Ep026: Procrastination Structure

Join Dean & Dan as they check in on the use of "Jackson's" (standard time unit) among Coach members before moving on to talk about structure as a way to maximize procrastination's pointers.


Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep026

Dean: Mr. Sullivan.

Dan: Mr. Jackson.

Dean: Ooh. Here we are.

Dan: Your name is being spoken with great respect in coach land.

Dean: Oh is it? I like to hear that.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of people have caught up with the time system. The 10 minute units, which are being spoken in reverent terms as Jacksons. You know, there's a 10 minute Jackson.

Dean: I love it. That's so funny. Wow.

Dan: See this is how it happens Dean, even if you didn't wish it, it's already ... It's out of your control now. You can't help this.

Dean: That's so funny. You know, I guess there was once a Professor Fahrenheit probably or something. Wasn't there?

Dan: Oh yeah, and Hertz, Professor Hertz, and this is how the, you know with the best will in the world you can't stop an idea that wants to spread, but I'll tell you two things, a little bit of progress from the last week. Every quarter when I bring out one of my new small books, we have a group of our team members both starting in Toronto. We've been going for about a year, but we started the process in Chicago, so I had about 15 staff members in Chicago, who for about a 90 minute period on Wednesday got together and talked about their response to the Procrastination Priority book, and that was huge.

The other thing is that I shared with my Thursday workshop when I had 60 entrepreneurs in the room, and I just talked to them about the 10 minute blocks, the Jacksons, and you know it was just about half and half. Of course some people, they just immediately got it, for some people it was something that they're going to ponder.

Dean: Right. Later.

Dan: Yeah, well strangely enough it was the accountants and lawyers who had the toughest time with it, because it seemed to them that they were being forced back into their time sheets you know, which in the legal profession is like six minutes. They bill out on six minute increments. I said, "Well yeah, but you have to do that, because you're reporting to someone and it's going into a billing process," but I said, "This isn't about your billing process. This is just in terms of your own personal grasp of what really, really matters, you know?" I said, "I do a lot of activity during the day that doesn't come up to the standard of deserving a 10 minute time period being allotted to it." So I said, "It's not about the quantity of your time that you're putting in," and I said, "It's really about the quality of your time that you think is deserving of the 10 minute time structure."

I mean for me, it's just a really interesting conversation, but I've got them all thinking. You know, the possible different way of thinking about time.

Dean: I love it. I mean Dan, it's been ... We skipped a week right? Is it one week, or two weeks since we've spoken.

Dan: Yeah, yeah, two weeks ago.

Dean: That's at least two weeks. Yeah.

Dan: Two weeks ago, yeah.

Dean: So much has happened. You know I really have been kinda putting everything together as we've been going here. This last couple of weeks, I start to look at layering all the things that we've been talking about on top of, making a kind of unified process out of it, and so I do ... I love this idea, and I have embraced it for, since we first talked about it of this, asking procrastination, "What have you got for me today?" I find that that is a perfect 10 minute exercise, to just think that through and really get clear on what that is combined with, "What would I like to do today?"

Which is, because it's not always ... I'm not letting procrastination determine by default what I'm gonna do today. It's bringing to my attention. Almost like I'm bringing it to the committee, or whatever saying, "Okay, what have you got today?" And they're letting their requests be known, and I take that under advisement, and ultimately put down through the thing of, "What would I like to do today?" That allows me to still have that sense of that, I'm controlling that, and that I have picked my three things, that I got that idea from you, of taking the three things. If I'm only gonna get three things done today, these are the three.

That has really sort of focused my attention, because the last time we spoke I was finding that I was spending a lot of time with so many options, and so many things that I wanted to do, that I would not pick one, you know? I felt like there were so many, and they're all equal weight when you get to a situation where I've kind of eliminated the external ... I don't know what the right word is, the external expectation of something in a way. Where there's less things that really get to the point where I have to do them today, that I ... and I really have that discretion to do anything. I find that this is a new place to come from for me of really thinking and evaluating. "Okay, I want to work on these things today, but I don't have to."

That's really where I have ... That's where the big forward momentum is gonna come for me, is getting myself to take action on things that I don't have to do today, with the same level of energy and intention that I approach them, when I have to do them today. Bringing that sort of procrastination deadline fueled energy to something that is proactive and doesn't require it at the moment, you know?

Dan: Yeah. Well one thing, and you know because we're sort of on common territory here Dean, and for the listeners who are not in Strategic Coach, there's a particular profiling system that is pretty well uniform for Strategic Coach clients, and that's the Kolbe System, which divides how do you take action to get results, and fact finders accumulate a lot of information and data, and then they'll make their decision based on that they feel that they've got enough information to actually make a decision and go into action.

