Why Productivity Is Bullshit! The Secret Is To Do Less Not More

Why Productivity Is Bullshit! The Secret Is To Do Less Not More


Why do some people achieve 1,000x more than others? 

This question fascinated me.

It became my obsession to figure out WHY? 

I feverishly studied all of the "GOATS" (greatest of all time) to try and figure out why...

I uncovered a common theme, a pattern that repeated itself in every single case of greatness...

In today's video I reveal it to you and show you how you can use it yourself to 1,000x your progress.

Here's what we cover: 

1. Why most people believe they should do as much as possible and why this is horribly wrong and a recipe for failure.

2. Why the most precious thing we have in life is energy and time and why most people waste it all on trivial meaningless stuff.

3. The daily routine secret Michael Phelps used to become the greatest swimmer of all time.

4. Why most of your time waste will be in your personal life and how to get rid of the waste and get other people to help you.

5. How hiring a personal chef and a live-in personal trainer (Rhett) revolutionized my life and helped me to get more done.

6. Why cults and military use sleep deprivation to brainwash you and why sleep is mandatory to stay on track with your goals.

7. Why "winging it" is a love/hate relationship and why you need a routine and ruthless discipline to achieve big things.

8. Why "isolation" and locking the windows, closing the doors and neglecting everything is the ultimate strategy to win.

9. Why social media, apps and email are a cancer that's rampant in today's world and why you need to cut it out to get things done.

I explain all of these in detail in the video -- make sure you watch it in full because theres a lot of gold nuggets you don't want to miss!

Check out the video and let me know what you think in the comments below?

To Your Success!

Sam Ovens & the team at

Further Reading: "The Most Popular Types of Consulting Careers"

