To recap… we’ve covered the first two most important principles I’ve found for true productivity: hard deadlines and the “just get it done” mentality.
When you have these two at your disposal, getting stuff done… and getting it done FAST… becomes easy. I’m talking superhuman levels of productivity.
But I know you’ve likely already heard about both of these before.
And I’m guessing they’ve never worked for you.
If you’re allowed to break your deadlines, you will.
And if you’re allowed to tweak/modify/edit a project forever, you will.
Which leads me to that final piece of the puzzle I’ve been hinting about.
And to explain it, I need to include a detail about The Story of CopyHour that I haven’t told you yet in these pages. Here’s the deal…
So I’ve already mentioned how the first version of the product was essentially created in a weekend. (Which is how almost all of the most successful businesses I’ve been involved in have been created too.)
But a few months before that, I’d actually been getting beyond frustrated with my lack of output – and the lack of money (and feeling of failure) that came with it.
You see, I’d actually been in business for myself since 2008. By 2009 I’d put together my first product, a short ebook for James Bond fans. Then I sold the rights to that product and by 2010 I’d joined forces with a business partner which crumbled in 2011 for reasons I can’t get into here now – but left me with zero savings (it all went into that business) and zero income streams (I’d sold off my little publishing business and had turned down client work up until that point).
So there I was, a little over three years into self-employment, and basically destitute. I was barely paying the bills every month – and I’d been forced to pretty drastically lower how much my bills were anyway.
Luckily my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) put up with it 🙂
I started taking on client work, specifically helping them publish info products of their own. And I’ll be honest – it drove me absolutely nuts. You know how some people say “everyone should work retail at least once in their lives to learn empathy for other people”? I think the same thing applies to client work.
There are some great clients out there, don’t get me wrong. But I quickly realized how frustrating it can be to have all the work you do second-guessed – and to work with people who have no clue how much your advice & work is really worth.
After about 6 months of nothing but client work (and driving myself crazy with it), I realized… I needed MY OWN income stream again. Something that I controlled 100%.
But I had no clue where to begin.
The previous few years had sort of chewed me up and spat me out.
And any time I tried to approach a new idea, I’d find… I couldn’t get ANYTHING done. I’d do all the things we’ve talked about the past few days:
- I’d outline things no problem – but then I’d write in circles.
- I’d question EVERYTHING about my work – doubting that it’s good enough.
- And writing sales copy was the worst part – I’d literally get tripped up for weeks trying to write just the intro paragraphs to my letters, making them “perfect”, because if someone doesn’t read past the intro then they’re gone forever, right?
I tried every productivity trick and hack in the book.
But I also at this point of the story joined a private forum for entrepreneurs. It cost a fair bit of money, money I didn’t really have, but I wanted to be around other entrepreneurs… and potentially find some new clients.
That was the main motivation for joining that forum. Seeing if there were people who needed help publishing their info products.
But pretty quickly I found that a lot of the people in there were CRUSHING IT.
It was insane to see what was going on. If you’ve never been inside a private paid forum before, let me tell you: the level of discussion (and quality of individual) in there is on another level.
I was seeing candid discussions going on from people effortlessly making five and six and (in one or two cases) seven figures a month.
This was totally out of my sphere of possibility at that time.
But there it was. It was real.
And to all of them, it was just normal.
So needless to say… I felt EXTREMELY out of place.
Yet the more I hung around this forum, the more I felt like I needed to level up my game. It was like this extreme urge inside me that wouldn’t shut up – sort of like the caveman whose chemicals are screaming at him to run away from the saber toothed tiger staring at him, and forcing him to do it (whether he wants to or not).
The thing that always inspired me about this group was that they somehow were able to just take quick action – something I’d always struggled with (as we’ve covered the past few days).
I’d see forum posts all the time from someone running a case study like… “[Case Study] Six Figure E-Commerce Store, Created In A Weekend, Only 6 Months In Operation“. And I’m seriously talking ALL THE TIME. It was so insanely inspiring – but also intimidating at the same time.
I felt like an idiot not being at the same level as these guys.
Until one Thursday, when I had the idea for CopyHour. I knew I wanted to level up my copywriting skills, I knew this was the best way to do it, but I also knew I couldn’t do it without the accountability of a group doing it with me.
But because of the “just get it done” mentality of the group, I figured… screw it, let’s just make this happen right now.
Four days later I had a product for sale – with 20 new customers.
And even more customers coming in throughout the week as word spread.
