Welcome To The Hustle Nation!

Episode Description:

Chris and Dustin breakdown the S in Hustle. 

Smarter Not Harder encapsulates a variety of elements including:

  • Not over-exerting yourself
  • Set goals
  • Audit/be honest
  • Priorities
  • Time management
  • Calendar management
  • The choices
  • Preparation

We take a deep dive into all the things we can do to work Smarter not Harder. 

By working smarter not harder, you should be on your way to achieving your goals, have a sense of accomplishment or productivity, and because you’re building momentum you’ll be in the optimal mindset to continue crushing it. 


 Welcome back to Hustle Nation, episode number three. So the last couple of episodes, we talked about the H and the U in Hustle, and how it kind of means something different to everybody. But in our acronym, each one has a definition, and today we’re gonna talk about the S, which is smarter, not harder. Dustin, take it.

Great! So one of the things with Hustle is as we look at Hustle means something different to everyone, how do we really define it? And so we’ve talked about the H and the U and, and that it’s about putting the time in, never giving up, putting work forward. But the S, if you look at what most people talk about S stands for, the age old statement, you know, work smarter not harder.

To me, I think when you really look at the most productive people, it’s really incomplete. Cause there are so many people in this world that the smarter not, not harder doesn’t work. Because they don’t really want to work. Right? They wanna just take the time off.

I understand why people want to do that. And of course, we all should want to work smarter, but the most successful people, those that really wanna hustle, They’re working smarter not to go relax at a beach somewhere, right? They’re working smarter so that they can double down on the work that’s gonna move them towards achieving their goals.

It’s not smarter so that they can take off for the afternoon and, and have fun with their friends. It’s, I gotta work smarter because there’s no other way, like a cheat code to get to my end goal. And so to me, when I look at like hustle, you know, the H and the U is the foundational stuff, right?

If you’re not putting in time, if you’re not grinding day in and day out and never giving up, nothing really ever is gonna happen. But now as you start to get in the S, to me, this is almost the cheat code section because this is the time when you see the most productive, effective results-based leaders.

Yes, they have the H. They have the U, but they’re definitely finding ways to work smarter, not just harder.

For those just coming in right now, maybe they haven’t listened to the first couple of episodes. Let’s do a really brief overview. What is the H? What is the U? And then segue into the S.

For sure. So the H stands for hard work, right?

If we look at hard work, there’s really three key components to it. You gotta put the time in. So put the hours in your pace of play. How fast are you moving, right? And then your prioritization, because if you’re spending a lot of time and you’re working really fast, but you’re focusing on stuff that doesn’t matter, that doesn’t really do anything, right?

So that’s the H work. The the H is for hard work. The U is all about unrelenting. Unrelenting is, you know, at its core it’s just about. Giving up, right. So, Right. You know, we talked through that, uh, you know, in our, in, in our last episode, but the s really starts building upon that. And as we go through all of hustle, each step kind of builds upon the previous step.

And it’s through, you know, frankly decades of, uh, my own learnings and, and frankly, a lot of coaching and learning from so many others. That have had success of what does it really take? Because to me, hustle is, is such an interesting thing because we, we all have a version of it, right? We all have that, that version that we believe is hustle.

But as you and I have talked about in the past, even in, you know, youth sports or in business, you name it, some people think they’re hustling. They’re really not doing a whole lot. And so to me, the key with hustle is you gotta define it and you gotta define it in a lot more detail. So we. Understand it, learn from it, hold ourselves accountable to it so we can continue to drive towards


Yeah, I think it’s interesting you mentioned that like people think they’re working harder, but really it just, they’re picking low hanging fruit. Right. And I, I just, I. I, I, I just, to me, that that shocks me. And I know in our younger self, we look back and we tend to do that easy stuff, right? Less abrasive, less friction, fewer nos.