Transcript / MP3

Sam Ovens: Hey everyone, Sam Ovens here, and in today's video, I want to tell you why productivity is complete bullshit, and why the secret is doing less instead. So, what I mean by that is, you know, a lot of people, they talk about productivity, and what they do is they just try to cram as much stuff as possible into their to-do list, and they try to do as many things as possible, and that's how they really define productivity and working hard and getting things done. This thing has spread like a rampant disease, and it's spread across pretty much everyone. I see people reading books on how to get things done, and that's pretty much like a procrastination thing to do. You know, getting things done's about getting things done. And then I see people signing up to like 10 different software tools to create a to-do list, when a to-do list can just be done on a piece of paper. And I see people even attending seminars and webinars, reading books and articles and blogs, and creating so much complexity for themselves just to try and be productive. These people have got it completely backwards, and I know this because I used to be that person. You know, I used to try and cram as much things as I could possibly do into my calendar, and I was doing so many different things, and really, when I looked at it objectively, most of my time was spent trying to figure out how to do, and trying to manage doing so many different things, instead of actually doing the things, which is pretty crazy, but that's what happens when you try to do too many things. Most of your time gets wasted switching tasks and optimizing what tasks you should be working, and then actually figuring out, "When am I going to work on this? When am I going to work on that?" instead of actually just doing something. So it's a complete waste of time, and really, what the secret is, is it's to do less. It's to just get rid of it. You know, the more ... You want to try and just remove things from your life, remove things from your business, and you want to get as many things off your plate as humanly possible. And in today's video, I'm going to show you specific examples that I've used, and that you can use too, to really clear your plate and focus. And why you want to do this is because ... I can explain it with a very simple diagram here. So, what I'm going to do here is I'm just going to talk to you about the only thing that you have in your life, which is energy. Right? And with energy, it works like this. We only have a finite amount of it. You know, we all have 24 hours in a day, and we all pretty much live for the same amount of time, and all we really have to put into anything is energy, energy and time. And when you do lots of different things, this is where your energy goes. Goes into all of these different things, and you make progress outwards like that. So you make a little bit of progress in lots of things, and you expend that much energy. That's how it works. But then here's what happens when you get rid of all of these things and focus on one thing instead. So you add up all of these lines here, so let's say each one of these lines is like an inch or something, and there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine lines here, so it's off the chart here. It's that much progress. And this isn't some sort of exaggeration or anything; it's mathematics. I mean, if you have nine inches of energy to give, and you put it into nine different things, you're going to make one inch of progress in each thing. But if you put nine inches of energy into one thing, you're going to make nine inches of progress. It is just as plain and as simple as that. So people trying to do lots of different things, this is them, going nowhere slowly, and the people who just rid themselves of most trivial things and focus on one specific thing, they're the ones that make massive progress, and these are the champions that you hear about. I'll give you an example. One of them is Michael Phelps. So, Michael Phelps, his to-do list each day is "Wake up, get in pool," and that's all he does. He just wakes up, gets in the pool, because all he is trying to do is be the world's best swimmer, and the only way he's going to do that is by practicing. And by removing all of this crap out of his life and just doing that each day, things happen. And really, what Michael Phelps has done is he's put his energy into swimming instead of into Facebook and social media, and into working a nine-to-five job, and things like that. That's what he's done with his energy, and you can see what happens. Now, let's talk about some specific things that you can do to really become more productive and really channel your energy in. Now, the biggest thing I see people waste time on is probably just their personal life. You know, it's not actually their business stuff, it's personal stuff that's going to be taking up most of their time. And typically, what I see is it's little errands, or it's things they have to do around the house. So, for example, cleaning your house, then buying groceries, and then cooking, and then eating, and then doing dishes, and thinking about what you're going to eat, and then doing your laundry, and if you've got a garden or lawns, mowing the lawns, doing the garden, checking the mail, opening the mail, all of those things, those things, they're pretty much the first things that you want to get rid of. And the way to get rid of those things is to, really, hire a chef. If you're making more than, say, $10,000 a month, then you should have a chef. If you don't have a personal chef and you're making more than 10 grand a month, then that is ... You know, you're pretty much being stupid, because you're spending your time cooking food and everything when you should be spending your time doing what you do best, which is probably running your