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The Top Productivity Principles with Alex Genadinik
I’m so excited to have Alex Genadinik. He is a successful entrepreneur, a three-time best-selling Amazon author, probably more than that with so many books that you have out and successful courses. He’s a business coach who has coached over 1,000 entrepreneurs and is a multiple time best-selling Udemy instructor. He does fantastic online courses and he helps people with entrepreneurship and business growth in specializing their business planning, setting strategy, SEO and advanced marketing strategy. Without further delay here, we have Alex.
Thank you for that wonderful introduction and thank you for having me on the show.
One of the books that you’ve written is the 20 Principles of Productivity. For somebody who is overwhelmed, frustrated, caught up in procrastination or perfectionism, what are the top two principles that stand out for you that will help people to be more productive and get more done in their crazy, hectic and busy lives?
Actually, you should not do all 20 or 50 because it’s too overwhelming. You’ve got to do one at a time and become good at it. Almost any of them will make a tremendous difference. For example, a lot of top producer and top CEOs, whenever they’re surveyed, “What’s your biggest productivity tip?” Their tip is to not do things because a lot of things creep into the to-do list that don’t get us to our goal. They’re nice to have. We might have FOMO, “I want to do this and I want to do this,” but if it isn’t laser-focused and it doesn’t get us closer to our goals, I’m taking that task out. Elimination is one thing that I’d recommend to almost everybody and being good at elimination will free up 70% of your time. It doesn’t mean you have to watch TV or you should watch TV during that time. Use that time to double and triple down on those tasks that precisely do get you closer to that goal. It isn’t enough to just do them. You have to execute those tasks at not above average level and not better than 80% of the people. You have to execute at the top 1% or 2% level. If you are executing worse than 98 percentile, that’s not good enough because if you look at almost any industry and any professionals, the top people win in a very lopsided manner.
Elimination, I get it but you’re stressing me out by saying, “I’ve got to execute at the top 1%.” I hope you have a tip for me that’s going to tell me, “How do I execute at the top 1%?”
It’s persistence. When you start out, everyone thinks they are fantastic and they’re totally not. They’re just okay. They’re above average. Starting out makes you above average because most people get lost in the planning and the dreaming. They never start. When you’re on day one and you start out, they think they’re great. They’re not that great. They’re above average, which is okay to struggle. They start and they struggle. Most people don’t persist. They get frustrated and they get discouraged early and quit. If they don’t and if they persist, and this is not even according to me, this is according to the last 100 years of entrepreneurship literature. You can read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. If they persist over time, they’ll become better than 50%, 60%, 70% or 80% of their competitors. That number might sound great.
I’m better than 80% but in most industries, I found that there’s a pyramid of who wins and it’s very lopsided. The top 1% or 2% win in a very lopsided manner. They are the wealthy. That 60%, 70% are in the game but they struggle. The answer to your question of like, “How do you do that, Alex?” You just have to persist and you have to improve your skills. That elimination will allow you to focus on the most important things in your business and improve them. Perhaps the second thing I’d recommend is mindfulness and self-assessment. How do you know what to improve? We all think we’re great. When I wrote my Business Plan book, I thought it was great. I’m twenty edits and six editions in and now I actually think it’s not that good.
The more we know, the more we don’t know.
I’m the third editor. I’ve re-read and re-written it a bunch of times and people are still finding some ways to improve with little things. Having that mindset where you’re like, “I’m doing a good job.” “No, you’re not.” Self-assess, find your own blind spot, get coaching, network with peers and get family and friends to look at what you’re doing because it’s very easy for others to find flaws. There’s no shortage. For us, it’s hard and that’s another skill. There’s this concept of working in your business and on your business. When you’re in your business, it’s what you have to do to pay the bills. You have to sell, you have to build the product and you have to serve your clients or whatever you have to do.
It’s the tactics of running your business.
The day we stuff and we get caught up in it because we do more and more. I’ve been guilty of that myself as well very much. That’s why I have too many books and too many courses. It’s very critical to take a step back and allocate maybe 5% of your budget or time. Just 5%, 10%, whatever you can do because it is important to keep the lights on and service your clients and all this. If you can take that time purely not doing work and not being in your business but taking a step back and looking, what can I do better? What processes can I improve? If you do this every week, you improve something. You look back at it a year from now, two years from now and you’re like, “I improved 50 things about my business.”
