possibly be in this environment?

Not very.

Would you ever round a group of really hot prospects and take them into the bathroom with you and pitch ‘em while you’re in the stall taking a dump?

Or… tell them to jog along with you through the airport terminal and deliver your sales pitch running backward because your flight’s leaving in 10 minutes/

Or… take them to the grocery store with you with your two toddlers in the shopping cart and pitch them?

This is what people are doing in their businesses every single day of the year.

You’re gonna perform a thousand times better on a sales presentation or during a business talk when you’re in the right physical and psychological environment for each important thing that you do.

Now Dan’s environment is bare-bones old school.

If you want to get a look at an incredibly hip and internet business-based work environment, I highly suggest you go check out the space that Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income fame created for himself

In the post itself and in the comments section you’ll see some cool practical and psychological tools that will help you along in the process of… 

Catering To Your Preferences 

Do you hate the idea of trying to get something important done in a foreign environment that isn’t your home office?

I do. 

Most of the time I have the opposite of cabin fever.

When I’ve got a project I’m working on, I can stay holed up in my home for weeks at a time with extremely minimal exposure to people and be absolutely filled with joy.

My desk is the perfect height so that my desk doesn’t cut into my wrists.

I have my monitor exactly at my desired height where I’m easily looking straight ahead into it.

My chair is the perfect height.

I always have good lighting.

And unless landscaping is being done in the neighborhood, it is always very quiet.

While at home… my sleep is at its best… my diet is at its best… and my fitness/meditation/masturbation rituals are at their best.

I liken it to the feeling of reassurance that comes from my home, my workspace, and my daily routine as to what a dog who loves you feels when they snuggle up against your feet and they loudly exhale as they settle into a position that says all is right with the universe at this moment.

One of my brothers is a teacher and he told me that he always waits to shit until he gets back to his house after work.

He says the reason for this is because he likes having, “Home Court Advantage.”

Home court advantage is what I have when working from my home office.

And just as happens in sporting events, I know home court advantage puts the odds of winning in my favor.

This is part of the reason why I don’t favor the idea of working in coffee shops or shared workspaces.

I love shitting loudly whenever I want, for however long I feel like, in MY house.

I don’t ever want to be on the verge of having disaster pants and be stuck waiting for some other dude who barely avoided disaster pants himself and is now defiling the only toilet available in the space I’m in.

Another major reason I don’t pack up my laptop and go work in cool coffee shops and shared workspaces is that I like women WAY too much.

As a single guy, it’s extremely hard for me to be 100% locked in on my work when the smells and sights of women are constantly diverting my attention from my work.

Consistent inner pep talks encouraging me to go start a conversation with the women I would like to eventually woo out of their panties are not conducive to me getting shit done.

But maybe that’s because I’m wired differently.  

I’m a big, “Work when you work, play when you play” kind of guy.

I either want to be balls to wall working or… being balls to the wall not working.

I’m not a fan of mixing business and pleasure.

I feel like a piece of shit when I’m avoiding work in any environment – home or away.

I fucking loathe the idea of work hanging over my head that I’m not making meaningful progress on.

And I love the idea of rewarding myself with play when a work day is done. It is deeply satisfying to know that I’ve earned my play time.

You need to figure out what works for you and cater to the preferences that allow you do your best work.


Efficiency is about getting something done in the shortest amount of time.

Effectiveness is about getting the best possible results you can get in the time given and expended.

Sometimes these two co-mingle. Sometimes they don’t.

So the question you need to answer to is…

Where is the space where you are most productive in?

Your honest answer to this question determines whether or not you’re getting the most out of the time you’re dedicating to work.

If your environment is not already at its maximum peak awesomeness, I hope you have fun using what you learned here today to get it working fully in your favor.

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne

PS. If you want even more Dan Kennedy Renegade Time Management productivity tips and marketing mindset strategies, you definitely want to come on down and get the full set of notes here . . .

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Are You Guilty of Being Delusional About Your Productivity?

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