business. One of the best things I did was hire a personal chef, and her name's [Alyssa 00:06:49], and she comes in here, I think it's four times a week for about three hours each time, and she completely cooks all of the meals, lunch and dinner for six days of the week. And then on Sunday, my wife and I, we go out for brunch, then we might go out for dinner. We leave Sunday to be open, but six days a week, the chef has prepared meals, so all I have to do ... In the past, what I'd have to do is I would be working, over here at my desk, and then I'd be like, "Oh, it's lunchtime, I'm hungry." And so then, what I'd do is I'd wander over to the fridge in the pantry and look in there, and then there was nothing really to eat, so I was like, "Okay, well, now I've got to order something, or I've got to go out and grab something." And now I'm like, "Well, what should I get, what's close, where could I go?" Then I usually talk to my wife and I'm like, "What do you want?" Before you know it, like 30 minutes has gone into this exercise, just trying to figure out what to eat. And then we actually order the thing, and then it takes like an hour to get delivered, and then we have to eat the thing. And you can see, that's one meal, that's just lunch on one day a week. You know, you're probably spending a huge amount of time on things like this, and it's being completely wasted. You want to ... If you're making more than 10 grand a month, you want to have a chef. And if you're not making more than 10 grand a month, and you're just, you know, money is more scarce for you, well, there's still something you can do in the whole food department. What you want to do is you should buy all of your groceries once a week - on a Sunday, for example - and batch it. Buy everything on that one time, so that you're not going out and doing like a thousand different things. Just do it all in one day, and then on Sunday, I'd pretty much cook all of your meals for the whole week. Just cook them, put them into little containers, and then when it's time for lunch each day, when it's time for dinner each day, then just go and grab the container, heat it up, eat it. So, because my chef isn't here every single day, you can see that there's stuff in containers over here, so that all we have to do for dinner tonight, for example, is pull that out, heat it, and we're good. So, the number one thing I can tell you, out of everything I've ever done that's saved the most time, is hiring a chef, because as humans, we need to eat quite a lot of stuff we don't really think about objectively, but a lot of time and a lot of thought and a lot of energy goes into food. And so, when you can get that off your plate, it is so freeing. It's more freeing than any book you're ever going to read on productivity, and it's more freeing than anything you can possibly do in terms of productivity. You know, it's not about working harder, it's not about being more productive, it's just simply about doing less, getting rid of it, and then focusing on what you do best. So get rid of that, and if you can't, if you don't have the money to do it, well, batches, do all of your groceries, cook on a Sunday, then just pull out the containers and eat them. Now, I'll tell you another thing that I did to really get more productive, and that was hire a personal trainer that actually lives in my house, and we'll go see him right now. Rhett: How you doing, mate? Sam Ovens: Pretty good. Rhett: Good to hear. Sam Ovens: What's your name? Rhett: [inaudible 00:10:14] Rhett. Sam Ovens: So yes, this is Rhett, and he's my live-in personal trainer. I don't even know if that's a job title, but- Rhett: We created it. Sam Ovens: ... if it is, I mean ... Well, it is now, because that's what he does. And really, what Rhett does, I may as well let you just describe. What's your main role here? Rhett: Pretty much manage all your health, so everything from your sleep, nutrition, fitness, and then managing the chef as well, to make sure all the meals are pretty specific to Sam. And that's pretty much it, and then also extra health stats and sleep tracking, and things like that. Sam Ovens: Yup, so pretty much what I found is that when I was responsible for going to the gym myself, it didn't really happen that often, but what I did find is that if I went to the gym, I felt better, and I actually got more done. So I was like, "What can I do to game the system? What can I do to make myself actually go to the gym all the time?" And instead of just trying to be more productive, the answer was just get rid of it, you know, make ... Because Rhett's in my house every day, he's going to be waiting by the door at 6:50 in the morning to go to the gym, and that means I have to do it. And then when I did that, I also don't have to remember, like, "What am I training on this day?" or "What am I doing here?" or any of that stuff. Rhett completely has that covered, and he looks after all of that. And more than that, he also ... We have a chef, but Rhett plans the meals, so he'll look at different recipes for the week, for the month, and he'll plan what meals we're going to have when, and then he'll order the groceries online from Whole Foods, groceries will get delivered, he gets them here, puts them in the fridge. Then when the chef comes here, he gives the recipes to the chef, and then the food is in the fridge, so the chef just gets the food and the recipe, and then cooks the food. And so all of that stuff's covered, and I don't have to do anything now. All I have to do is walk to the table, eat it, and then walk back to my desk, and everything from buying the groceries, preparing them, cooking it, thinking about what meals are going to go where, and even doing the dishes, I don't have to do any of it, and that makes- Rhett: True. Sam Ovens: Well, that makes me ... It gives me way more energy, or I've really