250: Focus Management – Conditioning Yourself to Do More Meaningful Work with Dave Crenshaw

Listen to this episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast using the player above or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

An image of a camera shutter and the title of the 250th episode on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Focus Management.'

Welcome to episode 250 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Dave Crenshaw about productivity, avoiding “switchtasking,” and managing your focus.

Last week on the podcast, the team talked about some of the new and exciting projects they’re working on. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Focus Management

Do you actually notice how many times your focus drifts from the task you’re supposed to be working on each day? Or how often you multitask?

Maybe you’re noticing yourself switchtasking even more often now during these difficult, strange times we’re currently experiencing.

If this sounds like you, this episode will surely help you out. Dave shares some actionable strategies that can help you combat your wavering focus and reliance on staying connected in this episode, and you’ll even learn how you can download his newest book, “The Result,” for free.

A quote from Dave Crenshaw’s appearance on the Food Blogger Pro podcast that says, 'Conditioning is more powerful than discipline.'

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What switchtasking is
  • The costs that are unavoidable due to switchtasking
  • Why conditioning is more helpful than discipline
  • Why you should turn off phone notifications
  • The difference between time management and focus management
  • How to restore your missing minute
  • How do you know if your motivations are the right kind of motivations
  • Why systems are so important
  • How to be mindful of accountability


If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

Transcript (click to expand):

Alexa Peduzzi: Welcome on and Welcome all to this week’s episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. I’m Alexa from Team FBP and we are so excited that you decided to tune in today. In today’s episode Bjork interviews, Dave Crenshaw, an author, speaker and online trainer, about improving focus and productivity. It’s funny, as I was editing this episode and getting it ready for you guys, I became more and more aware at just how often my focus drifts from something else when I’m supposed to be working on a certain task, or how often I multitask. It happened more than I care to admit, to be honest. And I feel like during these difficult and strange times that we’re currently experiencing, we’re even more prone to tasks switching and a wandering focus. And if you’re in the same boat, this episode will surely help you out.

Alexa Peduzzi: Dave shares some actionable strategies that can help you combat your wavering focus and reliance on staying connected in this episode. And you’ll even learn how you can download his newest book The Result for free. It’s a great interview. I mean, there are even a few Chuck Norris jokes that you can look forward to. And When’s the last time you heard a good Chuck Norris joke? So without any further ado, Bjork, take it away.

Bjork Ostrom: Dave, welcome to the podcast.

Dave Crenshaw: Hey, so glad to be here.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, we have heard over and over from Food Blogger Pro members, from people who listen to the podcast, and realistically my own mind on repeat talking about and asking questions about and wanting to get better about time management and even more critical in a time like this, where our schedules have kind of been up ended. And we’re going to talk about ways that we can be better about that. But before we do, I want to hear your quick story. You’re in such a unique roll. You have such unique work that you’re doing. Have you always had a bend towards productivity and accomplishments in getting things done? Or is that something that you’ve worked into over time?

Dave Crenshaw: It’s sort of been a gradual evolution. And I started actually, as a small business consultant. I was working with entrepreneurs, much like your audience and dealing with the struggles that they have. And at the same time, I was dealing with my own struggles, which are, I was diagnosed as off the charts ADHD.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, interesting.

Dave Crenshaw: So and being an entrepreneur myself, that means that I was the most disorganized, crazy busy person in the world. And I was consulting and coaching also the most disorganized crazy busy people in the world. Because there’s no one like a business owner when it comes to being chaotic. Right? And so I started with productivity dealing with one consistent problem. There are two things that every business owner wants. Number one, everyone wants more sales. Number two, everyone wants more time. And I came from the standpoint of helping people find that additional time. And I did it through creating a time management program, and the time management program was really also designed to help me. Because everything that was out there, it gives helpful advice, but it’s not geared toward people who are naturally chaotic. And so you take any of these courses, Covey, Getting Things Done, Brian Tracy, any of the stuff that’s out there, and it’s like handing a gourmet cake recipe to a five year old. The instructions are all correct.

Bjork Ostrom: I’m just going to eat the sugar. Like I’m just going to-

Dave Crenshaw: It’s all accurate, but the result is that you’re going to get from it is not what the chef intended. And so where I came from we’re saying, “All right, I’m going to create a course, a training that anyone can follow. And that it’s so brainless, that it’s almost automatic.” And then from that I started teaching people. And the result that I was getting over and over was that they were getting an extra 40 hours of free time every month. And so from that came the books and from the books came the online courses that I do with LinkedIn learning and here we are.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great. And you can see the results working not only from companies like LinkedIn learning, working with you and saying, “Hey, can we work with you to help our members learn about time management.” You have courses on LinkedIn learning, which we’re going to talk about. But also testimonials that are coming in. Seth Godin, who’s a prominent author and writer and speaker. Tony Shea, the CEO of Zappos and this one stood out to me, Chuck Norris, where like one of those testimonials where it’s like wait, anytime I see anything Chuck Norris I’m like, is that real? It’s like an actual Chuck Norris testimonial that you have on your website. What’s the story with that?

