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How to Work (Way) Less but Accomplish (Way) More in 2020 with Michael Hyatt

The BiggerPockets Podcast
50 min read
How to Work (Way) Less but Accomplish (Way) More in 2020 with Michael Hyatt

Will 2020 be your best year ever?

Today’s episode has all the ingredients to make the answer a big, resounding “Yes!”

Bestselling author and productivity expert Michael Hyatt is here, and he guides us through how real estate investors should approach the year ahead.

You’ll love hearing how Michael’s eliminated virtually everything except his three highest-leverage, revenue-generating activities; how to steer clear of what he calls “drudgery zone” work; and how to find someone who actually enjoys those tasks you can’t stand doing.

And if you’re thinking, “Well, I’m not ready for that yet…” Michael has tips for how to get started by delegating just one task.

Michael has written extensively about three topics that touch every real estate investor: productivity (Free to Focus), goal-setting (Your Best Year Ever), and delegation (Your World-Class Assistant). Today, we cover them all in-depth.

So download this episode, make sure you’re subscribed to the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, and start 2020 right!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: All right Michael, welcome to The BiggerPockets Podcast. This is a huge honor for me today, so thank you for being here.

Michael: Thank you so much, Brandon. Great to be with you.

Brandon: Yeah. So I want to jump right in because we’re here and we just got in the new year if you’re listening to this when the show comes out, and I want to start with getting into how people can maximize this year, some of the tools and tips and tricks that you use to really, just for explosive growth the last few years, and really your whole career. But before we get in there, people might not know who you are. So can you give a quick idea of who are you and in that, what’s something that you’re most proud of in your career that you’ve done so far?

Michael: Okay. So I’m a New York Times bestselling author. I’ve written a number of books, about nine books total. I’ve spent most of my time in the book publishing world, most recently as the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. We sold that company to HarperCollins in 2011. I used that as an opportunity to make my exit and do what I’d always dreamed of doing, which is to write and to speak full time.

Michael: So today I’m the CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company. We have about 35 people in our company. We’ve been named to the Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America the last three years in a row. We grew 62% last year. But, and this is maybe something that I’m proud of, last year I took 162 days off where I didn’t work, I didn’t check in on work, I didn’t have any connection with work, I was just … it was time off. And I’ve done that actually every year for the last several years. But it kind of speaks to my central thesis that I really want to be about achieving more by doing less. You don’t need to do everything, you just need to do the right things.

Brandon: I love that you say that, and I also love the fact that you track how many days you didn’t work. I’ve never thought about doing that before, but I’m going to start that starting today. Because I have no idea, but I’m guessing I probably took five days off where I didn’t do anything last year.

Michael: Yeah. Well, once it becomes a metric and you start measuring it, and particularly you realize the importance of it, what else it allows you to do. I’ve been married for 41 years, I’ve got a great marriage, I’ve got five adult children, nine grandchildren, and they’re really important to me. And spending time with them when I can take that much time off, I can really make them a priority.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s very cool. Yeah, I’m expecting a baby here any day now, it could be … if I suddenly run out of the room it’s because my wife is running to the hospital and we’re going. But yeah, by the time this show airs it should be well over by that point. But yeah, it’s increasingly becoming more of a point in my life is how can I spend less time on work, but to do more important work. I like work. At BiggerPockets, we talk a lot about financial freedom and early retirement and all that. But one of my beliefs is that nobody who can retire early ever does retire early. You just can’t. You just dry up. So that’s why I’m so passionate about this just idea of working on more important things you can work fewer hours and choose what you do and when you do it.

Brandon: So with that, let’s jump into some questions. I’m going to fire a bunch of stuff at you and I’m sure David will as well.

Michael: Okay, I’m ready.

Brandon: I want to know first of all, what do people get wrong? We’re going to get into the systems stuff by the way, because I know you have a book on the systems stuff, I want to get to that. But first I want to know, what do people get wrong about New Year’s? I mean, the resolutions and planning. And here we’re at the beginning of the year, what do people get wrong that you notice most?

Michael: Well, I think they let their vague aspirations around this time of the year, they want to improve their marriage, they want to improve their health, they want to grow their business. They let that be a vague aspiration, and they never write it down. And all the goal research shows that when you write something down, you dramatically increase the likelihood of you achieving it. In fact, there was a study done at Dominican University in Southern California, where they took a whole group of people in a blind test and they found out that the people that wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them by the very act or the simple act of writing them down. And I think it’s because like somebody once said, thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips. It helps you to get clarity. And when you get clarity about something, it accelerates your movement toward that destination. So I’d say that’s one of the big things.

Michael: But another thing also Brandon, that people get wrong is if you get all excited about goal setting, the temptation is to try to attempt too many goals. And so our research shows that in general, people should not attempt more than seven to 10 goals per year, and no more than two to three per quarter. So that kind of focus accelerates also your movement towards achieving the goal.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s so true. Now how do you handle that as an entrepreneur? I mean, I know … I like to use the analogy of a bridge, like you’re on reality island and there’s freedom island or wealth island or success island, and you got to build a bridge over there. But so many entrepreneurs are building 20 bridges at once, 30 bridges at once so then nothing ever gets built. How do you combat that, because I know you’re a creative guy and you probably have a million ideas.

Michael: Well, I try to really focus in on what are the highest leverage goals? What are the goals that are going to create the greatest growth, the greatest amount of results in my business that are really measurable results, and just say no to everything else, or at least most of everything else. And the truth is, during the course of the year you’re probably going to have hundreds of projects, but you need to have just a few goals. Projects, and I distinguish between the two, every goal is a project, but not every project is a goal. And here’s what I mean by that. I manage a goal as though it were a project. It has action steps and milestones and I track it in the same way that I would for a project, but a goal by definition is something that you’re trying to achieve that’s outside the whirlwind of business as usual.

Michael: Projects are inside the world of business as usual. They represent slight improvements, new projects, things that you’re doing inside the whirlwind of your activity that don’t make huge strides. But goals are a new initiative, a new launch, a new challenge, something that’s going to represent significant movement towards your goals or towards your overall vision, so you got to really constrain yourself if you’re going to achieve those.

Brandon: That’s really good. David, do you want to jump in at all? I don’t want to just hog the mic the whole time because I’m-

Michael: Hey, David.

David: I’m trying to … hey, what’s going on, Michael. It’s nice to meet you. Thanks for letting me in here, Brandon.

Michael: Good to meet you.

David: Just kidding. So what I’m thinking about his how we apply this to real estate investing, right? What would the difference between a goal and a project be when it specifically comes to a real estate investing portfolio?