got the same amount of energy, but instead of it going into those things, it can go into what I do best, and that helps a ton. Also, what I got Rhett to do is basically observe me. So, what I'm most afraid of, really, is tripping up and forgetting what I'm supposed to do, because that's what happens, and really, in the past, where I've got into trouble and I've diverted from my goals, it's when I have broken my routine - so I might have started going to bed later, waking up later - and when that gets out of alignment, then everything else, it's like an avalanche. You know, when you break one little thing, everything just explodes. And so then, what happens is I forget what my routine was, I stop going to the gym, I start eating bad again, and we're completely off the rails. So Rhett's role also is to kind of observe me, make sure that I'm going to bed at the right time, waking up at the right time, and also not eating bad food, taking the right supplements, and he also tracks my health stats using something called an Oura Ring. That's O-U-R-A, and it's O-U-R-A R-I-N-G, you can Google it. And those things are awesome. That tracks your sleep, and it really gives you data and metrics on how well you're sleeping. And I can tell you that one of the best things that you can do in terms of productivity is to get better sleep, and why that is is because- Rhett: Number one. Sam Ovens: Yeah, it's more important than diet, more important than exercise. Like, we've tracked it. We have looked at what happens when you have good exercise, but you don't get diet right, and we've looked at what happens when you get diet right, but you don't exercise, and then we've looked at what happens when you get diet right, exercise right, but not sleep. And the most important factor out of all of those things is sleep, so ... And it's funny, because that's the one thing people probably shortchange themselves on. Rhett: Absolutely. Sam Ovens: And what really happens when you don't sleep properly is your conscious mind, it kind of shuts down a little bit, because when you're asleep, your conscious mind's asleep, and your subconscious mind is doing the breathing and everything for you. However, when you're awake, you're mostly, you know, with your conscious mind, and what happens is when you get really tired, your conscious starts to get weaker. And your conscious mind is really the police officer of what you should be doing, and sticking to a routine and a schedule and all of that, so as soon as you start shortchanging yourself on sleep, what you'll find is that you start shortchanging yourself on everything. You'll forget what you're even supposed to be doing, and you'll be way more distractable. That's why cults and the military, the Army ... The first thing they do when you go to a cult and when you go into the Army is they'll deprive you of sleep, because it makes you more brainwashable. You know, if you're tired, it's easy to convince you of something that you didn't really want, and it's easy to brainwash you and turn you into something that is controlled by somebody else. It's an age-old tactic, and that just goes to show that having not enough sleep, it can do huge harm, and that's why you want to make sure that you get at least eight hours every single night. So, this is Rhett, and if you don't- Rhett: Hello. Sam Ovens: If you don't have enough money to hire a personal trainer and move them into your house and do all of that, which I'm well aware of for people that are watching, because not everyone can just hire a chef and get a personal trainer into their house, but what would you recommend, Rhett, for sleep, exercise, fitness, diet - because you've been a personal trainer for a while - if you don't have the funds? Like, what is the best thing you can do? Rhett: If you don't have the funds to hire anyone, I would recommend firstly buying an Oura Ring, and just getting your sleep on track, down pat. Then I would honestly hire either a nutrition coach or a fitness coach to then guide you through ... Like an online coach, which is a lot cheaper than in person, obviously, to guide you through everything that you need to be doing to be able to hold yourself accountable. And then finally, what I would do is just make sure you're exercising every day, and no matter what it is, just get your body moving, eat clean foods, cut out processed foods, and that'll take you 90% of the way there. Sam Ovens: It's good advice. Yeah, you absolutely- Rhett: Just simplify it. Simplify it right down. Sam Ovens: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And have you found that when people have routines, that they're more likely to complete the exercise and everything like that? Rhett: Yeah, you've got to plan your day, 100%. Sam Ovens: And that's what I've found too, is ... I'm just going to go back to the office now, but thanks for that. Rhett: Adios. Sam Ovens: That's what I've found too. When I ... You know, naturally, really what I like to do, and what I used to do, which was a big trap and it hurt me a lot, was just take every day as it comes, and not create any routine or any schedule or any plan, and just have a bunch of freedom. And while that's kind of nice, it also sucks, because you don't get to achieve your dreams, and you don't get to do the big things that you really want to do. And so, after trying to get things done having a completely open schedule, and failing to get things done, I decided I really need to have a strict routine, like a protocol to follow. And when I implemented one of these, everything changed for me, everything shifted. What you really want to do is set very strict rules for yourself each day, and what I mean by that is you need to have a wake-up time that is the same every single day, Monday to Sunday. And if you don't, when you start to have one of those, you know your day's starting at