April 8, 2019

JF1678: How To Eliminate Time Toxins From Your Life #SkillSetSunday with Steven Griffith

Steven has written a book and been helping others optimize time for the last five years. He says time is our most valuable resource (we agree) and is here today to tell us how we can make the most of our time by performing at the highest levels with our time. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!


Best Ever Tweet:

“Time comes from you and you control it” – Steven Griffith


Steven Griffith Real Estate Background:

  • Nationally recognized author, speaker, researcher, and performance expert
  • Author of the book- The Time Cleanse and considered one of the leading authorities on the connection between time, productivity, and performance
  • Based in LA, CA
  • Say hi to him at https://www.stevengriffith.com/bestever/
  • “Get Steven’s Master Class on Time Free When You Order The Time Cleanse!”www.stevengriffith.com/master-class


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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Steven Griffith. How are you doing, Steven?

Steven Griffith: I’m doing great, man. I’m glad to be here.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I’m looking forward to our conversation. By the way, Best Ever listeners, since today is Sunday, we’ve got a special segment – Skillset Sunday – where you’re gonna learn a specific skill. That skill will be very evident after go through Steven’s bio. Steven’s a nationally-recognized author, speaker, researcher and performance expert. He’s the author of the book titled “The Time Cleanse”, and considered one of the leading authorities on the connection between time, productivity and performance. Based in Los Angeles.

We’re gonna talk about how to eliminate time toxins from your life. With that being said, Steven, before we get into the specifics of that, will you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?

Steven Griffith: Sure. I’ve been a performance coach for people’s personal business performance for over 20 years now, and my focus is working with entrepreneurs, executives, teams, to increase their performance. My focus now – it has been for the last five years – is dealing with and addressing the biggest issue people have today, not having enough time.

What I’ve done over the last five years, which is the focus of the new book, The Time Cleanse, is research the best methodologies and performance tools in how to start performing with your time, and how to take your life to that next level, and ultimately, Joe, to have time for what matters most.

Joe Fairless: Yes, please. I think 99% of the listeners are nodding their head, “Yeah, we’d love to have a way to optimize my time and be a higher performer during the time that I spend on certain activities…” So how should we think about this?

Steven Griffith: Well, the first thing is we’ve gotta start thinking about time as our most valuable and precious resource, and we also need to have the mindset of protecting it and maximizing its use. That starts with looking at it from a new perspective. You’ll see all types of books and theories on time management; that’s the buzzword. My book, my process has nothing to do with managing time. You can’t manage time. And time management – that mindset was designed when our phones were connected to the wall by a cord. And since we’re now mobile offices, we’re interacting with technology in such a different way, we’ve gotta shift our mindset to performing with it.

The old time management theories were you had a fixed hour, time was scarce, and you had the most done in it. What happens there, Joe, is that it provides time pressure, and it has nothing to do with the relationship. So when we shift to performing with time, we realize that time comes from us, and it’s actually expandable when you know how to use it the right way, and it’s abundant. That’s the philosophy we start with, is that times comes from you and you are in charge of it.

Joe Fairless: Hm, that’s powerful. So thinking about it in the way that time will exist as long as we’re alive, so let’s perform with time… Initially, when I initially said it’s powerful, my gut reaction was “That’s powerful.” But then, as I just started describing it, I’m thinking “Well, wait a second… What is the difference between managing–” Well, I guess I understand the difference between managing time, but I could see how performing with time could be just as stressful for someone, because if  they’re performing during the time, then hey, they’ve always gotta bring their A-game to everything they do.

Steven Griffith: Well, that’s a perspective, but the perspective that I work from is this – when you’re performing with time, you’re in the flow with time, and it’s a valued asset and resource to help you get what you want. The old philosophy is you’re working against time. So you can control time. What I stress is a concept called timefulness. Timefulness is being present in the moment, and really addressing the quality, experience and performance with your time where you’re always in control of it.