And at the end of the day, it just feels like we’re not getting much done. Right. Um, but you talked a lot about, in our previous conversations, the 80 20 role, which I think. When you get to a certain point in business or in life, you start to to do exactly those things, and that is where you see more productivity, more joy coming out of a day saying, God damn, I got a lot of shit done today.

I felt good. Right? But when you’re picking the low hanging fruit, you’re like, Oh my God, my list is so long. I have so much shit to do. What the hell? Yeah. It’s all about the interesting

  1. It’s all about the 80 20, you know, so the 80 20, it’s, you know, for those that haven’t followed it, it’s the parade principle, which was created by the guy with the coolest name, as far as I’m concerned.

Wilfredo, Pareto, right? He is an economist, uh, back in the late 18 hundreds, early 19 hundreds. And really the idea, it, it’s so basic and it, you see it everywhere, but the idea is, is that 20% of your inputs generates 80% of your results. The opposite is true as well, right? So that means 80% of your inputs are really driving 20% of your results.

And there’s lots of organizations that have had tremendous success. You know, if you look at, uh, it w one of the most successful, uh, publicly traded companies in the world. They’ve used the 80 20 principle year in and year out for a lot of their different business units to drive tremendous success. And so from a business perspective, there’s, there’s an application, right?

But if you, it really. All over the place. If you look at any, any business, you know, many times 20% of their customers are generating 80% of their profits. If you look at, you know, healthcare costs and you know, around the world, right? Less than you know, you know, in some cases it might only even be 5%. Uh, people are driving 60 to 70%, but it’s you.

So the idea of the parade principle wasn’t necessarily that it is exactly 20 and exactly 80, but the idea that there’s a. Basically a, a, a disproportionate amount of inputs that are driving a disproportionate amount of results and to really identify those things. And so to me, when I’ve seen the most successful people of, you know, what is the easiest cheat code in the world, it almost feels unfair.

When you can identify what those 20% of inputs really are that are driving those 80% of results, and so many people don’t focus. Uh, you know, even for myself, I know I, over the years, I’ve learned how to try to pull that out of my day because once you identify that, imagine the cheat code. If you could take 20% of your inputs that’s driving 80% of your results and make that 50% of your inputs in a day, your, your results are now exponential and really what have you done?

You haven’t, you know, so the point of you haven’t spent more time, energy, or effort, you’ve just gotten much more focused to do things that really.

Yeah, that’s, that’s a good point. I can’t help but think about, um, time management managing my time. So for example, um, I own couple different small businesses and the number of requests I get on LinkedIn and email on a daily basis is absurd.

And it’s people who wanna meet with me, whether it be virtual phone call in person, if I were to. Three or four or five of those, a meeting meetings a week that, that’s 20% of my time. Imagine the amount of, or lack of productivity that I would have. And so, you know, when I think about this, smarter, not harder.

I think some of it goes back to managing your time, but ultimately, I, I think a better word would be prioritizing your time. So what. The big things that are gonna get you to those end goals. You know, if you know your goals and you know where you need to be at the end of the week or the end of the month or the end of the year, you then can prioritize.

And I just think that that is so important, zooming out to look at those things. Right.

Well, I think you just hit on it too, that a lot of people jump over. You just, you have to have the goals to begin with. How the heck do you prioritize in 80 20? Your inputs, if you have no idea what results you’re. So when we look at how do you, how do you really get after this?

You’re exactly right. You have to start with what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? What is that result you’re actually looking for? Otherwise, it’s a, you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, right? What, what inputs are looking for? What result? I, I look at it in, you know, variety of different organizations that I’m part of, right?

You, you look at, you’re always looking at what are those leading indicators to drive to the key results, right? The KPIs that you’re looking to drive towards. That once you un understand that, it almost seems unfair because now you’re looking at saying, Wait, all I have to do is focus on this. I’ll, I’ll, I’ll use our, uh, business McLean Insurance.