Then there's the follow through individuals who will, first of all they'll put together a system ahead of them for getting action, and until that system is in place they can't really take action, because they don't see all the how steps. The follow throughs are the great how people of the Kolbe System. They really think through how each step is going to happen. The area that you and I really occupy to the fullest extent is the quick start, which is that we get ideas every 30 seconds or so if we're out of control, and it's hard for us to get committed to any one thing, because every 30 seconds something else is occurring to us. That's often associated with the condition, which is called Attention Deficit Disorder, which is high distractibility. So, is this what you're talking about?

Dean: Yeah.

Dan: Before our treatment of procrastination as a good thing, we've generally considered this to be something that is not a good thing, it's actually a negative thing, but in the last year both of us have flipped this in saying, "Well, since we have this propensity anyway, why don't we put it to work?" And what you said is, "It's an excellent thing to do brainstorming on, because that way if you've thought about 10 things, you can write the 10 things down." Is this what you're talking about in terms of your 10 minute-

Dean: Yeah. That's exactly. Yeah, so when I go ... When I look at the things that ... I'm really embracing this idea. I often catch myself, this last couple of weeks, just when I'm doing something, anything, reading a magazine. I'm trying to gauge the, "How long is the right amount of time that feels for most of the activities that I like to do kind of thing." To get a sense of what I can do. Like, I know that I can for instance, walk out my door, get in my car, drive to Starbucks, get out, and sit down, and that's 10 minutes. It takes one unit to change environments like that. That's kind of an interesting-

Dan: Yeah. Well can I ask you that, because I have a similar type of situation that there's better places for me to do my thinking than where I am right now, and therefore one of the important things or strategies is that I identify the place where I can do my best thinking, but doing that activity of getting myself into the right place is actually a very important 10 minutes of time.

Dean: Yeah. It is. You're absolutely right. That's why I'm kind of paying attention to those. I've been really visualizing my days now, while I'm in the midst of them as moving things. Almost like, have you ever seen Dan ... I know you're not on the computer much, but are you familiar with the game Tetris, where the-

Dan: Oh yes. Yes. I had to have it removed from my computer, because it was so addictive that I could find myself doing it for hours.

Dean: Okay, so you see what I'm talking about that it's moving towards you and you've gotta quickly flip it, and fit it into the spaces, before it falls through. Well, I've been visualizing my days as moving like that, 10 minutes at a time coming through, and thinking, "Well what can I do? What can I fit into the next 10 minute blocks here?" kind of thing, you know? So if I look at, it's coming, and I see these things that I know, like in the ... You shared how a couple of times in the moments like this before we're doing the podcast, that pretty much there can be 45 minutes of time or so, that's kind of that, what used to be awkward in between time stuff. Right? So, you've got something-

Dan: That's a really good name. I'm gonna name that right away, and call ‘awkward in between time’. That's a major concept.

Dean: Yeah, and that's what I'm finding that space now, is really a great thing, because if I've got this pallet over here, or this choice of things that I've really been asking myself often, of what do I want? You know, what do I want to do? Like having this constant, this available things that I can do in those 10 minutes to draw from, that I can allocate you know, if I'm getting better at telling the time of how long it takes to do something, instead of having 45 minutes of awkward in between time, I can get two or three Jacksons fit in there, right? That's really the ... That's the thing.

Dan: The Jackson rule spreads itself throughout your-

Dean: Exactly.

Dan: Well, the interesting thing about this, I mean truly you know, I have this phrase that I use a lot in Strategic Coach that you're thinking about your thinking, and you know since we started our conversation today, we're both reflecting on how we're thinking about our thinking. This is a really interesting thing. Just to go back to the book discussion that I had, there was a point I wanted to make. It was one of our team members in Chicago, who is actually the manager of our Chicago office, and has been in that position now for a year and a half or two years, and very interesting, because she joined us. Her name's Agnes.

She joined us when she was a high school student, and she was a part-time worker. She was at high school, and then she would come in after school, and she would work, and then she would work more fully during summer periods. You know we would expand, but she was still part-time. She wasn't full-time. Then she went to college, and it was the same schedule, so by the time she finished college, she'd had six years with us. She had become increasingly more valuable. I'll just mention that she has like a seven Fact Finder, and a nine Follow Through. So, you can imagine the usefulness of those two profiles, given our almost complete absence of those two.

The conversation about procrastination was very revealing to her, because she found from reading the book and really taking a look at how she operated that she procrastinated just as much as anyone else, and yet you wouldn't think it. You know, someone ... And, she never looks like she's procrastinating. From an outward standpoint, she always looks like she's about what she's doing, but she said there's whole areas of procrastination, and hers come up about the daunting prospect of what she has on her list for tomorrow.