Take a look at where’s the market going. That reflection is so important to see where are you adding value and where you can add more value and have allocated time to be strategic. I’m a big proponent of that as well. If you look at all the great successful people, whether it be Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or anybody who’s been interviewed at that top 1% level that you’re talking about, they all have these retreats. These reflection retreats or learning retreats, where they go away from the day-to-day and they look at what’s working, what’s not working, where’s the market going, etc. That’s really important.
Eventually, persistence with that self-assessment and self-improvement will get you to the 1% execution and then real growth and success opens up. It’s so simple.
Being good at elimination will free up 70% of your time. Click To Tweet Tell us how did you come up with these principles? I know for myself that a lot of the things that I talk about around productivity were hard learned. I’d much rather learn these best practices from someone else. Many of them, we have to get hit over the head and have our own challenges. What do you think was your greatest lesson around productivity that you share most often?
When you look back at my YouTube channel, I have now three million views and I started in 2012. I look at it as one of my toughest learning periods where I was still at somewhat of a struggle period. I was doing okay online but I was in the business. I’m very stressed. What happened is if you look at it, I have 800 videos and they’re almost entirely bad. I was good at marketing them but the video production was bad and my delivery wasn’t good. I consistently was making the videos and I was driven by stress. When you’re driven by stress, your brain can’t do anything except try to remove that short-term pain and short-term stress.
I’m like, “If I just made more and more.” I wasn’t working on the business. I was too in the business. I couldn’t take a step back and I didn’t have a coach or anybody to tell me. Eventually somebody told me, “You’ve got to raise your game. The videos aren’t good.” When I look back at it, I was like on a big sprint. It was so mistaken. Because of the stress, it was so hard to make the videos better because I was in that mindset. Having that discipline and being aware that that’s the issue, that’s first. Also, that was my lesson in life. You have to improve your processes. You have to improve how you do things, design or production, anything. Whatever your audiences’ business might be, everyone’s different. Probably there’s some plateau they’re hitting and they can’t get beyond it. It’s probably something like the quality of what they’re producing. That’s one thing.
What you’re saying is for people to recognize when they’ve hit a plateau. Instead of just keep pushing and pushing is to recognize that you hit a plateau. Instead of continually beating your head against the wall, stop and think. The first step is to be aware and to stop. If you don’t check in early enough, you’re not seeing that you actually hit the wall.
I do have a lot of entrepreneurs that come to me and they say, “I’ve tried everything. I don’t know what to do.” Then when you were looking from the side, you’re like, “Everything sucks about what you’re doing.” It’s obvious but for them, they’re doing their best and it’s understandable. A lot of times, I was in the same situation too. It’s self-assessment and getting feedback. They’re just not doing the basics because they’re in distress and everything’s caving in on them in a way. The other point I was going to make is helping my clients and consistently running into issues with them. For example after a while, I was able to create a good strategy for a lot of people quickly like, “Do you have an eCommerce business?” “I don’t know how to promote this.” “Do you have this local service?” I was giving them exactly what to do but they were coming back and not doing it.
I experienced the same thing. You’re like, “What is going on? I told you exactly what to do.” Why didn’t they do it?
They all have a lot of different reasons. Sometimes they’re intimidated. Sometimes there’s fear, as fear of criticism or fear of failure. There are a lot of the root reasons so I had to start digging around. I’m not one of those people who are like, “Entrepreneurs fail. That’s the reality.” You have to know why and of course, I want to help them because the saddest part of being a coach is when your clients fail and they didn’t do well. It’s not your fault. I’m not their father. I can’t make them. That was painful for me because it’s right around the corner. You can do so much better. It is hard to look at a person’s eyes when they’re in stress and do that next week and next week. Whereas I’m just the coach, I’m not the executor. If I was, I could have done it.
