Welcome to the fourth in my series of blog posts presenting my takeaways from podcasts I’ve recently enjoyed. Now that this is becoming a regular feature of the blog — and I’ve run out of ways to say “Even more things I’ve learned…” — I’ve decided to simply number the series so readers can tell at-a-glance whether they’ve already read this post or not.
Here are two episodes I listened to recently, along with “my takeaways” from each.
1. The Startup Success Podcast – Episode 3.19: Hosts Bob Walsh and Patrick Foley talk about Bob’s Microconsulting venture.
My takeaways on to-do lists: While the discussion focused on startup founders and their incredibly long to-do lists, the tips I thought most valuable are applicable to anyone who finds themselves overwhelmed by the number of things on their to-do list. Bob advised taking a careful look at your to-do list and noting the 8-10 most important things that need to be accomplished. Once you have this list, focus on this list and don’t be distracted by the things on the list of less important things. Once you have accomplished these important things, then you can go back to the other list and pick out 8-10 more things that need to be done. I would say that you could even break that down to 4-5 things per week. Maybe even just 1-3 ‘very important things’ per day.
My takeaways on content marketing: At this point in time, content marketing is really the best way to promote your business. Provide content that will be valuable and interesting to the people you want as customers. Attract potential customers by offering something they see value in, so they can get to know and trust your authority in your service field.
2. The Tim Ferriss Show – March 5, 2016: How to 10X Your Results One Tiny Tweak at a Time
In this episode, Tim Ferriss is interviewed by Joel Stein about ways to be more effective – not just more efficient.
My takeaways on declining meeting/lunch invitations: If you are the kind of person who’s always receiving invitations to “do lunch” or “meet up”, you may discover that saying “This week is bad for me” simply results in pushing the invitation off for a week or two, but that it comes right back. Tim’s strategies include:
- Instead of saying “this week is bad for me,” say instead “I am taking a break from all extraneous activities to allow me to focus on X for the next several months/foreseeable future.”
- Make a public announcement (via Facebook or your blog, or somewhere) to people that you are taking a break from X or Y type of activities for the foreseeable future due to your need to focus on Q, and ask people to please respect your time limitations. Ferriss gave as an example that he gets introductions frequently and, while they are typically very well-intentioned, he realized that he could not do them all the time, and that he didn’t want to do them just so he wouldn’t feel guilty about turning down the introduction or blowing it off.
My takeaways on effectiveness vs. efficiency: Ferriss states “The goal should not be just to do more things. Because it’s possible to be more efficient (i.e., do things quickly) but focus on things that are unimportant. My goal is always to try to … focus on being effective, which is doing the right things – and, in the case of email, is having an autoresponder, a piece of public writing, that allows you to safely ignore 70-80% of your email. That’s as opposed to simply responding to those emails in a faster fashion.”
My takeaways on the 20/80 method: Ferriss espouses the 20/80 method in handling both the things that cause you stress, as well as the things that are beneficial to you. For instance, ask yourself, “What are the 20% of tasks that cause 80% of my stress?” Then, work to mitigate those. Then ask yourself, “What are the 20% of projects that generate 80% of your income?” Then you can see what should be your business focus.
Ferriss also promotes journaling as a way of finding the root causes of your problems and stresses. For instance, if responding to emails causes stress, ask why you feel the need to respond to every email. Do you have some fear that, by not responding, the person who emailed you will be angry or offended? You can test your assumptions using something like the “autoresponder” method above. See what happens. Are your assumptions well-founded, or are they simply things you came to believe with no reason to support them?
If you want to listen to the entire interviews for these podcast episodes, just click on the links I included.
I’m always on the lookout for podcasts to enjoy. Know of one you think I’d appreciate? Share this post on Twitter using the button below and tag me @bernadettegeyer to share your favorite podcasts with me! Maybe I’ll review it in a future blog post.
Bernadette Geyer provides writing, copy editing, and translation services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and writers. She also leads online workshops on a variety of topics for small businesses and writers. Geyer likes being a small fish in a big pond, and enjoys helping others move to bigger ponds themselves. Subscribe to her monthly news from the big pond if you’re interested in professional growth.