She gets as much done as she possibly can, and you have to appreciate, she at the end of the day, she'll complete 15 things, which is wonderful, but the aspect about it is, that's not the number of things she had on her list. She had 25 things on her list. So she gets to the end of the day, and it's not a win for the 15 that she completed, it's a loss for the 10 that she didn't get to. So, she grants herself no real gain from the 15 that she completed. She's in the gap about the 10, because she had an ideal for tomorrow. Her list is her ideal, and there's not enough time in the day for her to actually get her ideal number of 25 finished, you know? She does get her 15, which is more than most other people would, but she was really struck by this, and she asked my advice. I immediately put back to the strategy that you and I have adapted, that there's gonna be three that really represent 100% for tomorrow.

I said, "Agnes, here's how you do it. You go down your list and then you circle the three, which are the crucial ones tomorrow, and you do those first when you come in in the morning, and when you complete those, you're at 100% for the day, and all the other things on your list that you get finished are bonus territory."

Dean: Yes. I was just thinking as we were describing that, what a different experience that is. I wondered if we are anomalies, in ... You know, if we're discussing this from the standpoint of two people who basically control their time, and have a lot of discretion in that. I was thinking about other entrepreneurs who may be busier than we are.

Dan: Can I ask you a question on that because ... This is, you know we're 20 years or so into our entrepreneurial process. I'm 43 years into my entrepreneurial process, and see I pick 1974 as truly when I entered the entrepreneurial world-

Dean: Yeah. That's it.

Dan: ... namely that, you know if I didn't produce money with my activities you know-

Dean: Yeah. 1988 did that for me.

Dan: '88 so you're-

Dean: Yeah. Almost 30 years.

Dan: Almost 30 years, and if you go back progressively, or regressively as the case may be, if you go back to 1988, you were demanding of yourself far, far more activities in a day, than you now do.

Dean: I wonder. Yeah, I mean yeah, it could be. I mean I look at ... I still fundamentally have the same things whereas like somebody with ADD, and lots of opportunity, it's really interesting. I'll tell you something that maybe, that'll fit into this is that, last night we watched a documentary about John Paul DeJoria. Yeah, which was really fascinating. I took a screenshot of this moment, because they showed John's-

Dan: Could you give a little background on who he is, because he's a fascinating man.

Dean: Okay, yeah. Sure. Yeah.

Dan: You know, I've been to Genius Network, and Joe has introduced him, and he's a very appealing personality.

Dean: He really is.

Dan: He seems to have a really very humane mind, and you know I mean, his emotional state into how he treats himself, and how he treats other people. It's very appealing to listen to him.

Dean: Yeah. He's really such a nice guy too. So Joe and I have had him on, I Love Marketing. We did a great podcast episode with him, and then Joe has had him come to Genius Network, at least once, maybe twice he's been to Genius Network, but he's the founder and billionaire owner of Paul Mitchell hair care, and Patron Tequila, and you know lots of other ... He's been kind of instrumental in a lot of other companies, but he's ... You're right. He's a really authentic person.

I think we've mentioned him in some of our discussions, because what I found with him was he kind of walked us through his day, and the first thing that he does in the morning, is he kind of lays there, and just gets himself acclimated to the day, grounded himself kind of thing. Right? Like, take the time to soak it in, and kind of reflect on, which I can imagine is what I talk about with the 10 minutes of, "What have you got for me today?" and "What would I like to do today?" That's my first kind of conscious 10 minutes of the day now. That way I can wake up, and I know what my three are for the day, which is great.

I really enjoyed hearing him describe that, but last night this documentary is kind of his life story, which was really fascinating. As part of this, he was talking about school, and how he realized it really wasn't equipping him for anything. He didn't get great grades, but he ... They showed one of his postcards, and I took a screen cap, because the handwritten comment on his card said, "John has not been working up to his capacity."

Dan: Yeah. He seems to be the sort of person who can be accomplished at anything that he puts his mind to, but he doesn't seem to put forward the effort. Is that the-

Dean: That's what they're saying. So I really, I mean I had to laugh. I had to stop it and rewind, and get right to that moment and take that screen cap, because that's…

Dan: Well, that was your report card forever.

Dean: Exactly. Yes. I thought you know, only my teacher had a more eloquent way of saying it, but his teacher went as far as ... He was a classmate with Michelle Phillips, who was from The Mamas and the Papas, before she was that. They were good friends growing up in high school, and they had ... He'd passed her a note one day in school, and the teacher caught him. The note wasn't anything. It was like, "Hey, let's go to," whatever the name of the place was, "after school," or whatever, "I'll meet you there." The teacher had them stand up and told all the other students, "I want you to take a good look, because there's our two people who will never amount to anything in life." I thought that is just so perfect.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, but you know the teacher, was it a male teacher or a woman teacher? Did he-

Dean: I don't know. Male probably. Woman-

Dan: Yeah, but that teacher if that teacher's still alive might look at the two of them, and still make the same judgment. They didn't amount to anything.