this time, and you know you're going to be in bed at this time. So you know when you're going to be asleep, and now you can plan what you're going to do with all the hours in between. But when you don't have one of those, you don't know how to plan, you don't know how to schedule things in, and it just doesn't work. So you want to create a strict schedule, and then you have to be ... You have to have monk-like discipline to stick to it. You'll want to do anything you can to break it, but you have to stick to it. The more disciplined you are, the more money you make. That's just how it works. A lot of business and a lot of success is just ruthless discipline, and how strict you can be on yourself. What I do is I finish work every night in between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m., and then I'm in bed by 10:00, and I have to be asleep by 11:00. That's the protocol for going to sleep. Then I wake up at 6:50 a.m., and then training starts at 7:00 a.m. with Rhett. We go down to the gym, we train for an hour, then I come back, and then I immediately have a shower, and that happens at roughly 8:00 a.m. The shower, and then I get changed and dressed and all of that; we're at like 8:30 a.m. And then, at 8:30 a.m., I have my morning smoothie and my supplements and everything, which Rhett's prepared, have those, then I log my health stats from my Oura Ring into a Google Doc tracking sheet so we can track all of that. And now we're at 9:00 a.m., and then at 9:00 a.m., I interview one of my customers for about 30 to 45 minutes, and then after that, it's about 10:00 a.m., and that's when my day starts. But every single morning, I do those things. I forgot one other thing: I meditate. So, after I have the breakfast and ... Well, my morning smoothie and my supplements, it would be 8:30, and then I go into my bedroom and I meditate for 20 minutes, and now we're at 8:50, and then when 9:00 comes, I'm doing the customer interview. And then my real work day starts at 10:00 a.m., and those are all the things I do before 10:00 a.m. And really, what ... You know, I can get more stuff done by 10:00 a.m. than most people do in like a week. And then I go in and do my day's work, and typically, I will work from home one day ... I'll work from home four days a week, and then I'll work from my office, the headquarters here in New York, I work from my office one day a week. And the reason why I do that is because one of the best strategies I have for getting things done and really being efficient and productive is to just completely isolate myself. It's really my secret weapon, is just to lock the windows, close the doors, turn everything off, turn off my phone, put it in another room, and then don't look at my email, don't look at social media, don't look at anything. Lock the windows, close the doors, isolate myself, and just do it. That really is my secret weapon, and the people I've taught it to, it's become their secret weapon too. And so, if there's really a few main points you take from this video, the first one has got to be this: energy. How many things are you doing? Where does it go? And if you do one thing, that's the progress you can make; if you do many, that's the progress you're going to make. And a lot of people, they're like ... Like, they think that I make quite a bit of money with my consulting business, and they wonder how I do it with only really one product and one funnel. And it's funny, people even write posts about it, asking how it's possible and all of these things. But it comes back to this. If lots of people have ... I see some people, and they have multiple businesses. As soon as I see someone with multiple businesses, I know that they're poor, pretty much, because this is going on. And then when people have multiple websites, again, when people have two many products, when people have too many funnels, when people have too many anything, this happens. And when people really focus, this happens. So in my life, I'm always trying to find out, what's that one thing? So, me, I only have one business. It's, and I only really, in that business, only really have one product. I'm about to roll out my second one now, but in order to do that, I've had to be in this business for like five, six years, and now we have about 50 employees, before I can actually go from one thing to two. And you might think, "Oh, but you won't be able to make that much money by only doing one thing." It's the exact opposite. My business makes significantly more than anybody else I know with multiple products. So don't fall for this massive fallacy that by doing more, you're going to make more, because what I see happen, and what history shows us, is that doing more often gets you less, and if we look at the people that focus, they're the people who achieve more. So the answer is to do less, not more, and if you want to really get things done, you have to lock the windows, close the doors, shut everything off, isolate yourself, and then just do it. It is an extremely good strategy. You don't have to be connected to people all the time. You know, I see a lot of people, they've got ... On their phone, they've got like 50 apps. On my phone, I have four apps, and those apps, those four apps, they have notifications turned off, and then my iPhone is on airplane mode, and then it's in a drawer, so it's totally off. But most other people I see, they've got like 50 apps, all of them push notifications to them, phone's on loud, sitting right where they can see it, and then they're at their computer with like 50 tabs open, and every single tab is blurping at them, and then every 10 seconds, their damn phone is vibrating. And how the hell can you get anything done with that going on? So I have really strict rules. When I'm working at my computer, my phone is off and it's in my drawer, and then if I'm on my phone, I only