Episode 41 : 11/15/2017

Purpose-led productivity: Achieving more with less

Mike Schmitz

Product Director
Asian Efficiency


Emily Larsen
Product Strategy Manager
BMO Global Asset Management

Ben D. Jones
Managing Director – Intermediary Distribution
BMO Global Asset Management

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Be honest. When you look back at your workday, or your workweek, did you achieve everything you wanted to? Did the important things get done? Were there things you allowed to distract your attention away from your highest priorities?

In this episode of Better conversations. Better outcomes., we’re joined by Mike Schmitz, host of the Productivity Show podcast and author of Thou Shalt Hustle: Pushing Past Average. Mike helps advisors define what being “productive” means to them, both in business and in life. Plus, he discusses how technology can be a productivity killer and the tips he’s received to achieve more with less.

In this episode:

  • Productivity = Your time, your attention, your energy and your focus
  • Why goal length matters as much as the goal itself
  • The difference between having a “fixed” mindset and a “growth” mindset, plus other lifestyle changes
  • Despite what you think, multi-tasking actually decreases productivity
  • Leveraging the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule) to better yourself daily

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Mike Schmitz – Be intentional about how you spend your time, attention, energy and focus because these are limited resources that you can never get back.  

Ben Jones – Welcome to Better conversations. Better outcomes. presented by BMO Global Asset Management.  I’m Ben Jones.  

Emily Larsen – And I’m Emily Larsen.  In each episode, we’ll explore topics relevant to today’s trusted financial advisors, interviewing experts and investigating the world of wealth advising from every angle.  We’ll also provide you with actionable ideas designed to improve outcomes for advisors and their clients.  

Ben Jones – To access the resources we discuss in today’s show, or just to learn more about our guests, visit bmogam.com/betterconversations.  Again, that’s bmogam.com/betterconversations.  Thanks for joining us.  

Emily Larsen – Before we get started, one quick request.  If you have enjoyed the show and found them of value, please take a moment to leave us a rating or a review on iTunes.  It would really mean a lot to us.  

Disclosure – The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of BMO Global Asset Management, its affiliates, or subsidiaries.  

Emily Larsen – Time is a limited resource and as financial advisors, you have an increasing number of demands for your time.  If you’re like many of the advisors we talk to, you’re constantly battling with how to best use your time in order to grow your business, elevate the client experience, create better outcomes for your clients, and stay on top of a rapidly changing industry.  

Ben Jones – Today, we’re talking about productivity and we’re going to do this through a couple of different lenses.  We’re going to look at productivity in terms of technology, what technology is available to you to be more productive, and how can you limit technology use in order to get more done.  

Emily Larsen – We’re also going to look at productivity in terms of systems.  How can you be more productive by setting up systems to streamline, delegate, and create processes for your business? And finally, we’re going to look at productivity in terms of mindsets and habits.  What seemingly unimportant changes can you make to limit distractions and set yourself up for success each day?   

Ben Jones – To discuss all of this, we reached out to Mike Schmitz.  He’s the host of the podcast aptly named the Productivity Show, and he’s also the author of Thou Shalt Hustle: Pushing Past Average.  It’s a book on purpose-led productivity.  Emily and Mike were able to connect in what happens to be both of their home state of Wisconsin.  

Mike Schmitz – My name is Mike Schmitz.  I’m the product director at Asian Efficiency and the host of the Productivity Show podcast.  I am responsible for the direction of the content that we create for our products, so that would be the stuff that’s not just appearing on the blog or on the podcast, but the actual video courses that we sell.  So, Asian Efficiency, our mission is to make the world a better and more efficient place, okay.  So, that’s very broad intentionally because we want the company to be able to grow and follow whatever avenue that happens to be.  So, specifically what we’ve been doing is creating content that’s actionable, that people can do something and it can provide them the change or the results that they’re looking for.  It’s really about the right success mindsets, the rituals, and the systems that you implement that are going to provide the 1% changes that add up to you achieving the ideal future that you’ve always dreamt of.  