Dean: Right. Exactly.

Dan: Anything. You know, I mean your teacher may look at what you do for a living right now and say, "Well that's too bad. He didn't really amount to anything."

Dean: Move up. Yeah, and watching…

Dan: Yeah, yeah. He seems to just laze about, and just cash his checks.

Dean: Oh, it's so funny Dan. I thought, I knew you would appreciate that.

Dan: Yeah, well it's really funny because I just completed the documentary film on myself, and we saw the director's cut-

Dean: I can't wait.

Dan: ... and you were very good in it. I mean, it's limited because he took 27 hours of video, and it can only end up with 43 for the documentary, but your part was really good. Two things. The one thing that really struck me about what you said was your appreciation of who I take inspiration from, and it goes back thousands of years, you know like you named Euclid, and Bach, and Shakespeare, and all of that.

I was just wondering whether, you know back in Euclid's day, which was roughly about 2500 years ago, whether people at the, in whatever the educational institution was in Alexandria, because he was a Greek who basically was in Egypt. Alexandria being a great learning center in those days, and there's you know, Euclid he just fools around with stuff, just doesn't seem to be any direction to what he's doing, you know? I give him an assignment, and he hasn't done it, and he keeps doing drawings and everything like that, and I just don't know where the-

Dean: Watched him doodling. Constantly doodling.

Dan: He's just constantly doodling, and he goes around just talking to everybody, and he just seems to spend his time chatting and doodling. I don't know if any of this is gonna amount to anything, you know, or Shakespeare, or Bach. I know that we kind of put people in stone you know, when we don't know much about their life. Almost nothing is known about Euclid's life, and we go back, but we're measuring their impact at what they created 2000 years ago, or 500 years ago. We're measuring their impact. The fact that what they created has lasted, and has become actually even more important as the time goes on. They said, "Boy, he must've been really focused." This genius said he had probably showed up early, and he had great teaching, and he was very productive, but I bet it was mostly drinking and hanging out, and doodling.

Dean: Yeah, doodling. I love that.

Dan: Yeah, doodling. Anyway, but the interesting thing about it, and I'm just gonna zero in on that, getting ready for the day. I do it the night before. That's the difference between our two methods, because I find that I need to sleep with a ... I need to go to sleep at night with a sense of clarity about what's important tomorrow, and because I don't lay about in the morning. The alarm goes off, and I mean, I hit the alarm and I'm into the day. So, I've never had the habit of pondering the day when I get up. It has to be pondered the night before, but that's just a habit. The thing is that days are different from each other, and I'd like to introduce this, that the reality of yesterday and what was possible yesterday, and what I thought was important yesterday, is not the same as what's available to me today.

Dean: I agree.

Dan: I've changed, and so has the world that I'm dealing with, so there's gotta be a recalibration, and a readjustment every 24 hours. That's what you're saying too.

Dean: It really is. I think we kind of, well last time, we talked it was ... I had this visualization of like a sonar sweep that comes around for that day, and only records that it was done, kind of thing, because we were looking at the things that you do today that don't really seemingly have the impact today, and they're not impacting, but over the cumulative time frame of a long time are making a huge difference, that are charting that course. I think you look at things like what you're doing with your morning routine, the things that are equipping your body to go to 156.

Dan: Yeah. I mean, the big thing is that, you know even though I, and I know you do too, I entertain a lot of new information every day. My experience has been that my present success at age 73 is really a function of certain activities that I've stuck with for decades.

Dean: Yes. Agreed. Now that-

Dan: I would say yours is the eight profit activators.

Dean: My eight profit activators. For sure. Yeah.

Dan: Yeah. I mean, it just seems to me that this is a long time constantly developing framework in your mind.

Dean: Yes. It is, and I'm happy to have that as a context, and a container to put everything in and to see it completely evolve. I was thinking about you with your lack of electronics really, as the thing. I wanted to do like the ... get the latest update from you on your daily involvement with electronics. I know you talked for years about reading all of your newspapers and stuff. Have you switched that to online now, or do you physically read-

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, and it's a big ... I've been thinking about that too, because newspapers were a vehicle for most of my life. I would say I really got involved with them when I started school, and it was the library in the town where I had papers and they were in those days, two or three days late. They weren't, you know it wasn't that then, it was outside of a metropolitan area, so you know where Cleveland, which was the central city that was closer, but it was 60 miles away. Monday's paper would show up in my town on Tuesday, and then the library might get it on Wednesday, and that was my access to it.