They have to help themselves and they don’t. That’s why I started working on these productivity skills. It’s the human issues that hold people back. Most businesses struggle from implosion, not competition. Not the outside force or sometimes it’s the outside forces but we do most of the damage to our businesses ourselves in a way. That’s why it’s all in the execution. Even in my Business Plan, the book, the most recent edit, I’m like, “The planning is fantastic. Go ahead and execute.” If you don’t execute, “Here’s what to look into why you’re not executing.” A lot of it is confidence. A lot of it is fear of failure, fear of being mocked by the naysayers, “I told you so.” Different people get affected by different things and so that’s why there are 50 skills now.
What’s the most common way that you help them to get over that hump, from not doing and procrastinating to getting into execution?
Different people need different prodding. There’s not a formula that works for everyone. As a coach, you have to use a little bit of emotional intelligence and try to understand. They might be telling you their story. Isn’t that true? They’re lying to themselves and you but you have to sense how receptive they are. Sometimes they need a little bit of toughness. I’m like, “Enough talking here. You’ve told me about your dreams ten times.” They’re like, “No, we have a plan.” “You’ve got to plan three times better than you need.” That’s it. For some people, it’s different. For some people, they lacked confidence. You have to build up confidence with little wins. I also grew up without that much confidence and nobody told me “You’re great.” They would be good. You have to build confidence with little wins and over time you’ll be like, “Look at me, I’ve got so many little wins and I’ve got momentum. It feels good.” When it feels good, they keep doing it. You’ve got to get them on that natural way. It’s a combination of some discipline, some habit-building, some of all of these little things like getting them motivated.
Breaking it down into smaller pieces sometimes help individuals to take that little step to get that quick win or the low-hanging fruit for businesses is to look where there’s low-hanging fruit for improvements and then to be able to leverage off of that quick win.
Quick wins can be really quick sometimes. Like in two seconds, if you change your facial expression to a more confident one, you will feel more confident. I’m sure everyone’s heard that when you smile, you feel a little better.
It releases hormones. They go to our brain that actually it’s impossible to smile and feel bad.
Sometimes physiology changes our mood and sometimes our mood causes our physiology. Now that we know this, all we have to do is change our physiology. Shoulders back, head up, chin up or whatever. All the basics. Everybody knows but nobody does it. Whenever you’re heading into a task, “I’ve got to start doing work,” you are confident and that’s the physiology. There’s a little bit of mindset stuff, but the confidence sometimes gives you enough to dare to try it. It doesn’t work for everyone but that’s at least the two-second effort.
Reflection is important to see where you’re adding value or where you can add more value. It helps allocate your time to be strategic. Click To Tweet It comes back to the point that you talked about perseverance. That is added emotional intelligence that helps you stay in the path for perseverance.
In Napoleon Hill’s book, one of the major principles is confidence because without confidence, people aren’t decisive. They don’t jump in.
We’ve got to jump in. I always say that if you’re not in action, then you can’t reflect because you’re not getting any feedback. You’ve got to move in some direction one way or another. Take action and do that execution and then reflect and see what feedback you get so then you can course-correct and adapt. If you don’t move, you don’t get any feedback. Tell us what are you working on right now?
I’ve restrained for a long time from making confidence online course, but right now I’m creating a confidence online course. I’m building out this 50 productivity skills and confidence is one of them. I’m going to have a huge web of one-stop shops of these 50 skills. Anyone of them, if you become good at them, focus, confidence, time management and all these. There’s just one thing, but they can cause a tremendous boost in your business if that’s something that holds you back. For different people, different things hold them back, so you can pick and choose. I’m creating this thing. Right now I’m about to hit publish on the latest rewrite of my Business Plan book. I’m hoping to also rewrite the 20 Principles of Productivity and make it 50 principles. Hopefully, I don’t get more ideas and then when they will be like 100 and then it’s too much.
That’s a challenge. People are overwhelmed with the amount of strategies and information that are out there. Let’s take our health for instance. We are a less healthy society in general because there is so much different information about which way to eat is the right way to eat and so forth. Then it’s like, “I don’t even know.” I think we start to get that challenge around productivity and marketing. There is so much information out there. It would be so great if it could be simplified.
People do ask me for, “Give me more strategies.” I’m like, “No, do a couple but do them well.” You don’t want to be bad at a bunch of things. People start promoting their business. They do a little bit of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SEO and they fail. They’re like, “I did everything and nothing worked.” Because you did nothing well. Do one or two things really well. Become that top 1%, 2% or maybe top 5% executor.