Dave Crenshaw: So well if you’re not familiar, if you’re listening, you’re not familiar with Chuck Norris facts, used to these are the jokes that have been going around the internet forever, comparing Chuck Norris to a Greek God. Like, “Chuck Norris doesn’t do push ups, he pushes the earth away from him.” I even saw one recently that said, “Chuck Norris contracted COVID, COVID is in quarantine for 14 days.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, right, right, right.

Dave Crenshaw: And so I got an email from my wife one day and the subject line said, Chuck Norris is your biggest fan. I said, “What the heck is this?” And my nephew-

Bjork Ostrom: It seems like a great like clickbait subject title broadcast.

Dave Crenshaw: And so my nephew who loves Chuck Norris facts had gotten the official Chuck Norris fact books. So he put these together and it’s actually a great book. It’s got like all sorts of motivational things and stories from his life. And in it, there’s a fact that Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird. And in it he cites me in my book The Myth of Multitasking and talks about how he doesn’t believe in multitasking. So that is the story, it’s probably the coolest thing in a professional sense that will ever happen to me in my life.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s really cool of the ultimate credibility. I feel like you could have your own like Chuck Norris fact about… So there’s something with like time management productivity and Chuck Norris that needs to come out of that.

Dave Crenshaw: Oh I can give you two. Because when find out about this, I had a contest and I said, “Come up with the best Chuck Norris fact and I’ll give you his book and my books as well.” And someone came up with, “Chuck Norris doesn’t multitask, it’s never taken him more than one punch.”

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. That’s exactly right in the vein of what we’re looking for. So we can mean that and send it out. One of the questions that you actually answered it as you’re talking about your introduction that I had was, for you personally, have you always had that bend towards productivity or achievement? You said, you’re actually somebody who was kind of had off the charts ADHD, was really easily distracted. And I’m always curious to hear about people who are, especially people in your role, do you bend? Do you believe that you can bend people who have a natural tendency into a certain system that is better for them? Or do you try and find systems that naturally work for who you are? Does that question make sense?

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, it absolutely makes sense. And since we were talking about Chuck Norris, I’ll give a comparison. I grew up with a father who was a high level black belt, one of the first people who was a student of American kempo karate. So I grew up around him learning principles of karate and one of the things is that you use your opponent’s energy against them. And as Bruce Lee puts it, “You be like water.” And what that means is, you don’t try to force someone to be something that they are not. Instead, you teach them a true principle and then help them adapt it to their natural tendencies. And so, everything that I do in time management is principle based. In other words, I don’t say, you can only check email at certain times of the day, or you should never…

Dave Crenshaw: There’s someone who I respect who wrote a book said, “Don’t check email in the morning.” I mean, that is giving a system solution to someone, rather than teaching a principle to help them find the system. So anyone that’s taking my course will go, “Oh, all right, I can adapt this. I can make this work. I can say, All right, he says I need to have six or less gathering points and these are different places where things accumulate in my day, but I can choose which of those I’m going to use. I can choose what time of the day I’m going to focus on my most valuable activities.” And I find that that approach works much, much better than trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Bjork Ostrom: Is there a number of principles that you have? And could you recap those or how long is that list?

Dave Crenshaw: Well, it’s an extremely long list, but I can get you some of the most important ones, some of the starting ones. All right, well, the first thing and it relates to my book, The Myth of Multitasking is that whenever you switch attention, you incur switching cost. So if I’m trying to listen to this podcast while I’m answering email, I am really not doing both things at the same time. And this has been clinically proven for years. Myth of Multitasking came out in 2008. The evidence just keeps piling and piling on this. And it’s whenever you try to do two things at the same time that require your attention, your brain is actually switching back and forth. And every switch that you make incurs cost. And if you think about the way the average person operates in their day, it’s just filled with switches. It’s just constant. Each of us touches our phone in the neighborhood of 2000 times per day. It’s out of control. And it’s only gotten worse since 2008.