So, you know, for, as I was kind of taking over, uh, a leadership, we were, we were a great company, a great team. We were somewhat stagnant and in a lot of ways, this is kind of where Hustle came about and what we started to see. How are we going to grow? What are the things that need to happen to grow? And certainly this is a multi input problem, right?

You got people, you got differentiation, you got tools in resource, you go to market strategy marketing. You got a lot of different pieces. And so certainly there was more than just one thing that had to change. But once we realized, okay, we have, we have a. Product and story, right? We have a unique approach that is delivering unique results.

So we can, we can talk about those things. What we started to see is there was, you know, just a few key behaviors that really was the gap between us growing at 2% or 20%. And once you realize what those are, then it’s how are we refocusing our time to the point of 80 20 to say, why are we spending all this time?

Why are we spending this 80% on stuff that. Isn’t doing anything, isn’t dri, you know, isn’t creating value, isn’t moving the needle forward, isn’t making us better. How do we shift to, how do we do more of that 20% that’s driving those disproportionate

results. Yeah, I mean, you’re, you’re so spot on. I think that the hard part for some people, maybe in more of an entry level role is they may not know their role, they may not know the goals and some of the objectives of the company.

And so once you know that, or I think if you’re a leader, an entrepreneur, you should, you should know your goals, and it’s a lot easier than. Time management, but I think time management and calendar management are two things that really need to go together. So I go back to just a, a lot of my personal experience.

It was when I started living by my calendar, but it’s not just living by it. It’s having that transparency. I set reminders for things, sometimes multiple reminders, , because you need, when you have that on there, then you can prepare for things. And I think that is one of the other elements in working smarter, not harder, is, you know, what, what’s on the road ahead for your week?

Um, you have. in there, so you can prepare a day in advance, a week in advance, a month in advance. And then when you actually get to the execution, it’s like, Shit, I’m ready. Like, let’s knock this outta the park. And so working smarter, not harder. I, I think it’s, it is a bit of a cheat code, but at the end of the day, it’s, it’s about doing a lot of little things correctly so that there’s less stress, uh, there’s less issues, there’s less mistakes and greater execution ultimately.

You bet. Well, and what, and what you’re talking about is, there’s two different sides of this. One is the proactive, um, uh, how, where am I going to spend my time? What are my goals and where am I gonna spend my time? Right. That’s, that’s more to the calendar management. How do I get ahead of things? There’s also the reactive, which is, okay, this is, this was my utopia.

This is how I said I was gonna spend my time, energy in throughout the week. What. Happened. You know, it’s interesting, as I think about, as I’ve gone through my career, there’s been times where if you looked at my calendar, it was, it was gross, right? There was so many different things on the calendar, and don’t get me wrong, that I was a, that was a very busy time in my career.

If you look at my calendar today, it looks a lot better today than it did six or seven years ago. But I got twice as much going on now than I did, uh, I did then. Right. And so the, the, what I’ve seen is, is, is there’s certain stages where you’re exactly right. You gotta lay out, Okay, what am I gonna spend my time?

How do I get ahead of it? But, you know, one of the things I’ve, I’ve learned is over time you lie to yourself about where you’re actually spending the time. So one of the things I’ve done, and, and it’s a, it’s a funny thing. This is almost like a therapy session, I feel like, but. Twice a year, I do a time tracker on myself.

And so for, for if anyone has ever actually done like a time tracker, you know, a lot of times when people like first get asked to do a time tracker, it’s almost like their boss saying, What the heck are you doing all day? Right? And so for me to do it for myself seemed, you know, maybe, I don’t know, maybe sadistic or something.

I’m not really sure. But what what’s amazing is every single time I’m about to do it, cuz it’s, it’s really just a commitment I’ve made to myself. I’m gonna do it twice. every single time I try to talk myself out of it, you know, it’s that, that self talk, This is dumb, this is a waste of time. I don’t wanna do this for a week.

Cause I, you know, I track basically every 10 to 15 minute increment for an entire week. From the moment I wake up my eye, I wake up in the morning to all the way to, I go to bed. And what’s amazing to me about it is every single time that I’ve done it, I’ve become more productive after because I’ve realized I’m wasting time on stuff that I had no.

