Hacking Your Mind for Business Success

by Dan Lemp

Voiceover: 0:02

Business owners,

Do you want an unfair advantage over your competitors? Do you want to dominate in your area of expertise? You are listening to Business Life Hacks. Learn to influence consumer psychology and shortcut your way to business success with tips, tricks and hacks from award-winning digital agency, JMarketing.

Dan Lemp: 0:21

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Business Life Hacks podcast. And this week we’re talking about: “how to get the most out of your life and out of your business?” and “how to do both more efficiently?” So Josh, could you tell us about this topic?

Josh Strawczynski: 0:38

Really, we’re talking about hacking efficiency. “How do you make sure that your time and effort achieve the maximum result?” As Tim Ferriss says, “I want to get the most result for the least amount of input”.

So today we’re going to take you through: first of all, some of the very easy things to make sure that you’re focusing on what’s really important (the drivers of success), but much more excitingly, we’re going to talk about science and how we can use science to hack our way to be more effective and more efficient.

So, first of all, let’s talk about the functions which make us happy and or successful. Dan, for you, what adds up to making you happy? What are the truly important things?

Dan Lemp: 1:23

Yeah, I think I’m always pursuing whatever makes me feel most fulfilled and that can change over time, but right now, I’m realizing the thing that makes me feel really fulfilled is: a sense of progression, a sense that I’m putting in work into a skill and I’m seeing real results out of it.

Like I play guitar and I’ve been playing guitar every day for the last couple of months. I’m able to do things that I just was not able to do a couple months ago. And so it’s that, and that could be a guitar. It can be with business, it can be with anything.

And then the other thing is just a connection to community and being able to organize events; being able to hang out around really interesting, inspiring people who give me new ideas – that’s helped me more in life. And it’s also helped me a lot in business.

Josh Strawczynski: 2:12

Great answer. And I love that you were able to jump to that so quickly. Cause the truth is most of us, human beings are quite laissez Faire. Like we know when things are interesting, but we don’t actively set aside time to achieve them and to make ourselves happy.

This is one of the things which is most critical; whether you’re trying to grow your business or just be happy and believe me, those two things are intertwined. You need to know what are the key drivers.

So to give you an example of what it’s not: one of my traps is I’ll find myself in the middle of the day and my most productive time jumping into zero our counting system and just fixing up a few accounts, making sure they reconcile and it gives me this big dump of endorphins. I feel good cause I’ve ticked it off, but we have a bookkeeper I’m actually just wasting my time and that does not tie into one of the drivers that makes me happy.

So the key drivers for me, and I can relate this to you as well is: is what I’m doing having a high impact on the business’s profitability? – because that’s a gateway to being able to do the other things I like. Yes or no? And what are the things which are important?- like you said, that make me happy in life.

You talked about community, you talked about guitar. For me, it’s my partner. And so allocating specific time in my schedule, not just so that it falls laissez Faire, whenever things with friends happen.

But Dan, you’re a wonderful example. You, when you were down in Colombia had set yourself an amount of time per week that you were going to allocate to getting the concert scene up and running. And when we spoke about it, you were so satisfied with it, with yourself and you were getting so much out of it.

Dan Lemp: 3:57

Oh yeah. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Josh Strawczynski: 3:59

And so knowing what it is that makes you happy and making sure you prioritize that when you’re listing out what you’re going to achieve for the day, is the critical first step. Without that the rest of these hacks, we’re going to go into so important. And this is probably where we’ll jump into it.

Now talking about the Prato Principle: that 80% of what you achieve is done in 20% of the time; this is really important. So you want to make sure that that 20% of time is spent really, really wisely so that you can reallocate the 80% that used to be wasted.

And Dan, you have an approach with this, with the Pomodoro Principle. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Dan Lemp: 4:41

Yeah. My approach is: I’m using two things. One is a Pomodoro system of doing work. This means that I’m breaking up my work into hours at a time. So I do 50 minutes of work and then I take a 10 minute break and then I do 50 minutes of work and I take a 10 minute break.

Now a lot of people, their idea of productivity is that they sit down at 9:00 AM and then they work straight. And then at 9:00 PM they stop working and that’s what it means to be productive. That’s great, if someone can do that. I cannot do that because I will burn out really quickly. Even if I did that for a day, the next day I’ll be shot and I won’t be able to put in any really focused creative work.

So being able to take 10 minutes in between each 50 minute session of work means that I can be more productive throughout the whole day without burning out. So that’s been really important for me.

And the other thing is scheduling because my mind goes into a lot of different directions. I run on emotion a lot. I’m a creative person. And so if I don’t have a plan for the day or for the week, then I just end up doing whatever I feel like doing in the moment, but that’s not necessarily what the most important thing is; probably just going to end up doing whatever feels easiest at the time.