There were certain papers, and what I went after wasn't so much the daily news, because we had radio in those days. I was a radio listener, and you know there was certain things that happened every day, which my mother told me were important, so I had part of my brain just for some daily facts. Really the newspapers I went after were like the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, and the Christian Science Monitor, in those days. This was a paper put out by the Christian Science. It wasn't religious at all. I mean, it didn't have to do with their religion. It was just a newspaper. There were articles that would have ... You know, a good article written today might be still good two or three years down the line, because it was a thoughtful article about something having to do with American life, or having to do with the way the world was going, which would still be true over a period of years, or it would still be interesting and insightful over two or three years.

So that was my training, was the newspapers, but when the internet came in, I have to tell you the tremendous switchover for me was the personal computer obviously. Then when the internet came in, I noticed that my mind was really, really geared to the profusion of new sites, of interesting sites. Now, my main source is an aggregator on the internet, which is called the RealClearUniverse, and it's vast. They'll have RealClearPolitics, RealClearMarkets, which is about financial information. They'll have RealClearWorld, which is about world news, and science, and technology, and history, and books.

Each of these is a separate click. What they done for that day, that system, whatever the RealClear system is, they'll list all the interesting articles being written around the world. They may be filtering 100 different publications, but they're just picking out things that they think readership of their site. So, that's the switchover for me.

I will say this, the one newspaper that has survived the cut, you know where I still read it in newspaper form is, or two actually. It's the Wall Street Journal, and another one called Investor's Business Daily, and they're both American. Interestingly enough, these are the only two newspapers that are making a profit in newspaper form in the United States right now. The New York Times does not make a profit in its newspaper form, but it is making an increasingly big form in it's online version, because they charge for a subscription.

Dean: Yeah. Very interesting. So you read the physical versions of those, not online?

Dan: No, I read them ... Yeah, I read them in the physical, they come in every morning, and ... At one time I had seven newspaper subscriptions. That's only three years ago, but I just noticed that you gradually gravitate towards what works best for you, and the online has definitely taken over.

Dean: How many units do you, is the right amount for you on a daily basis of that?

Dan: 12.

Dean: 12? So, two hours you're doing?

Dan: Two hours, yeah. Two hours. I would say the vast majority of it is where I have spotted something I didn't know. It's not that I'm going over things I already knew. I don't need to do that. Simply that, "Oh. What's that about?" You know, I'll see the headline, and you know it's all in the headlines.

Dean: Yes. It really is.

Dan: I just scan down the headlines, and say for today they've given me 20 possible, but I'll go down and I'll pick on maybe four or five of them, and I'll say, "Hmm. I haven't seen that before. That's interesting." So, I'm going into what I hope is a new world with its information. It's information that I didn't know before, and I go into it that way, and you know it's just that my brain has been doing this for 65 years, so it's a pleasure to have that part of my brain, sort of exercised every day.

Dean: Yes. I love that. Absolutely. Aside from that then, how much of your time is in electronic? I mean, you're not, you don't really use email much. I know you use it some, but not much.

Dan: I use it for work projects though. The email, although I've heard of a new system called Slack, where you can actually interact with your team, and everybody's posting their progress, and it's not time sensitive and I can tune in. This is what I've heard about it, so I'm investigating it this quarter that I would be able to get the entire picture of everybody's input regardless of what time I went on, because it just holds everybody's progress, and their comments, and everything like that. So I got really intrigued, because it obviously identifies some aspect of awareness of project progress that I wasn't getting. I forget who talked to ... Oh. It was Steve Klein. You know Steve Klein.

Dean: I do. Yeah.

Dan: Yeah, and Steve was saying that he switched over to Slack. Steve is really a technology guy. He joined the program when he was 27, and he's now 47. I'm always aware that he's kind of at the cutting edge of new electronic stuff that he finds very, very useful. He's one of my scouts, you know. All of us. You have scouts, I have scouts, of people out there who are more well developed in some area, and they do all the exploration. They do all the testing, and then when they come up with one, they say, "You know, this is a real breakthrough." Then I take it seriously.

Dean: Yes. Love it.

Dan: Yeah, but cell phone, not at all.

Dean: That's where I was going next. So, you're actually walking through the day without an oxygen tank, as what I've come to call it, right? Like I mean, I really feel like the rest of us in the world, it's become like an oxygen tank that we can't go and function in the world without getting a hit of oxygen. You know, in checking Facebook, and email, and other things.

Dan: Yeah, actually the hour that I spend with you on the podcast per week, usually we try to do it once a week, but if I had to measure it in units, this would be six units of using the cell phone, and that would be ... I could go weeks and not have another 10 minute period. You must understand-

Dean: So you have to kind of dust it off on Saturday, and plug it in to make sure it's gonna…

Dan: No. No. First thing on Sunday morning I make sure that I've got a full charge.