Dave Crenshaw: And if we can reduce the number of switches that take place, not eliminate them, that’s not possible that’s not realistic or reasonable. But if we can reduce them, we can reclaim a great deal of time. So there was a study done by a company called BaseX Research that came out around the time of my book, and what they found was that the average knowledge worker, that’s someone who uses their brain for a living, they lose on average 28% of their day due to, and they used the term interruptions and the recovery time with those interruptions. I prefer to use the term switches and switching cost.

Dave Crenshaw: Whenever you switch your attention from one thing to something else, there’s a cost associated with it and it’s unavoidable. And that’s why I actually I call in my book, The Myth of Multitasking, my training, I call what most people call multitasking as switch tasking. Because you’re really switching back and forth rapidly. And the more you do that-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, start doing two things at the same time. It’s moving back and forth frantically between one thing. You’re focusing on that one thing, but you’re jumping.

Dave Crenshaw: Right. And there are four costs with that, that are unavoidable. Number one, the amount of time it takes to complete things increases. So a task that should have taken five minutes can now take 10 minutes or 20 minutes when you try to multitask. Number two, the mistakes you make increase. And then three, your stress levels increase. And four if you’re doing it on a human being, if you’re multitasking on them, switch tasking on them, you damage the relationship.

Bjork Ostrom: What do you mean by that?

Dave Crenshaw: By the relationship side of it?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, damaging the relationship, what does that look like?

Dave Crenshaw: Well, here’s a little activity that if you’re with a group, with your family, coworkers, that sort of thing, here’s something that you can do. You have one person talk to another person, have them pair up, and you have them talk for 30 seconds about something they’re passionate about, the other person just listens. Okay? Then you do it again. And this time you switch roles. This time, the person who is listening, they play with their phone, they play with their papers, they multitask on the other person. And at the end of that you asked, How did that make you feel? The person who’s talking in one word, how did that make you feel? And almost always, no not almost always, always, it’s some variation of the word unimportant. You imagine that, like, you wake up, and you go downstairs and you see a loved one and you say, “Hi, you’re unimportant. What are you going to do today?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Right.

Dave Crenshaw: You would never do that. But we do that all the time. And when you do that to your customers and other people, you’re just, you’re damaging your relationships. You’re making it harder to make sales and on and on and on.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that makes sense. So, and I think that you can feel that even in the subtlest ways of communication. Like if somebody just takes… You ask a question, and there’s a beat, it’s only half a second or a second, when somebody’s looking at a phone or their computer, you immediately know that they’re not 100%, captive to that conversation. And you can feel it for whatever reason, it doesn’t feel good. And I also think, in general, most of us are good people and we don’t want other people to feel like that. But there’s this technology, both the hardware and the software, is so good at hooking us. And it’s a lot of people, it’s their full time job to figure out how to get people to continually look at their phone and pick it up, or their computer or whatever it might be.

Bjork Ostrom: So how do we as people who are not only wanting to be more present in our relationships and to the people in our lives, but also more present to the work that we want to do, how do we combat against that? What can we do to push back against those really compelling behaviors that are hooking us?

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah. A phrase that I like to use is conditioning is more powerful than discipline. Sometimes when people hear me talk about this, they say, “Oh, you must be very disciplined. It takes a lot of discipline to do this.” And my responses, again, I’m somebody who’s diagnosed is off the charts, ADHD. I’m incredibly undisciplined. But I am also incredibly conditioned to avoid certain behaviors and to use certain behaviors. And everyone listening to this is conditioned. Conditioning comes through repetition.

Dave Crenshaw: The more you do something over and over and over, the easier it is to do and the harder it is to stop. And if you’re conditioned to continually pick up your phone and continually check your email and continually check your text messages, you are going to switch task the whole day long. So it begins with simple things, like changing the settings, turning off notifications for emails, maybe even turning off notifications for text messages. And instead, having a time scheduled when you get one notification to check all of that, perhaps once per hour, once every two hours.

Bjork Ostrom: Are there any apps that you have that have notifications on? And which ones are they?

Dave Crenshaw: It’s a great question. And I want to first answer a different question that you didn’t ask. Which is, a lot of times people ask me for app recommendations.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah what app can will fix this?