And so, if I really have a lot of stuff to get done in a week, I’ll sit down either on Sunday or first thing on Monday morning and I’ll literally schedule out my whole week. 9:00 AM: I’m doing this task. 9:30: I’m doing this task. 9:50: I’m taking a break. 10:00 AM: I’m doing this task. And I schedule out the whole day for every day of the week.

And it’s really relaxing for me because then I don’t have to improvise. I don’t have to decide in the moment what I’m doing each moment throughout the day. It’s all just planned out ahead of me. And I can kinda just relax into that flow. And honestly, this has been life changing for me because once I started doing my work while traveling – I was first in Argentina and I was doing my work, but sporadically throughout the day.

I didn’t really have a plan. I kind of realized at a certain point, “Man, I’ve kind of just wasted my last few months in this new country” because I’m spending all day like doing 30 minutes of work in the morning and then I have lunch.

And then in the afternoon, I do an hour here and then I waste time. And then up until like 10, 11:00 PM that I’m doing more work and kind of spreading my work throughout the whole day and not having the time to really enjoy my life.

So instead, I started saying: “I’m going to do as much high impact work as I can in a shorter amount of time without getting distracted.” And that’s going to mean that I have so much more time for all the other stuff in my life. That brings me value and makes me happy.

Josh Strawczynski: 7:40

That is a fantastic example of structure and prioritization and 80/20 rule. Let’s now jump into some science and why it works that way and what our listeners can do to really hack their way to efficiency. Now, what we’re going to talk about here is not revolutionary.

For instance, one of them is exercise and no one is going to be surprised that exercise helps brain function, but knowing how and when to apply it so that you can leverage it as you need like a weapon in your arsenal – that is important.

Dan you’re big into exercise and you’re big into meditation and I’m keen to get your firsthand story about why. Let’s first look at the science. Exercise is a really interesting one for those who are scientifically minded. There was a fantastic study done by Western University in Canada. This has been repeated by many other universities, by the way.

What they found was that they got two groups of people. One, who were reading magazines and just chilling out and the other one to go and do vigorous activity for 10 minutes: running on a treadmill, doing some sit ups, that sort of thing.

They observed statistically relevant data that showed a 14% increase in brain function just from doing 10 minutes of exercise in the middle of the day. So exercise has a really big impact on our brain’s ability to all of a sudden concentrate. And you were telling me just yesterday, you had this experience, Dan.

Dan Lemp: 9:13

Yeah, it’s amazing. The transformation that can happen after doing just a short amount of kind of challenging exercise. I was just having a really unfocused day and really not able to get any really productive work done and then at some point in the afternoon, I was like: “I’m just gonna do a 10 minute AB workout.”

And I sat down, I did 10 minutes of abs and cardio. I took a cold shower for two minutes and I felt like a million dollars. I was able to focus. I felt alive. I felt awake. And none of that kind of drag on my brain.

Josh Strawczynski: 9:48

The reason for that is that it’s stimulating chemicals in the brain that basically give it more cognitive function, and in particular response time. The research has shown that the response time speeds up by 50 milliseconds, which while that probably doesn’t sound like a lot in terms of brain function is actually critical.

And you can use that whenever you feel sluggish, whenever you need to be primed; you literally can just run on those. Now to up by a little bit, slightly different approaches. Have you ever noticed, Dan, that you’re doing lots of individual tasks, lots of stuff, and it’s rapid fire and you feel that you’re going ‘bang, bang’ by getting them all done?

Then you come to a tricky task and you’re like, “Oh, for some reason, this just feels overwhelming”. You get that sensation in your work?

Dan Lemp: 10:37

Yeah, absolutely.

Josh Strawczynski: 10:39

The reason is that our brains are broken into short wave and long wave. Short wave is really, really effective at getting things done: ‘bang, bang, bang’; long wave is more contemplated. It’s quite often why when you wake up in the morning, you can just imagine everything and you can plan out your life.

For a lot of people, myself included get this, when they go for a massage. All of a sudden my mind starts to solve problems that was too difficult awhile back. This is where meditation comes in.

Another thing Dan, I know you’re crazy about and I think all of the top Fortune 500 company CEOs are into meditation because it’s all way to move the body from short run, ‘bang, bang, bang’ into long run: able to deal with complex problems and work through them logically very, very fast.

So again, tell us a little bit about how this has become a big part of your life and the impact that it had.

Dan Lemp: 11:40

Probably a commitment to meditation has been one of the most life changing things for me. It unlocks my creativity. It has helped me deal with emotions better. And it really increases my focus now. Personally, I meditate for one to two hours every morning. The vast majority of people don’t need that.

