Peter Drucker said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” And Michael Jordan said, “Sometimes things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.”
My guest today is Rory Vaden, a good friend of mine who is also a New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of Brand Builders Group, which is one of the leading personal brand strategy firms that focuses on helping people become the type of person that everyone wants to do business with.
I’ve worked with Rory for many years now, and we thought it would be valuable to collaborate and bring you a series on building a reputation and your personal brand to help you take your life to the next level. We’ve already posted our first discussion, which you can check out here if you missed it, focusing on “How to build a million-dollar personal brand.” This is the second part of our series, which I’m excited to share with you.
In this episode, we discuss the strategies that will help you multiply your time, how to overcome the common struggles with time management, the unseen consequences of not prioritizing your time and life, how to set up automation systems that will dramatically help you in both your life and business, and how to develop a growth mindset.
I’m also proud to announce that my greatness coaching program has opened back up, and spots are going to be filling up fast. If you’ve been thinking about taking your life and business to the next level, you need accountability and to surround yourself with other high-performing conscious achievers. To ensure you don’t miss out, head over to lewishowes.com/coaching to learn more about how we will support you on your journey.
Rory Vaden is the Co-Founder of Brand Builder’s Group, the world’s leader in the study of Reputation Strategy. Their mission is to help every person identify their voice, tell their story, and share their unique message. Working with celebrities such as Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank) and yours truly, all the way to brand new aspiring influencers and entrepreneurs, it is one of the only true personal brand strategy firms in existence. Co-founded with Rory’s wife AJ Vaden, Brand Builders Group helps people become the type of person that everyone wants to do business with.
In addition, Rory is a New York Times bestselling author! Rory’s first book, Take the Stairs, is a #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 USA Today, #1 Amazon, and #2 New York Times bestseller that has been translated into 11 languages. Rory writes and speaks about how the key to building a rock-solid reputation is to do the right thing even when you don’t feel like doing it. His powerful and emotional message makes him the perfect choice to keynote your next meeting. His programs are regularly tailored for leadership, sales, customer service, productivity, and teams.
Not only is Rory a fantastic and powerful writer, but he’s also an influential and talented speaker. Every year, more than 25,000 contestants from 90 different countries compete for a chance to participate in the World Championship of Public Speaking competition. Rory made it there twice and became the World Champion First Runner-Up. Additionally, he has earned the highest ranking designation from the National Speakers Association as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), and his TEDx talk on “How to Multiply Time” has been viewed over 3 million times. Rory is rare in that he can deliver inspiration, humor, and fresh insights that you and your audience can’t get anywhere else.
So let’s jump right in!
We live in an age where the constant need to grow and accomplish more has created anxiety, stress, and overwhelm as people strive to build a side hustle. More and more I hear people talk about having time issues and battling to complete what needs to get done. We want to talk about the habits of high performers and how you can increase your productivity and multiply your time. Today is about empowering you with the tools to multiply time and become more productive instead of feeling buried under overwhelm, stress, and frustration. It’s time to finally feel like things are under control — that’s why Rory has come in to share what he learned while studying ultra performers and how they manage time.
“There is a new type of thinker that has emerged — we call them a multiplier because most people are trying to manage time. What’s funny about that is there is no such thing as time management, there is only self-management. … This conversation is about managing ourselves and our decisions — managing our use of time.” – Rory Vaden
No matter what our current circumstance, we’re in charge, and everything that exists in our life is because we said “yes” to it in some way. In Rory’s opening line for his TED talk, he said, “Everything you know about time-management is wrong.” It’s wrong because we think about time in a linear way, but the world is multidimensional.
“We take people on a history of time management theory. Era one: time management thinking was very one-dimensional thinking about efficiency. The strategy is [about having a] to-do list, [and thinking], ‘How do I crank them out faster?’ It’s the manufacturing era [with] conveyor belts and engineering and reflected in our mindset as, ‘How can I be more efficient now?’” – Rory Vaden
Efficiency is a good thing, but there comes a point of diminishing returns when you use efficiency as your only strategy for productivity. No matter how fast we move, the amount of work always expands to fill the amount of time available. In other words, the faster you go, the more work shows up. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be fast — it’s just not going to get you what you’re looking for.
“Dr. Covey single-handedly introduced a new era of time management we would classify as prioritizing. This is Era-two thinking, which is the predominant strategy that most people use [to] think about time. Prioritizing is focusing first on what matters most, [which is] super powerful and relevant.” – Rory Vaden
The problem is that the majority of us are still overwhelmed, so there’s something missing. However, ultra-performers that we now refer to as the multipliers are doing a different type of thinking. In almost every case, their thinking has evolved to a point where it has become subconscious and they aren’t even aware of it. It isn’t taught, it’s instinctive, and most of them couldn’t explain it.
“The next level of results always requires the next level of thinking. Era three [of] time management is multiplying. It’s not efficiency, it’s not prioritizing, it’s multiplying — and it’s all based on what we call the significance calculation.” – Rory Vaden
The next evolution is building on Dr. Covey’s work and turning two-dimensional thinking into three-dimensional thinking by making a third calculation, which we call significance.
Urgency (Era-one thinking) is ‘How soon does this matter?’ … Most of us live in a world of urgency. Importance (Era-two thinking) is ‘How much does this matter?’ But significance (Era-three thinking) is different asking, ‘How long is this going to matter?’ What is the impact of this activity in the future?
The significance calculation changes everything because this is how it’s possible to multiply time. How can we multiply time? The way you multiply time is by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that create more time tomorrow. There are certain things you do right now that create more time in the future — that’s the significance calculation.