Michael: Yeah. Well here’s where I don’t have a lot of experience, so you guys may have to help me on this. But I would think that anything that would represent business that you’re not currently doing, maybe something that had to do with the management of that portfolio, maybe a project, incremental improvement on the portfolio. It may be a project like a new acquisition or a new strategic direction or a new kind of property or something, I would think that would be more of a goal.

Brandon: That’s really good.

David: Yeah. So maybe different ways to look for a property could be one, right?

Michael: Yep.

David: Like maybe seven different things and you’re okay, I’m going to try this new strategy to get a property under contract. If you tried 40 different strategies in a year, you wouldn’t make progress with any of them, but if you limit it to one every two months or so, that would give yourself the time to actually figure out is this going to work for me, can I make it work.

Michael: Totally, because a lot of them take experimentation so you’re going to just have to stay with it long enough to see if it works or not.

David: And develop the skillset that you need to make that thing work. I think that’s something a lot of people fail to realize when they start something new, is I just assume I’m going to suck at anything new that I do for quite some time, so why start it if I’m never going to get out of the suck phase? Would you ever go to the gym and say I’ll give this a month and if I don’t see results I’m going to stop? It takes a month just to get your body used to what you’re trying to ask it to do. And when you start a new goal, you have different muscles you haven’t used. You have mistakes you got to make to figure it out. And I really like what you’re saying, that you’ve got to give yourself time to build up that skillset.

Michael: Well, and all of us have a limited amount of attention, a limited amount of other resources, whether it’s our time or our capital or whatever, and one of the things that will cut our legs out from under us if we’re spread too thin. So if you maximize your focus, maximize your capital, I’m not talking about putting all of your eggs in one basket, but I am talking about restricting the number of baskets that you’re putting eggs into. I think that’s a huge … again, all the goal research shows that when you constrain yourself like that and limit your focus, you actually drive achievement.

Brandon: That’s really good. There’s a book out there, one of my favorites I’ve read recently, it’s called The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

Michael: Yeah, love it.

Brandon: Yeah, I love that book, right? It’s like, there’s the mess you live in from day to day, and they don’t say don’t do it. Then I think this is where a lot of online gurus for lack of a better term, they’ll say things like, you just got to focus and put all your eggs in one huge basket. I’m like, I can’t. I still have to manage my portfolio. I still have to do podcasts and that. I still have to do this stuff. But it’s like, let’s just take one or two things out a quarter and say, that’s wildly important. And I love that idea.

Michael: Yeah, and for some people that just insist on having more goals I say okay, do this. Set up a goal queue. In other words, when you get these three goals for this quarter done, then you have my permission to go ahead and pursue other goals, but don’t have any more than three at one time, three for a quarter at one time. So if you can knock those out in the first week or the first month, great. Now you’ve earned the right to have some more goals. But you want to limit sort of the scope of your attention and the scope of your investment so you better ensure that you get a positive outcome on those things you’ve chosen to do.

David: That is … you’re speaking the language of Brandon Turner right now. I bet his heart rate just increased like 30% now that you said, accomplish these goals and now you’ve earned the right to do whatever. I mean, his brain does that with everything. Like hey, Brandon, do you want to-

Brandon: Oh, thanks.

David: … do you want to buy … do you want to try this chip? I haven’t earned it yet, let me go up and down the stairs four times and then I can do it. Because he knows what motivates himself. I think that’s a really important part.

Michael: It is.

David: And you have to understand yourself if you want to be a high performer, and Brandon’s done that and he knows. I know Brandon, this is funny. I didn’t tell you this. I was just talking to Seth Mosley yesterday. He came up to Sacramento and I went to meet him for lunch, and we were talking about you. And it started off where we were talking about your insane fear of commitment and you just won’t commit to anything.

David: Brandon loves to talk about what he will do with a bunch of stuff but never actually commit to doing it. And it ended where I was saying yeah, but that’s because he knows himself. If Brandon commits to something, he goes all out to a level I’ve very rarely seen any human being do. He accomplished, was it an Iron Man, with eight weeks of prep. And I mean-

Brandon: Something like that.

David: … it’s not an insult but Brandon is not an athlete. He’s not the guy who prides himself on athletic endeavors, right?

Brandon: How did … this podcast feels a little strange to me today. David making … okay, keep going.

David: I’m trying to compliment you in the most horrible way that I possibly can.

Brandon: Oh, okay. This is great. This is great.

David: But Brandon knows if he commits to something, he will do it, it will drag him to death and he’ll accomplish it. So he knows I cannot commit to very many things. And naturally, he understands what you’re talking about Michael, and that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make here, is that mindset will get you where you want to go. But in order to accomplish that, you have to understand, I have to say no to a lot of things in order to be good at the stuff I want to do.

Michael: David, I’m so glad you brought that up. I talk about this in my book Free to Focus, about exercising your “no” muscle. No, as Oprah once said, is a complete sentence. And it’s such an important sentence because look, a lot of people tell you that the whole goal of productivity is to get more stuff done. No, that’s not the goal of productivity. The goal of productivity is to get the right stuff done, which means you have to say no to a ton of stuff. And by the way, I don’t know if any of your listeners are familiar with the getting things done methodology, a lot of people use it, GTD.

Brandon: I wish I had David … we had him on the show like six years ago. It was yeah, David Allan. Anyway, keep going. But yeah, I love that guy.

Michael: Yeah. So David’s an amazing guy, he’s a friend of mine. But he wrote that book in 2000 before the proliferation of inboxes and all the stuff that’s coming at us like it is today. So what that system is missing is a filter, a means by which you can say no. And I do talk about this at length in my book, Free to Focus, about this idea of the freedom compass. Your natural path to achievement, the place where you’re going to get the highest leverage in terms of least amount of work and biggest results is when you focus on your desire zone. And that’s a term I use in the book where I talk about that area where you’re the most passionate, the things you love to do, but you’re also the most proficient, the things that you’re naturally good at.

Michael: Now the opposite of the desire zone is the drudgery zone, the things you suck at, the things that you don’t enjoy doing, and those ought to be the first things that you either eliminate, automate, or delegate. But when you start functioning in that desire zone and start pursuing those few activities where you really love and what you’re really good at, that’s when you start seeing the real leverage and start seeing the real progress and get rid of the rest of the stuff, or at least those have got to be candidates that you’re going to say no to. You’re going to either eliminate those, or if you could automate them great, but if you can delegate them, that’s awesome, too. But you just got to get rid of that stuff so you can focus on where you have the most value.