Emily Larsen – Mike and I had a robust discussion on the topic of productivity.  It is clearly a subject he has passion for and thinks deeply about, which made the conversation very engaging.  We’ve distilled down our discussion in order to highlight the ideas we believe will be actionable for almost any advisor.  You may even hear some things in today’s episode that you will want to pass on to some of our clients in order to improve their efficiency.  To start, I asked Mike what productivity really means, how to measure it, and where to begin.  

Mike Schmitz – Well, I think productivity is a critical skill that everybody should embrace, and really it comes down to your time, your attention, your energy, your focus.  Those are kind of the four things that we identify on the Productivity Show.  But, as it pertains to financial advisors, you can identify what is important to you.  That’s what I love about productivity.  It’s going to be different for each person.  For one person, it’s going to be getting a bunch of work done on a really important project that’s going to lead to them going and launching their own business or something.  For somebody else, it’s going to be dialing back the work so that they can spend time with their family.  But, you get to define what success looks like for you, and then productivity for me is just the tactics and the strategies that you implement that are going to get you to your ideal future.  So, you get to decide what your ideal future looks like, but productivity, those are the mechanisms, that’s the game plan that’s going to help you get there.  

Emily Larsen – If someone had to start somewhere, would they start with mindset?  

Mike Schmitz – I would say that mindset is the most important one because there’s a shift that needs to happen in order for this to stick and that is going to be going from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.  

Emily Larsen – Yeah, how does somebody make that shift?  

Mike Schmitz – Well, it’s recognizing how the process really works and so if you have a fixed mindset for example, you’ll show up and you’ll do the same thing every day and you’ll wonder why the door never opens for the promotion or how do you actually get to that ideal future that you want.  Whereas a growth mindset is working backwards and it’s saying okay, this is where I want to be, so what do I have to do in order to get there.  Who do I have to become in order for that goal, that future, to be inevitable.  And then from there what you do is you embrace those habits or those rituals, those little things that you do over and over and over again, but those won’t stick unless you know where you’re going.  So, the growth mindset, and just beating yesterday, looking every day to make a 1% improvement.  That is quickly going to compound and that’s going to add up to the results that you’re looking for.  But, if you don’t have that future focused vision of where you want to go, you can implement the habits, but you’re not always going to feel like it.  You’re not always going to feel like getting in the car and going to the gym.  You’re not going to feel like pushing yourself when you’re benching.  And so you have to have something that is going to push you past those moments of I don’t really feel like doing this in order for it to really stick.  

Ben Jones – When you’re considering adopting new habits, routines, and methods for increased productivity, it’s important that you consider the goal and vision that you have in mind.  I really like the way that Mike frames this as beating yesterday.  Just as you coach your clients to start with their end goal in mind, increasing productivity is meaningless if it’s not tied to the outcome that you desire.  First, Mike talks about why it’s usually simple changes that produce great results.  

Mike Schmitz – It’s usually much less complicated than people think.  Whenever I tell my story, people are like well how did you get to where you are today because I’ve had a pretty radical transformation in my working life in the last couple years since I started working with Asian Efficiency.  I was never a writer before I started writing for Asian Efficiency.  But, I just started getting up early.  That’s it.  Everybody — if you were to go on Google right now and you were to search for the most successful CEOs, you’d notice that they all get up early and there’s tons of people who write about this.  This is not a hidden secret that people get up early because when you get up early you have the very best of your mental resources to devote to whatever is going to create the biggest impact for you.  If you roll out of bed after hitting snooze three times and then the first thing you do is you check the e-mail on your smartphone your day is instantly derailed.  This is very, very simple stuff.  But mostly — it’s so simple that most people are like ah, it doesn’t really make that big a deal and they reach for their phone and they check their e-mail.  And then they’re frustrated before they even get to work and then they’re burned out when they get back from work and they’re like why do I feel so tired.  Well, you sabotaged yourself.  

Emily Larsen – Yeah, and you talked about the little changes that worked for you; getting up early, establishing a routine, and tackling the most difficult thing at the beginning of the day.  Is that the recipe, the small change that people can start now? Advisors and even their clients start now to increasing their productivity or are there any other items that are the most impactful?  