Dave Crenshaw: Exactly. And it never will. Apps will not solve your problem. The most important app that you have is your calendar. And that really answers the questions well, which is the calendar. I leave notifications on for that, because the calendar lets me know when it’s time to get ready to do this interview with you. It lets me know when it’s time to stop work, all of those things. So I do leave it on for that. And then a few others that have particular importance, for instance, like Uber. Or as lots of people are experiencing right now, Uber Eats, right? I have to know when the driver’s coming. That’s sort of.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That makes sense. But that was I think, for me, one of the biggest wins that I’ve had with in regards to my relationship with my phone was, like turning off any type of ping from social media. There aren’t any social media apps that I have on my phone right now other than Facebook Messenger. But even then, there’ll be a little red notification that says like, “Hey you have one message.” But I only see that when I look. So this is a kind of a detailed question. But do you have, when you say no notifications, are you essentially saying like, turn everything off? But then… And maybe this gets into the systems thing, it depends on who you are and how you…

Dave Crenshaw: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: But as a default, turn everything off and then say, “Hey, once a day, check Facebook Messenger.” And have a little task for that, that’s recurring within the task management application or calendar item. Or are you saying, notifications, like little ones that will like ping in the background when you get a message?

Dave Crenshaw: Yes. Well, kind of both. What I’m saying is turn off as many as you are comfortable turning off. And the more that you turn off, the more productive and less switching costs you’re going to have. And the easier is going to be to condition that brain of yours to stop checking things. So that’s what I would do is, every time a notification happens on your phone, ask yourself the question, do I really need to get this right now? Or could it have waited? And if it could wait, then ask yourself the question, how long could this have waited? Is there a pattern that I could create my day when I can, instead of letting the phone check me, I check the phone on my schedule?

Dave Crenshaw: And it’s a case by case basis. I know that some people text messages absolutely essential. Especially if you’re a parent, right? You need to know when your kids are texting you. So maybe I can’t turn that off. But maybe I could have a conversation with the people who are texting me. Or if I’m in a work environment, I can have a conversation with people who are using the chat app that we use. When is an appropriate time to use this? When is it more appropriate to use an email? There’re all sorts of these rules that people make in their head that they consider to be common sense, but common sense is not common.

Bjork Ostrom: Right.

Dave Crenshaw: Just because you are conditioned to think that it’s one way, doesn’t mean everyone else is. So communication actually becomes very important to staying focused.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s interesting, kind of mentioning the broader time management, but then also talking a lot about focus. And you actually talk about the difference between time management and focus management. And I love the idea of focus management. Can you talk about the difference between those two things, time and focus management?

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, I mean, honestly, if I had my way, I would only ever call it focus management. Because I think that, that’s the only thing that really matters now. But because most people are familiar with the term time management, I’m stuck having to use it. And to me, the distinction is classic time management of the 80s and the 90s and I was inspired by this. I mean, I grew up in Utah, Covey was almost in my backyard, right? So, he was a hero. And-

Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about who that is for people who aren’t familiar?

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah. Stephen Covey, if you’ve ever heard of Franklin Covey planners, he wrote the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And part of that time management era perspective was saying, you must make the most of every single moment. You must schedule your calendar completely full so that you don’t waste a minute. And that worked in the 80s and 90s. But we have a completely different world now. We’re in a world where we don’t have to come up with things to do for our time.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s taken care of we have plenty of those.

Dave Crenshaw: Yes, yes. And even the old model, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix of what’s urgent and what’s important, right? The four quadrants. We’re living in a world where everything is urgent and everything feels like it’s important. So instead, what we have to do is make choices about what we’re going to allow ourselves to think about for a certain period of time. And we’re going to shut everything else out as much as we possibly can, so that we can focus on it and get our best work done. And that gets to another principle, you asked about lots of different principles. One of them is the principle of your most valuable activities. Everyone listening to this has a laundry list of things that they could be doing with their time when it comes to work, right? Probably 10 to 20 different jobs, many job descriptions. But out of those job descriptions, only one or two are your most valuable. And you want the majority of your time, if we’re scheduling your talent and calendar, we want the majority of those hours spent on those most valuable activities.

Dave Crenshaw: But if I sat down with almost everyone listening to this, and I looked over your shoulder and looked at your calendar, or track how you were operating, the majority of your time is spent in less valuable activities. I know it because I see it every single day.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative). How do you push back against those less valuable activities and make time for the things that are valuable? I think in the idea of clearing out the clutter, clearing out the notifications makes sense. But in a weird way, it’s almost intimidating to think about focusing on a single thing for two or three hours, even though, and I’ve thought about this over the past few weeks, there’s things that I should probably be doing that I block out two hours and really focus on a singular task, to maybe it’s a big project or moving a new idea forward. But it’s kind of intimidating to think about not being connected to slack and email and making sure that I get a response. So once you’ve cleared out the clutter, once you’ve blocked off the notifications, do you have any advice for how to, it sounds basic, how to focus?