Brandon: Oh, so good, so good. So here’s a way to translate that to the real estate investors out there. One of the very first things I ever did, I looked at my life, real estate as I was building my portfolio, I had a bunch of little retails that are obnoxious to have to manage and I was like, it’s drudgery for me to answer phone calls. I just hated it. If a tenant calls because … I was weak, also. I did that, “Can I have a pet?” I’m like, “Sure.” And they’re like, “Can I smoke meth on your property?” “Sure, whatever.” I was like, “It’s fine.” And so, I was just so nice to everybody that it hurt my business.

Brandon: So the first thing I was like, that’s drudgery. I didn’t know that term then in terms of like this, but it’s exactly what it was. I was like, this feels so heavy and awful. So I was like, well how can I … I can’t afford a full time employee, I can’t even afford an assistant, what do I do. And so then I found somebody, actually my mother in law who had just retired. And I was like, “Would you want to just answer phone calls, like just answer phone calls and do nothing but take a message and call me and ask me what to say?” I’d just be that buffer between. And my investing went through the roof in terms of how much I enjoyed it because I just took the thing that I hated and found for a couple hundred bucks a month, I no longer had to do that anymore. It was life changing.

Michael: I love that. And what’s really cool about that is that other people, their desires and activities may be the exact things that are in your drudgery zone. When you really start getting smart about hiring people and really kind of building out your team, is when you think of it like a symphony conductor and you try to get people that are not the exact clone of you. That’s the worst hiring mistake you can make. So you want people that are complimentary.

Michael: So I have an executive assistant, his name is Jim. Jim loves all the things that I hate, and so he’s great at managing my calendar, booking travel, filing expense reports. That stuff, just shoot me, I hate that stuff. But we’re a terrific team because we’re complimentary.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s so key. I think of a lot of the bad hires I’ve had in my life and they’ve been people who were just like me. And for a long time I used to think also I had to decide between … this has been a big lesson I’ve learned last year. I had to decide when I hired somebody between competent, really good at what they do but not really somebody I would like working with, or somebody I really liked working with and not competent. I don’t mean they weren’t smart, just not in that skill that I needed them for. I chose between the two for a decade, and it wasn’t until the last year and a half where all of a sudden I’m like, you can have both? You can have an amazing person that’s fun to work with and also really competent?

Brandon: So when I did that and I found people who had opposite skills of my own, yeah. I went from having one assistant and then let them go and another assistant didn’t work out, so now I have five full time people now working under me. And it’s fantastic. It’s the coolest thing ever right now, and it’s all because I found people who were good at those things I was not good at. So for people listening today, one of the most important things, hires that they can have I believe, is an executive assistant or is an assistant for them.

Brandon: Being the fact that you just wrote a book on that, I think we should spend some time talking about it because there’s a lot of things that when we don’t like doing it, it’s in the drudgery zone, but also is it a good dollar per hour task for us. And so why … mowing my lawn, I don’t mow my lawn anymore because I can pay somebody else $12 an hour and ironically they’re going to be here any minute so if you guys hear a lawnmower, that’s why. But they take care of that because I have other dollar per hour tasks I can do.

Brandon: So on that note, let’s talk executive assistants or just assistants in general. A lot of people are listening, going well, this doesn’t concern me right now. I don’t need a full time assistant. I don’t have enough work, I still have a full time job. Is that true?. Does it not concern them, or could they also utilize this information?

Michael: Well, here’s the good news. I think in the past, I used to think I either had to hire a full time executive assistant or not and I didn’t have enough to keep people busy full time, so it was just like, I opted out of it. I pushed it for longer than I should have. So I left a big corporate environment in 2011 where I was the CEO of … I had 750 people, I had two full time assistants. Suddenly I was a solopreneur and oh my gosh, I’m doing all this stuff like trying to find the FedEx box which I had never had to do before, trying to manage my calendar, I’m making a mess of it, trying to book travel, I’m paying way too much for flights or I’m ending up on the wrong flights, it was just a disaster. But I kept thinking well, I’ve got to hire somebody full time.

Michael: Well then a friend of mine who owned a virtual assistance company reached out to me and said, “Dude. Ten hours a week, you can get somebody for 10 hours a week and then you could grow from there.” And I said, “Wow. Okay, let’s give it a try.” Oh, my gosh, it was unbelievable. That took all that drudgery kind of work off my plate and to your point Brandon, like you I make more than $12 an hour and so if I could redeploy that same time, time that it was taking me twice as long as somebody competent would take, something that I hated doing, if I could take that and give it to somebody else and allow me to focus on the revenue focusing kinds of activities, that was my theory at least, then that would be a win.

Michael: Well, that first … so that lasted for two weeks. So I had this person for two weeks and it was 10 hours a week and I gained so much time and was making so much more money doing so much more billable kinds of things, that I said, “Okay, let’s go to 15 hours a week.” And that lasted a couple weeks, then 20 hours a week, and of course now I have a full time assistant, and I can’t think of functioning without one.

Brandon: That’s so good. That’s so good, yeah. Starting with my mother in law answering phones, it was just a small thing that then … now she works a lot more and she makes a lot more than $200 a month, but that’s where it started, and I was able to also test out the idea, does this work. And yeah, just freeing up my time from not wanting to do things just made a huge impact on my life. I mean, every time I hire somebody else to do a task, if I can make … if they do a good job anyway, I’ll make way more money than it costs them, so it’s really more of an investment than it is an expense.

Michael: Totally.

Brandon: I think people get confused there a little bit.

Michael: And it really allows you to get more narrowly focused on your desires on activities where you add the most value. So today for example, I’m working about 95% of my desires on again, where I have passion and where I have proficiency, and there’s only three things that I do. I mean, they’re creating content, I’m delivering content like I’m doing right now, or I’m casting vision for the team. If it’s something else that’s out of my lane, and I give it to somebody else to do which gives me enormous job satisfaction. It means that frankly, I don’t work that many hours. I never work more than eight hours a day, sometimes six hours a day, then I’m able to do the high leverage things that add value to the team that create revenue for the company that drive our business forward. And that’s exactly how I want to live.

Brandon: Yeah.

David: Well, let me make that applicable to the listeners that we’ve got, because I think Brandon and I talk about this all the time Michael. We’re always got a … here’s what you want in a partner, here’s how you should hire an assistant. And I think to a lot of our listeners, they’re like, that just doesn’t apply to me. I’m not ready for that, just as you said. But what I’ve learned is that you just … sorry. Success comes from taking action, right?

Michael: Yes.

