Maximizing Team Efficiency and Effectiveness: Strategies for Improving Communication, Time Management, and Performance with Nick Sonnenberg, Dr. Ned Hallowell, and Joe Polish #187

Episode Summary

Come Up For Air: How Teams Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work.

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Here’s a glance at what you’ll discover from Nick, Ned and Joe in this episode:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is better described as Variable Attention Stimulus Trait (V.A.S.T.)
  • Two quick wins for every business: teaching how to use email properly and improving meetings
  • Three ways to increase capacity: hiring more people, telling people to work harder, and getting more out of people and making them more efficient
  • Fixing messy email
  • Get Nick’s Book Here
  • Watch YouTube video Here



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Show Notes

  • The main focus of the book is teaching the theory of different communication tools and their purpose (e.g. email, text, Slack, Asana)
  • Two quick wins for businesses: proper email usage and organized meetings
  • Meetings are currently done poorly, but have the potential to be fantastic
  • Mention of Dr. Edward Hallowell’s book “ADHD 2.0”
  • Mention of a book by Nick for optimization and productivity.
  •  Leverage is a training and consulting firm that helps businesses and teams improve efficiency
  • They help train people in best practices for tools such as Slack, Asana, and email with the goal of saving up to a business day a week
  • The company has helped individuals reduce the number of emails in their inbox and save hours each week
  • The target audience is mainly entrepreneurs and business owners who use email as a tool for conducting business.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a misnomer and is better described as Variable Attention Stimulus Trait (V.A.S.T)
  • People with V.A.S.T. have an abundance of attention, but challenges in controlling it
  • V.A.S.T. individuals are driven by curiosity and a constant need for stimulation and can’t tolerate boredom
  • Entrepreneurs with V.A.S.T. are easily distractible and often quick to act without setting up systems
  • Email presents a constant distraction with its never-ending stream of messages and the fear of missing out
  • The constant communication and stimulation leads to “screen sucking” and addiction to technology
  • The algorithms of platforms like Instagram and Facebook are becoming more advanced and can easily distract individuals
  • The current era offers more opportunities for distraction than ever before.
  • Problem with modern technology and the ease of access to people and information
  • Nick has ADHD and developed content and frameworks to help solve his own struggles with ADHD
  • Difficulty in being present and having too many ideas and tasks to keep track of
  • David Allen’s quote “Your brain is for having ideas, not holding ideas”
  • Need to have a place to organize and dump ideas to avoid being overwhelmed
  • GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology for organization and management
  • Author used to be organized with email using GTD in the past but lost organization when switching to Mac
  • Common complaints of entrepreneurs: overwhelm, not achieving their goals, more to do than time to do it, and lack of capacity.
  • Biggest problem with tools like email: people don’t know the purpose of the tool and when to use it.
  • Two quick wins for every business: teaching how to use email properly and improving meetings.
  • Knee-jerk reaction to increase capacity: hiring more people, which is the most expensive strategy.
  • Three ways to increase capacity: hiring more people, telling people to work harder, and getting more out of people and making them more efficient.
  • Fixing messy email: reducing the number of entries from 280,000 to 0 in a few hours.
  • People have too many folders, which results in wasted time and lost productivity
  • Instead of using folders, using the search bar is faster
  • The cost of dragging an email into a folder can add up to 8 hours in a year for one person and 80 hours for 10 team members
  • There’s no need to delete emails as there is ample cloud storage to archive them
  • Every decision, even to delete or ignore an email, takes a certain amount of brain power
  • If there’s too many emails, the person may have to make too many decisions leading to a more drastic solution
  • The goal is to have an “inbox zero” where anything not relevant to the present moment is archived
  • The RD framework – Reply, Archive, Defer – is introduced
  • Deferring an email can be done with a snooze feature, which bounces the email back to the top of the inbox on a certain date
  • Deferred emails can also return to the top if there’s an update
  • The snooze feature is useful for follow-up emails or for scheduling certain types of work for specific days of the week.
  • Focus on reducing inbox to zero
  • Suggestions for Gmail settings: enable reply all as default, enable auto advance
  • Keyboard shortcuts: “E” for archive, “C” for categorized, “L” for later
  • Anything to be dealt with today should stay in the inbox
  • Archive emails that are not needed
  • All emails including archived ones can be found in “all mail”
  • Separate competence from self-esteem
  • The purpose of the book is to help with learning
  • Quickest thing to do is understand the purpose of email and separate personal and external communication
  • Start with solving one problem at a time, e.g. email
  • Book can be found at what’ or
  • Aim is to give confidence and capability and a different perspective on ADHD

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