When you start realizing that you’re in the flow with time, it’s no longer stressful, because you’re controlling it. You’re not having something act on you.

Joe Fairless: I understand that conceptually. How can we take that concept and bring it to life on a practical level?

Steven Griffith: Absolutely. The first thing in the time cleanse is addressing what you really want your time for. You’ve gotta commit to what you want. And I know how committed you are in the work that you do on this podcast, and you’re coaching in the world is getting people to have time to spend however they want; that’s the same philosophy I have. So it’s first committing to what you want. You can’t have everything, but you can have what matters most.

So first in the cleanse process you need to decide what you want. If it’s a fitness desire, if it’s a financial desire, if it’s more time with your family… So you commit to it, and then in the time cleanse process the first thing that we do is we look at everywhere you’re spending time – with your technology, the people, the activities – and we list it all out. Then we ask the magical time cleanse question, “Is this contributing or contaminating to my happiness and success?” But first you have to identify “What are the contaminants?”

What’s happening today, Joe, is we have so many distractions; people are chasing so many things at once, and that’s one of the reasons why they don’t feel like they have enough time. They’re under a tremendous amount of pressure, and they’re not getting forward in their life. So once we identify what the contaminants are, then you have a choice of what to do with it. You can accept that as a contaminant, don’t change it, or you can reject it, and the rejection process is you may change the time of day you do something, how much time you’re doing it, and then lastly, the third choice is you remove it.

In that process, you reclaim time. The average person gets 10 hours, most people get up to 20 hours or more… And then here’s the most important point – it’s right in line with what you coach and what you speak about – it’s then investing it in what I call “high ROT (return on time) activities.” You’re investing that time, between your business or personal, where you get the greatest reward.

Joe Fairless: It makes sense. So 1) know what you want your time for, 2) look at everywhere where you’re spending your time, do an assessment of that more or less, or remove it, and then 3) be focused on investing your time in return of time activities.

One thing that comes to mind when looking at this process is that time management came into play, I imagine — who the heck knows historically where it came into play, and you have more background than me on that (because I don’t have any background, and I’m sure you have a whole lot), but now when people say “time management”, the reason why in my opinion people say “time management” is because we’re inundated with a whole bunch of stuff. We have more things coming at us at once, versus in the past. And that’s largely due to what you mentioned, the device that we keep tethered to us 24/7.

Well, in your approach, you mention “Know what you want your time for, and commit to what you want to do”, and you said for example a fitness desire or a financial desire. So you’re really putting a laser focus on one thing, versus trying to do a bunch of things simultaneously… And I’m all about the power of focus. I think in my opinion the only thing I’d like to learn from you about as it relates to this question is — the reality is we’re inundated with a lot of stuff, regardless of how we focus our time… So how do you navigate living in the world that we live in and being inundated with stuff, whilst still adhering to this philosophy where you have one focus and you’re committing your time towards that one focus?

Steven Griffith: That’s a great question. One of the things that I take readers through in the book is identifying your top five values. As I said earlier, you can’t have it all. If you are trying to have it all, you won’t have any at the level that you want it. So your point is well taken, is that we need to focus on what are the top things in our life that we wanna put our time, energy and focus on? I do what I call a top five values alignment.

For example, it might be health, business, family, relationships, travel. Those might be someone’s top five values. And within that, and depending on what quarter, what month, what year, you may have a very laser focus. So it’s not like you’re not gonna put time in any of those other areas, but when we’re going through the cleanse, we pick what we really wanna accelerate, what we wanna get our full potential activated in, and that’s what we use it for… But we’re absolutely addressing the other values in our life.

Joe Fairless: Okay, it totally makes sense. What are some challenges you’ve seen people have when implementing this process?

