When I posed a productivity survey to my email list not long ago, I noticed there was a pattern. The most common themes that kept popping up were:
- I have tons of goals and work 60+ hours a week… but don’t get everything done, can’t turn off at the end of the day, and can’t enjoy my free time.
- I have trouble just choosing ONE THING and focusing on it until it’s done.
- I can outline incredible ideas like it’s nothing – but struggle to actually implement them.
- I will procrastinate forever on ACTUALLY GETTING STARTED on a project.
- I’ve got a thousand interruptions/distractions (Facebook, family, etc)
- I work all day, but the work I do is never good enough (aka perfectionism)
- I spend so much time on other projects that I don’t have time or energy for my own.
…and, no matter the problem, the end result was always the same from each respondent: stress, anxiety, and frustration.
It was kind of surreal reading over the responses because, frankly, I understood all of them. Because I’ve lived all of those issues to a “T”.
It’s embarrassing to admit how much I struggled with productivity in the past. I’d have literal YEARS with no progress on my businesses – despite working 10+ hour days. Yes, YEARS… where I could look back and say, “I have not added any new products/services/emails/copy to my business in this time despite working harder & longer than 99% of the population.”
And all this despite forcing myself to wake up at 5am.
Or cultivating elaborate morning rituals.
Or “time-boxing” all my work with Pomodoros.
Or using every “to-do” app on the market.
And spending hours Googling for new productivity tips.
In fact, I’d say all that stuff made it worse. Because it made it feel like there was something wrong with me. I have all the tools, and all the drive & motivation & will-power in the world… but I’m producing absolutely nothing.
It’s crippling and stressful. Not only are you embarrassed because you have nothing to show other people for the work you’re putting in every day, and you start questioning how capable you actually are, but you’re… you know… also not making any money despite 10+ hour days.
But a few years ago something crazy happened.
It was April 2012. April 12, 2012 to be exact.
I remember because it was a Thursday.
Money was tight at the time.
I’d just left a business I’d put my heart & soul into. And for the last few months I’d just sort of been “getting by”.
Doing some client work here and there – but no big projects of my own.
And that’s when a big idea hit me. One I couldn’t stop thinking about.
I’d had “big ideas” in the past but this time I decided I was going to act as fast as possible (for a specific reason I’ll be revealing to you very shortly). So on Friday I decided to set up a landing page to test its viability – while outlining on my computer the basic structure of the business itself.
By Saturday I’d been convinced enough by the response to the landing page to create the beginnings of the product.
By Sunday I’d written up a simple sales letter selling the product (only 693 words including the headline).
And on Monday – I had 20 immediate orders for it.
Holy shit, there’s actually some demand for this!
The product wasn’t even finished yet. My plan was to write it day-by-day as we went along (since this was how I’d originally structured the business in my planning).
But despite being incomplete, orders kept trickling in over the rest of the week.
And, to make a long story short, that business — which you now know as CopyHour — went on to become a six figure “lifestyle” business for me. I can walk away from it for months at a time because it’s almost automated at this point, but I stay involved because I love everything about it.
I love the people I meet through it. I love the insane success stories.
It’s a “dream” business to me. And it all started as a weekend experiment.
You can see the original archived page here.
As you’ll see, the entire business started as an experiment – a way for me to be accountable and get a group to do the handwriting exercise with me. Then the results started pouring in, which led me to turn it into a bigger and more structured business.
The thing is – the extreme productivity didn’t really last. So it was a little while after that experience of literally “creating a business in a weekend” (something that I’d always read about but never actually done myself) that I sat back and wondered, “What was different about this experience that I actually got things done so quickly – without overthinking it, without complicating it, without getting stuck in perfectionism, and without putting in 10+ hour days?”
And more importantly… how could I reproduce it every day?
Which led me to start studying other successful people.
I mean actual successful people. The ones who don’t write about productivity because they’re too busy actually making things in the real world.
I’d look for case studies and anecdotes and interviews and more.
And that’s when I stumbled on the three core ideas…
Three things they had all the time that I had during that one weekend too.
Things that I ended up using to later build the organic beauty business I run with my wife – and to help grow the businesses of others who I’ve consulted with.
And also to just turn off my brain at the end of the day with no stress or anxiety.
So I can meet up with friends. Or go to the movies. Or have date night with my wife. Or go on long bike rides. And not have my brain running a million miles per hour the whole time wondering, “Have I gotten all my work done? Ugh I wish I could be working right now so I could get all that work completed.”
In fact, a lot of times now, my real work is done by noon. That’s generally my goal.
I get more done by noon than I used to get done in a week. It’s a good feeling.
BUT I’M ALSO NOT PERFECT. I’ve just realized I’m painting a picture of myself as some kind of saint here. I still struggle with productivity all the time.
Yet to go from years of 10+ hour workdays, never being able to turn my brain off at the end of the day, being stressed out 24/7 over incomplete work, and just sort of making ends meet (and sometimes not even that)…
…to actually getting my work done every day, enjoying time with my wife and friends stress-free, and living comfortably in my dream city?
It’s basically a miracle.
And I’m sure you can relate with that.
Now here’s the deal: I’ve rambled for a while here. So I’m going to cut this email off at this point today. I don’t want to write a 3,000 word email. (I mean, I would… but I want you to actually be able to focus on all this.)
So tomorrow I’m going to cover the first two ideas in complete detail.
Then on Thursday I’m going to cover the final idea – which is the big, powerful, monster one that makes the first two actually work in the first place.
And on Friday I’m going to help you tie them all together yourself.
I’m going to take my time describing everything so these emails will be long.
But I’m guessing you’re used to that with me by now 🙂
My hope here is to give you a complete shift in the way you think about productivity and getting work done. To basically flip a switch in your mind that makes it easy, and almost effortless, to get stuff done every day without having to stop and think about it.
Think of it like a brain trick… the same way that hand-writing sales copy “programs” the rhythms and cadences and phrasing of world-class copy into your head, so it just comes out when you write (without having to try).
My goal is to create the same thing for you… but with productivity.
All without having to worry about morning rituals, and using every to-do app on the market, and religiously working in time-boxed blocks…
And having to listen to podcasters tell you that the simple solution to your problem is “just taking massive action!”. If it were that easy, you’d probably be a multi-millionaire with multiple giant businesses on your hands by now.
All that stuff is the 80% of actions that get you 20% of results.
In other words – it helps, but limits you to 20% of your potential.
I’m more interested in the “big wins” that create 80% of results.