Mike Schmitz – Well, the morning routine I think is the most important part of your day, and so if you don’t have a morning routine, then yeah, absolutely, that’s the place that you should focus.  If you’ve already got a morning routine and you’re making sure that you’re doing the things that are important to you at the beginning of the day, then there’s going to be other areas that you could improve and this is the whole idea of the 80/20 or Pareto principle which says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the work.  Now, when it comes to systems and productivity, there are literally systems all around you every single day that are broken and most people don’t look at them as broken systems.  They just say oh, I’m annoyed by this thing that keeps happening, but they don’t ever stop to ask how they can fix it.  So that is again the systems mindset, the growth mindset, the switch that has to be flipped there.  Once you start recognizing that these are systems and all they’re doing is they’re producing rational and practical results, you can modify and manipulate the systems to produce the results that you want.  And what’s great about productivity is you can apply this to any given area.  So, if there is one thing that is driving you crazy, just focus on that one thing.  And then after you do that, create another thing, create another thing, create another thing.  Keep looking at those systems and this 80/20 principal, the reason that this is so important is that you can keep applying this 80/20 principal.  It’s exponential.  So, if you’re to get 80% of the results from 20% of the work, you can actually 80/20 the 80/20.  You can get 64% of the results from 4% of the work.  And you can keep going with this and so you can see then that those small changes, you’re just going to solve one thing, it can actually create a significant impact and make your everyday routine, your everyday life quite a bit easier.  

Emily Larsen – So, if somebody has the growth mindset, they’re focused on continual improvement, and they know what they’re aiming for, what are those other routines or habits that they can adopt to improve productivity?  

Mike Schmitz – Like I said, number one is going to be the morning routine and some of the things that I would encourage you to put in your morning routine; number one would be to drink a bunch of water, so 24 ounces of specifically lemon water if you can.  That will hydrate your body and it will get everything working and it will help you — it sounds kind of ridiculous to say this, but it basically just turns the switch on for your brain, at least for me.  And so that would be one thing.  Again, making sure that you have the time to pay attention to your own personal needs.  So for example, my morning routine, I make sure that I have time to — I have an inversion table in our room, so I actually stretch every morning which helps my back feel a lot better and makes obviously the days a lot better when I’m not in pain.  Make sure that I spend time reading my Bible and praying.  So, for people who want to incorporate a spiritual aspect to their morning routine, make sure that you do that.  Meditation is a great one.  A lot of meditation, especially guided meditation, focuses on gratitude and the things that you have.  And gratitude actually could be the thing that completely changes your day as well.  You’re focused on the things that are going right instead of the things that are going wrong and happy people are productive people.  I would also say that you need to pay attention to how much sleep you are getting.  There are quite a few people who think that they don’t need as much sleep as they do, but there’s actually a very, very small percentage of the population that falls into that category where they physically don’t need the seven and a half or eight hours of sleep.  I specifically — I’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy.  One of the things that can trigger a seizure is not getting enough sleep.  So, I’ve been very militant about how much sleep I get for a long time.  But even for the average person, just increasing the amount of sleep that you get, making sure that you are well rested when you start your day is going to exponentially increase your productivity.  You’re going to think so much clearer, you’re going to find solutions to problems so much faster, it’s just going to make everything much, much easier.    

Emily Larsen – It’s up to you to experiment with your morning routine and find what works best for you, but I really liked Mike’s examples from his own routine.  

Ben Jones – On a quick personal note, one tool that I have found to help me monitor and improve my daily habits is an app called Way of Life.  It’s a great little accountability tool that I use each and every day.  

Emily Larsen – Determining work systems is just as important as those habits and I asked Mike about an interesting principal known as “Eat that Frog” that tends to help people accomplish their important tasks for the day.  I also know that you guys talk a lot about “Eat that Frog” and that’s less about a system and more about a process.  Can you share with our listeners a little bit about that?  