David: And you won’t take action on things you hate. If Brandon’s success depended on him answering phone calls from tenants that asked him for something, he would have just stopped doing this. He would have gone to teaching piano to people or something way beneath what his capabilities are because we just can’t fight against our nature. If my success depended on me listening to people vent about their emotions for hours at a time on the phone, I would just go back to waiting tables or being a cop or something. It’s not who I am. When you get the right assistant or partner, not only are they doing things that make you less money, but they’re doing things that are draining the ever loving crap out of you that you need if you want to be successful and actually take action. So that’s why we’re always hitting on this is, there’s people that will say I want to invest in real estate, but I’m just scared to move forward. Well, what that really means if you unpack it is, I am afraid of math. I don’t understand numbers. Spreadsheets scare me so when I have to analyze a property I get nervous and I get anxious and I shut down, and I avoid it and then I go watch Dancing With the Stars.

David: Well you can try to fight your way through that swamp step by step, or you can find the person that likes spreadsheets and partner with that person and boom, you’ll be taking action. And I notice as you progress into more successful realms, you get to the point where the stuff you’re talking about really makes sense. I need an executive assistant. I need someone to handle [inaudible 00:22:56] don’t like. I think all three of us are probably very similar. Scheduling something, I’ll literally not go visit Brandon if it means I have to get online and pick out the flight. I don’t know why. I have no idea why that bothers me that much. I just won’t do it, right? You can make $10,000 David if you do this thing, but what I have to do to get there, oh, I’ll forget. I’m not going to do it.

David: So you get that one right person and all of a sudden boom, just stuff start … it feels like things are just falling into place and everything’s working out. But really there’s just a person who’s in their zone, whereas that person if they could make $10,000 to go stand on a stage and speak in front of people, they’d never do it. You could pay them $100,000 and they wouldn’t do it because that’s the thing that they’re uncomfortable with. And I’ve noticed that really successful people, maybe not that even, just mildly successful people, like take me. If you took away my assistant [Christa 00:23:42] and I had to start over selling houses as a real estate agent, I just wouldn’t do it.

Brandon: You’d do nothing.

David: There’s no way. Yeah, I could not go back. Once you’ve hit that level and you see what it’s like-

Michael: Totally.

David: … you were saying that Michael, and I just thought yeah. I mean as successful as we are, I just wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have her. I want that to be a source of encouragement to people listening, that it does not suck the whole time like it does when you’re starting. You start to pick up these tools and it gets really fun and really energizing.

Michael: Well the thing about it is, if you don’t make that investment, you’ll never be able to focus on the things that really bring the money into your business. And you keep thinking, I hear this complaint all the time from entrepreneurs who say well, I can’t afford an assistant. Well guess what, you’re never going to be able to afford one til … I mean, this is the risk part of it, you got to make the investment, take the leap and I’m not talking about crazy, you don’t hire somebody full time. But make the leap and then see if you can re-deploy those same hours that you were doing the things that you hate in the things that you love and see if it moves your business forward.

Michael: The other thing that I’ve realized and one of the things that I talk about in the book, is that a lot of entrepreneurs say, they have a lot of objections to delegation in particular. They say if I want it done right, I’ve got to do it myself. Well, what if you could hire somebody that was so accomplished and so focused on the stuff they need to be focused on that they’re able to actually do it better than you could do it? In fact, I would say if you get the right person they could do it better than you could imagine doing it.

Michael: So I just did a one day conference here in Nashville, Tennessee where I live that was on Tuesday. I’ve got somebody who’s responsible for our live events, and so her responsibility is to rent the venue, print the workbooks, everything related to the venue. I didn’t see a thing til I walked in that morning to do the sound check of the conference. So I didn’t have to approve anything, I didn’t have to get in the weeds on anything, it was better than I could imagine. I was wowed, I was blown away by what she did. That’s what happens when you get the right person in the right job, and what it frees you up to do. So I could focus on speaking.

Brandon: You know, it reminds of me of that … I don’t know if it was in one of your books or if I read it somewhere else, but there’s that common story about a doctor, was it Doctor Oz? Doctor Oz, the Oprah famous doctor who was doing open heart surgeries. And even when he had his TV show and he was doing a magazine and he was like a big deal, he was still doing a couple hundred open heart surgeries a year. And the reason why is because he’d literally walk in and he was so expertise in one thing he would do that one cut, and the person’s already cut open and he would do that one thing.

Michael: Wow.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s like that’s how he … because that is the most effective thing he could do with his time. He went to school for years and he practiced for decades to learn that thing that nobody else could do. And so some people look at assistants and they’re saying, I used to be this way. They’re like wow, you’re too lazy to do your own work? No, come on Doctor Oz, you’re too lazy to cut open a person and have to sew them back up again? Wow, look at you, big shot. It’s not about that, right? It’s about your highest and best use is not in cutting open a person or necessarily in doing your own bookkeeping.

Michael: That’s a great, great example. I think for all of us as we get older, as we mature, that’s the question we’ve got to ask ourselves is what is that one cut that I can make that makes all the difference, that I can’t hire out, that somebody else can’t see, that I’ve got a unique blend of talent and experience to recognize that, but that’s the thing I do and that’s why I’m highly compensated. And the more that I can do, the better it is for me, the better it is for my business.

Brandon: Yeah.

David: Two points I want to make on that. The first is, when you’re the person who wants to bust into someone else’s world, like Brandon gets a lot of [inaudible 00:27:16] what you’re doing. If you can be the guy or the girl who steps in and says hey, I got the person cut open, I got all your tools right here. I did some research, here’s their blood type, here’s … right? And you just walk in the hospital and grab the scalpel and do your thing, the emotional reaction that you have when you’re the Doctor Oz is, give that person whatever they want, give them the keys to my kingdom, I want them here all the time. That’s the very best way to ingratiate yourself to anybody who you want to learn from.

David: The second thing is, when I talk to high performers, because Brandon and I were in GoBundance, we’d rub elbows with people that are doing really well, almost every one of them when I say, “How did you learn to sell real estate this well?” Or “How did you build this company up?” They all say, “I was working underneath this person,” or “I got really lucky in my first year, I had my desk next to this guy and he took me under his wing.” There’s always this common theme of somebody taught me the ropes. Once you get to a certain level of success, remember that teaching someone else the ropes is very gratifying and it’s going to help them, but it also helps you.

David: So I’m sure Doctor Oz had to learn how to cut those people open himself at first. Don’t stop with that. Now you say, I will teach somebody else how to do that part so they can support me, but it’s not necessarily selfish because you’re helping that person learn the same way that you learned. That’s the way that apprenticeships in the natural progression should really work.

Michael: Well, I’ll give you an example from the world of book publishing. I don’t know if the people that are listening have ever thought about writing a book, I don’t know if you guys have written books, but nothing will advance your career faster. It’s awesome to have a podcast, but when you have a published book and particularly if it hits the best seller list, it changes everything.

