Watch the Interview
About Kevin Kruse
1:20 How Kevin Became a Productivity Coach: Kevin considers himself a “reformed entrepreneur” from the days when all-nighters, not eating, and complete devotion and sacrifice was the strategy. The irony is, those businesses failed. Relationships failed as well. Kevin began querying successful people that he knew about how they have time to work out, to golf, or spend time with their families. When he applied these habits, his businesses got better and his relationships got better. After he sold his last business, he expanded his inquiries and began writing about them to help people.
5:13 Reframing Time Management: Kevin dislikes the term “time management”, because you cannot manage time. There are 1440 minutes in a day. Mindset drives behavior. He interviewed over 200 successful people, including Olympic athletes, and all viewed time as an asset. We never get it back. We would never let people, even friends, steal money from us, yet we do that with our time. It is a mindset. There is nothing more important than time. When we believe this, behaviors that bring about balance are easier to implement.
9:06 Being Clear on Priorities: You must be clear on your life priorities and your daily priorities. Focus and act upon your life values and M.I.T., (AKA Most Important Task). Your M.I.T. changes, sometimes day to day. Schedule the things that you value. Rest, sleep, relaxation, de-stressing are M.I.T.s too. Every morning, Kevin looks at his calendar and asks himself “What is my M.I.T. and what do I need to do to win the day?” He prefers to win the day before lunchtime.
14:05 Scheduling Your Priorities: The idea of the To Do List is over 100 years old. Action items on To Do Lists are not timed. We tend to do the things that can be done quickly and easy to cross off. There is no prioritization, so we tend to do things that are urgent rather than important. To Do Lists increase our stress levels and tends to keep us from being present in the moment. A recent research study showed that 50% of To Do items are never done.
16:39 To Do List Alternative: Make a list, but immediately transfer it to your calendar. You have already blocked out time for the things that are important to you, like family, relaxation, or workout time. The new items fill the remaining time blocks. If each item is timed and blocked on your calendar, you can be more effective at protecting your time and better at saying “No”. Things should be scheduled so you can maintain your energy level throughout the day.
19:25 What to Call Your Action Item: Think of your time blocks as you would an appointment with the doctor or dentist. Don’t reschedule when other things come up. For example, call your exercise a Health Appointment. When asked to bump it, call it a health appointment and protect that time. Rarely will the interruption will be important enough to reschedule. Default to “No, I can’t”.
21:32 Our Present Self vs Our Future Self: We have great ideas of how we are going to do/be so much better in the future. When the future becomes the present, we do not follow through. We sabotage ourselves. So when we plan for the future, we have to keep in mind and plan around all the ways we will work to mess up the plan.
26:54 Your Calendar: Do what’s right for you. What works for Kevin and many others is an online calendar. It easily allows you to build recurring time blocks and move items, when necessary. It can be helpful to sync your phone with your online calendar. Your calendar becomes your To Do List.
29:16 Doing Something is better than nothing: Especially when it comes to things we procrastinate, doing a little is better than not doing anything. Often, once you get started, you’ll finish. Now is the only moment that counts. Now is the only moment we can control. Successful people schedule things in 15 minute chunks. Reset the default on your online calendar to 15 minute blocks. It changes your scheduling and your mindset to 15 minute blocks and facilitates you taking ownership of each 15 minute block.
29:27 The Email Rule: Email and meetings are what most people say hijacks their productivity. We often send too many emails, and add too many people to emails. We get something out of frequent email checks. Receiving gratifying emails or FaceBook posts incites a dopamine response. It is like a micro-Christmas. Ultra-productive people schedule time to process email. Kevin’s own system is called 3, 2, 1, 0. Three scheduled checks per day for 21 minutes maximum. He even sets an alarm. It is rushed, but that’s good. It is a time that works for him. Emails are deleted, delegated, dealt with quickly, or deferred by being scheduled. Gmail allows you to click “More” and create an event and the email becomes an event on your calendar. The goal is to get the email inbox to zero.
38:04 Dealing with Procrastination: A valuable tool is an accountability partner. We break promises to ourselves, but we hesitate to do the same to others. Also helpful is the reward or penalty payment. Reward is straightforward. To help with the penalty, there is a web site (http://www.stickk.com/) where you state your goal and you put money down. If you do not meet your goal, the site will send the money to an organization you don’t like.
43:12 Kevin’s Favorite Herb and Food Efficiency Advice: Kevin has found that ginger has helped his G.I. issues and he continues to eat/drink it. Preparing meals in advance can change people’s lives. When meals are prepped and easy, you will save time and eat healthy.
44:57 Kevin’s Advice for Our Nation’s Leaders: Health directly correlates to energy levels and productivity. Sugar is evil. White carbs are evil. Better nutrition education and foods should be part of our schools for our kids. When we shift to slow carbs, it is almost life-changing.
46:19 Kevin’s Morning Routine: When Kevin asked top productive people their number one piece of advice for productivity; many referred to their morning routine. Kevin calls his morning routine his “Sacred 60”. He pops out of bed, starts the coffee, gets the kids off the school, and feeds the cat. Then he sits and contemplates all of the things for which he is grateful. He tries to meditate. Currently, Kevin is experimenting with the Muse headband. Every day, he does about 20 minutes of yoga stretches. He either hops on the treadmill or works out one body part. He drinks a protein shake with spinach and blueberries. After his Sacred 60, he sifts to his M.I.T. for 2 hours.