Dean: Right. I love it. So, that's the level-

Dan: Yeah, but I was never a landline guy. I mean when there were landlines. Phone's just never made it into my world.

Dean: Right. Yeah. That's really, I mean it's ... I'm just thinking about a different experience there. You know, like you are sort of in a lot of the day, what I call off the grid. In meaning, you're not like ... You know, when you think about when you were growing up and you were on the farm, and out in the woods, or in the library, or all those things it's like the only thing people have to go on is your last known whereabouts kind of thing, because you're off the grid, right?

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I always had something better that interested me than being connected with someone else, you know? But, then I have this, because our procrastination priority discussions are hugely important to me. I mean, they're right at the top of the list. You know, they're up at the top of the list, so it's not that ... It's just that when I look at how other people use the phones, it's for a purpose that really isn't all that important to me. I'm surrounded by people who are very, very phone intensive. So if anything, and as you know I build a team around me that keeps me informed about what I need to know. I'm depending on all their phone work to come up with two or three important things a day that I need to know about, because it's not that I'm not informed, I'm just allowing them to do all the digging and the hard work.

Dean: Right. Right.

Dan: Whenever they come up with, they say, "Dan, so and so wants to talk to you," but then the meeting will be ... and then I'll use conference call, or I'll use Zoom, and I'll have a really good discussion with them. For the most part what I observe about people around me regarding their phone, that that connectivity is really a value to them, where it's not to me.

Dean: Yeah. I get that. I get that.

Dan: Yeah. You know, it's just what it is. I'm not gonna take a week long course on the use of iPhone so that I can get in the swing of it, you know?

Dean: Right, right, right.

Dan: I could come up with 10 new ideas during that time of that course, you know? Why would I spend the time doing that? I mean, it's really, really interesting, but have you noticed something that other people do that you don't do, you know? In other words, you're pointing out my habit with electronics, but is there something that you observe in all the people you deal with that they do, that you don't do?

Dean: Not that I can point to right now. I think if I thought about it, there would be things. Like I do think, yeah, I don't feel that urgent need to be instantly available. I think, which a lot of people do feel that I know. I'm really, what I'm looking at and thinking about is, Deep Work. That book by Cal Newport, and-

Dan: Yeah, I haven't gotten to that yet, but I've heard great things about it.

Dean: It really is amazing, and I really see now like as I just observe my environment, I really ... That's kind of where I came with that oxygen tank sort of analogy, you know that it's completely around. Like there's nothing more I joked about. Starbucks, you know like I'll go to Starbucks. I like to read magazines, or sit outside and just kind of disconnect when I'm there. Often will leave my phone in my car, but I still can't get myself to leave the house without my phone. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing? It's like I feel like, "Well, I should take it just in case something happens." Like all the rationalizations that our brain has for keeping all these things, and anyway I'll often go there.

I use the Starbucks app, which definitely makes my life better, and I'll order what I want, and then leave the phone in my car. That way I can just go in and pick up my ... Today I had the protein bistro box, and a green tea. I pick that up, and then I'll go sit outside, and read my magazines and not have my phone there with me, because I'm constantly looking that ... If my phone is right there, I will look at it, and I will glance and check my email, or check Facebook, or check my if I'm running, if I'm testing new ads on Facebook I'll check how that's doing. Just constantly this loop of nonessential distraction, you know?

Dan: I think the one thing that I've noticed is that somewhere in the past I made a decision that whatever I was doing that day was more important than anything else going on in the world.

Dean: I like that.

Dan: Therefore, I never have the sense that being disconnected, that I'm missing anything really important.

Dean: Right. That's where I'm getting at is, I'm really observing that and weening myself away from that, because we've talked about the frequency, right? Like back ... I remember 30 years ago. What's changed is that the frequency was that you got the mail once a day. The newspaper came out once a day. The magazines came out once a month, and the news was on at six o'clock. That's really the frequency of information coming at you. That was-

Dan: And you have to appreciate what was normal to us through the years, was vastly different for all of human history. People, you know, the amount of news that you would've gotten 30 years ago, was vastly greater than what the human race.

Dean: 30 years before that.

Dan: Oh yeah. You know, I mean somebody might come to the village with a piece of news in the old days, and everybody would ask the person, but that was kind of like the news, you know?

Dean: Yeah. Yeah.

Dan: So even the two of us 30 years ago, were vastly being daily informed at a degree much, much higher than had been the norm in human history.