We’ve been trained to do that. Look at the myriad of apps that are out there. I do want to know what tools you think are the top tools. If you think about it, there’s always a new app. It trains us to try this new app and then use it for a couple of weeks and then you fall off and then you find another app. I do think that we need to create a much greater consciousness of that consistency. When we start something, we have to ahead of time decide that this is not a two-week project, that this is something we’re committing to for six months. When you only pay it $0.99 or $4.99 for an app, there’s no skin in the game. It’s like, “I’ll get this app. I’ll try it for a couple of weeks. If it doesn’t work, I’ll get another one.” We should be charging $1,000 or $500 for an app and then there’s a little bit more skin in the game and people will commit to that tool.
I’m not a big tool guy. If you find me the tool and I’m doing something wrong and I’m overcomplicating. I keep it simple. I keep things focused. I don’t have a piece of paper to-do list for the day. I know what to do. I have a year plan. It’s a big sheet of paper. I know exactly what I need to achieve. I don’t need a lot of strategies. I don’t have a lot of meetings. I don’t have a lot of people to manage. I do a few things, but I try to do them super well and I’m constantly self-critical. How can I do things better? For example, my courses, there were a bunch of things I improved in the last few months and there are a bunch of things I’m going to be improving while I keep re-filming. Even though it looks like I have a lot of courses, I’m focusing on a couple of few but I try and make them really good, top in niche. I don’t need productivity tool. I just need to do the work. I don’t get caught up in overplanning. I focus and streamline a few things well. I don’t need tools.
I’m with you because I’m not a big tool person either, but I do think that there are a handful of tools that especially as an entrepreneur with a lean organization, they do support you to automate certain processes and things like that. There’s got to be let’s say two to five tools that you do use. I’d love to hear what those are.
When I work, I have a piece of paper next to me. I take little notes. I have a to-do list for the day and then just cross things off. The one thing and it’s a technique, it’s not a tool. The day before, I know exactly what I’m going to do for the day after.
You’re doing your planning the day before. For tomorrow, you make your planning now.
I know exactly what my tasks are for tomorrow and I’m evaluating them right now. I’m like which one is important? What to take out? I know what mistakes I usually make. For example, tomorrow I’m doing a lot of filming. The editing for it is boring and I do my own editing right now.
Build up your confidence with little wins. Click To Tweet Here’s an example. Where you could use an outsource site or something to support you in that, you choose to do a lot of the editing and social media posting and all of that, you do yourself.
I do zero social media posting.
There you go. You eliminated it entirely, so no need for a tool.
On the point of editing, it’s a fair point, I could hire someone and I would love to hire someone. Probably it would be wise of me. I think I’m still faster than if I had to hire an editor, but maybe I could be wrong on this.
You could be doing something else that’s even more important.
There’s a conversation there. We hit something here. Actually, it’s one of the things in my self-assessment. I’m like, “That could be very much next time. I need to start hiring freelancers.” Right now there’s a different thing I’m doing in my self-improvement, working on your business. I think you’re right. I am spending a boring amount of time on editing. It’s a good point.
It goes to your point about reflection. It’s to be taking a look at where are your skills and your focus best targeted so that you can deliver the biggest impact. It’s probably not video editing. There are specialists that specifically do that and could support that. For anybody who’s reading this, this is what I do in my reflection when I work with the clients. I have them go through and take a look at all the different things that they are doing and what are the opportunities that someone else could do. Maybe you can do it better and that’s always a possibility. What else could you be doing with that time if you could free up and eliminate 10% of the tasks that you do? What else would you be doing with your time? Then look at that cost benefit to spending your time more on that. For the audience, it’s a great if not first step, you don’t need to implement a new tool to get more efficient and effective. You need to take a step back and evaluate what you’re doing and what you need to be doing in order to reach your goals faster.
That’s a good point because it’s not a tool thing. It’s a common sense thing. You just have to notice it or find someone to do it and then that will be fantastic because it’s a part of my business. I’m one of those people that attention to detail is important even though I’m not a totally stickler guy.
In certain areas maybe you are.