Mike Schmitz – Yeah, so “Eat that Frog”, that’s one of the things that actually got me to where I am today.  I mentioned that I started getting up early and the inspiration behind that was Ken appearing on a podcast and talking about “Eat that Frog”, which is inspired by Brian Tracey.  The whole idea comes from a Mark Twain quote where he said that if you eat a live frog first thing every day, nothing worse will happen to you.  And productivity angle on this is that we tend to procrastinate on things that are important and we focus on the things that are urgent.  That’s why people will check their phone and they check their e-mail first thing when they get up.  They’re looking for an excuse essentially if we’re honest with ourselves — we’re looking for an excuse not to put forth the effort on that big project that we know we should be doing.  And, if you just bite the bullet and you overcome that procrastination at the beginning of the day when your mental resources, your attention, your energy, your focus are at their peak, you’re much more likely to follow through with that project or at least the part of that project that you have decided it’s important for you to do this, so if you do that at the beginning of the day, then you’ve done a significant thing.  You’ve made significant progress and then like I mentioned, at that point, it’s almost like it doesn’t even matter what else happens the rest of the day, the rest of the day can happen as it comes because you devoted the very best of your mental resources towards the thing that is most important.  So, you’ve at least got that big thing done that day and that’s the kind of thing that you can’t overestimate the importance of this.  I did this exact thing.  I got up and I wrote for an hour every day and eight months later, which is not a long period of time, but literally just during that hour a day, I wrote and published my first book.  Again, productivity, you can insert your own goal there, the thing that is going to provide the most traction as you move towards your ideal future, but “Eat that Frog”, that’s definitely a principal that anybody can apply.  

Emily Larsen – I also find that when I “Eat that Frog”, that I end up kind of having a better mental attitude about the rest of the day.  It’s in line with when I do a gratitude journal, that I’m just more positively oriented and motivated to do other things because I’ve tackled that monster.  

Mike Schmitz – Yeah.  And a lot of times it’s not as bad as you think it is, right?  

Emily Larsen – Absolutely.  

Mike Schmitz – I mean you project that this is going to be awful and then as soon as you start putting forth any effort towards this thing, you actually get it done a lot quicker.  That’s a principal that at Asian Efficiency we call “solar flaring.”  The idea being that if you can — you can trick yourself.  You can say something like I will just do this for five minutes and that’s because you project maybe that this task is going to be a four hour task.  And you say well I’m not going to do the whole thing.  I’m just going to do this for five minutes.  And then once you start, once you provide any sort of momentum towards completing that task, it actually multiplies.  Maybe you spend 15 minutes, maybe you spend a half hour, maybe you spend a whole hour on it, but you get the whole thing done.  And then after you get done, you look back and even if you just did a small portion of it, you look back and you’re like wow, I got significantly more progress on that than I thought.  

Ben Jones – Now let’s discuss an area of productivity that’s unique to our modern era of technology.  E-mail.  You as an advisor and your clients probably spend way too many hours per week responding to e-mail.  I know for a fact that I do too and the first step to being more productive is determining what your current e-mail strategy is even if you don’t think you have one.  

Mike Schmitz – It’s a big problem that needs to be solved in a lot of organizations.  I read a statistic that said that the average US worker spends 6.3 hours per day dealing with e-mail, which is a ton and most people don’t realize that they’re spending that much time working on their e-mail because they’re doing it while they’re doing other things.  Maybe you’re trying to write a report and in the background you hear your notifications go off, so you go check what came into your e-mail.  You notice that it really isn’t that important, so you switch back to your report and that sort of multi-tasking is actually very detrimental to your productivity.  It is impossible to multi-task, actually.  When you multi-task, really what you’re doing is your context switching very quickly.  And every time you switch context, you have to mentally reboot and get a grasp of what specifically you’re working on at that particular time and a lot of people don’t realize that.  So, e-mail is a huge time suck and really with the always on nature of it and those notifications, if you don’t trim those notifications — like literally anybody anywhere has an open door to interrupt your day and throw it off course at any given moment.  So, the number one thing I would always tell people is turn off your notifications.  Okay, and a lot of people push back on this and I get that.  I mean some situations, especially if you’re in any sort of sales, if someone requests something you need to be able to get a proposal or whatever to them quickly.  But everybody, if you think about it, can trim these to some degree.  Maybe it’s just you don’t have them on your phone.  I actually don’t have an e-mail app on my phone because I’ve found that it was really hard for me to delete it, but I found there actually wasn’t as big an impact as I thought with me not being able to see those e-mails as they come in.  And actually, what it ended up being — what I ended up doing is it increased the quality of my responses because I had to wait until I got back to a better tool in order to respond to that e-mail.  But regardless of what level you’re able to trim your notifications, definitely do it.  Some applications actually have a feature called VIP notifications.  So, if you really wanted to make sure that you were reachable by your clients for example, you could add them as VIPs and then when they send you an e-mail, you’ll get notified.  But when LinkedIn sends you an e-mail that says somebody looked at your profile, you’re not going to be notified of that.  So, you’re only being interrupted when it’s actually important.  So that actually, that’s the problem is that these interruptions, these notifications that we get, they are sometimes important, but a lot of times not and that variable rewards scenario is very similar to — are you familiar with the Pavlov’s Dog experiment, where he would ring the bell and they would salivate because they knew dinner was coming? Well, your brain does the same sort of thing because of that variable rewards scenario.  It releases dopamine, which is the pleasure chemical, and if you were to do a brain scan, it is the exact same chemical reaction that happens when a drug addict takes a hit or an alcoholic takes a drink.  So we’re literally addicted to these notifications on a physiological level.  But if we can just eliminate all of the bad ones, that actually helps quite a bit.  