Michael: So I wrote the first seven books that I published. I wrote every single word. I learned how to do that. But then I realized that it was kind of … this is another zone on the freedom compass, but it was a lot of it was in my disinterest zone. So I loved the initial concept, I loved the initial ideation process, coming up with the frameworks, the principles. But I hate, and I mean hate, the research. I don’t like doing all the research, I don’t like interviewing former clients for case studies. And I thought, what if I made this a team approach and I started hiring that out? It’s similar to the Doctor Oz example.

Michael: So now, I go in in the front of the project. I call this the 10-80-10 principle where I’m involved in the first 10%, I’m involved in the last 10%, but the middle 80% somebody else can do. So that’s how I write my books, that’s how I prepare my speeches, that’s how I do almost everything today. I let somebody else do the heavy lifting, but they don’t think of it as heavy lifting because guess what, it’s in their desire zone. So the guy that’s my principal researcher right now, he loves nothing better than to have a problem or something he has to go research and spend hours on the internet or in the library tracking down the best research, and that frees me up to continue to generate ideas.

David: I think … Ryan Holiday is another best selling author, probably in a lot of people’s opinion, mine at least, he’s one of the best authors in the world right now. He’s doing very, very well. He started as a research assistant for other people-

Brandon: For Robert … yeah, for Robert Greene, right?

David: Robert Greene and who’s the other one that we met, Tucker-

Brandon: Yeah. Tucker … yeah, something like that, yeah.

David: Max?

Brandon: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah Tucker Max.

David: I think probably a couple people, right? High level people, he did all the stuff you’re describing, Michael.

Brandon: Yep.

David: Learned at [inaudible 00:30:39] level and then went on to surpass a lot of those people when his own talent came forward. And it’s just like what you said, he went in and he did that 80% that they didn’t want to do. But the value that he got from doing that was exponentially high.

Michael: Totally.

Brandon: Yeah, so good.

David: So I have a question. What are some things that you should look for when you’re hiring say an executive assistant, someone who’s going to do the majority of the administrative and organizational things that you as [inaudible 00:31:05] maker or the … I don’t know what word, do you guys have a word you use in your world for kind of the idea person?

Michael: Yeah, I would just … in my world it’s typically the CEO or the business owner, the entrepreneur, whatever.

David: Okay. So the person who’s going to assist them, whose job it is to put them in a position to be successful, what are some traits you should look for, and do you have any tips for us on how to find them?

Michael: Yeah. Well the first thing I would do is, I’m looking for somebody that’s servant hearted, who just delights in service in anticipating needs. And Jim my assistant, is exactly like that. He’s constantly thinking and I’ve trained him this way, but he has a natural bent toward it. And that is okay, I’m going to be doing this podcast, what does Michael need that he’s briefed on this podcast, that he’s familiar with these guys, familiar with the show and can talk intelligently, whatever it is. I had to do some earlier recording today. He gives me all the background stuff.

Michael: So he feels like it’s a fail if I have to ask the question like where’s this, or I need that. He wants to make sure that I never have to ask that question. So somebody that’s really servant hearted. Somebody that’s obviously competent that has a deep commitment to professionalism, and to not just kind of rested on their laurels but somebody that’s a voracious learner, somebody that’s curious. I’m looking for somebody that’s constantly asking questions, always wants to take it to the next level, and never gets satisfied with what they know. So those are a couple of things.

Michael: I think in terms of David, your other question which is how do you find those people, this is a step that a lot of people miss. I think it’s important to first get clear yourself on what you’re looking for. So as tedious as this may sound, I really recommend writing out a job description. In the book Your World Class Assistant which is my new book on this topic, I make available a number of templates including a job description for a world class assistant. But it’s a place you can start. But until you’re clear on what you want, you won’t recognize them when they show up, right? So what you do is when you’re not clear on the job description, you default to kind of charisma or likeability or something else that might be one of the attributes you’d like to have, but it definitely can’t be the whole package.

Michael: Brandon, you were talking about hiring people you like but maybe they’re not that competent. That’s a recipe for disaster. So you want to get crystal clear on what you’re looking for. Here’s I think the secret, and I go through this process in great detail in the book. You want to put out as many lines in the water to use a fishing metaphor, you want to put as many lines in the water as you can. Unfortunately what happens is, most entrepreneurs, they make a hire, they have somebody that they like who can fog a mirror and they hire them, right? So instead of actually interviewing lots and lots of candidates, put the word out on your social media channels, email people that you know, talk to people at church. Whatever it is, get the word out so you can get as many people as possible because you don’t really know who the best candidate is until you’re comparing them to other candidates.

Michael: Somebody may seem perfectly competent until you start comparing them to other people and you realize wow, I was shooting too low. There are a lot of amazingly competent people out there.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s really good. Now Michael, what about virtual assistants versus local assistants? That’s something I’m struggling with right now trying to hire somebody. I need an assistant. But I hired two assistants in the last year and both of them have now quickly out kicked their coverage that the phrase David, you use all the time.

David: Yeah. I like that.

Brandon: Now they’re like running huge parts of my business, so I keep losing my assistants. So first of all, how do you avoid that? And second of all, virtual versus in your neighborhood, coming over to your house, taking care of stuff, how do you decide between them?

Michael: Yeah, okay. So I would totally reframe that thing you said there about losing executive assistants.

Brandon: No, it’s a great problem.

Michael: That’s actually my goal.

Brandon: Yeah, okay.

Michael: That’s actually my goal. So I’ve lost almost every executive assistant I’ve ever had, they’ve moved up in the company, and I love that. If I can have them for about three years, that’s awesome, then that’s a great training ground for other stuff. But I really believe in virtual assistants. One of the things that I realized even when I was back in the corporate world is that most of my communication with my two full time assistants was virtual. We were emailing each other, texting each other, and one of them sat 10 feet outside my desk door. So it was still pretty much virtual.

Michael: So then I had my first, when I left the corporate world and that first executive assistant that I hired was a virtual assistant, she was in Atlanta, I was here. Made almost zero difference, and here’s why. Now there’s a few things, I’ve got a personal assistant that works at the house now, and so picking up laundry, buying groceries, running errands, that kind of stuff, you’ve got to have somebody that’s physically present. But here’s the deal. Even that stuff can be done virtually. You can use a courier. You can have … there’s all these grocery delivery services now. I mean, almost anything that requires the physical presence of somebody, picking up the laundry may be a little tougher. You might have to send a courier for that, but most of the stuff can be done virtually.