I had to make myself at times because I’d love to be like, “It’s going to be cool.” My business is selling videos a lot of times. I have to make sure that there are no mistakes in there and things like that. I’ve been careful about it and it has been hard for me to let that go. You’re right, it would help me a lot and it would represent a big leap in my business if I hire a good video editor. For example, tomorrow I don’t have a video editor. The example I was going from is that when I try to plan my day, in the back of my mind now, I’m trying to think which videos that I’m going to film require less editing or which of them can be shorter or longer. Thinking of it now, about tomorrow helps me go over it partially subconsciously. It’s not every day that I get to talk about it.
It gives us focus and direction and helps you when you get up in the morning. You don’t have idle time where you’re like, “What am I going to do?” That fuzzy thinking where you’re like, “Let’s go.” The most productive time for most people is in the morning. Even though I know there are people who aren’t morning people, but there are all these studies that show we’re at our best in the morning when we wake up.
I am not a morning person. I like to stay up but I recognize the importance of being fresh in the morning. It makes a tremendous difference in productivity because if I go to sleep at a reasonable hour and get a good rest. I’m going to wake up at 6:00 the morning ready to go and excited. By noon, it’s like a work day that I’ve already had. I’m still going but by noon it’s like already a workday.
Sometimes I look up and it’s 8:00 and I’m already feeling super accomplished in the first two hours of the morning.
Recognize the importance of being fresh in the morning and it will make a tremendous difference in productivity. Click To Tweet It’s exciting and you feel good. When you feel good, you do more work.
What are any parting thoughts that you’d like to leave the audience with?
When I coach entrepreneurs early in my career it was all about tactics, strategies, how can I grow now? It’s all struggle and stress-based. It’s important to take a step back and recognize the soft skills, like being able to give yourself confidence, focus, discipline or figuring out even how you’re going to sleep because that’s going to reflect on your day tomorrow. You might get twice more done. I recommend earlier rather than later focusing on those things. Regarding self-assessment, I actually recommend working with a coach but not somebody who rolls out of bed and says, “I’m an expert.” Someone who has a proven track record because everyone these days is a coach. We live in the social media world where everyone is giving everybody else advice that they didn’t do but they heard. Someone who has a proven track record in which they are doing. That’s the type of a mentor that is good to work with, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. It’s impossible to recognize good advice from bad because it all sounds pretty good.
You want to work with somebody who’s been there and done that, who can appreciate the challenges that you’re going through and knows what works and has proven strategies and approaches that are going to cut to the chase.
A good coach can save you months of struggle and a lot of time and money. The other thing I’d also recommend is getting a few terms like, “I did something great or it’s great now.” Getting that out of your vocabulary and not criticizing yourself too much. That self-assessment and making it a part of your day because that’s going to make you better too.
I’m all about self-assessment. I do self-assessment myself. I have a number of tools that I’ve created that help people do that. I believe that you’re right. That’s pretty much what we reinforced in different types of conversation now. That can be your greatest productivity skill. That if you just hone that reflection process, then you’re going to be in that top 1% if you consistently take a step back and evaluate. Alex, thank you so much for being here. It was great having you. Tell our audience where they can find you and your courses.
Everything’s on my website, Problemio.com. It’s a weird website name that I had a long time ago, but it’s rooted in the problem. What problem is your business solving? That’s the original business question. All my contact information is there. My books are there and my courses are there. People are welcome to email me. I love hearing from people. I look forward to hearing from people.
Thank you, Alex. Thank you all for being here because you can walk away with that key strategy, which is to take a step back and reflect where you are on a regular basis. To plan the night before so that you know what it is that you’re doing and stop relying so much on technology and tools. Use those soft skills to take a step back and reflect and see where is the best use of your time? See what you can eliminate from your schedule and delegate, automate or eliminate in that context. Thank you all for being here. See you in the next episode.
- Alex Genadinik
- 20 Principles of Productivity
- Think and Grow Rich
- Business Plan
- YouTube channel – Alex Genadinik
About Alex Genadinik
Alex Genadinik is a successful entrepreneur, 3-time bestselling Amazon author, and a business coach who has coached over 1,000 entrepreneurs, and a multiple time bestselling Udemy instructor. Alex helps people with entrepreneurship and business growth, specializing in business planning, strategy, SEO and advanced marketing strategies.