Dean: Yeah, and then you know, even then it was just the beginning of ... It was right ... I started my real estate career right before kind of cell phones that you could have wired into your car took off, because I remember I got my first cell phone in 1989. So like a year later, but we had pagers, you know beepers. Your office could page you when you had a message, so you did have that freedom from being at the office, you were available kind of thing, but still off the grid with a beacon is what that really was, right? So then you get somebody that could get a message to you if they needed to.

I was looking at this morning, there was a group of girls sitting outside at the table next to me, and there were four of them, and all four of them were independently on their phones, you know with intermittent conversation in between. They were all experiencing the life in the phone, not in the world, you know?

Dan: Yeah. Well it's interesting, Babs and I were in London two years ago, and you know the Firmdale Hotels are one of my favorite places in London. You know they have a set of hotels, and they're all really fascinating environments the way they're designed, but also the activity that's in these hotels. The newest one is called The Ham Yard, which is right near Piccadilly Circle. It's about a minute's walk from Piccadilly Circus.

We were recommended to a sushi restaurant, which is in a courtyard, and they said, "You know, this is really a good sushi restaurant," so Babs and I went over. It was the two of us. Across from us was a banket, it was kind of like a booth, and there were six Japanese girls, who seemed to be late teens, maybe ... Yeah, I think they were late teens, probably 16 or 17, and I was just watching that all six of them had their cell phones out for an entire two hour period of time. There was no conversation at the table, even though the various courses of their meal were brought to them, but not once did I see any interactive communication among the six of them. Each of them was connected to an outside universe, and was fully engaged for the full two hours.

Dean: Yeah. Wow.

Dan: I said, "Wow, that's a ... " Yeah, I was just putting it down as an observation of how we, you know of what has happened. You know, 30 years ago they would've been sitting laughing, talking about this person, and talking about this person, but they would've all joined in, in the conversation. But here, they were together, obviously they showed up at the restaurant at the same time, but during their time together, they weren't together.

Dean: Right. That's exactly it, and that's where ... I think that when, if I think on another level here, that what we're missing with that, if it's not other people, we're missing that opportunity to connect with ourselves, and our own thoughts by defaulting to the phone when it's right there with us. That's what I find the danger for me, is that I can fall into that, and so I'm consciously observing that, and making it a, you know how I can really task in a way. You know when I'm focused on one of my three things of just being, and doing that. The good news is, conversation really lends itself to that single task stuff. You know it's like these-

Dan: Well, what I'm wondering, I mean if you followed ... You know, you took each of those Japanese girls, and I say they were girls, because they weren't women yet, and you followed them through the day, would that being on the phone fill up their entire day? In other words, throughout the entire day they were interacting digitally, but not personally.

Dean: Oh yeah. Absolutely. I mean, it's like when you look at it ... I look at my ... I installed an app on my phone called Moment. It tracks your usage of your phone, and having that awareness has really been a good thing to help me kind of slow that down. Like it's gone, where there are some days Dan, when I first installed this that I would be online, or on my phone six hours out of the day there. You know? Granted, some of that was talking on the phone, like it doesn't include that I was actually in a conversation, but looking at the actual times that you touch your phone, and that you are ... you know, what you're actually doing.

It shows you a timeline through the day of the actual times that you glanced at, like picked up your phone, and then expands that there were ... You know, like yesterday I had a total of two hours and fifty-six minutes of screen time, with sixty pickups of the phone. So, I picked up my phone sixty times yesterday. Now that's interesting, because that two hours and fifty-six is on the low end of the actual amount of time, you know, so ...

Dan: Yeah. I mean it's very, very interesting, because I was just doing the calculation here. If I identified my last sixty pickups, it would go back to before, way before you and I actually started this whole series.

Dean: And we've got, I can count for twenty-six of them so far. Yeah, exactly.

Dan: Yeah. I mean, you know I put the phone on, and I put down, and immediately recent contacts comes up, and it just gives me a telephone number in Kissimmee, Florida for, you know. The telephone company may have contacted me four or five times trying to sell me something new, you know? So that might've been one, but you know, you've accounted for about 95% of my talk time on cell phones.

Dean: I'm happy. That's great. I love that. That reminded me of Neil Strauss our friend, he's The New York Times best selling author. He's had lots of great...

Dan: Great guy. Great guy, yeah.

Dean: Wonderful guy. His recommendation, one of the things that he constantly has been talking about for years as one of his big productivity secrets, because being a writer is certainly one of the most procrastination prone activities that you can engage in, because there's really no ... It's deadline driven, but there's nothing ... You're not gonna write the whole book today, but you have to marshal up your opportunity to write a little bit of it today, for several months to get to a point where you are complete by the big deadline that's coming up.