Emily Larsen – I remember just as further proof, you talked about taking that e-mail off your mobile device.  I had a mentor who had suggested that I shut off my e-mails completely for blocks of time during the day to maximize productivity.  And I thought — you know this was the first time I was questioning her judgement, but I did it and it was much easier than I anticipated and so much more helpful in terms of me getting the work done that I needed to in a day.  

Mike Schmitz – Yeah, absolutely.  And that’s always the battle that people go through.  And if they are able to do it, they have the exact same experience that you had that hey actually, this feels really good.  I’m able to focus on the things that are really important and I’m not stuck responding to e-mails all day.  For example, one of the processes that we advocate for in our e-mail products is the once a week approach.  And this again a bit extreme, but the people who are able to just process their e-mail once a week, they have so much mental clarity and they’re so creative and they’re so focused the rest of the time, that if that’s what’s important to you, you should absolutely do that.  I know that actually the majority of people are not going to be able to do that.  But if you’re able to at least compartmentalize the times that you check your e-mail, that is going to help a lot.  So for example, myself personally, what I do is I have these buffer blocks at the beginning and end of my day.  And one of the things that I will do during my buffer blocks is I will check my e-mail and respond to the things that are important.  I’ll also have that space to wrap up other things that I didn’t get done throughout the day.  But what it allows me to do is it allows me to incorporate another very important principal when it comes to e-mail and that is the touch it once principal.  So a lot of people, what they will do is they’ll get a notification, they’ll pull up their smartphone, they’ll see what it was, they’ll see that it really isn’t urgent or it doesn’t have to be dealt with right there, and so they’ll put their phone back in their pocket.  Now when they come back to look at their e-mail again, they have to decide again whether this thing is important or urgent.  And so touch it once, what it basically means is that you batch process all of your e-mail messages, you don’t deal with them one at a time.  And when you’re going through your inbox, you’re going to determine what you’re going to do with this thing right now.  If you have a bunch of e-mails that require significant action or maybe there are things that you want to hang onto but you don’t need them right now, then being able to send those to the appropriate buckets like a task manager or a reference file, that’s going to be really important.  Send it there, archive that message, get it out of your inbox because the research shows that even if you haven’t dealt with that thing, even if all you’ve done is you’ve put it in your task manager, the fact that it is now in the appropriate container, that has just as much positive impact on your mental state as actually completing that action and closing the open loop altogether.  

Emily Larsen – Yeah, it’s something I’ve adopted and has worked for me.  One other thing that came to mind is that you’ve talked a lot about tools and practices and technologies that can help with this.  Some of our advisors actually have executive assistants or internal associates who help screen e-mails, could they be used in order to create the filter for the financial advisor about what notification they need and at what point in time?  

Mike Schmitz – Yes, absolutely.  Now, I have to admit that I saw this question on the list that you had sent over.  I’m bad at this, okay?  But Thanh is great at it.  He’s the CEO of Asian Efficiency. He’s got actually a podcast that he recorded specifically on things that you can delegate to an executive assistant.  