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, first thing I would do is I would suggest a different word other than intimidating. I would suggest the word withdrawal.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure, yes, yes. I think that’s what I’m getting at. Like, how do you and it feels like, you need to go through some type of process to rid yourself of the compulsion. And I’m curious what that looks like.

Dave Crenshaw: I have the tool. And the tool is what I call the missing minute. In fact, I have a course on LinkedIn learning called, how to slow down and be more productive. And it’s become very popular, because it’s an issue that everyone has. And one of the things that I talk about is restoring the missing minute. If you think about the work that you do, just think about your average day. What happened to that minute, that space between appointments? The person listening to this podcast, they’re going to stop at the end, and then they’re going to immediately go into something else. And my suggestion is give yourself 60 seconds. That’s all it is.

Dave Crenshaw: Just one minute and take a break and just sit there. I’m not even talking about mindfulness, or meditation or breathing, or anything like that. I’m just talking about the nothingness of 60 seconds. And it’s powerful. Because when I do this activity with people, where I just say, stop for 60 seconds and do nothing. And then at the end, I asked you on a scale of one to 10, how difficult did that feel? To just do nothing for 60 seconds. And the average score is around seven to eight.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, difficult. It’s hard.

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, it seems like an eternity, and it should not. And it’s a symptom of how addicted someone is to switch tasking. So, that’s the starting place, is just taking a moment between things. You don’t have to do it all the time. But maybe three or four times a day, just ask yourself, can I take one minute right now? And you can even tell your Google to say set a timer for one minute.

Dave Crenshaw: But yeah. You set it for a minute and you start and there’s that word again, start to condition yourself to be okay with the space. And that one minute of power that you regain helps you set up that two hours that you’re talking about. And getting to the point where you go, it’s okay to not be continually stimulated. It’s okay to sit here for 90 minutes and focus on one project. Turn off the phone, turn off everything, turn off the buzzes and the beeps, and then have a time scheduled for 20 minutes after that 90 minutes to check back in check the email, all that stuff, that’s fine, it’ll still be there.

Bjork Ostrom: Would you say that’s a version of meditation or is that different than meditation?

Dave Crenshaw: I personally do not deal in that realm. I’m not saying that it doesn’t have value. What I’m saying is, in a professional sense, I’m a practical, pragmatic productivity guy. And I’m more interested in what’s happening in the brain chemistry level, to someone’s performance, when they don’t take a break versus when they do. And from a practical, pragmatic standpoint, just taking a break for a minute as powerful. There’s also the power of taking a longer break where you just do something enjoyable. That’s what my whole, my fourth book the power of having fun is all about.

Bjork Ostrom: Uh-huh. And in that conditioning minute, the goal is to step away from things, but is it essentially to train yourself to become okay with not doing things and therefore, is there anything to increasing that time? Do you go from one minute to two minutes, try to do five minutes? So then when you do have a two hour block that isn’t constant notifications and messages that you’re becoming more and more comfortable with that.

Dave Crenshaw: Yes. Although again, after that minute, I would start suggesting having something active to do during that time.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s almost an on ramp then. An on ramp to focus.

Dave Crenshaw: It’s a palate cleanser. It’s also a moment of control. Most people listening to this, and I experience it from time to time as well, we feel a lack of control. We feel that our day is just running us over. And we’re getting blown away by every single thing that constantly pops onto our phone and even pops into our head. As part of the reason why people are feeling a great deal of anxiety with the current issue is because we’re not giving yourself a break from thinking about the issue.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, yep. Yeah.

Dave Crenshaw: So yeah, just taking that 60 seconds, you’re basically creating a safe space for yourself, and you’re saying, “This is mine, no one can touch it.” And there’s power in just that moment of recognizing that yes, I do have control.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great. In your book, The Results, you talk about a formula that you use. It’s a S-A-M, Systems Accountability and Motivations. And I’m actually interested in jumping to the end, we’ve been talking kind of on the ground, and motivations to me it seems like kind of 50,000, 100,000 foot level. Why is it that you’re doing, what you’re doing? And how important is it with any of the work that you’re doing? Start with the motivation, and then build against that. Or should that come after?

Dave Crenshaw: No. The reason why it’s at the end of that formula is simply it’s nice to make an acronym called SAM. Motivation certainly can be at the beginning. And just for those who are unfamiliar, the result is about how to get whatever result you want within the realm of reason. How to increase sales, how to do a better job of getting your view numbers, whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish, the Systems Accountability and Motivation work together to accomplish that. And motivation from my perspective is not a motivational speech. I don’t believe that I can give it to anyone. Everyone is already motivated. Even a drug addict is highly motivated, right? Just motivated to get something that’s perhaps not healthy. So, the question becomes the thing that you’re trying to accomplish, how does that connect to what you really want out of life? Or really want in the moment? And taking inventory of that? I can tell when someone is missing motivation, because of the result that they’re getting, which is, you will see compliance.