Most of us think about our activities and say, “What’s the most important thing I can do today?” and it’s not a bad question — it’s just not the question that multipliers ask. Multipliers ask, “What are the things I can do today that create more time tomorrow? What are the things I can do now that make the future better?”
This will help you break free of the urgency paradigm by introducing the significance paradigm of what will have an impact over the long haul.
Even when you attain a certain level of success where exciting opportunities grab your attention, a different set of problems arises which are opportunity problems. How do you focus your time and energy and make decisions that focus on your future? This becomes a challenge, and just making decisions over extended periods of time can lead to decision fatigue.
“[Many] people that experience decision fatigue don’t make conscious decisions. They’re unconscious emotional impulses, and if you’re not consciously saying, ‘No’ to the things that don’t matter, you end up unconsciously saying, ‘No’ to the things that do matter.” – Rory Vaden
While interviewing one of the people personifying the multiplier mindset, Rory told him he got to where he is by being a “yes man” and doing many things really well. Their response shocked him: “Rory, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You’re trying to go through life without saying, “No,” which is admirable because you’re a nice guy — but what you fail to realize is that you are always saying no to something.”
Anytime you say, “Yes” to one thing you simultaneously say, “No” to an infinite number of other things. So even when you think you’re saying, “Yes, everything is important to me.” Nothing is important to you — nothing is important enough for you to focus on. You don’t have a method for your focus, and focus is power.
Most of us are losing because we’re meandering through a bunch of insignificant, trivial tasks, and feeling productive when really we’re just diluted. The multiplier mindset gives us three ways to identify what to focus on:
“An easy example is bill pay. If you had two hours open, what’s the most important thing you could do today? Would you consider setting up online bill pay? Seems trivial, but if you look at this the way a multiplier would, if you spend two hours today setting up online bill pay and it saves you 30 minutes every month from paying your bills in the future — then after four months’ time, you will have broken even.” – Rory Vaden
The first four months would each have had 30 minutes broken into those initial two hours, but every month thereafter you’ll get what’s called ROTI: Return On Time Invested because now the system becomes an employee. Saying, “I don’t have time to build the system” boils down to a failure to include significance in your calculation.
We inadvertently overweigh the urgency calculation, and we condemn ourselves to a lifetime sentence of always feeling busy because we’re constantly making decisions about what needs to get done today and never thinking ahead via the significance calculation of tomorrow.
Significance is an internal assessment that each of us needs to do regarding what’s going to have the greatest impact. It’s a huge part of the importance and urgency calculation.
“List everything you have to do, and on one column it is the urgency column — which is how soon this needs to be done. The next column is the significance column, which is how much the completion of this task matters in the future. If you were just doing it on [a] time-based [basis], you would say, ‘[On] a scale of one to 10, how much time will this task make me in the future?’ That’s significance. Significance is a natural counterbalancing force to urgency. Then, multiply the two numbers together and that’ll give you your importance score and then rearrange the activities in order of importance.” – Rory Vaden
This builds on what Dr. Covey taught when he created the hierarchy:
Unfortunately, in 1989, there weren’t cell phones or technology like the internet and social media. Back then when you left work, you left work! Unfortunately, in today’s world with laptops and smartphones, work follows us home, and many of us struggle to separate our work and personal lives. That means we can’t solve today’s time-management challenges, using yesterday’s time-management strategies.
This is where the multipliers take things to another level. We briefly touched on delegation, so let’s take a deeper look at the power this has long term.
Too often, leaders and managers speak about not having enough time and use that excuse as justification for not delegating tasks. Delegating properly means teaching someone else how to perform a task the way you do it.
“You should spend 30 times the amount of time it takes you to do a task once on training someone else to do a task for you. A task that takes five minutes every day — the 30 X rule says spend 30 times five, which is 150 minutes, which is where we lose people because they go, ‘Rory, that doesn’t make any sense — that’s two and a half hours training someone [to do something] I could just do in five.’” – Rory Vaden
It never makes sense to trade 150 minutes for five, unless you make the significance calculation. You’re not doing that task for five minutes — you’re doing it five minutes a day every day. Look at this calculation for one year of significance: 250 working days really means it’s five times 250, which is 1,250 minutes. The decision is not, “Should I spend 150 minutes to save five?” it’s, “Should I spend 150 to save 1,250?”
“The answer is just as obvious as it was before, except now it’s in the opposite direction. Notice the task hasn’t changed, the people haven’t changed — only one thing has changed: that person’s thinking.” – Rory Vaden
Guys, this is the second in our series geared towards helping you build powerful personal brands. We highly recommend listening to the full episode to get all of Rory’s wisdom, and don’t forget to share it with your friends! You can also check out our previous conversations on “How to build a million-dollar personal brand” and even go back to Episode 670: “Building an Influential Personal Brand.”
I highly recommend learning more about Rory on his website, www.roryvaden.com/blog, or you can follow him on Instagram. We have another treat for you too: If you want to take the next step towards building your own brand, you can go to lewishowes.com/brandcall to get a free call with someone on Rory’s team, where they will ask you about your goals, what your future looks like, what you’re trying to create, and if it might be helpful for Rory or his team to support you in building your personal brand and executing everything we spoke about today.
If you enjoyed this conversation, please make sure to spread the message of greatness and inspire someone else in your life. It would be really great if you could also tag Rory, @roryvaden, and me, @lewishowes, on Instagram with a screenshot of this episode and your greatest takeaways from it.
Usually, I end with my guests’ definition of greatness. But today, Rory’s words to us were too important not to repeat:
“The next level of results always requires the next level of thinking.” – Rory Vaden
If no one’s told you lately, I want to remind you that you are loved, you are worthy, and you matter. It’s time to go out there and do something great.