He said one of the things that's made the biggest difference for him is an app called Freedom. You basically program it in. You put how much freedom you want. You can set it for one hour, or three hours, or four hours, or whatever it is, and you can't get online, or get on the internet at all in that period of time.

Dan: Wow. That, hmm. That's a beautiful ... My feeling is, that we're now in the period of counteraction against the digital world, so I've been keeping track of articles. I've seen probably out of 15 or 20 articles just in the last two or three months, where there's a counter move against the digital world where people are drawing borders and lines where the digital world is not gonna come into their world, so I ... The other thing is that there's now quite a profound political movement against the big tech providers.

I noticed these individuals who were the cultural role models, like Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page, and everything like that, and people you know, there's really well thought out articles about saying, "You know, we've allowed these people to have too much influence and control in our lives, and we're gonna start taking a look at their amount of control, and how they're influencing the general political life, you know this mostly American stuff, picking up the United States, and do we really want these individuals to have that much power?"

I'd never seen that before this year, you know? So, they've been out there very exponentially expanding their empires, and all of a sudden this year, there's a consciousness, "Hey, wait a minute." It's almost like a foreign species of a snake or turtle had gotten into the Everglades you know, and it's eating all the life, and they're being looked at as they're kinda of a predatory species that have kind of gotten into our life. I think we're just in the early stages of now balancing everybody in their own way, but they're sort of saying you know, it's like sugar. You can have a little bit. You find out that McDonald's is putting sugar in the salt, you know-

Dean: What?

Dan: ... so it doesn't matter. Oh yeah. Yeah. I think they stopped doing it now, but apparently ... Sugar is a chemical, which turns off our body's ability to know when it's had too much to eat, you know?

Dean: Yeah.

Dan: And so they found out, and they took all of McDonald's servings for one day, and bought it in separate McDonald's restaurant, and took it to a lab, and they found out that there was sugar in everything.

Dean: Oh man.

Dan: Yeah, yeah, no. I mean, think about that in terms of digital communication as being sugar, and you begin to say, "Hey, they've gotten sugar into everything you know, and we can't turn it off."

Dean: True. That's the truth.

Dan: Anyway, this has been a very, very interesting discussion for me, because-

Dean: It always is.

Dan: ... I can see you starting to create boundaries and structures, and I think that's what we all have to do.

Dean: Yes.

Dan: You know? A lot of talk about something that Steve Klein brought up, because Steve is always identifying interesting concepts and exercises that I can introduce into the program, and he was in for his workshop just this past Thursday, and he said, "You have the best ability to say, no to new opportunity of anyone I know. Can you kind of explain what your thought process is that, lots of things come up that could be possibilities for a Strategic Coach to get involved in, and you always say, no." And he says, "Where does your, no come from?" Anyway, so it was an interesting thought, because obviously I've said, "No," to the cell phone.

Dean: Yeah. How did you answer that?

Dan: Well I said, "You're opening me up to something I haven't observed, but I'll give some thought to it." You know? So, I'm just at the early stages of that. Anyway, but one thing I never say, "No," to is an hour's conversation with Dean Jackson.

Dean: There we go. So we have one more next week, and then I'll see you in Phoenix I guess.

Dan: Yes. Yeah, which I'm looking forward to. Yeah.

Dean: Yeah. Me too.

Dan: Yeah, and just a wrap up of something new that occurred to you as we were talking ...

Dean: Well, this idea of sharing it with you kind of formalized more what you said at the very end here, that you're seeing me adding more structure. That's really what it is, for me. I'm seeing how taking all of these things that we've been talking about it, and creating it into like a unified, this is the system for it that I'm using, putting some structure, and it's really very helpful.

Dan: Yeah, and I think that they you know, and this is a whole area to explore, to go back to our early grade cards, because I just had to look at my grade cards again, because we send off to Nick Minton all sorts of photos, early photos that's he's using. One of them was the report cards, and I went back over it, and it was just there that, "Dan is a good student as far as getting grades, but he just doesn't really have any respect for authority, whatsoever."

Dean: I love it. I mean, you take all of that, it's almost like not fitting into that academic box is really one of the most reliable indicators of entrepreneurial success.

Dan: Oh yeah. There's no question about it. No question. It's just a ... But the whole point is that entrepreneurs from a very early age are in agreement that there's gonna be boundaries and structures, but they're not gonna come from the outside. They're gonna come from the inside, and I think that's probably, you know we're really onto formulating why entrepreneurs exist in the first place, and then how they develop.

Dean: Right. I love it. Well, Dan-

Dan: Always a pleasure.

Dean: As always. I will talk to you next time.

Dan: Yep.

Dean: Okay.

Dan: That'll be next Sunday.

Dean: That's right.

Dan: All right.

Dean: Thanks Dan. Bye.

Dan: Bye.