want four apps, and I don't want to see all these notifications anywhere. I just go into the one I need to use, get it, use it, do what I need to do, and then get out, done, phone's back in the drawer and off. You know, you need to shut all of these things off and get rid of them, and I can give you one awesome productivity tip right now: Delete everything. Go onto your phone right now, look at all the apps you've got, and just get rid of them all. You only need about four or five. Just delete them all. You don't need them, and if you do, you can always download one. It's fine, you can download it later, but just get rid of them all, and then make sure none of them are pushing notifications to you. Turn all your notifications off. And I don't have Facebook on my phone, I don't use Snapchat at all, and I don't have really any social media apps at all on my phone, except for Instagram, just because I post stories throughout the day so that my customers and everything can get updates. That's really all I use it for. And then another one is your phone. So, who has your phone number? A lot of people, they give their phone number to everybody, and their phone number ... One way you can tell if somebody's poor is if their phone number, their mobile phone number, is in their email signature. If someone's got their mobile phone in their email signature, they're poor, and if someone's got their mobile phone on a business card, they're poor, because wealthy people would not be so stupid with their time. They wouldn't give people a way to distract them. I don't have a business card because I don't want to give one to anyone, because now they know my email and my phone number, and they'll be able to call me. So I don't even have them. And then my email footer does not have anything in it, it just says "Sam." And so these are some other things you can do to really stop distractions coming in. Another thing you can do is just change your phone number. You know, every few months, I just change my phone number so that people who have gathered it from the past, they call it, it's just dead. So really, only about five people know my phone number, and even if they call me, my phone's off and it's in my drawer. And so you want to start looking at all of these ways that people can get access to you, and start cutting them all off. You want to get rid of it all. Make sure that your attention is really protected like the precious thing that it is. Don't give people ways to distract you; get rid of them. Barricade yourself off. That's really why I think productivity is complete bullshit, and the answer is to do less instead. I'll leave you with one final thing, and this is something that really plagues most people on earth right now. I'd say social media's probably the number one cancer, actually. Social media's probably the worst thing in the world for getting things done right now. You want to get rid of it. Get rid of everything you can on social media, delete it all, and just try and be disciplined and only use it for like 30 minutes a day, just to post some stuff, reply to some stuff, out. That's the first thing that I can see is killing most people. The second thing is email. You know, with email, people have it pushing notifications to them, so their phone's constantly going, "Zz, zz, zz," and they're constantly checking these emails, and then on their computer, it's going, "Ding, ding, ding," and they're constantly checking these emails. Get rid of it. Turn the notifications off, and only check your email like once every three days. Me, I will check my email once pretty much every three days, unless I need to go in there to find something, and then I'll reply to things once every three days, and then I'll just leave it. Nothing's that urgent that people need to get in touch with me right now, and if it was that urgent, they'd find me another way. So, email, stop being reactive to things. Stop reacting to all of this noise that's trying to bombard you every day. Enforce your will, and enforce what you want upon other people, because otherwise, they're going to enforce their will upon you. A famous ... I don't think this is actually famous, but a really good quote that somebody told me once was, "Sam, if you don't have a plan, you'll become a part of somebody else's." Every time someone's trying to get your attention with social media, with email, a text, a call, any time someone's trying to get your attention with anything, they're trying to enforce their will and their plan on you, and so you have to get rid of that, and you have to protect it, and you have to make sure that you're following nobody's guidance other than your own. And that really is probably the most powerful thing that you can do to achieve success in life and business, is to be disciplined, block out the noise, work out what you want, focus on it obsessively, and then just work on it every single day to get it done. So, that's pretty much it for this video. I wanted to tell you why I think doing too many things and trying to use 20 softwares to do it is just bullshit, it's a waste of time, and if you really want to achieve anything meaningful in life and business, do less. Find out what that one thing is, obsess over it, and just do that every single day, and it will take you where you want to go. So, that's it for this video. Thanks for watching. What I encourage you to do right now is, if you liked this video, just hit that Like button, and then subscribe to my channel on YouTube, where you'll find other videos just like this. Just hit that Subscribe button, and then let me know what you think in the comment section below. I'm going to be checking all of these comments myself personally, I'll be replying to them myself, not my team, so let me know what you think in those comments. So thanks, everyone, and I'll see you in the next one soon.