Dave Crenshaw: If you see someone who’s just going through the motions, and just trying to do whatever it takes to keep from losing their job or paying the bills or whatever it is, that’s a sign that they lack an underlying reason behind everything that they do. You see it at the gym all the time, by the way. It’s people who show up, they do a little bit, and it becomes painful and it becomes tiring, and then they just give up. And it’s because they don’t have a good reason for it or they’re trying to use someone else’s reason for it. I can tell you the reason why I started going to the gym. It was vanity. And a little bit of professional concern, because I spend so much time on video and I was noticing that I was getting a little chubby here and there on the face. And I go, that’s why I want it. I think-

Bjork Ostrom: So it doesn’t have to be some, it’s not like there’s huge moral inspirations, potentially, but it doesn’t have to be.

Dave Crenshaw: You’ve got it. It’s just tapping into whatever is meaningful to you. And I find that most people don’t take the time to think about that.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes. How do you know if your motivations are the right type of motivations? And here’s the context for that question. I think a lot of times, we can see people doing something, and we can think that we want that. An example would be, I could see an Instagram skateboarder. And I could be like, “Oh my gosh, that’s so cool. He has so many followers. And that’s awesome. I want to be an Instagram skateboarder.” But what I want is actually what it feels like or looks like to be an Instagram skateboarder. I don’t want the actual thing which is being good at skateboarding, which I’m guessing is the underlying motivation for that person and they just are able to use Instagram as a kind of filter into that motivation. Do you have any advice for people in seeking a pure motivation and how to find that pursuit? It’s a little bit of an abstract question.

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, no. I think it can be a practical question. In the result, I break down each of these into their three elements. And the three elements of motivation, this is like a formula, so that’s why I’m using that word. The three elements of motivation are vision, values, and cause. So vision means the picture that you see for yourself five years from now, or two years from now. Whatever it is, that makes sense to you, and you say, everybody’s carrying this picture around in their head, about where they want things to be. And if you can get that on onto paper, any kind of physical format, heck, you can record a video, I don’t care how you do it, but you put it into a format that’s meaningful to you, so that you can look at it and say, yeah, that’s what I want.

Dave Crenshaw: Values, are the reason why you’re doing what you do. Are you motivated by helping people? Are you motivated by providing for your family? It really doesn’t matter what the values are, it just matters that you define them clearly. And then cause, this is an interesting one, cause means you need to have a cause that is different than just making money. I’m not saying that it’s not good to try to make money. Money can be a motivator, but only to a certain point. And that point comes back to that concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Which means, you basically, as long as your basic needs are taken care of, money stops being a motivator. If your basic needs aren’t taking care of, then money is a motivator. But once you hit that point, you’re going to need a cause, something that you believe in, something that’s greater than yourself.

Dave Crenshaw: And everyone can find a cause, it can be related to a charity, or it can be simply something as simple as, I have up on my wall, I have a poster that I created that just says change one person’s life today. And that’s my cause. And that drives me to do things and helps me sidestep some of the monetary concerns that might drive me in the moment.

Bjork Ostrom: And it’s the thing that will, once you do reach a certain level keep you going. Because that will happen inevitably, if somebody works hard if they stick with it, that you’ll reach a certain level. But that won’t be the thing that will satisfy you need to continue on to something that kind of more of a spirit of the work as opposed to the tangible numbers of the work and the reason behind it. So let’s reverse back. So, S-A-M SAM, we talked about motivations, and starting with that, but what about systems? What does it mean to create a system or to find systems to help you get your result?

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, so the first part of our conversation was about systems, we were just focusing on productivity systems. And a system is a process or procedure that you follow to get that result. So I’m going to, because it’s so easy, I’m going to use that gym example again. A system would be what is the exercise plan that you use? What are the tools that you use? And also what are you capable of as a human being? Because you can’t try to follow a system that is physically impossible to you. So, and right now I’m dealing with that, I’ve got a serious need issue that’s being delayed, so I have to alter my systems. I can’t do like the elliptical and that kind of stuff. So a system says this is the process or procedure and you can start by borrowing someone’s process or procedure, and then altering it to match what you need to do. And that’s, that principles concept again.

Dave Crenshaw: So systems, I can tell when someone doesn’t have a system, because they’re getting inconsistent performance. If sometimes it’s paying off and sometimes it isn’t paying off and it’s wildly all over the place, that means you don’t have a process that you’re following.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, yeah. We interviewed David Allen, of Getting Things Done, and that would be an example of a system kind of the framework of getting things done?