Michael: And I’ll tell you the other thing I like about it. We used to have, almost our entire team was virtual, it was incredibly productive, because there is something about being in an office that can also be a drag on productivity. I actually believe the best system is a hybrid system and that’s what we have today. We have a workspace today where people are welcome to come, it’s kind of our own co-working space. People are welcome to come but not required to come. When people really need to do heads down productivity kind of work, they stay at home and do it and it’s amazing what they get done. When they need to do a meeting or need to socialize or need to be part of the group, they can come into the office and that’s good, too. So I kind of like both.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s fantastic. How do you make sure virtual systems are working? Do you ever worry about that? Do you think they’re taking advantage of you?

Michael: Okay, this is … no, never. Here’s the thing. I would say this for people inside the office, too. If you want to create a soul killing culture, measure people’s productivity by the time their butt’s in the seat. Right? So the way to measure their productivity is by the results they deliver. And honestly, I hold people accountable for results. I mean, our whole company is driven as you might imagine given what I’ve written, on goal setting. So we make sure that the team overall has three goals for the quarter, I personally have three goals for the quarter, everybody in our organization has their three goals for the quarter. Every goal has to have an owner. Somebody in my organization’s going to own it.

Michael: I hold them accountable for those results. Honestly, I don’t care if it takes them six hours a day or 12 hours a day, the results are what’s important. Does that make sense?

Brandon: It does. Yeah, that’s perfect.

David: One thing I heard somebody say, I think it was Gary Gunderson. And I’ve heard other people say it, but he just said it very succinctly, was delegate responsibility, not tasks. And I noticed-

Michael: Totally.

David: … everybody who’s doing this well says the same thing. The hard part is most people who want to be an assistant are secretly trying to avoid taking responsibility. That’s why they want to be the assistant. So you got to find that assistant who understands it is my job to put this person in a place to succeed by doing what your assistant, I believe you said his name Jim is, which is Michael should never have to ask a question or look for something. It should already be right there because he took responsibility of that realm, what that world was and therefore he’s a very good servant to you.

Michael: That’s right.

David: So for people listening that are trying to figure out how do I become more successful, how do I make more money, how do I get Brandon Turner to let me come work for him, if you’re the person who can take over responsibility for a result that he wants, not just give me a list of tasks and tell me what you want me to do, you will quickly find yourself on the fast track.

Michael: That’s so good. One of the things that I teach in Free to Focus about delegation, and that chapter if I don’t say so is amazing because I talk about the five levels of delegation and understanding the difference between these different levels of delegation. But I talk about how to delegate effectively by creating a clear vision for what you want done. In other words, help the person you’re delegating to picture the end result that you want. What do you see? Visualize that, write it down. It doesn’t take you long, so on a major delegation I may take 15 or 20 minutes to actually write it down, so that both of us have a clear understanding and agreement about what the end product looks like. Then I don’t micromanage how they get it done. I don’t care if they buy this thing from that company or that company, but if I’ve given them budget parameters and a clear outcome, again I don’t care how they get it done. All I care about is the end result.

David: Yeah. Yeah, go ahead, Brandon.

Brandon: Well, I was wondering, do you then … how do you feel about manuals and training versus how much … I’ve been told in the past that I should have a detailed step by step manual for exactly how to do everything in my business, kind of EMyth style. But then others say that the speed of which the world works today just changes too much, by the time you’re done with your manual nobody looks at it again, it’s on the shelf and it’s sitting there. How do you balance that between training people and giving them a manual or how to do something and just letting them do it themselves? Where do you find your way in there?

Michael: Yeah, so I actually believe in those kinds of process work flows or manuals. And we use in our company an application called SweetProcess and it’s an online app that’s fantastic. It allows you to document a work flow, but here’s the key thing. We say to people look, here’s how I did it. This is the work flow. Feel free to improve it, but this gives you a starting place. So I’ll give you a clear example.

Michael: Back when I started my podcast Lead to Win, I was doing everything. I was doing the show prep, I was doing the recording, I was doing the editing, I was doing the show notes, I was doing the upload to Libsyn. I was doing every aspect of it. But I hated it. So I documented every part of it, and at that time I was just using Evernote so I would open a note, I documented the process, here’s the 12 steps that I follow. And then when I hired somebody that could assist me I said, “Look. There’s probably a better way to do this, but this is how I’ve been doing it. So use this as a track to run on, but improve it as much as you want. But this at least gives you a starting place.”

Brandon: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

David: It’s kind of a hybrid of both, right?

Michael: Yes.

David: Like A, you’re giving them the freedom to do what they want and B, you’re giving them the structure to get started. And that’s really good because I’ve found when I have to build something from scratch, it’s really hard. Remember when you were a kid and you were trying to write a paper?

Michael: Yes.

David: The hardest part was getting it started, right? But if you give me some momentum moving into it and then my juices get to kicking, where do I want to go from here, it’s a much more natural state and that’s I think what someone could do with that method.

Michael: Here’s another major hack. A lot of entrepreneurs get stuck because they think, I just don’t have the mind to document this stuff because it sounds so tedious. Give the person who’s working for you the responsibility of doing that. So I could say for example to Jim, look, I want you to handle my email inbox which he does, but I want you to document exactly how you do it so that if you’re taken out, if a beer truck hits you and I’ve got to replace you, somebody can come right in and know how you do it. So I’ve given him the responsibility of documenting those procedures so I don’t really have to worry about it.

Brandon: Yeah. I’ve been doing that lately with a program called Loom, L-O-O-M. Are you familiar with Loom?

Michael: Oh, sure.

Brandon: Okay, yeah, quick video screen recordings and it saves it in the cloud right there for you. Yeah, it’s been-

Michael: That’s a great way to do it.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s been helping me a lot. So I just label it like, how to do this thing or how to research a property, or how to find a property, whatever. So now I have all these in my Loom archive that I can give to people in the future and now it’s a video that they can go and then make, and I’m having my assistants actually make manuals then, screen grabbing my video which took me … I had to do it anyway, so I’m just recording a video while I’m doing a lot of tasks. And so [crosstalk 00:43:10]

Michael: My guess is that other people, entrepreneurs that are following you, would pay you hundreds of dollars-

Brandon: Probably.

Michael: … for an online digital version of that.

Brandon: Yeah, you’re right.

Michael: In our company we say, everything that we do is eventually a product.

Brandon: Oh, that’s cool.

Michael: So how can we productize everything. So if we’re learning something, if we’re doing something in the company, it’s eventually going to be a product that we’re going to sell.

Brandon: That’s smart. I should figure out how to do that. We have a Pro membership at BiggerPockets and we have tens of thousands of Pro members, but it would be cool to offer hey, if you’re a Pro member you get access to the Brandon and David’s archive of how we do stuff. That’d be cool. That’s a great idea, Michael.