Steven Griffith: The biggest challenge is what I call the philosophy “I’ve always done it this way.” We’re not doing the same things we did when we were 18 years old, graduated from high school. We evolve. And so what people get stuck on is they’re stuck  in their old patterns. One of the things that I really promote in this process is [unintelligible [00:11:00].00] new activity, starting with things that you can implement quickly, but making a commitment to make progress. Not that you’re gonna change your entire life in one shot – it’s very difficult to do that – but pick areas where you can get traction… But really the key is making a commitment and picking things that I call are non-negotiable. One or two things that you’re absolutely committed to, no matter what.

As we start developing habit patterns, they become basically a ritual in our lives… But it’s like anything when we change something – we get stuck in our own process over time, and it’s making a decision to do something different… But ultimately, getting connected to the why we’re doing it; why we’re spending time in an area. When people wanna increase their business and gain more income, more freedom, what is it for? Understanding what that why is. It may be for freedom, like I’ve just said; it may be to have more energy and vitality, if they wanna lose weight. It’s not just about looking good, it’s the deeper value underneath it. So when we get connected to the why, then we’re more motivated to invest our time in the right ways.

Joe Fairless: You mentioned earlier the third part of the time cleanse is to really focus on return on time activities… How do we think about measuring return on time, and what’s some successful benchmarks for that metric?

Steven Griffith: When we look at return on time, there’s two things. One is what I believe is very clear and easy – I do X activity, and I get this financial gain. It’s very clear. I work with a lot of real estate professionals in the retail market; I tell one story in the book about my client Charles, who compressed a year’s worth of sales into one quarter. We did that by first looking at what his toxins were, and then identifying what his high ROT activities were.

His high ROT activities were really simple. He told me this from the very beginning, “ten by ten.” Ten contacts by ten AM. Then we expanded that. So that was his highest return on time; when he reached out to potential customers and past customers that were looking to buy or sell their home, his time investment went to the next level, and so did his performance.

The second ROT for him was looking for pocket listings that weren’t on the market, where he had qualified buyers. He wasn’t spending that time doing that. So those were two areas for him that once we got rid of the contamination that was taking the rest of his time away from him, he was absolutely able to focus, and he just crushed that quarter. So we need to look at investment of time/financial return.

Secondly, the other part is our felt sense of connection and purpose. What are the things that we’re doing in our life that makes us feel that we’re connecting to our talents and our gifts, and we’re making connection? Those are two areas to look at when we look at high ROT activities.

I just recently did a TV interview (yesterday, actually) and part of this was looking at, well, what are we using time for? And I said in the interview that time ultimately is for one thing, and that’s to create memories that matter, that become our legacy. So these are a couple metrics on how we determine what are those high ROT activities.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I love your quote. Did you come up with it on the spot during the interview?

Steven Griffith: No, that’s something that has been in my mission from the very beginning on this.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s powerful. I volunteer with hospice, and when I work with patients there it’s all about the memories; they’ve got a couple weeks, or a month or so to live, and it’s all about the memories that they have, the positive experiences; those are what they talk about during their last weeks and months. It’s not about the other things, whatever else there is in life; it’s all about those meaningful memories.

Anything else that we haven’t discussed as it relates to your book, The Time Cleanse, that you think it would be beneficial to discuss during our conversation?

Steven Griffith: Well, I think one of the things that we really wanna be clear on is when we’re looking at ROT, things that are compounding our time. So there’s two things when we look at our time, what I call “time hangover activities.” Being around people or activities that create a hangover. This is a big thing, Joe, when we look at how we’re using our time.

If you’re around somebody that’s negative, or you’re doing activities that are really not high-return on your time, there’s an emotional cost to that, and that becomes a hangover. The same thing when you go out and someone’s drinking – they have a great time, and then they pay the price the next day and the next couple days. It’s the same thing with what I call a time hangover – when you’re using that time ineffectively, or investing it in the wrong way, with a poor return. It carries over for many hours after that initial time.

The flipside is the compounding effect; it’s like compounding interest. We use the fitness as an example – when we’re investing the right time at the gym, we’re getting in shape, we get more energy, and now we’ve got more energy and vitality for our kids and our family and our business. So we wanna really look at using our time in a way that compounds it, and that we’re not letting these toxic things that I’m talking about get in the way.