And over the years since then, I’ve built multiple businesses – both for myself and for others. Because I’d found out how easy it really is to do.
Which brings me to that final piece of the 80/20 productivity puzzle I’ve been talking about, which is…
Principle #3: Tribes
This is the big secret.
This is how you get deadlines to work (without breaking them) – effortlessly.
This is how you enter the “just get it done” mentality (without overthinking & over-editing your work) – effortlessly.
Your brain is wired to keep up with whatever tribes you’re a part of.
When you’re surrounded by a tribe of people who are getting things done at an insane rate, your brain is wired to FORCE YOU to keep up with them – and also get things done at an insane rate.
Conversely, when you’re surrounded by a tribe of people who make excuses and get nothing done and output low-level work – then that’s what YOU end up doing too.
It can be summed up in a phrase I’m sure you’ve heard before: “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
There is an actual chemical basis to this.
We’re tribal creatures.
This is also why if you lose a ton of weight, your significant other & family generally tries to cut you down if they’re still overweight (you’re not part of the tribe anymore!). Or why “the rich get richer” (because they hang around other wealthy people, which leads to new ways of thinking… and deals being made… and advantages that people without that tribe will never know).
The examples can go on, and on, and on. Try to think of a few yourself – maybe some you’ve experienced in your own life.
But the point is that the easiest way to level up your life in any specific way is to find a tribe of people who have exactly what you want… and then just join them. That’s it.
Your brain takes care of the rest on autopilot.
It slowly starts to change your thinking and actions and behaviors to match the tribe.
This is exactly what happened to me when I was part of that forum of hustlers getting stuff done and seeing so much success. My brain immediately started saying two things:
1. “Wow, you could be getting 100x more done now than you are.”
2. “And if you don’t START getting 100x more done right now, you’re going to be ridiculed or kicked out of the tribe.”
At that point, absolutely none of the productivity hacks I’d spent months researching on Google mattered anymore.
I was basically the caveman running away from the saber toothed tiger. I didn’t need to “force” myself to do anything. Putting together & prototyping a product in a weekend was my new normal… because that was my tribe’s normal.
My brain did it because that’s just what I needed to do to fit in with the tribe.
And here’s the deal: literally every successful person I’ve studied has had the same thing going for them.
Maybe they had a small mastermind with high-level entrepreneurs that honestly pushed them (instead of getting together and just gossiping).
Maybe they worked out of a co-working space with tons of inspiring entrepreneurs who were getting ridiculous amounts of work done.
Maybe they worked inside a business with other high-level people.
Or maybe they were utilizing private forums like I was.
Whatever the case was – they all had a tribe of people they were a part of, who had created a culture of ridiculous amounts of output…
Which then forced their brains into the same mode.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
So if you’re struggling with productivity yourself, let me ask you seriously: what do YOUR five people look like? Who’s in your tribe and what’s the expected output of that tribe?
Chances are, they’re people who don’t output much either.
They just sit around and talk about goals and dream big dreams… but aren’t actually ever out there taking chances and just doing stuff.
Or they’re setting almost silly tiny goals because they don’t believe the bigger goals are possible.
Or maybe you don’t even have a tribe of people doing the same kind of work as you at all. You have no one to compete with, to look up to, to inspire you, to aspire to… you just have yourself. Which is probably the toughest of all.
Humans aren’t wired to work in captivity like that.
And THAT is why none of the productivity hacks you know actually work.
It’s why you’re always breaking your own deadlines, and struggling to “just get it done”, and why waking up at 5am makes no difference, and why having a morning ritual does absolutely nothing for you, and why working 25 minute blocks of time doesn’t help at all…
Your brain doesn’t have a fire lit under its butt, an urge to keep up with a high-achieving tribe… lest you get kicked out for under-performing.
(And yes I know brains don’t have butts. Just go with the metaphor.)
So you let yourself slip… constantly. There are no repercussions if you do.
Once you’re in that tribe though – everything becomes easy.
You become like the 1% who produce 80% of the world’s work.
And who get to turn off their brains at the end of the day, and enjoy time with friends & family, and don’t have to stress over money 24/7 – because money is a natural by-product of their extreme output.
(I read long ago, “Your income online is directly proportional to the number of ‘buy now’ buttons you have for people to click.” That’s always stuck with me.)
So it should be obvious: you need to find that tribe for yourself.
One that naturally has an environment of high achievement – and where you feel the natural inclination to keep up and fit in with them. Trust me, your brain will handle the rest from there.
We’re just now getting to the good stuff 🙂