Michael: Yeah. People would love that.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s great.

David: One thing I’ve noticed is we all … at least me, myself, I have said to every single assistant I’ve ever hired, I want you to do what Brandon just said, what you just said, Michael. I want you to make this database of what you do so someone else … not one of them has ever actually done that. Which is totally that’s my responsibility as their boss that I let them get away with that and eventually I had to let them go because they didn’t. But what I found is that every single one of them told me they would do it. And that’s just one of the sources of frustration for me as a new entrepreneur and really a new business owner, trying to learn what do I look for in somebody, how do I know, how do I get them to perform the way they said they would?

David: Then there’s some hires that just seem like, I don’t have to tell them hardly anything. I mean, they just jump in and they start doing that on their own and I give them the tiniest bit of direction and they get so much progress. Can you share Michael, maybe what some of the insight you’ve learned of doing this for a while and having successful hires and non-successful, of what you look for maybe in a … is a track record more important, is attitude? How do you kind of … what are you looking for?

Michael: Well, definitely attitude’s important. Character is the most important of all. I want somebody who is a person that has integrity and honesty, and those are two different things. Integrity, and by the way this comes from Stephen Covey, integrity is basically somebody that can act in a way that’s true and honest, and making their actions line up with their words. So if I tell you I’m going to do something, by God, I’m going to do it. That’s integrity. Honesty is making your words line up with your actions. So if I didn’t do something, I’m going to tell you, I’m not going to try to fake it, I’m not going to lie to you, I’m going to be honest. So I’m looking for that kind of character.

Michael: Then definitely attitude. Man, the last thing I want is an emotional vampire, somebody that’s got a negative mindset that’s going to drag down the team. And I talk about this in Free to Focus, but there’s a study that was done that people who are low performers will drag down the performance of anybody within 20 feet of their desk by on average 25%. So a high performer on the other hand, lifts the team. So you want somebody that’s got the right attitude that comes into it. Most of the stuff that they need trained on, if they’ve got the right character, if they’ve got the right attitude and if they’ve got basic intelligence, I can train most of the other stuff that they need.

David: And are you looking at track record primarily to determine if you can trust that what they say is what they’re going to do when hiring them?

Michael: Definitely. I mean, I would say that checking their references is critically important. But the problem is when you get somebody on the phone to check a reference, people are very reluctant in a culture where everybody sues everybody, to really give you the truth. So here’s what I like to ask the candidate. We have this question in the book. I like to ask the candidate, I said, “Look. I’m going to be talking to your references. What will they tell me about you, particularly what your shortcomings are?” So now all of a sudden they’re going to volunteer it because they think I’m going to be checking, and so they might as well get it out there on the table first.

David: And Brandon, you have some really good advice for how to have those conversations, right? Do you mind sharing that?

Brandon: Are you talking about the … it wasn’t my idea. I heard somebody say this advice once and I don’t know if this is where you were going with this, but they basically said because of the whole nobody wants to … everyone’s very guarded about what they say about somebody, they said when they’re interviewing they’ll contact the references, but they … I can’t remember who it was, I wish I could give him a shout out because it was here on the podcast. But they said they will only hire someone if the person giving the reference is selling them on the person, versus guarded.

Michael: Oh, I like that, too.

Brandon: Right? It’s like yeah, if they’re like oh yeah, they showed up, they were very punctual, they were very good, or you’ve got to hire Jenny. Oh my gosh, she’s incredible. That means she really was incredible versus that’s a guarded-

Michael: That’s good.

Brandon: Yeah, I thought that was awesome.

Michael: The other thing we do too is almost for every job, and you can’t do this at the highest level necessarily, but we will give people work that we’re going to be asking them to do, and to do a real live assignment and we’ll pay them to do it, but we want to see the work product. So for example if we’re hiring, we recently hired a marketing director. This is a person that’s going to be reporting to our chief marketing officer, and so she gave the assignment to about five of the final candidates. She said, “I want you to create a marketing plan for a new product that we’re about to introduce. Here’s sort of the parameters, here’s kind of what I’m looking for,” but wasn’t real specific, and said, “Just produce it. We’ll pay you for the plan,” and it was a couple hundred bucks. But it was unbelievable how different their approaches were. You get inside their thinking, you see how they approach a project, and you see what the final product is, and it tells you a lot about the qualifications of the candidate.

Brandon: Oh, so good. Yeah, so good. Because you never really know how somebody’s going to be until you have them do something for you.

Michael: That’s right.

Brandon: And then everything becomes much more clear. Yeah, it’s great.

Michael: Well, you don’t want that feeling like you make the assignment and it’s their first day on the job, you make the assignment and a couple days later you get it back and you start thinking, oh my gosh, I think I hired the wrong person.

Brandon: Oh, true story, Michael. I hired an assistant one time, I hope she’s not listening. I hired an assistant and on my first time ever really jumping into an assistant, and I hired her to be my assistant. Now I work online the majority of the time whether it’s BiggerPockets stuff or my real estate. The first day I set her up with this computer and she goes on there, what does she say. She asked a question that was … I wish I could remember exactly what it was but basically like, what are all these little dots all over the screen. It was the icons. She didn’t know what a computer was, how it worked. And she couldn’t figure out what a folder … how it … the foundational of computer life. Yeah, I was like … exactly. I did this, like oh my gosh. I just hired … and it took me nine months to get that out the door. That was so … I mean, I just had to-

Michael: That’s awesome.

Brandon: I had to create a whole new job for her. Because I realized right then, the first day, she doesn’t know how to work a computer. How did I not … yeah. Anyway, crazy. All right. With that, I want to move over to the last segment of the show. This is our famous four.

David: I’m sorry, I’m still laughing. That was a very funny story.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s all right. All right, the famous four are the same four questions we ask every guest every week here. And I want to fire them at you. The first one doesn’t really relate to you, so I’m inclined to skip it. It’s what, do you have a favorite real estate book. But I’ll kind of skip that one to the second question and let David take it.

David: So you basically talked a lot and didn’t say anything. Awesome.

Brandon: Pretty much.

David: All right. So here’s a real question for you, Michael. What is your favorite business book?

Michael: Man, I’ve got so many and I’m reading them constantly. But I will say that the EMyth had a huge impact on me and it stopped me from thinking like a technician and started me thinking like an entrepreneur. And I’ve made even a further distinction that I want to be an owner, not an operator. That’s like in every business that I own, I don’t want the business so dependent upon me that if I were to go away or if I wanted to take three months off, and I do take 30 days off every summer, I want it to keep functioning. But the EMyth was the first book that actually got me thinking that way.

Brandon: That’s great.