Idea I was wasting my time on and, you know, to your point of goals earlier, right? So I would spend time on things in the moment that I had a good reason for, right? Whether I was quote unquote relaxing or whether I was solving a problem for a teammate, or, you know, helping somebody in the community out, whatever it was, it was always, you know, at the time, you always feel like that’s where you’re supposed to spend the time.

And so when all of a sudden you look back on it and then cumulatively. You realize, man, I am wasting all this time. I’ll, I’ll give you a great example. So we, uh, in McCone, uh, uh, we brought on a, a new head of sales, uh, about just under four years ago. And, and he is a, uh, he is a driver. He does an excellent job.

And, uh, one of the things we found is, you know, he and I were talking constantly throughout the. Because there was so many different deals happening and so much change happening and things like that, that we would, we would connect throughout the day, kind of all day, every day. And when, when I actually did this, this time track, or one of the, one of the first times I realized, man, this is like six hours of time a day that we’re spending hammering.

Things out right now. It was at a time where we probably needed, you know, more than the average bear. This wasn’t just like status checks, but at the same point it was scattered throughout the day. So it wasn’t that it was six hours. If it was six hours and we were knocking stuff out, which, you know, we were doing some of that.

But it was six hours in, you know, 20 minutes here, 40 minutes there, five minutes here, 20 minutes there, and all of a sudden you kind of add all this up and you’re like, Man, this is just a lot of time. How do we narrow this in,

Stop and go, stop and go, stop and go, Oh,

it was brutal. It was brutal. And, and neither one of us.

Had we not taken a step back, right? I mean, we, we were moving things forward, lots of things were progressing, so you wouldn’t have realized it. And all of a sudden you take a step back and you’re like, Geez, I’m spending all this time on this and it’s not good for me. It’s not good for him, it’s not good for the organization, right?

So how do we challenge ourselves to, to, you know, not lie to ourselves, right? And, and hold ourselves accountable because time is an interesting thing, everybody. Wants to say that they’re great at, you know, time management and, you know, all that sort of stuff. I, it just doesn’t happen and myself included, Right.

None, none of us are good at it. And, and I think, in my opinion, I think it’s because we end up lying to ourselves, not because we’re liars, just because we, we make up these stories as to where we think we’re spending our time. And it’s not until it’s staring you at the face that’s, Yeah. Why are you complaining about this?

You, the, the 20% of inputs that you said you’re supposed to. That’s driving all the input you spent two hours on last week. Well, that’s not gonna cut.

That’s a great story. I, I, I think that’s spot on and that’s great for the listeners to hear. So, so far what I, what I have for smarter not harder is don’t exert yourself.

This is not about working harder or not necessarily, I’m sorry. This is not necessarily about working 60 hours a week because we feel you can do a lot more with the current 40 you have. Second would be you should audit yourself and you should be honest with where you’re spending your. And outside of the obvious, okay, let’s spend a lot less time binge watching Netflix and playing fantasy football.

Number three would be, you gotta set your priorities. You gotta know what is the top hanging fruit, not the low hanging fruit time management. You need to get more serious about managing that time. But ultimately, the only way you’re gonna be able to successfully manage that is by managing your calendar.

And once you have that, like you said, sometimes you gotta make choices. So you’ve got multiple meetings. Sometimes you might have two or three, four meetings overlapping in a day, but you have to choose where is it most important for me to. And to focus my time. And then, uh, and obviously with those choices you have to weave in things like family and sports and kids activities and et cetera.

And then ultimately, you know, once you have that, then you can be prepared. And when you’re prepared, You’re gonna start to crush it like that. That’s how I feel. I mean, it just, it’s an incredible feeling when you go into something prepared and ready. And that’s where I think part of that’s a mindset, just like the hustle mindset, is when you are prepared, you’re confident and when you’re confident and you perform at a much higher level.