Joe Fairless: Any suggestions for how to do that?

Steven Griffith: When you say “how”, how exactly are you asking?

Joe Fairless: Well, like to make sure that those time hangover activities – we’re going about it the right way; a practical next step…

Steven Griffith: Yeah, it goes back to really looking at the activities and saying “Is this contributing or contaminating?” I have an assistant that does a lot of my errands. If I’m caught doing errands (dry cleaning, follow-up on certain tasks in the office), I don’t like doing that. I get agitated. So now I’m gonna go speak or work with a client – there’s a hangover there.

Joe Fairless: Okay. That makes sense, thank you.

Steven Griffith: And the other one major thing that I’d love to share here with you and your listeners is this – taking control of your phone. This is a piece of advice that will get back hundreds of hours…

Joe Fairless: Please help me with this personally. I need help. I’m on the couch right now with you, so please help me.

Steven Griffith: Alright, so here it is… We’re gonna go through a time cleanse of your phone, alright? So the phone — there was a piece  of research that I put in the book that they monitor people for one week, to see how much interaction they had with the phone. The average person touched/clicked/swiped/looked/felt the phone 2,600 a day.

Joe Fairless: Wow.

Steven Griffith: 2,600 times. That’s about four hours of interaction with the phone. So here’s the deal… You heard me use the word “timefulness” previously, and it’s really about mindfulness; mindfulness is a bit part of this system – that really means being present in the moment. Present in the moment, right now.

So when we go to our phone, we wanna be in charge of the phone. Our phones right now are designed to take our thoughts and actions over. They have neuroscientists working on this around the clock to get us connected to the phone longer. So here’s a couple hacks, my time cleanse of the phone…

The first thing you do is you grayscale your phone. There’s a feature on your phone where you turn your phone from color to black and white. Why do we do that? It makes the phone less charming. It’s like Disneyland, that phone; when you turn it on and those colors come on, it’s Disneyland. “What ride am I gonna get on”, right? So we first grayscale it.

Number two, we remove all apps to the second screen. When you turn the phone on or you look at your phone, there’s nothing in front of you, except whatever picture you have there, screen saver…

And then the third thing is we turn all notifications off. All your dings, clings, flashes, notifications of text and e-mail. And here’s why we do that – it’s training your brain not to be present, and it’s distracting you. So when you go to your phone, now you’re in charge of what you wanna do with your phone; not having your phone in charge of what it’s gonna do with you.

Joe Fairless: Love it. Thank you for that. I’m personally telling you thank you… And I know that will be beneficial for other Best Ever listeners. I will be doing every one of those three things. Notifications will be tough, because I play chess with friends, against my wife, and we always go back and forth during the day… But I will do that for seven days. All three things for seven days, and then I will decide which ones I wanna continue to adopt… But thank you for that.

Steven Griffith: Great, great.

Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’ve got going on?

Steven Griffith: Well, a couple things. I’ve got a couple special things for your listeners. It’s StevenGriffith.com/bestever – there’s a free download there with ten tools and tactics, my best tips to get back your time and perform with it. Then for your listeners that order the book, the same URL, they’ll get a free masterclass; eight videos, I take them step by step through the whole time cleanse process to get back their time, and then show them how to actually perform at a higher level with it… So those are two giveaways for  you guys.

Joe Fairless: Outstanding. I just clicked it, and I am signing into Amazon to purchase the book right now. Checking out, placed order, done. I just bought it.

Hey, I really enjoyed our conversation, and some very practical pieces of advice… I already mentioned my affinity towards your three time cleanse tips for the phone, as well as just the overall approach for being focused on certain activities that you are intentionally focused on, versus trying to accomplish a whole bunch of stuff where most of that bunch of stuff isn’t necessarily moving you  towards fulfillment and your bottom line, because you’re not being intentional about the process.

Thank you so much for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Steven Griffith: Thank you, Joe.

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