Emily Larsen – We tend to think of technology as a productivity enhancer, but it also can be a big distraction from the most important things we have to do each day.  Many of the most powerful ideas Mike shared with me were more about the principals, habits, and mindsets that lead to improved productivity.  In fact, Mike advocates that technology can help but only if it fits into your system.  And chasing the latest and greatest app isn’t going to be a magic pill for productivity.  However, I did ask him to identify the one productivity app he would recommend to our listeners if he had to choose one.  

Mike Schmitz – Well, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I were going to pick one that would have the biggest impact for the majority of your audience, it would probably be Text Expander.  So Text Expander is a tool that will expand commonly typed phrases or templates, but it does a lot more than that.  For example, one of the first ways that I started using Text Expander is I started using it for proposal templates.  And what I would do is I would have a whole bunch of text that was common in all of my proposals, but then obviously you need to customize them for a first name.  Then you can have drop downs for different variables like thanks for taking the time to speak with me, and then you’ve got a drop down yesterday, today, last week, whatever.  You can automatically insert text that’s on your clipboard, you can select whether you want things to be optional, and what this did is once I created this template and then I triggered this with just a couple of keystrokes, it allowed me to very quickly type in the person’s first name.  I could fill in the variables, it would copy in the link to the proposal from the clipboard.  I would hit enter, the whole process took about 30 seconds and now I’ve got a very lengthy e-mail which would have taken me maybe 15 minutes to write previously.  So it also provides a template because once I can get it correct once in the template, then I don’t have to worry about misspellings or mistypings.  I know that it’s going to be correct.  So once you start recognizing these are the same things that I type over and over and over again, whether it’s like a set of proposal template or even something simple like your e-mail address or phone number, and you can create these snippets that fire with just a couple of keystrokes, that can very quickly save you a bunch of time.  And Text Expander actually even has a window where it will give you statistics on how much time that you’ve saved.  Last time I looked, it was something like 40 whole days of productivity for me.   

Emily Larsen – Wow.  That’s excellent.  I haven’t heard of that before, so I will definitely try that one out, too.  

Mike Schmitz – Yeah, and it’s a service that you can actually use on any computer.  So it’s got both a PC and a Mac version.  It used to be a Mac-only utility but they recently created a PC version as well.  And all of your snippets, so if you use Mac at home and PC at work, a lot of people in the Asian Efficiency audience do that.  Your snippets will actually sync, they have a cloud infrastructure which takes all of those snippets, and it’s just plain text so there’s nothing real secure there.  You’re not storing frequently used passwords in Text Expander, there’s other tools that are better for that sort of thing.  But this is just literally things that you type over and over and over again.  And you can literally have them available anywhere you are.    

Emily Larsen – What is your favorite productivity tip that you’ve ever learned, or you’ve learned since you’ve been doing this show?  

Mike Schmitz – My favorite has got to be another productivity framework which is a little bit more tricky to implement but has really made a big impact, and that is the 12-week year.  And we’ve actually got several resources for the 12-week year, both in the podcast and in the “dojo” which is our membership community.  But actually the “dojo” is where I really first saw people implementing this.  There’s a whole accountability section there where people are posting their 12-week year goals.  And the basic idea behind 12-week year is that we over estimate what we can get done in the short-term and underestimate what we can get done in the long-term.  So rather than set a yearly goal, set a quarterly goal and then work really hard for those 12 weeks towards that goal and see how far you can get.  And what a lot people see if that they can actually achieve that yearly goal in only 12 weeks.  But seeing people implement this and giving me ideas for how to implement this personally has been really great.  Now my wife and I actually set 12-week year goals, this is what we’re going to focus on this quarter as a family.  And again, it just comes down to being intentional with how you’re spending your time but you can apply this a lot of different ways.  

Emily Larsen – I also hear there’s a little hustle in here, which I know is near and dear to your heart.  