Dave Crenshaw: Sure, that would be an example. And then what I would say is you need to adapt it. And that’s part of the problem that people have, is they’re far too rigid in their thinking. And they ask questions to hint as in David Allen or someone like me and say, “Well, should I do this? Or should I do that?” That’s a sign-

Bjork Ostrom: Is this is against the rules?

Dave Crenshaw: Exactly. Instead, what you should be doing is saying, “What is most productive? What is going to help me change?” And more importantly, “What am I, again, given my personal limitations, what am I going to follow?” Remember, I’m off the charts ADHD, there are certain things in terms of filing in terms of organization I will never ever be able to do. And it is impractical for me to expect myself to do those things. So I have to find a different system to make that happen.

Bjork Ostrom: Part of systems, I would guess would be tools. And people always love to hear about tools and apps, like you said before but, are there any that you would want to throw out that you’ve seen clients or that you yourself like, that help with the systems that you have?

Dave Crenshaw: It depends on what result we’re talking about.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. So the answer is, it depends. So let’s say dwindle that down a little bit productivity tools, kind of the focus management category of things like if I’m working in the day and working on organizing my tasks and organizing things that I have to do, how about that category?

Dave Crenshaw: Okay, so from my perspective, the best tools are the ones that most people have and they’re just not using. So for example, using Gmail, but using it effectively. Making tweaks to it, like for instance, turning off mark as red. It’s a horrible feature that should never be on by default. Turning off conversation view. So you get rid of the threat of things using Google Calendar, productively. Having a second calendar that provides a time budget, meaning giving you a schedule. It’s not the fancy new tools that create help. Like, for instance, one that I think is interesting is one called Forest. It’s an app on your phone and that will help you, remind you to turn off your phone. It’s kind of a fun little thing, like you say, “I don’t want to touch my phone for 20 minutes.” And it’s like a game. And if you don’t touch it for 20 minutes, then you grow a tree in your forest and if you touch it, then the tree dies.

Dave Crenshaw: So an app like that can be helpful, but I keep coming back to calendar, email, tasks, your notepad. Like Evernote, is fantastic Microsoft OneNote works. It’s the fundamental apps that people are not using that are really the ones that matter most.

Bjork Ostrom: And then making those work for you. So not just using them in their default, much like an app, if you used it, installed every app and then allowed notifications, then you’re going to be overrun with notifications. Those services, those tools that we have probably work, it’s bending them to make it work within our system.

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: So we have systems, we talked about motivations, and then accountability right? In the middle there of the S-A-M, SAM formula. What does accountability mean? And how can we be mindful of that?

Dave Crenshaw: So when I say accountability, I have a very specific definition. And I’m going to start by saying the definition of what it is not. A lot of times when people hear accountability, they say, “Oh, I’m an accountable person. I follow through, I’m accountable to myself.” And what I would suggest is that it’s responsibility which important, you need to be a responsible person. But accountability requires a third party. It is a one on one relationship to someone else. And that person holds you accountable and you report to them. So this is a coach, this is a mentor. It might be a great friend or family. And I can’t remember, do you have like a private coaching level that you’re providing? Or-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so we have a general membership level, and people are a part of a forum there. But we have people we’ll do, within the forums we’ll do like a thread occasionally, where people will sign up and say, “Here are my goals for this week, or this month, and I’m going to work towards these and then we’ll check in on those.” So it’s not exactly the coach or like mastermind type level of group but tracking with what you’re saying. And I think most members and our podcast listeners would understand that.

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah, and I think the more personal it is, the more an individual is looking at that result, the better. And actually I would separate coach and mastermind very different from each other. Because a mastermind, it’s very easy for people to slip through the cracks. It’s a great place to learn and get ideas, but it’s not a great place to receive accountability. Now, I don’t take on any new coaching clients, but I’ve got a couple who’ve been with me for a long time. And so I meet with them on a regular basis. I check with them, they tell me they’re going to do things, I personally follow up with them. I send them an email, ask them numbers. How are you doing on this? How are you doing on that? I have a business coach, and I report numbers to him. They’re the same numbers that someone else reports to me.