My brain is really all over the place. If I don’t do that, it’s hard for me to get work done. The vast majority of people would seriously benefit from even just 10 minutes in the morning, 10, 20 minutes. Even five minutes, if that’s all you have.

And one thing that I hear about is a lot of people say that well, they don’t have time to meditate. Honestly, if you meditate in the morning, the value that you get out of the rest of your hours in a day will be much higher. Your productivity will be much higher and your focus will be higher.

So you’re actually saving time because you’re probably able to do more in less time throughout the day. And that’s been my experience.

Josh Strawczynski: 12:41

It’s really interesting because I use it differently in the mornings. I’m super productive, so I can jump on the computer and knock stuff out. But by the afternoon I start to lag and get frustrated and things are running around in my head. I feel like there’s a lot of burden on me.

So I’ll use a quick palette – 10 minutes session: where I lie flat on the ground, shut my eyes and just focus on my breathing or listening to one of these 10 minute podcasts on meditation. And when I come out of it, a whole heap of those problems that had been plaguing me, I can solve.

It’s amazing. I solve them in like two or three minutes when I’ve lost 30 or 60 minutes prior trying to solve them. So different applications. Those two are pretty obvious. And a lot of people probably even knew them or vaguely knew they were good for them.

I want to finish on one though that in the last year has made an enormous difference to me personally. And I’ve introduced it to a lot of other people. It helps fuel the brain.

And Dan, have you suffered from brain fog? Has everything just seems cloudy?

Dan Lemp: 13:47

Every day before meditation.

Josh Strawczynski: 13:48

I had terrible brain fog. It actually turned out that it was being caused by sensitivities to things that I was eating, but I didn’t know that. I was feeling lethargic; brain seemed very cloudy. I could not believe what Bulletproof Coffee did to my ability to focus and concentrate.

And to this day, it is still a very important part of my arsenal. Nowadays, I don’t have the brain fog because I’ve dealt with the root issue. But in the afternoons, I sit down when I feel myself lagging and I create Bulletproof Coffee, which is a mixture of coffee, ghee, or butter.

Ghee is just refined butter with a higher nutrient concentration and the critical element: C8 oil, which is caprylic acid. It’s a form of coconut oil, but it’s a very specific medium triglyceride and effectively what it is is it’s the building blocks for key times. The thing that fuels your brain, brain food.

If you have a look up, you can Google it either on my personal blog or anything that Dave aspirate from Silicon Valley has written. He’s the guy that invented it. It’ll talk through the science, but effectively it’s putting premium fuel into your body.

And it’s amazing. The caffeine is what acts as the carrier. And it will get through the gut lining and be able to push those ketones straight into the bloodstream and thus into the brain. It’s the first time in my life; I never buy into any of that stuff, but the first time in my life going in doubtful, I could not believe the instantaneous effect.

And I would recommend anyone when you need that productivity boost, get it into your system. And you’ll see yourself just explode with productivity and focus.

Dan Lemp: 15:43

Yeah, I’ve heard great things about Bulletproof Coffee, and that something about the fats and the different chemistry mixture in there.

It gives you that focus, but it lasts for longer. And it doesn’t give you that crash that drinking a normal cup of coffee might.

Josh Strawczynski: 15:58

I’ll finish on with that is: be really careful when you’re buying your C8 oil. Read the packages because that particular triglyceride is hard to pull out. So a lot of people will cut it. It’ll be like C8 and C10 or C8 and C6 and that’s not fundamentally bad.

You want to be getting as much premium fuel as you can. So it’s either worst paying a premium first straight C8s, or at least try to make sure that the percentage of C8 is primarily the largest amounts in the bottle. Other than that, it’s super simple. That goes a really long way.

And it’s one of those things you can put in your arsenal and have to pull out and be more effective. And that’s the gist of it, guys, we as an agency, but I’m spending a lot of time on being more effective as workers and as human beings.

If you make sure that you’re prioritizing your time, the things that are important, both financially and personally cherishing your relationships as part of that and using these tools in your arsenal, so you had to get your body to do the most amount of focus – well, then you’re going to be the most effective version of yourself.

You do have any questions, please feel free to email us. We’d love to hear from you. Comment on the channel and we’ll try to feature them in future podcasts. Dan, thank you so much for being with us.

Dan Lemp: 17:22

Thanks so much, Josh awesome, talk today.

Josh Strawczynski: 17:24

Awesome. Till the next one.

Dan Lemp: 17:26

Till the next one.

About the Author

Dan leads the JMarketing SEO department. An extremely analytical mind, he is fascinated with the questions of 'Why', 'How', and 'Is there a better way'? Through Dan's research and experimentation, JMarketing have unlocked a host of best practices and optimisation tricks for our clients.

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