Mike Schmitz – Yep, absolutely.  I should clarify that though real quickly because a lot of people think hustle is just working really hard.  But really what it is is it’s doing the right things.  Yeah, sometimes you do have to work hard for things.  But what’s even more important is making sure that you’re doing the right things.  You want to be both efficient and effective.    

Emily Larsen – You may have just answered the question before I asked it.  I was going to say what does it feel like when someone achieves peak productivity.  

Mike Schmitz – Yeah.  

Emily Larsen –  Efficiency and effectiveness.  

Mike Schmitz – Yeah, exactly.  Well, to back up a little bit there is something called the Eisenhower Matrix, which your audience may or may not be familiar with and I won’t go into the whole thing.  But basically if you were to create a quadrant and on the top axis you’ve got things that are important and not important, and on the Y axis, you’ve got urgent and not urgent, what you’ve got is things that are going to fall into one of those four categories.  I would say that peak productivity means that you are able to make sure that all of the things that are important get done.  And that can be tricky because like I said a lot of times we default to the things that are urgent but not important at the expense of the things that are important but not urgent.  So peak productivity, I don’t think you can ever get to the point where you can say yes, I have achieved maximum productivity.  Because like I mentioned with the 80/20 principal, there’s always going to be areas that you can improve.  And if you just focus on that one thing that you can fix from yesterday to make today even better, than that’s going to create the ideal future that you’ve always dreamt of.  

Emily Larsen – That’s great.  It’s something that I put in practice here as well and many of my co-workers use the Eisenhower Matrix and it works for them, and they kind of catalog their entire year of productivity in that framework.  

Mike Schmitz – Yep, yep, absolutely.  

Emily Larsen – And if you could put a warning label on your advice today, what would it be?  

Mike Schmitz – Don’t get too busy.  Motion does not equal progress, so make sure that you’re going in the right direction if you want to really end up at that ideal future that you’ve always dreamt of.    

Ben Jones – I hope you take a few of Mike’s ideas and put them into action.  Maybe you can find one or two that work for your practice, but don’t delay; get started today.  As Mike said, it’s the small simple steps that create those exponential results over time.  We’ll have links to the 12-week year and the Productivity Show in our show notes at bmogam.com/betterconversations.  In addition, I’m going to have Mike tell you where you can follow his work on this very important subject.  

Mike Schmitz – You can find the Productivity Show at theproductivityshow.com or in your podcast app of choice.  And you can check out everything else that we do over at asianefficiency.com.    

Emily Larsen – Thanks so much to Mike Schmitz for taking the time to impart these ideas, systems, habits, and resources we can all use to be more productive.  Now go out there and “Eat that Frog.” 

Ben Jones – Thanks for listing to Better conversations. Better outcomes. This podcast is presented by BMO Global Asset Management. To learn more about what BMO can do for you, visit us at www.bmogam.com/betterconversations.   

Emily Larsen – We value listener feedback and would love to hear about what you have thought about today’s episode.  Or, if you’re willing to share your own experiences or insights related to today’s topic, please e-mail us at betterconversations@bmo.com.  And of course, the greatest compliment of all is if you tell your friends and co-workers to subscribe to the show.  You can subscribe to our show on iTunes, Google Play, the Stitcher app, or your favorite podcast platform.  Until next time, I’m Emily Larsen.  

Ben Jones – And I’m Ben Jones.  From all of us at BMO Global Asset Management hoping you have a productive and wonderful week.  

Emily Larsen – This show is supported by a talented team of dedicated professionals at BMO, including Pat Bordak, Gayle Gipson and Matt Perry. The show is edited and produced by the team at Freedom Podcasting, specifically Jonah Geil-Neufeld and Annie Fassler. 

Disclosure – The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of BMO Global Asset Management, its affiliates, or subsidiaries. This is not intended to serve as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any company, industry, or security. This presentation may contain forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements, as actual results could vary. This presentation is for general information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment product or service. Individual investors should consult with an investment professional about their personal situation. Past performance is not indicative of future results. BMO Asset Management Corp is the investment advisor to the BMO funds. BMO Investment Distributors LLC is the distributor. Member FINRA/SIPC. BMO Asset Management Corp and BMO Investment Distributors are affiliated companies. Further information can be found at www.bmo.com. 

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