David: Brandon and Josh interviewed Michael Gerber on Episode 125. Thank you Kevin, for putting that out there.

Brandon: Oh, that was a while ago.

David: But it was a good show. So we normally ask you for two books. I’m going to ask you for a second book. Of your books, which do you think is your favorite or the best?

Michael: I think Free to Focus. Yeah, I think Free to Focus because-

Brandon: I’ve got it right here.

Michael: … it’s an approach to productivity that you just don’t hear. It’s all about achieving more by doing less and it gives you an entire system, end to end system for doing that very thing.

David: I see why Brandon likes that book. I’m just reading that book right now.

Brandon: Yeah, it was great.

David: That’s worth everything.

Michael: Thank you.

Brandon: That’s me, yeah. Awesome book, very, very good. I mean, all of your stuff has been fantastic.

David: [crosstalk 00:51:40] Brendan.

Brandon: But … oh by the way, you mentioned the operator thing. No, I’ll let you ask the question, but you mentioned the operator thing. One thing that made a big impact on me was I mean, obviously the EMyth was huge. But in a related note on that, Robert Kiyosaki had that book, Cashflow Quadrant. In fact, there’s four types of business people. There’s employees, self employed, business owners, and investors, and about how most of the world lives in employee and self employed. But I don’t want to be self employed because that means like you were just saying, that means you’re operating everything. I want to be the business owner or the investor, and those are the two quadrants I want to be in. I just thought that makes more sense.

Michael: There’s another book too that I just recently read that I want to recommend that’s in the same vein, and it’s a book called Clock Work by Mike Michalowicz. And the subtitle is Design Your Business to Run Itself.

Brandon: I got that one right here, too.

David: He’s got that book, yeah [crosstalk 00:52:28]

Brandon: It’s right there. I love that book. That’s a great book. Very cool. All right, David. Question number three?

David: Next question. I’m getting to hog them all. What are some of your hobbies?

Michael: Oh, awesome. Well first of all, hobbies are a high priority for me because all the research shows, chapter three of Free to Focus talks about rejuvenation, that when you engage in play, it activates a part of your brain that’s essential for greater creativity and greater productivity. I really pursue hobbies as a way of making sure that I’m bringing my best self to work. But I have two hobbies that I love, and I spend an increasing amount of time doing. Fly fishing, that’s number one, and I took up playing the Native American flute about two years ago.

David: Really?

Michael: And so when I go fishing, I hire a guide because I want to learn from the very best, and I want to catch fish. Native American flute playing, I hired one of the world’s top Native American flute players, and I meet with him every two weeks via Zoom. And man, I love that. That’s become a real passion of mine.

Brandon: That is so cool.

David: I kind of want to ask, how deep was your candidate pull of Native American flute players to pick from when you wanted to find the best coach?

Michael: Well, there’s only two. But as it turns out like every other hobby, it’s an entire industry of people and shows and podcasts and flute makers and all that kind of stuff.

Brandon: That’s what’s great about the internet. Isn’t that great about the internet is that no matter how obscure something is, there’s a tribe around that thing. Yeah, it’s great. All right. Last question for me of the day, and what do you think separates successful, I’ll say anybody’s successful business owners or even successful at anything, real estate, whatever, from those who give up on their ambitions, they fail at their ambitions, or they just don’t get started at all, they just never take that first step. What separates the people, if you had to narrow it down?

Michael: Well, some people talk about grit. I kind of thought you were going in a different direction, so I had a different answer for that, where that question was going.

Brandon: You can go there anyway.

Michael: But I … well, how I was going to answer it, I thought you were going in the direction of what keeps people successful, people that are successful, how do they stay successful.

Brandon: An equally good question.

Michael: Okay. So the thing that I find is the more successful you become, the more time you have to allocate to thinking, so your job becomes more about thinking than doing. In my most recent podcast episode, my podcast is called Lead to Win, I did a thing on, I call it the FFIT model of thinking, F-F-I-T. But it stands for frequent focused intentional thinking. I break that apart in that podcast episode. But there’s got to be a regular time that you set apart where you’re really focused on solving some deep problem in your business or creating some exciting breakthrough in your business, and you got to be intentional about it, what gets scheduled gets done so it’s got to be on your calendar, it’s got to be a commitment that you don’t break, and you just got to get alone and think. You’ve got to … because most of the breakthroughs in your business, the thing that’ll take you to the next level is a thinking breakthrough. It’s not just brute force of doing more, it’s got to be in the thought process.

Brandon: Yeah, so good. I actually just watched the MasterClass or part of it this morning with Bob Iger, I think is his name, from the CEO of Disney.

Michael: Oh, yeah. From Disney.

Brandon: Yeah. And he made that exact point. A big part of his job is just to sit there in quiet and think. I was like, yeah. The more successful you are, the more important that is.

David: Cal Newport said that, too. He likes to walk and think. He likes to get his juices kind of flowing.

Michael: Cal Newport’s awesome, yeah.

David: Yeah, he is. I really like that guy. Cal, we love you even though we never really expressed it, we really do.

Brandon: David, take us out.

David: Last question of the day. This has been a terrific interview, thank you very much, Michael.

Michael: You’re welcome.

David: You clearly know what you’re talking about. Can you tell us where people can find out more about you?

Michael: Yeah. The best place, the one stop shopping is to go to michaelhyatt.com, and that’s Hyatt like the Hyatt Hotels, H-Y-A-T-T. Unfortunately, no connection.

Brandon: Oh, too bad. You’re very lucky to-

David: Well if you were connected by the Hyatt Hotels, you probably wouldn’t have had to build what you built.

Michael: It would have been a curse.

David: You wouldn’t have the insight to show us, yes, exactly.

Brandon: All right. Well thank you very much, Michael. It’s been fantastic, really appreciate it.

Michael: Guys, thanks for having me on. Great to be with you.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Michael grew his company in a year while taking 162 days off per year
  • How “vague aspirations” set you up for failure
  • Why you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down
  • Why you shouldn’t have more than 3 goals at once
  • The keys to hiring a world-class executive assistant
  • The importance of a detailed, well-thought-out job description
  • The right way to document workflows
  • How to focus on your “Desire Zone
  • How to offload tasks in the “Drudgery Zone
  • The difference between goals and projects
  • Why he hired a world-class coach to teach him an obscure hobby
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “I focus on achieving more by doing less.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Focus on the highest-leverage goals.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Every goal is a project but not every project is a goal.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The goal of productivity is to get the right stuff done.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Delegate responsibility not tasks.” (Tweet This!)
  • “A high performer lifts the team.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The more successful you become the more time you allocate to thinking.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Michael

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.