And I think already if, if you’ve just gotten through the H, the U and the S, you should be 30, 40, 50% better than where you were before you.

Absolutely. And, and I would say even, you know, the 80 20 year focus, I don’t think has to be limited to work. If you, if you look at it, if, if, uh, you know, same thing with your family, right?

There’s, there’s time there, there is high value time to spend with your family, and there is low value time to spend with your family, right? But it all comes back to goals, right? What, what are your goals? Well, if your goal is to be a good father and a good husband, That’s a result, right? , So what are, what are the inputs that you need to do?

Right? And, and one of ’em probably is time, but it’s not just any kind of time, right? If it, if it’s time where I’m sitting on the couch over here and everybody else is sitting in the next room, I’m around, but I’m not present. I’m not engaging. That’s probably not the 20% of inputs driving 80% of your, your relationship results, right?

So, you know, to be really be thinking, It’s not, this isn’t just work. This is towards literally any goal that you have, you know, including your, your life goals about saying, Okay, well where am I really spending my time? I’ll, I’ll give you, you know, one quick story. So for me, when I was, uh, when my son was, uh, heading into third grade, uh, I was out in the backyard, uh, shooting hoops with him.

And, uh, my, both my wife and I are, are, are big into, uh, basketball in particular, but, but youth sports and. My son and I were out in the, in the back lane hoops and I, you know, kind of came back into the house and, uh, we were just kind of talking about basketball and talking about my son and, you know, where was it gonna go?

And she, you know, I said, said, Well, you know, I gotta, you know, I gotta work on his form and I gotta work on this. And she’s like, Well, let me ask you something. Prior to tonight, how, um, how many other times have you been in the backyard shooting? Which of course I did not really want to hear that at the moment.

Cause the truth was, is it really wasn’t that much, right. It was, it was. I, and certainly when I looked at one of my life goals, one of my life goals was certainly to be a good father. And it was actually that day I rose my hand. And that’s actually when I started to, to coach because I said, Look, I, I, if one of my goals, you know what, what is the thing that I can do?

Well, part of it is I, I gotta spend time. With my son. Right. And, you know, let’s spend time in something that we both love and you know, we’re both passionate about. And so in a lot of ways it started, you know, just that exact same way. So, you know, to me that that, and, and because what I knew is that 20% of time, right, the, you know, to this day is some of the most cherished times with my son are that, you know, driving to practice and driving back from practice, right?

The one thing you know about kids is in the car when it’s just you and them, you have ’em captive . So they, you, you get, you get a lot of truth serum, you get a lot of good conversations that come from that. And so it was is, you know, when you look at 80 20, it can apply to so many different things in your life, but it becomes almost that, again, that cheat code because you know, for me, the reality is, is I don’t have the ability to spend as much time with my wife and kids as maybe some other people.

I have other goals, right? I have other commitments, I have other responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean that I, I can’t be good at ’em. It just means I have to be much more focused as to how, how am I gonna be a good father? How am I gonna be a good husband? How am I gonna be a good business leader, et cetera.

Yeah. It’s funny. I was gonna ask you about coaching next, because we both coach youth sports and we know so many of the followers and listeners do, and. That’s so important because I think the same thing can be said of a good leader, particularly at a big company. Um, just be present, right? Uh, spend time with the right people in the trenches and you know, where the, where the magic happens out there on the sale floor, wherever it might be in your business.

And, um, you’re righter certain times and places you can get people and get them captivated, like team building events, right? Um, traveling with your, your colleagues. It’s just so. One of the last things that, uh, I think would be important to wrap up would be the inputs. So you mentioned to people, inputs, so let’s talk briefly about, you know, what are some of the inputs that people should be looking for or maybe should be more conscious of in their, their just daily work?

