Friday, October 1, 2010

An interview with the Get-It-Done Guy

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about Stever Robbins, and his new book, "The Get-It-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More."

I had the pleasure of interviewing Stever about his book and his thoughts on productivity:

Mocha Writer: How did you get the name 'Get-It-Done Guy?'
Stever: I made it up : -) I was searching for a name for the show [his podcast, Get-It-Done Guy Quick and Dirty Tips To Work Less and Do More] and was considering "Productivity Pal" or something similar. Then I realized that what people want isn't really productivity. Productivity is a means to an end; getting things done quickly and easily is the end goal. On the heels of that thought, "Get-it-Done Guy" naturally popped right in.

MW:Why did you write "Get-It-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More"?
Stever: In the time I've been in the workforce, the amount of work people do has increased tremendously-- at least as measured in hours worked per week. When people have watched me work, they would comment that I get a lot done in very little time. I realized that not everyone in the world shared my obsessive desire to optimize every facet of their lives, and as long as I'd done it already, I could help a lot of people by sharing what I'd learned.

MW: How did you discover that working less can actually help you do more?
Stever: It was having a conversation with Ted Turner, actually. I met him at a conference and couldn't stop thinking, "He and I are at exactly the same place, at exactly the same time. Only he's going to leave a make a billion dollars tomorrow, while I'm going to make far less. The only thing that's different between the two of us is that he's going to do something different than I am." That got me thinking that there are better and worse ways of things, and that I wanted to be as effective as possible in the things that I do. In other words, I wanted to find ways to work less while getting the same or greater results.

MW: How did you determine the nine steps?
Stever: I started with my personal learning log (you can read all about learning logs in Step 7: Optimize) and went through all the life lessons I could review, searching for patterns. There seemed to be natural themes that didn't overlap. Some lessons had to do with doing what I already did, only better. Those became Step 7: Optimize tips. Other lessons involved getting moving on things I'd been putting off. Those became Step 2: Stop Procrastinating.

MW: What do you want people to take away from the book?
Stever: If they get nothing else, I want people to internalize the notion of Working on Purpose and Life Maps. If you really, truly know what you're trying to accomplish in life, and you align all your efforts around that, you'll re-invent the rest of the steps on your own. The key to everything is simple but not easy: Know where you're headed, and know if what you're doing is going to get you there.

MW:What is the biggest hindrance to your personal productivity? How do you deal with it?
Stever: The Internet. The Web and email are a large part of my job, and they're both distraction machines. The moment I open an email or visit a web site to do research, I risk hours of distraction. Its siren song is extremely seductive and hard to resist.

My solution is to divorce my technology as I described earlier [Have it around, not just in front of you. Do your thinking on paper. Decide what you need to do. Then get out the tools to do it. If you need to do something on the computer -- like send an email-- get up, walk over to your computer, open the email program, send the email, close the program, and walk back to your main work desk area. By keeping each task distinct, you'll learn how to use your computer as a tool. Instead of being a distraction, it becomes a superb way of amplifying your focus....].

Rather than thinking of my computer as "my computer," I think of it as different tools, depending on my task. Sometimes it's my typewriter, sometimes it's my reference book, and sometimes it's my newspaper. When I think of it in terms of the tool I need at the moment, it helps me stay focused on the current task.

... and when that fails, I use a freeware program called "Freedom" on my Mac to shut down my internet connection for a couple of hours.

MW: If a person can make just one change to make themselves more productive, what would you recommend they change?
Stever: Definitely Step 1, which is Live on Purpose. Regularly stop and ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing. Then make sure what you're doing is the best way to reach that goal. I do this a dozen times a day. "Why am I surfing Facebook?" "I dunno. Habit." "Ok, self, get back to work!"

Living on Purpose goes far beyond your moment-to-moment tasks, however. I used to go to four or five business conferences each year. Why? "I'm doing important business development," was my answer. Yea, right. When reviewing my client list, I realized not a single client had come from attending a conference. My clients had only come from speaking at conferences. Now, I only attend conferences where I'm speaking, or if there's some other compelling reason to be there.

For more info on Stever, his work and to purchase his book, visit his website.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great interview! I realize as I surf facebook, that I am wasting time. Great Tips!


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