Dave Crenshaw: And the reason why I do that is because as I advanced through my career and grew up a bit, I learned that there were lots of people who were saying one thing and doing something else. Some of the great gurus and thought leaders that you see if you saw the way they operate individually, they’re all over the place. And the reason is because they feel that they’re above accountability. And I made it a goal to myself to never, never accept that. Never think that I’ve gone so far that I do not need to have someone else hold me accountable for the results that I’m getting.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s interesting. I have a coach that I work with for fitness and health. And every Sunday, he emails me and says, “Hey, Bjork, how are your workouts and nutrition this week? And every day, I’m having a conversation with Kirk in my head, and I’m like, ”If I don’t do this, I’m going to have to tell them.” And it’s amazing what type of motivation it is for me day to day, because I know that I’m going to have that check in as opposed to, like you said, if I had a group that I was a part of, or maybe something that’s a little bit more global as opposed to individual, so you see how that that makes a difference. A business coach I think is something that we hear people talk a lot about. What do you do if you don’t have the budget yet, within your business to hire somebody?

Dave Crenshaw: So mentors are always an option. And a mentor is different than a coach in that there’s someone who’s achieved the level of success that you want to have, and they’re just willing to provide some time to help you. So it’s not going to be quite as formal, it’s not going to be quite as consistent. But if you can establish a relationship with a mentor who’s willing to take some time that can also be very valuable for accountability. And as a last resort, you can still work with a friend or family member or a colleague. The trick to it is there has to be a consistent schedule. And there has to be an upfront agreement between the two of you, I would get it in writing. That says, “I am giving you permission to say the hard thing to me.” And I’m doing that right now with my son. He’s got some fitness goals he’s working on and he wasn’t following through. And my wife was trying to follow up with him and It wasn’t working, because hey, it’s mom.

Dave Crenshaw: And I went to him and I said, “Hey, but I do this for a living. But I’m not going to do this unless you give me permission to do it.” And he goes, “Okay, sure.” “I go, No, no, no, no, no, no. Let me be clear, what I’m saying to you. I am saying, I am going to say things you do not want me to hear or do not want to hear from me. And I’m going to ask you numbers, not because I’m mean or I’m following up with you. But because it’s my responsibility to provide that accountability. So, think about it for a moment. Are you willing to do this?” And he thought about it for a while, and he goes, “Yeah, I’m willing to do it.” And now I’m providing that accountability to him every night for his fitness goals. And because he gave me that permission it worked.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s kind of that idea of a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still, like, “Yeah, sure. I’ll do it.” But not really convinced, not really wanting to do it and you have to be, what I hear you saying is, especially if it’s somebody who you’re not paying to do it, you have to be clear and “I need you to keep me accountable, and here’s what you’re keeping me accountable to and I’m buying into this.”

Dave Crenshaw: Yeah. And don’t be nice. Being nice is not the same thing as love.

Bjork Ostrom: Which is hard for family or friends.

Dave Crenshaw: Exactly, which is why I said it’s the last resort. Because it’s really hard for them to do it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So the book is The Result, you can get actually a free PDF copy, we’ll link to that in the show notes. You talk in depth about this formula, how you can go through that and apply it to your life. I know that your results that you’re seeking, Dave will have an impact on somebody’s life today, which is awesome. And to see that manifested with this audience. But I know that people will also be interested in following along with what you’re up to know what you’re doing. And I also know that in this unique season of life and business there are some companies doing some really cool things and LinkedIn learning is doing that with some of your courses. So can you talk about how people can find some of your courses on LinkedIn learning and then follow along with you online as well?

Dave Crenshaw: Yes. So right now and I don’t know how long this is going to last but I’m going to guess for a couple of months. You can get my full time management working from home course, on LinkedIn learning you can get it for free. And when I say free, I mean fully free. They don’t even require signup or a trial, you just go right to the course. So a quick link to that is davecrenshaw.com. And Crenshaw is the C-R-E-N-S-H-A-W. Davecrenshaw.com/home. And that will take you right to that course.

Bjork Ostrom: Great, and we’ll link to that as well. And then how about if people want to follow along with you online?

Dave Crenshaw: Davecrenshaw.com, I have a newsletter that I put out all the time. You’re also welcome to reach out to me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is probably my most popular platform most followers there. So you’re welcome to connect with me, follow me there. And I’m putting out probably three different things per week.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome, Dave, thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate it. And thanks for all you do.

Dave Crenshaw: Thank you so much, really appreciate it.

Alexa Peduzzi: And that’s a wrap for this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in today. As always, if you have any thoughts or ideas for the podcast, you can send them our way at [email protected]. And if you’re enjoying the show and have a spare minute or two in your day, we would really appreciate your review on Apple podcast. It really helps the show so so much and Bjork and I just love reading your thoughts about the show. But that does it for us this week. We’ll see you next time and until then, make it a great week.

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