Yeah, so it’s a, it’s a great question and I, and my experience has been, it all starts with your. And understanding what those results are is gonna be the number one indicator of what inputs that you have. When then you start looking at, you know, there are some certainty, some common ones that exist. So, as an example, in business, if you’re looking to, uh, to grow, you know, you, you’re, you’re, your time has to be spent.

Getting in front of new potential customers. And so for every business, depending on your sales cycle or sales cycle or even your business cycle, that could be different, right? So, uh, like, like for our business as an example, we, we know so much about our metrics from a, once we are sitting in front of a potential new customer, we know the number one regulator we have to, that is getting in front of more of those.

We, we know, we have it dialed into who our target client is. We know exactly what they need. We know exactly how we can create value. So, so we could be really, really efficient. But that’s today. If you think of, you know, a startup or a, a newer company, what might be your 20% of inputs is delivering ridiculous value for your top customers.

You need to, you need to hone in that value. You need to hone in that, that differentiation. You know, for others it might be that 20%, that 20% is me getting everyone in the room aligned in the same direction. So, and, and, and that change is based on your role, it based on your business, based on where your business sits or if it’s not even business related.

Right. You know, So if, if it’s an example of it’s, you know, A your family or a relationship you have, or a, a fitness goal or whatever those things are, you know, those inputs can, can really vary. But you know, like we talked about earlier, without the goal and without linking, here’s the goal, here’s the result I’m looking for.

Tying to what are the inputs, Meaning what are, what are the behaviors, not what are like the leading results. Even in my mind it’s, it’s, it’s what is the behavior that I need to do? I, I mean, we can use, you know, Hustle Nation as an example. You know, when, when we looked at, okay, how do, how do we, how do we roll out Hustle Nation?

Well, some of it is at, at this point it’s just doing the darn work , right? The, the, the 20% is how do we make this as engaging as, as humanly possible, How we prepare as best we can to create as much value for the listeners to, to. You know, want to become part of Hustle Nation so we can all get better.

Yeah, good, good point. I think so often people focus too much on the process, which it’s great. I mean, that, that you should focus on the process, but I know people who have attempted to author a book and they just keep writing the damn thing. Right? It sometimes you, you just have to stop and say, this is good enough and you have to go, Um, and you can’t let.

The thought of getting to perfect hold you back because I just, I don’t think perfect exists, but you’re right. I mean, you have to just go and you have to do sometimes, and that’s so key. So let’s put a cap on this. We talked about a few different things as it relates to the S, which is smarter, not harder, talked about.

It’s not about over exerting yourself and working 60, it’s about doing better. With the 40 hours a week you have setting goals. So key to understand where you want to get to at the end of the quarter, the end of the year. Or maybe at the time you reach 50, whatever it might be, um, auditing yourself and you, you talked about the time tracker story, which I think was phenomenal.

And when you, you look at that, you have to be honest with yourself. Setting priorities, prioritizing your time, knowing what’s most important and what’s not. Time management, which I think obviously coincides very closely with calendar management, although I’d argue those are two different things. Um, choices.

So sometimes you have to choose where to go, where to be, where to focus your time, and then ultimately the preparation part. You know, if, if you do all those things, you will be prepared and the byproduct. You’ll crush it. You should be crushing it if you do those things

right? Uh, yeah, absolutely. That’s, that is the cheat code.

I love it. You know, I used to say there aren’t any shortcuts, but I do think along the way there are some cheat codes to get to success or to accelerate, uh, what you’re working on. And that would be, that would be it. Any final thought, thoughts, Dustin?

No, I mean to, to me, I. Ultimately smarter, not just harder.

You, you can’t, don’t be more efficient to take your foot off the gas. If you truly are passionate about your goals, why? Why would you waste the time? You just work so hard to gain and not leverage it to get faster to your goals?

That’s a great final thought. Don’t lose momentum. Do not take your foot off the gas.

I love it. Love it. All right. Thank you so much for watching and listening today. We hope to see you back in the future where we’re gonna talk more about the T, the L, and the E. Until next time, keep it real.

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